Webmaster Jam Session was so cool!


It’s been almost three weeks, but I’m just now getting a chance to blog! (way too busy)

The Webmaster Jam Session was a two day event in Dallas put on by Coffee Cup Software. The event brought in some of the leading speakers in the web design field. This was a great opportunity to interact with leading designers in the field and throughout Texas.

Event Images: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=WebmasterJamSession
Event Website, Session Podcasts and Video:  http://www.webjamsession.com/

Some of the sessions that I attended:

“IE7 and Beyond”, Chris Wilson (Microsoft – Redmond, WA)
Chris is one of the program managers for IE7. He did a great job representing Microsoft and discussing IE7 with the web designers here. Chris is also the one the connected me with the organizers so that I was able to attend the event (kudos!).

“Accessible Websites”, Derek Featherstone (Canada)
Derek is an independent consultant and trainer from Canada. He gave a great talk on web accessibility. It was both informative and emotionally grabbing. He gave many examples of some of the frustrations that impaired users of the Internet have had while trying to accomplish simple tasks.
Company: http://www.furtherahead.com/
Blog: http://www.boxofchocolates.ca/

“Photoshop Tips and Tricks, Making Photoshop Your Bitch”, Bryan Veloso (San Jose, CA)
(Note: Title taken directly from his slides) Brian is well known in the design community for creating stunning and creative websites. I was a little disappointed by this session. Mainly because I’ve used Photoshop for years and this really was a 100 – 200 level talk. You could tell that there was a ton more advice that Brian could have dug in to – he’s a genius designer, but he kept this very top level. It was a great talk for people who are starting out, and want to start out right.

“Good Content Must Suck”, Jared Spool (MA)

Jared gave a great presentation; he was definitely a “keynoter”. His company does research on usability and how people find information that they are looking for on websites. The total presentation was excellent. One of the cool things about his talk was that the concepts could be applied to any technology platform.
Conference: http://www.uiconf.com
Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks

“Starbucks Tribal Knowledge”, John Moore (Austin, TX)

John spent 8 years at Starbucks doing marketing. The content on this talk was excellent. I would highly recommend following up with John, he lives in Austin, TX and his content was very technology neutral. As a presenter, John has a severe stutter (he actually has the stutter when he is just speaking 1:1, not just presenting) I thought that it was neat that John addressed this addressed this at the beginning of his talk, and it was not much of a distraction (it actually helped make his talk memorable). John does his talk in a lab coat and his business cards are “toe tags“. It was one of the best talks of the day.



“Front End Architecture”, Garrett Dimon (Geniant – Dallas, TX)

Garret did a good job presenting. He is a well known presenter, blogger and UI Architect, and works for the same company that I worked for before I joined Microsoft. I thought that the focus of his presentation was very straight forward and a good talk to justify taking time to do a quality UI design; halfway through I went to the “Designing with CSS Session”. I’m looking forward to working with Garrett more, since he’s based out of Dallas.



“Design with CSS” Ethan Marcotte (Ventura.com), James Craig (apple)

I just caught the end of this session. Ethan and James did a great job playing off of each other in the presentation.  James is at Apple in San Jose now, but he is originally from Austin, TX; I wonder if he’ll be able to attend any of the upcoming BarCamps. (The Dallas BarCamp will be at Microsoft in January)

Ethan: http://vertua.com/about/ethan/

James: http://cookiecrook.com/


“Adobe Project Showcase” Scott Fegette

Scott does not call himself an evangelist, but that is the sort of role that he has at Adobe. He was originally at Macromedia, and has we know a couple of the same people from there (Some people from Macromedia now work at Microsoft). I don’t think that I ever saw Scott not smiling. The presentation was a great overview of a lot of the things that Adobe is about to come out with. We looked at Flex2, Spry (Adobe’s AJAX framework), and Apollo.



“Becoming a Web Design Superhero” – Andy Budd (UK)

Andy was a great guy to hang out with during the weekend. This presentation was full of bright (cartoony) graphics from AlexRossArt.com.  This session was focused on the skills and overall characteristics that are important / common for web designers (and consultants in general). I would love to see a presentation like this again, the content could apply well to developers and designers alike.


“Social Interactive Websites”
This was the last session of the event. Very good, and informal, a lot of fun. The speakers talked about what brings people to your site. They also free form evaluated people’s sites from the audience. They would pull up the site live and discuss it for everyone to see the process of creating sites that bring people. They also gave out Corona’s and Jack shots to anyone that wanted them during the session – what a way to engage an audience!



About Caleb Jenkins

Caleb Jenkins is an international speaker, author and 6 time Microsoft MVP award recipient, he currently works for Solera as a Director of Software Development. An entertaining and informative speaker who approaches software from a fresh perspective that spans UX, agile practices and technologies for enterprise customers from across the globe. Leading UX product design teams, coaching multi-team agile transformations and architecting and mentoring at some of the largest companies in the world, As a long time community leader and former Microsoft Developer Evangelist, Caleb is well known for his engaging speaking style, depth of knowledge and creative energy. Founder and Principal Mentor of Proaction Mentors, former UX Manager and Agile Coach, Senior Architect for Six Flags Corporation, Product Architect on a Cloud Marketing Platform, Caleb has made a career out of empowering others while building products and teams that delight customers and solve business needs. You can follow him on twitter (@calebjenkins) or his blog, DevelopingUX.com and if you're still reading this, then you could also subscribe to his blog RSS feed or sign up to receive updates by email