@media2006 Notes: Hot Topics Panel

The following are my panel notes from @media2006. As I am not the fastest typer I have paraphrased what was said. Should you notice any mistakes please do point them out in the comments for corrections.

Hot Topics - Tantek Çelik, Jon Hicks, Molly Holzschlag, Jeremy Keith and Eric Meyer

Q: There doesn't seem to be as much talk about CSS now as there was a year ago. Is that because it's all been said.

MH: Bullshit! Andy Clarke' presentation touched on this. It's not about doing what we have been doing a year ago. Progressive Enhancement has become a reality
JH: Bullshit. We're waiting for IE 7 to catch up. We'll be able to have new things like multiple backgrounds.

JK: Is there more for people to discover?
EM: The evangelising has been done. We don't have to re-hash the old debate. anyone who hasn't accepted this will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

JK: How's the conversation in the blogosphere relating to CSS>

Tantek: It's turned very practical. There's a lot of really interesting features that when they become available we'll see new stuff. I kept a couple of hacks to my self. Do you want to see them?

Shows grid of a honeycomb structure using purely CSS in safari. Creating polygons in css. Shows shapes in CSS using IE5 mac. yes that was a 5 year old browser you're looking at.

JH: That'll be the next reflective floor thing
JK: You'll see risk created purely in cSS

Q: As We move into an era of web application, how important is it to draw on the lessons learned by GUI designers rather than web designers?

... missed some speakers

MH: Familiarity and conventions are a goode thing formaking things easy to use.
JK: As Nate said earlier if you are going to borrow from the desktop you should do it wholesale.

JK: jon you are a visual designer , now we are getting into apps how to you do it with the same tools.
JH: there's no tools there that allow for this. In my recent re-design of Rachel Andrew's site I can's show her how thisng will move in a static comp.
JK: Any ideas for wireframing?
JH: I cant' do that I put too much detail into my wireframes. Just to be able to re-size text would be great.

TC: I can think of on lesson in the world of Interaction design. Which is to implement undo from the gui box. Alerts and mesage saying are you sure get in the way. Let it do it and have undo. What about tagging in sites. Remove a tag click x to delete the tag don't give the dialogue give me a delete. There should be no slowing down of the UI. Erasing your hard disk is undoable but things on the web should be.

JK: In trad website the back button equeals undo which brings up all the problems particularly in Web 2.0
JH: Also saving stuff as you go. just being able to naturally save as you go.

JK:Things are moving in that direction

TC: How about persisting automatically not jsut save. So you can go back.
EM: I thing browsers should hang on to that data.

Q:As the panelists are such great football fans, who do tehy thing will win the world cup?
MH: Englang
JH: the people that make the england flags. (laughter) Argentina.
EM: The new york Giants, you mispelled it there.
JK: the world cup is not like the world series it's the whole world.
EM: Ivory Coast. the whole civil war thing the whole country has come together for this match (laughter)
TC: The TV manufacturers, that's a country right?

Audience: Australia
JK: there's a joker in teh crowd

TC first I would have to create a microformat

JK: Who thinks England will win (4 hands go up)

Q:Isn't the recent mass movement of high-profile web designers to large companies like Yahoo and Google a little worrying in terms of objectivity and in terms of creativity?

MH: I am worried about Jeff Veen being in a cube and he is too. Obviously people are drawn into it as there are interesting things going on.

JK: Do you trust people who go and work for these companies.

JH: You have to take them witha pinch of salt that people will no doubt toe the company line. People seem to start companies purposefully to get bought up and make your money that way rather than making we-apps to fill a need.

JK: Eric are you glad you don't work for yahoo or google?
EM: No it means I can afford to live where I do. I'm not that worried about objectivity because designers aren't anyway. If people start blogging about how amazing the company that jsut hired you for a zillion dollars tehn I might go "whatever!". It's that it might make things harder for people to share what they are doing. these are not designer roach motels. The YUI librtaries and google maps api etc.

MH: It's good having evangelists here like Nate.
JK: Tantek you work for technorati but you used to work for a small startup out of redmond were you constrained?
TC: Depends on what year you asked me. Around the time of IE 5 for mac there was a lot of freedom and it was a lot of fun. The sky was out limit. Our own abilities were out limits rather than som MS exec. It's interesting grouping Google and yahoo cos' I see them going in opposite directions. I hear more from Yahoo people.
JK: You hear people talking about nothing but yahoo.
EM: and podcasting it...

JK: The sharing has opened up through people like Robert Scoble

MH: When I was at MSN we were shut down. No they are seeing the value.
TC: i didnt; ask permission to publish the box model hack

JH: In terms of design people will want to do different things to what Yahoo are doing.

Q: Can Ajax be made accessible?
JK: Is James Edwards in the room? Actual testing of actual screen readers is what's needed.
MH: With Derek Featherstone on teh job then I'm sure it can.
JK It's a loaded question as we have to define accessible and ajax. it's a user agent issue. undo should be in the UA's. Joe Clark is also doing some testing.

EM: I think it is possible that won't necessarily mean it will be. TEsting was done on basecamp and people found it possible to use
JK: When JE published his tests he noted that it is really hard to do it.

From the audience: How can Rich interfaces be made accessible but it's how that's the problem.
Gez Lemon: The protocols and formats working group are looking at it.
JK: WGroups are well but it's the screenreaders that are the problem
GL: No it's the user agents that are teh problem because the events are fired but not picked up by the screenreader.
JK: Can people get at your content regardless of user Agent. Who programmed the watchlist on technorati? It uses hijax where it still works when javascript is not available.
TC: We need to allow for the 15% of people on out site that don't have javascript availalble.
JK: check that out it's a great example of degradable ajax. the same thing applies with CSS
TC: The general principle is that when you are dealing with areas that have ajax. You can do somethign reasonable that will allow everything to fallback sensibly.
JK: Is it the server side guys or the designers that should make ajax accessible.
JH: I tend not to get carried away trying to design Ajax, showing what happens when you hover here for example.
JK: It seems like you need to overlap you have to know a bit of everything not just one thing.
MH: As the web began to evolve there's been a need to use both sides of your brain. We've transcended this. One of the best things that we can do for ourselves in out specialities is to focus on what you love and enjoy but pay attention to what's happening elsewhere. The web is going to evolve. You need to keep an ear.
JK: My about page has links to two articles by molly that are very relevant now and they were written 6 years ago.
MH: We are edjucated by our strengths and not by our weaknesses. Instead of being taught to strengthen weaker skills. We are not given the tools from out eduction we have to take responsibility for that.
JH: this reminds me of the adverts which listed every skill.
EM: must have 15 years experience.

Q: Do we need a formal structure such as a qualifications or a professional body, to identify the understanding and abilities of web designers?

TC: The field is evolving too fast. the web is evolving faster now. I do think that there's somthing to this that tech is evolving in a ever quicker rate so they won't be valid.
EM: I don't. Most web course that are taought in the US were written in the last century. Like books of how to use frontpage or dreamweaver. the professor learnt DW 6 and doesn't want to learn anything new.
JK: How does a client know how to hire you instead of some kid.
JH: We're separating ourselves from the frontpage salesmen. Mark Boulton is a member of the international society of graphic designers. As this body is recognised it would make you stand out. But it's hard to pin down. It's hard to make a list of what's should be in a good website. You have to blog and talk about what you do.

JK: molly your're a teacher
MH: it comes up at WaSP time and again and we decided that the answer is no. Who are we to do this? I worked for a company that came up with accreditations for web developers and they were out of date too fast. People have said that asking companies to do work you will be given many vastly different quotes. It could be that the cheapest person is the best. It has to stay with the grassroots.

Q: What's your favorite animal?
MH: Cat
JH: tribble
EM: meercat
TC: Tribble as well
JK: Ewok for me

Q: Which developments in the web world are going to make a big impact in the coming year?

MH: the reality is that we are becoming far more confident in our skills and we need to move towards practcal solutions. Best practices.

TC: let's have people call them out.
Audience: flash , canvas, RDF networks, Web 2.1, mashups.

JH: microformats for me. It's great that span tags are acceptable. I spent time copying the @media schedule into an ical. If it had the right classes then it would have been easier.
JK: the XEN Xhtml enemies network

EM: I'm going to say open data, microformats, mashups etc. We need a geo microformat. anyone seen Frappr another app that dropped a E
JK: controversial
EM: It allows people to say that they follow a blog and show themselves on a mop etc. What we've seen so far but radically expanded.
JK: it would be great if all of this data was open. formats etc. Will all the big companies have to fight over this.
TC: It only works if everyone is proprietary. If 2 players become open then they suddenly have the advantage.
EM: If yahoo had gone open first then everyone would have followed.
TC: As soon as one goes open they win.
JK: Info wants to be free.

JK: Once the podcast is availble for my talk I will transcribe my podcast. I would suggest everyon does the same.

Patrick Griffiths: thanks to all the speakers. Thanks also to all of the staff. Thanks to our sponsors .net etc and all of the staff at the venue.

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