Episode 117 Transforming the Shapes with Eva Ferreira

June 30, 2016

Web pages are visually and technically a pile of boxes. By default, all those boxes are rectangles and squares. But they don't have to be any longer. With CSS we can now transform those rectangles into parallelograms, rhombuses, skewed boxes, circles, and elephants — or any shape we want. Eva Ferreira joins Jen Simmons to talk about what's possible and how to do it.

In This Episode

  • transforms
  • rotation
  • scaling
  • skewing
  • perspective
  • translation
  • clip-path
  • shape-outside
  • how CSS is born

Episode 111 Going Responsive with Karen McGrane

December 17, 2015

It’s clear. Responsive is the way to go. One website for all screen sizes, for all devices. But what does it take for a company with an pre-existing site or pre-existing way of working together to make the needed changes to go responsive? It's not about the media queries. It's about everything else. Karen McGrane joins Jen Simmons to talk about her new book, and to imagine an amazing future.

In This Episode

  • What does it take to revise an existing site to be responsive? What are the biggest challenges?
  • How can you get the whole team on the same page, understanding the complexity of modern web design?
  • What about responsive web design is so hard?
  • Why using PDFs generated in Photoshop to make final decisions is a lousy way to design. How a process that includes prototypes is much better.
  • How to make big changes to the work flow inside a team.
  • What we can learn from the past, the transition from analog to digital.
  • The possibilities in design that open up once we modernize our content systems and workflows.
  • The dangers of using a front-end framework.
  • What’s wrong with the industry’s current focus on style guides?
  • What does it take to design a true system of content and layout options?
  • How might we start empowering content creators with tools for true editorial design?

Episode 109 Designing Products with Dustin Senos

November 3, 2015

Designing a successful product takes more than attention to the look & feel, or the interface architecture. Great product design happens earlier in the process, when the product itself is defined and understood. With his experience as the lead designer for Medium, Dustin Senos knows a thing or two about making a product great. He joins Jen Simmons to explain what it takes.

In This Episode

  • What is product design, and how is it different than other kinds of design?
  • Who should design the product?
  • Defining success
  • Who are you designing for?
  • How do you get to great design by exhausting your options
  • How to avoid being too clever
  • How do you convince your colleagues that taking time for this process is important?

Episode 108 Improving Humanity with Pamela Pavliscak

October 27, 2015

We often focus on improving user experience — making it easier for people to use the sites and products we create. But when do we get to focus on a bigger picture? Are we making true improvements to people's lives? Are they happier because they use our work? Pamela Pavliscak has been deeply researching this question. What does it take to improve humanity? How are different generations being affected differently? What will life look like for our children?

Episode 103 Animating the Web with Rachel Nabors

July 8, 2015

How can we use animation on the web to provide information and improve the user experience? What uses should we avoid? How should we go about thinking of animation, including built-in animation experiences that are so common we don't see them anymore? Rachel Nabors joins Jen Simmons to explore the possibilities.

In This Episode

  • The future of the web in multiple states and dimensions
  • How to decide what to animate
  • How the right animations can make an interface instantly understandable
  • What's wrong with Parallax scrolling — and what's not wrong with it
  • Six kinds of animations
  • Performance considerations when animating
  • Browser page scrolling as the first animation users experience
  • Possibilities for controlling the page load — how we might want to orchestrate loading content, rather than only focusing on speed

Episode 102 Understanding Apple Watch with Josh Clark

April 22, 2015

Apple's Watch is almost here. What does it mean to design for this space? Josh Clark joins Jen Simmons to dig in.

In This Episode

  • What will it to like to live with computers strapped to our wrists?
  • Will this be all that's being promised?
  • Technology as jewelry
  • Four kinds of watch apps: notifying, data gathering, phone-mimicking, and a new kind
  • Designing for engagement vs. returning people's attention back to themselves
  • Pre-attentive cognition
  • Wearing data and the Internet of Things
  • The responsibility of shaping behavior with our designs
  • The future of haptic feedback. Force touch and the Taptic Engine
  • Will the web exist on our wrists?

Episode 101 Structuring Content with Eileen Webb

April 7, 2015

For years, we've put content on websites by dumping text, images and video onto a page like it's one big blob. In the age of mobile, it's become painfully clear that really doesn't work anymore. Planning a content system of types and fields yields much better results. Why? How? Eileen Webb joins Jen Simmons to explain exactly what this means.

In This Episode

  • We answer a listener question about which technologies are the best ones to learn — how does a new developer manage to learn them all?
  • Architecting content structure vs. strategizing about content quality, messaging, voice and tone
  • Why content should have a rigid structure
  • Using a content audit to find patterns
  • How content structure should fits the needs of, and reflect the organizational structure of the end client
  • Collaborating with the folks who will be adding content to the website
  • Where to start
  • How to do some of this, even if the people in charge of your project aren't on board

Episode 100 Designing the Web with Jeffrey Zeldman

March 18, 2015

For episode 100 of The Web Ahead, we have Jeffrey Zeldman, the Godfather of Web Standards (or Web Design, depending on who you ask), to talk about the past, present and future of making things for the web. We debate the pros and cons of everything from parallax scrolling to data mining.

In This Episode

  • How the web standards movement changed web design forever
  • What are the current web design trends? What's next?
  • What lessons have we learned as an industry, doing things in a way that turned out to be a bad idea? What anti-patterns should we be avoiding?
  • How do we create great, even innovative design for the project on which we are working, and not chase empty trends?
  • Form v. function
  • How do we keep up?
  • How does one create great web design?
  • Are we thinking carefully about the kind of world we are creating with the work we design?
  • What are the harder conversations that we should be having?
  • What's the downside, and responsibility, of big data?

Episode 98 Handling Advertising with Mark Boulton

March 5, 2015

Advertising is a major business model for the web. Yet most ads arrive from a parallel universe, an industry of CPMs, ad units, and inflexible demands. As designers and developers, how can we best work with ads on the web? Mark Boulton joins Jen Simmons to explore.

In This Episode

  • The challenges of designing around advertising
  • Cyberpunk fears of where corporate spying might take us
  • How we got to where we are
  • What's changing in web advertising — and what's not

Episode 95 Making The Web Ahead Website with Jen Simmons

February 11, 2015

After months of work, I've launched a new website for The Web Ahead, at Hear a saga of the agony, the ecstasy, the design and the build. How? Why? On what? A lot of geeking out about tech and design and some talk about future plans, too. The inimitable Jeff Eaton switches seats and interviews me, Jen Simmons, all about it.

In This Episode

  • Reasons behind creating this website
  • Jen's design process, designing in Drupal
  • Designing the audio player
  • Transcripts and Team Web Ahead
  • The server stack and deployment process
  • Figuring out branding and typography
  • Future plans for the show
  • Growing The Web Ahead into a business
  • How you can get more involved

Episode 93 Parsing Design with Andy Budd

January 23, 2015

The practice of web design has evolved tremendously over the last two decades — so much so that it can be difficult to grasp where we are at. User experience design, user interface design… so many complex pieces working together. Andy Budd joins Jen Simmons to articulate his vision of the current state of web design.

In This Episode

  • How design is valued these days
  • Agency vs. in-house design
  • Design job titles — what's what?
  • What is User Experience Design vs. User Interface Design?
  • The problem of designing by cargo cult
  • The loss of community on the web
  • Options for design tools
  • The coming importance of animation

Episode 91 Designing for Crisis with Eric Meyer

January 9, 2015

Too often, websites are designed with only the ideal user in mind — a typical person, in great health and sound mind, happy to be on your website doing a thing. In reality we humans exist in a variety of states, including panic, fear and reacting to a crisis. How could our sites be better, considering the needs of people in crisis? What are the consequences when we don't acknowledge the impact of our design decisions? Eric Meyer joins Jen Simmons to talk about his last year and a half, what he learned, and what he's thinking.

In This Episode

  • When should we think about users in crisis?
  • What are the needs of a person in crisis?
  • How Facebook and Twitter affect human relationship with their design decisions — for better or worse

Episode 83 Wrangling Typefaces with Jason Santa Maria

September 17, 2014

Typography is a powerful way to immediately communicate the tone and voice of a site. But how exactly do you create great typography? Jason Santa Maria joins Jen Simmons to talk about his approaches to designing with type.

In This Episode

  • How to design great typography
  • How to choose a typeface
  • Type on retina screens
  • Finding a high-quality font
  • What's coming next in web font technology

Episode 80 The Complexity and the Humanity with Trent Walton

August 26, 2014

Web projects have become very complex in the last few years, but the hardest part isn't the technology — it's the humanity. The success or failure of big projects is contingent on leadership, vision and planning. Trent Walton joins Jen Simmons to tell tales of working on the homepage and other big projects — sharing what can go right and what can go wrong. He also talks about reviving the original 1994 version of and the importance of archiving the web.

In This Episode

  • Designing the new homepage
  • Convincing stakeholders to go responsive
  • Making websites for clients 10 years ago vs. now
  • Business leadership behind successful projects
  • Recreating the original homepage

Episode 75 Creative Direction with Andy Clarke

June 26, 2014

Has how we approach web design become too formulaic and rote? Are we missing the opportunity to truly communicate a site's purpose and meaning? What about web design have we lost, or maybe haven't yet found? How can we understand our work as designers when even words about our work fail us?

Episode 72 Style Guides with Anna Debenham

June 5, 2014

Style guides, once the exclusive domain of print designers, are finding their way onto the web. Built out of HTML and CSS, such style guides are handy tools for the design process, for maintaining sites over time, and for making collaboration across teams much easier. Anna Debenham joins Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 68 Customer Experience with Michael Verdi

April 24, 2014

A revamped version of Firefox is coming, with a tour of what's new. Created by Michael Verdi & team, this tour is a case study in customer experience. What is Customer Experience design and how can it help your projects?

Episode 56 The Nature of the Web with Jeremy Keith

September 16, 2013

Wonder-developer Jeremy Keith joins Jen Simmons to debate comments on websites, the birth of the web, progressive enhancement, the desire for control, and much more.

Episode 55 Design Research with Erika Hall

September 4, 2013

What is design research, why is it valuable, and how can you work research into the planning of your project? Erika Hall, author of the new A Book Apart book Just Enough Research, joins Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 45 Web Design with Andy Clarke

December 7, 2012

Designer, speaker and author Andy Clarke joins Jen Simmons to talk about the process of web design. Andy starts with a rant about online criticism, and goes on to talk about techniques, tools and more.

Episode 30 Typography with Richard Rutter

August 14, 2012

Web typography has taken off in the last few years. What is possible now? How do we create beautiful and functional type on the web? Richard Rutter joins Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 28 Design Process with Samantha Warren

August 3, 2012

Big changes in web technology are forcing us all to look at what many have been saying for a while — the web design workflow that was enshrined over the last decade really doesn't work. The creator of Style Tiles, Samantha Warren, joins Jen Simmons to talk about workflows, design processes, and how new ideas about our tools can help us all better design websites for the modern age.

Episode 11 Touch with Josh Clark

December 13, 2011

How best to design for a touch screen? How are interfaces changing with the multitude of devices at our touch? Author, speaker, consultant and expert Josh Clark explains his insights into touch design.

Episode 10 Human Connection with Aarron Walter

December 9, 2011

How can you design something meaningful? Something that provides delight and connects people? Designer Aarron Walter joins Jen to talk about designing for emotion, what makes a great team, what it's like to get constant critical feedback, and more.

Episode 9 Grids with Mark Boulton

November 30, 2011

All about grid systems for the web — why and how. What makes a grid great? How do you create your own? What about responsive web design? Expert Mark Boulton explains.

Episode 8 iOS Design with Sarah Parmenter

November 23, 2011

Sarah Parmenter joins to talk about iOS design, web design, tools for design and more.

Episode 2 Responsive Web with Ethan Marcotte

September 19, 2011

Ethan Marcotte joins Jen Simmons for a conversation about responsive web design, tools, the process of designing a web site, mobile first, what the future may hold and more.

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