August 21, 2012 - Comments Off on Looking for a Soapbox

Looking for a Soapbox

For the past few months, I've been thinking about the possibility of doing some public speaking. I really want to give back to the community that has helped me out the past few years, and speaking is one way that makes sense to me. I've been deeply affected by some of the talks that I've attended, and I would really like to pass that along. It also seems like a great way to connect with people, and open up a dialogue with peers.

Another motivating factor would be that it would be a serious challenge for me. As is often apparent shortly after meeting me, I'm the quintessential example of an introvert. I always feared speaking in front of the class throughout grade school, and I avoided it like the plague when I could. These days I'm happy to listen to other people's dialogues in most social situations, and just provide a captive audience to the main discussion. If I were to seek speaking engagements, it would mean tackling some of this fear and hopefully growing from it.

Much Ado About Nothing

So, what—you may be asking yourself—would he be publicly haranguing as about then? That's one of the problems. I have a few thoughts, and I'd love some feedback on which you think would be the most worthwhile to expand upon:

Design for Developers:

It's a popular topic to discuss the fact that designers should learn to code. I couldn't agree more, and though I wouldn't sell myself as a front-end developer, I can at least talk the talk. In my professional experience, it really helps to get people on the same page, and provides the basis for a mutual respect among people working to common goals.

Fair is fair though, and I think developers could make a bit more effort to understand design. In addition to helping to create a mutual understanding between designers and developers, I think that it help developers to better understand why we make the decisions that we do, and help to streamline efficiency if they can see the underlying reasoning.

Typography on the Frontier

Right now is a great time to be in web design. Since the start of design for web browsers—meaning design for desktop PCs, but also the ever-expanding list of web-enabled devices—designers have been limited to system fonts (Flash doesn't count). With the advent of some new technologies created in the past couple years, designers can finally choose from a wider variety of typefaces. With services like Typekit and Fontdeck to choose from, the options seem limitless.

As great as all of this is, it's not without peril. First off, a lot of designers with roots in the web lack a comprehensive typographic background and what makes a typeface an appropriate choice for a given project. Add to that the technical considerations of file size downloads and responsive design, and there are many potential pitfalls.

WordPress as Democracy

The first Content Management System that I was fully able to wrap my head around was WordPress, and it continues to be an essential tool for my projects. As a tool, it has the fantastic attributes of being relatively simple but also really powerful. It can be many things to many people, and has the potential to give a voice to people who might not have an audience.

I would like to empower people to use the platform as much as possible, and to that end I think that helping people graduate to a self-hosted WordPress environment would be beneficial. I could also tackle some of the pain points that people often run across when they are moving to having their own hosted installation of WordPress.

What are your thoughts?

Those are just three of the ideas that I've had kicking around. What are your thoughts on those topics? Have they been covered to death, or do you think that they are good topics for discussion? Are there other issues in the fields of Branding or Design that you feel need to be talked about? Do you have a venue that would be good for any of the above topics?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Either leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter or email.

Published by: Ira F. Cummings in News

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