Ten things a web designer would never tell you

Following the barcamp (BathCamp) that we ran last year, I was looking for a way of maintaining some momentum around the local tech scene, and decided to put together a monthly evening meetup. The first of these was on Wednesday 4th Feb.

Talking at the event were two pretty well known people from the web industry: Paul Boag (Boagworld and Headscape) and Ryan Carson (Carsonified).

Paul did an exceptional talk entitled “10 things a web designer would never tell you” – a tongue in cheek (but scarily accurate) parody of the approaches taken in many web projects. I particularly liked “4. Form a committee to provide feedback…(before you know it you will have a design everybody can tolerate)…” and “6. Enforce corporate style guides to the letter”. Actually, the entire list is pretty easy to check off if you’ve been involved in this kind of stuff before. Comment if this all seems horribly familiar!

Interestingly, Paul followed the talk up with a blog post taking the same tongue-in-cheek tone and got so many comments from people who thought it was actually straight advice that he first of all had to move the “THIS IS TONGUE IN CHEEK” message from the bottom of the post to the top and I see just now has even had to add a new post: “For those of you hard of humour“. Funny stuff.

Anyway. Here’s a video of the talk that I took on a friend’s Flip. Quality is slightly poor (not the Flips’ fault but my failure to get a bigger file up to Vimeo..)

[vimeo 3104512]

Ryan did a talk on the excellent Ubiquity plugin for Firefox. I’ll be posting the video of his talk just as soon as I can squeeze it through my limited home bandwidth.

That was…BathCamp 2008

Going away to a land without any internet access (rural Devon, in a valley with no mobile coverage..) immediately after organising something like BathCamp feels a bit odd. On the one hand it’s great to run away and escape the stress, build-up and excitement that comes with running an event like that. On the other, it’s often the few days following an event that really help to mark whether something was a success or not, and missing out on the buzz feels a bit like missing out on the good bit of a party 🙂

It’s now more than a week ago, but I still wanted to chuck out a brief blog post with some thanks and thoughts.

First off, massive thanks to our amazing sponsors – without you, nothing at all would have happened. We ate, venued (?) and drank extremely well, and I think we wanted for nothing. Except maybe space-themed savoury snacks, that is (noted – we’ll sort it out for next time 🙂 ).

I’d particularly like to thank.. Darren Beale of Siftware who went waaay beyond the call of duty by not only sponsoring but also helping us shift baths and drapes, not to mention running an excellent quiz; Peter Gradwell, who – again – not only sponsored, but also provided us with technical support (thanks Gavin!) to help bolster the wifi network in the venue; JR from Invention who helped in so many ways – and under really rather…difficult..circumstances – I can’t possibly mention them all here; Matt Jukes for the multi-function bath / duck habitat / beer cooler (not to mention the ducks themselves…); the awesome Lisa P for organisational skills extraordinaire; Tim B for being amazing and knowing – well, everyone; the other co-organisers for all your hard work; Oh, and the sponsors (again!) – particularly for their flexibility and patience dealing with someone like me who knows NOTHING about sponsorship..; my mum…and…look – you know who you are – thanks…!

Without the people who turned up and did talks, of course, BathCamp would have been a pizza n beer fest without any reason or meaning: fattening, tasty, but ultimately unsatisfying. As it happens, the talks were extraordinary in their range and interestingness, and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed – and everyone who listened and questioned too. One of my core personal aims of BathCamp was to try to create an event where ideas of all kinds – deep tech, light tech, non-tech – were surfaced and shared by people who cared passionately about those ideas. I think it worked.

I’ll leave commentary on sessions to everyone else. Over the coming week, I’ll find some time to try and link stuff together a bit better from the main BathCamp website. For now, you can get a pretty good idea of what people have been saying about the event by checking out this OneTag view. Once again, thanks everyone. You rocked.

A barcamp in Bath? Bathcamp, obviously.

here? maybeNothing quite like leaping in and doing something before sorting out any of the details, but I’m hoping to organise a barcamp type moment in the Bath vicinity sometime during summer 2008.

I’m actually possibly the worst person to do anything with such enormous logistical overhead, but as long as I remain confident, calm and don’t tell anyone that I don’t know what I’m doing, then everything will turn out ok. I also have a very fine set of people who are up for helping, including my wife, who loves this sort of thing.


What: some kind of barcamp event;
Bath or very close nearby
A Saturday (+night) sometime late summer 2008

If I’ve managed to pique your interest enough with this genius bit of marketing that tells you neither what, when nor where exactly then please head over to http://bathcamp.org and register your details. I’ve also added an entry to the barcamp wiki at http://barcamp.pbwiki.com/BarCampBath.

Once I’ve got some measure of the numbers I’ll start refining dates, venues and content – sorry! structure 🙂

Look forward to hearing from you!