Talking heads and form, function, class: what’s up with Philippine web?

I am quoting Sofimi in the graphic above, she, a participant to the Philippine WordCamp back in August who attended not because she is a blogger on WordPress but also because she happens to be an accomplished WordPress theme designer.

Sofimi, Ia Lucero, a web designer, is one of many talented Filipino web creatives who benefit from industries spawned by the internet. Blogging is one such other activity that is internet-related, and having had the chance to meet WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg at the first WordCamp was a step further at crossing the virtual divide into a real-life gathering of a mix of ‘netheads’.

The success of WordCamp was what prompted Sofimi and fellow designers to pitch the idea of a similar gathering of web creatives — and how else? — on the internet via the SNS platform Plurk of which she and I are connected. As to what form the gathering will take, what issues would be taken up, and what kind of attendees and speakers it will have were all preceded by the combined enthusiasm of the other web practitioners who were encouraged to join and plan on big things.

The first real-life gathering to discuss about this event happened at a café at the Fort Bonifacio Global City a few days after Sofimi Plurked the idea and created a BaseCamp account for this purpose. It was a stormy week when the web designer’s conference was pitched online, and on the day that the real-life coffee talk came about, classes and office work were suspended. A handful of web creatives who confirmed attendance made it to that initial gathering; I was stuck in a meeting back in Quezon City and joined in via chat towards the end of the meeting, the entirety of which lasted something like 4-5 hours.

Two more meetings set halfway in Quezon City followed this.

JP dela Torre, Sarah Cada and Shari Cruz over coffee

JP dela Torre, Sarah Cada and Shari Cruz over coffee in Quezon City (photo courtesy of sofimi)

From a loose group of talking heads came a formal group initially christened Sapu’t-sari, a nice take on the Filipino phrase samu’t-sari, which means “an assortment of things”. Sapot is a spider’s web; sari means different.

Anyhow, the name was short-lived and informal. As the group had to be officially established and given direction and form, it took on the name Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO).

Responding to a call for a barcamp-style assembly to test the waters, so to speak, led by Mae Paulino, PWDO finally mounted its first mini-conference on October 30 at the G2VC Tech Bar in Ortigas. The mini-event, planned to be a series of short talks about web design and development preceding the big event in April 2009, is called form function & class.

form function & class logo by Marco Palinar

form function & class logo by Marco Palinar (courtesy of sofimi)

The participants’ turnout in form function & class I was very positive, a mixed attendance of web standards practitioners, web-based career professionals and basic web design users. It was particularly heartening to have members from the Philippine Web Accessibility Group be in the audience. I have to mention also the support of the designers’ online forum and its members, many of whom are the organizers of PWDO, attending and helping out in this mini-conference.

Topics covered in form function & class I:
Philippine Laws Supporting Web Accessibility
Jojo Esposa, Jr
Phi: golden ratio on the web Rico Sta. Cruz
Resolving Resolutions
Regnard Raquedan
Alternatives to HTML deprecated features
Aja Lapus
Interaction design
Rey Mendoza
Building Successful User Interfaces
Marco Palinar
The webcast may be viewed here.


This was made possible with help from SyndeoLabs, dotPH, Pinoy Web Startup, and venue provider Global Gateway Venture Capital (G2VC).      

By this time the planned web design conference had taken a more definite form. More like-minded creatives expressed interest and support for the big event by contributing ideas and spreading the word around. They also encouraged holding some more mini-conferences in the run up to the big one.

Thus, in the midst of dissecting PWDO’s mission, vision and values, and of networking, a follow-up to form function & class I was again in the works. Coming on the heels of survey results from the first one, as well as offline feedbacks and informal polls, form function & class II was finally set to Nov. 27 (Thursday) at 6 pm, G2VC TechBar, Exist, Orient Square.

form function & class II topics shall be:
CakePHP, PHP Template Pages and ModRewrite | Rick Ong
Moving from Tables to CSS | Sarah Cada
Web Design for the Poor | Marc Robinsone Nicolas Caballero
Designing Web Attractions | Patrick Cabral
“Skip to content”, Why and How? | Jojo Esposa, Jr
Roll Your Own CSS Framework | Marco Palinar
Measuring Basic Usability Design | Elymar Apao

We expect to have as many attendees as the first mini-conference — something like 40, hopefully more — as the list of attendees to form function & class II bears a sampling of the range of web practitioners and web-based industries in the country.

Things are looking good for the Philippine design and development industry, especially since a venue is now set for some very active discussions by web practitioners to their colleagues and about the Philippine web design and development industry in general.

If we keep the momentum and enthusiasm up, we shall hopefully see the very first web designers conference through.

So, see you today at the second form function & class gathering.


Links and references
Besides those already mentioned as speakers in ff&c I, some PWDO and form function & class organizers include Mae Paulino, Marie Casas (ff&c I emcee), JP dela Torre, Shari Cruz, Helga Weber, Alfredo Palconit, Joni Ang, Eugene Villar, Aja Lapus, Tew Reonal to name  few.
Directional map to ff&c venue Techbar/Exist courtesy of generous sponsor G2VC can be seen here.
ff&c I photos seen at Regnard‘s, Jojo’s, Ia’s, Mae’s, and here
ff&c I talks can be downloaded from here.

Also check out a PWAG-related post here.

If there’s anyone else I missed, please buzz me.



Filed under 2008, design, Filipino, form function & class, internet, internet activity, Matt Mullenweg, Philippines, Plurk, PWDO, SNS, Web design, WordCamp, WP

4 responses to “Talking heads and form, function, class: what’s up with Philippine web?

  1. ia

    What a wonderful and massive post, Kaffee. Another storytelling of this growing initiative—it’s great to see how much progress we’ve made. Thank you very much for the support. See you later!

  2. Yay! See ya tonight 🙂

  3. Ia,
    Thank you for dropping me a line, and, again, for your energy in putting this idea forward 🙂

    Did I miss you last night at ff&c II?

    You were definitely missed last night and should give another talk for when ff&c III comes around.

    Thank you all form dropping by 🙂

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