It's been a couple of weeks since this years @Media closed its doors and I've been taking the time to mull over what I took away from the conference.
One of the main differences from an organisational point of view was that the events were split in to two tracks. This provided greater variety but also demanded some serious choices when preffered sessions were scheduled in the same time slot (as in the case of Andy Clarke and Tantek Celik's talks on the second day). Thankfully there was 4 of us at the conference and between us we managed to cover all of the presentations. You can find notes on the sessions I missed over on Bruce's Zeropointnine blog.
Of course being able to get hold of the presentations you missed online is a great bonus, I noticed that this time the sessions were getting filmed and recorded (hopefully the results will turn up on the main conference site), and the views from the various blogs provide some different perspectives.
The highlights for me were Chris Wilson's IE 7 and Beyond, Jeffery Veen's Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps and Andy Clarke's The Fine Art of Web Design (warning, it's a hefty 50mb download but well worth it), detailed reviews to follow.
Eric Meyer's keynote presentation A Decade of Style provided a real insiders view of how the whole CSS and web standards movement came to prominence over the past 10 years.
Of the other sessions, Good Design vs Great Design was presented as a panel chaired by Jon Hicks with Cameron Moll and Veerle Pieters. It was part discussion and part separate presentations based on 3 themes; Cameron Moll covered the Grid (a good precursor to Andy's presentation on the second day), Jon covered Type and Veerle talked about Color. There was a lot to take in but the main thread throughout the presentations was how much time it takes to produce really good design and how the design improves through iteration.
Update: Jon Hicks has posted some of his thoughts on the panel along with links to sites that he refered to in his presentation.
Dan Cederholm kicked off the Friday session with his presentation on Bulletproof Web Design. I've found both of Dan's books indispensible as clear and practical guides to creating standards-based solutions so it was great to get a chance to see him going over some of the key techniques.
The Strategic CSS Management panel with Rachel Andrew, Andy Budd, Roger Johansson and Dave Shea, highlighted the lack of mature tools and methods for managing CSS. It was interesting to see that even experienced practitioners such as Dave Shea still relied on basic tools and techniques. There does seem to be a gap in the market for a tool that can help to manage some of the issues around CSS design and implementation, including version tracking, templating, orgainising, team-based workflow and client/end-user input.
Once again it was great to see so many great speakers and practitioners in the one conference. Hopefully @media has paved the way for more UK based web events in the future.