DIBI : Design it, Build it 2017 - Edinburgh Digital Conference

The theme at this year's DIBI conference for designers and developers was 'Risk'. This subject was tackled from many perspectives and disciplines by the speakers. Our Creative Director Henry Kunz and Digital Designer Anne Walterfang, share some of the highlights.


 DIBI 2017


Joshua Davis - Designer and Technologist

An outstanding designer who has been creating innovative visualisations and artwork using code for over 20 years. Joshua gave a lively presentation showing his processes, experimentations and how he approaches working for some of the world's biggest companies and celebrities like Facebook, Pepsi, Taylor Swift and Snoop Dogg. It was interesting to hear how these large companies allow him to significantly alter their branding, as they tend to view him as more of an artist than a designer and give him free-reign to create 'artwork' for them.


Mike Kus - Designer

As a well-known designer, it was interesting to hear Mike's process when working with a client at the early stages of a project. He took us through how he discovers a client's particular identity and their USP, then how he brings that forward into a unique design that stands out from their competitors. 


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Basak Haznedaroglu - Microsoft

Basak's talk focused on designing better from the company, team and individual designer levels. Punctuated with some great Rennaisance animated gifs, she talked about being able to quickly let go of an unsuccessful design, killing creativity bias and putting the 'human' back into software.

Also interesting to note that Microsoft's findings on an employee's performance can be judged by asking which browser they use. If they use the default IE or Safari, they don't perform as well and stay in their jobs 15% shorter than those that go out of their way to download Firefox or Chrome. 


Tobias Ahlin – Minecraft

How we can develop products of greater value was Tobias’ talk focus. Not only did he suggest renaming business plans in “business guesses”, he also introduced the curious idea of having a “pre-mortem” in the late stage of the product development process. In this special meeting everyone involved imagines it is now 2 years later, and – shock – the product has failed. To think about why this could have happened can lead to a much better product, as the changes can be implemented now. As - luckily - the release date is yet to come.


Chris Murphy - Writer, designer, educator

Chris presented a great talk on the benefits of purposeful procrastination. He argues that when it comes to planning and building a product, it is better to wait until the last possible moment before building it. Delaying the production makes it more likely to be successful as the scope and research often change during the early to mid stages of a project. To practice what he preached, he produced his presentation at 2am the previous evening - I think he pulled off the presentation but it must be a stressful approach to project development!


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Chris Hammond - IBM

When IBM transformed from a technology company to a services company, they had to change the thinking and approaches of over 350,000 employees across the world. Chris talked about how they introduced 'Design Thinking', the evolutions of the guidelines they created to roll it out across the company and the projects they applied it to.


Christian Vasile - KPMG

Christian's talk on what makes some products fail when similar products succeed, had some great insight into the key factors that influence success. His thinking behind comparing motivation, ability and awareness as well as where many companies go wrong, gave some good tips on what to consider early on in a products lifecycle.


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Bram Stein - Adobe Typekit

A very interesting talk on the finer points for typography on the web. Bram discussed the many factors involved to maximise the readability of type - comparing things like line-height, size, line-length and darkness. He also demonstrated his Chrome plugin, which can be used to provide dynamic reporting on the readability of any text on a webpage. 




Laura Kalbag - Ind.ie

Some startling facts about how large companies like Facebook acquire and use our personal data. She showed how trackers can radically affect a website's speed and the information that can be gathered from every action, or even inaction you perform.



A fantastic event with some great speakers. We did feel that the theme of 'Risk' wasn't always apparent in a few of the talks but as always, there were some tantalising insights into the inner workings of some of the world's biggest companies and how they see the future of design for the web.


Mercurytide have a reputation for creating outstanding web experiences and bespoke business software. 


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