DesignInterview

Cat Clark on this year's FOWD

Cat Clark and Davin Wilfrid of Future Insights on what we can look forward to at Future of Web Design this year

.net: Were there any particular themes or trends you were aiming to include when you put together the line-up for Future of Web Design (FOWD) this year?
Cat Clark: As ever, when it comes to FOWD, we try to keep things as future-focused as possible. Whatever topic they're covering, we always ask our speakers to be thinking one step ahead of the curve, whether that's in terms of web technologies, working practices or design trends. Of course, no one can perfectly predict the future of web design, but it's fascinating to hear people's hypothetical forecasts and it always generates some great debate in between sessions.

.net: Tell us about the speakers. Are there any talks you're particularly excited about?
CC: I'm really excited to learn from this year's line up. We've got a great mix of technical and inspirational speakers; from Seb Lee-Delisle and Mike Kus, getting people thinking creatively, to Peter Gasston and Darcy Clark who'll be bringing some frontend wizardry to the table. I'm personally really looking forward to our UX sessions, from Stephanie Troeth, who has great past experience working with MailChimp, and Joe Leech, whose workshop sold out in record time for a very good reason!
 
.net: What are the workshops this year, and why did you pick them?
CC: We've got a real mix of workshops on offer this year - and, as ever, they're full day format, meaning attendees can really get to grips with their topic of choice. Three workshops ('CSS3 Master Class', 'From Spaghetti To Scalable' and 'Wonderful Web Typography') are updated versions of tried and tested successes from FOWD Prague and NYC - we got great feedback from them first time round and are really happy that we can now offer them to a UK audience. Joe Leech and Dave Ellender's 'UX Psychology for Web Designers' is going to be brilliant too. When we saw Joe speak on the Rising Star track last year, we knew we had to have him back as a workshop leader!

.net: What will be the highlights of the event?
CC: The great thing about FOWD is the community that's built up around it over the years. We love seeing the excitement mounting before the show itself, and the amazing atmosphere when everyone starts arriving at The Brewery. But, as always, it's the content and take-away knowledge that attendees are going to get from the event that's the real jewel in the crown. We're also putting a lot of effort into the little details that make FOWD special too - from hands on creative challenges in the breaks, to some seriously amazing catering (am I allowed to count puddings as a highlight? They totally will be).

.net: As always, you have the Rising Stars track for speakers just breaking onto the scene. Who should we look out for there?
CC: The Rising Stars track is going from strength to strength. Over the past four years we've seen some fantastic talent come from that stage and 2013 won't be any different. The sessions that I'll be trying to sneak into include Jack Franklin's JavaScript session, Tammie Lister's 'Beyond The Noise of Social Networks' and Holly Kennedy's creative collaboration talk. There's a really broad range of topics on offer across both conference days though, definitely something for everyone.

.net: The FOWD website is looking great this year! Tell us about the redesign.
Davin Wilfrid: We've been incredibly lucky over the years to not only meet and showcase great designers at our events, but also to work with them on the various sites for those events. Laura Kalbag did a tremendous job on our sites in 2012, and this year we were fortunate that Mike Kus was available to do this project for us. Mike is an amazing talent who understands our business, so being a client of his was remarkably easy.

We simply asked Mike for a new site that would take us in a bold new direction (and look great at any size), and he delivered. The final product you see isn't far from the original concepts he sent across early in the project.

.net: The Future Insights community is relatively new - how's it going? How do people benefit by participating?
DW: It's building momentum steadily. We wanted to create a place where designers and developers could find useful information and meaningful interaction outside of our conferences. We also wanted to build it slowly, so as not to fall into the trap of wrongly assuming what people need. At first, the free membership level included only our newsletter, but we recently added a members-only section of our site that includes more than 30 free conference videos, a 'deals' page, and a place for live chats and online sessions. We'll be adding several new features over the next few months, too. We hope everyone will consider joining!

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