Musings and Sketchnotes from Webstock 2015

Musings and Sketchnotes from Webstock 2015


Webstock is an annual conference in Wellington, New Zealand, with a reputation for hosting deftly curated presentations by an eclectic mix of creative, interesting, and entertaining people.

The UX Mastery team were in full attendance this year. Hawk recaps the two-day event—complete with sketchnotes.

If you haven’t been to Webstock, you haven’t lived.

Not only does the two-day Webstock conference take place in the beautiful surrounds of Wellington, New Zealand, but it is perhaps the best web conference on the circuit these days (not just my opinion!) Light on the technical content, the annual conference is more of an exploration into life and culture in our time.

Matt, Luke and I were fortunate enough to attend the ninth Webstock conference last month, and it didn’t disappoint. There were way too many notable moments to fit into one post, but here are a few of my personal highlights.

Kris Sowersby made me proud to be a kiwi (all over again). In his flat accent, he deadpanned his way through one of the most entertaining technical talks (if you consider the inner workings of the eye to be a technical subject) that I have ever had the pleasure of sitting through. After a moment of panic (along the lines of “F&#*! I only printed out half my notes!”), Kris had us in fits of laughter, and we all learned something about typography. For more details, check out Matt’s sketchnote below.

There are times when I feel that I’ll explode if I hear one more person speak of the gender imbalance in the ‘tech industry’ today, so it was with great trepidation that I sat down to listen to Janet Crawford present on The Surprising Neuroscience of Gender Inequality. I needn’t have worried. I was riveted. Crawford’s case was grounded in solid (social) science, and any biases displayed were carefully explained. I left the auditorium at her conclusion with a keen feeling of responsibility for my part in changing the story.

RELATED:  The Big List of UX Conferences

One of my favourite UXers, Derek Featherstone, charmed us with photos of his children, while imparting a very important message. Too often we confuse context with the way in which (or device on which) people engage with a site, and forget about a number of other important factors (time, proximity, and state of mind to name just a few of Derek’s examples). We collect enough data these days to make truly great experiences that have nothing to do with the device on which they are viewed.

Unfortunately Matt took a well-deserved break during my favourite session of the entire conference, so there is no sketch record of the amazing journey that Auckland architect Nat Cheshire took us on. If you’d like to take that journey, you can do so here.

And now for the really good bit … below you’ll find Matt’s beautifully illustrated records of most of the presentations that took place over the two days. I was relieved to hear that he didn’t sketch the after-party, but that relief was short lived, because …

UX Mastery at Webstock

Matt’s Webstock Sketchnotes

Brad Frost's Webstock 2015 talk
Brad Frost examined how the byproducts of our creative work can have a tremendous impact on the world around us.
Cory Doctorow's talk at Webstock 2915
Cory Doctorow talked about finding ways to begin unravelling the ‘knotwork’ of neoliberal corruption.
Erin McKean at Webstock 2015
Erin McKean spoke about providing writers and speakers with the right word-tool for the job, whatever that job may be
Derek Featherstone at Webstock 2015
Derek Featherstone’s presentation was about the importance of designing for context, not the device.
Honor Harger at Webstock 2015
Honor Harger blew our minds with sounds from outer space in her talk titled ‘A Very Dark Matter’.
Kate Keifer-Lee at Webstock
We all write every day, and Kate Keifer-Lee handed out some great tips to be better at it.
Kim Goodwin at Webstock 2015
Kim Goodwin says that an experience is built from the values of an organization.
Kirby Ferguson at Webstock 2015
Kirby Ferguson demonstrated how perfectly remixing is as a metaphor for all varieties of creativity.
Kris Sowersby at Webstock 2015
Kris Sowersby stole our hearts with his tricky (and hilarious)  take on ‘responsive fonts’.
Mathew Patterson at Webstock 2015
Mathew Patterson talked about the wealth of info that never makes it past customer service.
Shelley Bernstein at Webstock 2015
Shelley Bernstein demonstrated how Brooklyn Museum has mastered user-centered design.
Moxie Marlinspike at Webstock 2015
Moxie Marlinspike somehow made cryptography seem interesting to the average person.
Dr Genevieve Bell at Webstock 2015
Dr Genevieve Bell intrigued us with a speech titled Seeing Eternity in a Daffodil, and robots…
Harper Reed at Webstock 2015
The very colourful Harper Reed regaled us with stories of big data (and why he hates it).
Elle Luna at Webstock 2015
Elle Luna spoke beautifully about the importance of finding (and following) your true calling.
Des Traynor at Webstock 2015
Des Traynor had us in fits of laughter as he talked about successful product strategy.

Written by
Sarah Hawk
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