RefreshDublin had their first event on October the 30th and I went along to see what it was all about. The event itself is one of many as part of the Refreshing Cities initiative – to bring creative types working in the internet industry together to exchange ideas and promote good practices.
The itinerary involved listening to four speakers well known and highly regarded in the Irish internet industry. Each presented a 15 minute talk on their field of work and this was followed by a quick Q&A session before we all departed for the Lincoln Inn to continue the night over a few pints.
The first speaker of the night was Eamon Leonard (@eamonleonard) from Echolibre – a webapp development studio from Dublin. After taking a cross section of the people in the room Eamon spoke about the different tools and frameworks available to make the life of a web developer easier. He presented some very good information for the audience to go off later on a check out on Google.
Towards the end of the speech Eamon mentioned some of the great grassroots developers in the Irish internet industry and how their projects had become very successful.
I have met Eamon a few times at events like this one and his passion for his work and community collaboration came through in his talk. He finished with some very good advice for start-ups and freelancers – hang around great people, collaborate on projects and shout your name out there.
Next up we had Sabrina Dent (@sabrinadent), a very talented and well known web designer based in Cork. Sabrina talked about the poor standard of web design in Ireland today and displayed some shocking exampled to the audience, comparing them to most Geocities websites from the late 1990s – a visual cacophony.
Next up as a comparison of the main government websites and how ours fared poorly in terms of design, development, accessibility and usability when compared to equivalents from Spain, the US and the UK.
A very good point was made that most clients don’t value good design because good design isn’t the status-quo in Ireland. Although there are a handful of very talented designers (some of whom were showcased in Sabrina’s slides), most of them have much lower standards.
Since the government aren’t leading by example when it comes to good web design, it was time for us to become the example and continue to produce really good work.
Sabrina’s talk was very interesting, engaging and entertaining and it was very well delivered with some very interesting points made.
Up next was Brian from daft.ie and Playhouse Dublin and his talk about installing the interactive display of lights in Liberty Hall in Dublin. Brian went into great technical detail and showed different examples of light installations all over the world. This was an interesting site to interactive media I had paid little attention to in the past so it was good to learn a little more about that.
The final talk of the evening was from Tim Duggan (@timdug) of Mercury Girl Inc, a mobile software development studio based in Dublin. The topic of discussion was augmented reality – something which I have taken a great interest in recently.
Tim’s talk was very useful and as well as presenting some very interesting uses for augmented reality, he came up with a very useful list of resources for anyone who wanted to become involved with mobile app development.
The event was wound up with a quick 15 minute Q&A session where some very interesting questions and points were discussed between the audience and the panel of speakers.
Overall I found the event very informative and it was cool to meet a good group of like-minded people and it’s very good to see more grassroots events like this happening in Dublin. It’s good to know there are a growing number of people out there who have a true understanding of the internet and who want to create really cool products.
I’m looking forward to attending more of these events and of course, a round of applause must go out to Niamh Redmond who organised the whole things and those who helped her – Stuart Curry, Clodagh Kelly, Peter McKenna, and the speakers who did a brilliant job.