AEA Chicago 2009: My Top 5

Going to An Event Apart Chicago was an unbelievable experience for me. Here’s the top 5 things that I came away with (some new, some reminders, some calls to action), as well as links to all of my session notes.

Top 5 for Me

  1. Lorem ipsum, you are dead to me. No, really. Kristina Halvorson will hunt me down.
    • Using placeholder text centers the design on the visual rather than the content and reduces the content to mere copy–little more than random text (as far as the design is concerned).
  2. Content is king. Also, queen.
    • The content is why people are on the site, not the design (though a bad design can turn them away). Be strategic about content, define a maintenance plan.
    • Central focus on content is also a prerequisite to truly embracing progressive enhancement. If the design is the main thing, of course I’ll want it pixel-perfect. If the content is the main thing, it just needs to look good in each browser (based on each browser’s capabilities).
  3. I don’t need massive resources to focus on UX. I should just do it.
    • UX is a mindset, and is scalable from the smallest orgs to the largest. I can do things like making feedback easy, being responsive, and 
  4. { -webkit-moz-o-properties:awesome; }
    • New CSS3 properties are great and browser support is getting better. As long as I don’t forget the *ahem* other browsers, I can go ahead and use them. 
    • Using new properties with progressive enhancement will the site look better, speed up my development timeline, and remind me what’s important–the content.
  5. Forms suck.
    • To a user, forms are an obstacle, not a tool.
    • Focus on making the form easy to use and creating a quick, easy vertical scan line. Also, I need to stop center-aligning the submit button and make it stand out from the reset button (if I use one).

My Session Notes

  1. A Site Redesign
  2. Thinking Small
  3. Content First
  4. Concept Models: A Tool for Planning Websites
  5. DIY UX: Give Your Users an Upgrade
  6. Walls Come Tumbling Down
  7. JavaScript Will Save Us All
  8. Using CSS3 Today with eCSStender
  9. Building Stuff Fast–And Getting It Approved
  10. Web Form Design in Action
  11. Designing Virtual Realism
  12. Progressive Enrichment With CSS3