More Web 2.0 2011
Along with Robert, I also got the opportunity to enjoy some San Francisco winter sunshine, and attend Web 2.0.
One of the keynotes, called “Using UX as a Weapon”, highlighted a few interesting points, including the idea that what you want to copy from successful sites and applications are the philosophy of the user interface design, not the design itself. Also, the idea that relying on data is good for getting unstuck, but that you need to look elsewhere for inspiration, e.g. having a top-down structure that values good UX design.
Microsoft was a big sponsor of Web 2.0, so it wasn’t surprising that several of the lecturers were from Microsoft. “Build a Windows Phone 7 app in 50 minutes”, showed off some of the nice tools a developer can use to make a Windows Phone application layout. Another was about building “Social Mobile Apps that Scale”. In that talk, it was mentioned that if 20K people are using a social app, and they each have 50 friends who make a daily update, then that equals a million transactions per day. The need to scale up dramatically with a relatively small change in user base led to the conclusion that building in the cloud is the way to go. The cloud affords developers the ability to scale to millions of transactions and scale down as needed in a way that would be impossible to afford or manage otherwise (for the vast majority of developers).
UserZoom presented some important information about usability research. They gave quite a few tips on how to maximize usability studies on a limited budget and when/where to focus limited resources (e.g. using very small sample sizes, say three people or so, early on in the design/development process). Hopefully we will be able to get some usability articles from them soon to post on this site.
Steve Souders from Google gave a very interesting/informative talk about optimizing mobile performance. Of greatest interest to me was his mention of the tools mobitest (from blaze.io), pcapperf (from google), and Jdrop, which measure page load times, capture mobile traffic, and enable data gathering from your device on a separate screen, respectively. His big reveal was his new site, the HTTP Archive, which will keep a historical record of performance data for web sites.
For more information, check out videos from the Web 2.0 conference here: http://www.web2expo.com/webexsf2011