Interview with Chiara Aliotta, Graphic and web designer, and Robert Deutz, JandBeyond organizer
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Chiara, this is your third JandBeyond website design. Can you talk a little bit about how you approach a JAB website? Can you recap the process over these past years?
In 2010 I didn't know what a JAB conference would look like. Robert gave me a logo and colors. Those were the constraints I had to work with. What was this going to be? Robert said it was to be an international conference, which made me think of Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days". That's where I got the balloon for the first website. I changed the 80 to 72 because it was going to be around the Joomla world in three days. Robert said OK! I thought nice - we can experiment. The first design with the landscape became the symbol. We matched the lanyard with the tshirt and bag, and really branded it.
By the next year, in 2011, I had understood that JAB events were supposed to be fun and playful. The planners found a venue in a monastery that looked medieval. I wanted it to be like a popout book, so I bought a nice book about King Arthur, and related it to the main team, and gathered everyone around the castle. I chose orange as a dominant color because the event took place in The Netherlands. The joker was the mascot, and people loved it. It inspired people.
This year was upside down. Robert came up with the motto and asked me if I could build something around "Joomla at the Beach". This changed the process. So I created a mood board with some expressions and a color palette to see how it could be. I wanted to create something graphic, for an engaging website with saturated colors. The website became more of an immersion in the Joomla world. The speaker part is the boat (red), and the sea is the venue part (green). When you enter the site for news you have the sand color, which is the ground. In the beginning this site was one page (scroll down the Home page - it's long), but we changed it because we had more information to add.
What are the ABC's of your creation process? What programs do you use and what is your workflow?
First of all what I do is sketching on paper. That's how I got the designs for JAB10 and the two knighted horse mascots for JAB11. Then I translate everything into Illustrator. Lately I've been using Fireworks a lot, for lighter images to make the developers's lives easier! Then I build my structure in Photoshop and create a mockup. I do the home page, an internal page, and one mobile view.
Robert, what's different this year, and how did you choose the theme?
The website is done entirely in Bootstrap. Phil Locke took Chiara's mockup and translated it into code using Joostrap, so it is responsive. It's not has heavy as in the past. We've made a lot of progress since 2011.
We wanted to make this one a little different from other events, and specifically looked for a place near the beach. We also needed for it to be near a big airport, like Amsterdam. There aren't a lot of options in The Netherlands. The beach is something new. But that doesn't mean we'll be spending a lot of time at the beach.
On the location selection process, we looked for a place where we could all be together and have everything in one place: hotel, meeting rooms, meals and socializing. This gives it more of a family feeling. And it had to be within one hour max of an airport, and within an reasonable budget.
As the organizer of four JandBeyonds, what is different today from how you approached the first one? How has the event evolved?
The difference is that the organizing part is more routine. We know what we are doing. We change it a little bit each year, but not too much because it works. This year we are trying different lengths for the sessions, some are longer and some will be shorter.
What is your best events planning wisdom?
My VERY VERY best advice is don't micromange. Let people have the freedom to do stuff and bring their minds and expertise into it.
Chiara, any closing thoughts?
Jandbeyond has been a trendsetter in adding graphics and illustrations to websites. It's a milestone in design for Joomla, for its overall image. It brings a new feeling to a conference. Have fun, socialize, don't just talk about business!
Robert, who should come to JandBeyond?
People who are interested in collaboration, and in having technical discussions on a good level. And who can drink beer. People who are interested in development and business and everything around Joomla.
Dates: May 31 - June 2
Location: NH Conference Centre Leeuwenhorst, 3 Langelaan, 2211 XT Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands
Cost: JANDBEYOND PROMO CODE: For magazine readers from May 2 - 4 the early bird rate applies with the promo code JMAG052013. Only 199 € instead of 279 €. Limit 10 tickets.
With 59 speakers from over 20 countries, don't miss JandBeyond 2013!