Refreshed

Whereas the first day of Refresh Orlando had a lot of good inspirational talks, day two had a lot of good hands-on practical advice. The mobile Web, accessibility, JavaScript, and UI design were all covered thanks to Brian Fling, Jared Smith, Nate Koechley, and Cameron Moll. Excellent stuff all ‘round.

The conference has now drawn to a close. It’s been a funny little event. It started off looking like it might be your typical formal, somewhat stiff hotel-based mini-conference. But then it also had an ad-hoc grassroots feeling to it, too. On the one hand, there were good facilities provided (Wifi, power sockets, etc.), but on the other hand, it felt like it was kind of self-organising. The organisers took a very hands-off approach, which generally worked fine although there were times when a little more guidance would have been good.

This was the first Refresh Orlando conference so I guess it’s still finding its feet. I suspect any future events will be more clearly geared towards being either more structured and slick, or go the other direction and become more like a Barcamp.

The nice thing about this conference was its intimacy. Like Barcamp, there was a limited number of people (between fifty and sixty) gathered together in the same place for a couple of days. The crowd was smart, eager, and relatively diverse (for a Web conference). As always, it was the conversations that were had after the presentations were done that really made the trip worthwhile. That’s where I usually find most of my inspiration and this time was no exception. Impromptu geek lunches and dinners were the order of the day.

Now it’s time for me to leave the sunshine state. I’ll be catching a flight back to Gatwick later today. I’ve met some great people — some for the first time, some with the pleasure of reunion — and I’ve topped up my creative juices nicely. Time to get back to work.