What I Did During My 2009

As the year winds down to a close, it’s time to take a look back and figure out what I did with those 12 months in terms of Web design.

Web Form Elements

I wanted to take a look at how browsers render form elements. I mean really take a look. Over 5,000 screenshots later, the problem of consistent browser rendering of web form elements looks nowhere near happening. 

This is in large part due to three areas: the specification not dictating the design, the browser vendors not feeling they need to adopt a standard, and the different operating systems’ UI.

Planning Conferences

I did something I thought I would never thought I could do: I put together a Web design conference. During a conversation with Kimberly Blessing in 2008, we thought we should put together a conference “of our own”. 

Thus the idea for the first ever AIGA In Control Web Design Workshop Conference took shape and it took place in Cincinnati this past June. 

Assembling the conference was one of my main responsibilities as a board member of AIGA Cincinnati and it came together in such a great way thanks to the speakers, the attendees, volunteers, and fellow board members. 

After never thinking I would organize one conference, I ended up helping to run three more this year. Thanks to my partner, we were able to put on three online conferences: The CSS Summit, The DIY Summit and The jQuery Summit. (And right around the corner are the online Workshop Summits in mid-January and the AIGA In Control Web Design Workshop Conference in Orlando this February.)

Thanks to people like you attending these events, we raised close to $20,000 for non-profits while helping spread best practices and saving thousands of lbs in CO2.

Third in a Series

In the middle of those events, the third edition of the CSS Cookbook was written, edited and (as of yesterday) published. 

Almost three times the size of the first edition, the new edition sports new solutions to common CSS problems, updates to the new browsers, and how to work with HTML5 and CSS3. 

Technical Editor

I did something else I always wanted to do, but hadn’t had the opportunity: tech edit a book. 

After writing ten books and dealing with several tech editors, I was itching at a chance to work on a book. This year I got the honor of editing David McFarland’s CSS: The Missing Manual, Jennifer Niederst Robbins’ HTML and XHTML Pocket Reference, Fifth Edition and Jason Cranford Teague’s Fluid Web Typography.

While the subject matter was different, the attention to detail from all three authors were the same. (I also felt a little sorry for Jason as he had to rewrite a chapter due to the breakneck speed in which the possibilities of Web typography exploded in the last half of the year.) 

Also, the authors had something else in common: they both have done great work in moving the Web forward. They’ve been doing this Web design thing since it was possible to do Web design. It was an honor to play a small role in their books.

Releasing Web Education

In March, I did a small part in helping out the Web education curriculum. Announced during SXSW Interactive festival, the InterAct curriculum is a series of 10 courses under creative commons for Web educators to incorporate however they wish: they can take the whole thing or use only parts of it. 

Why give it away for free? The goal is to get fresh, Web educational materials into the hands of educators. And being a teacher is hard work. By helping out with some free resources, we help raise everyone’s awareness of quality Web education.


I even managed to keep up a brisk speaking schedule: 

  • University of Cincinnati
  • The CSS Summit
  • SXSW Interactive Festival
  • In Control Cincinnati
  • eduWeb Conference
  • July 4th presentation of the CSS Flag
  • Miami University
  • Georgia University
  • Spring BR/ Conference
  • Web Visions

I’m always looking for venues to speak. So, if you are looking for a speaker in 2010, please let me know.

Happy New Year!

Even though no one appears to have added any new days, 2009 was definitely long year. 

As we transition to the next one, I wish you all the best for 2010. 

May it be a happy and joyful one for you and your family and friends.

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