One of the things I love about being a web designer is that there is always more to learn, be it from other web specialists or your clients. Last week at An Event Apart Seattle Tzaddi and I had the chance to learn from some true experts. The speakers were not only masters in their fields, but engaging and generous with their knowledge.
Here are some highlights:
- Watching Eric Meyer write CSS (you know you’re a geek when…)
- Jeffrey Zeldman’s talk on “Writing the User Interface” confirmed my experience: the words in a web design matter much more than you might think and can really make a difference in how visitors use your site. So long as it invites clicking, it matters more what a button says than what it looks like.
- Peaking into other designer’s processes, from beautiful sketchbooks to user research.
- I enjoyed Jeff Veen’s succinct message which shows the benefits of doing your design research up front vs. the cost of changing your mind partway through the build. He also discussed why web design is so much more complex now than it was in the early days of the web, when everyone using the web were of the same type (geeks).
- Shawn Henry shared insights for ensuring your site is accessible to varying abilities; from folks who read the web with braille or speech readers to limited vision users — who magnify screens to an amazing degree, but want the same site that was designed for regularly sighted users. Bottom line: there is no substitute for engaging disabled users in the design process if you want to build truly accessible sites. Her book on accessibility is free online.
- Andy Budd shared how a delightful user experience is worth more than the sum of it’s parts in the loyalty that can create.