In October, the design team from Mannix took a trip to Chicago and learned that Chicago style pizza is not nearly as good as anything the east coast has to offer!

While there, though, we attended a web design conference called “An Event Apart.” Collin, Jennifer and I (who are web designers and developers here at Mannix) were lucky enough to attend this event — which covered everything from web design to web standards and featured some of the biggest names in our field as speakers.

As designers and developers, we are always looking to grow and learn, because just sitting back and going along for the ride is not an option if you want to be successful in this ever-changing field. Things change fast, and you have to be willing to keep up. And that’s what this event offered: many speakers a day who spoke about all things web related. It has us really motivated to keep learning, which in the end will produce better sites and projects.

This conference got me thinking a lot…  thinking about how to better plan client sites as well as our own. It got me motivated to work as a team even more than we currently do. We tried the strategies we learned on one of our own sites, inviting everyone in the office to critique a design.  Almost everyone shared something that they thought would enhance the design and make it easier to use. And in the end, I think we will be able to offer a better completed project. I hope to continue to involve many employees’ opinions on client’s projects as well.

They had many of the industry’s top people — Eric Meyer, Andy Clark, Jeffery Zeldman, Jason Santa Maria and my favorite speaker, Jason Fried.

In Fried’s discussion, “Beyond User Interface Basics,” he talked about usability and the way pages flow and interact. He talked about the small things on page having a bigger impact than one might expect. He stressed that we should make the design as easy to use as possible. As a designer, I think I can use much of what he talked about and apply it to every design I do. I already liked simple, clean, easy-to-use websites that let you get the information you need as quickly as possible, and he really spoke to this. It got me to really think about the placement and reason for everything I place in a design.

And on the flight home, I was thinking of the conference and applying it to things here at Mannix.  I realized all the things we offer as a company (SEO, Design, Advertising Opportunities, etc) and the importance of really letting people know what we offer. This complete package can really help someone’s business be more successful. It’s one thing to have a website, but a lot better if that website is well designed and getting traffic. We are a complete internet marketing company, with all employees bringing their own slice of experience to a project. Having such a diverse group of employees is a huge advantage for us and the client.

Overall the trip was great, we learned a lot, and it got us thinking and motivated. Although we were in the conference all day, we did get out and see Chicago a little. It seems like a great city, and we’re all excited to go back again next year.

About Jamie Clechenko

Jamie has been an important part of our Web Development team since he joined Mannix in 2007. Specializing in WordPress development, Jamie brings a unique combination of graphic visual design, web development skills, and an inherent marketing perspective to create the best possible user experience for our clients. When Jamie interacts with clients, he always sees the job at hand, and future jobs differently. He is always learning new skills and looking for the next challenge, which keeps him building newer and better designs for our customers. Jamie obtained his Graphic Design Degree from Plattsburgh State College. Before joining our team, he spent several years honing his skills and his marketing eye at a large local company focusing on packaging, collateral marketing materials, and promotional campaign design.