You may have noticed a couple of cameras in the audience with you if you attended last year’s conference. But no videos have surfaced since then, which may seem a bit mysterious.
Those cameras were in fact real, it wasn’t just some kind of wacky social experiment. Video footage was actually taken over the course of the day and we were so excited to finally be able to record all the Web Design Day sessions!
Sadly, that’s where the excitement ends. To date, months and months after the event, we have still not received the videos in a format we could put online. We thought it was just a simple mix-up or oversight at first. No big deal, we’re all human, these things happen, right?
Despite repeated promises to send us new files over the last few months, we still haven’t received anything from the company responsible for the videos. At this point I don’t think we ever will.
So, I’m sorry speakers, attendees and other awesome folks who were looking forward having video evidence of Web Design Day 2012. We’re not going to be able to deliver.
It’s probably no surprise that we’re looking for recommendations for companies to use for our videos this year. If you are someone who does awesome event video, or know someone who does, please get in touch!
Speaker topics are now updated on the Web Design Day website. I think we did a good job this year of putting together a program that is of interest to all web developers. Let us know what you think in the comments.
“Hulkmania & Design”
Hulk Hogan is the greatest wrestler that has ever lived. He taught us more about being great designers than we might realize.
“Responsive Design vs Separate Mobile Sites: Presidential Smackdown Edition”
The US presidential race is heading into full swing, and the candidates will soon be intensely debating the country’s hot-button issues. The web design world is entrenched in its own debate about how to address the mobile web: should you create a separate mobile site or create a responsive experience instead? It just so happens that the two US presidential candidates have chosen different mobile web strategies for their official websites. In the red corner is Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s dedicated mobile site, while in the blue corner is incumbent president Barack Obama’s responsive website. Which will prevail? We’ll dissect the candidates’ sites to uncover best practices and common mobile web pitfalls.
“Useful, Usable & Desirable: Designing for People”
“It needs to be easy to use.” We’ve heard this many times before from stakeholders, clients, and colleagues. But how do you go about making a website—or any product or service—easy to use? While there are plenty of industry leaders, books, articles, and best practices to learn from, what matters is context. For whom are you designing? What is this person’s goals, motivations, and pain points? What is he or she trying to accomplish? Good design solves real problems. It doesn’t just decorate. How can you design to solve real problems for real people?
This session will explore the fundamentals of user experience. We’ll explore industry best practices and examples of websites that solve real problems for real people. There are many tools and disciplines within user experience, from content strategy to information architecture to user research. By understanding these tools and when to use them, and by understanding the context of each design problem we are faced with, we can begin to understand how to utilize design thinking and creating user experiences that are useful, usable, and desirable.
“It’s 2012 &I’m Still Writing “Should web designers know how to code?” On All My Checks”
For the last few years, three questions have, in one way or another, driven a disproportionate number of the web-related presentations I’ve either attended or seen online:
On the surface, these are good and relevant questions. Ours is an industry in upheaval, and we’re all trying to figure out how to cope with revolutionary change and its implications. But a deeper examination of questions like these reveals a dangerous and shared Achilles heel: In the name of community, we have built around us a professional echo chamber so tight, it’s weakened our ability to do the very synthesis required to advance the causes that drove such questions in the first place. For forty minutes, we’ll focus on practical ways to wrestle ourselves and our profession from this straightjacket of regurgitative nonthinking, and stop creating needless Sisyphean drama where progress, play, and growth ought naturally to dwell instead.
“Becoming a Web Design Champion: How to Better Collaborate, Develop Your Style, and Get Designs Launched”
In the course of her career working solo, in a duo, with agencies, with corporations, and with a startup, Meagan’s learned a few valuable lessons (some the hard way) about how to grow as a designer. She’ll talk about how she got started, as well as insights on collaborating, evolving your style, and getting things launched. You’ll also hear about the design maxims she holds dear (and which ones she ignores), and the web development techniques that have strengthened her design skills. She hopes to leave you with some ideas for how to be a web design champion.
Kevin M. Hoffman
“Designing Meetings to Work For”
Great design doesn’t normally happen in business meetings; we expect it to happen on the sketchpad and the screen. Meetings are ragged speed bumps in our creative process: necessary evils we have in place to secure agreement without incurring excessive tire damage to our projects. But by treating them as a design problem, they can be so much more. With careful consideration of user goals and system constraints, time spent collaborating together can become a design tool even more powerful than your computer. Kevin will show you a selection of meeting interaction frameworks that get actionable results, and help course correct when meetings aren’t hitting the targets that they should (even if you aren’t in charge).
“Overcoming Collaboration Challenges”
Whether it’s with your client or your internal team, collaboration is a critical part of the design process. However, facilitating those discussions is not always an easy task. During this talk, I’ll take you behind the scenes of real collaboration sessions and discuss some of the solutions that I’ve utilized to overcome challenges.
“A Short Lintermission”
Ever made a typo? Forget to declare a variable? Ugh… bugs. What if I told you there is a code equivalent of a spell/grammar check? Oh yeah, that’s what a code linter does. Let’s chat about which linters are out there, what they can help you find, and how you can integrate them into your dev process.
“Large Format Playgrounds”
Interactive technologies are branching beyond our desktops and mobile devices to ever expanding screen sizes and formats. Virtually any surface can be a touch screen and projections can turn buildings into interactive playgrounds. Come and see what’s happening right here in Pittsburgh and view some demos of what’s possible with large format and touch technologies.
Haven’t got your ticket yet for Web Design Day? Register at our website!
To complete the lineup of this year’s edition of Web Design Day, we’ve added three additional speakers as lightning talks.
Laura is a User Experience Designer at Viget, an agency based outside of Washington, DC. The team at Viget works with a variety of clients, from large corporations to non-profits and startups, to design and build digital products and platforms. Laura is passionate about helping clients understand their users to better create engaging, memorable experiences. She also enjoys drinking more tea than the Royal Family, doing yoga, and channeling Beyoncé on the karaoke stage (and maybe a little around the office). Laura grew up in the Flood City: Johnstown, PA. You can find her on twitter: @lsweltz or at laurasweltz.com
Josh is an award-winning instructor at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute where he writes and teaches courses in web design and development. He’s also co-manager of the code slamming user group Loop Pittsburgh, he plays guitar, sax, and keys in the nerd rock band the Jim Dandies, and is the founder of Second Block Studio. Josh is passionate about interactive technologies and loves to build things for all sizes and devices.
Previously, Josh has spoken at Web Design Day 2009 & 2010, Podcamp, FlashPitt and FlashBelt. He has given guest lectures and has lead workshops on design, development, and printmaking for teens as well as working working professionals. You can follow him on twitter @joshsager
Haven’t got your ticket yet for Web Design Day? Register at our website!
I’m happy to announce our main track of speakers for Web Design Day 2012!
Dan Mall has been a friend of ours since he spoke at the first Flashpitt conference. Since then, we’ve brought him back to Pittsburgh for a workshop a few years ago and he’s been one of our favorite speakers and people. He’s one of the most talented - and nicest people in the industry!
Brad Frost has been making a name for himself lately as not only an expert in mobile and other devices, but also as a prolific speaker. Last year, he traveled to Pittsburgh to join us for Web Design Day, this year we’re proud to say he’s speaking as a resident of our fair city since he moved back this summer!
Jessica Ivins is a Senior Experience Designer at Happy Cog. She’s spoken at other conferences like IA Summit 2011, Wharton UI Conference 2011 & 2012, Midwest UX 2012 & SXSW 2012. We’re really happy she’s joining us this year!
Geoff Barnes is making his return to Web Design Day. Geoff was a speaker at our first even back in 2009. Geoff is the Director of User Experience at Pittsburgh-based Elliance, and a great presenter.
Meagan Fisher is a prolific designer and in her seven year career she’s partnered with legendary design firms such as SimpleBits and Happy Cog West. She’s also done client work for a broad range of companies, including Twitter and Change.org. Meagan has spoke at some of the biggest events in Web Design and we’re extremely happy to be add her to our bill this year.
Kevin Hoffman was an attendee of the first Web Design Day, and the following year become our most highly rated speaker. We’ve been asked numerous times if he would speak again in Pittsburgh and we’re psyched that he’ll be joining us again this year.
Learn more about all of our speakers at webdesignday.com.
But that’s not all!
We still have a few other surprises up our sleeves - and will be announcing the additions of a few lightening talks to our schedule.
Also, look for presentation topics and descriptions to be announced in the next few weeks also.
Registrations go on sale on Tuesday, August 7th!
We would never be able to put on the quality of events that we do without the support of our sponsors. This year, by increasing our number of attendees it allows us to offer much more visibility to our sponsors than previous year.
Previously, we strictly limited our conference to 100 people. This was limiting to some of out sponsors - and while we could still offer visibility to at least 100 of the areas most active web developers, it was still only 100. This year we expect to more than double this number.
In addition, we’ve also seen our attendees come not just from Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania - we’ve had people travel from Ohio, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington DC and a huge number of attendees from Philadelphia.
While I can’t yet announce our speaker line-up (very soon, I promise) I think that this year is going to be the best line-up yet. I’m really excited about it.
With that said, we need help with a few sponsorships to help offset our expenses and keep the ticket prices reasonable. If you or your company is interested please webdesignday.com and download our Sponsorship Information. This year, all sponsorships come with tickets to the event also!
Thanks so much to all of our previous sponsors. You are a huge part of the success of Web Design Day!
Of course we get this question all the time, so here is a bit of an explanation.
We are currently *really close* to announcing this years lineup. We have 2 remaining main speaker slots that we still need to figure out. It’s a combination of finding the right people and really just waiting for some replies. So far, we’re really psyched with the line-up - and hope you are too when we announce it.
We’ve also had a few good submissions for Lightening Talks - and we’ll need to finalize our decisions on them soon. If you are planning on submitting, please do so soon!
We generally have a pretty good idea who our main speakers are going to be each year. We open up submissions in the hope of finding new speakers that we never considered - and we always get a surprise or two.
Finally, a few more things need to happen before we announce speakers: the website needs to be built, and all the ticket-sales back-end hoopla needs to get straightened out.
Our intentions are to announce speakers and open registrations in early July. Follow us on our tumblr and twitter to get info as soon as we release it!
Last weekend, Val and I attended the ConvergeSE Conference in Columbia, SC.
The conference was fabulous, and it was really neat to see how far they have come in the last few years. ConvergeSE started one year after Web Design Day and has grown rather fast, but they still keep the “small” vibes that we like. They have grown from a one-day conference to 2 days: 1 day of workshops and 1 day of a single-track conference.
There was one specific thing that I really liked about the conference day: the addition of a few “lightening talks”. Spread among the highlighted speakers of the day were a few 10-minute session that gave people who normally would not be speaking at a conference a chance to talk and show some of the awesome work and amazing ideas that they had. By the middle of the afternoon that day, I decided that I totally wanted to add this to Web Design Day too.
So I’m officially announcing that we are opening 4 additional speaker slots for 10-minute lightening sessions at this year’s Web Design Day. It would be really awesome if we can fill these sessions with local Pittsburgh folks too. (But it’s not a requirement!)
If you would like to be considered for one of these open slots, visit our website and click on the “Submit a Session” button. Or, just go directly to the form here.
We don’t have submission deadlines, but do encourage you to get your proposal in as soon as you can!
Interior shot of New Hazlett Theater - the new Web Design Day venue!
Over the last few years organizing our little conference, I’ve always wanted a bit more of an outlet to chat about what we are doing that went beyond twitter. I think that having a tumblr will be a perfect way to get out a little more information to those who are interested.
Web Design Day has become more popular that we ever imagined - so I think that some people may be interested in learning some of the in’s-n-out’s and the trials and tribulations of putting together a conference like this.
I’m intending this blog to be an extension of our twitter. It will allow us a bit more space to talk about things to keep you up to date on what we are doing!
We’re leaving comments on and there is a nice link to send us questions too.