SXSWi 2010 Rundown

SXSWi 2010 rundown. The sessions I attended are listed, along with links if available as well as some quick takeaways from the session.

Web Content Management Systems from a Designer’s Perspective


  • All examples were from open source content management systems
  • Must consider Runtime vs. Publish time systems when designing
  • How do these effect your design?
    • Content types: Static vs. Dynamic
    • Navigation
    • Presentation
    • Logistical (Logins and other features)


  • Look and Feel must be deployable
  • The separation of content from design
  • Consider modules and plugins when theming

Used “Workflow B” for ACC Newsroom

  • Learn programming languages by using the frameworks that use them.

    Ex: Learn javascript by experimenting with jQuery

  • Consider using version control systems such as subversion
  • Learn to work locally and then move to web
  • WordPress and Drupal are similar in nature:
    • Set of core files
    • Plugins and modules
    • Themes


We F*cked Up: Happy Cog and Friends, Exploring Failures, Together

Projects fall apart. We often blame the client, the politics and the personalities. But when it happens, there is a tremendous opportunity to grow as a professional and as a person. Candidly recounting past catastrophes, the panelists explore the emotional experience of project implosion and the silver lining that emerges.


What is f*cking up?

  • Being in a bad situation and not being able to do anything about it.
  • Not being able to promote the work you’ve done.
  • Not having done everything I could do to make the client successful
  • Non communication which leads to false assumptions which leads to wrong decisions

Different kinds of failure


  • Scope creep
  • Lack of testing
  • Managing the Unknown
    Make the client feel more comfortable
    Put results above cash-flow – Delayed gratification
  • If bringing in a third party – make sure communication, ethics, product is there.


  • Not getting fired (What!?) – You need failure more than you need success.
  • Email – It will f*ck you.
  • Bad Contracts or no contracts

Say no to a project if:

  • Many contract revisions are requested
  • Client has a huge project team
  • Vagueness in project outline
  • Client has time issues

Use the “Bucket of Hours” concept on projects.

CSS Frameworks Shootout

Different CSS frameworks were presented and their features explained

Full width is bad

Going to try Object Oriented CSS due to tits focus on quick load times and optimization.

CSS3 Design with HTML5

As HTML5 and CSS3 gets written, browser vendors are already incorporating their new features allowing for greater design and functionality. However, some major browsers haven’t. How should developers build for a constantly moving target? This panel discusses dealing with those older browsers and embracing new web design technologies with practical HTML5.

Examples demonstrated at


  • New features in the language make things that used to take allot of code and images extremely easy
  • Can sniff for “media-queries” to tell what types of user agents are accessing data
  • Geo-location based data will localize content for visitors


Web Accessibility Gone Wild

This session presents a wide variety of mistakes, blunders, misconceptions, over-indulgences, intricacies, and generally silly aspects of modern web accessibility. Sometimes the most serious errors are made by well-meaning developers who misunderstand the concepts or take their limited accessibility knowledge to an extreme level – thus web accessibility gone wild.


  • Totally accessible websites do not exist, only varying degrees of inaccessibility which is okay.
  • It’s about more than just blindness
  • Web accessibility has a branding issue. People perceive it as simply a set of checklists, specifications, and techniques
  • Compliance does not equal accessibility
  • Catering to a small audience may be a disadvantage for others. Accessibility should happen naturally by default
  • Soon we will need “Skip the skip to..” links if not careful. Skip to main navigation okay for now
  • Alt text is used to make the connection between an image and it’s meaning.
  • Don’t worry about tabindex unless constructing web apps
  • Web Apps – tabindex , focus (), aria
  • Screen Readers execute Javascript!

Bullet-proof web design

  • Line length
  • Fixed Width
  • Font size
  • Avoid “Click Here”
  • Use headings correctly. Screen readers have shortcuts that jump to the first H1 on a page.


Captcha is inaccessible – stop it. Use this:

A distinct violation of section 508 is offering a “text-only” version of a website that could be made accessible

Twitter Indispensable Tools Seminar

This panel features the founders of the “indispensable” Twitter apps. The purpose is twofold: 1) Enable Twitter users to hear “straight from the horses’ mouths” about the creation and use of key Twitter applications; 2) Provide inspiration for other Twitter developers.

Email: The next Frontier

Email is at the center of everything we do online. Even the most popular new social communications ride the back that is email. It is in fact the killer app of the Internet, and has been for some 40 years. It is however, a love-hate relationship.

Discussion rundown


  • People use email in different ways. some are filers and others are more content streamers.
  • There is no one way to do this.
  • Your email inbox is the last bastion of privacy on the web.
  • I do not want my credit card receipts in my Facebook inbox.

Interactive Infographics

Insights and examples from the frontier of interactive infographics. The smart, interactive presentation of data is emerging as a new form of media. Still in an early stage, this format shows major promise. We’ll explore what this is all about and where it’s going.

Smarter Social Media

Smarter social media at IBM has required an embrace of not only a more open and conversational approach to marketing — it has required a harmonic integration of the company’s revitalized, crowdsourced values with a simultaneous transformation of its business model.


The following sessions were short 20 minute blasts of ideas and best practices presented in a quick-fire style.

User Generated Advertising

The panel discussion will explore ideas around making advertising a more useful and participatory experience for consumers. What if users had incentives to create advertisements based on their own experiences? Could they engage the right audience with an appropriate message?


  • Case Study –
  • Problems with online advertising:
    • Clutter
    • Not relevant
    • Distracting

    What if online advertising was engaging, trust worthy, and relevant ie: a blog post
    Get early adopters talking about your brand on social media sites
    Similar to celebrity endorsements without the celebrity.

Brands Don’t Think Like You Think They Think

One of the hopeful revenue sources for many internet startups is “ad dollars”. How come they don’t usually show up? Turns out that what you think brands want from the internet is not what they want.

Presenter was extremely hungover

  • 4 rules for connecting with brands
  • Good brands trust good brands – they recognize their own
  • Safety in numbers
  • They provide something unique
  • They know what audience to speak to
  • Define customers vs. consumers. These are not always the same.

Marketing Goes Social


Media relations goes social


  • The United States Air Force is on the forefront
  • of social media

  • “Every airman is a spokesperson for the Air Force”
  • Airmen are allowed to post to Facebook, Twitter, and blogs
  • The days of calling the media and pitching stories are over
  • For the Airforce there are no more press releases. Everything is released via twitter/social media
  • Case study – Doctors without Borders social Media Twitter, Facebook
  • Why do blogs fail? – They are about a person and not an experience
  • Air Force blog decision tree

Customer Service Goes Social


  • Customers will dictate the relationship between businesses and themselves, not the other way ’round.
  • If you have to be sneaky to help customers by going around protocol or managers, it’s a sign that something is wrong
  • Case Study – – everyone is on the phones when first starting out
  • Openness is key – get exposed to internal communities
    • EX: Grateful dead allowed for recording music at concerts to facilitte exposure
    • Ex: – Phones were put away at first, session occured, then phones were taken out. Students were encouraged to take pics of stances and moves which wound up social media sites

HP User Made Ads – D&AD Student Awards 09 – Awesome

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