Live from FOWA Bristol

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16:08 Kelv: Think how the desktop works, which has been around longer than web apps. People look at an interface and decide what elements are interactive then start interacting. They don't rely on hovers, eg the mouse arrow versus the "mickey mouse hand". Users *don't* discover, they just point. We don't need the mickey mouse hand - the desktop doesn't have it, but why do browsers??? OUT OF BATTERY - BYE!

15:53 Kelv: Strongly advocates user testing. You are building products, and the easiest way to build intuitive products is to user test. Incorporate throughout the entire process - catch things early, easier to fix.

15:48 Kelv:This guy is brilliant. What he's saying is refreshing... We need to find out when his next talk is and bring all of our team to hear him. Talking about automatic taps. It doesn't need an instruction sign. If you are providing instructions, you are complicating it. It's well intentioned, but "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

15:47 Tom:At the moment he's talking about learning by experimentation. Which is what babies do. And lab rats. But which we, as adults, seem reticent to do.

15:46 Kelv:Shows an example where a shower had an instruction sheet... For a shower. That didn't have a proper tap to turn, but you pulled on the spout to activate the shower. Bad design, should never have left the drawing board. An argument against "contextual help" 🙂

15:45 Kelv:"Doesn't that mean things end up looking the same?" he answers by saying is usually a question from people who think visually, eg. designers who want to make their mark/be artistic, which is fine... the problem is the user's (not just online) experience - the more similar the experiences are, the better! They don't have to learn.

15:41 Kelv:Just asked how many members of the audience are managers and yelled "Booo!"

Don't give instructions. If you need to, then you need to redesign it. It's too complicated.

Real world for analogies, showing a picture of a light switch. You know how to use it. So we use toggles - doesn't matter that it's by clicking with a mouse, the mouse is an extension of the hand.

15:35 Kelv:Talking about product design being a stronger design philosophy: Designing for intuition. Hover doesn't exist in the real world, so how something works needs to be more obvious. "Affordance" - how something works is obvious by looking at it, eg. a room has a ball and a chair, and you know you can throw the ball around and not the chair (unless you're weird).

15:27 Kelv: "Not just the domain of designers - not a visual thing. It has a visual elements, but design is a concept of creative problem solving, particularly web apps". It doesn't mean "not there" but an "invisible experience". Cites Jared Spool. Says Nielson gets some things wrong because he thinks of usability as purely visual.

Making Your Interface Invisible - Dan Rubin, Sidebar Creative

15:16 Kelv: Someone asked him how he finds GTD and he said it's too much overhead.

15:15 Tom: And now he's telling us to do exercise to make the brain work. Yes.

15:12 Tom: Slide titled Have Fun. Question "How do I make this process fun?". A question worth asking every day. Fun builds engagement - even with boring tasks. Definitely something to pursue with some of our Scrum meetings.

15:04 Kelv: A project manager dude talking about GTD concepts. Best one so far: Cut irrelevant tasks eg. register a company before having a product.

Get Super Efficient, Weboo - Ian Broom

14:31 Tom: So they are talking about putting the IDE on the web - and also putting the IDE into the app itself. Reduces steps to modify a real application. Also links to products such as Bespin and Atlas.

14:29 Tom: Watching a man build a form with a click / drag interface. Wishing we could do this when people ask us for forms...

14:13 Kelv: Basekit supported by A sort X Factor for web startups from the sounds of it... Lot of mention of someone called Sol Klein in two separate talks so far. He sounds like the Simon Cowell of the web world.

Building Web Apps with Web Apps

14:09 Tom: Mini break before the next talk. According to Twitter, people are actually reading this. Hello, adoring fans.

14:03 Tom: Getting senior management to buy in to your idea / product is - apparently - easy. At least compared to getting the troops to buy in. Ulp...

13:55 Tom: And now back to leveraging your contacts. I'm really enjoying this talk. It's not who you know, it's how you make use of them...

13:53 Tom: On to OpenSocial. Nice to hear a real person voicing the same concerns as I did when speaking about it to The Team.

13:43 Tom: This is all about collaboration and the value of talking to your network. So rather than HOW to collaborate, about with WHO you collaborate. All very interesting, and useful to us too. Working closely with other groups means you leap forward faster, gain different audiences and get access to areas of expertise without having to develop it in house. Obvious really, but often ignored as groups isolate themselves.

13:39 Kelv: I don't even know who huddle are... Oh right, Andy McLoughlin is from huddle and telling how their partnership with LinkedIn went.

13:38 Tom: LOLCats being used as part of this presentation...

Dealing with Goliath - Huddle and Linked In - Andy McLoughin

11:20 Tom: Europe / America divide. Files in Europe stay there - does this mean they are not subject to US law? Or is that based around where the company is registered?

11:17 Tom: And yes, HE institutions are using the Amazon services. Harvard Medical School are one. Apparently.

11:10 Tom: Not only does it give us redundancy and backup systems out of the box, it handles resilience and scalability. All this for practically zero effort. Or, in some cases, ACTUALLY zero effort. How much time do we waste on this kind of nonsense? How many heads are we paying to do this sort of thing in house? Oh, and they will give us all kinds of statistics to look at. Of course.

11:07 Kelv: Fire alarm test! In the middle of a presentation!

11:03 Kelv: Talking about EBS - Elastic Block Stores (1GB to 1TB) that's part of EC2. You create your block, format to your file format, then mount as a volume to your EC2 machine instance. You can unmount and mount to any other machine instance. Nice feature is that you can take a snapshot of that volume to S3 and then update it, which S3 versions with increments. If you ever accidentally delete the original snapshot, their systems detect this and revert the deletion.

11:02 Tom:Bad publicity coming back to bite them. S3 failed a while ago - the developers haven't forgiven them yet.

10:56 Tom: Well in to the Amazon S3 / AWS talk and enjoying it. There are some concerns being raised (SLA based - uptime and privacy - and to do with the development environment) but not many. Even at this relatively early stage in the technology it is clear that the local data-centre is doomed. Why manage our own infrastructure when you can do the same thing with a couple of clicks in a web interface? And they are already offering things we will never do in house.

Amazon AWS talk

10:13 Kelv: There is nothing in Azure Data Storage tables that enforces that 2 rows/ entities have the same number of columns - it's very loose.

10:08 Kelv: Now talking mainly about the differences between the data storage offerings, Azure Data Storage and SQL Data Services. The latter is like having a database available from the cloud, the former is more of a web service, eg. non-relational data whereas the SQL Data Service is (kind of, he says).

10:03 Tom: Impressive stuff. The Azure control panel seems simple and intuitive and, like everything else, built to allow your application to scale with relative ease. Azure is pushing the "ease of use" line hard. And it does seem easy to use and scale what you're doing.

10:00 Kelv: Just don't rely on your IDE to do your deployment, and then upgrade to the latest beta 33 minutes before your presentation.

09:55 Tom: Azure is interesting, but at the moment I am paying more to the details of the presentation itself. Mark has managed to break Visual Studio on his machine and because of this, every 2 minutes he's having to make excuses for it. It has clearly thrown him and is also damaging his presentation. I'm realising quite how big a negative impact a failed live demo can have.

09:52 Kelv: So me and Tom Natt arrived about 10 mins late, which isn't bad as we weren't too sure of our route. We're now half way through Mark Quirk from Microsoft's talk on Cloud Computing as I start to write this. One interesting graph arguing the case for Cloud Computing, and a failed demo due to Visual Studio dependence.

Microsoft Azure talk

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