jQuerySF 2015, Day One Reflection

A two day conference solely dedicated to a jQuery? I know jQuery is an extremely popular library, but I never expected a whole conference dedicated to it! I am still new to JS, especially since I have been taking more back-end language courses lately, but I really would like to brush up on my front-end skills.

Plus, there are lunch and coffee, those are always good incentive!

I had volunteer work that day, so I have to miss the morning. I don’t regret it though – turns out the Americorp people are leaving this week! I am so glad I didn’t missed my last chance to say goodbye. I really enjoyed working with the group this time! They are always so positive and cheerful!

At 12, I leave for the conference after a lot of hugs. I was just in time for the lunch time food truck. I grabbed a bite, settled down, and waited patiently for the next set of speakers.

In jQuerySF, the panels are divided by topics. First up at 2:30 is:

Why Empathize? The speakers are Amanda Glossom, John Resig, and Kelly King.

I like how Amanda began with an explanation of what empathy is: “Empathy is imagining what is like for them in their shoes”. It’s not imagining what is like for us be in their shoes, but what it is like for that individual to be in their shoes. Her ending of “End user isn’t the only one who deserve our empathy. We are people too. ” was also particularly memorable. Very often we get obsess with the end customer, we end up losing those people that are needed to make the whole thing work.

As a JS newbie, the name John Resig sounded familiar. Upon reading his bio, I realized why – he is the author of Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja, a book I have been eying at Barnes & Nobles. His panel did not disappoint. It drawn from his experience during the early days of jQuery. Having read various code language debates, I found it refreshing that John disagreed with the idea that certain code languages are better, and that things that aren’t code can be what differentiate between the different coding language. One of the things he pointed out is level of difficulty to get help from a language community, especially among people just starting to learn the language. His focus of how important community is in the development of a language made his panel particularly useful for those involved in building a language.

The last empathy panel is Kelly King, whom talked about A/B testing. One of the most memorable part for me was when she posted the top liked comment on Netflix, “The new Netflix interface is completely crap.” It sent the room into laughter. The irony though, Kelly revealed, was that A/B testing shows that the new interface actually created better result. As one of my science teacher once told me, science is not always common sense. With A/B testing, they can avoid situations where the decisions are determined based on HiPPO – High Paid Person (Nice name!).

The Importance of Accessibility: The next group of panel consisted of Karo Caran, Jon Kuperman, and Victor Tsaran.

In discussing about accessibility, Karo mentioned not only those who are born with low vision, but also elder and, most interestingly, the invisible audience who wouldn’t acknowledge that they have low vision. She presented 4 pictures of how a person with visual disability might view a laptop screen. The video about how she navigated a website was eye-opening. In the video, she mentioned that she can only see the colors of an app and must magnify for detail. She also mentioned several times how the stripes of color from the navigation bar makes it easier for her. Those seemed like such a small detail when designing a website, but for some people it really makes a difference in their experience of the site.

I like Jon Kuperman’s definition of what accessibility design is, especially the part about how it should create a way that everyone “can contribute to the Web”. His misunderstanding about text-reader was hilarious to read about but also kind of sad. It really does brought to the point of how little most people understand about accessibility. I was fortunate enough that one of my professor did taught us basic accessibility design. However, some of the tools and design considerations that Jon mentioned was never made aware to me before.

So far, all the panels has been inspiring and informational, but Victor Tsaran’s was most educational because I have never even heard of Aria. Turned out ARIA stands for Advanced Rich Internet Applications. It is created to deal with Ajax issues in term of accessibility. It was a short 20-minute, so Victor only got to brush the basic surface of what Aria do, but it is definitely something I hope to look up later.

The last is the keynote – and was it some keynote!

JavaScript State of the Union: The keynote was by Steve Newcomb.

There are times when video and reading can not make up for being in person. This is one of those moment. The combination of his charismatic speech and the presentation of the demo was just amazing. Steve Newcomb has sought to bring the JS language to the three-dimensional, to make browser language compatible with native. I never imagine that something like what the demo showed can be build by JS and jQuery. Listening to him made me wanted to code more projects right after the panel. He was a powerful speaker. His presentation is inspiring and made one look forward to the future of Javascript.

End of Day One

There was so much just on the first day, despite the fact that I have to miss the morning panel. I will try to post a second post later this week, but there are so many notes to process…

For those who missed, there is a video of the conferences at jquerysf.com!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.