Category Digital, Insights, Inspiration, News
We spend a good chunk of our lives online these days, and most of us have a few favorite hangouts: social sites, news streams, funny cat forums. But in your browsing, surfing and searching, have you ever stopped to think about what really goes into developing that Home Page? Web design is a careful combination of content, usability and code, and (much like technology is wont to do) these digital mechanics are constantly evolving.
That’s why we headed to An Event Apart in Chicago this week. This website creator’s conference gives us web junkies, code jockeys and usability aficionados a chance to learn from leading digital minds, and discover some of the new and exciting standards of working on the web.
What have we learned? Read on, and check out some of the nuggets of wisdom we’ve collected (courtesy of Moosers Nick, Mirsad, Mitch, Shane and Aaron) while attending sessions and workshops up in the Windy City:
Everything old is new again. Web designers are looking back. Specifically to the 1990s (Don’t worry–stonewash and flannel can’t infiltrate the internet. You’re safe from these fashion faux pas behind your keyboard). The key here is about stripping web design down to its past simplicity–and being backwards compatible in order to be future friendly.
Eliminate the unnecessary. When creating forms or e-commerce, usability is a big factor. Eliminating unnecessary fields and cleaning things up makes for a much better experience. And using different input types to correspond with keyboards can speed up the submission process.
Never make assumptions: Don’t try and guess what your user will do or how they’ll go about it. Responsive design that is not device agnostic is done the wrong way. Designing towards steps / target resolutions is no longer a good practice, and it should be noted that CSS tweaks and media queries should be where the design breaks–not where a target device’s screen size fits.
Mobile is the newest form of mass media. Mobile combines all previous forms of media. It is print, radio, television and Internet all wrapped up in a handy little package. That being said, we need to embrace designing to a variety of different devices. How? By designing around the content first. Forget about fixed-screen dimensions and embrace progressive enhancement: the design practice of beginning with the simplest devices first, then enhancing for more sophisticated devices. Websites don’t need to look the same in every browser on every device. So go ahead and shed that preconceived notion right now.
Have any progressive thoughts to share about web design? Drop us a note in the comments below. You can also learn more by following us live on Twitter @moosylvania, or tune in to the feeds of some of our favorite Event Apart speakers and contributors: Jeremy Keith at @adactio and Luke Wroblewski at @lukew