Future of Web Design arrived - five top talks from the web design conference
The Future of Web Design conference had its 9th outing this week attracting web designers and developers eager to find out what's new in usability, responsive design, CSS and front-end development.
The two day London event drew an impressive international speaker list from a range of backgrounds and experience.
Lisa Gringle gave an inspiring talk on best ways to use data visualisation. Her message was that Data visualisation should tell a story and if it doesn't do that you should throw it away. She warned against the use of 3D graphics which are unnecessary and confusing for the user and should be avoided at all costs. Designers should keep in mind that humans can only process a certain amount of information at any one time and therefore simplicity should be the watchword when it comes to data visualisation.
User interface animation is increasing being used in web design to help users through simple and complex online journeys. UI animation was explored by leading U.S. designer Val Head, Author of Pocket Guide to CSS Animations from Five Simple Steps. She backed up the claim that great UI animation should have purpose and style with a host of examples explaining that good animation can be done simply and easily, with designers now able to use in-browser tools to help achieve objectives.
The Guardian's UX Architect Chris Clarke gave an honest presentation on their recent move to responsive design. He talked about how the design team discovered that time was the key metric in understanding how the user interacts with their content. After releasing initial designs to take a page of content and make it responsive they were met with some negative user feedback both internally and externally. A revised agile approach created the environment to come up with a unique approach to the issues. Read more about Chris Clarke's Future of Web Design talk.
Rapid prototyping and iteration was the subject of InVision's Billy Kiely session where he made the case of speed versus fidelity during the design process. A prototype should be the beginning and shouldn't come to an end with users included in the each of the phases and engaged in the process throughout. Designers shouldn't be shy to show something that isn't pixel perfect instead they should be social in their approach with iterations shared on regular basis.
Dan Mall the acclaimed art director & designer from Philadelphia ended the conference with a plea to web designers to think differently about the process of design to deliver better results in their design projects.
Mall was critical of current design approach and suggested new techniques that designers should adopt to improve their relationship with clients. More planning through audience feedback and user group research was a key element of this. A project manifesto that sums up the goals and can act as a reference point throughout the process can make the process much clearer for all. Read more about Dan Mall's Future of Web Design talk.