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An Event Apart: 10 Commandments of Web Design

An Event Apart

I was lucky enough to attend my very first web design conference this week. It was amazingly inspiring and gave me a lot of things to think about – mostly a lot of things I need to do better at in my work. It was great to be in a room full of 400-500 other folks with the same mindset, skill set and goals as me. It was also great to hear talks by some of the people I’ve been learning from for many years – through their blogs and books.

I’ll be sharing my take-aways from each of the speakers. One blog post at a time. First Up – Jeffrey Zeldman.

At An Event Apart – Austin 2013, The Godfather of Web Design – Jeffrey Zeldman – shared his 10 commandments of web design. Below I’ve shared them and how I interpret each.

Thou shalt entertain

My interpretation: Stop focusing on ‘techy’ details and make your websites fun and playful – through conversational content.

Test everything

My interpretation: Always test your websites as well as testing your basic assumptions about how you create those websites (things like ALT tag usage, etc)

Thou shalt iterate

My interpretation: Never stop tweaking, revising and making your websites better, but always ‘ship’ your ‘minimal viable product’.

Thou shalt ship – “If you can’t delegate at the pixel level, you’ll never ship”

My interpretation: Do your work efficiently and get it out in the public and then go back to #3

Engage thy community

My interpretation: Think about using more ‘social’ features with blog comments, like Disqus, and embeddable comments

Love they user as thy self

My interpretation: Create the website you want to see and use – make it responsive – aka device agnostic – and put the most useful content on top of the website

Remember content and keep it holy

My interpretation: content comes first and navigation is second, use larger text for relaxing experience and remove extraneous design bits.

Thou shalt make magic – not perfection

My interpretation: Make your websites magical, but that doesn’t mean making it perfect. Focus on previous commandments and ship the minimal viable product. Think Instagram, it was ‘magical’ but not perfect at first – because it didn’t allow for sharing, commenting or even have a website presence, only app presence.

Thou shalt prioritize

My interpretation: Do most important thing first (obviously) and think about using Github ‘issues’ feature to help prioritize.

To thine own self be true

My interpretation: Focus on what you are great at.

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