Webstock 2013

This is my pre-conference blog post for Webstock which I am attending next week in Wellington. I’m going to three workshops prior to the conference proper and this is where a lot of the work actually gets done as the workshops have limited numbers and can get into details. Every year is different which keeps it all fresh and shiny. This year the workshops have a definitely content strategic & design lean to them:

Content strategy into your design process with Karen McGrane. There’s been a lot of talk about content strategy over the past two years but its sort of been as a third wheel to design and functionality and I’m really hoping that this is going to provide the traction between content and design (as the title suggests). This comes at a perfect time as we’re about to launch into a significant design process. As a team we are predominantly content focused and I know that we haven’t really been keeping the design up with our content so I’m hoping that this session will really give me some tools to do that.

Karen also wrote the book on content strategy for mobile and that’s a different session that I am also going to. Mobile is already a significant proportion of our traffic (around 16% last time I looked) and all forecasts expect it to increase. But the big problem is that ‘mobile’ can mean lots of things. Roughly 5 years ago we all designed for 1024 pixel wide screens – my iPad (yeah the original version), while being ‘mobile’ has a 1024 wide screen. If I bought a new one it would be even higher resolution so mobile doesn’t necessarily mean small. And the web design field is full of warnings not to assume that people on a mobile platform don’t want to get all the features/functionality and content that anyone on a ‘standard’ PC would get. This session promises to teach me “how to use mobile as a wedge to create a better experience for ALL users” – sounds GREAT.

Workshop three is with web legend Chris Coyier of CSS Tricks fame: The modern web designer’s workflow. “This workshop is going to be covering the complete front end web designer’s workflow, starting from scratch.” This is only a half day session but I am pretty sure I’m going to come out with my head spinning. We’re going to look at newish technologies that I haven’t had time to really look at yet but everyone’s adding to their development kit. Actually I’m getting excited just sitting and reading the description. Expect to find me at Mac’s for lunch poring over my two and a half day’s worth of notes and cooling my head in a bucket.

If you’re on twitter you can keep up with webstock stuff by following the conference itself and by the hashtag #webstock (DOH). Interesting side-note: all the workshops I’m going to are sold out at this point.

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