Being my first contribution to the esteemed Nansen blog, allow me to introduce myself: I'm Justin Dauer, Creative Director for our Chicago office. This past Monday, our Interface Architect Patrick Waks and I had the opportunity to attend An Event Apart in Seattle.
Not only was this an incredible chance to absorb knowledge from thought leaders in our digital industry, but it was particularly sweet as Nansen was an official conference sponsor.
The Seattle conference is particularly intimate in terms of venue size, and as such, everything was just that much more accessible. Not only are you surrounded by "your people" in terms of industry peers, but the speakers themselves — titans of thought leadership and shapers of our industry — are equally as accessible. I had the opportunity to chat with Jeffrey Zeldman about the glory days of Mac OS 7-8 pixel-based icon design, the core benefit of sketching and thumbnailing with Jason Santa Maria, and making content and design open and accessible for all with Ethan Marcotte. It was particularly thrilling to see Nansen's design and implementation of the Coop web site be a part of Ethan's presentation Responsive and Responsible as an example of a beacon of responsive design. Not bad, coming from the very person who was the first to coin the phrase "responsive design".
The conference sessions themselves were a one-track format, with 12 speakers presenting over the course of a couple days, and a workshop session run by Luke Wroblewski the final day. While we're confident and passionate about functional creativity, a little validation never hurts, and seeing core facets of our process referenced and lauded again and again across multiple presentations certainly was great to behold. That, coupled with seeing where our industry is headed visually and technically, made for an incredibly rewarding experience.
My one regret would have been not having the chance to see more of the great city of Seattle. We were able to try a few of the local gastro pubs and watering holes, and Patrick and I enjoyed plenty of good conversation and equally good alcohol during the first day's after party at Buckley's in Belltown. I'll close out with a view from the Bell Harbor Convention Center's waterfront, and an invitation to come see us from Nansen as we again sponsor the An Event Apart conference in August – this time right in the backyard of our Chicago office.