Chen Style Tai Chi

I first took up Tai Chi years ago. I studied for 8 years under Paul Crompton doing Chen Man Ching Yang Style Short Form. Paul arranged weekend seminar with Ji Jian-Cheng, who demonstrated Bagua and Chen Style Tai Chi. I was blown away by Chen Style Tai, it looked so different to Yang style, it seems closed to Kung Fu, a mixture of fast and slow movements. I stopped Tai Chi after moving out of London.

I moved back to London a few years ago, well Ruislip anyway. I was speaking with Simon Morris at work, he’s a martial arts nut and encouraged me to take it up again. I  looked for a class teaching Chen Style. Since January I’ve been going to Phoenix Tai Chi at the Vale Farm Sports Centre, Watford Road, North Wembley on Thursday evenings. I’m hooked and now practice every day before work. I feel fitter and much more relaxed.


Social Media Marketing

Still coughing for England, my first session of the day was Dave Evans from Digital Voodoo Inc, author of: Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day, running through the main points in his book. The book is aimed at traditional marketers with the premise of there’s nothing wrong with marketers participating in the social web but if they go about it in the wrong way they’ll alienate their potential audience.

Low Hanging Fruit
•    Look for the little things that matter to your customers
•    These are the things they’ll talk about

e.g. He gave an example of a book shop that was following their customers on Twitter, on lady had been stood up on a date and they sent her flowers!

The new organisation means that operations and marketing overlap and have to work to support each other.

Social media is the perfect tool to get to know your audience. Ignore this at your peril.

The are plenty of tools out there for measuring success -he mentioned a load. Couldn’t keep up.

He mentioned the Skittles campaign where they’ve taken unfiltered chatter on the social web about Skittles and published it.

“Perhaps I should explain where I’m coming from. I had (and still have) a dream that the web could be less of a television channel and more of an interactive sea of shared knowledge. I imagine it immersing us as a warm, friendly environment made of the things we and our friends have seen, heard, believe or have figured out. I would like it to bring our friends and colleagues closer, in that by working on this knowledge together we can come to better understandings.” – Tim Berners Lee, 1995

He recommended we read an article from The Atlantic from 1945, ‘As we may think’

A quick fire presentation, hard to keep up if you’re taken notes. I’m going to buy the book.

To spec or not to spec, that is the question

Sounds like a fight is breaking out in ACC Ballroom A in the session: “Is Spec Work Evil? The Online Creative Community Speaks”

Shame I missed it

Building brands that matter

Lots of people raving about presentation by Zappos CEO Tony Hseih. Thankfully on Slideshare

Social Media Nonprofit ROI Poetry Slam

Priya’s raving about this. Apparently the whole thing was done in poetry. A topic that could have been quite dull was made enjoyable. Thankfully on Slideshare:

I like your style

Was sitting behind a blogger in my first session who was updating the following:

The illustrations are beautiful.

Building a Brand that matters

Lots of people raving about the presentation by Zappos CEO Tony Hseih. Thankfully available on slideshare:

The future of social Networks

After a walking out of a truly dreadful presentation, I headed over to ballroom A to see the tail end of Charlene Li, author of Groundswell.

What I saw was great and thankfully she’s posted the whole thing on

Design and Develop Workflows with CS4

The session had a great premise: how designers and developers could better work better together. I’ve first experience of seeing how designers come up with a Photoshop designs for a Flash app, which means the Flash developer has to build vector graphics from scratch. Also it’s so common to see beautiful Photoshop files that when built in HTML look a bit rough around the edges. There must be a better way. There were circa 200 people in the audience. The panellists did a show of hands to how many people were designers – approx 50%. They asked who used Photoshop approx 90%. They asked who used Cold Fusion and only one person put up their hand. They spent the next 20 minutes talking about “cool” new features in Cold Fusion, while the rest of the audience got bored and angry. Tonnes of people walked out. They then spent the next 20 minutes talking about Dreamweaver and some new cool Ajax features. Not a single mention of how this helps designers. Microsoft have built some great tools around Silverlight development meaning developers and designers use the same tools and don’t have to throw stuff away. I was hoping Adobe were going to share the same. I’ve heard Fireworks has some good capabilities for speeding up web developers. If only they’d covered that. The whole session was a complete waste of time. I walked out with a whole host of others.

The 7 rules of great web application design

After some delicious breakfast tacos in the company of Priya and Alexander at the Taco Shack, Priya and I headed over to the Hilton for panel by Robert Hoekman author of:

Designing the Obvious: A Commonsense Approach to Web Application Design

Designing the Moment: Web Interface Design Concepts in Action

It was focused on human psychology and how to apply to our designs.

1 Understand users, then ignore them
Watch them and see what they do in real situations.
Ignore what they say. If they tell you what they think they’re probably wrong

2 Build only what’s necessary
What is the core of what’s important in your design.

e.g. – simple to upload a file and share with friends temporarily. Could have added loads of features but they decided to keep it simple.

3 Support the users mental model
Come up with things people can people can relate to.
Like delete a file by dragging to a trash can rather than using “del xxx.dat” in Dos

4 Turn beginners into immediates immediately
Designs need to help people move from beginners into intermediates

e.g. had a very busy home page and users were confused where to sign-up, so they redesigned it adding a huge sign-up now button. Sign-ups went up 12 to 14% within a week.

5 Prevent errors (and handle the rest gracefully)
e.g. on it’s simple and you can’t make mistakes.
Make people feel good
Illuminate the possibility of errors.
Don’t accuse people of being wrong just tell people you need a certain piece of information.

6 Design for uniformity, consistency and meaning
e.g. Squido each page used to have different navigation, too much information. It was not obvious the site was about.
Improve the explainablity of sites

7. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce (and refine.)
e.g. On Squido – reduce clutter