SXSWi – Sunday – Day 3

The daytime on Sunday seemed a little less hectic. I think this is because I didn’t go to a panel at every offered session. One of my few criticisms of the SXSWi panels is that there are some sessions that are loaded with about 3 panels that I want to go to them all, but then on other days, I simply don’t go to any panels for that session because not a single one sounds all that interesting to me. Despite this criticism, I believe all of the panels are being podcast (available… somewhere?), though I’ve heard some or all of them will be just audio.

But now, on to the summary list of panels I went to that no one will read! Perhaps that last sentece could use some hyphenation… oh well.

What’s Hot in Web Applications
This panel was alright, I suppose. Coming into it, I had the impression that it would be about what it was titled. I was wrong. What this panel actually consisted of was three guys talking about their particular web app. The three companies that I’m referring to are YackPack which does a sort of social networking/voicemail thing, Meebo which is an online instant message client for the four major IM systems, and finally Zimbra which is a very AJAX-infused mail web client. At no point did they talk about any other web applications, which was really a let down. The only positive that I found was that I learned more about Zimbra which was nice because of my interest in Zimbra and more specifically their involvement in the Open AJAX Initiative.
Nothing at 11:30
Demystifying the Mobile Web
This panel reminded me of a advanced web technology class I took my senior year at Kansas State. We talked at great length about things like 3G and WiMax. So, because of that class, I felt I had a good understanding when panelist Kelly Goto talked about the more technical side of mobile technology. It was interesting to hear some numbers regarding the different types of mobile devices. All in all, I’d say this was an interesting talk, but at the same time didn’t really apply to any work I’m currently doing, or for that matter, planning on doing. I jsut don’t feel as though I create any content, be it for my work or for my own stuff, that necessitates specific alterations for mobile web. Things like XHTML-MP (mobile profile) or WAP-CSS just seem like overkill. I guess we’ll just wait and see what the future brings, you never know.
Web 2.1: Making Web 2.0 Accessible
Talk about a wasted panel. This was the most unorganized panel of the entire trip. There was much discussion of the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and related recomendations. When someone says Don’t read the WCAG, read the Understanding the WCAG document, there is something flawed with the WCAG in the first place. Does that not seem obvious to anyone else? Accessibility, to me, is just like any other thing in web development, it all depends on your audience. If your goal is to publish your content such that the most amount of people can have access to it, then accessibility becomes a very significant issue. However, if you have a controled environment, say an intranet, then certain parts of the accessibility argument become moot points. But I digress, accessibility is great, but you have to know when it’s not worth it to deal with certain parts. This panel could have been much better if that would have been their message as opposed to “make it comply with the WCAG 2.0 or it’s not even worth doing” kind of attitude.
Holistic Web Design: Finding the Creative Balance in Multi-Disciplined Teams
Here was a fun panel, one I really enjoyed. The purpose of this panel was to demonstrate the usefulness of applying a holistic approach to your design process. The panel embarked on redesigning a site called Plazes. If I could find a link to their examples online, then I would link them but I can’t seem to find it. Because of this unattainable link, this paragraph about the panel just doesn’t do it justice. Basically, I’ll just sum up by saying they did a great job of redisigning and focusing the site. If I get a chance to find the online example, I’ll edit this post.Ah ha, the slides and actual pages are linked here.

Sorry for this being a late post, I… had stuff come up.

Update: I updated the post to reflect the link to the plazes information for the Holistic Web Design panel.

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