Session Detail

GENERAL SESSIONS
Monday, May 5

9 a.m.

Keynote: Designing the Future Web

Jeffrey Veen, Google

Designing for the web of today — and tomorrow — requires an increasingly diverse set of skills: grappling with complex data, crafting rich interactions, and understanding the sometimes-messy goals, fears, and social lives of your audience. In this keynote address, Jeffrey Veen digs into what it takes to successfully create compelling and comfortable user experiences.

10:15 a.m.

General Session: Web 2.0 — The Power Behind the Hype

Jared Spool, Founding Partner, User Interface Engineering

In one part of the world, a software engineer, in his free time, throws together a "mashup" combining Google Maps with Craiglist's house-for-sale listings, allowing people to see the houses listed on a map. In another part of the world, a writer for a trade magazine whips together some quick browser code to look up whether books he's browsing on Amazon are currently available at his public library.

The speed and ease at which these new applications were built is what is getting us very excited about the potential of the Web 2.0 world. Evocative of Dr. Frankenstein building a monster in his attic laboratory using body pieces he found lying around his neighborhood, developers can create new applications using common elements found lying around the Web in almost no time at all. As the skill requirements for building these applications decreases, a whole new world of possibilities opens.

Web 2.0 isn't a "thing", but a collection of approaches, which are all converging on the development world at a rapid pace. These approaches, including APIs, RSS, folksonomies, and social networking, suddenly give application developers a new way to approach hard problems with surprisingly effective results.

11:30 a.m.

General Session: Browser Compatibility in the
Brave New World

Joe Marini, Program Director, Microsoft

How do I make my pages and scripts compatible across browsers? Is it ever okay to detect a particular version of a browser and then use that information in my pages? What about all the new portable devices that are now widely available that have Internet access? In this session, Joe Marini will address these and many other issues related to making your pages work across devices, platforms, and browser versions, and investigate how and when it makes sense to target pages to particular browsers.

STRATEGY MEETS TECHNOLOGY
Monday, May 5

2 p.m.

Talk Amongst Yourself: Transforming Business with Blogs, Wikis, and Social Media

DL Byron, Principal, Textura Design

Blogging on the public Internet is mainstream. Now comes the next revolution: blogging within an organization. A growing number of corporations and institutions — including Boeing, Intel, and Wellpoint — are using blogs and social media to foster internal collaboration and improved knowledge management. Learn the unique uses of internal blogging, see how standards and blog technologies have made intranet user experiences richer, and discover the potential for RSS workflow. We'll conclude with a discussion of blogging strategies aimed at helping you to start the blogging conversation at your company or organization.

3:15 p.m.

The User is Always Right: How Users Are Changing the Web

Steve Mulder, Senior Consultant, Molecular

How do we ensure that our Web sites actually give users what they need and deliver results? Personas bring user research to life and make it actionable, ensuring we're making the right decisions based on the right information. Discover the latest techniques for creating personas, including advice on conducting user interviews, new methods for applying quantitative research such as surveys and log file analysis, approaches for generating persona segmentation, and fun ideas for making your personas real. It's time to take personas to the next level.

4:30 p.m.

Mashing Up the Enterprise: Creating Rich Intranet Experiences

DL Byron, Principal, Textura Design

A mashed-up discussion of how the enterprise is being hacked by blogs, wikis, Google apps, and anyone with a few bits of Web 2.0 code. Byron will show how you can create a "mellow clutter" of data that shares photos, videos, news, and more from a variety of sources. See how organizations of all sizes are using metadata as an internal conversation tool, and learn how standards and technologies have made intranet user experiences richer. Byron will also demonstrate a blog-oriented approach to intranets, and strategies for distributing cluttered content across the enterprise.

CSS & DESIGN
Monday, May 5

2:00 p.m.

Rich Interface Design: How AJAX Changes Everything

Steve Mulder, Senior Consultant, Molecular

If technologies such as AJAX and Flash are powerful flames heating up the Web, then we designers are the glassblowers. It's up to us to create intuitive, engaging interfaces on top of the new possibilities that AJAX and Flash bring. But old skills aren't enough in this age of animated transitions, asynchronous interactivity, and application-like behavior.

What does every designer need to know in order to move from static HTML sites to dynamic rich interfaces? Come find out. We'll talk about effective ways to incorporate user feedback into a dynamic interface, and how timing can be the difference between an interface that works and one that doesn't. We'll also discuss how traditional usability ideals such as discoverability and simplicity take on new meaning when we design rich interfaces. The session will include many examples of successful and failed rich interfaces. Come add your experiences into the mix so we can learn from each other.

3:15 p.m.

Creating Sexy Stylesheets

Dan Rubin, Founder & Principal, Webgraph

Being a CSS expert is about more than just memorizing selectors. It's also about working to improve the maintainability and efficiency of your style sheets, planning for the future, and mastering your workflow. This session will look at pushing the limits of CSS to create stunning interfaces using clean, meaningful markup. We'll also look at CSS 3 and at what the future of Web design could look like when CSS 3 finally becomes mainstream.

4:30 p.m.

Designing User Interfaces: Details Make the Difference

Dan Rubin, Founder & Principal, Webgraph

So you already know everything there is to know about CSS, JavaScript, information architecture, usability, and accessibility. But you feel like you’re missing something: that “flair.” You know, that great look and style that will turn heads. Learn to use grids, typography, abstraction, ornamentation, and photography to create aesthetically pleasing, sexy interfaces.

GENERAL SESSIONS
Tuesday, May 6

9 a.m.

Keynote: Web Design for ROI: How Design Impacts Effectiveness

Lance Loveday, CEO, Closed Loop Marketing

It's a sad fact: most web sites don't achieve their potential. What's even more disturbing, though, is that most site owners seem to be okay with that. Why? Why is it okay, for example, that shopping carts are abandoned 60 percent of the time? The answer: Because in order to make your sites effective, you need to treat them as seriously as a business, and understand how design can help them achieve your objectives.

In this eye-opening, tactical session, Lance Loveday explores the dysfunction behind most web site projects, and highlights the astonishing impact that design can have when it supports business goals and is held accountable with metrics.

You'll see the most common errors organizations — and designers — make when thinking about their web sites. You'll get specific design guidelines that increase web site effectiveness, illustrated with case studies from various types of organizations, including e-commerce, lead generation, non-profit, government, and education sites. See how to prioritize your design efforts on the areas and elements that really matter, and learn about tools and resources you can use to test and measure your site's effectiveness. Whether you're running an e-commerce storefront or a university site, you'll come away with new perspectives on how your design decisions impact a site's effectiveness.

10:15 p.m.

General Session: Professional Front-End Engineering

Nate Koechley, Senior Engineer, Yahoo!

It used to be that Web developers simply pushed pixels. The Web was pieced together by print designers and back-end engineers — almost no one was deeply focused on the front-end. Today's Web developers are "front-end engineers," creating complex and efficient software and bend reluctant browsers to their will. And they are broadly recognized and respected as practitioners of a first-order engineering specialization.

In this session, Nate Koechley defines the characteristics and important practices of this discipline, and discusses the key challenges we still face — and he'll offer 13 tactical tips from the front lines that you can put into practice today.

4:30 p.m.

Deconstructing... You!

Panel: Jim Heid, WDW Conference Chair, Lance Loveday, CEO, Closed Loop Marketing, and Steve Mulder, Senior Consultant, Molecular

It's a Web Design World tradition, and always one of our most popular sessions. Top Web designers join Conference Chair Jim Heid in critically evaluating several of our attendees' sites. Bring your pencil! Your site may be among the ones we examine in this wrap-up session.

DEVELOPMENT & CODING
Tuesday, May 6

11:30 a.m.

Effective JavaScript Programming

Joe Marini, Group Product Manager, VSIP, Microsoft

Still not sure how to use Object-Oriented JavaScript? Confused by the modern event model available in the latest browsers? Confounded by modern programming techniques like exception handling? Looking for ways to make your JavaScript code efficient, readable, and extensible? This session will unravel these and other mysteries of the JavaScript language. Come join Joe Marini and learn how to make the most effective use of your coding skills — and to pick up a few new ones along the way.

2:00 p.m.

Real-World XML Design and Development

Joe Marini, Group Product Manager, VSIP, Microsoft

Now that XML has become a mainstream, widely-used technology, Web designers and developers find themselves confronted with an ever-increasing number of techniques and technologies for working with it. This session covers an end-to-end example of designing an XML vocabulary, working with various ways of validating and displaying the information in a page, and storing the information on the back end.

3:15 p.m.

Enhancing Your Sites with the Yahoo! Interface Library

Nate Koechley, Senior Engineer, Yahoo!

The Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI) is chock full of more than 40 utilities, widgets, and tools that make web development and browser-wrangling less painful for small personal sites and heavy-duty, industry-leading applications alike. This all-new session covers what's new in 2008 (lots), what's coming next (some very cool stuff), and some practical tips from the trenches. If you're a seasoned YUI pro, you'll learn about hidden features and optimization tips. If you've never heard of YUI, you'll learn how to get started. And if you use a different library, you'll learn about YUI's library-agnostic tools for things like compression, profiling and unit testing.

USER EXPERIENCE
Tuesday, May 6

11:30 a.m.

Designing Search-Friendly Sites

Lance Loveday, CEO, Closed Loop Marketing;
Amy Greer, Director of Search and New Media,
Closed Loop Marketing

Building successful and creative sites should be the goal of any web designer. But all too often, this means lots of Flash, JavaScript and other "immersive" strategies that leave a site virtually invisible to search engines — and potential visitors.

So what's a designer to do? Compromise design quality for search engine optimization (SEO)? Build sites that are just "so-so"? Not a chance. You can balance good design with SEO — and gain a competitive edge in doing so. In this session, we'll go under the hood of live sites that have achieved this balance and show you how they did it. We'll also provide actionable tips and recommendations on how to structure, design and code sites that are successful, creative and search-friendly.

2:00 p.m.

Enhancing Experiences with Ajax, RIAs, and Browser-side Intelligence: Part I & II

Jared Spool, Founder, User Interface Engineering

Browser-side development options are plentiful: JavaScript, AJAX, Flash, and the latest additions, Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight. These options present developers with tremendous power to create more-fluid interactions — moving away from the dreaded page refresh and making sites feel like the desktop applications that people are used to.

Researchers at User Interface Engineering have been studying what works and what doesn't, and they've discovered patterns and principals to help guide designers into this frontier.

In this all-new, two-hour session, Jared Spool talks about the different approaches developers have taken with these new capabilities. Learn what smart clients bring us, including enhanced progressive disclosure, visualization, and efficiency capabilities. See what game design can teach us when it comes to creating immersive experiences, and learn how to avoid the common traps developers fall into when they start employing these technologies.

Jared will show examples from Flickr, Google, Yahoo!, Netflix, Lands End, Gap, and the Los Angeles Times, deconstructing their use to help you understand how to apply these new design and development options to your sites.

Workshops
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Had a great time — good people! That's the best!
WDW Seattle 2007 attendee