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With the hospitality of the contemporary New World Stages venue, (Normally the home of Off-Broadway shows) Future of Web Design NYC 2012 was a mellow, two day event packed full of techies, creatives, and two stages running consecutive conference sessions. The event included some of the most creative and exciting minds working in web development and design today. The final day was a choice of four different, day-long workshops, each lead by a totally inspirational industry leader.

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FOWD is also used to showcase some of the hottest new industry talent, via their Rising Stars track. They give a platform to new speakers, who may not be “big names” on the circuit yet, but who are totally passionate about what they do.

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Overall the event included over thirty sessions, four workshops, the Future Insights FOWD Factor, and the FOWD charity: water project. With too many speeches to name I will brief both day’s Keynotes. Day one overall was mostly about development and day two more focused on the creative side of web design. The first day opened up with a friendly intro by Davin Wilfrid, the head of the community site for Future Insights. Following him was one of my favorite speakers of the day, Paull Young talking about the Charity: Water project.

Charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Relying on digital channels for 70% of their revenue, they really get the web. While I felt really bad at all of the causes for the developing nations without drinking water I couldn’t help but “ooh” and “ahh” at all of the clean designs and hearing about the technology behind it (in Paull’s awesome accent) for Future Insights and Charity: Water.

Here are a couple examples:

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Also a highlight, an amazing video revealed that “Water Changes Everything” which you can watch online here. The 2nd day’s keynote was probably one of the most insightful into the actual “future” of web design in my opinion. Karen McGranes Keynote covered “Adapting Ourselves To Adaptive Content” where she reminded us that mobile and other devices are not a design problem, but a content problem.

“For years, we’ve been telling designers: the web is not print. You can’t have pixel-perfect layouts. You can’t determine how your site will look in every browser, on every platform, on every device. We taught designers to cede control, think in systems, and embrace web standards. So why are we still letting content authors plan for where their content will “live” on a web page? Why do we give in when they demand a WYSIWYG text editor that works “just like Microsoft Word”? Worst of all, why do we waste time and money creating and recreating content instead of planning for content reuse? What worked for the desktop web simply won’t work for mobile. As our design and development processes evolve, our content workflow has to keep up.”

- Karen McGrane

Here is a full list of speakers from the 2-stage event:

• Vitaly Friedman, Smashing Magazine
• Tim Ahrens, Just Another Foundry
• Thijs Feryn, Combell
• Roy Tomeij, 80beans
• Rob Borley, Dootrix
• Rising Star Speaker
• Philipp Nagele, Wikitude
• Peter Gasston, Broken-Links.com
• Paolo Fragomeni, The Node Firm
• Mike Kus, Dreaming Everyday About Design
• Marcin Kulik, Lunar Logic
• Maciej Małecki, Nodejitsu
• Lis Hubert
• Lea Verou, W3C
• Konstantin Haase
• Keir Whitaker, Viewport Industries
• Karolina Szczur, Nodejitsu
• Juozas Kaziukėnas, Web Species Ltd
• Jon Setzen, Media Temple
• James Coglan, Songkick
• James Chudley, cxpartners
• Herve Mischler, SAP
• Davin Wilfrid, Future Insights
• Bruce Lawson, Opera
• Addy Osmani, Google

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Amongst the above speakers include the following companies represented:

• Adobe
• AT&T
• Blue Leaf
• Bond Art + Science
• charity: water
• Claire Eye Design
• CodePen
• Effective UI
• Energy7
• Future Insights
• Hello Monday
• http://reconstrukt.com/
• HUGE
• LinkedIn
• Method
• Microsoft
• Moment Design
• Motivate Design
• nGen Works
• Owltastic
• Polar Mobile
• RGA
• The Noun Project
• WSOL

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Awesome to see our logo in lights!

The event was short on interactive booths but did include two in the hall outside, in between the 2 main stages. They included WebInk and AWeber Email Marketing. Jim Kidwell and Thomas Phinney Kidwell of WebInk were both speakers and shared the “Best Practices for Incredible Web Typography”, while Phinney dove into the granular in a hands-on workshop that teaches attendees how to integrate incredible typography into their web projects. The Logo, Branding and Website Design for the project was done for Carsonified by independent designer Laura Kalbag.

“Following the Future Insights website, we then worked on the Future Of Web Design, Future Of Web Apps and Future Of Mobile websites. There are lots of them! I used the same basic site design but adjusted the colors to be relevant to the nature of the conference (Future Of Web Design is pink, Future Of Web Apps is yellow, Future Of Mobile is green and blue,) the background images and headers to be relevant to the location of the conference. This meant I could design fun themed headers for London, New York and Prague.”

- Laura Kalbag

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