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As a designer seeking to improve my skill-set, I appreciate a conference that realizes that I am a one-woman show: Usability specialist, content manager and information architect all wrapped into one, with a bit of SEO and flash mixed in for good measure. Which explains why I am excited for the upcoming Voices That Matter: Web Design conference hosted by New Riders, the leading publisher of web design books and resources. The conference, slated for October 22-25 in San Francisco, "gives voice to the most important thought leaders in technology, design, and business today." Speakers featured include usability expert Jakob Neilsen, Web standards guru Andy Clarke, and design ethnographer Kelly Goto, among others. "Creative, energizing, thought-provoking, idea-driven sessions" like, "You Are Not Your User: Proven Techniques for Discovering Who Is," "Designing Authentic Media: Leveraging the Wisdom of Communities," and "You Can Have It All: Designing to Please Users and Search Engines Alike" are sure to teach new techniques and inspire exploration and discovery. So there you have it: World class speakers, community building techniques, and new technology for designers (not developers). So for all of you Janes and Jacks of all trades, whose worlds are full of creative elements and the technical necessities that impact design, your voice matters. As designers face the new realities of Web 2.0, beauty is compromised for functionality. But it mustn't be that way. Get inspired, show the Web who's boss and learn to achieve beauty and usability while attaining top rankings in the major search engines. Early bird registration ends September 17. Register today.