Jun
02

Webvisions 2011 – Technology Snapshots of the Future

I recently attended the Webvisions conference in Portland, Oregon. Blaise Aguera y Arcas and Douglas Rushkoff were a few of the well-known speakers. Many of the sessions were led by developers who were working with cutting-edge web technologies. Some of the main themes I heard at the conference were as follows:

HTML5, CS3, and JQuery

Dave McFarland from PSU framed this discussion well. Our own group at OSU has been leveraging jQuery more with every new project. jQuery is essentially a library of Javascript functions that can be called with simplified code. jQuery is frequently updated and is much more cross-browser compatible than using Javscript in the past. We’ve been using it in our e-learning course development and also with mobile projects—jQuery mobile and the new Dreamweaver CS5.5 with PhoneGap and jQuery mobile support. CS3 and HTML5 sessions were to a large extent focused on future web features, potential web TV usage, and multimedia presentation examples.

Digital ethnography, especially as it relates to user interface (UX) and mobility

Many of the sessions, including Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ talk focused on user interface and understanding user preference and technology usage on a contextualized level. Kelly Goto and Rachel Hinman were all-star UX proponents and offered numerous ideas for moving beyond analytics and demographics to how individuals use technology at various times of the day. It appears many companies have moved beyond seeking a “sticky” site to one that is addictive. And so, branding and product design were related to sensory activity (especially tacticle) and emotional connection. Hinman’s discussion about the new ecology of untethered mobile devices and how mobile devices can “unlock” place was inspiring.

Vision for future (the ecology of new devices)

Rachel Hinman and Douglas Rushkoff covered a large swathe of ideas related to future technology trends. Much of Rushkoff’s talk focused on corporate interests versus individual interests and how technology is being used to subvert individuality and free thinking by corporate interests. One of his more memorable claims was that Facebook’s product was not the software, but the child—more specifically, the child’s social graph that can be monetized. He suggested Portland was “our last hope”–whatever that meant…and, he believed technology is most effective in the hands of the youth and “stoners”–not sure he was trying to directly correlate a location with this claim…but, the two were said at various points of his talk. While some of this was tongue in cheek banter, his main goal was to encourage the individual user of technology to be more efficacious and aware of the underlying technologies enabling our daily usage of software and devices. Without such awareness and discretion, he believed that we would be beholden to corporate interests and those who would use technology to slowly devalue individual rights. He said so much more, but the core of his talk reminded me of some of Sherry Turkle’s writings.

When Rushkoff heard one of my colleagues worked with Blackboard, he seemed a bit disappointed, but then signed his book with the following, “Blackboard is intentional”—great sense of humor.

Hinman recommended several articles. I found the following very enlightening (The Coming Zombie Apocalypse).

Media queries, prototyping (Check out Axure), and WebM versus h.264.

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2 Comments Already, Leave Yours Too

Supreme 90 Day on 11 September, 2011 at 9:40 pm #
    

Its an issue that I am very interested in, I just started reading and I am glad I did.This blog definitely has some information on topic that I just wasn’t aware of. Thanks for bringing this stuff to light.


Clapham on 16 February, 2012 at 1:56 am #
    

I deeply regret that I missed the conference, unplanned circumstances wouldn’t let me go. Anyways, thank you for sharing how it went.


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