Altitude 2013


I had always admired the Spinnaker Tower design in Portsmouth. But I have an almost Hitchcock-like fear of being high up. I went up Tower 42 once in Canary Wharf, and I could barely stand. I had to fight my natural inclination to drop to my knees. It was only shortly after I had signed up did I realise why Dan Edwards (@de) and Tom Kentell (@Lletnek) had christened it Altitude.

I had another Duh! moment too. After collecting my beautiful lanyard from reception we were ushered through the lift into a glass walled room like as shown on the Altitude site. I enjoyed the complimentary Pimms. I eagerly gulped the mixture to try and steady my nerves for the ascent. See, I was under the impression that the whole room was going to lift off, like some kind of twisted Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator nightmare. After my second glass my nerves were a lot better, and I joined the others in the lift. Maybe a couple of drinks is all I need to pursue my dream of being a pilot?

My courage paid off. Not only were we given even more free drinks and some tasty morsels. We were entertained and inspired from our lofty view over Portsmouth harbour by the legend that is Paul Boag who interviewed four very different, and interesting web people. Namely: Robin Christopherson, Mike Kus, Sarah Parmenter and Jeremy Keith. Here are my notes. They might not make much sense to anyone who wasn’t brave enough to make it to the top of the Spinnaker though…

Robin Christopherson

Robin was first up under the spotlight. He is Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet.I have been aware of accessibility for over 10 years as a web designer. I have seen many people talk about what we should or shouldn’t do. But Mr Christopherson really showed me how empowering technology can be; when beautifully designed and built to be inclusive from the ground up. Take a bow Apple! It was truly amazing to see what well designed products, and in particular iOS including VoiceOver could do for blind people. He was also waxing lyrical about the potential of Google Glass, and even autonomous cars.

RNIB then Ability Net
We shouldn’t build for disabled people.
Main site should be inclusive
Use personas
TABS temporally able bodied
Apple fan boy – love from disabled people is tangible
Doubled battery life
He can take pictures using the camera.
Apple maps app inclusion is hard baked in
The sdk is inclusive not just iOS
Flash is evil!
Mobile sites are great. Stripped down is great.
Teenagers want a cut down experience
2.5 minutes for Verge website to load
Readability helps
20 lines of sharing twitter etc
Google Glass
Intelligent camera – Object recognition
Emotion recognition – better than humans – autism
Autonomous cars are licensed in Nevada
Berlin have driverless taxi
No accessibility in windows 8 phone

Mike Kus

Web designer
Striking colours and shapes
Large canvas then reduce
The copy is the one thing
Tell me everything

Sarah Parmenter

Native is expensive
Hamburger menu
44 is the magic number
Gradients more subtle than on web
Navigate from bottom using thumb
One buffer week per month
3 weeks per month work then one week off
Start with smaller screen
Charges on a hourly
15 hours before end of time email client
Every day she emails client every day, did this today and will do this tomorrow
Go squared analytics

Jeremy Keith

This man is an absolute fecking genius. It’s funny, I really enjoy, and make good use of his HTML5 For Web Designers book for A Book Apart. But I forgot that he is Irish! I will re-read the book in a nice gentle Irish brogue.

Starting with the url design and using this as an api is something that I have been gravitating to myself for awhile. But Jeremy nails the method so firmly, eloquently and succinctly. His design approach is one that I will ape from hence forward. Can’t wait to see what he has cooked up for us in the Responsive Day Out tomorrow!

Has always built liquid sites
Content first start with articles or the task.
Start with url (api design)
Start with content hierarchy
What does the user want first?
Start with colour and individual elements
Then do layout
Content does not mean copy it can mean the task
Responsive images
Justify images, there is a price to pay
2 proposals a new element
Svg and icon fonts
If you have to have in page images: optimise the hell out of images
WebKit mono culture?
URL design human readable portable hackable dry