Web Directions South 2009 - Designer Report

Highlights of the recent WDS09 conference from our Senior Web Designer, Fab Ferrante.


by Fab Ferrante21 October 2009

Recently I attended the Web Directions South conference (WDS09) in Sydney. It was a chance to hear from leading international and local experts on topics such as:
  1. user experience
  2. interface design
  3. social media
  4. coding and development
  5. SEO
  6. accessibility
  7. interaction design
and much more.

As a web designer, I found the event to be quite inspirational and thought-provoking. 

I particularly found Tania Lang's presentation on Using Ajax to enhance user experience insightful as it highlighted some of the main pitfalls and user frustrations with AJAX, as well as how it has the potential to provide richer and more interactive online user experiences. It also raised my understanding of user expectations and common behaviours, and the importance of progressive disclosure when presenting information.

Designing for suits presented by Pete Ottery offered a 3 part video series on the relationship between designer and manager, which helped highlight their key roles and expectations during the design process and how their contributions can either help or hinder the success of a project.

Donna Spencer gave a compelling presentation on Information seeking behaviours, which helped underline how you can better present information so that it’s easier to understand and more engaging for the user. It brought to my attention that there is real value in learning about your user and understanding how they may think about and interact with your site. (See also card sorting).

Luke Stevens presented the idea of how we can use data to create better performing websites. It showed me that data driven design possesses the ability to greatly improve client and user happiness, by allowing us to properly measure results to make better informed decisions when designing an interface. It also showed me the importance of testing, and how it will change the way we think about design.

While, lastly I learnt that designing for social interaction can be quite difficult. Designing social interfaces by Christian Crumlish presented the dos and don’ts of social web design using a sampling of interaction patterns, design principles and best practices to help improve the design of your digital social environments.
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