Stir Trek 2014

I was lucky to have a chance to attend Stir Trek in Columbus Ohio for the first time this past Friday. In a word, it was great.

As a consultant working primarily with SharePoint and Office 365 I found the presentations by Bykowski, Elemary and Steinert particularly useful. Immediate take away were thoughts challenging how we design web sites and web applications. Bukowski spoke about things like navigation, scrolling, search based navigation and the effective use of white space. Also worth mentioning is the point Bykowski made about the “page of least importance.” Meaning the home page has the highest bounce rate and far too many companies cram too much stuff onto these things rather than knitting the content users are looking for throughout the site structure itself.

Elemary shared lessons learned regarding usability. My dad is blind so I have an interest in things that make people’s lives easier when it comes to consuming content. I did not know that screen readers like table layouts better than structured content in DIV’s. We picked up a technique for using hidden anchors in page content by throwing them off the visible page not by suppressing them with ‘visible: none;.’ All that and the importance of well laid out marked that is consistent and hierarchical. Steinert was a joy to listen to. Her presentation was about the types of decisions that go into a UX designer’s process. Even a developer could understand it!

Collier’s presentation was more frightening than anything. It reminded me of my parents drilling into my head the concept of “defensive driving” back in High School. Rules of the road: “be prepared.” Basu’s talk was interesting regarding SignalR, main take away form that was his training series on PluralSight.

StirTrek Benjamin Bykowski

• “Adventures Beyond the Fold: Exploring UX Mythology,” by Benjamin Bykowski

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