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Monday, July 20


General Sessions

9:00 a.m.

Keynote: The Making of a User Experience Vision

Jared Spool, Founder, User Interface Engineering

Quick: Describe the experience people will have when they use your design five years from now. Can everyone on your design team describe the same vision?

A clear vision is like a stake on the horizon. Everyone can see it and can easily tell if each baby step is getting them closer or farther away. Having a single vision gives the team a convergence point, even if everyone starts from a different place.

User Interface Engineering's recent research on design excellence shows that the best teams have a unified vision of user experience, a vision that everyone understands and can clearly describe. Struggling teams, on the other hand, don't have a single vision—if they have any at all. The results show in the quality of the design each type of team produces.

In this keynote address, Jared Spool shows the secrets behind creating a unified user experience vision. He'll share techniques employed by Apple, Adaptive Path, Nokia, and Microsoft. Learn who the key participants are in the vision-creation process and how to keep them engaged. You'll get a step-by-step process for identifying the “aspirational experience” to contrast against the “current experience.”

You'll see various options for describing your user-experience vision, from highly produced video to stop-motion animation to stick-figure comics. And you'll walk away with a complete plan for how to get your team on the same page, with a unified vision that will drive your design and development process for years to come.

10:15 a.m.

Accessibility: It's for Everyone and Everything

Shawn Henry, Web Accessibility Initiative, W3C

Accessibility is a key aspect of high-quality web sites, yet the benefits of accessibility for web designers and for web users are not widely understood. Yes, accessibility is critically important for users with vision, hearing, physical, and cognitive disabilities. But the fundamental design practices behind accessibility also streamline the site-development process and open the doors to key markets, such as mobile phones and other alternative browsing devices.

Accessibility is also on the forefront of cutting-edge technical development—with the W3C's standards draft for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA), for example.

The bottom line: following today's best practices for accessibility is a great way to make your web site shine for users on the front end, and for developers on the back end. Learn how the latest specifications and development practices can expand your audience, streamline your development, and make your sites available to everyone and everything.

4:30 p.m.

Web Standards: Fueling Innovation

Aaron Gustafson, Founder and Principal Consultant, Easy! Designs, LLC

Web standards are all about rules and structure, formalities that many people find restrictive and stifling. From another perspective, however, the rigid structure of web standards can be seen as a boon to creativity on the web. In this session, Aaron Gustafson will teach you how to use smart JavaScript to leverage the extensibility of XHTML and CSS and push the boundaries of web design and development, all while still adhering to the best practices of web standards.

Strategy Meets Technology

Building community and credibility through user reviews. Designing with the eye in mind: where to place the stuff that matters most. Tweeting your way into the hearts of your audience. These topics live at the intersection of business and design.

11:30 a.m.

Your Users Trust Each Other, Not You:
Why and How to Implement Ratings and Reviews

Steve Mulder, Director of Emerging Interactions, Molecular

Ratings and reviews have been a staple of good online experiences for years, yet many organizations still resist the onslaught of user opinions on their own sites. Are ratings and reviews right for my business? How much do my users want them? What's the ROI? How do I deal with negative reviews? And if I go ahead with ratings and reviews, what are best practices for designing and implementing them? How do I make them useful and usable? Learn the answers in a session jam-packed with strategies and data for the business folk and practical tips and examples for the design folk.

2:00 p.m.

Designing for Discoverability

Steve Mulder, Director of Emerging Interactions, Molecular

When it comes to creating successful sites, half the battle is making things discoverable. If users don't notice what we want them to notice, they'll never be satisfied (and neither will we). How do people scan web pages? What makes some things on a page more visible than others? How do we make sure critical content and functionality are actually seen? Come discover practical tips and tricks for taking advantage of what we know about the human eye to make your site more effective.

3:15 p.m.

Twittering Your Business

DL Byron, Principal, Textura Design

Twitter was originally created to be an internal collaboration tool. Since then, the microblogging service has grown into an important medium for businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, and organizations of all kinds.

In this session, you'll learn how Twitter got to where it is today—and more important, you'll see how to use it effectively. You'll learn how organizations use Twitter internally, publicly, and in ways you probably didn't think about. See how to use Twitter to keep in touch with your audience and employees during the day, at events, and for collaborative projects. You'll see examples of how to use Twitter as a back channel to your organization, and you'll learn how to integrate Twitter into a broader social publishing strategy.

Design & CSS

CSS: it's for type, for page geometry, for accessibility, for mobile devices— for starters. Learn the best CSS authoring practices, see how they relate to the larger issues of mobile development, then step back for a critical look at the differences between good and great design.

11:30 a.m.

Pushing the Limits of CSS

Dan Rubin, Founder and Principal, Webgraph

CSS just keeps getting better. CSS3 is winding its way through the W3C and already enjoying limited support in some browsers. With it comes the promise of more creative options, from backgrounds and borders to greater typographic control. What's new? More important, what can we use today?

Understanding CSS3 and how to use it — as well as dealing with older browsers — are some of the topics Dan Rubin will address in this practical but forward-looking session. You'll learn tips for all your CSS endeavor and get insights on making your stylesheets easier to create and maintain. Ready to take your CSS skills to the next level?

2:00 p.m.

Good vs Great Design

Cameron Moll, Principal Interaction Designer, LDS Church

It’s easy to poke fun at bad design, but it’s a lot more challenging—and rewarding—to discern differences between good design and great design. This session will teach you practical design techniques for tipping the scales of greatness in your favor, using a blend of graphic design theory, human computing principles, and a communication-centric approach. Learn the difference between solution-focused and problem focused-approach, influence versus inspiration, homogeneity versus hierarchy, machine efficiency versus user efficiency, and more.

3:15 p.m.

Mobile Web Design

Cameron Moll, Principal Interaction Designer, LDS Church

Does the mobile web finally have legs? Or is it not ready for prime time? You're welcome to take sides, but you can't dispute that mobile design is a topic most of us will face now or in the near future. After all, three billion devices are pretty hard to ignore. In this session, Cameron Moll, author of Mobile Web Design, takes a detailed conceptual and tactical look at the mobile web. See how to best to mobilize an existing or planned site, and learn the standards-based markup techniques that work today.

Tuesday, July 21


General Sessions

9:00 a.m.

Mastering the Details in Interface Design

Dan Rubin, Founder and Principal, Webgraph

Typography, grids, colors, borders, textures, gradients, and drop shadows: using these basic elements of visual design properly — and knowing when not to use them — can challenge even seasoned interface designers. Yet these foundations upon which we craft our designs are often ignored — or worse, they're cast about the canvas with reckless abandon.

Attention to these details can help make a design beautiful — and make an interface more usable and enjoyable. This session combines the science of CSS and markup with the art of layout, typography, and graphics. Learn how to pay attention to the details that matter, and watch as Dan Rubin shows examples of how the little things can make a big difference in the quality of a design.

10:15 a.m.

Compatibility 2009: What Designers Need to Know

Joe Marini, Development Tools Ecosystem team, 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 addresses these and many other issues related to making your pages work across devices, platforms, and browser versions, and investigates how and when it makes sense to target pages to particular browsers.

12:30 p.m.

Windows Internet Explorer 8: Great Standards Support and More!

Pete LePage, Senior Product Manager, Internet Explorer Team

With Internet Explorer 8 we usher in a new wave of browser innovation from Microsoft—all while maintaining compatibility with the today's Web standards.  We’ll take a whirl wind tour of the new developer tools and features, then dive into the technical aspects of Web Slices, Accelerators and Visual Search.  By the end of this session, you’ll know how to implement them on your site in a matter of minutes!

4:30 p.m.

Deconstructing… You!

Jim Heid, WDW Conference Chair; Shawn Henry, w3c; Steve Mulder, Director of Emerging Interactions, Molecular; Jared Spool, Founder, User Interface Engineering

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

Develop & DELIVER

Learn how to write spectacular JavaScript. See how to use CSS and JavaScript to develop in ways that deliver the best experience to every visitor. Then tune in to the latest thinking in Flash video.

11:30 a.m.

Effective JavaScript Programming

Joe Marini, Development Tools Ecosystem team, 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, such as exception handling? Looking for ways to make your JavaScript code efficient, readable, and extensible? This session unravels 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 pick up a few new ones along the way.

2:00 p.m.

Fundamental Progressive Enhancement

Aaron Gustafson, Founder and Principal Consultant, Easy! Designs, LLC

“Progressive enhancement” involves designing sites in a way that allows everyone to access the basic content of a web page while also providing enhanced versions to visitors with faster bandwidth or more advanced browsers. In this session, Aaron Gustafson covers the current best practice in this critical aspect of web standards development. Staring with an introduction to the topic, Aaron will walk you through the best ways to apply style and behavior to your pages, providing concrete examples and implementations that you can start using right away.

3:15 p.m.

Encoding and Delivering Video with Flash

Greg Rewis, Worldwide Senior Evangelist for Web Tools, Adobe Systems

Adobe Flash is far and away the dominant platform for delivering streaming video. In this session, you'll learn how to create and deliver interactive content featuring seamlessly integrated video. Create customized players that fit the look and feel of your project. Discover new components, including closed-captioning capabilities. Whether you're new to Flash or are a Flash expert who's newly interested in video, you'll learn the best ways to deliver the best-looking video possible.

User Experience

The experience your site's visitors have is kind of important. Improving it means paying attention to accessibility, testing your designs, and removing obstacles that trip up visitors and cost you traffic (and money).

11:30 a.m.

Accessibility in a Web 2.0 World

Shawn Henry, Web Accessibility Initiative, W3C

Web 2.0, Ajax, rich web applications, blogs, wikis—the web continues to develop. What are the accessibility issues in this next-generation web? Scripting, once a no-no for accessibility, is a key aspect. Join us to get the latest on how the W3C's new web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG), and Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA) address these web developments. Learn how to take advantage of current and developing strategies to make dynamic web content and applications accessible.

2:00 p.m.

Galleries: The Hardest-Working Pages on Your Site

Jared Spool, Founder, User Interface Engineering

Gallery pages are lists of links to more detailed pages—for example, a list of cell phone models that links to detailed descriptions of each model. An effective gallery page will drive users to success. A vague, information-poor gallery leads to “pogosticking”— people jumping up and down in the hierarchy of the site, hoping they'll eventually hit the content they desire. It leads to frustration more often than success.

In this session, you'll see examples of poorly designed gallery pages and of ones that work. See how adding critical pieces of information to your gallery pages can make them far more effective, and learn the best ways to create gallery pages that work for you, rather than against you.

3:15 p.m.

What to Do, and When: Informing Design at Every Phase

Dana Chisnell, Founder, UsabilityWork

Cutting-edge CSS and fancy Ajax widgets are great when their design serves users' needs. When it doesn't, they get in the way and cause frustration. How do you know when a certain design approach really helps? It doesn't happen by accident, and it doesn't happen through guessing or intuition.

To design excellent experiences, it's essential to observe and listen to your users constantly, regularly, and habitually. In this session, you'll learn a dozen effective techniques and tools that will help you get feedback from target users. You'll learn how the best design teams interpret the results of this feedback, and you'll see how to apply each technique to the sweet spots in the life of a design.

Wednesday, July 22


It's deep-dive day: four intensive workshops that drill into topics ranging from ROI to CSS, from usability to Photoshop. All presented in a relaxed, distraction-free environment where you can concentrate and learn. Just like in your office, right?

9:00 a.m.

Web Design for ROI: How Design Impacts Effectiveness

Lance Loveday, CEO, Closed Loop Marketing

Today more than ever before, maximizing your return on investment is critical. But it's a sad fact: most web sites don't achieve their potential. What's even more disturbing, 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, three-hour workshop, 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 in 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.

9:00 a.m.

From CSS to sIFR to Cufon:
Best Practices in Web Typography

Dan Rubin,Founder and Principal, Webgraph

Last time we checked, text played an important role on most web pages. Yet, too many web sites are difficult to read, with typography that violates practices that date back to Gutenberg's day.

And when your type is hard to read, your message is hard to convey.

It's time to give type the attention it demands and deserves. In this half-day workshop, Dan Rubin lays out the best practices in both the art and the science of Web typography. You'll learn the design aesthetics that maximize the legibility and clarity of your site's text — concepts such as the relationship between type size, margins, and line spacing.

Equally important, you'll learn the implementation techniques necessary to turn those aesthetic concepts into reality. See the best CSS markup techniques for creating type that's legible, works across browsers, and maximizes accessibility.

You'll also learn about up-and-coming typographic options such as sIFR, which lets you use your favorite font by combining Flash, JavaScript and CSS; and Cufón, which comprises a font generator and a rendering engine written in JavaScript. When are these schemes viable options? What works best today?

Get the aesthetic foundation you need to appreciate and manage the issues behind great web typography, and take your CSS and development skills to new level. It's a win-win workshop — for you and for everyone who uses your sites.

2:00 p.m.

Getting to Insights:
A Radical Approach to Usability Testing

Dana Chisnell, Founder, UsabilityWork; Jared Spool, Founder, User Interface Engineering

For many designers, usability testing has become a staple activity in the design process. Grab some prospective users, sit them down in front of the design, and gain the insights about what to improve. Sounds simple, right?

Yet there are still many organizations that aren't conducting regular usability tests. Is this because they “don't get it?” Is it because they feel that testing is flawed?

No. It's because creating an effective usability testing program isn't as simple as it seems. To integrate testing into their process, today's teams have to think beyond lab coats and fancy one-way mirrors. Instead, they need to focus on the insights that will help them choose the best direction for their designs.

In this workshop, usability author Dana Chisnell joins forces with user experience researcher Jared Spool to break usability testing down to its bare essentials, showing you how to you can integrate testing into even the most financially tight and chaotic development environments.

Like most activities, 80 percent of the value from usability testing comes from less than 20 percent of the effort. In Part 1, “Where's the Magic?,” Dana deconstructs the testing process, drawing out those pieces that get the biggest return. You'll see how easy testing becomes when you have the right recruitment process, an effective moderator, and a solid planning technique. Even if you're already conducting regular tests, you'll learn ways to quickly extract key insights by optimizing your techniques.

Quickly distilling testing data into actionable design enhancements is what user research is all about. In Part 2, “Mining the Data for Gold,” Jared walks you through proven techniques for digging the most important elements out of your testing data. You'll learn how to combine qualitative and quantitative information, giving you the best of both worlds. You'll learn tricks for comparing multiple design alternatives, how to quickly build robust personas, and a 45-minute trick to bring a team to consensus on the most important design issues.

If it's important that every design decision you make be infused with up-to-date information about who your users are and what they need from your design, then this workshop is a must-attend. It will change how you think about usability testing forever.

2:00 p.m.

Adobe CS4 Tools Workshop

Greg Rewis, Worldwide Senior Evangelist for Web Tools, Adobe Systems
Stephanie Sullivan, Founder/Principal, W3Conversions

Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks: chances are you don't spend a day without using at least one of these Adobe tools. That's why we've assembled a workshop packed with practical tips and how-to insights on the Adobe Creative Suite, with a special emphasis on Dreamweaver and Flash.

See how the new features in Dreamweaver CS4 make it easier than ever to develop and troubleshoot CSS, create Flash buttons, and streamline your development workflow. Discover how to maximize the time-saving new features in Adobe Flash CS4, including object-oriented animation, motion presets, the motion editor, and more. And learn the best ways to dovetail both Dreamweaver and Flash with their companions in the CS4 suite, Photoshop and Fireworks.

It's simple: If you use anything Adobe, you can't afford to miss this tip-packed, half-day workshop.

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