Yikes, almost 2 weeks gone since FOWD day 2 – been a crazy time since then but here’s my highlights from day 2 at the Future of Web Design London.
Molly Holzschlag – Progressive CSS3 Design
Quite a start to day 2 with Molly starting off with a call to action for all designers to have more input in the W3C Working Group. She presented a pretty matter-of-fact state of the web and where we are with CSS spec. The spec for CSS 2.1 isn’t finished and browser vendors and developers are already ploughing ahead with using the far from finished CSS 3 properties. It’s a all getting a bit crazy!
Posing the question of whether we should be going with a ‘progressive enhancement’ or ‘graceful degradation’ approach she recommended a ‘bridge building’ approach that somehow traverses the 2. Each project should be assessed individually for what kind of browser support you have to take into account but while you shouldn’t ignore older browsers and the problems they pose you need to get on top of what’s coming down the line.
Simon Collison – What Will Web Design Look Like in 2 Years?
An interesting musing on where the web and the web from a design perspective is headed. From questioning how the design process might change (should we design for mobile first and then desktop?) to the potential problem of the adoption of web fonts leading to widespread inappropriate use of typography on the web. Do designers understand grid systems properly and should they really be using them? How much web design in the next while is going to be purely experimental given the changes that lie ahead for HTML and CSS? His stunningly gorgeous website has more.
Aral Balkan – The Art of Emotional Design: A Story of Pleasure, Joy and Delight
One of my favourite sessions of the whole conference, partly because he spoke a whole lot of sense and partly because of his clear passion for what he does. He presented the question “why do we pay more for one thing over another?” Answer = UX. There’s a world of MP3 players available in the world yet the iPod still outsells them all despite not being one of the cheapest available. People like using them and are willing to spend a bit more for it.
For the second or third time at FOWD design and user experience is likened to our experiences with food. Essentially, to say that something is usable is like saying something is edible. Edible is fine but we want more than just edible. We go to a restaurant for more than edible food so let’s take that slant and apply it to user experience on the web. This idea I love.
And I loved his talk so much I’m going to have to give it some blog space all of it’s own. Seems I’m not the only one who gave him the thumbs up!
Bruce Lawson of Opera – How to build a HTML 5 Website (live demo)
As it says on the tin, a rapid how to for newbies on how to approach building a web page using HTML 5 markup and what the heck it’s all about and why we should care about it. Good overview and some useful tips on handling fallbacks for video formats in particular. Very much looking forward to getting stuck into the book that himself and Remy Sharp are writing on HTML 5 and its more advanced features.
Brett Welch of Adobe – Rethink Your Job (And Earn More Money)
Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting much from a sponsor slot but hats off to Bretty for making some really interesting and valid points about the business side of the design and development process. Some of the main points from his talk:
- Web designers need to think of themselves as web consultants (and consultant isn’t always a bad word!)
- Don’t expect a website to be a success without a strategy
- Set your goals
- Measure the results
- Don’t launch a website and leave it there – try a more iterative approach, agile development works on the web!
John Hicks – Icon Design
John Hicks of Hicksdesign is a well-known graphic, logo and icon designer who has produced some truly gorgeous work for well-know brands such as MailChimp and Opera. After a brisk step through of the history of icons and the concept of icon design he gave us some pointers and suggestions on how to approach the workflow for icon design including:
- Is an icon appropriate in this scenario?
- Choose the right metaphor
- A logo is not an icon!
- Is there an existing convention?
- Can you base it on familiar objects?
- Avoid too much detail and decoration
- Design on a grid
- If you’re designing more than one icon design them together to maintain context and coherence
Check out his work and his blog here.