AEA Chicago 2009: Walls Come Tumbling Down

Andy Clarke finished out Day 1 of An Event Apart Chicago 2009 with his talk on improving the process of web design–getting things done more efficiently.

  • Make more time for creativity
  • Creativity drives innovation
  • Ideas are what sell


  • Current standard flow:
    1. static comp
    2. coding
    3. testing
    4. content
  • frustrating, inefficient
  • Replace with
    1. content
    2. design in browser
    3. testing

Designing in the Browser

  • static visuals fail at demonstrating interactive sites by definition
  • cannot demonstrate a design to a client
    • effects of a liquid layout
    • increase font size effect
    • interactions (hover, cursors, etc.)
    • AJAX
  • showing static design visual reinforces misconception that a website mimics paper

Design doesn’t look the same in every browser

  • different != broken, though
  • not gonna notice anything’s different
  • only web geeks know that more than one browser exists
  • business benefits of universal css: give option between last 3 days on IE6 or universal templates

Design process

  • starter html/css/images
  • css files import each other
  • use “scratch stylesheet” at the end, allows testing without screwing up the good stuff

Random tips

  • use two values on border-radius to get an elliptical shape
  • css columns: column-count:2

Designing a System