event notes, events, technology & web

Notes from An Event Apart Austin: Jen Simmons

Next up at An Event Apart Austin (October 5) was Jen Simmons, designer and host of the weekly podcast, The Web Ahead, with: Modern Layouts: Getting Out of Our Ruts.

All I can really say about her presentation is: Wow! I learned so much and have so many things I want to try out now. I looooove looking at beautiful print layouts and magazine spreads, so seeing those connected to web design was just plain great. And good news! You can watch it online on Thursday, October 15 right here. (10/10 – Highly recommend!)

Notes I took/tweeted and some of my favorite live-tweets by others during her presentation follow.

She says we’re stuck in a rut.

Slide from Jen Simmons' Modern Layouts: Getting Out of Our Ruts at An Event Apart Austin

(And she shared several prominent examples that looked exactly like the image above, but with content plugged in. The rut is real.)

Slide from Jen Simmons' Modern Layouts: Getting Out of Our Ruts at An Event Apart Austin

“Panes are the new page.” She says consider how your brain recognizes a PDF & expects to scroll down. (Site example: Apple Watch page.) 

On what’s next:

“We’re about to see a renaissance in design on the web.” – @jensimmons excited about new CSS layout tools.

She talked about CSS shapes, responsive multi-column layouts, flexbox, etc. Gave great examples. Check out her resources, like: The Layouts Ahead.

On bringing print-inspired layouts to the web:

“Layout should serve the content.”

“There’s a world of Graphic Design other than the web.” She shared many beautiful print layouts, including many from Vogue Magazine. Also recommended checking out the Vogue documentary, The September Issue to see some of their process.

She asks where Vogue’s beautiful print layouts are on the website? Their site loses the magic in a grid & small images. The spreads from the magazine aren’t translated well to the site. 

“The web has matured enough” for us to look back at what we lost from print and add it to our sites. (Love this!)

Recommendations / Things to Check Out:

Thing I bet everyone in the audience agrees with:

@zeldman: I wish every web designer could see this presentation by @jensimmons.


Basically, if you haven’t seen this yet, you should check out the online version or watch her schedule for a chance to see her speak if she’s near you sometime soon. So much great info & helpful visuals!

Note: The Twitter bird icons link to the corresponding tweet for each piece. Thanks to @stephaniehobson for live-tweeting the talk along with me on #aeaaus. 🙂

Notes on @zeldman‘s & @yeseniaa‘s talks previously posted and linked on this page. More notes on other sessions added soon.