WebcampSaigon 1, a dedicated community by designers for designers, was quite a success, with 20 attendees showing up on the day. In this post I will brief you on what was going on at the event (if you didn’t catch that on Twitter) and some insights regarding where this newly-formed community will be heading.
Soon enough, Min Tran – founder of Frexy Studio & IconEden, started off with a preso on “Writing beautiful HTML”. The talk was considered an entry-level discussion, with a strong focus on Web Standards.
Despite its beginner-friendly nature, “Writing beautiful HTML” used code examples from top Vietnamese designers that didn’t follow the rule of “separating structure/meaning from presentation”, which added value to the audience. These guidelines, while seemingly obvious to the audience, indeed added a lot of values to the designers who are coding in HTML&CSS everyday in such a way that they now know that their bad habits need changing.
Since it was his first preso IPO, Min was quite nervous in the beginning, but then he got the hang of it and the rest was done with ease. Great job, Min!
Lê Tùng Lâm, an established Web & Graphics designer, who had just moved here from Hải Phòng – a northern province, continued with “SEO is easy” . Quite different from Min’s, Lâm focused mostly on general advice instead of providing audience with specific techniques.
As his slides were in Vietnamese, you’ll prolly need a recap. Lâm began by giving definitions of SEO and gave some reasons as to why a Website needs SEO. A designer or front-end developer can always provide SEO as a value-added service to their customer. Dos and Dont’s come later of course. But what I found quite interesting was the fact that there is the so-called “Blackhat SEO techniques” (I know). However, it was understood among us eventually that these techniques were by and large not healthy, and SEO people should use them with discretion. Though Lâm’s point was that if these techniques were used with a strong understanding of how Search Engines, especially Google, work, they can be advantageous. The drawback is there are a lot of competition in the SEO market and sometimes these overused techniques can backfire, e.g competitors can report to Google and your site will be removed from Google’s index.
The topic lasted for over 1 hour because apparently everyone was excited about SEO and the benefit it could bring to the bottom line. The key takeaway from Lâm’s talk was: if you write beautiful HTML, you’re already doing a good job of guiding the Google’s bot.
Coming up next was Duc Ban’s “From Typography to CSS Framework”. Typography was quite an unfamiliar domain to me but the beginner-friendly slides got me up to speed quite fast. However, the talk mainly focused on giving advice to designers on why they should have a set system for the typography (Web Standards are therefore applied, and later on other people can inherit your work without lots of difficulties, etc.). He then went on to talk about Grid System (two benefits and 3 components of the system), and eventually touched CSS Framework.
We then headed out for lunch. The restaurant was nice and we had a mouthful of food to enjoy. We’d booked for 30 servings but only 2/3 turned up so we got to enjoy all the food lol!
Afternoon was mainly about experience sharing. Min began (that was Initiative!) by sharing tips on how to survive as a freelancer. I will update the slides as soon as they’re available (coz they were written by Mac’s Keynote –> broken).
Dan continued by sharing his ideas on how Vietnamese (in general) can work with foreigners effectively. The tips evolved around doing good homework to being organized. Dan also showcased some example proposals to the audience. Nice!
We’re still waiting for video clips and additional slides to be uploaded. In the meantime, I’d like to share with the directions in which this young community is moving:
- More events of this kind. The idea is to get people together.
- Our official website will be up and running in 1 month. Min’s working on the design. We’re thinking of using a Ruby CMS as the platform. The main part of the website is the blog, where community members will contribute articles regarding the topics discussed at offline events. We aim to reach out to as many people as possible.
- We’re running a Logo design competition! We want you to contribute to this community so stay tuned!
- As for now, join our discussion group on Google.
All in all, I think this was a very successful event, another step toward connecting people and forming an increasingly vibrant community of IT professionals. Let me know if you have specific ideas on how we can do a better job!