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Beyond Usability with Jeffrey Veen

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So, back to Web Essentials. I’ve read most of the blog posts – new items on Technorati tagged with WE05 are starting to peter out – so I’ve got to get the rest of my thoughts out there. Next up is Mr Jeffrey Veen.

Yes, that’s right, I’m still working through my notes on Day 1. After Molly’s keynote and Tantek’s session on meaningful XHTML, I got my 30 seconds of fame, introducing Jeff Veen. He’s a great speaker and I’d say that many WE05 attendees would consider Jeff’s two sessions highlights of the conference. Lots of people I spoke to who went to his workshop the day before gave glowing reports. Engaging? Check. Dynamic? Check. Funny? Hell Yes. Tall? Very!

So what did I take away from Jeff’s presentations? Lots really, and I’ll have to read the presentations while listening to the podcasts because so many of the slides were punctuated with great stories. One thing that really stuck: the Need Hay/Have Hay web site. I’ve definitely seen that site mentioned before, although I can’t remember where, but it was a timely reminder that sometimes you need to pare everything down to the most basic elements. (Also something about learning to roll in a sea kayak. Just listen to the podcast, ok?).

Another thing was that Jeff considers himself a designer. I wish all designers I came across cared about user experience (beyond the eyeball experience) in the same way.

Oh, and like everyone else I got to meet at Web Essentials, Jeff was very approachable and signed my copy of his book The Art & Science of Web Design even after I told him that I’d bought it in a bargain bin for AUD $5 and hadn’t actually read it until he started giving away the PDF (and yes, I made the awful joke “could you sign my PDF”, possibly several times). Seriously, it is a good book and I recommend that you check it out (even if you just download it) because even though it’s 5 years old, techniques may change but principles don’t. But you should buy it because PDFs don’t look good on the bookshelf.

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