WebVisions 2006: Day 1

I’m at the WebVisions 2006 event right now, and the first day went very well. Here are my notes from the seminars I attended. At the end of each seminar, I have added a tidbit of how each seminar relates to my work at Aptima (since they’re paying for me to go).

CSS Bootcamp

Speaker: David MacFarland

This seminar lasted the first half-day of the event. I didn’t know David MacFarland before today, but he was a great presenter. The seminar was a mix of things I’ve recently learned, a refresh of things I’ve known for a while, and some new things I look forward to adding to my arsenal. One thing worth noting is the fact that the last hour of the seminar was devoted to bugs with Internet Explorer. Why this browser has so much of a market share, I’ll never understand.

Some other tidbits I took from this seminar is not to put your site’s title (or company name) within an h1 tag. The reasoning is that search engines LOVE pages developed in standards, because the code is so semantic. Engines pay special attention to what is in that h1 tag, so it makes sense to put the title of that page in there. For example, a blog page would have the post’s title as the h1. A company’s web site would have something like “About Us” in the h1.

I never paid a whole lot of attention to the “active” state of an HTML link… I usually just style it the same as the plain link. The only time I’ve ever seen the active state is that brief split second that I’m clicking on a link. Well, I neglected to remember that some people tab through elements of a page. And when the user tabs through these links, the currently selected (active) link is styled with the a:active selector. So, that’s something I’ll take into consideration in the future.

I also learned a bit more about floats (allows you to use CSS layout instead of table layout), learned that there’s actually an address tag in HTML (who knew?), and that David calls a style that is the product of many different cascaded styles a “Frankenstyle.”

For Aptima: Well, this seminar means a lot for Aptima. I’m currently developing my first true web standards site (not the one I originally though I would be developing… unfortunately—another project jumped in the lead to become the first). HOwever, the original site should be right behind it, making another project I will need this stuff for. Plus, Aptima.com was developed with a good amount of CSS in there, but it’s still table-based and I’d like to fix this at some point.

Let Go, Jump In: Community Marketing Strategies for Empowered Customers

Speakers: Kit Seeborg (moderator), Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Oberkirch, Dan Saffer

The first slide of this combination presentation read “Embrace Intelligent customers.” Each member of the panel then took a turn with some opening remarks:

Brian Oberkirch:

Jeremiah Owyang:

Dan Saffer:

Then, some other topics were discussed by the whole panel:



I asked a question:

I work for an R&D company that is currently moving towards productizing our offerings. I am interested in getting the bright company executives blogging. How do you deal with the line between trying to spark discussion in the communty vs. looking like you’re just trying to pitch your products. For example, Ryan Carson takes flack every time he mentions DropSend.

The advice:

For Aptima: Obviously, even though I went into this seminar for one project, I came out with more of an attack plan to get Aptima’s brilliant minds blogging and sharing with the community. My current project work doesn’t have as much of a marketing aspect because it isn’t really selling a product, per se. But a lot of this still applies to retaining the user base.

Step Away from the Computer

Speaker: Andy Baio

Andy talked about when online communities meet offline.

I actually had a “meetup” while I was here in Portland. I run a community web site of my own. It’s centered around a baseball simulation league, the Ted Williams Memorial League. We have 24 guys across the U.S. and Canada, and I’ve met about half of them face to face. Wednesday night, Mark (who lives 45 minutes north of Portland) came down and we hung out. It was the first time we had met face to face. While Mark was here, we recorded a podcast, so it was good fun. But I could certainly relate to what Andy was talking about today.

For Aptima: My Aptima tie-in for this one was in the event that we develop a community site that is wildly successful, who’s to say we won’t one day have a small (or large?) conference based on the community? Even before we get to that point, “meetups” among users could certainly be possible.

The New Community: How Decentralized Conversation Empowers Individuals while Creating Community

Speaker: Derek Powazek

I first heard of Derek through an article he did for Vitamin. I also recently heard an interview with his wife, Heather Champ of Flickr, on the Web 2.0 Show. They both just seem like very fun people, and Derek was a great presenter.

For Aptima: This relates more to project work than it does to Aptima.com in the respect that I see a particular project as one of these mashup kind of sites that combines all sorts of different content types to educate the user base. They will have tools for collaboration and communication within the site. The other site that I’m working on (that is already in development) is based on a similar framework, but the user base isn’t quite as collaborative. It is more of an instructor/student relationship.


Tomorrow will be a super cool day for me. WebVisions is touting their speakers as “rock stars” and tomorrow I will meet the supreme rocker of the mall, Dan Cederholm. He’s giving a seminar on his book Bulletproof Web Design and is also taking part in a Design panel. Plus, he’s got a book signing, and I just happen to have a copy of Bulletproof right next to me.

His first book, Web Standards Solutions is absolutely fantastic. I’m so glad I picked that book as my first foray into Web Standards (well, after reading Dan’s blog—and others—for months). Anyway, Dan is one of the many great designers out there that have really influence the way I’m looking at my work—and my career path—lately. He is a pioneer in modern content delivery.

I haven’t decided what I’m seeing during the second slot yet… perhaps About Interface: Designing for Lifestyle (presented by Kelly Goto). Kelly appears to be a rock star herself, but I’m not familiar with her yet. After lunch, I’m wrestling between three good ones, but I’ll have to choose between Tagging in the Real Web World (very relevant to proejct work as more and more content populates the sites) and Beyond Just Content: Websites as Interactive Applications. That’s the next step to a lot of this web standards stuff… throwing a layer of AJAX on top of it to make it behave like a desktop application.

(Note: AJAX comes LAST though… you have to put it as a layer on top of everything else. That way, you have a web app that degrades nicely to standards compliant HTML on whatever device the user is using.)

Social Metadata and the Relevance Revolution (at 2:15) is also very project-relevant, but it competes against Scaling for Your First 100k Users. Okay, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself on getting 100k users. :)

Finally, we end with a keynote by Jared Spool, anther rock star I need to familiarize myself with. All in all, it looks like it’s going to be an awesome second day. This is looking like the type of conference that was made for me.

More Notes:

Also See:


  1. On July 21st, 2006 at 6:01 am Web Strategy by Jeremiah » Webvisions: Day 1, Portland said:

    [...] Session: Stepping away from the Computer by Andy Baio This was a great presentation by Upcoming’s founder Andy, he told me later this was his first speech, I was sure he’d givin it before. He demonstrated how communities –using web tools –are able to connect both in real life as well as online.¬† The most effective (or at¬† least interesting examples) are those fo communities that meetup from a bottom up (meaning self-organized) rather than top down (marketing lead).¬† He gave examples of Ham radio meetups, discussed some top-down myspace meetups.¬† Later, when we chatted in the hall, we explored the ideas of communities being built/harnessed/or pre-existed around companies.¬† Adam has some notes here [...]

  2. On July 21st, 2006 at 11:42 am Joe Clark said:

    Actually, you’re thinking of a:focus for keyboard navigation of links. If the original speaker identified that as a:active, he made a booboo.

    Eric Meyer suggests styling links in LoVe/HAte order (link visited hover active).

  3. On July 21st, 2006 at 4:33 pm Waxy.org said:

    Waxy at Webvisions 2006…

    If you happen to be at the Webvisions conference in Portland this week, you should come by my session Thursday……

  4. On July 22nd, 2006 at 8:37 am Web Strategy by Jeremiah » WebVisions 2006: The Blog, Picture, and Video List said:

    [...] Webvisions Day 1: Fantastic capture of several presentations [...]

  5. On July 23rd, 2006 at 9:50 pm Community Marketing Panel @ Webvisions at Like It Matters said:

    [...] Adam Darkowski has extensive notes about our panel and many others. [...]

  6. On July 25th, 2006 at 10:45 am Webvisions | Wp said:

    [...] Thanks to all the speakers – I wish I could have hit up every session, but from what I hear, there was much to take away and gain from every panel. You can find session notes on the Webvisions blog, the Raincity blog, and from a few of these conference go-ers: Jeremiah Owyang Brian Oberkirch Adam Darowski Micki Krimmel [...]

  7. On April 23rd, 2007 at 9:43 pm Binoculars Superstore said:

    Binoculars Superstore…

    Excellent idea. I will try it….