An Event Apart - Conference Takeaways

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Information about An Event Apart - Conference Takeaways

Published on March 13, 2014

Author: MarkRiggan



I recently attended An Event Apart conference. I put together a slideshow to talk about my observations and what I considered to be the top 5 most impactful topics that were discussed. Conference covered aspects of web design, development, and user experience.

AN EVENT APART The Design Conference for People Who Make Websites


CONFERENCE OVERVIEW • National conference • Attended Atlanta, GA Event • 12 total sessions • 1 full day workshop • Topics focused on design, development, and usability • Diverse, extremely talented people

Jeffrey Zeldman Godfather of Web Standards

Andrew Clarke Godfather of CSS

Diverse Audience




Global Annual Unit Sales (Millions) 0 70 140 210 280 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 PC

Global Annual Unit Sales (Millions) 0 350 700 1050 1400 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 PC Smartphones + Tablets

Mobile Holiday Shopping in US 2011 - 14% 2012 - 30% 2013 - 50%

Mobile Emails Opened 2011 - 20% 2012 - 36% 2013 - 50%

PayPal Mobile Payments 2010 - $750M 2011 - $4B 2012 - $14B 2013 - $27B

NOV 30, 2009

SERIOUSLY, GO MOBILE • Mobile is here. Embrace mobile-first methodology. • Forecasts were made over 4 years ago. • Emphasize content hierarchy • Practice good form design patterns • Pay close attention to performance



Increase Revenue Decrease Costs Increase New Business Increase Existing Business Increase Shareholder Value REV NEW COST EXIST VALUE Business Strategic Priorities

– Jared Spool “Delivering the content is just as important as the content itself.”

UX STRATEGY = BUSINESS • Design is the rendering of intent • The executive priorities help map our design intentions into business objectives (and vise versa) • Don’t end up like the Underpants Gnomes • Always circle back to the business objectives before any decisions (or revisions) are made



– Jason Grigsby “People demand fast web sites, yet sites are getting slower each year.”

72% Responsive sites send roughly the same data
 to mobile and desktop users

4096x2160 (4K) ~ 10MB

MAXIMIZE PERFORMANCE • Incorporate server-side methods • Take advantage of performance testing • Treat images carefully • Be observant of server requests • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…seriously!



– Samantha Warren “Get everyone on the same page, not thinking through preference.”

Kickoff Meetings

Instincts are experiments. Data is proof.

What if we could arrive at kickoff meetings with a plan of action?

2560x1440 5” 27” 2560x1440

DATA DRIVES DESIGN • User-centric design always wins • Incorporate and improve data-collecting methods. • Know your medium: craft to human scale, not resolution. • Never assume anything. Always make informed decisions.



– Stephen Hay “We’re not designing pages, we’re designing systems of components.”

Question everything. Never settle.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY • Get everybody on the same page, speaking the same language. • Focus on the root of the problem, rather than attempted solutions. • Provide pattern libraries per project to increase education. • The most important part of any project is the plan. • Question everything. Never settle for 'just good enough'. • The best way to learn is by doing, not telling. • We don't design pages, we design systems. Modular and flexible.


Top 5 Takeaways 1. Communication is the Key 2. Data Drives Design 3. Maximize Performance 4. UX Strategy = Business 5. Seriously, Go Mobile

– Mark Riggan “Be passionate in the work that you do. Never settle for gold, when there’s platinum to achieve.”

AN EVENT APART The Design Conference for People Who Make Websites

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