Thursday, June 21, 2007

An Event Apart: Day One

Today was the first day of An Event Apart in Seattle. All in all a good day. The speakers are engaging and interesting, with a good mix of humor and information.

The group at A List Apart, starting with Jeremy Zeldman and Eric Meyer proclaim the site is for Website Builders. To be honest I didn't catch the subtle nuance of the phrase. The event however cleared that up. Instead of targeting the developers or designers out here, the range of topics engage the entire experience of a website or web application. From the details of typography to the thoughts technology and enabling web visitors, the speakers shared their insightful experiences in creating websites.

Here are a couple of the speakers and the topics given.

Secrets of the CSS Jedi - Eric Meyer
Eric started us off with a discussion on CSS browser defaults and how to minimize the differences in browsers for the pages. He also shared with us those items that are not only difficult to change, but not worth the worry either.

Writing the User Interface - Jeffrey Zeldman
Here we received advice on how to not overburden visitors with too much info, as well as how to be sure the information or instructions provided are not only concise but clear and easily understood. He also provided that any percentage of customer baser is worth consideration, maybe you can't accommodate for one reason or the other, but you still need to give it thought.

Designing You Way Out of a Paper Bag - Jason Santa Maria
Jason schooled us in the finer details of the site design process, providing examples of wireframes, graybox diagrams and multiple proofs. He maintained that while the client is the final say, they came to the designer for a reason, for expertise, and you should not be afraid to showcase your ideas and thought processes and give the client their monies worth.

Are You Experienced - Andy Budd
Perhaps to me the most insightful discussion was that given by Andy Budd. Andy talked about designing a user experience. He provided examples of how most sites are given to designing around the user or the business or the technology. The experience should take all that into account but should not be defined by that alone, that a graceful combination can provide the website visitor with a fun, engaging and helpful website.

And now on to Day Two ...

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