I was privileged to be able to attend DrupalCon last week in Denver. Drupal is a web development platform, the one that this website runs on, and one that I've used on many websites over the past five years or so. I learned Drupal on my own in Africa, with nobody around to swap stories with and get assistance from. Of course, the Internet is very helpful and the Drupal community is amazing, but sometimes that human interaction can make a huge difference.
Well, I felt a bit out of place at the big conference with over 3,100 attendees, most of whom were coders. I don't code at all and have managed to get this far without any php programming. In fact, I learned in the keynote speech by Dries Buytaert, the inventor of Drupal, that what I am is considered more of a web assembler. So many people have written modules to do the programming parts, that there are now almost 10,000 modules written for Drupal to do various functions and all I need to do is to pick and choose the ones I want and put them together. It is kind of like Legos, but with a little steeper learning curve ;-)
Anyway, one of the biggest themes I got from the conference was the focus on mobile technology. More and more devices that are not computers are accessing the internet. Before long, those devices -- tablets, phones, etc. will outnumber the computers. It turns out that as we shift focus towards these mobile devices, we've been going about it completely backwards! Computer screens have gotten bigger and bigger. Now we are trying to cram all that information on a mobile screen. That is why to succeed, today we need to design for the mobile screen first and scale up from there. In the end, the computer users benefit too because limiting the amount of data that appears on the screen has the effect of forcing the site to be very targeted in the data it shows us. Less adds, less clutter, and we end up working more efficiently. That is why I always make google.com my homepage. Google just gets it. Simple blank page with a search box. I don't want all that news, clutter and distractions when I open my browser.
I encourage you to watch the presentation of Luke Wroblewski that he made on the last day concerning Mobile technology. You'll like it even if you've never heard of Drupal before.