Interactive by Nature

Back to the Bay

I went back to the bay for the Voices that Matter: Web Design Conference. This was by far one of the best conferences I’ve attended because of the variety of topics. Topics included User Experience, HTML5, CSS3, Ordering Disorder, Content Analysis, Microformats, Designing with Progressive Enhancements, Designing for Social Networks, Experiencism, Web Typography, Building High Performance Websites, Mobile Web and a special website critique with Steve Krug, author of Don’t Make Me Think. Also, what made this conference so great was the HTML5 NOW workshop led by Tantek Çelik. Super cool guy without the rock star attitude. What can I say, geeks get along with geeks.

Voices That Matter did a very good job of covering a wide variety of topics to make sure to include every aspect of web design and development. Even including the much neglected topic of content stategy presented by Colleen Jones. The speakers were very knowledgeable in their area of expertise.

A big topic that came up again and again, and again among conference attendees, was media queries. Media queries are part of the CSS3 specification that allow you to swap styles and/or layout based on the user’s device, resolution, width/height of the browser and device orientation. Media queries are like media types with a lot more flexibility. Something that is blowing up right now is the concept of “Responsive Web Design” with the idea that there is no longer a need for a .com AND a .mobi site. With Responsive Web Design, you can utilize media queries to make your website respond appropriately.

Media Query Example:

@media only screen and (max-width: 420px) {

In my opinion, you don’t really go to conferences to learn new things. If you’re hearing something at a conference for the first time, then you’re not doing a good job of keeping up with web trends and technologies. Going to conferences is more for identifying different people’s approaches on design, development, techniques and leaving inspired. You leave a good conference with a better sense of which direction the industry is moving and fired up about what you can bring back to the table at your organization.

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