An Event Apart DC 2010

What I learned at my first An Event Apart conference

So I just got back from the Washington, DC iteration of An Event Apart. I feel that if you follow all the speakers’ blogs and read Smashing Magazine’s content (or nontent, as it is), they’re really just saying the same thing. The real experience is paying to see these pioneers and policy-makers speak live and network with them (they are easily approachable at the conference or at the after parties).

The key message this year has been to stop trying to make your site look the same in every browser. You can approach this either through Progressive Enhancement or graceful degradation (neither of which are new topics). Other messages included:

  • CSS3 and HTML5 are already usable if you design with progressive enhancement in mind
  • Mobile-first design is a great process to address design
  • A slew of CSS3 animation and style demos to show how easy it is to spice up a website

An Event Apart’s audience seemed to be made up of mostly designers and developers, which I don’t think is the right crowd since the speakers end up preaching to the choir. The audience should be made up of clients—that is, anyone who wants a website. If you want or have a website, this is where you would go to find out what you should be getting. Clients (i.e., corporations with people who think they know a thing or two about “the internets” and “the twitter” and how “they need a Facebook page”) are the ones asking for useless and backwards things like IE6 and 7 compatibility. That’s like asking for AC on a horse and carriage.