SXSW Day 3: Design, user experience

Weather changes. The first two days of SXSW were marked with light rain, but today was a beautiful day. Leaving the EFF party tonight, we saw lightning off in the distance. Now, as I write this back at my house, a thunderstorm is passing overhead. A hard rain fell. Lightning flashes and a lingering thunder echoes as it continues eastward.

Several very good sessions today, including an excellent afternoon session by Jeffrey Veen on user-centered design and the Adaptive Path process. The morning was back-to-back CSS panels. Nothing particularly new was discussed in those, but I found it interesting to hear how the different designers represented on the panel approach design.

Dave Shea: “We don’t care about usability.” He sees CSS as a way for designers to expand the possibilities of their work. (Witness Zen Garden.)

Doug Bowman: “CSS is beautiful.” Not just what the user sees but the structure and underlying code, and the craft that brings it all together. (Review slides.)

Jeffrey Zeldman wasn’t there, but he might as well have been. There is a great trick that modern web developers are playing. When justifying their work, they replace any mention of “CSS” with “Web Standards.” But wait — wasn’t HTML 3.2 and table-based layout a “web standard”? :-) Of course what they really mean is modern web standards, but this accidentally shorthand aids their cause tremendously, I think. And when I say their cause, I really mean our cause. (Resist bad browsers.)