Besides scoring awesome pieces from their swag bags, Webonise Directors - Erin Cummings and Dana Smith, also brought home the following valuable insights from the recent Forge Conference.

But of course, we gotta start with breakfast:

Happy to see #ForgeConf attendees in early for breakfast. T-minus 20 minutes until kick-off! — Forge Conference (@ForgeConf) October 9, 2015

1. It’s not about output, it’s about outcomes.

Big Spaceship Founder and CEO - Michael Lebowitz focused on how we can look at people. He values behavior and culture over technology at his company. Those who define their work too closely with the tools they use end up missing the point. Focus on the conclusion rather than the amount of production.

Michael Lebowitz  | Age of How | @mikelebowitz

2. Mobile web apps can do more than people think.

"If clients don't understand the value they won't give us the time." Dan Tello, Viget. #ForgeConf

— Webonise (@webonise) October 9, 2015

Designer turned front-end developer Dan Tello spoke about a topic we’ve been pushing ourselves into recently as well. He focused on the disparity between mobile sites and native apps. Web apps have fewer barriers to entry; no app-store necessary. He previewed a bunch of things already being figured out, and we think there’s so much more possible!


Dan Tello | Native or Not? The Untapped Power of Web Apps| @dantello5

3. Treat every page like it’s the main point of entry.

She admitted the the homepage is not really dead, but Natalie Be’er focused on meaningful interior pages. User flows are no longer linear, users now sideway surf through sites and sometimes never see the homepage. Ensure that great care is taken when structuring your navigation so that any user coming in from any page can find what they need.

Natalie Be’er | Homepage is Dead | @natalierachel

4. Do not be afraid of your users.

Group Product Manager at Etsy - Nickey Skarstad, walked us through their recent redesign of the the seller experience. They slowly ramped up their testing community from 50 users to 10,000 users over a year before launching. She really stressed to not be afraid of your users, to find ways to include them, and to let user feedback guide your product strategy.

Nickey Skarstad | Leveraging Community to Build Great Products | @NickeySkarstad

5. You shouldn’t have to explain interactions.

Zander builds some cool stuff; like really cool stuff.  Like actual stuff.  Through his and his team’s creations at Red Paper Heart, user experience comes to life with actual tactile interactions.  A pool of plastic balls lights up with animations when you jump in it, a screen creates a flurry of action depending on how hard you run and jump on a giant 10’ teddy bear, use a sword to create your own digital portrait with the force of your swing.  It's all about reading or messing with people's expectations when interacting with real life objects.  One of the biggest takeaways was the challenges of creating these experiences but making them intuitive enough so that instructions are not required.  Lure people in with something familiar then let them explore the possibilities.


Zander Brimijoin | The Art of Messing with People | @zbrimij

6. The problems are going to evolve, your people need to too.

Four people with different innovation lab experiences were brought together to discuss. Whether their lab was a segregated part of their company, an allocated part of all employee’s time, done with structure and rules, or even are completely under the radar, it was agreed that however it’s done, allocating time to being innovative helps show clients you can lead them into the future.

Innovation Lab Panel | George Ward @georgeward, Michael Gadsby @gadsbyo3world, Matthew Bryan @commahawk, and Yuri Victor @yurivictor

7. Teenagers know what the floppy disk icon is.

Liz Pardi decided to do in-depth research on commonly used icons. She surveyed college kids and later high school kids (which also lead to a few hilarious teen-angst driven results). More teens knew that the gear icon symbolized settings than the phone icon meaning call. 91% of teens knew the ol’ floppy disk despite never using the actual thing. Thinking about phrases like pull over coming from pulling on the reins of your horse, shows that these phrases and icons just become a part of our verbal and visual vocabulary over time.


Lis Pardi | In Defense of the Floppy Disk: The Vocabulary of the Interface | @LisPardi

"Infographics a re way more convincing than spreadsheets. I saw that on an info graphic so I know it's true." @LisPardi #ForgeConf

— Webonise (@webonise) October 9, 2015

8. Build trust in order to build design thinking.

Cap ended a great day with the concept of designing everything. It's a trend to be a ‘design-focused’ company, but what does that really come down to? Building trust between design team, engineering team, and management by basically just being nice - sharing successful frameworks, processes, and even skills.

Cap Watkins | Design Everything | @cap

Instead of asking people to talk about feelings, should I ask them to rate feelings a la @cap instead? #ForgeConf

— Erica Nardello (@ericanardello) October 9, 2015

(Directors Erin and Dana enjoying their MailChimp hats from their swag bags.)

(View outside their flight going back to Raleigh)


See you again, Philly!


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