Spoke at the 14th Graphic Expo

I was invited to give a couple of talks in behalf of the Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO) at the 14th Graphic Expo in Pasay City. The talks I gave centered on two aspects of what I’m very much interested in: Web Standards and Freelancing for the Web. Those two speaking slots were held on two different days, but the weather was just bad (like storm-like bad).

For the Web Standards talk, the audience was primarily non-web designers, but potential clients of web designers. (I initially thought I would be educating designers, but it was OK.) I had to adjust the talk to focus more on the benefits of looking for designers or companies that used Web Standards. I pointed out things like the ease of maintenance, the potential cost-savings on hosting & bandwidth, and the workflow benefits. If Web Standards were a product, I was like a salesman for it. 😛

On the next talk, I gave a talk about working freelance and doing web projects. It was less technical, but equally interesting. Personally, the talk was easy to prepare for because most of the content and stories were from my own personal experiences (Like working with web design clients from hell :P). It also helped that I shared some “serious” business-related stuff I learned from my MBA studies,  but I think what resonated was the true-to-life stories of freelancing.

After the talks, I realized that the Graphic Expo is a good venue for PWDO to promote itself and its mission. Since the Graphic Expo is one of the biggest trade shows in the Philippines on print & digital graphics, I seriously believe that this year’s event won’t be the last PWDO will be participating in.

On a side note, thanks to Jonel Uy for the post on the Graphic Expo launch.

function() & .class Web Design Conference

I’m pleased to share the launch of the Philippine Web Designers Organization‘s big event for 2009: the <form> function & .class Web Design Conference.

The event will on July 10, 2009 at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City, Philippines. The conference aims to get every web designer in the Philippines, experienced and beginning, together and spend a day of learning and networking. The event’s program is as follows:

  • 8:00am-8:45am – Registration
  • 8:45am-9:00am – Opening Remarks and Introduction to PWDO by Sophia Lucero
  • 9:00am-9:45am – Design 101 by Rico Sta. Cruz
  • 10:00am-10:45am – Interaction Design by Nap Lara
  • 11:00am-11:45am – Web Standards, Accessibility and Usability by Regnard Raquedan
  • 12:00nn-12:45pm – Lunch
  • 12:45pm-1:15pm – Disabled Friendly Awards by Jojo Esposa
  • 1:15pm-2:00pm – Sponsor Talks
  • 2:00pm-2:45pm – Workflow by Marco Palinar
  • 3:00pm-3:45pm – Industry Tips by Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva
  • 4:00pm-4:45pm – State of the Web by Luis Buenaventura II
  • 4:45pm-5:15pm – Panel Q&A

We’re now busy marketing the event and looking for sponsors, and we need all the help we can get. If you know of a company that will benefit from reaching 400 young & tech-savvy folks in one single venue, please direct them to the event website. I guarantee that it will go a long way in helping the Philippine Web Design community. :)

Book Review: Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click?

Neuro Web Design

I’m generally a slow reader, taking my time to finish a book, but Susan Weinschenk’s Neuro Web Design was such an interesting read that I finished it as soon as I could.

I’ve read books with different perspectives on webdesign, from the artist, to the usability engineer, to the manager. Neuro Web Design offers a different, and very convincing view of web design– the psychologist’s.

The main thesis of Neuro Web Design is that all people, as discovered by extensive research throughout the years, are “hard-wired” to behave certain ways. This is because out brain has evolved to have survival instincts, feel emotions, and process information. Given that our brain responds positively and negatively on certain stimuli, the book posits that there are key triggers to elicit positive responses from people. (Am I sounding like Sigmund Freud already?)

Serious web designers and internet marketing guys should definitely take a look at this Neuro Web Design. It explains some of the web usability tenets I’ve encountered and recommends practical use of psychology to web design.

4th Mini Web Design Conference: A Look Back

And the Philippine Web Designers Organization keeps chugging along: The 4th Mini Web Design Conference happened last Wednesday, March 18 2009 at the G2VC Bar at the Orient Square Building in Ortigas, Pasig City.

The event had a pleasant surprise as the folks from G2VC and Elymar Apao treated the event’s participants to dinner and the hearty meal sure made everyone happy (and that includes me). After dinner, the program for the evening commenced and the lovely emcee Sarah kicked-off the talks. Here’s a list of the night’s speakers & topics:

My blunder for the evening: I raffled off a web design/development book,  but I left it in the office! (My bad!) But we raffled it off anyway, with me handing the book personally to the winner.

Many thanks to Ia and Mae for tirelessly facilitating the Mini Web Design Conference. The next one will be on June 2009. :)

Check this out: more photos of the event: Azrael’s Multiply site.

Facebook’s New Design

Facebook's new design

I opened Facebook this morning and I was greeted by a new user interface. The site owners did send a notice a few days back about an impending change on the layout and interaction design of the social networking site. But for some reason, the design has left me scratchign my head.

On Facebook’s redesign last year, I thought it was a more gradual change and a better transition. When I saw the new interface last year, there more tooltips and helpers that guided users on the new layouts.

As for the user interface itself, it marked the return of the three-column layout in the user’s home page. (3-column layouts are utilized in other sections of the site). This move could have been a response to an insight that user’s monitor resolutions are getting bigger (or it might have been a response to the whole “Facebook copied Multiply’s design” issue that have festered since last year).

Either way, Facebook’s new design could disorient a great deal of users. For one, the site now mashes together the status updates, link sharing, note writing, and photo & video posting into one “Share” box. This could help power users, but the hidden labels could cause some user frustration.

Another is the combination of application events, photo comments, event announcements on the right column and calling it “Highlights.” Again this is another form of a generalizing strategy where Facebook thinks that the main column is better used with more status updates and less “noise” by default.

In my opinion, the most useful feature of the new interaction is the use of the right column to filter the stream appearing on the main column. It takes some getting used to, but it’s powerful, in terms of making the main news stream more relevant.

Over-all, Facebook could have made the transition a little smoother. The generalization philosophy and filtering mechanisms are great, but could be frustrating without the proper introduction.

4th Mini Web Design Conference

The Philippine Web Designer’s Organization (PWDO) will be holding the fourth (yeah, it’s already the fourth!) iteration of the <form> + function() & .class Mini Web Design Conference this coming March 18, 2009, 8pm at the G2VC Bar in the Orient Square, Pasig City. (If you’re not familiar with the place, you can check out the map).

Here’s the list of speakers for that day:

Web Accessibility with Assistive Technology
Rene Orense
Project Officer, Web Developer
http://www.atriev.org.ph

Finding Your Soul Mate!
Luis Buenaventura
Software Architect
http://syndeolabs.com

Top 5 Internet Marketing Mistakes Companies Make
Regnard Raquedan
Consultant
http://www.raquedan.com

Branding and Design
Elymar Apao
USAP Philippines
http://www.jozzua.com

Web Standards (specifics to be announced)
Aja Lorenzo Lapus
Student at University of Santo Tomas
http://www.ajalapus.com/

Leveling Up Your Photoshop Skillz
Marco Palinar
http://site-guy.com

Javascript/AJAX/DOM
Ta Tuy Duc
http://acc.vn 

We also have to thank the sponsors for the event:

Ely Apao
http://www.jozzua.com/

Marc Villanueva
Sheero Media Solutions
http://sheeromedia.com/

I’ll also be raffling off a Web Development book, courtesy of AUGPhil.

If you’re interested in attending, you can sign up using the online registration form.

See you there!

Reaching Out

A couple of days ago, I turned 29.

I usually celebrate my birthdays with a simple dinner with family and friends, but this year was different.

Instead of a quaint gathering, I was  speaker in a free “Basic Web Design” seminar in my local community last Sunday. The event was an idea of my dad, who is the leader of our local government unit. He said that it would be a good idea to share my talents and knowledge to our community. I initially relented since we were deviating away from what we traditionally did, but I eventually said “Yes” to the idea a couple of weeks ago.

There were around 50 people in attendance, with a mix of out-of-school youths, middle-aged folks and college students who wanted to brush up on their internet knowledge. The seminar was held in a basketball court (yes, a basketball court), but good thing there was a nice sound system and an LCD projector.

We started a bit late, but it was kinda expected. I went straight to discussing the expectations of the three-hour seminar and what we were going to discuss then. The coverage was basically an overview of the internet and how websites work. Since the participants did not have computers with them, I just demonstrated how HTML works and how you can use familiar tools like Microsoft Office to come up with a web page.

The Q & A was very interesting. People were more interested in how the internet works, like how wi-fi works and how e-commerce works. Good thing I was able to enlighten them on a variety of topics (including how a debit card works :P).

I’ve spoken in very nice venues and high brow crowds, but the seminar last Sunday was really a down-to-earth, going-to-your-roots experience. It was a nice birthday activity, for a change. :)