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Web Directions North, 2nd edition

October 16, 2007

One evening in 2006 during a group iChat, Dave Shea, Maxine Sherrin, John Allsopp and I threw caution to the wind and decided that we were all on board. We were going to bring the stand-out web conference from Australia—Web Directions—across the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver.

Here we are close to a year and a half later, and we’re excited to announce that we’re doing it again. Following on the success of Web Directions North from February 2007, we’ve just launched:

web directions north: Vancouver, BC, Canada; Jan 28 - Feb 2, 2008

We’re really happy with the line up of speakers and the entire week’s schedule – it is going to be an amazing conference and we hope you’re as excited as we are.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead over to the site, check out the WDN 08 schedule overview and the stellar lineup of speakers. We’d love to see you there!

An Event Apart, Deep Dish Edition

September 12, 2007

It is hard to believe that it has already been a week two weeks since An Event Apart in Chicago. I had never been to Chicago prior to AEA (assuming you don’t count layovers in O’Hare as actually being in Chicago), so I have to admit I was incredibly excited to be on my first trip to the mid-west. I have but two regrets:

  • not having enough time to explore the city a bit more, and
  • not being able to eat more than one and a half slices of the Giordano’s deep-dish pizza we ordered on closing night

I gave a new talk: Accessibility: Lost in Translation that combined some new material with some of my favourite old classics. The premise is this: as developers, we tend to see a mockup, a polished design or a wireframe and then translate that into code. And—if we’re not careful—during that translation process, we lose some of the nuances and detail that actually make the interface meaningful, effective and pleasant to use. What that in mind, we examined a number of common design “patterns” and scenarios to learn what we can do to provide a better user experience for people with disabilities. After all, accessibility is part of user experience, and much more than just ticking off checkboxes to be accessible, right?

It was an absolute honour to be part of the speaking line up, and I’m thankful that it was a single-track conference so that I wasn’t speaking at the same time as one of the others! It also meant that I was able to see a lot of the other presentations and do a bit of learning myself. I love it when that happens! Thanks to Jeffrey and Eric for inviting me to speak—it truly was a pleasure.

A hearty thanks to the audience. It was extraordinary to chat with so many of you after my presentation, during lunches and breaks. One of the things I savour about speaking at conferences is the chance to talk to people about the kinds of problems they are trying to solve in their everyday work. It is reality, and that’s something from which we all benefit.

Registration open: Real World Accessibility for Ajax and Web Apps

March 18, 2007

After highly successful delivery of this workshop in Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada as part of the Web Directions conference series, I’m very excited to announce that registration for the workshop I’m putting on Austin, Texas on May 7, 2007 is now open:

Real World Accessibility for Ajax and Web Apps May 7, 2007, The Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, Texas; Access U pre-conference workshop

This full-day workshop is designed for those that are building a modern web application that employs Ajax or JavaScript to enhance the user experience. The day will be filled with planning advice, practical examples, demonstrations of assistive technology, code samples and live walk-throughs of a variety of web applications – all to help you provide web applications that are both accessible and usable for as wide an audience as possible, regardless of their abilties.

The workshop will be great for those that are looking to use Ajax and heavy scripting to build accessible web applications but also has plenty of material for people that are involved in designing these applications without getting their hands on the complicated parts of the code.

We’re offering $100 off for anyone that is attending Access U. Seats in the workshop are limited, so register today!

See this event on

Other locations are planned for 2007, so if you’d like to see it come to a city near you let us know in the comments or drop us a line.

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Looking for Exercise at Conferences?

January 14, 2007

Let us be honest: when you’re at SXSWi (and other conferences for that matter), you pretty much drink at some social event or another every night. That leaves almost everyone hungover to some degree every day. So, how do you deal with that?

If you’re already an active person, then I suggest continuing to stay active: hit the gym in the hotel for some early morning activity, or even better exercise outside! Run on the treadmill, do something on the elliptical trainer, or even the stationary bike. It will be a bit tougher if you’re hungover but sweat it out and drink lots of water – it will help get the alcohol out of your system and make you that much fresher for the rest of the day.

Continue reading Looking for Exercise at Conferences?

In 2007

January 2, 2007

A quick post to kick off the first work day of 2007. Mostly to remind myself what I’m aiming for this year and to document some goals of mine. I haven’t thought them all completely through, but really, who ever does?

This year I will:

  • code less, consult more
  • focus on growing and building the business
  • finish the redesign of the company site
  • provide more seminars, workshops and training
  • speak at between 6-10 conferences
  • hire a designer/developer
  • be more productive but work fewer hours in a week
  • engage in more broad “user experience” work
  • serve as a hired gun for an agency that wants accessibility help
  • more fully implement kinkless GTD
  • write a book
  • eat more fruit and vegetables and less chocolate, chips and candy
  • increase company revenue by 15% or more
  • say no
  • leave my email client closed until 11am
  • move the office completely out of the house (no more hybrid)
  • run the IronMan (Lake Placid, NY) on July 22, 2007

Affiliate Program for Web Directions North

November 28, 2006
Web Directions North: Feb 6-10, 2007; Vancouver, Canada

We’ve added a new feature to the Web Directions North conference (Vancouver, Canada, Feb 6-10, 2007). Affiliates.

Yes, affiliates.

Quite simply: you sign up to become an affiliate and we set you up with your own link. Anyone that signs up via that link works in your favour: if you get 4 to sign up via your link, your registration is free. And we’ll keep adding on for you if you keep getting people to sign up.

Have clients that might be interested in the conference? Send them the link. Or, if you prefer, get a group of 5 together, and split the costs 4 ways for a tidy savings. Sound enticing? We think it does – join us in Vancouver for a world-class conference.

Web Directions North Ticket Contest

November 24, 2006

If you haven’t already seen this, Digital Web Magazine is running a contest to win a ticket to Web Directions North– design a snowboard or take a photo of yourself with an improvised snowboard, and you could win some fabulous prizes.

First prize is a free ticket to Web Directions North in Vancouver, including a ski pass.

Even though I’m not eligible for the contest, I thought I’d put one together anyway, just for kicks.

Here it is – I call it “The Motherboard” (sorry, I know its cheesy):

Thumbnail of snowboard showing Web Directions North logo and computer mother boards
View the large version

Just keep in mind that I make no claim to being a designer. :)

Solving problems with social networking

November 21, 2006

I’m tired of re-stating my intentions with the same person on every social networking site I join. For example: I have met Jeremy Keith. He is my friend. He is a colleague and co-worker based on our conference and WaSP involvement.

This is always the same – whether I’m using LinkedIn, the d.construct backnetwork, Web Connections, defining my flickr contacts, or the new craze – Twitter.

Continue reading Solving problems with social networking

Announcing: Web Directions North

September 25, 2006

Web Directions North: Vancouver, BC, February 6-10, 2007

It is here – a top-notch line-up of speakers for an international conference in Vancouver, Canada. We bring you Web Directions North.

Registrations aren’t open yet, and we’re still tweaking the site but we couldn’t wait to show you what is happening, and who we’ve got speaking. For the past 5 months Maxine Sherrin and John Allsopp of Westciv, Dave Shea from Bright Creative and myself have been working quietly behind the scenes to bring this idea to fruition. I am ecstatic to be working with such a great team, and hope you’ll be as excited to come to the conference as we are to be putting it on!

Starting with your choice of full-day workshops, two days of conference goodness and finishing with two days of skiing/snowboarding with all your friends at Whistler, Web Directions North is not to be missed.


September 21, 2006


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