New Adventures 2019
Looking back at New Adventures, I'm not sure where to start. By saying it was a great conference? Of course it was. The previous NA Conf was 6 years ago and back then I couldn't afford to go to conferences that far away, so I jumped at the chance to go to the one conference that everyone would always talk about. It was as good and better than I expected. But no, it almost feels like telling people how good the conference was is not the right thing to do.
There was a great deal of nostalgia, which makes sense for something that people have missed for 6 years. But why would I feel nostalgic if I've never been? Is it the people? Possibly yes, I had a good catchup with people I've not seen in ages. But you know what, I don't think it is even that.
To look at what made New Adventures special I think we need to see what the story was through all of the talks, what thread held them together? In the past, I've always left a conference knowing what the theme was. From The Front where I spoke in Italy felt like the theme was context, we all spoke about how our work relied on the context of the situation or the user. New Adventures was different, the theme was some kind of mix of Hope, Responsibility and literally looking to the future, New Adventures.
As I'm trying to get my head around all of this, I looked to wiser people than me. Helen Joy wrote a great follow-up saying:
"My abiding impression from New Adventures 2019, was that we are starting to grow up. Both in terms of the conference itself; promoting inclusivity through diversity tickets, pronoun and social interaction stickers and a code of conduct; and in the messages and tone of the talks and speakers."
"it was needed; kind of like the Sword of Gryffindor, but for the web design community."
Couldn't agree with those sentiments more, it really does feel like times are changing. But that could be said world wide. With Trump's America and Brexit, no wonder we all feel like it is time for change. Brendan Dawes gave a very optimistic talk about playing around with technology, and who wouldn't get inspired and feel happy listening to Brendan's brilliant projects. But since listening to Ethan Marcotte's talk I've realised that Brendan isn't being optimistic at all. Brendan is purposely going against the grain, doing things that bring joy or are unexpected on purpose. Brendan is actually participating in hope. In fact every single one of the talks gave hope about the future and aided us all with tools and approaches for making the web a better place. By looking critically at issues and embracing diversity, every talk gave us hope and responsibility.
I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again soon and to put a bit more decisiveness into the decisions I make going forward.
- Rizwana Khan wrote a lovely poem that set the scene nicely for the talks, it can be read on page 30 of the New Adventures Magazine (30MB PDF)
- Jeremy Keith on Building
- Clare Sutcliffe Confessions of an Overnight CEO
- Josh Brewer on Demystifying Design
- Jessica White's The Future is Cross-Functional
- Ashley Baxter Idea to Execution and Beyond
- Brendan Dawes' Universal Assembly
- Helen Joy's Whose Design is it Anyway
- Naz Hamid on Diverse Design: How We Build for People
- Ethan Marcotte The World-Wide Work