#FOWD: The Future of Web Design 2014

Zach here! A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Future of Web Design 2014 conference by Future Insights in New York City. There were a number of really impressive speakers, all sharing their insights on the ways design and development continue to shift.

The conference lobby at New World Stages. Photo Credit: Wayne Schlegel

Conferences are a great opportunity to listen to candid and honest conversations relating to topics you are interested in.

At FOWD, innovators in the web design and development communities gathered to openly share their tricks of the trade and valuable resources. The speakers also focused on what’s new and what’s next in the industry—including developments within the field and looking at the future of web design, development, and production.


Extra-classy pour-over coffee, courtesy of InvisionApp! Photo credit: John Gillespie

I really enjoyed the speakers I went to see, but a few stuck with me. Here are a few of my favorites:

Joe Leech

Joe Leech is a neuroscientist with a background in human-computer interaction. He spoke on the important role psychology plays in creating captivating and intuitive user experience. This connection between psychology and UX was fascinating to me.

In a nutshell, Joe’s talk was about how effective design follows existing mental models, or patterns of actions with understood results that humans use in the real world to reach desired results. Mimicking mental models in the context design saves the user the step of needing to learn fundamentals of how to use an interface.

Patrick McNeill

Patrick McNeil is a UX designer, professor, and the creator of Design Meltdown. He listed out practical and efficient exercises to assist in user experience discovery—or what Patrick referred to as “extremely fast and really simple UX  exercises.”

These rapid, iterative exercises are particularly useful for gathering information on users and testing interfaces once they are designed. He also shared a number of online resources for surveys, recruiting test users, and A/B testing.

Erick Speikermann

Erik Speikermann is a German figurehead of typographic design in the industry, and I have respected his work for a long time. What came as a surprise, though, was the charisma with which he covered his professional background and his future goals as a designer. I thought that it led to particularly effective communication—a critical skill for any designer. It was also pretty great to see one of my design heroes speak!


Media Temple showed up with a ski-ball machine! They win major points for this one. Photo credit: Dan Hauk

I really enjoyed my experience at FOWD. Getting the chance to listen to these industry leaders talk provided me a great deal of insight into future developments in the web design field, with particular focus on the constantly shifting area of UX design.

Most importantly, the conference stewed up a lot of inspiration on how I can work with current—and future—WDG clients to craft awesome user experiences.

Want to learn more about how WDG incorporates UX into every aspect of our design process? Interested in getting a project started? Drop us a line today.

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