Generate London - The Web Developers Conference

Breaking Uber and The Generate Conference

Having arrived the night before, we were up early to be greeted by a beautiful sunrise on the London horizon. We met for breakfast and were keen to head straight over to The Generate Conference, deciding to use Uber to get there. No sooner had Howard downloaded the app and ordered his first ever Uber taxi,  did my phone ding, alerting us that Uber had just lost their license to run in London; it was needless to say, the Uber didn’t arrive and Howard’s still waiting for his refund!

The conference was held at the Royal Institution, an inspiring building steeped in history and devoted to scientific education and research. 

Upon our arrival we realised we were 30minutes early – Eager as always! Unfortunatley my hope of a champagne reception upon arrival was quickly dashed, but there was an unlimited supply of extremely strong coffee to prepare us for the day ahead!

The Talks

Exploring Adaptive Interfaces – Aaron Gustafson from Microsoft

A passionate in-depth talk pondering the evolution of screen-size and how this has affected web development, an issue that our developers are very familiar with! Aaron demonstrated how various adaptive interfaces adjust to meet their users needs. He covered the multiple issues we face here daily when designing websites, from browser compatability, to varying connection speeds and extreme screen-sizes, he also introduced us to his useful tool for planning, discussing, building and testing adaptive interfaces.

Designing the Pivot – Julia Khusainova from AirBnB

Julia Khusainova shared her knowledge of working as an experience designer, in particular her experiences of pivoting a business when they hit a crucial moment and realise that their current product needs to be evolved or changed all together.

Julia showed us her in-depth strategy guide which I have taken-away to dissect in my free time!

You’re Only Supposed To Blow The Bloody Doors Off – Leonie Watson from The Paciello Group

Leonie Watson began her web design career in 1997, and despite losing her eyesight, her passion still burns strong. She gave us a brilliant talk on accessibility online for the partially sighted and how to code for screen readers correctly, which was very useful!

Don’t Trust Your Gut: Prototyping at Netflix – David Aragon from Netflix

David Aragon gave us a talk on how Netflix A/B test all new features and experiences before launching. In detail, David described how to successfully conduct user testing on a new product without bias, plus the benefits of using both qualitative and quantitative data!

Designing Teamwork – Alison Coward from Bracket

Alison Coward enlightened us about how good communication and great teamwork is essential to the process of creating a great websitet! Some of our team particularly liked her point of instating more regular coffee breaks throughout the day!

Where Animators and Web Designers Unite – Leonard Souza from Webflow

Leonard Souza demonstrated his new “drag and drop” animation program in front of all to see, making animation accessible to not just web-developers!

Designing Conversations – Giles Colborne from Cxpartners

Giles Colborne gave us an inspiring talk on the next generation of user interfaces. He demonstrated how A.I chatbots like Alexa, Siri and Cortana fall into the common pitfall of lacking user empathy. He then went on to explain how understanding the psychology of human conversation can be used to create more satisfying user experiences. 

Saturday Night in London

A fairly eventful night began straight after the conference, at a nearby pub in Soho, followed by dinner in a trendy American style restaurant, before heading to a few bars in Leicester Square – unfortunately due to my youthful looks we were refused entry to a casino there, but in hindsight I think everyone should be thanking me for saving them some money! Putting our youthfulness to good use Dan and I carried on to a club until the early hours, whilst some of the “older guys” sensibly called it a night!

In Conclusion

Our trip to London and The Generate Conference proved a valuable experience for the whole team, both confirming our existing knowledge and giving us some great insights into the future of digital technology. Thank-you London and good night!