An Event Apart: Walls Come Tumbling Down

by October 13, 2009

Andy Clarke's Walls Come Tumbling Down presentation at An Event Apart Chicago argued for a new way of working on Web sites focused on designing inside the Web browser.

  • Creativity drives new ideas. Refining how we do our work can make more time to be creative and also cut costs for efficiency.
  • Typical workflows are often waterfall-based: design mock-ups, send to front-end engineers, attach a back-end, then QA it all. Any changes in this workflow model require going back to previous steps in the process, which leads to frustration and antagonism.
  • We need to reevaluate the steps in the workflow so we have more time to be creative.
  • New proposed model: content, designing in the browser (using mark-up and CSS), testing.
  • Clients believe this process is better value for the money as they can be involved in more decisions throughout the design cycle.
  • What’s wrong with the old way of working in Photoshop? Static designs fail by definition. We are not designing a screen shot of a Web page. We are designing a Web page. It’s next to impossible to see how fluid layout or text size increases change a layout in Photoshop without creating multiple versions.
  • When you sell your client on static mock-ups you are setting yourself up for problems when those designs do are not mirrored in the browser.
  • Do Web pages need to look the same in every Web browser? Most designers and developers know they can’t but clients don’t. But this is a conversation we should have to drive creativity forward.
  • Looking the same in every browser does not mean a Web page is broken in some browsers. Create the best experience you can for people with most modern technology, make sure it works for the rest.
  • Only Web geeks, know more than one Web browser exists. Every one else only uses only one browser.
  • Even modern Web software doesn’t support all the latest standards. Opera, for instance, does not support border radius.
  • CSS3 was designed as a series of modules for browsers to implement as they want/can.
  • Designing in the Web browser allows you to leverage Web based tools like color contrast checker; Web developer tools; etc.
  • What do you do with the time you save using this new methodology? Do things to improve your own business, learn new things, invest in something of benefit to you or other people.

For more...

Check out my notes from three years of An Event Apart presentations.