WE05 cont…

Continued through the afternoon yesterday with some interesting sessions. Doug Bowman’s talk was quite interesting, challenging us to think towards the future – the “long now” on the net. I was looking forward to a technical discussion from Doug, but his talk was still inspiring.

The eye tracking and accessible forms sessions were lacking a bit of detail to my mind, which was a little disappointing, but still useful. I was especially surprised by the results of usability tests on fly-out menus – apparently they were well accepted (I was personally of the view that they would cause all sorts of issues). The other interesting note was that for navigation placed horizontally across the top of the page, the user expectation was that sub-menus would appear immediately beneath.

Eye-tracking data made it abundantly clear that users weren’t comfortable with crossing the screen for navigation options, which our new design, to a small degree, does. Something to think about and review. The data from a user looking for a search box was fascinating – they went right for the top-right corner, and really struggled to find it when it wasn’t a text box/button combo.

The accessible forms session covered stuff I was already familiar with, so less value there. I hope to be able to speak to the folks that presented these sessions today – I’m sure that I can learn a lot from them both.

We had a breakfast with Tantek this morning and it was brilliant. We were able to ask questions and learn a lot about his thoughts and his background, and get a chance to meet him in a much more relaxed and conducive environment. I’m sure that others got the same kind of value from drinks last night, but I’m not the type of person that is good in that kind of setting. The breakfast was more my vibe.

I was thinking this last night, but this morning really clinched it for me – attending this conference is making me crave the “unconference” format that Dave Winer and others. I can’t help but think that we could get a whole lot more value from our time with the speakers. So far I’m finding it hard to justify the admission price, particularly given the fact I’m coming from a non-profit.

Molly is presenting again this morning and has already opened up to questions – today is certainly starting better…