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Web Design Adventure to Washington DC
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July 31, 2014
Sullivan Solar Power
Once again it's time to sharpen the web design skills at my favorite conference; An Event Apart. I traveled all the way to Washington DC for it. The conference comes through San Diego about once a year, but the timing of a top-secret project is such that I cannot wait.
I've been going to this conference off and on for many years. In the early days, it was very code-heavy, lots of discussion around HTML5 and the latest CSS. Next, or perhaps around the same time, the importance of designing for mobile devices was hammered into our brains. As time has gone by, it seems attendees sort of 'got it' and the conference has branched out into new directions like collaborating with your team, or using data analytics to drive design, and even understanding your own strengths and weaknesses (I am a bit of an introvert and work better with data than people, on the other hand, I'm level-headed and make careful, evidence-based decisions). One theme that persists is that the future of the internet is mobile; there are millions, perhaps billions, of people who will be coming 'online' for the first time over the next few years, and it will be from small, mobile devices.
Although I learned a lot at this conference, it was refreshing to discover how up to speed I am on the latest concepts. It's also refreshing just to get out of the office for a few days, although two 10 hour travel days and two 10 hour conference days is not exactly relaxing.
Search engine optimization is not covered at this conference. If you're looking to a conference to develop an SEO strategy, or frankly have an SEO strategy at all, you're on the wrong track. More about that in a future blog.
Most solar companies are only just now waking up to the fact they need in-house web design talent. Skinning a Wordpress template is not going to cut it, you need to make data-driven design decisions that only come from years of analytics and the knowledge to put it to work. Otherwise your site is going to look and like the other 1,000 solar power websites in your area.
You might be thinking that the Sullivan Solar Power website doesn't exactly shock and awe you with cutting edge technology so who am I to judge, but it's not meant to. Our website subtlety and effortlessly delivers to you what you came to the site for. It's based on many years of analytics on visitor traffic and behavior. We make some design decisions based on our own preference for things like color (although we are currently running an AB test on background color as I write this) but for the most part, we analyze what people are coming to the site for and put it in front of them.