1st Philippine Web Design Conference a Success

More than 400 attendees, way above the group’s goal, trooped to Asian Institute of Management (AIM) last July 10 to attend the very first Philippine Web Design Conference spearheaded by the newly formed Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO).

Panel of speakers
Conference Attendees
Who would have thought that an event as big as this would succeed? Although it was already planned as early as September 2008, it wasn’t until early April when everything starts to roll (thanks to the completion of registration at the Securities and Exchange Commission in March 31.). There were so many kinks to iron out. As late as July 6, the group was still having a problem opening a bank account at BDO due to a mile long requirements which includes the securing of the General Information Sheet (GIS) from SEC. And to top it all, even if more than 300 registered online, only two persons actually paid in cash!

Well, everything went great, way above our expectations! As part of the organizing team, I was aware about the group’s day-to-day developments. The bank account was successfully opened after I got the GIS from SEC. The Asian Institute of Management officials were very generous in giving the group a great venue, good food, free coffee and free wi-fi. The speakers were eloquent and knows their craft. The event started on time but ended quite late due to the Q and A part.

What I am really proud of is the successful holding of the “Disabled Friendly Website Awards” courtesy of the Philippine Web Accessibility Group and the National Council on Disability Affairs. Previous awarding rites were led by the government as part of their program of events. This time, I’m proud to say that it was done in a non-government affair and in front of “real” web designers, not just some government employees who attend government sponsored seminar-workshops with the sole purpose of escaping from work and getting the comforts of free hotels and travel.

I’m also doubly proud that all recipients of the awards were present. They were:

  1. www.philcecnet.ph – Official Philippine E-center Community Portal of the National Computer Center represented by Ms. Eloisa San Mateo (Government)
  2. www.blinding-light.com – Personal Website of Ms.Miko Reznor (Anna Monica Esguerra)
  3. www.lilianefoundationphil.org – Official Website of Liliane Foundation Philippines represented by Sis. Agnetia Naval, National Coordinator (Non-government Organization)
  4. webstandards.raquedan.com – Web Standards Website of Regnard Raquedan (Personal Website)

They all received a plaque of appreciation courtesy of the NCDA.

Awardees pose together with NCDA Director Geraldine Ruiz
Awardees (from left): Regnard Raquedan, Eloisa San Mateo, Sis. Agnetia Naval, Anna Monica Esguerra, Jojo Esposa and NCDA Director Geraldine Ruiz.

Regnard, PWDO’s President, on his interview by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said the group envisions third party certification for Web design in the Philippines. They also look to help train designers in developing their skills further and also to establish ethical and best practice guidelines.

He remarked,

“We’d like to make Filipino Web designers more reliable for an international market and make them more innovative.”

To all the awardees, thank you very much for promoting web accessibility in your websites! And to the PWDO group, you know who you are, kudos to all of us for a job well done! Let’s calendar July as the date when web design conference will always be held. 🙂

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First Philippine Web Design Conference, July 10

Philippine Web Designers Organization
To all Filipino web designers and enthusiasts out there, we have some good news in store for you! The Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO), a government registered group, will hold its first ever Web Design Conference in the Philippines and in Asia. It will be held on July 10, Friday, at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati City.

form function and class logo
Dubbed, “Form, Function & Class”, this whole day conference is the culmination of series of monthly mini-events that the group held in various venues.

Now, what can you learn from attending this event? Well, for one, you can be kept abreast with the current trends and techniques on how to design aesthetic yet functional websites. You will hear about various tips and tricks from Filipino professional expert web designers and web-trepreneurs like:

  • Rico Sta. Cruz (Creative Director, U.S. Auto Parts Philippines) – Web Design 101
  • Nap Lara (Software Developer, Friendster) – Interaction Design
  • Regnard Raquedan (Web & Usability Consultant) – Web Standards, Accessibility and Usability
  • Marco Palinar (Web Design Consultant) – Workflow
  • Gail dela Cruz-Villanueva (Creative Director, Sheero Media) – Industry Tips
  • Luis Buenaventura II (Co-founder & Social Software Architect, Syndeo Labs Director of Engineering, Exist Global) – State of the Web

PWAG LogoOur Philippine Web Accessibility Group will also participate in this event. We will be giving out “Disabled Friendly Website Awards” to three web designers together with the company they represent. This award is a token of recognition for designers who took their time in making their websites accessible to everyone including the Persons with Disabilities (PWD). The awards are part of the advocacy program of the government through the National Council on Disability Affairs, National Computer Center and PWAG. To know more about the awards criteria as well as its brief history and list of past awardees, check out this link.

Registration is now open. Ticket prices are:

  • Regular rate: PhP 1,000
  • Student rate: PhP 500

Seats will be strictly limited to 400 participants and payment can be collected at the venue. You may reserve a seat at http://ffc2009.eventbrite.com/. PWDO will ask you to confirm your registration one week before the event. If you are not able to confirm, your reservation will be forfeited and given to someone else.

To know more about the event, visit the Official PWDO site or the Form, Function and Class site. See you there! 🙂

Philippine Web Designers Organization, Inc.

Philippine Web Designers Organization
In the Philippines, there are thriving graphic arts groups. There are animators’ council. There are bloggers’ group which even rewards their bests. There are SEOs, WPs, SEMCONs, IMMAPs, PWAGs, what-have-yous. All of them revolve around the Internet and involve web designing. Then, why not form a group of web designers? The community is already there. All it takes is to band them together.

PWEDO SEC Registration
Many said it wouldn’t be done. But guess what, we did it! The Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO) is now officially recognized by the Philippine government through the Securities and Exchange Commission. After my series of visits to the SEC office for the processing of the documents, I was able to get the certificate on April 13. It’s my own humble way of helping the group because I believe in their ideals and what they want to accomplish. We encouraged our own Philippine Web Accessibility Group to partner with PWDO.

PWDO is

a group of professionals and hobbyists who create human interfaces for the Web, champion the use of standards, accessibility and usability, and aim to uplift the state of web design in the country.

Special thanks to the Plurkers who floated this idea on the air. Congratulations to the PWDO officials Regnard Raquedan (President), Ia Lucero (Treasurer) and Mae Paulino (Secretary) for working their asses off to make this group a reality.

Form Function and Class Logo
What’s next? The Web Design Conference on July 10, 2009 at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati City. See you there!

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My 3rd Mini-web design conference experience: Exposing them to the Deaf World

Attendees of 3rd mini-conference pose in front of CIIT board.
The Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWEDO), a newly formed group composed of highly dedicated bunch of web designers and experts once again had its mini-web design conference last January 22. I believe this is by far the most successful one in terms of attendance (more than 40 persons were there although around 70 signed up), venue (Cosmopoint International Institute of Technology has a bigger capacity and half of the participants are in front of the PCs) and of course the speakers. Some attendees even came all the way from Pampanga. It’s a bar camp style where anybody can speak and react comfortably with the speakers. On top of that, it’s FREE with free pizza and soft drinks courtesy of CIIT! 🙂

Although it started an hour late, I believe it was worth the wait. Six speakers took turns in presenting in that order.

  1. Jan Pabellon – Starting out with Concrete5 CMS
  2. Alfredo Palconit – SEO and Web Design
  3. Regnard Raquedan – Pricing Your Web Design Work
  4. Yours truly – How to Write a Good ALT Text
  5. JP dela Torre – Overview on front-end optimization and best practices
  6. Eugene Alvin Villar – TextPattern

Me lecturing about how to write a good alt text
Aside from the fact that they were all fantastic speakers, I won’t delve much about the event because it was already elaborately mentioned by Ia, Regnard, Jan, JP and Shari. Mia even made a cool visual summary of the event which she called sketch notes. You may want to download their presentations here.

What I want to blog about is how I slowly introduced the “techie” hearing crowd to the exciting world of the deaf. I was with my ever loyal deaf brother Ervin Reyes and a graduating student in our school Jerome Marzan. Ervin was with me during the first mini-conference at G2VC. On the second conference, I requested Jerome to join us. This time, all three of us attended. Other members of the Philippine Web Accessibility Group like Rene Orense and Charles Julius Serrano from a computer school for the blind named ATRIEV were also present.

Since my topic is about proper use of ALT text, I can easily promote accessibility issues for the visually impaired. However, it’s the concerns of deaf people whom I’m having difficulty inserting into my talk. You see, the only significant accessibility issue applied for the deaf is the use (or non-use) of closed captions on videos posted on the Internet. So how can I make them feel the presence of the deaf in the audience?

Solution? Sign language. I may not be standing there in front interpreting but people certainly notice me signing for my deaf companions while seated beside them. Also, during the “introduce yourself” part, I specifically instructed them to sign to the audience while I voice them. That way, the crowd can see their hands that seemed aimlessly swinging back and forth has a corresponding English term. A quick glance and I saw some of their faces looking perplexed and awed at the same time.

During the break, as I was busy preparing for my presentation, the ever bubbly and friendly emcee Sarah approached me. She sought my help regarding the two deaf who were with me. She wants to ask them to come inside the lecture room because the session will resume shortly. But she was at quandary as to how to approach them. I simply told her not to worry, just call them and do some hand gestures motioning them to come inside. They would definitely understand it. She just nodded with a smile. I’m not sure if she did what I told her because I was too focused with my work at hand. 🙂

Before I started with my short lecture, I introduced some members of PWAG who were there. I especially mentioned Jerome and of course, Ervin. I told the audience that he is a computer instructor for the deaf and a very skilled web designer. I even boasted that he won in the web design competition here in the Philippines and represented the country in the international skills competition in India in 2003 where he won the bronze medal. He received a cash prize of Php 100,000 from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Oohhs and ahhs were heard from the audience and a rousing applause followed. Ervin might not hear the claps but he certainly felt it.

Presentation page where I used Obama's 1-4-3 sign as example

On my talk proper, I don’t know where I can insert sign language. So I decided to use a relevant one, the one where President Barack Obama signed 1-4-3 to the crowd. I added it as one of my examples on proper use of ALT text. I even taught them how to sign I-Love-You. They all copied my hand sign.

I felt guilty when my talk went overtime from the alloted 15 minutes. That’s because quite a number of them asked questions and I had a lively pop quiz. Mae, the designated timekeeper, showed me her laptop indicating that I only have two minutes left even if I’m not even half of my lecture.

However, based on the responses I heard from participants who approached me after the event, I felt relieved because they all loved my lecture. Some of them were very happy that they received the “Basic Web Accessibility Guide for Filipinos” book as prize and congratulated me. They said they learned a lot from me. There was another guy who asked me how he can help with my cause. I gave him our school’s web address and made a brief explanation about our advocacy. 🙂

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