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dConstruct 07 reviewed

Posted on by Clive Walker in Web Design Conference

I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.

Last week, I attended dConstruct 2007 which was a web conference in Brighton. I meant to write a review of the day immediately afterwards but regular work took over. Anyway, here are a few quick thoughts on this year's dConstruct which had the theme of 'Designing the User Experience'.

Entertainment and conversation

The most entertaining presentation was by Jared Spool who discussed several great examples of products and websites that are highly successful and explained some of the reasons behind their success. Jared's presentation ended with a magic trick which I gather is some kind of ongoing challenge with other web luminaries. Whatever, it was an amusing end to the presentation.

The most conversational presentation was provided by Denise Wilton and George Oates who sat on a sofa on stage and discussed their experiences managing B3ta and Flickr. There were some amusing and insightful stories told. The history of Flickr was not something I had heard before but the website started off as part of a Flash game. Quite a difference from its photo-sharing purpose today. The number of photos on Flickr is also quite staggering, over 1.3 billion at the last count and increasing rapidly.

Blur and greyscale

Most useful tip was provided by Cameron Moll who described a technique to blur website screenshots and greyscale them in order to determine what stands out and thereby better define your website user interface. Nice idea.

Most difficult to understand presentation was by Matt Webb who described 'The Experience Stack'. Perhaps I am just a techie person or perhaps it was a bad time in the afternoon but I did not 'get' some of the concepts presented [there were some scary words like 'implicature' used]. I'm sure other people loved Matt's presentation but it was not for me.

Nice slides

Most creative slides were from Leisa Reichelt who used photos of Post-It notes as slides. The presentation described the advantages and disadvantages of two fundamentally different processes for web development. The take-home message seemed to be that you have to move fast these days....

I have only picked out a few of the presentations for this article but there were several other good speakers at the conference.


The event was a good day out and a bit of a break from the office routine for me. It was probably less useful than some of the more technical aspects of last year's event but perhaps that's a reflection of my freelancing role. I will probably sign-up for some of the pre-conference workshops next year to get a bit more hands-on experience and a closer interaction with the speakers.

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