Notes from SXSWi: Simple Steps to Great Web Design

One of the more remarkable talks I attended at SXSWi (pronounced South By South West eye – not es-ex-es-double-you), was a talk by Matthew Smith from Squared Eye, a boutique web development firm.

Here are some takeaways:

  • Design around the content. Don’t let your design aesthetics dictate your web design. Content is why the audience is there.
  • It is not YOUR site – it is the site owner’s site. Your design must serve the goals of the site owner. As designers we are often emotionally attached to our work and often think of our work as an extension of us.
  • Great web design helps content get stuff done (with pleasure).
  • Spank that niche. I thought that this was hilarious.
  • Knowledge
    • Know the Client
    • Know the Audience
    • Know the Medium
    • Know the Content
  • Design Techniques
    • Use size to help design hierarchy visually
    • Establish a visual language (green for action, blue for links, features is 15pt font, etc)
    • Use color to draw people’s eyes
    • Design for pleasure – ex. Gowalla’s custom icons, motion, etc

Here are his slides although they are really best viewed along with the talk.

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