It's a Dirty Job...
This past week I had the incredible opportunity to attend a web design conference here in Austin: An Event Apart. The conference is focused on website design, but I don’t just mean layout. I mean the entire planning process, from conception through front-end development.
I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed it. The conference was small — I would guess about 500 people. Compare that to the thousands who attend SXSW Interactive and it made for a nice and intimate experience. It was two days of speakers addressing various design topics, from content and voice to typography and CSS. On the third day, I went to the companion workshop which was all about mobile design and strategy.
I loved every minute of it. It was so great to be surrounded by professionals who do what I do or something similar. The conversations during the breaks and lunch were open and inviting. I loved being able to meet so many people and pick their brains about their process and ideas for design.
I’m such a geek, too, because I got totally starstruck meeting some of the speakers. On the first day, I was sitting at my table with a few other attendees when Kristina Halvorson (Content Strategy for the Web) and Ethan Marcotte (Responsive Web Design) sat down next to me. They asked what I did, and I managed to get out a few lines thanking them for their work because of how much it’s influenced my process. They were so cool, and I had the chance to tell them about my recent launch of adclinic.com and how I had developed a content strategy and implemented a responsive design. Ethan even asked to see it, and I was thrilled to see him smile when he pulled it up on his phone.
On the third day – during the mobile workshop – I sat down at an empty table, and then the man I’ve been quoting for over a year to my colleagues and clients sat down: Jeffrey Zeldman. Zeldman is one of the people who started the conference and is known for his work in promoting web standards. I often quote his famous line, “Design in the absence of content isn’t design. It’s decoration.” We had a lovely chat for the next hour over lunch about Austin, kids, education and more.
I found him and so many others to be approachable, engaging and inspiring.
It was a great reminder how much I love what I do.