Last week was a refreshing change. I realised that it had been a long time since I'd been to a web/development conference rather than one with a mobile industry focus.
That said the conference venue was dreadful. It was a cold, souless place in the middle of nowhere. The session rooms were a long way from the keynote hall which in turn was a long way from the exhbition hall.
During one of the keynote session (held at lunchtime which was very civilised) the organisers asked for a show of hands for next years venue. Barcelona seemed to get most votes, so here's hoping.
The quality of speakers and sessions was generally good. Highlights include:
Ajit Joakar (while he wasn't fondling or looking at his BlackBerry during is presentation!) delivered his view on the Mobile world. There wasn't a lot new in it for me, but judging by the size of the audience and the positive feedback he received the web world is definitely trying to understand the mobile world.
James Kalbrach delivered a interesting review and recommendations around Tag navigation. As the concept of self categorisation with tags is gaining ground on more and more sites, this is going to become more and more relavent. Not just in the UGC world either.
The session on getting UCD (User Centred Design) to play nicely with Agile development given by Leisa Reichelt was another session worthy of note. It was a bit heavy on the introduction to Agile methodologies for me but the 'meat' about how to integrate user interaction designers into the agile development process definitely stirred some thoughts. In fact it was probably this session that generated the most items on my post-conference book order.
So it was worth going. It was the first time this conference had been run so there were bound to be some teething problems. It was a bit also pricey but subject to the agenda and them changing the venue I'd expect to be going next year.