Since we announced WXG – Web Expo Guildford – in May we’ve been working hard to create an amazing roster of speakers for our first one day conference.
Our criteria has been to invite people we want to listen to and we’ve been blown away by the response.
When we had our first Web Meet Guildford in November 2010, we felt there was a need in the area for a regular social event for people who work in web.
We just wanted to chat about great work and new stuff and share a drink and it’s worked out pretty well.
Being a web design company we’re pretty used to the idea that other companies might take a certain amount of inspiration from our work.
Designers seem to love these:
If you take on Kyan as a client you’ll soon be aware that we love our music in the office.
We used to use a 3rd party music player, but decided a few years ago to build our own; this gives you a lot more flexibility in exactly how it works.
I’ve had some requests for more info on the challenges involved in building the new site; read on for more.
For the most part the design is actually fairly simple. Nice clean fonts and a clear rhythm, but I had strong design direction which always helps when building a new site. I sit back-to-back with the designer on this so I could just turn around and ask questions if I needed clarity.
Now that our new site is live, I can finally talk about development decisions we made.
The site last had a makeover in mid-2008 so what we can do has moved on quite considerably, and we’ve tried to take advantage of that where possible.
Ever heard of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directives) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (Regulation 6)? If not then it‘s perhaps more likely that you’ve read news stories about how cookies are going to be banned. Sensationalist? Only a little.
There seems to be an inordinate number of whisky fans at Kyan, but that does mean some interesting stuff comes into the office. Witness today’s delivery.
Left to right, that’s:
- Suntory Hibiki 12 Year Old
- Ardbeg 10 Year Old
- Koskenkorva Minttu Liqueur
- Laphroaig Quarter Cask
- Glenkinchie 1989 / Distillers Edition
- Karlsson’s Gold Vodka
- Glenlivet 1992 / 16 Year Old / Cask Strength
- Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Year Old
- Glenlivet 18 Year Old
- another Hibiki 12 Year Old
- Teichenne Chocolate Schnapps Liqueur
- another Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Any recommendations for other bottles to try?
Last week I attended the inaugural Heart and Sole conference in Portsmouth. It was a fairly small conference at 150 people, but I thought it really showed the benefits of having a fairly tight focus on what you want to achieve when putting on an event.
Heart & Sole was initially conceived as a networking night for students and web professions on the south coast of the UK. Students would be able to get advice from professionals on how to get into the industry and agencies would be able to meet motivated people who would actively looking for jobs in the next year or two. This premise not only served as a base for the ensuing event but informed the choices that were made during the planning process. The final event ended up a fair bit bigger that originally planned and in a far more dramatic location (not having been in the Spinnaker Tower before I was somewhat taken aback), but the idea of a network event for students and professionals was still core and this made it unlike any other conference or event I’d been to. I know that the organisers are beginning to plan a second event with a similar focus, and I really hope it takes off for them.
From Kyan’s point of view we also host an event: Web Meet Guildford. Again, this started with a simple idea: ‘a dialogue between local web and design agencies would be a good thing’. Our event is a lot smaller than Heart & Sole but so far we’ve had two successful nights and made a lot of friends in the process. We’ll keep growing the event to include any new people who want to come along and we’ve got some plans for some more structured activities than mass beer consumption (don’t worry!), but at the heart the event will keep the same core goal.
If nothing else the small focused approach should convince a lot more people that it’s feasible to host your own event, and that’s got to benefit everyone.
I’m currently typing this post on my iPhone as the power on Guildford High Street is dead again. Being a web company has many advantages but coping with power loss isn’t one of them, as the silent (apart from the beeping UPS) testifies. Luckily our servers have enough power to shutdown gracefully and automatically, but desktop computers don’t like the lack of power and laptops and ipads lose connection when the switch goes down too.
Coping strategies so far have been an office wide spring clean, the designers hauling out the HB pencils again, and a general moaning from the developers who don’t have laptops and a current git repository clone.
Anyone got any tips on working around power loss? Ideas for web related work that can be done with a pen and paper and iPad with no net connection?
Overall, we’re very happy with the choice we made. Congratulations to the jQuery team, and here’s the the next couple of years of progress!
Back in October I posted an article on our first steps with HTML5. Unfortunately, since then we’ve tripped over a rather large stumbling block.
The workaround is to wrap all the new elements in wrapper
<div>s and style those instead, but then you’re increasing the amount of markup compared to current HTML4 or XHTML1, and for the time being this isn’t really a tradeoff worth making. Of course, with the gradual reduction of IE in the marketplace this tradeoff is something we should keep on evaluating.
Here at Kyan we like to keep up to date, so new technologies regularly come under the spotlight. This week’s focus: HTML5. Jumping straight into an unknown is rarely a good idea for a client project, but with no such qualms about internal projects I elected to rework our intranet.
Not sure how long they’ll last in the job though!
Around a couple of years ago the “what screen resolution should we design for?” argument had mostly become irrelevant. 640×480 was out, 800×600 was mostly out and 1024×768 was a reasonable minimum. With this step change over and new grids in place life should be easy, right?
Think again. The intervening time has seen an explosion in web use on mobile devices and the future looks to only diverge from your standard 1024×768 grid you’ve settled on. So what different screens can you reasonably expect your users to view your site on?
Here at Kyan we love unobtrusive scripting: scripting that adds on to the top of an existing web page and extends it to add functionality and interaction niceness.
CAPTCHA (standing for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) must have seemed like a good idea when it was first invented in 2000. Spam was beginning to become a major problem on the web and a method was needed to fight back. CAPTCHA at first glance seems ideal: a distorted image that would be instantly recognisable by humans yet incomprehensible to machines. Place some letters in the distorted image and get the user to type them back and bingo: you’ve stopped your spam problem.