New Adventures Conference
Now I’m fully aware that at time of writing there are countless numbers of people who have already given very concise and detailed reviews of their experiences of the recent New Adventures conference in Nottingham. At one point it even got to the stage where I considered not writing this post because there were so many. But I’m thinking sod it, why not have my say on what I thought was a really enthralling day which not only allowed me to hear about new ideas in the industry but also be part of an amazing collection of like minded people.
The main feeling I took away from my time spent in Nottingham was the overall community feel of the conference. From the first tweet I read way back in June/July there has been a lot of talk of who would be attending, what ideas were going to be discussed and a rather healthy amount of people contributing to the goings on in and around the conference itself.
I went to the conference eager to meet many people I’ve only so far known as @thisperson or @thatperson. Thanks to the Erskine bowling the night before and the Escucha after party I was able to wander round and just talk to people who seemed happy to do the same. As scary as that is to someone not really comfortable in walking around talking to various unknown people, it was the overriding community feel that gave me the confidence to do so and I can honestly say it wouldn’t have been the same conference without it!
The conference day
Moving on to the main reason we were all there (the conference itself – the after party being a close second), the day was full of interesting speakers, some whom I’d seen talk before but most were for the first time.
Although the day started a little later than planned – due to a mass amount of people trying to come through two doors to register – it wasn’t the best of starts but by no means Simon’s fault and he handled it extremely well keeping everyone up to date on goings on. Although it did leave me sitting in the relatively uncomfortable seats for a little long.
Once we finally got underway Dan Rubin started with one of my favourite talks of the day. Speaking about the language we use in our industry he spoke of borrowed terms and phrases that we use and how although sometimes they work, when coming from a closely related profession can lead to confusion (there is NO fold on the web!). I couldn’t agree more with what he was saying and speaking to him later in the evening we both thought that although evolving the language of an industry takes time it won’t happen unless people start talking about it and make others more aware.
It would take me an age to go through all of the talks one by one like that so I will just mention a few others that left me thinking. Andy Clarke spoke about story-telling on the web, using examples from film and comics (great use of the comic too) showed how timing and flow can be controlled and altered by effective layout of the content. Elliot Jay Stocks spoke about a responsibility in how we use certain aspects of design and how just using things because they’re available is not always right. Both talks were brilliantly thought provoking and left me with new ideas to take into future projects.
I must be honest and say that the post-lunch talks didn’t come across quite as well as many of the others, this could have possibly been down to the timing however the topics may not have helped either. Veerle Pieters tackled inspiration which I think is always a hard subject to talk about being such a personal thing. I found myself not getting into it as much, although I was able to see how her process is very effective. Also the conclusions from Greg Wood’s talk about Art Direction on the web seemed fairly obvious, in that an article with art directed content would work better against a plain text version.
The final talk from Brendan Dawes – who always grasps my attention thanks to his overwhelming ease with which he speaks – again left me contemplating the worth of what we produce in his brilliant talk on “produced for use”. He spoke about creating things with a real purpose rather than just for the sake of it, with a couple of fantastic ideas of his own.
From talking with others and reading some of the other reviews I have to agree that the length of the day was a little too long. It would have been completely reasonable to cut the number of speakers down to 8 and maybe give more time to networking breaks or a slightly earlier finish.
The Q&A session although experimental promised more than they delivered but I don’t think this was down to the speakers or Simon as I think better questions could have been asked and it all felt a little rushed with some of the speakers concerned that they’re answers were too lengthy opposed to answering them well.
Overall I had a fantastic experience at New Adventures, the majority of the speakers and the community feel of the event left me filled with more enthusiasm for my industry than ever and gave me ideas to take things further in the work I do. A thoroughly good job done by Simon Collison and will be looking forward to hopefully being there again next year!
The conference not only gave me the chance to see some excellent speakers talk on inspiring and thought provoking topics but I was also able to meet some people with whom I talk on twitter as @onishiweb. I finally got to meet and have a drink with @foamcow and @fiftydigital. Was able to talk with @danrubin, @rellyAB, @Hicksdesign and @brendandawes. And met some cool new people in the likes of @alunr, @azlan, @josiecalvert, @UnionGasworx and @timharbour thanks guys for making the conference all that more worthwhile.