#ParisWeb 2016: notes and thoughts (day 1)

I attended Paris Web 2016 on 29-30 September, a two-track conference followed by a day of workshops. I heard about the French Web conference in 2006 for its first edition, but I’ve attended only the last 3 editions. It’s such a great conference. The people are passionate and respectful –no, they are caring and it makes the conference extra special. The staff is dedicated and wonderful. The speakers are excellent. It’s probably the most inclusive conference; as far as I can tell, it’s the only conference that has:

  1. live French sign language,
  2. live translation into French of English presentations, and
  3. transcriptions projected on screen.

In addition, the conferences are filmed for streaming and posterity.

I am not a Web {developer,designer}, but I’m interested for my work in taking the pulse of the Web Community as far as Web Standards are concerned. Each of the two parallel tracks of the conference were appealing and I am looking forward to watching the videos of the talks I could not attend.

Here are my notes and thoughts:


09:30: WebAssembly, une nouvelle cible de compilation destinée au web pour transpiler des programmes natifs vers le Web, nous dévoile ses secrets.

Par Benjamin Bouvier (Mozilla)

The description of the presentation stated that WebAssembly was a W3C Standard. That inaccurate statement piqued my interest. WebAssembly had buzzed in June 2015, but that had died out after a few weeks and if it has buzzed again, I have not heard.
I stood up at the microphone at the end and told Benjamin Bouvier that WebAssembly is being incubated in a W3C Community Group and that the group operates independently from the core W3C-staffed Working Groups and Interest Groups which create Web standards.
from Benjamin’s slides:

  • to port native applications on the Web
  • e.g. Telegram web app uses a small AMS module
  • threads (which JS doesn’t do)
  • sandboxed
  • [Demos of video games]
  • When is WebAssembly going to be released?
    • it’s being implemented by browsers
    • could be available early 2017

e-commerce best practices

10:20: Y’a pas d’avancement, pas de grimaces ! Suggestion de bonnes pratiques à adopter pour des sites e-commerce qui souhaitent épargner des grimaces à leurs utilisateurs.

Par Thomas Gasc

A series of sensible and most relevant Opquast Best Practices for e-commerce sites, illustrated by hand-made slides with graphs and examples.

Cartography on the Web

10:45: L’épopée d’un développeur front au pays des cartes

Par Erik Escoffier

Open cartography on the Web is Erik’s passion. I have heard a lot about the topic in the past decade or so, in particular OSM, without falling for it. BUT, if I had, I already had a user name for myself: osm117 (inside joke: French movie about a dubious spy).
from Erik’s slides:

  • Cartography on the Web
  • Open alternative to Google Maps
  • OSM (the wikipedia for maps)
  • “Open” enables data visualisation. Loads of them.
  • Mapbox [etc.]

DIY Mobile Usability Testing

11:20: DIY Mobile Usability Testing. A cheap, portable, easy to make and outrageously fun way of capturing your usability studies with mobile devices. What’s not to like!

By Bernard Tyers

and Belén Barros Pena

A supercharged and well-delivered talk that didn’t speak much to me, because I don’t have anything to test on mobile personally, but that I found interesting nonetheless.

from Belén’s slides:

  • user is an abstract entity
  • usability sessions are recorded (memory aid)
  • Testing in a lab is better than no testing at all
  • [slides on ideal recording setup]
    • expensive (costs up to USD 3250)
    • vs. Meccano elements + Blu-Tack approach costs less than EUR 70
  • [live demo of usability testing and recording on stage]


12:20: Pourquoi le web devrait s’intéresser au livre numérique. Beaucoup de spécifications sur la publication numérique pourraient se décider sans vous. Il n’est pas certain que vous le vouliez vraiment…

Par Jiminy Panoz

The talk that spoke to me the most thus far, because of the involvement of the W3C in Digital Publishing. I was at home 🙂
from Jimini’s transcripted slides:

  • W3C digital publishing IG – lacks editors, so comes to us (IDPF)
  • IDPF (merger with W3C)
    • “Je ne sais pas où ça en est. il y a des différences de culture” –Jiminy [en: “I don’t know where that stands. There are cultural differences”]
  • Notable stuff:
    • CSS multi-column layout module
    • CSS figures
    • Latin Text Layout and Pagination (mentioned Dave Cramer)
    • [W3C CSS WG + TAG Houdini task force mentioned]
    • PWP
  • Digpub IG could work on Annotations and user settings.

Open Design

12:35: Open Design : les initiatives existantes et des pistes de collaboration autour du design graphique, des fontes libres et de l’objet libre.

Par My Lê

Hear, hear!
But then, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’, because if you’re like me, you love when documentation exists, but you hate to write it yourself. My take-away, which is slightly higher-level than the scope of the talk, is that sharing how we work has at least two benefits:

  1. Sounding board: you’ll know to steer your work in the right direction
  2. Skills barter: you may get helpful feedback along the way and learn new skills or tips
(slides not found)

Designing for screenless experience

14:10: The Invisible Interface: Designing the Screenless Experience. “When we remove the screen, the experience becomes the product.” I will discuss how to create meaningful interactions for a screenless world.

By Avi Itzkovitch

We tend to constrain ourselves to the medium. In the case of the InternetWeb of Things and the everyday life objects, it is sometimes obvious. I think I’ve seen this talk before, or a variation of it. Regardless, it was enjoyable and inspiring. Avi chose a collection of pertinent examples to illustrate how a product needs to cater for its user, plainly and perfectly, and how we need to design for the experience.
from Avi’s slides:

  • Thinking beyond the screen
  • The best interface is no interface
  • quote from Mark Weiser (Xerox PARC): “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” (1991)
  • the world is an interface (with connected hardware)
  • how we display info: pull; push – design what makes sense

Environmentally-friendly Webdesign

15:10: Éco-conception : mon site web au régime. Doper l’expérience utilisateur de vos sites grâce à l’écoconception.

Par Frédéric Bordage

Just as Avi taught us in his talk that it’s crucial to think when we design, Frédéric reminded us how ensnared we are with technology, how it makes us forget to Keep It Sweet and Simple (KISS), and why hoggish technology is so bad.
(slides not found)

  • The Web has become fat:
    • x115 in 20 years
    • x3 in 5 years
  • environmental footprint of the Internet is huge: x2 France
  • ISO 14062
  • Tools:
    • GT Metrix identify eco-conception good practices in place on the website
    • ecoindex.fr: grade from 0 to 100 of environmental performances and technical footprint. (example: Paris-Web website, W3C Website)
  • Key good practices:
    • frugality
    • sobriety
    • Mobile First

CSS (hairy) selectors

16:35: Il n’y a pas que class et id dans la vie. La tendance est au lissage des CSS, avec des classes partout. Si on jouait avec de vrais sélecteurs bien poilus, pour voir les avantages ?

Par Gaël Poupard

Gaël delivered a perfect, thorough and well argued talk to emphasize the importance of some CSS selectors in HTML elements. So thorough that it felt like it lasted longer than 15 minutes.
I couldn’t take notes at this point –the subject was too hairy (his topic, not Gaël). But his slides are on the Web

To be continued…

I have fewer notes from the second day, but only slightly fewer. Yet, there was a talk related to CSS, and I have loads to say about it. I’ll post them in a follow-up entry.

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