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Web Directions South 2012 – videos

Last year for the first time ever, we decided to create video of every single session of our main conference, Web Directions South. We did this in response to a theme that had consistently emerged in our feedback over the years:

  • “there’s too much choice”
  • “I find it hard to decide which session to go to”

I’ll admit, we always found this feedback a little hard to take in, because what we try to do with Web Directions South is make it a massive festival and meeting of the web tribes, and a one track conference obviously just can’t achieve this. We love our program of thought provoking and inspirational keynotes at the beginning and end of each day, sandwiching split session throughout the day covering off design, development, the big picture, and this year for the first time, startups. There’s something for the whole web family. But the unusual thing about the web family is that it’s pretty omnivorous. The developer could well be just as interested in a session about JavaScript performance as one on bootstrapping your startup. The designer might be just as happy hearing about interaction design as big data.

So last year we did a couple of things to ease the pain of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Part of this pain is just the stress of having to make a high opportunity cost decision under time pressure on the day as to what to see, so we made sure our schedule was finalised well before the event, and also made a nice PDF version of it available before the day, so if you wanted to take the time to plan in advance, this was there to help you. Pretty easy and inexpensive to do.

But a big part of it is also just not actually being able to be in two places at once. We’d provided audio recordings and made the slides available for years but we all know, it’s just not the same. Situations like this are pretty much why god invented video really. But good video requires a good team to capture on the day, and is expensive to produce. The other thing we have always struggled with is the fear we have that if we video everything and just put it out there for free on the web after the event, will people continue to come to the actual event itself?

That’s why this year at Web Directions South we produced all this video, but have only made it available to people who were actually at the event for the time being – please get in touch if you were there and haven’t received your username and password and we’ll get that to your straight away.

There is also a free sample video available to everyone: Douglas Crockford’s awesome developer track session “Programming Style and your Brain“.

What’s been interesting though is looking at the stats of which videos have been the most popular. Bearing in mind that attendees said they wanted video so they could catch up on sessions they weren’t able to see on the day because they chose to go and see another presentation, I’m still pondering the fact that the most popular video by far is Ben Hammersley’s keynote, The Flower, the Field and the Stack – which everyone must have seen on the day. Humans, hey? They’re a weird mob :). In fairness, it was an amazing presentation and well worth reliving.

How do I get to see these amazing videos?

And if you weren’t there? Well there is still a way to see it. Anyone who buys a ticket to Web Directions Code – our awesome developer focussed event this May in Melbourne – will also get a free pass to all those Web Directions South videos. So get in there now while early bird pricing lasts for the bargain of the month!

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Thanks for an amazing few days Web Directions. So many great themes of empathy, inclusion, collaboration, business impact through design, and keeping our future deeply human.

Laura van Doore Head of Product Design, Fathom