An Event Apart Seattle

Last week I had the opportunity to attend An Event Apart in Seattle with some colleagues. For those of you who may not be aware, An Event Apart is a 3-day web design conference put on by some of the best in the business.

Founded by Jeffrey Zeldman (the godfather of web standards) and Eric Myer, An Event Apart is truly a gem in the crowded conference world; a highly-recommended series of superb, timely topics presented by speakers who have made genuine, industry-shaping contributions to the web. There are no gimmicky tips & tricks shared here - just a great blend of time-tested web design heuristics and modern technology & device-driven best practices.

In rapid-fire fashion, I figured I’d share a list of my top takeaway from each of the talks given during the first two days of this three-day event (the third day was a fantastic workshop by Luke Wroblewski on multi-device web design).

Day 1

Jeffrey Zeldman, “Ten Commandments of Modern Web Design” Good is the enemy of great. Great is the enemy of shipping. (Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Jon Acuff)

Eric Meyer, “Strong Layout Systems” Will flexbox be the holy grail? (No, seriously, will it be?)

Josh Clark, “Designing for Touch” The onslaught of touch devices means web designers are becoming hardware interface designers.

Luke Wroblewski, “It’s a Write/Read (Mobile) Web” You can no longer assume that input & content creation only happens from the desktop.

Jen Simmons, “HTML5 APIs Will Change the Web… And Your Designs” Progressive enhancement may prove to offer more experience enhancements on mobile devices than on desktop devices, a strange shift in the current way of thinking about designing experiences for the web.

Ethan Marcotte, “Responsive and Responsible” Mobile and universal accessibility of content and features is of supreme importance.

Day 2

Karen McGrane, “The Mobile Content Mandate” There is no such thing as “writing for mobile.” There is just good writing.

Erika Hall, “Just Enough Research” Create a culture that encourages being proven wrong as quickly as possible at the lowest possible cost.

Jason Santa Maria, “The Nimble Process: Think Before You Design” A design process is really about understanding - and creating an “MVU” (minimum viable design).

Mike Monteiro, “What Clients Don’t Know (and Why It’s Your Fault)” Every job you do is a sales pitch for the next job.

Aarron Walter, “The Real Me: Personality in Design” People notice and recognize effort taken when you craft your medium. Craftsmanship matters.

Jared Spool, “It’s a Great Time To Be a UX Designer” Designers with more than one skill are the future - “UX generalists.” These people are incredibly hard to find.

Day 3

Luke Wroblewski, “The Web Everywhere: Multi-Device Web Design” You can no longer assume that input & content creation only happens from the desktop.

There you have it.

A quick and dirty overview of An Event Apart’s 2013 Seattle conference. Should you have the opportunity to attend An Event Apart in your city, I would highly recommend it. Check out the An Event Apart website for more information.

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