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Posted by Claire Cahill on 19 April 2012

Round-up of learnings from the conference

DIBI (it stands for Design it. Build it.) is a two-track conference held at the Sage in Gateshead that I went to for the first time earlier this week. As a designer I stuck to the Design track which covered a range of UX and front-end subjects.

Creative Coding

The conference was kicked off a talk to both Design and Dev tracks by ‘creative coder’ Seb Lee-Delisle. He bridges the gap between design and development and encouraged more people to do so. Designers should learn to code, and equally, coders should play around with visuals. This was demonstrated (rather bravely) with a live coding demonstration. It showcased how you can use coding languages in a very creative way.

Photo of a speaker at DIBI event

Gov.uk

Next up were Paul Annett and Tim Paul from the Government Digital Service explaining more about how they’re developing the new gov.uk site. The problem they are trying to solve is the fact that there are many disparate sites for the government – such as directgov.uk, business link… and then all the individual government departments too. Quite often you need to know how the government is structured to know where to even start looking for the information you’re after. We’ve had a similar experience with universities we’ve worked with grouping their courses by school rather than by subject. As with our university sites, their solution is to get rid of the smaller individual sites (already 1500 have been closed) and amalgamating all the information into one global site. Their approach to such a huge task is documented on their Design Principles website; a very interesting read.

Psychology

The next speaker was Susan Weinschenk, acclaimed psychologist and author of books including ‘Neuro Web Design‘ and ‘100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People‘. Her talk was an interesting insight into how the unconscious mind has an affect on web behaviour. People make a lot of decisions that they’re not even aware of, and as web designers we need to talk to the unconscious mind as well as the conscious one. For example, research has shown how people use peripheral vision more than central to get the gist of a situation. Therefore when a user is reading the ‘main’ content on a webpage, they are also processing any images and graphics around the edges. If these can be perceived as discomforting or scary in anyway, they can have a negative impact.

Client Centric Web Design

As a follower of Paul Boag‘s Boagworld, I was looking forward to hearing him speak and I wasn’t disappointed. He delivered a very enthusiastic talk on his new book, ‘Client-Centric Web Design‘. The idea behind this is to avoid the animosity that can build up between agencies and clients, to a detrimental effect on both parties. He suggests using approaches such as mutual respect, good communication, and education (on both sides) to build a strong relationship – with the benefit of producing better websites, happier clients and happier workers. Web design shouldn’t be about showing off to peers and trying to get in CSS galleries, but providing a strong product that produces results. A lot of what Paul talked about reflected our ethos at Status, and I have a feeling his book will be doing the rounds in our office in the coming weeks!

Cameron Moll

Special mention to Cameron Moll who presented the keynote speech on The Burdon of Creativity using two iPads, one for his material and one to draw his slides as he was talking. Fascinating!

Photo of a speaker at DIBI event

Photo of a speaker at DIBI event

It is great to have such a strong conference attracting both speakers and audience from around the world right on our doorstep. It makes you very proud of our city and our thriving digital community. Well done to all involved and roll on DIBI 2013!

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Crowd of people at concert with one person holding their smart phone in the air and photographing the stage

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