Web Directions Summit ‘18

Summit was the 11th conference MessageMedia had proudly sponsored and attended this year and it was the 7th conference hosted by Web Directions. Attending Web Directions Summit is enough to make a non-tech person want to lock themselves in a room and learn all about the tech world! The annual two day conference was hosted at Australia’s largest fully integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment centre – International Convention Centre in Sydney. With over 500 attendees, the two days were packed full of exciting talks and an exhibition area filled with sponsors. The event was hosted John Allsopp and his team and was a huge success.

Sydney was bright and warm on Day 1 and attendees were soaking up the fresh sunshine as they made their way into the centre. By half past eight there was a mix of delegates in the hall – some were queuing to register, some waiting for their fresh caffeine hit while the others checked out the exhibition booths. Close to 9am, right before the welcome speech, everyone had made their way to the main room. An hour later, the hall had come back to life again courtesy of the morning tea and raspberry brownies. The talks at Summit was split into two curated tracks, one focused on development and engineering and the other on design, which saw the engineering people make their way upstairs where the engineering sessions were hosted. Although the tracks were on different floors, the delegates reunited during the breaks and the hall was painted with an assortment of creative developer t-shirts.

The talks were quite diverse and informative ranging from conversing with artificial intelligence models to different approaches to securing the web. Here’s what Bec Martin, an API Evangelist, had to say about her experience –

“This was my first time at a Web Directions conference and what stood out for me what the breadth of the topics covered. There were presentations on everything from ethics, philosophy, and futurology, to security, scalability, and accessibility. I tried to catch the presentations on the psychology of design, in particular, which I always find interesting. It was also great to catch up with the many interstate developer community friends who had made the trip to Sydney for it, as well as those who live locally in Sydney”

The first day concluded after Maria Giudice’s talk about her tech journey and the learnings from it. Networking drinks was hosted at a nearby pub where the delegates, speakers and sponsors were all exchanging thoughts and stories about the conference over chilled beers and drinks.

Day 2 flowed just as smoothly with insightful talks, positive vibes and tasty treats. Based on my conversations with the delegates, the two talks that everyone was raving about were “Machine learning for front-end developers” by Charlie Gerard and “Your face here” by Jennifer Hom. Charlie spoke about how due to recent developments, we now have the ability to now train and run machine learning algorithms and models in the browser. She talked about the different applications, possibilities, tools and resources and how front-end developers can now learn and experiment with machine learning algorithms. Jennifer walked everyone through the development process of Airbnb’s illustrative aesthetics–describing their philosophies on colour, representation, and editorial voice. She also discussed how superstitions helped localise the style for Airbnb in China.

Other than the talented line of speakers and the scrumptious food, I absolutely loved the location and the view from the ICC. It overlooked the majestic Darling Harbour, ideal for anyone who needed to go out for a quick stroll or some fresh air.

Summit was an excellent way for Web Directions to end the year. This was a conference where the finest minds at the intersection of technology and design came together to network and listen to some outstanding speakers. Hats off to John and his fantastic team for pulling off yet another great conference.


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