There is no mobile web

So, it has been a while since I was in Nashville and I really enjoy the area. Its just so green … though, maybe that was the 2,881 guest room hotel with a 4.5 acres atrium.

Also managed to sneak out for one night to check out the Nashville downtown, these web geeks really know how to party.

In amongst all this fun, however, I was there to learn. And wow what an incredible three days with some incredibly smart people. These guys are real thought leaders and provided a lot of inspiration and advice.

Major things to take away:

  • There is no mobile web – there is only one web
  • Content First – Navigation Second
  • Place menu and navigation options are the bottom on smaller screens
  • Let the content be the navigation where possible
  • Use Responsive or Adaptive Web Design techniques
  • Responsive design applies to application designs as well
  • Stop using pixel-perfect designs, it creates invalid expectations
  • Use prototypes for reviews, often just as fast
  • Designing for iOS/WebKit in 2011 is like designing IE4 in 2001
  • Mobile access to the web is growing at 8 times the growth rate what the internet adoption rate was
  • Beware of assuming user context; most usage is actually in the home
  • Native can still be important, limits to devices and types – watch use cases
  • Watch that you don’t stack controls; results in mis-taps
  • Watch that you don’t hide navigational content and previews with users hands
  • Keep forms simple – long complex forms result in lost users
  • Explain how requested info is used, people are more comfortable when knowing why
  • The one main rule for applying design guidelines: It Depends

A Douro Anniversary

For our 10 year anniversary we wanted to reset with a little adventure for ourselves. So today Patricia and Luis took the boys and we took the train up the valley.

The first part of the train trip was nothing special, it travelled the edge of the Douro river and through suburbs of Porto, but the second half of the train ride was gorgeous. The homes dwindled in numbers and the farm land grew and then transformed into vineyards which stretched up almost every hill from the rivers edge.

We finally reached our stop, about an hour and a half up the line, in Régua. All around us we could see Vinhas (vineyards) stretching out from the town – but not having a tour booked we headed down the street to see what we could find.

After a browse through the Museu do Douro (Museum of Douro) and based on their recommendations we took a taxi across the river to the Quinta de Pacheca. We caught lunch first, another delicious feast, and then took the tour. Pacheca crushes all their red wines by foot (machines will crush the seeds and make the wine bitter) though not until October so music and dancing today – can only imagine what a sight it is. And after a wine tasting (they have some wonderful port wines) we escaped into the vineyard.

A wonderful day to cap ten wonderful years. Happy Anniversary!

More from Porto

While it wasn’t our last day in town, it was our last chance to explore the city of Porto. So we climbed to the highest heights and took a look around.

The Portuguese Bull Fight

With our trip well over half way over, so sad, it was our turn to get out and get some of the non-tourist tourist things out of the way. We hit the mall, Ikea, and McDonald’s for a little taste of the normal in a non-normal way – oh, and we did it without the comfort of our tour guides. So, as much as things we different – they really were the same. The highlight of today was seeing Ines, another of our Portuguese friends, who met up with us for dinner. We are looking at doing a night out again on Tuesday if we can.

So for today I wanted to share with you a little about the traditional past time of Portuguese-style Bullfighting. A sport that is more a niche tradition that a sport with popularity. And while Luis and Patricia don’t care for it much we did catch it on one of their national TV channels the other evening so they thought that a good time to introduce it.
Aspects are similar to what we know from the more spanish-style sport, they use “knights” that play with the bull while spearing the back with hooks. The common understanding is that the spear (which is not a true spear, more like a spear with fish hook) is to hit just above the shoulder blades where there is a lot of fat and not many nerves – thus it is not suppose to cause any pain. What it is designed to do is weaken the animal a little. While this part was interesting as for some of the horse maneuvers they used – it was obviously not a fair fight. Again, designed more to tire the bull than anything else.

First the taunt – yes this is how they do it.
Next is where the magic of the portuguese bull fight starts to show. And by magic I mean insanity. A group of guys, cavaleiros, lines up in single file and starts taunting the bull until the bull makes a charge. These guys wear only regular cloths with a basic comber bun, no real padding and no weapons – though, at least today, the bull has pads over the points of the horns. The idea … get the bull to charge into the first guy in the line striking the head to the man’s stomach. The guys needs to grab in around the neck and hang on while the bull charges over each guy in line – with each trying to grab and slow the bull down. If the first guys fails to get a good grab or gets thrown during the charge – they have to do it again. If they get the bull to stop, the men win.

Then the grab! Hey, where is the rest of my team?
In the “games” we saw, the first group managed to stop the bull in the first charge, while the second groups failed completely – bull won. In both cases the bull became someone’s lunch, but in the second the cavaleiros were pretty beat up.
There seemed to be a lot of history and tradition tied up in how the whole process worked – at times it seemed almost Roman in how things were done. And while I can say that I would not be a fan of the sport, it was not what I was expecting. A lot of that is due to how the Portuguese have put these cavaleiros (the guys who stare down the charge of a bull) as the main focus – as apposed to the spanish which star the matadores.
More of what is making this trip so interesting.

Vianna and Homemade Bread

Today we headed up to spend some time in the vila of Vianna do Castelo. We went up first to see the church dedicated to Saint Luzia and to get a view of the area. There we found a man taking old black and white photos using one of the older camera’s, apparently he has been doing this for over 40 years.

After which Patricia and Luis took the boys and left Melissa and I to explore the city alone. So, we do what every couple married for 10 years does … go looking for linen. Actually, it was quite fun to see all the hand made table cloths, napkins, bread bags, etc.

After four hours in the centro, we found our way to Luis’ fathers place for dinner. Pork ribs, grilled sardines, sausage, and homemade bread. Oh, and of course wine.

One thing we are learning is the the Portuguese love their wine and find new and interesting ways to consume it. We had glasses of wine, bowls of wine, and soup of wine which is wine + sugar + bread. We have wine for lunch, wine for snack, wine for dinner, and wine before bed. I think we are in wine country 🙂

After a good family dinner we enjoy some play time. Badminton, Fuse-ball, and just good conversation – well, broken conversation 🙂 But what fun and amazing company. After which we had a café and more Aguardente before heading home for the evening.

Did I mention the homemade bread. Yes, baked during dinner in their stone oven.

It was actually very interesting to see how bread was made in traditional fashion. When we arrived they were just finishing up heating the oven, which is done just by having a fire going inside. They then clean out the burnt wood, which was moved to the grill to cook the ribs and sardines.
We then placed bread “cakes” in the over which took about 10 minutes to cook. These we enjoyed before and during dinner while the actual bread was being baked. After the cakes were done we placed the bread in the oven and they sealed the door with some of the bread dough. This is what they would check regularly to see if the bread was done, as you can’t open the door without “killing the bread”.
An interesting side note, they use to use cow dung to seal the door as they could not afford to waste any of the bread.
After the bread is done, we break the over door and let the bread cool. Oh, and then eat it. Homemade … how it is suppose to be done. Think I need a stone oven in my home 🙂