FFWD.PRO Conference

FFWD.PRO was first announced in early April of 2012. From that moment on, it was the conference every web professional in or not far from Croatia was talking about. You just knew we were in for something special just by skimming through the lineup. I’m happy to say I was one of the lucky ones who were able to book a place and attend two days of web geekiness in the heart of Zagreb in June.

I arrived a day early for the conference, which gave me a bit of time to meet some of the FFWD.PRO folks and check out the venue. The Antunović Congress Centre was a perfect setting, answering to all the needs of 120 web people.

Andy Budd opening the conference with his talk. (Picture taken from the FFWD.PRO 2012 pool)

On the first day we were treated to several great talks from the industry’s leading experts. Andy Budd needed no real introduction and he quickly got everyone thinking about the evolution of web design and focused on user experience. Vuk Ćosić‘s inpired talk reminded us of our roles in the digital eco-system while managing to make the entire audience laugh one moment and admire his expertise the next. Robert Nyman got us excited about the new possibilities of HTML5, while Marco Cedaro dived further into the techy stuff with a talk for “JavaScript perverts”. Julie Ng shared her in-house experience in a lovely presentation, while Bastian Allgeier made the FFWD.PRO people think about the real value in a fast-changing world. In what was perhaps my favorite talk of the day, Paul Annett talked about the redesign and revolution of Gov.uk and the importance of the project. His spouse Relly Annet-Baker handed the kids over to Paul and closed the day with an inspiring presentation on the subject of microcopy.

After the close-up, there was an after party with a couple of drinks on the house where everyone could hang out and relax in the evening hours.

The second day offered four workshops held in small groups. A wide range of topics were covered, including hand-crafted front ends, strategic UX, content strategy and mobile UI. The expert lineup included Leisa ReicheltRelly Annet-Baker and Croatia’s finest, Goran Peuc and the Blagonić brothers, Emanuel and Lucijan.

Talks and workshops like these can only leave you inspired, fired up and ready to change the world, change it for the better and change it right now.

Who made all this hard-to-forget stuff happen? As always, it’s all about the people. From the organizers Marko and Irena from Creative Nights (super nice folks!1), to the star speakers, to the staff members and of course the attendees, everyone I’ve met was friendly, all smiles and really nice to talk to. This made the breaks between the talks just as fun as the talks themselves, because you could chat with your peers (or idols!) over a nice cup of coffee just outside the conference room. Lunch was another great chance to catch up and chat, and I again must give the organizers a big thumbs up for going through the trouble of thinking out who to sit whom (oh, and thanks for sitting me with my hero Andy Budd ;)).

I hope I get to see all the lovely FFWD.PRO people again next year and meet a lot of new faces as well. It will be hard to top, but I have no doubt 2013 will be just as good as 2012, so see you in Croatia!

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