Takeaways from the Interlink Conference 2013

Wed, 06/12/2013 - 21:36 -- Maggie Vega

The 2013 line up of speakers at the Interlink Conference in Vancouver, BC was a terrific mix of professionals recognized for crafting a better web. These are some takeaways from the talks on responsive design, workflows, copywritting, project managent, color, web accesibility. 

The golden circle

3 Speakers had it in their presentations, so yeah it is something you should understand. This principle applies to any endeavour you can take because it is related to inspiration. Here is the TED talk where I learned about this concept a while back and saw the huge difference it has meant for companies.

Get real

I think I am going to do a whole post on this later because it is such a common issue in web marketing. The problem: presenting a business with vague descriptions, uncommon terms and structures. The solution: keep it simple and real. The sales of a business can enormously improve with the right information structure and copy. Stephanie Hay shared a couple of examples from her own experience in her talk.

About Things

Being thankful. Approaching the magical side. Remembering we are the cosmos. These are from Draplin's talk about Things and I believe each one of these can dynamite positive changes for companies and people.

60/30/10

Geri shared the interior design rule she follows when colouring a web page design. 60% of a dominant color 30% of a secondary color 10% of an accent color. I didn't know this was used to decorate rooms! But it makes sense and it reinforces what I learned from my HCI and design classes; to use a visual hierarchy and to use colour with purpose. These principles generate designs with the right proportions.

Accessibility

There were 2 speakers on this topic. I have seen visually impaired persons using computers and I have tried screen readers myself; it is hard. Designing and developing for this audience requires extra attention to contrast, sizes, HTML structure and labels in videos and images. Avoid color coding and test designs with Photoshop's color blindness filters. Go beyond compliying with the accesibility standards and take the time to structure meaningful sentences for screen readers. I leave you with the video of a blind radio spokesperson using Twitter.

Collaboration & conversation

The path to enlightened project management. Open conversations with teams and clients can only lead to better understanding and better results.

Design tiles and comps

Responsive design demands new design workflows. Design tiles and in-browser design techniques are trending and outperform traditional to ways. Just make sure to explain they show how the site is going to feel and not how the site is going to look to avoid confusions. Also avoid falling into the opposite extreme with totally abstract stuff that people could not see as a potential website.

Document your work

“Document your work to make the complex meaningful.” - Robbie Manson. Getting a site right requires understanding of the project, the technology and the users; it takes time. The most important ingredients of the work are invisible and complex, documenting the process makes it easier to appreciate, share and expand.

Memorable phrases

There were several memorable phrases that day but I couldn't catch them all on time. I will be updating this post with the ones I am able to compile.

You can't expect to implement a new process if you're selling the old way.

Empathy is the fundamental thing upon which great experiences are made.

Empathy moves where understanding stands still.

To design an experience we need to also artfully design accessible projects. It is part of the experience.

All essential user actions should have visual clues.