Digitized Athens 2013
John Maravelakis's picture

Digitized Athens 2013

What inspired us most
13.11.13

It’s not very often that something interesting happens in the sunny Athens, especially something about the digital world. But when it happens it makes you think. And think a lot.

About a month ago the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens hosted Digitized, a conference about everything digital. People from all over the world join Digitized to share their knowledge in 30 minutes sessions with anyone willing to listen to them.

And i was there, listening to their inspiring speeches, each relating to advertisement, design, programming, web architecture, management and case studies. While all the sessions were rewarding, three of them stood out. I can’t really tell if it was a conscious choice by the conference management to save the best for last but they truly changed the way I work and think, each for a different reason.

Robert Bader works for UNIT9, presented the work of their agency and a couple of their projects, one which is the most technologically advanced web site at the moment justareflektor.com. The amazing thing about this project is the experience it offers to the end user through the use of an interactive video. The most interesting bit, however, is that it is build on existing open source technologies like WebGL, Three.JS, OpenCV, Google App Engine, Grunt, SASS, WebSockets, Compass CSS, Google Compute Engine, WebRTC, Google Cloud Storage and Handlebars. They also made an exploration page here justareflektor.com/tech so that you can see how it all works. And for the true geeks out there at the bottom of that same page you will find links to the source code.

Michael Volkart co-founder of Hinderling Volkart AG, talked about how his company came to be a leading agency with the help of his friend, Michael Hinderling and shared a few details about their everyday routine. They focus on simple yet different projects which you don’t come by every day. This helped them establish an internationally recognisable agency. "360° Langstrasse" 360langstrasse.sf.tv follows that moto, simple, yet original and captivating.

Filip Williamsson is an UX designer at R/GA and he gave another piece of the success puzzle. While Robert Bader and Michael Volkart gave us the technology and the idea respectively, Filip Williamsson showed us how we could create something out of them.

The most curious aspect, that will make everyone panic at the mere thought of it,
The most interesting part, in contrast of what everyone is used to think and act, is that they involve the client throughout the creation process. While at first this may seem counter productive since the client hires them to do the creative work for him, it should not go that far. Keeping only the comments and suggestions you get from the client and not use him as a creative element that can actually improve the ideas already at the table is probably what keeps your project from being the best for you, for the client and of course for the end user.

One conference, two days and three inspiring speakers later,
putting their thoughts into actions, will indicate that maybe we learned something from them.

Images: Math Studio