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design

An Event Apart: Key Takeaways from a Web Designer

Conferences. I love conferences.

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Compared to Seattle Interactive Conference, from a design perspective, I loved the format of this one. About 12 speakers over the course of two days, in one room, so there was no running between rooms or going to a dull session and feeling like you may have missed out on something better. This is a conference for people who make websites so it is pretty specific. I dig it.

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I always come out of these type of events feeling JAZZED, EXCITED, BURSTING AT THE SEAMS WITH CREATIVITY.

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And then comes the slow decline after realizing maybe only half of what I learned, I can actually take back and use in my design process. Because that’s just how it goes.

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1. Writing and articulating your thoughts is key to a successful career.
Dare to speak! Unlock your inner voice! It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it.

2. Responsive Design is changing the way teams work together in an organization.
Teams should be working together throughout an entire project. The practice of just handing off tasks between teams & not touching the project again is dying.

3. Designers need to start surfacing conflict.
If we ignore any issues that we’ve identified before starting a project, we’re setting ourself up for bigger conflict down the road. So get that shit out of the way. Tackle it head on. Nothing good comes from burying it and ignoring it. It is our job as creatives to handle those problems. We are problem solvers!

4. Act like the expert the client hired you to be.
You were not hired to be the client’s friend. *cue Liam Neeson voice* You were hired because you possess a particular set of skills, skills you have acquired over a very long career. Skills the client does not have. They trust you. Don’t blow it.
Confidence isn’t about you either. It’s about the client. If you don’t act like the expert, you’re going to freak your client out & they’ll question your abilities to complete their project and no one wants that.

At the end of the second day, I left with a handful of new tools for my design toolbox, but also with a new perspective on things. I had a project with a client recently and the website part went really well. Looking back, its because my manager and I sat down one afternoon, developed our plan, and came in confident that our approach was the right one. And in the end, it was. It really is all about the confidence you exude. And right now, I’m feeling pretty good.

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