I took a look beyond my tellerrand in 2011

beyond tellerrand conference

This is not only my first english written article, but my first impression of beyond tellerrand, a web-design conference which took place in the Capitol Theater, Düsseldorf, Germany last year and will be there again next month. Still i am very impressed by the setting and every single talk. Only one talk got me into enjoying some very good coffee at the bar. Fair enough.

First of all the conference was blessed with a location like the Capitol Club. Perfect ambiance for talks. I think it could not have been better. Dimmed lights, the stage, a speaker and roundabout 400 people enjoying the talks, having coffee and chatting about all the world and his brother. As „newbies“ to the business of web-conferences me and my pal mostly sat down aside of the main action waiting to get in touch with some of the most accredited web-developers in the 15min breaks – intelligent we did it that way, right? Consequence: we didn’t really speak to anyone until the beer hours started. Then, finally, we spoke to some really interesting people.

But more important were the talks:

It all started with Christian Heilmann – web-developer working for mozilla

He talked about getting it all into the browsers and those to their limits, push it all to the next levels. His aim was high and inspiring. He thinks the future of apps and identities actually lies in the browsers and their capability of barrier-free HTML/CSS/JScript – availiable on all devices. In my opinion: corollary but only a few do it. People seem to think about apps nowadays – but not about making them accessible. „Why?“ Christian asked the audience and received several nods from people who know how to implement those thoughts into their next projects.

Steph Troeth

Steph Troeth talked about user interfaces which make the user feel comfortable and not frustrated. UX. She tried not to talk about what UX is but instead of how a designer can find his way to a good UX website. She showed up how to work on a problem and getting it solved be several techniques. For me it was a more or less obvious talk because i had a talk about this by myself in university some time ago – go straight with the problem and you’ll find a nice and fitting solution.

Aaron Gustafson

He had a talk about enhancement. Progressive to be clear. Progressive enhancement is development for accessability. It’s a nice thing to have but i don’t exactly agree with him that someone who still uses Internet Explorer 6 should see ANY web-page at all. Ok. Thats just fun, a point with no intent at all. Aarons focal point was to get the content of all his clients to all of their customers without the lack of good design an also taking care of those, who do not have a nice browser on their pc or mac. What did i learn? I learned that it could be cool to get everyone see my content. And thats not as easy web-coding as i thought. You have to get into every device and browser and implement source-code which works for every platform. For example: When you have got some old version of internet explorer installed, you’ll see only plain text, but one with the newest google chrome will get the full HTML5 beauty with animations and stuff you do not even imagine right now. The newer the browser, the fancier the experience. The problem with his thougth is, that progressive enhancement costs huge amounts of time and work. It is not easy to code and it is hard to implement every single browser out there. I think its okay to do so if you work for big corporations who need to get the message out and need every small customer. But as designer is think: Well… skip that and go to google.com or mozilla.org and download the damn latest version of the browser you like most and experience the web as it is. Beautiful and, til now, free.

Naomi Atkinson

When you have someone on stage who is as nice as Naomi was, you want to hear cool stuff from her just because she’s got the look. Okay. Who is she. She’s a designer from London and is working as a freelancer for the most of her time. She stood out from the talks because she presented herself as a person who thought carefully about every little detail of her as a brand. Her talk was about the lessons you can learn from celebrities in mass media. How can you keep your audience interested? For example P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Diddy or however he may call himself by now is a person who redefines himself from time to time to get people interested in his art again. He’s masterclass, for sure, but one can learn that static behaviour and status-quo is mostly the death of a once cool brand or person. To sell oneselfes designs or code fragments you need to stand out. Find your personal focal point and really focus on it, try to be best. Thats mostly what is going on behind the scenes when you think about designers who are so, so, so, so good. They are, because they work damn hard in their niche. Go out there, find your niche and make it nice and cosy in there – not really my thoughts, when it comes to design. Im more like a „i’ll do whatever i want to do and because of that i’ll never get perfect in any of those niches“-guy. ;)

Heiko Behrens

His talk was only at some points interesting for me, but for me as a designer it is obviously not too crucial to know about mobile apps with javascript because i cannot implement or code it. But what i learned from his talk was: There are way more opportunities in javascript than i thougth. And that is a fact really cool to know as a designer. There is a platform capable of doing stuff like a app, just in the browser. The browser has to be new-age, but hey – everyone should have a good new browser installed, like Mr. Heilmann said before. The cool thing about js-apps is that the device does not matter. It would run on a iPhone 4s and likewise on a Galaxy S2.

The others or: „How i messed up to remember after month…“

The other talks came from Vitaly Friedmann, Seb Lee-Delisle (damn, he was cool doing a live-coding thing ending up in snowflakes falling on trees and stuff. All html5. Awesome guy.), Yves Peters (Yes, Trajan is THE font for heroic action movies placed in medieval times), Des Trayor, Steph Hay (She was sweet, doing a very american talk on content and that it matters most. She’s so damn right about it but nooone seems to care.), Simon Collison (very cool talk giving a warm feeling of home to every attendant, at least to me.), Tomas Caspers (Sadly failed to get to me. All i remember is puppies and extreme boring blah. No excuses.), Dan Rubin, Jake Archibald (The btconf2011 hero for me. He described code. In a way i never would have expected. Almost a stand-up-comedy show dealing with coding and stuff. I was just flashed. No. Javatized! The absolute highlight, even if i may say that the other talks were almost as awesome as his one) and Jon Tangerine (i bet i would have found him way cooler if Archibald didn’t talk first. Also a nice talk about web-type and how to use it properly. Since i heard him talk i really use webfonts! So he had an impact and he got the most awesome photo seen in the header of this article. ;) )

Videos of the talks: http://vimeo.com/channels/beyondtellerrand

Some impressions:
Jake Archibald @btconf 2011

Jake Archibald @btconf 2011 with his phalluses.

Seb Lee-Delisle @btconf 2011

Marc Thiele @btconf 2011 (He's the awesome host!)

More pictures: http://www.flickr.com/groups/beyondtellerrand/

German summary. Meine erste Konferenz im Bereich Design oder Web-Entwicklung war meiner Meinung nach ein voller Erfolg. Beyond Tellerand bot internationale Vorträge, intelligente Ansätze und Ideen, nette Menschen und einen Haufen Inspiration für Designer wie Web-Entwickler. Beeindruckt haben, neben dem Varieté-Club des Capitol Theater in Düsseldorf als Location, alle Redner bis auf einen kleinen Ausfall. Dazu später mehr. Zuerst einmal ein großes Lob an den Veranstalter, Marc Thiele, welcher eine wirklich gut organisierte und entspannte Konferenz ins Leben gerufen hat. Internationale Sprecher und ein ebenso internationales Publikum sorgten mitsamt der Kaffee-Bar für ein unvergessliches Ambiente. Der Artikel erscheint in englischer Sprache. An dieser Stelle tausend Dank, für die Einladung, Marc.

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