Notes from the future

A few highlights from my first Future of Web Design which I attended on Tuesday 8 April 2014.

“the best work you do may well be on a sketch pad”

Paul Adams (@Padday) claims we’re all too often restricted by current tools, parameters and what we think is in the realm of the possible.

In a bold statement he pondered a future with no websites, but a series of personalised experiences; where the New York Times would be distributed purely via social media and the website, as we know it, would be rendered obsolete.

“If you don’t add something you don’t have to remove it”

Stephen Hay (@stephenhay) is exhausted with unnecessary clutter getting in the way of clean user experiences and, ultimately, a perfect ‘zero interface’ – although even he admits Amazon’s 1-Click ordering is just a step too far.

A few more words to the wise:

  • use family as user testers (ie, your mum)
  • don’t assume people understand icons (more people recognise the word ‘menu’ to the ‘hamburger’)
  • Once you find a solution, stop – only refine if really necessary

“Making our content clear and understandable has done more for accessibility than almost anything we could have done with code”

As a plain English evangelist I loved that statement from GDS’s Josh Marshall (@partiallyblind), who gave a rousing talk on accessibility (be that for users with a registered disability, a broken wrist, prescription glasses or just an excess of alcohol in their bloodstream) and indeed ‘accessible ux’.

Throughout, he encouraged us to take pride, as web professionals, in ensuring we’re not locking anyone out. Separate apps or mobile versions of sites shouldn’t be necessary when accessibility for all is the focus from the start.


Other highlights from my day included Senongo Akpem’s gorgeous talk on digital narratives; fellow Bristolian woman of web Bonnie Colville-Hyde’s inspired use of comics for clients; and little details like Chris Jones team presenting Graham and Brown with a user journey sketch on the back of a wallpaper roll.

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