Austin rocks except…

…the water smells like it has been filtered from the river with dual rounds of chickenwire.


The Death of the Desktop

Monday, 12 March 2007 @ 1700

Aza Raskin, Pres, Humanized

Presentation (or facsimile):

GOMS modeling: allows you to take an interface and figure out how long it will take a user to use an interface.
Information efficiency: how much info put into a system vs. how much is minimally needed.

Interface: The way you accomplish tasks with a product

To a user, the interface is the product. Beautiful and clever solutions under the hood mean nothing without an elegant user interface.

I don’t know what percentage of our time on any computer-based project is spent getting the equipment to work right, but if I had a gardener who spent as much of her time fixing her shovel as we spend fooling with our computers, I’d buy her a good shovel. – Erasmus Smums

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

The problem is that applications are like isolated cities.
Word <-> Photoshop <-> Mathematica example of the application centric model

What does an interface do?

  • Create content
  • Navigate content
  • Select content
  • Transform content

Everything is an outgrowth of these four basic transformations.

Just like Asimov’s laws of robotics:

  1. An interface shall not harm your content or, through inaction, allow your content to come to harm.
  2. An interface shall not waste you time or require you to do more work than is strictly neccesary
  3. An interface shall not allow itself to get into a state where it cannot manipulate content.

Content is Everything
The desktop is not about content.

How does the web have better examples?
Language has untapped power.

What does the desktop do?
It lets you create a state to enter content

  • command line interfaces
  • the URL bar
  • Spotlight/Google Desktop searching
  • Humanized’s Enso Launcher


  • Tags and search undermine forced hierarchy on the web already


  • Let content be content
  • Let search be search – don’t force people to categorize too much
  • Let 2D content be 2D content (windows are 3D)
  • Let the user’s structure be (do not force hierarchies upon them)

huge 2D desktop: enso


Rails and AJAX: Building Enterprise-Class Web Applications

Monday, 12 March 2007 @ 1530

Marcel Molina, Rails Core
Steven Smith, CEO

[Since I don’t use Rails, this one may be a bit over my head, but I am tall, intelligent and, darn it, people like me.]


The Growth and Evolution of Microformats

Monday, 12 March 2007 @ 1400

Frances Berriman, Volume
Michael Kaply, IBM (backnetwork) (
Glenn Jones, Creative Dir, Madgex
Tantek Çelik, Chief Technologist, Technorati

Microformats started at SXSW 2003 with xfn (the rel tag).
Site ( launched in 2005.

Event sites have benefited greatly from microformats.
Stanford has marked up everything with hcard and hcal.

Firefox plug-in: Operator – exploits any found microformats on any page and connects them to, Google Calendar or Maps, etc. (This is so friggin’ cool!). Check out the debugging mode to peer into the DOM.


Tantek is folding his t-shirts during the presentation.

Microformats do not have working groups like the W3C. The concern that this would lead to too many microformats has not happened. The process ( keeps this from happening.

Microformats evolve in the real world of the web – describing real data rather than being prescribed.

xmdp – hosting/aggregator for hlistings

hcard crawler – alexa

Who is Jeremy Keith (guest panelist) (he later helped pay for free drinks for gobs of SXSWites at the Lava Lounge as part of the Boffins).


  • htail to bluetooth
  • microformats used to enhance accessibility
  • hcard and openID

Drew Mclellan  has created a DW plugin to support microformats.

Microformats could be thought of as low-level, read-only APIs.

Hiding your address from spammers:  checkout Mike’s Musings and see how it is parsed on his page?


Open Content, Remix Culture and the Sharing Economy: Rights, Ownership and Getting Paid

Monday, March 12th @ 5:00 pm

Eric Steuer Creative Dir, Creative Commons
Glenn Otis Brown Products Counsel, YouTube
John Buckman Founder and CEO, Magnatune
Laurie Racine Eyespot and DotSub
Max Schorr Publisher & Founding Ed, GOOD

artists submit music and we sell/license music
all music on site is CC licensed (non commercial)
filmmakers many times will use the music in independent films – they get picked up, and then license purchased to use for real
lonleygirl15, blair witch folks – strand, starwreck

Youtube has been making some deals lately w/3 major record labels to allow for use of music in youtube videos.
Artist – distributing – services youtube – regular users (everyone wants a piece)

traditional media co’s are seeing they want to play – there is a value here.
now user generated content is easier to acquire
eventually they will converge

Good magaizine
uses CC licenses w/their writers
authors still paid, but educate them on what is being done w/CC at Good Magazine
typically writers lose control of their work when selling to a mag, but good leaves it with them (cc)

in music world, license rights, and don’t give rights away
people like ethical capitolism and want their money to go into things they really believe in

to break in, find other smaller ppl to help you – if you’re a musician, find small filmmakers to help you – you won’t break into the business
the ways to get things out there are becoming more numerous

for any alternative license to me be meaningful, it has to stick

Why should i not just use copyright since it gives me the power to take down stuff I don’t like – why should I look at other licenses??
what will become of the work in a long time? it allows one to make clear the permissions one is granting to ones work. documentary film makers can get ahold of it much easier.
non-commercial use drives commercial use – far more distribution.

Youtube, a really good idea gone horribly wrong. Youtube: screw copyright.
DMCA makes it clear copyright holders can say “take down” an you have to.
some are making the choice to take stuff down, some are still experimenting with leaving things up

sometimes people do go through your usage agreements line by line and will speak up when they don’t like it – and alternative of CC isn’t going to do that
doesn’t need to be a legal requirement for companies to be open as a mandate
should be the responsibility of a company to be transparent so users/comsumers can see what is going on.

coolest thing about CC is it is human readable and that there are different levels of the agreement


Design Patterns: Defining and Sharing Web Interface Design Languages

Monday, March 12th @ 4:05 pm

Luke Wroblewski Principal Designer, Yahoo!

Why design patterns?
continuous discussion between all involved

shared language
giving things a name is a good way to g create shared goals around it

pattern recognition
as things get more global/networked, more data
data about data to bubble up the useful information

looking for visual relationships to tell a story

Book: designing interfaces (O’reily) helps to put patterns together

work positively for specific problems in specific contexts – THIS solution works for THIS problem.
principles and guidelines – patterns are good enough to be practical, but general enough to fit many situations
design vocabulary – noticing things in the wild and recognizing. drag-drop interface built around patterns, how long to wait after drag/drop, how should it look etc.
autocomplete (email to form)
progress bar (typical ajax working)
preview of content (netflix view video-ajax)

design patterns are solutions to problems

Scope of design patterns
frameworks, documentation
elements/widgets used in these patterns

Yahoo grid system is a framework to organize content on screens
Breadcrumbs provides path to/from where you are

What’s in a design pattern?
problem (situation)
use when (constraints)
why (rationale)
how (to apply)
related patterns
code samples

How are they used?
style recommendations
tough to document because it is always changing

Does it work for clients?
focus on solutions not rules
encourages good behavior

break down to user center goals and design constraints


Bullet Tooth Web Design: Plan Your Web Site like Pulling off a Robbery

Monday, March 12th @ 3:30 pm

Andy Clarke Stuff and Nonsense Ltd
Jason Santa Maria Creative Dir, Happy Cog Studios

Website design may or may not be a crime, but it must be organized!
Session page

smash and grab, quick job, daylight robbery

many people competing for these jobs and not a whole lot of money invloved

more elaborate planning – draw someone else into your confidence, slight of hand, hustle con
chose your mark carefully – make sure what you do is satisfying their motivation
enter into a job not knowing how to pull it off – more process and planning involved

the big job everyone wants – the one everyone remembers you by
you’ll be remembered by the ppl you rob, but by your peers as well
need a large team – much more planning

Do your homework!
know everything (structure, but also everyone involved)
have to know who’s going to ask the questions from the top to the bottom – who are the heros?

scenario based training – mock-ups, prototypes

Put together a Crew
people who have special skills in different areas – can’t pull off this job on your own.

Plan for everything
need a place to meet and discuss details of the plan
might want to organize the job down to the minute and documented
basecamp is a good tool to “plan a robbery”

Pulling off the Job
things come at you from all directions and you need to be prepared (at the end)
why do they call him the bullet the dodger? you need to be able to find ways to attack the problems – may have to ditch the client

The Payoff
at the end of the day, you’re doing it all for the payoff

No Loose Ends
make sure there are no loose ends for people to follow

Make sure it’s bullet proof.

No one right way to do a web design (or robbery)

Everything together = Snatch + Sting + Heist



The Growth and Evolution of Microformats

Monday, March 12th @ 2:00 pm

Frances Berriman Volume
Michael Kaply IBM
Glenn Jones Creative Dir, Madgex
Tantek Çelik Chief Technologist, Technorati

Session post

Started at 2003 SXSW – XFN was created (Matt Mullenweg, Eric Meyers etc.)


Many (mainstream) sites now use microformats – Stanford uses hcard and hcal

Firefox operator extension a nice tool to get microformat information out of a site and see available microformated data in a site.
break out microformatted data to calendar or location to gmaps or addressbook etc.

Linkedin uses hresume format along w/hcard etc. allows you to break information out of a page and use elsewhere.

Backnetwork is about showing information (xfn) friends network. It takes conference data out to microformats
aggregates reviews etc.

One can also use to bring id’s for social networks profile info

All the current microformats have been created by an open community – they don’t end up with 1000’s because much research is done (by individual and community) when created a new format. The process for submitting on the web is necessary to see that something doesn’t already exist somewhere else or that it is needed.

Are there any microformats searches?
http;// (search & list/host, hlist)
Alexa is also caching hcard information found on sites

What about using microformats on a mobile device?
Treo handles via “add to addressbook”
Tails (plugin) sends via bluetooth

Accessibility issues with Microformats? Licensing?
there are some accessibility issues – more info here
working on a rellicense format (underway)

OpenID vs. hcard?
OpenID is more to claim a URL, hcard is more for profile info. There was talk of bringing together in OpenID 2.0, but another profile format isn’t necessary.

What does it take to get microformats on a site?
Drew McCleland has a DreamWeaver plugin
they are easy to create – plenty of tools available

What about spam when using microformats?
expose email only through microformat – use the same tools [at] to hid email addresses.
you’re only adding semantic info to already existing content – no different than what you have on your site already.


American Cancer Society: Applying Disruptive Technology for the Nonprofit Sector

Monday, 12 March 2007 @ 1130

Randal Moss, Mgr of Innovation Based Strategies, American Cancer Society
Erin Anderson, eCommunity Mgr, American Cancer Society
Keith Morris, Electric Sheep Company
David Neff, Director of Online Communications, American Cancer Society

As a steward of voluteer-raised money, the ACS must be extra careful when investing money into the next big thing/tech on the internet.

They use as their web glossary.
They use Flickr to post photos from all kinds of events (e.g., tag:relayforlife). Along with a CC license they use those for promotion.
Blogs are used to create very small communities (e.g., a group of 5 people using TypePad to create a blog to quite smoking). – an idea from Google Labs

They use Drupal ( because of the vibrant community surrounding it.
Lots of people know PHP and can help maintain/augment the code.

Second Life Relay for Life – all I can say is wow.


Get Unstuck: Moving From 1.0 to 2.0

Monday, 12 March 2007 @ 1000

Liz Danzico, Director, experience strategy,   Daylife
Kristian Bengtsson, Creative Dir,   FutureLab
Chris Messina, Co-founder,   Citizen Agency
Luke Wroblewski, Principal Designer,   Yahoo! (
Jeffrey Zeldman, Founder,   Happy Cog

[This was one of the best panels I have been to, yet. Kudos to its organization and the preparedness of the panel members.]

“Stuck” is relative. A team might be stuck, but the focus of their work may have people moving through it. This panel will focus upon the stuck feeling of the team environment only.

Puts all your ideas out there and people may get it.

Try to hear what people are actually saying when they make requests, specs, requirements, etc.

“It’s better to be a flamboyant faliure then a mediocho success” Malcolm McClarran [check]

Put your ideas out there so that you 1) think it through and 2) others see you justification and ideas (e.g., your supervisor). This gives you control of the memes.
If you put it out there early then you get maximum benefit of people’s feedback. They get the maximum opportunities to see into your blind spots.
Like the Republicans, if you articulate a goal in simple terms it brings the story to other people.
Writing the ideas is the personal process that hones the ideas into the soundbites that catch on with the people you need to buy in to your ideas.

Design can be a problem solving process without calling it design.

SMALL groups who have good communication and are in touch with larger whole.

list specific user needs that are backed up and this will keep the business needs from overriding them.

Constrained resources often forces beneficial selection – better, more focused, simplified design.

Zeldman: “I wrote Designing with Web Standards for your boss…”

[research] Apple’s foray into their initial Apple Stores that failed because they were based upon their product lines rather than lifestyles.