An Event Apart 2017: A Dive into Design

by: Jamie Daez Web Designer

An Event ApartGrids. Branding. Obvious design. Image optimization. Those were just a couple of topics from An Event Apart, a web and interaction design conference that a few members of our content team (myself included) attended in early April. It was three days of great presentations, covering a wide range of topics and great bits of knowledge being shared. There was a lot of technical talk, but also a lot of great new things coming out of the design world that I am so excited for.

So, what did I learn? It’s hard to narrow things down to a few bullet points, but here are just a few key takeaways from this year’s An Event Apart.

Listen and ask questions. When you’re researching a new project, it’s important to talk to not just the stakeholders, but other people across the company. You’ll find blind spots and may gain a different perspective. Asking questions is a great way to let you know what’s important and what could be left out.

Data doesn’t provide answers; it just gives us better questions. Data can only tell you so much. Sure, it can tell you someone’s age or gender, but it can’t tell you someone’s intention. It should help you understand, not dictate what you do. Don’t get me wrong – data is great. We just can’t let that be the only deciding factor. Use it with your research to give you a more holistic view of what would work for your users.

We design for millions but each design is personal. When we create anything for the web, it’s for everybody. Yet, we interact with it on a personal level. Every button click, mouse scroll and text input is for that person. We must remember our user and make our designs both ubiquitous and specialized at the same time.

People are not always going to like what you do. This is an important hurdle for designers and developers to get over. It’s hard when someone doesn’t like your designs. But the feedback you get from people who don’t like what you do (and even from those who do) will help with future iterations of the project.

The biggest takeaway, however, didn’t come from any of the speakers, but from the experience. The industry is always changing, and you should be constantly learning. Attending An Event Apart made me realize that there is always new technology, so I should always be learning. I’ve already started to implement some of the new things I’ve learned at work and have been more diligent on reading updates to the industry. The industry is always growing, so I need to make sure my knowledge grows with it.

If you’re interested in learning more about An Event Apart and finding a conference near you, head over to their website: https://aneventapart.com/

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