Dave and Derek Speak to the Better Web Posse

Last night, I had the pleasure to attend a presentation put on by Dave Shea and Derek Featherstone. This was a great opportunity, as both are notable figures in the web industry. There was a goodly turnout at the event, as it had been publicized on the Better Web Posse site.

Dave started the show by speaking on five steps to follow when designing and building websites. He covered points such as replacing default browser styles, using a harmonious and pleasing colour scheme, using attractive and readable typography, and paying attention to little details and finishing touches. Very insightful.

Derek followed with a demonstration of a map created on his web site by using the Google Maps API. His primary point was that the default map and tools are not overly accessible – the zoom, pan, and viewing mode tools are not links or buttons, but rather JavaScripted divs. No good for screen readers or those browsing without a mouse. To that end, he demonstrated that it is indeed possible to replace the standard tools with actual buttons with custom styles, making them much more accessible. A sample customized map can be viewed on his website.

After the presentation, they were even so gracious as to buy a round of drinks and appetizers – way to go guys!

It was too good an opportunity to pass up, I was glad to attend. I think they are good speakers – I attended their presentations at Web Directions North back in February. A shame I won’t be going the next time around, but I will be watching for other opportunities to see them in action!