Seriously, I mean that. Who'd have thought that Belfast would be holding one of the most prestigious and kick ass conferences of the year? Every single aspect of Buildconf last week was absolutely perfect.
Not too big, not too small, well organised, fun, impressive venue, 6 fantastic speakers and unforgettable after-parties.
In case the endless supply of free coffee didn't wake us up, talented designer Tim was there to stir the passion within us with his Steve Ballmer impression, chanting 'Designers, Designers, Designers...'.
In his first presentation ever, Tim inspired us with his points on working on your own side projects, working for free and being jealous. I know I'm looking forward to seeing more presentations from Mr MaxVoltar, who I had the pleasure of interviewing a while ago. Also a special thanks to Tim for bringing me along a free Made By Elephant tshirt. Lovely gesture. :)
The beers will be on me here in Belgium sometime soon.
What's better than being seduced by Andy Budd in the morning? Yep, you're right, nothing. Andy's talk on seductive design was very lickable. Yes I said lickable not likeable, although it was very likeable too. Andy, now a pro at this type of event, walked us through a few creative examples of seductive design.
With his Dave Gorman-esque charm, we found ourselves hung on Andy's every word as he talked us through some techniques to make people fall in love with your product. I was also one of the lucky ones who caught a King Ken, whose place is now firmly at my desk in work. Cheers to Andy, Build was shaping up nicely so far.
Someone whose blog I have followed for a long long time, Mark's talk on Font Embedding didn't disappoint. Perhaps separated at birth from Mr Lee Munroe, Mark laid out the pros and cons of font embedding and why, maybe, it's not such a bad thing that we've only been able to use Arial and Verdana for the past number of years.
Limiting the number of available fonts means that fewer design mistakes will be made. Telling us to simply imagine what MySpace would look like if there were many more fonts available, showed us Mark's foresight into the font embedded world. I've read Mark's book 5 Simple Steps to Designing for the web and you should too!
One of my all-time highlights was when Ryan said at the post-Build/ultimate-webgeek breakfast, 'Are you Paddy Donnelly from The Big Word Project?'. As a huge fan of Just Watch The Sky and Virb, I learned a lot from his 'Practice makes Pixel Perfect' talk.
Going into detail on how taking a step back and viewing our day to day tasks as practice made this talk particularly interesting. Comparing Photoshop working habits with Ryan, Tim and Wilson over a Happy Hangover fry was the perfect end to a truly brilliant conference.
As if we weren't seduced enough by Andy Budd in the morning, Wilson's slides were truly irresistible. Using a variety of slickly animated Venn diagrams in Keynote to discuss how we should become a design-developer hybrid, made every designer in the room drool.
The content of the talk was equally fascinating, where Wilson showed us that the sweet spot to be is in intersection, as a designer who can write code, or a developer with some design sense.
And of course the pièce de résistance to the whole event? Mr web standards himself, Eric Meyer. After seeing his talk at The Next Web earlier in the year, I was fully aware of Eric's superior presentation style. And this talk did not disappoint.
Focusing on where HTML 5 and CSS3 are now and where they will be in the future made for fascinating listening. Hilarious points about Google Chrome's logo and 'This site best viewed on my computer' warnings, were all part of Eric's presentation, which did nothing but inspire us. Highlight for me? When Eric talked about discovering that Adium was created with HTML and CSS and declaring 'HTML and CSS? I know this!' in a 'Lex from Jurassic Park' kinda way.
After meeting countless great people during the conference and at the after-party, we had a post-Buildconf breakfast, consisting of Happy Hangover frys and intense Photoshop discussions.
Chris Murphy also turned up with the W3 Award that Lee Munroe and myself won for The Big Word Project a year ago, and the breakfast ended with the ultimate highlight of us all getting a photo outside the 'Paddy Power' bookmakers across the road.
There is a new kid in web-design-conference town. After not hearing one single bad comment throughout the whole event, it's safe to say that Build was a HUGE success. Made possible by the amazing talents and hard work of Andy Good, he deserves copious amounts of praise and congratulations!
My finger will be poised over the yet to appear 'Book Tickets' button for Build 2010 and yours should be too.