@media2007: Hannah Donovan: For Example… (Part one)

Hannah Donovan is Head Creative at London based Last.fm, the online music recommendation site. Last.fm has been in the headlines following its acquisition by CBS.

I thought Hannah was the most refreshing and to-the-point speaker at the event. The audience quickly warmed to her when she used a rude word to describe MySpace.

The presentation emphasised the need to act quickly if you have a good idea, to be the first, even if your site is a little rough around the edges. Hannah used the phrase “Put perfection behind you”, as a designer I know exactly what she means, designers generally need to get over themselves. She emphasised that you should use “Broad Brushstrokes” and work big.

She asserted that “Form follows function”, that features, forms, and functionality needed to be user tested before any style is applied, to do the hard stuff first. I was interested in her opinion that you should not “re-skin” a website, that the design should be intrinsically linked with the functionality and that a re-design should only be undertaken if new functionality is introduced.

She recommended that we read Victor Papanek’s book Design for the real world, I have a copy with a nice Any Warhol soup can on the cover but I haven’t read it.

There was a short Q & A session after the presentation. A question that stood out referred to Accessibility on Web 2.0 sites that use AJAX, the women who asked the question used the phrase “Disabled people get to hear when the bins are put out, but miss out on all the sexy stuff” which was my favourite quote of the conference.

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