DC Design Talks Recap 1

Samantha Warren, Former Viget

Article Category: #Design & Content

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This past Friday, Viget Labs hosted DC Design Talks, the first of a conference series called DC Talks that promote collaboration and creativity in the web community. Jason Garber and Viget's own M. Jackson Wilkinson did a fabulous job of organizing the event, which was smaller than Future of Web Design, more organized than Barcamp DC, and as inspirational as many of the panels at SXSW.
With an entire day of first-rate speakers, the amount of information I absorbed was overwhelming. "Coming to Terms with Sociality," the talk given by Thomas Vander Wal of InfoCloud Solutions, was fascinating. He referred to "online interactivity" as being the engagement amongst participants in an online community, rather than the interaction a user has with the site. "Finding Design Inspiration" by Alex Giron of n'clud reaffirmed my belief that investment in creativity and inspiration will pay off in the quality of design work produced. In "Speaking in Styles: The Importance of CSS for Web Designers," Jason Cranford Teague (of AOL) articulated the importance of CSS through a humorous demonstration that both dispelled its myths and illustrated its advantages. He compared a web designer who knows CSS to a print designer who knows press specifications and explained that a designer needs to:
  • understand the limitations of her medium.
  • take ownership of her design.
  • create accurate specifications.
  • be able to talk to developers.
  • triage problems.
Viget's own Erik Olson spoke on "Sane User Experience in Flash," during which he said, "just because you can make it move, doesn't mean you should make it move." Many people don't realize that anything that movement in peripheral vision dominates awareness. Too much animation on a page can distract the user from making the decisions necessary for her to find a site useful. Overall, DC Design Talks was a marvelous community event that brought together very talented designers. It's fantastic to play host, and I look forward to attending (or maybe just peeking into) all of the DC Talks in the future.

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