Vitaly Friedman December 30th, 2009

7 Must-See Web Design Videos and Presentations

By Louis Lazaris

Not many of us will have the opportunity to attend or participate in a live web-related event, conference, or presentation. But that doesn't mean we can't benefit from the information exchanged at such events. Many of the sites associated with those events provide supplementary information, summaries, presentation slides, plus audio and video footage from the presentations given.

In this article I've assembled a short but diverse list of presentations related to design and development that I think everyone will find both informative and entertaining. I've included a brief description of each presentation, along with some notable quotes and related links. The final presentation in this list is a tongue-in-cheek performance that is a must-see for anyone involved in web development for the past 5 or 6 years.

CSS Frameworks: Make the Right Choice

Speaker: Kevin Yank

This presentation was recorded on October 9, 2009, at Web Directions South in Sydney, Australia.

Kevin Yank of SitePoint discusses what CSS frameworks do, how to choose a CSS framework, along with some of the pros and cons of four types of CSS frameworks: CSS resets, grid-based frameworks, "pre-fab" frameworks, and frameworks that use CSS abstraction.

Notable Quote:

"By the end of this session, you might just decide that the right framework for you is no framework at all."

Further Information:

JavaScript: The Good Parts

Speaker: Douglas Crockford

This talk took place on February 27, 2009 as part of the Google Tech Talks Web Exponents series.

The presentation is based on Crockford's book and reveals the good and bad parts of JavaScript, along with an audience Q&A.

Notable Quote:

"JavaScript is the only language that I'm aware of that people feel they don't need to learn before they start using it."

Further Information:

Search User Interfaces

Speaker: Professor Marti Hearst

This talk took place on November 23, 2009 as part of the Google Tech Talks series, and is based on Professor Hearst's book Search User Interfaces.

The discussion covers specific chapters in the book and presents "the state of the art of search interface design, based on both academic research and deployment in commercial systems."

Notable Quote:

"The paradox of web search: Why is designing a search interface difficult? Why is it easy?"

Further Information:

Design Inspiration

Speaker: Fabio Sasso

This presentation by the owner of Abduzeedo, took place at Front End Design Conference on July 31, 2009.

Sasso discusses his personal sources of design inspiration and includes some interesting comments on the challenges facing Brazilian designers in today's market.

Notable Quote:

"For me, the only way to come up with a good design is to try."

Further Information:

Panel Discussion from FOWD Conference

Speakers: Andy Clarke, Josh Williams & Jeffrey Zeldman

An older presentation from Future of Web Design 2007.

A very funny, and thought-provoking panel discussion covering a number of topics including the recent trend of developers working more on personal projects, plus some thoughts on web standards, web design education, dealing with clients, and more.

Notable Quotes:

"If you say you're going to talk about web design, reporters aren't interested. It's web, so it's kind of bad design, isn't it? My kid can do it."

"We have bad clients who say 'Is that three pixels wide? Shouldn't it be four pixels wide?' They're clients, so 'Where did you go to art school?' is not an approriate answer. So you say 'That's interesting, four pixels. We hadn't thought about that.'

Further Information:

A More Tangled Web

Speaker: Eric Meyer

This presentation by Eric Meyer took place on November 5, 2009 at Build Conference.

Meyer discusses universal uses for HTML and CSS, the death of the browser plugin, and shares an interesting viewpoint on the proposed completion date of 2022 for HTML 5.

Notable Quotes:

"The advancement of CSS is really a lot like a marathon, complete with the staggering dehydrated people at the end of the 26 miles, that you just want the medics to pull them off the course, and they keep waving them off, and it's really sort of sad and pathetic. This is kind of what CSS development is like now."

"The really big shift that is happening... is the shift to the web becoming a client-side computing platform." (Tim Berners-Lee)

Further Information:

How to Bluff Your Way in Web 2.0

Speakers: Andy Budd & Jeremy Keith

This presentation took place in March 2007 at SXSW Interactive.

This is an absolutely hilarious and well-prepared presentation by two of the most notable names in web development. A must-see video covering web 2.0 buzzwords, design, fonts, web 2.0 bingo, and more. The hour closes with a serious summary of the impact of web 2.0, what it really means, and what direction it should go in.

Notable Quotes:

"Web 2.0 is a state of mind. It's a zen thing. The sound of one hand clapping."

"In this design, what's important are the reflections; lots and lots of reflections. Everything's wet in web 2.0 — wet floor, wet ceiling. So this is a great example of the web 2.0 design style."

"And remember, Ajax is more than sliding, moving, and fading stuff. It's an acronym, and that acronym stands for Accessibility Just Ain't Xciting."

"It's all about community. Because none of us are as dumb as all of us."

Further Information:

Related Resources

About the Author

Louis Lazaris is a writer and freelance web developer based in Toronto, Canada. He has 9 years of experience in the web development industry and posts articles and tutorials on his blog, Impressive Webs. You can follow Louis on Twitter or contact him through his website.


  1. Great collection of presentations! I’m working my way through them now. Thank you for including Fabio’s wonderful presentation at the Front-End Design Conference.

  2. Wow you have some really great thoughts here! I have to say that these videos are not only engaging, but you can learn about web design and technology with these. Way to go keep up the great posts!

  3. Videos are truly the easiest and fastest way to learn. When you are actually seeing the parts go together it makes everything click. I can’t get enough of these.

    1. Very true, good point. I think we writers and bloggers tend to use the words “design” and “development” interchangeably too often.

      But don’t forget that “design” is not limited to “graphics”. Design includes “UI design”, “UX design”, and “CSS design”, all of which are covered in the videos.

  4. Thanks! I’ve just listened to Kevin Yank’s video about CSS Frameworks–on my vacation, Didn’t even want to pause to refill my coffee! I’m definitely going to browse through the rest of the collection, too.

  5. haha, Eric Meyer has now long hair :)) Not bad dude. I haven’t seen him from his CSS video Lynda tutorial, made in 2003 I guess.

  6. Those videos are classic. I’m hitting up SXSW this year for the first time. Hope to hear some more memorable quotes there.

  7. unfortunately Meyer lost his point or he didn’t came up with something clear in his mind. I almost drop off at the middle of the movie.

  8. I had certain not to answer back any article in the community, but I read your news, I told myself this information is actually need to answer!As this is so a extremely good information! It is so blessed for me to read this article.

  9. Thanks to you, that is what I have recently been browsing for and a successful Aol search found your web page and so here I am.

  10. the information shared is very useful ,the videos are also useful ,the post is really a motivating one, thanks for such a wonderful post

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