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Madison, Wisconsin
Powderkeg Web Design
October 2, 2015

WebVisions | Chicago | 2015

WebVisions | Chicago | 2015

Last week, I traveled down to Chicago to attend the Webvisions Conference! I’ve come back feeling inspired, refreshed, and excited to be a part of the web and technology industry. I’m sharing a quick recap below of some of my favorite moments and tidbits. Enjoy  – and if you ever get the chance to check out WebVisions, I highly recommend it!


One of the most interesting presentations from Mark Wyner was about humans and our relationships with machines – namely, robots. It’s fascinating what’s happening in the world of robots today – they are becoming more and more life-like not just in appearance, but in the ability to be creative and experience ethical dilemmas.

A few interesting videos:

A man asks a robot if they’ll take over the world. The robot came up with this answer all on its own (and check out those creepy facial expressions!):

This shows that robots are not likely to take over the world – yet:

User Experience and … Bruce Lee?

Who would have thought Bruce Lee would have knowledge so relevant to user experience and web design? Joseph Dickerson from Microsoft was there to talk about his inspiration Bruce Lee and his passion, user experience. I saw some top-notch clips of Bruce Lee movies (why have I not watched these before?!) and Joseph explained how he gleaned meaning from them relating to UX. A few of my favorite bits:

“It’s not the daily increase, but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

This can truly apply to so many areas of our lives. What it means to me in relation to web design and user experience is that we must strip away unnecessary pieces to make sure our users are focusing on the important parts. Functionality and simplicity are beautiful together. As Joseph said, “provide the appropriate amount of complexity – no more, no less.”

“Awareness is without choice, without demand, without anxiety; In that state of mind, there is perception.”

It is dangerous to design without considering the context and surroundings of our work. We are always considering how people are going to be accessing the websites we design for our clients – that is why we make responsive websites. People can view the same content from their laptop, tablet, or phone. It’s important that we don’t lose sight of this and be sure to stay on top of technology trends so that the work we do makes sense on many environments.

“If your cup is full, you cannot fill it. So first, empty your cup.”

More words of wisdom that we can use in all aspects of our lives, no? Bruce Lee was a wise man. Joseph related this so well to the web world by saying “step away from your preconceptions, and engage with an open mind.” All of our web design clients and projects may seem similar at first glance, but they all have different ideas and goals. Those projects cannot be successful until we let go of our assumptions. Once we do that, we can truly listen and engage with our clients and their users to create a tool that is functional and successful.

Happy Design 🙂

Pamela Pavliscak, inspired by those who gave technology a bad rap, one day decided to study how technology and design can make us happy. This presentation was so great! Here were the biggest lessons I took home from this presentation:

“Delight” does not make people happy.

You know those fun little features we can add to websites to make people “ooh” and “ahh”? Well, I hate to admit this, but for the most part, we designers do this for ourselves. It makes US happy and proud to have paid attention to the little details. The problem is that in reality, most people using our websites don’t care all that much.

Anticipating user’s needs is what makes them happy.

This should be common sense, but it is also easy to gloss over (maybe in favor of those delightful details). The users should always come first and it’s our job to know their needs and how to meet them – and then go above and beyond if possible.

I feel so inspired by everything I learned and I cannot wait to continue to put into practice the lessons I brought home. Thanks, WebVisions, for a great conference!