Lunchtime mini-conf roundup

Luke Canvin

At the end of October, we introduced a series of lunchtime meetups in the office, where we'd watch a talk from a conference related to what we do here at OCC; designing websites, software, building databases, writing code, and creating experiences our users and clients will enjoy.

We've been getting together for eight weeks now, and I've been really pleased to see how many people from all our different teams are keen to spend their lunch expanding their knowledge of familiar topics as well as exploring some new ones.

Here's what we've enjoyed so far:

Client Centric Web Design - Paul Boag

The work we do is not just about building websites or software, it’s also about providing a service to our clients. In this talk Paul looks at how to build a collaborative relationship with clients and produce work far better than we could in isolation. It’s a great talk and includes some really useful pointers on encouraging the right kind of feedback, dealing with disagreements, and educating the client so that they can add value to the project.

Hands-on Prototyping with HTML & CSS - Dan Rubin

We spend a lot of time writing specs, but often an important part of understanding what our customers/users need is to put something in front of them to try. Prototyping can expose many issues and requirements that might otherwise remain hidden and have costly impacts on a project.

In this talk Dan Rubin explores examples from a real life project, explaining the method of testing and prototyping used, and showing the value of making adjustments to a design during testing, exposing changes in behaviour that could not have been otherwise observed.

Sane Structure for JavaScript Apps - Rebecca Murphey

Creating rich and highly interactive internet applications requires a fair amount of JavaScript; some of us have even begun shifting the bulk of our application logic to the client side. Thankfully we have frameworks like jQuery to help, but it’s still down to us to create a sensible architecture for our client side code – something we may not be used to doing.

In this talk Rebecca Murphey introduces us to some of the concepts of structuring modern JavaScript applications, to avoid a tangled mess of code.

Building Large-Scale Applications with JavaScript - Adi Osmani

Addy Osmani presents an effective set of design patterns to help us keep things clean and reusable. You'll learn how to keep your application logic truly decoupled, build modules that can exist on their own or be dropped into other projects and future-proof your code in case you need to switch to a different DOM library in the future.

When We Build - Wilson Miner

As more of the tools we live with every day become digital instead of physical, our opportunity – and responsibility – as the developers of those tools is multiplying. We live in a world of screens, and we are the ones who decide what goes on them. We are in a unique position to have an impact – one that lasts longer than the next redesign or the latest technology.

What happens when we stop thinking of ourselves not just as developers or experience designers, and take up the mantle as a new generation of product designers for a digital world?

As you can tell, this talk is not about this or that technology or technique, but leans more towards inspiration and aspiration within our field – I think you’ll really enjoy it!

Top Ten Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People - Susan Weinschenk

Our products are designed to elicit responses from people. We want them to understand, buy, read, register, or take action of some kind. Designing without understanding about people is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. Dr. Weinschenk has picked her top ten things that you need to know in order to design intuitive and engaging applications, websites and products that match the way people think and work.

Introducing SQL Server 2012 Transact-SQL Improvements - Aaron Lower

An introduction to the new SQL features introduced in SQL Server 2012, including query pagination, over clause windowing, sequence generators, metadata discovery and t-sql's enhanced function library.

CreativeJS - Beauty in the Browser - Seb Lee-Delisle

Now that Canvas and SVG are available natively in all major browsers, JavaScript can be used to create some impressively advanced visuals with relatively simple code. Seb Lee-Delisle introduces us to particle systems, blending effects, optimised animations, gaming and good old maths creativity.