Christian Heilmann

My 2012 wishlist – don’t make the unicorn cry!

Monday, January 2nd, 2012 at 7:45 pm

This year I will not go for any new year’s resolutions. In a market where the hotness is responsive design resolutions seem a bit outdated. Instead I will list my wishes for 2012. Wishes are a good thing as they bring you on the way rather than the burden of resolutions (which we always hush up in case we didn’t deliver them). So with this in mind, here’s me making my wishes for 2012.

chris heilmann holding a pink unicorn telling it my wishes

All of these are short and – in some cases – do need more digging and I will write longer posts about my views later.

I wish 2012 is the year where we help projects with code instead of telling them off

This happens all the time – someone releases something cool on Github and tweets about it. Then the avalanche of better-knowers rolls over twitter pointing out that the author should use “this or that” otherwise it is “useless” and “not accessible” or “hurts the web”. Well, the code is on GitHub, if it is as simple as adding more semantic markup I really wished people would just do it, send a pull request and fix it for the web. Bickering hurts the web, too.

I wish 2012 to be the end of memes

Being on b3ta for years I saw my share of memes and they can be funny in a small community. On the web as a whole they are pointless noise. This applies especially to ragefaces. Using ragefaces in your tutorials or presentations is the equivalent of coming to a party with nose goggles or a hilarious fake arrow through the head. A sad attempt at humour.

I wish 2012 to be the year the accessibility world stops shooting itself in the foot

As Karen Mardahl wrote inspired by some of my very old presentations out there, accessibility on the web should be about conversation and teaching and not about fighting for a cause that falls on deaf ears. This is big, and I will write more about it. Fact is that if a11y doesn’t get their act together it will fall even more to the wayside than it does right now. Nobody likes grumpy complainers with no better solution.

I wish 2012 to be the year where identity and who owns it matters

I am very happy to be part of a group that right now works hard to solve the issue of identity on the web. We live in very dangerous times and the concept of “Everything for free, always” comes with a lot of information you give out without wanting to. Let’s take back who we are on the web and let’s stop teaching people bad practices when it comes to asking for more access. Passwords must die.

I wish 2012 to be the year where people expect more from conferences

I spent most of my time last year on conferences. Being on the road that much and spending the time to write a new talk and release the slides and audio immediately afterwards is a full-time job. I wonder if it is worth it when I see people seeing repeat talks and not getting the recordings or slides at all and still being “amazingly inspired”. I think conferences should be more than a day off work and I’d love to see people demand more outcome. If it is OK that our twitter streams are clogged up with information about a certain conference when it is running we should also be allowed to see a few things that happened afterwards. Less T-Shirts, more follow-up would be good to aim for. If speaking about tech topics is 90% entertainment then I’ll care less about it in the future.

I wish 2012 is the year were we stop discussing diversity and make it happen

This has been an endless topic and lately lots of heated debates. Many a righteous person not part of the group they are defending swung the banner and fought the good fight in many a tweet and blog post on their personal blogs only read by a few people. This can easily look like grandstanding and doesn’t help the cause. I, on the other hand, have happily seen the rise of gender diversity and race diversity in speakers and publishers on the web lately and my wish is that we concentrate on supporting and nurturing and thus making the issue redundant rather than re-heating it over and over.

I wish 2012 to be the year of spring cleaning in the web education space

The web of information how to learn our jobs is a total mess now. Tutorials have become the new “eyeball content” and it doesn’t matter if they teach something as long as they get people to click them. After more than 10 years of teaching people what web development means this is a sad state of affairs. Where should newcomers go to learn? What do they find first? Why do we have many competing “beginner curriculum” resources? We need to collaborate more and try less to build an education brand around courses to pay for that don’t relate to the official academia or give you a certificate at the end that is worth something. Teaching should not be the new SEO, we should be mature enough to collaborate and point at one, constantly updated resource.

I wish 2012 to be the year of “viewable in any browser and hardware”

Right now I am getting flashbacks to 1999 when “works in IE6” was the new hotness and it was totally OK to build for one browser as it is fastest and coolest and most easy for developers. Let’s not repeat that mistake. I can see the rise of WebGL to lead to a lot of “your video card is not good enough for this web site” and that is not what the web is about.

I wish 2012 to be awesome for all of you

Go out there, write, comment, code, style, give feedback, encourage and support. Everybody has something good to give to the web and it is far too easy to be a bad critic instead of being a supporter. Less bitching, less moaning, less endless fights and more collaborative working and the future is bright.

Remember, if those wishes do not come true…

…you will make a pink unicorn cry, and that will make you a terrible person. Now send this to ten friends (this is how it works on Facebook, right?)

My personal wishes are simple:

  • I wish to spend more time coaching and training other people as public speakers
  • I wish to write and code more and travel a bit less
  • I wish to empower people in other countries to give talks instead of me flying there for a few days and not finding the time to follow up
  • I wish to spend much more time with a certain lady
  • I wish that my dad manages to fight cancer and live a lot longer

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