On July 30th, members of the I-SITE team attended the 2013 Wharton Web Conference, hosted at the Jon M. Huntsman Hall, part of the University of Pennsylvania. This annual event is aimed at designers, developers, social media and ux professionals, and anyone else interested in improving the experience of technology for their users.
The event kicked off with a keynote address by Felicia Day, geek extraordinaire, who has appeared in viral hits like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and her own series The Guild, as well as appearances in geek culture classics such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural. She outlined her trajectory from her humble origins in Alabama and her education majoring both in violin performance and mathematics to her arrival in Los Angeles and her attempts to break into acting. Tired of being typecast as a “secretary-type”, Day eventually lost herself in an addiction to MMORPGs that later became the inspiration for her hit online series The Guild. The main takeaway of her talk was that when she didn’t find success in more mainstream channels, she delved into her own interests and built a robust career based around her loves of gaming, technology, and cheesy romance novels. Her stories about creating a show on a shoestring budget, running order fulfillment based out of her apartment, and shopping her content around without sacrificing creative control apply to anyone who believes in the DIY spirit to get their vision out to their audience.
After Day’s inspirational opening, the event broke into sessions that followed 3 tracks: Design, Development, and Culture. The Development track featured more traditional topics such as DevOps applications in IT and Web Frameworks, as well as the more experimental “Doing Things with Data” which featured Robert Carlsen giving real-time examples on how to use data streams from various input sensors (like temperature, or his own heartbeat) in an iPhone app. The design track also featured some relevant and timely discussions on accessibility and responsive design, which are increasingly important as people use a wider range of devices to browse the web. We didn’t make it over to the Culture track, but talks on how things go viral and
The event concluded with a happy hour on the top floor of Huntsman Hall, with a beautiful scenic view of downtown Philadelphia for everyone to enjoy and they talked about their favorite sessions and enjoy some tasty snacks and cold beverages. We offer our thanks to the Wharton School of Business for organizing such a great event and all the talented speakers for sharing their insights and getting us even more excited to be part of the Philly tech scene.
See you there next year!