Iowa Web Developers and Designers Meetup

Picture from Karl Becker

Last week I had the great honor of joining my friend and app developer Karl Becker for the Iowa Web Developers and Designers Meetup in Coralville, IA. I was humbled by the amount of talent and passion that surrounded me in the room, but that talent and passion only inspired me to do better work in my own life. Here are some of my takeaways from the evening.

There were two presenters in the evening. Dan Sweeny of ActiveGrade presented on Web Design Principles, while Josh Krakauer of Sculpt talked about building a social media strategy. I tried taking some photos, but please forgive me for the dark projector room! Next time I'll use HDR!

I'm only going to be addressing Dan's presentation today, so come back later for more on my experience that evening!

Dan Sweeney of ActiveGrade addressing web design
Discussing hierarchy of design.

Web Design Principles

Probably a lot of common sense for an art major, or a design major, but for someone like myself who was wrapped in history, philosophy, and film, Dan's presentation was a home run. I've long struggled with creating something with good design, even though I pride myself on recognizing good design when I see it. Dan helped me understand some of the underlying reasons of what makes "good design," and how that applies in today's web design world.

I believe the biggest take home for me was Dan's point that a website should have a goal; whatever that goal may be, good design strives to guide a visitor towards that goal. While that has been a key point in my work, it was very beneficial to hear it from a design perspective an how good design drives decisions and behaviors as much as the content (if not more).

Example of using contrast in website design.
Example of poor web design. What's the goal? Where's the focus?