For all the grief that we give those in the print industry, I appreciate it when special efforts are made to spread awareness to help them (and others) to learn new techniques that make their work on the Web more effective. Such efforts are in abundance at the HOW Design Conference. Common Mistakes Print Designers Make on the Web was not only an advantageous session for print designers who have had the Web thrust upon them, but also helpful for Web designers, who had the opportunity to listen in and see things from a different perspective.
The session, presented by Stephanie Sullivan, founder of the web standards redesign company, W3Conversions, reviewed the top ten mistakes and provided insight about how to remedy these situations. For the sake for brevity, the designers were reminded of the following:
* Content is core
* Design a site in layers that highlight Structure, Presentation and Behavior
* Don't design specifically for one browser (namely, the most popular one!)
* Learn the semantics that help search engines
* WYSIWYG only if you don't let the tool design for you
* Understand what types of images will help, detract from the site
* CSS offers more options than the old table paradigm
* The Web is a fluid medium; don't try to limit it with Absolute Positioning
* The Web is 3-dimensional, design using all your axes (as in x, y and z)
* Only do what you are comfortable doing, outsource is necessary; ask for help!
With so much information to digest, it's easy to get overwhelmed, but Ms. Sullivan delivered it all with ease and supplemented it with examples and case studies.
Engaging designers can be tricky, especially when they are apt to pay more attention to the PowerPoint for it's design, rather than it's content.
Interestingly, most graphic designers in the room were already working with the Web regularly and questions throughout reflected a focus on CSS and SEO, two areas that many web designers struggle with regularly.
Sessions like this continue to emphasize the growing convergence between Web and Print. As more demands emerge, financially, creatively or otherwise, designers, regardless of their backgrounds are forced to relearn, adapt and perform productively and effectively. We can only hope that they are taking advantage of the information tailored to help them.