If you’re watching the Web 2.0 scene in the UK then you might be interested in some thoughts on the annual d.Construct conference I attended last Friday.
The event was billed as an “affordable, one-day conference aimed at those building the latest generation of web-based applications … The event discusses how new technology is transforming the web from a document delivery system into an application platform.”
To all intents and purposes it did just that.
I’ve got to say, most days I wish for just a second that I was in the US working in the heart of the Web 2.0 buzz, because quite frankly there isn’t anything like it in the UK.
Over here, the need for web stuff is mostly dominated by big media and brand driven advertising, the community is small, the number of startups doing exciting things even smaller, and the number of investors looking to get involved in what’s going on even smaller.
In all, it’s a pretty bleak picture. But it’s made better by having a few mates in the industry that you can chat to every once in a while, and events such as d.Construct which do a really great job of bringing people together and talking about stuff that is important to us.
I mean, where else are we going to get to listen to industry experts talking about API’s, while being able to browse the speaker presentations on wireless?
To take a look at the quality of speakers, and broad overview of the content, take a look at the schedule. For myself, I found that Jeremy Keith, Derek Featherstone and Jeffrey Veen were the ones I enjoyed the most, mainly because they added a different slant to the content that I couldn’t necessarily read in my RSS feeds.
Jeremy imparts a passion that is viral, with a humility that is engaging. Derek highlighted some usability stuff that made so much sense on examination that I’m going to bring that into every client discussion I have from now on.
As usual, Jeffrey was engaging and fun – he takes design and usability and positions it not as window dressing but as something vital to the whole successful web process. I only wish that most clients had the budget and willingness to buy into the type of processes that he advocates.
As with most conferences, it’s the catching up with old friends, and the new friends you make that is just as important as the content and format of the proceedings themselves – so whilst I didn’t find all the content just up my alley, I did enjoy seeing friends again, and interacting with like-minded folks that are willing to share and learn. Being able to buy 5 good reference books at a nice discount was pretty cool too!
So, I have to say that asked to give a rating, I would give the overall event a 7 or 8 out of 10. There are one or two things that I’d prefer seeing different, but then they’re my personal opinion and not really the voice of the masses.
If you don’t already, I would heartily recommend signing up to the speaker RSS feeds that interest you, and digging around for any podcasts that you might find interesting.