I went to the third birthday of the London Girl Geek Dinners last week which were at Google’s Victoria Offices. The Girl Geek Dinners are a fantastic networking community for women working in a special interest area, often tech, but other areas are welcome and present. They were initiated by Sarah Blow after she attended the original Geek Dinners franchise, and she’s now busy jet-setting around the world with Girl Geek Dinners happening in over 20 countries!
This event was a celebration of the last three years and Google laid on great food – see Neville Hobson’s slide show – and gorgeous branded cupcakes which are already rightly getting fan posts via Annie Mole!
Aside from getting a nose around Google Towers (very swish), and suffing our faces, there were some good presentations and a panel discussion. The panel looked at the work-life balance and some of the technologies that mean we can now work anywhere and everywhere. Especially relevant to the audience both because of what many of us do, but also due to the – in some ways – more isolated way we often work. One of the panel speakers ran a start up with ten people working across five countries, which is amazing, but the negatives of working without the traditional office, and the value of face-time were also emphasised by all. I guess that’s why sites like Twitter are increasingly important to many in niche worlds of work, because they replace the office banter you miss when working alone! (I know my colleagues would miss me really)
Some notes from the presentations…
Karen from Google – User-Centric Design
- Digital products are rude eg: ‘Updates are complete, do you want to restart now or later?’ popping up, stopping you working and demanding an answer. It’s about designing smarter products which remember and learn
- Everyone has an opinion on design because it’s visible, so it’s key to resist design-by committee, Google try to avoid this using personas
- The persona’s help them design to goals not tasks as Sandrine covers, eg: people want to write a love letter, not create a word document!
- The difference of designing for mobile web, eg: when designing the YouTube mobile app, they had to think about the distracted user and the greater focus on uploading videos rather than browsing them (Blog Til You Drop has more)
Digital Maverick – Drew Buddie
Drew is a secondary school IT teacher, and talked about technology ‘giving students wings’.
- Drew uses Google docs for shared projects and wikis in school, letting his students engage in and create their own forums, online games and technologies
- He’s a fan of Moodle – a free Open Source software package designed to help educators create effective online learning communities
- Drew rightly believes in ‘digital natives’ and they’re already consuming, creating and building the web around us
- He suggested we check out TED Talks – a huge database of inspirational speakers, that are yours to browse and use. – You could get lost in here, great content and very well-designed site, the way they divide up videos as you watch them is great (for my attention span)
A great, evening, massive thanks to Sarah and her team as usual – good to meet LJ Rich finally too!
(Also now posted on Shiny Red)