The focus of CMSExpo was definitely on the techie side including tracks for Joomla!, Drupal and Alfresco (and some other individual sessions for gems like Magento and Plone), but I was lucky enough to be asked to give a session on web design. As most of us know, all the technology and content management systems in the world are useless without quality content and a connection with your audience.
In this session we covered...
- What is "design"?
- Why is design important?
- What types of design are there?
- The design process
- Current web design trends
- Tools for web design
So what is design?
Design at its core is problem solving. We talked about common design problems and ways of developing effective solutions through fully understanding the problem at hand.
Why is design important?
Communication with your audience. Design gives purpose to and/or organizes the flow of information. If you don't communicate effectively with your audience then your web site, product or company will fail. Good design will separate you from the crowd and convey expression and individuality (aka branding).
There are different types of design?
You betcha. If you think about design being problem solving then everything could be considered or seen as design. In regards to web design the list is long and includes specialties such as; user interface, user experience, visual or graphic design, information architecture and interaction.
The design process
The first thing to be said about a design process is that it needs to be flexible. Of course there is the main structure or phases, but with the constant changes in the way we communicate the process needs to be able to adapt to the problem at hand. The process we follow at Zuno goes like this...
Current web trends
I left out glossy buttons and image reflections to look at more meaningful trends and less at fads. The presentation slides have actual site examples (and on delicious here), but we looked at; big ol' illustrations, crazy drop-down navigation, move it! - animation, can't miss search fields, blogs and interaction.
This just scratches the surface of design and I hope the slides provide a good reference and inspire you to think more about design and problem solving if you're not already.