Web Directions 2014 wrapup

This week I attended Web Directions South 2014, a conference for people who “design, imagine, create or build digital products, web sites and applications”. I’ve blogged about most of the sessions I attended. This post is a summary of my impressions, with links to the more detailed posts.

This was a technical conference for technical folk. Yet the presentations that went down best were those that mixed the human side in with the tech. Those that gave techniques for handling situations and people as well as code. Those that included humour and people in the slides. Code is for people by people.

A theme stood out in the keynote presentations and many of the other sessions: putting humanity into technology. There’s a concern that technical design focuses on what’s cool and new, when it should rather focus on what people need and how users want to interact with their tech.

IMG_20141031_090244 (1)

The quality of the sessions overall was excellent. In particular, Sarah Mei’s presentation on day 1 gave me a lot to think about. Her idea is innovative and unusual: to analyse the way we make technical decisions, so that we can then apply the same process to the harder tech decisions. Jeremiah Lee’s talk on day 2, about what makes an excellent API, had some excellent nuggets of information that were particularly relevant to me as an API technical writer. I especially liked the bit about passive usability testing via analysis of existing data.

My own presentation was on day 1: Bit Rot in the Docs. It was a bit freaky – the sessions took place in a theatre, so I was literally on stage, with bright lights shining down on me and the audience in tiers of seats extending into the blackness.

Looking for more pics? Try Xavier Ho’s photos. There’s even one of me giving my presentation. (I’m in the fourth row of photos, third from the left.)

Here are my detailed notes:

A huge thanks to Maxine Sherrin and John Allsopp for the hard work and dedication they put into organising Web Directions. Thanks also to all the presenters and attendees. It was a great experience! Oh, and one final observation: The chocolate brownies were to die for.

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 1 November 2014, in APIs, technical writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanks for sharing Sarah! I’m intrigued and already to plan to be there next year!

    • Hallo Lingbo!
      That’s awesome. The conference is well worth attending. Another thing that struck me is that so many of the people there were pleasant, enthusiastic, and easy to talk to. You’ll love it! On, and this choc brownies were made with tech writers in mind. 😉

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