Stuff and Nonsense

Malarkey is Andy Clarke, a UK based designer, author and speaker who has a passion for design, CSS and web accessibility.

Andy has been working on the web for almost ten years. He is a visual web designer and author and he founded Stuff and Nonsense in 1998. Andy regularly writes about creating beautiful, accessible web sites and he speaks at events worldwide. Andy is the author of Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design, published by New Riders in 2006.

over @nd out

@media2005 has drawn to a close.

Well, it's a wrap. @media2005 has drawn to a close tonight and a four hour train journey back to Wales has given me not only the chance for a bit of a snooze, watch Mona Lisa on my iBook but gather my thoughts about the last couple of days of what I hope (those of you who could make it) agree with me was an extraordinary event.

Give yourselves a clap

I would like to thank Patrick Griffiths for not only organising the event but for giving me the honour of allowing me the closing presentation. I also want to say thank-you to all those who attended.

I was very pleased to see the venue packed. There were some familiar faces and many new ones too. Most encouraging was the number of delegates from elsewhere in Europe who had travelled to London. It was a great pleasure to meet for the first time Roger Johansson (what a cool guy) and the very beautiful talented Veerle Pieters among many others too numerous to mention.

A little Word Pl@y

OK, so the cat is out of the bag and maybe it is time for a complete explanation. It's all my good friend Derek Featherstone's fault. During the pre-conference speakers' dinner on Wednesday night, Derek suggested a little game for the speakers to play during the conference. Each speaker wrote a word on a slip of paper, placed it into Joe Clark's hat and we each picked a word at random. The game was to incorporate our word somehow into our presentations.

Mine (didactic) was relatively easy.There have been some terrific comments across various blogs. I know it was an in joke but I hope others saw the the funny side.

Anatomy of a Mouse

I wasn't sure whether presenting in the last slot on the bill would be a blessing or a curse. I really hoped that conference fatigue and the desire to rush home would not leave the hall half empty. In the end, speaking in the last slot of the two days allowed me to revise Anatomy of a Mouse right up until the last minute. Although my focus was always intended to be on design rather than code, both the depth of information given by other speakers and the sophistication of the audience made me think again about the core messages.

Not usually one to shy away from a bit of controversy, I hope that Anatomy of a Mouse was thought provoking. I intend to write a little more about why I believe there should be no laws governing web acccessibility in a future column, as well as explaining in more detail what I hope will be the ways forward for speeding the uptake of standards in the wider web design industry.

Anyway, for those not able to make the conference, my slides are available now on the Stuff and Nonsense downloads page.

over @nd out

All that is left to say is that I hope those of you who attended thought the event as worthwhile and inspirational as I did. I look forward to seeing the pictures over on Flickr.

Update

Joe Clark has published his write ups on speaker presentations.

Other reviews or notes I've spotted so far include

Replies

  1. #1 On June 11, 2005 07:41 AM Matthew Pennell said:

    w00t, first reply! :)

    It was a fantastic two days, although probably in different ways for different people - great to meet so many people in the flesh at last, and have the opportunity to discuss and debate web design solutions without the person you're talking to falling asleep...

  2. #2 On June 11, 2005 08:14 AM Craig C. said:

    Well now we need detailed transcripts of all the presentations so we can see how everyone managed to work their words in. Audio would be even better, just so I can hear Ian say "beefcake."

  3. #3 On June 11, 2005 10:35 AM Mathew said:

    Andy, it was great to get a less techy perspective on things, plus I don't know if it can officially be a conference if there is not at least one speaker in a suit. So well done you.

    Also, I have not heard the word 'wanker' so many times in one day since I left Australia. Well done Joe.

  4. #4 On June 11, 2005 10:49 AM David Hughes said:

    It was a brilliant two days! I had wondered about some phrases used - especially Andy Budd's Perinaeum Ltd. website!

    Without wishing to seem like a gushing fanboy I particularly enjoyed your presentation both for it's style and message.

    @Media has renewed my love of the web that had slipped away after too many years 'managing' websites in large corporates.

    I hope next year I'll feel a little more in the same sport and maybe even league as most of you guys.

    See you in 2006...

    Thanks!

    David

  5. #5 On June 11, 2005 10:50 AM Barry Bloye said:

    Wow! Excellent presentation Andy! It was great to see a(nother) different perspective on standards based web-design, showing that design can still come first without compromising accessibility. It was also a great way to round off the conference.

    Hats off to the lot of you (and that's a lot of hats)!

    Just one question: in your web-design trifle, where's the brandy!?

  6. #6 On June 11, 2005 11:00 AM Colly said:

    Good work, Andy. Spot on overview. Think I'll write one now. What shall I write about you?

  7. #7 On June 11, 2005 11:47 AM Tris said:

    Great 2 days, your speech was very good and a fun way to end the 2 days. Never met you guys before but really pleased I came now all i need to do is remember it all, bugger!

  8. #8 On June 11, 2005 12:05 PM Bruce said:

    When are you off to Barbados with Gwyneth, Andy?

  9. #9 On June 11, 2005 01:12 PM Faruk Ateş said:

    It was an absolutely fantastic event, with great presentations and lots of fun discussions.

    I loved your session a lot, Andy. Great humor, good points being driven home very strongly, good information and examples and overall just a great experience.

    The wordplay was hilarious. And, it was fantastic to meet you!

  10. #10 On June 11, 2005 01:15 PM Simnon R Jones said:

    Yeah, an excellent conference. A great presentation Andy - you brought an interesting new perspective to the whole event.

    I totally agree with your comments on not doing free designs in the pitch stage, though its sometimes difficult for smaller agencies to go along with that point of view - had some interesting discussions about that with other atendees in the bar after the event.

    On your point on accessibility laws, I agree self-regulation is a better state to be in - but I think there's a need for official accreditation of some kind for clients to actually filter through cowboys who make token gestures to accessibility and those of us who actually do a proper job...

  11. #11 On June 11, 2005 01:22 PM Si said:

    Fantastic speech Andy - I'd have to say yours was the best for me, mainly due to the relaxed attitude but interesting (alternative) perspective to the whole WaSP.

    I read over at Andy B's blog about the word pl@y thing but didnt understand - thanks for explaining. Funnily enough, I didnt even notice Molly's hidden message - well played that girl!

    BTW, which art college did you go to in Northampton? I lived in Northampton for 10yrs, mainly for my GCSEs and A-Levels. My sister went to the town college to do Design but struggled to enjoy so left to get some experience instead.

    Looking forward to @media '06.

  12. #12 On June 11, 2005 02:04 PM Laura Zucchetti said:

    Hi Andy.

    Impressive that you had the time to post a message so quickly! Thanks for a great presentation on Friday. As I said to you already at Clinks bar before you dashed off it was "refreshing"! Great to have a designer giving his take on web standards.

    Looking forward to reading all your articles on the site.

    Cheers

    L

  13. #13 On June 11, 2005 02:06 PM Laura Zucchetti said:

    Hi Andy.

    Impressive that you had the time to post a message so quickly! Thanks for a great presentation on Friday. As I said to you already at Clinks bar before you dashed off it was "refreshing"! Great to have a designer giving his take on web standards.

    Looking forward to reading all your articles on the site.

    Cheers

    L

  14. #14 On June 11, 2005 02:12 PM Nick Tatt said:

    Hats off to you and all the speakers. It's great to finally put some faces to the names.

    I think its safe to say that everyone has come away with something from two days.

    Looking forward to making trifle!

  15. #15 On June 11, 2005 03:13 PM Roger Johansson said:

    Just got back home and would like to say that I had a fantastic two days at the conference, and your presentation was brilliant. I'm not quite sure where I stand on the legislation issue though, so maybe we'll need to discuss that some time (better not disagree with me or some embarrassing details of your behaviour during certain presentations just may show up somewhere) ;-D

    It's a shame you had to leave early last night though - you missed the "walking-halfway-through-London-to-find-a-pizza-restaurant-with-enough-free-seats-for-20-people" game.

  16. #16 On June 11, 2005 04:44 PM Gez Lemon said:

    Just a quick note to thank you for a superb presentation, Andy. Witty, with some profound observations. I was desperate for a smoke and was tempted to nip out between presentations, but I'm glad I resisted temptation and didn't miss any of it.

    Cheers,

  17. #17 On June 11, 2005 07:41 PM Veerle Pieters said:

    Wow, Andy you got me blushing again! :-D Well, it's exactly as Roger mentions, your speech was brilliant and entertaining: a few punch lines with a joke and the whole design approach, the prefect cocktail! Since I'm also coming from a design background, I was thinking along the lines like finally someone says it, no, CSS isn't easy for us designers, we see things differently. To be honest I find it very challenging sometimes, but I love it.

    Oh, and about the word game, I only just learned that this morning when we were exploring the city with Cindy Li, Derek, Andy, Jeremy and Richard. So I was the sucker who didn't get it. Got a reaction like 'what's this?! huh?' when I saw the words post.

  18. #18 On June 11, 2005 08:33 PM Dan said:

    Great presentation - most entertaining and, again echoing other comments, great to hear a full-on designer's view of the whole shebang.

    I hope you take this as a compliment, but you slightly remind me of Johnny Rotten in your style and mannerisms.

    Sorry :-)

  19. #19 On June 11, 2005 09:20 PM Phil said:

    Excellent couple of days - was great to hear another designers take on standards and how this fits into the design process (and also to hear someone else play the 'I'm only a designer' card, when we really know there's sooo much more to it).
    The main thing I'll take away from it, was how warm and welcoming everyone was - after lurking for so long it was a real eye opener to realise that we're all in this together.

  20. #20 On June 11, 2005 09:45 PM patrick h. lauke said:

    in my usual ultra-short commenting style: good stuff! once i got the photos from the event developed, i'll give you a shout :)

  21. #21 On June 11, 2005 11:41 PM Meri said:

    Nice writeup :-) Thanks for sharing with those of us who couldn't make it. I was gutted to miss it, but exams + budgetary constraints = complete lack of attendance. Maybe next year they'll introduce student rates!

  22. #22 On June 12, 2005 11:01 AM Barry Bloye said:

    Brandy!? What was I thinking? :-s That'd be in the Christmas pud (surely a variation on the fruit-cake). I meant sherry!

  23. #23 On June 12, 2005 02:01 PM Will Prescott said:

    Andy,

    I�m not really one for commenting on these blog things but I felt I too should come out of the woodwork and add my praise for your presentation. Would have been nice to have done so in person but you�re an awfully popular guy and I�m awfully timid, so hey.

    Given the audience of (let�s face it) know-it-alls, Andy Budd and Patrick truly had the most difficult job in the world � but they spoke engagingly and I for one managed to pick up some useful pointers. I was glad however that you took us smart-arses into account and spun your presentation in a new direction � your ideas on where the web standards movement fits within the wider web community were extremely thought provoking.

    I am a huge advocate of web standards but I do worry that the movement is too insular and (in certain quarters) elitist to the extent that it�s in danger of making itself irrelevant. Like I say, I�m no blogger, but I do digest those of others almost religiously and it often occurs to me that many authors forget there is still a vast internet out there largely untouched by anything so rudimentary as a DOCTYPE declaration. I�m guilty of it myself on occasion - by not thinking about that side of the web it becomes easy to think it doesn�t exist, that the battle has been won. It�s a dangerous situation, compounded by examples like the ones you gave where high profile, well intentioned, well-designed relaunches are often rubbished by the community for simple validation errors.

    I've just written loads more on this but it's going way off topic so I'll save it for another time. Anyway, good job - hope this show was the first of many.

    Cheers,
    Will

  24. #24 On June 12, 2005 09:08 PM Blair Millen said:

    Hi Andy,

    Not too much to add to the praise above, only my confirmation that your talk was cool, edgy, brave, articulate and thoroughly enjoyable.

    Cheers!

  25. #25 On June 13, 2005 11:11 AM James Box said:


    I totally agree with your comments on not doing free designs in the pitch stage, though its sometimes difficult for smaller agencies to go along with that point of view

    As much as it pains me, I'd have to agree with Roger's comments. Most of our clients still insist on seeing Designs at the pitch stage which results in design informing user-experience as opposed to the opposite (preferred) approach that Andy covered in his presentation. In our experience, the audience for the pitch are rarely web professionals and so communicating the value of user-experience design is complicated (and often an immediate 'turn-off') when you only have a few hundred words to 'impress'.

    Obviously, 'strategic' project management can help to educate the client along the way...but this can be painful, especially after the they've initially been 'wowed' by a flat graphics file. The other tactic is to ensure UCD has it's say at the pitch stage. But in a commercial setting, I certainly find it's not really cost-effective or even possible to invest the time in a potential project (plus, there is very rarely enough information on user's requirements to even contemplate this).

    Hmmmmm...not being very positive here...but I'd be interested in how others have got round this issue...

    Oh...congratulations on a superb presentation Andy...the most enjoyable presentation of the two days.

  26. #26 On June 13, 2005 12:29 PM paul duncan said:

    I wondered if there was any point adding more praise as everyone else has summed it all up so well� but I will :-)

    So I�m in work Monday morning and was trying to impress upon a bunch of java programmers what an amazing the two days I had. I mentioned Tableless design and they looked a bit blank. So I thought lets check out that UK Disney Store site and view it without the style sheet. They were impressed BUT I was completely blown away!! Unbelievable!! Well it would have been if I hadn�t seen the presentation. So if anyone hasn�t done it yet, head over and turn the style sheet off :-)

    Great stuff
    Paul

  27. #27 On June 13, 2005 03:07 PM Darren Taylor (Daz) said:

    Andy, I enjoyed your off the wall presentation, it was both refreshing and entertaining. There's one question I wanted to ask when the audience were given the opportunity but I didn't have the guts...

    I noticed how you were rolling up your speaking notes constantly throughout your presentation, my question is - do you have any plans to sell them on Ebay? :D

  28. #28 On June 13, 2005 03:11 PM Rob Waring said:

    The 20 minutes of the whole thing I caught were really good fun and the bar afterwards was great fun. Looking forward to seeing whats on the bill next year and if I can find someone to pay for it for me...

    Please? Anyone?

  29. #29 On June 13, 2005 03:20 PM Rob Whiting said:

    Andy, it was great to meet you (albeit briefly).

    I thought your presentation gave a really excellent, pragmatic view of web design. It's easy to get bogged down in the standards and semantics without thinking of the artistic side of design. I know that, for myself, your presentation showed that web standards can be a part of the design workflow without being the be-all-and-end-all. As you mentioned, they may not validate but there are some great looking sites out there.

    Thanks.

  30. #30 On June 13, 2005 10:50 PM Zach said:

    Great to meet you.

    I found your speech very refreshing :)

  31. #31 On June 13, 2005 11:38 PM Malarkey said:

    I would just like to say a very big thank-you for all the very kind comments here, by email and in person on Friday night.

    Speaking at @media was a real highlight of my career so far, as was meeting so many fantastic people.

  32. #32 On June 14, 2005 10:31 AM Matt Sephton said:

    Hi Andy,

    Great presentation at @media2005, well done.

    I was sitting behind a guy in your lecture that was drawing caricatures of all the speakers, i was wondering if you'd seen or heard about them? Yours was you in your suit wearing Mickey Mouse ears!

    matt

  33. #33 On June 14, 2005 01:06 PM Stephane Deschamps (nota-bene.org) said:

    Oh, now I see why there was this question about the capital of Burundi...

    He he he.

This article was originally published by Andy Clarke on his personal web site And All That Malarkey and is reproduced here for archive purposes. This article is published under a Creative Commons By Attribution License 2.0.

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