Mix 11–Bootcamp Day

I have been lucky enough to get to the Mix11 event this year (many thanks to my awesome company Saasu) and have been attending the bootcamps here at Mix.

First one was Design, Content, Code: Start to Finish with Roman Blagovirnyy, Anthony Franco, Cindy Vanover Tony Walt and Chad Bakeman of effective ui.

It presented an overview of the start to finish process of a rich interactive site, utilising a hybrid approach of HTML 5 and Silverlight. Traditional ASP.NET webforms was chosen over MVC with the reason cited as the extra complexity of MVC was unnecessary and provided no benefit.

This session was a good session for a few reasons.

  • It presented a project from start to finish and described the challenges involved.
  • Talked a good deal about the design process for such a rich and interactive site. While this team had a number of designers and UX savvy people, the concepts, processes and more importantly, the risks could be utilised and taken into account in any sized team or project.
    • For example, the use of nodes to build high level navigation concepts, then further drilling into these nodes in an intuitive way to build out the rest of the navigational elements of the site, which was finally formed into a set of wireframes.
  • Talked a lot about the technology used, including such elements as Silverlight, 3D rendering (think depth of field, particle systems, lens flares etc,…). Items such as considerations when combining and synchronising multiple videos, usage of HTML 5 video functionality is not as easy as its “standardised inclusion” is meant to be, compression and bit rate considerations amongst others.
  • Provided insight into how other company and people do things. This is probably the most valuable as everyone does things their own way, even if they follow a specific process or methodology, it is usually tailored in some way to meet the needs of the business, company and client. It is extremely valuable to gain this insight as it is experience based and this what is often hard to get without going through some pain first. The pain points were not too dissimilar from most peoples, client issues (although the client was the navy/military so presented extra challenges), integrating all the media into the site in a usable and intuitive way, tight deadlines,unforseen technical issues, as well as a few others.

All in all a good session with lots to learn.

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