Day two of the Event Apart conference had another range of excellent hosts, every bit the equal of day one. The opening session by Eric Meyer (on the new W3C standard on CSS3 gradients) was much more code-oriented, resulting in far fewer pithy quotes, so I’ll focus on the others:
Scott Jehl: Interacting Responsibly & Responsively
Working with the extremely well-regarded Filament Group, Scott used his session to unveil a series of tools known as South Street that have been designed within the company to enable fast develop of slim, cross-device web applications, now freely available:
“The easiest way to gain speed is to reduce features and remove content… but that’s rarely an option”
“Join access with empathy.”
Josh Clark: Buttons Are A Hack
Josh talked about the potential and challenges of using gestures for navigation on websites. Gestures are now well-supported in browsers, but rarely used on pages: the question is why, and how we can make gesture more intuitive on the desktop.
“Gestures are the desktop equivalent of touch.”
“Big screens invite big gestures.”
“Combine gestures with visual aids.”
“The web is inside every application instead of every application being inside the web.”
“Follow the toddlers for leading indicators on touch interface: they haven't been poisoned by 30 years of UI.”
”Active discovery in sites: use the coaching, levelling up, power up pattern of interaction developed in games.”
Luke Wrobleski: Mobile to the Future
One of the leading evangelists of the Mobile First philosophy, Luke focused this session on how rapidly the mobile device sector is growing, and how we can use interaction limitations of the platform to make better websites, most especially in form interactions.
“Mobile is not a desktop PC, just as television is not radio. They are different mediums with only some similarities.”
“Mobile should never be a dumbed-down, limited version of a desktop website.”
“Mobile is a magnifying lens for the usability problems of your site.”
“Things that are not required should not get in our way.”
“Mobile is a forcing function: it insists on optimization of design and interaction.”
Dan Cederholm: Hardcrafted Patterns
Dan, the writer behind the design studio SimpleBits, tries to learn at least one new skill every year. This year, it was how to play hammerclaw banjo… and from that, he started to rethink how much code resembles music, and how the lessons of learning the latter could be applied to crafting the former, particularly by using SASS.
“The key to efficiency is to plug holes in ways that don’t alter your craft.”
“We learn code by following an established series of steps: imitation (viewing the source code of the greats), repetition (building interface patterns) and innovation (applying our knowledge and creativity to create something new)”
Jared Spool: The Curious Properties Of Intuitive Web Pages
Jared's focus is on interaction design. His deep insights into what (and who) actually matters in a site interface design rounded out the main stream of the conference.
“Tool time (time spent using the tool) is antithetical to goal time (time spent by the user doing what they actually want to achieve).”
“A successful design relaunch is when no-one notices the differences.”
“The space between current knowledge and the knowledge needed to use an interface is the knowledge gap… and that’s where all design takes place”.
“There are two approaches to solve the knowledge gap problem: training or simplifying.”
“Intuitive design happens when what I know matches what I need to know”.
“Redesigns of well-trafficked sites need to be incremental and evolutionary to avoid creating a wide knowledge gap.”
“Socially transmitted functionality: very low target knowledge, but no current knowledge.”
“The people that actually make a difference to your site typically constitute far less than 20% of your userbase. Yet those same people are responsible for more than 80% of your revenue or submitted content. Your goal is to find those people and make them happy.”
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