Clarity Ventures is privileged to be located in Austin, Texas - one of the most dynamic, energetic and forward-thinking technological centers in the world. Next month in March, A hall mark of this culture will be opening its doors. The South by Southwest Interactive Trade Show and Conference will showcase some of the brightest minds, and hottest trends in the web development industry. As a web development company that loves smart and educated clients we hope you will check it out. We look forward to meeting the challenge of being a successful innovator in the spirit of the town we love and call home. I've picked out some of the events we will be taking a close look at this year... we hope to see you there!

The Accidental Writer: Great Web Copy for Everyone

Friday March 11 3:30PM - Sheraton Creekside 701 East 11th St

Great copy is critical to the effectiveness of nearly every website. Yet often, a business owner, designer, or developer, perhaps pressured by budget and time limitations, will write the copy him- or herself. This session will tell you when that's a good idea, and when it's not. For those times when it's okay to be the accidental writer, you'll learn quick tips for crafting effective web copy. For those times when you really need to bring in a pro, you'll learn how to work with a web writer to get the best copy for your website, as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

Friday March 11 5:30PM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom G

You're under the gun. Again. Only a few days to come up with a revolutionary new feature for your Web app. Or you've been tasked by your boss to give the company's new mobile experience a little more oomph. In these situations, it can be hard to focus on coming up with breakthrough ideas. But don't worry, help is to the rescue. David Sherwin from frog design, a global innovation firm, will share tools and methods that any interactive professional can use to more consistently brainstorm quality ideas for interactive products and services. This presentation will be illustrated with examples from David's new book Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills (HOW Books).

Federating the Social Web

Saturday March 12 9:30AM - Hyatt TX Ballroom 2-4 208 Barton Springs Rd

Federating social networks means people on different networks following each other. It's driven by the growth of private social networks for businesses; the development of new Open Source tools for social networking; and concerns about privacy and control of your brand in consumer sites. The panel will discuss advances in the federated social web and the technologies that are making it possible. We'll cover who's implementing it today, and what kind of control a federated model gives companies and individuals. We'll give first steps on what you can do to weave your company and your social media presence into a federated social web.

How Print Design is the Future of Interaction

Saturday March 12 9:30AM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom A 500 E Cesar Chavez St

This session is about how the history of Print Design is becoming an important influence in the evolution of Interaction Design. As a craft, design for printed media has a rich history. Several generations of designers have pushed its boundaries in countless directions. It has been shaped over several hundred years as both a functional and aesthetic discipline, with a deep foundation of principles, practices, theories, and professional dialogue. In comparison, Interaction and UI Design is still a relatively young field. Its history has largely been driven by technology and functional goals. The dialogue around it has been centered on usability, which has been its purpose in the context of technological advancement. The visual language of UI has evolved from that standpoint: that it should evoke the familiar, analog experience of tools, buttons, knobs, and dials. That foundation has led to a very specific visual language in interactive experiences. In the past ten years however, the relevant technologies that support the design of Interfaces - displays, processing speeds, and rendering engines - have matured to a point that they provide a more capable canvas for design. Meanwhile, our culture has become visibly more comfortable with the technologies that surround it. These combination of trends are creating an important inflection point for designers. The aesthetic experience of the digital surface can now be considered and explored in a more sophisticated manner.

Drawing Back the Curtains on CSS Implementation

Saturday March 12 11:00AM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom D 500 E Cesar Chavez St

In this session, representatives from major browser vendors including Chrome, Microsoft, Opera and the W3C will pull back the curtain revealing some of the challenges with implementation and interoperability. The goal is to have designers and developers get a glimpse into how CSS has struggled and finally gained its footing as the presentation layer in everything we do for the Web.

Ordering Disorder: Grid Design for the New World

Saturday March 12 12:30PM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom A 500 E Cesar Chavez St

Everyone's using grids, and grid tools and frameworks are everywhere. But do you truly understand the ins and outs of this powerful design principle, and how it's changing along with new media and platforms? Chances are most digital designers have only a cursory knowledge of the grid's concepts and best practices, overlooking the tremendous value that truly smart grid usage brings. In this expansive sequel to his famous 2006 SXSWi talk Grids Are Good, designer and grid expert Khoi Vinh (, will give a bracing tour of the many ideas packed into his new book Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design.This solo talk will span the history of grids, take a brass-tacks tour of best practices, and look ahead at some of the most enlightening and innovative thinking that's shaping grid thinking in the future.

Inclusive Design: Creating Beautiful, Usable & Accessible Websites

Saturday March 12 12:30PM - Austin Convention Center Room 6AB 500 E Cesar Chavez St

The concept of the Web for All is something that we hold dear, but sometimes it feels like we are holding on to it for dear life! There is plenty of knowledge sharing about Web Standards and best practices, but too many opinions about what a website really is. If you ask a designer, a developer and a marketer, you will probably get 3 different answers and this can be a tad problematic when you only have one website. So I set out to find a solution, stopped thinking about the medium and started thinking about what the word Design really meant. Things that are designed are invariably products of some sort and it became clear that the internet is a product that people interact with using technology. I reflected on those who inspire me, such as Dieter Rams, whose ten principles of good design are as relevant now on the internet as they were when he first uttered them. And then I looked to Frank Lloyd Wright, the godfather of Inclusive Design in Architecture. With these parallels to hand, it is quite simple. Applying the principles of Inclusive Design to building websites makes sense, but existing technologies and practices in order to ensure its successful implementation is where we are at now. Presenting the principles and how they can be applied to the web, and interspersing these with hands on, practical advice will provide both a breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding.

Customer Experience: Future Trends & Insights

Saturday March 12 3:30PM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom G 500 E Cesar Chavez St

To build a Social Media Experience that drives value, you must focus on addressing seven strategic questions. In this session Colin Shaw, author of 3 best-selling books on Customer Experience, reveals that over 50% of a Social Media Experience is about emotions, how a customer feels. Emotions are at the heart of driving human behavior, however most organizations ignore this fact. Organizations are too caught up in the rational aspects of the online experience rather than the emotional side. Colin will reveal ground- breaking research from his new book in Fall 2010: Customer Experience: Future Trends & Insights, which looks at Social Media as a key strategic trend. Colin also reveals the discovery of a subconscious experience that has a massive effect on a Social Media Experience. He will disclose new ground-breaking psychological research which has uncovered what drives or destroys value in a Social Media Experience. Finally he puts this all in the context of seven key strategic questions an organization needs to answer, and the specific actions they need to take to build a Social Media Experience (SMx) that drives value. You will learn: • Seven key strategic questions for building a great Social Media Experience (SMx) • How to design and build an emotionally engaging SMx • What Customers really want from a SMx • The attributes of a SMx that drive & destroy value • Explore case studies to learn from other organizations

Client Knows Best? How to Sell Unsolicited Ideas

Saturday March 12 5:00PM - Hilton Salon C 500 East 4th Street

So you get the brief, and it’s the “same old same old”. Your client wants a banner campaign…an email blast, a :30 second spot… but you’ve got something better up your sleeve… something more appropriate for them that better meets their needs. Something they’re pining for but they don’t know it yet. How will you sell it to them without making their head spin? How can you make them understand the benefits without losing them in the technological weeds? We’re constantly being thrown for a loop when it comes to great, innovative ideas: “It’s not in the budget.”, “How can we measure its success?”, “We’ve never done anything like that before.” This panel will tell you how to crash through all those barriers with your client and make something really interesting – you may even put it in your portfolio.

Creative and Effective Leadership in Design Environments

Sunday March 13 9:30AM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom B 500 E Cesar Chavez St

A search on Amazon shows 62,000+ books on leadership but almost nothing to help creative team leaders build and sustain a creative environment. Creativity and innovation can be delicate and emotionally fraught processes. Leadership theories are helpful, but what do you do when your star designer suddenly starts mailing it in? Or a project team is frozen in infighting? Or one of your designers just can't find their footing in a new project? When you got your big promotion for being an amazing designer, no one told you that you needed an entirely new skill set. Sink or swim, baby. For this session, Sarah B. Nelson gets practical on the topic of creative leadership. From vision development to team alignment, from bottom-up empowerment to top-down intervention, Sarah will inspire you with practical ideas to motivate your team and rouse them to greatness. She will draw on her extensive experience leading creative teams at Adaptive Path and Hot Studio -- and inform the discussion with research and interviews from organizational psychologists, experienced managers, and successful creative leaders.

The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising's Big Ideas are Born

Sunday March 13 11:30AM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom G 500 E Cesar Chavez St

So how does your creative process look? We asked dozens of writers and art directors to visualize how their personal process shows their thinking. The answers come in a series of artful and compelling process pieces that give insight into how creativity actually grows. Our book (August 2010) lays out 30+ of these along with creative theory that's accessible and usable. Authors Glenn Griffin and Deborah Morrison explain the project and give insights into understanding how you create.

No Excuse: Web Designers Who Can't Code

Sunday March 13 12:30PM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom B 500 E Cesar Chavez St

Some of the most important design decisions happen in code. In 2009, I gave a talk at the Build conference in Belfast with what I thought was a fairly uncontroversial premise: web designers should write code. Since then, the subject has sparked more than a few debates, including a particular heated pile-on when Elliot Jay Stocks tweeted that he was shocked that in 2010 I’m still coming across ‘web designers’ who can’t code their own designs. No excuse. In a recent interview, Jonathan Ive said & It's very hard to learn about materials academically, by reading about them or watching videos about them; the only way you truly understand a material is by making things with it. He's talking about product design, but the principle is just as relevant to the Web (if not more so).The best design explicitly acknowledges that you cannot disconnect the form from the material--the material informs the form.... Because when an object's materials, the materials' processes and the form are all perfectly aligned.... People recognize that object as authentic and real in a very particular way. As our industry grows and roles get more specialized, it's possible to become a web designer without more than a cursory understanding of the fundamental building materials of the Web: the code. Is this just the price of progress? Are the days of the web craftsman soon to be in the past? Or is a hybrid approach to web design and development something worth preserve?

Clients Are Not the Target Audience. Users Are

Sunday March 13 3:30PM - Marriott Courtyard 300 East 4th Street

If you design for the client, they will be happy on launch, till they realize the audience isn't engaged. Then they will go looking for their next mistress agency. Know your client, and the value that they offer to users. Sometimes the client has a keen sense of this, but more often than not, a discovery / exploratory process is helpful to give focused clarity to this key issue. If in the beginning of the creative process we do not find the uniqueness of the brand, users never will either. Maybe? sort of? dig deeper. what drove the founders to start this business? what do they stand for? how are their products unique? who is their target audience? who are they ACTUALLY reaching? Let's move on to the all important user. Who will be going to this site? Why? To accomplish what? Success is based off of this measure, and this measure alone. Was the site USEFUL. Likes, retweets, mentions, awards, fwa's, blah, blah, blah mean nothing if the site is not useful. We are a service industry, not a beauty pageant. we're hear to help the client communicate their message, not fluff our creative egos. Know your audience. Their interests. Their background. Their desires. Let’s look at two large .com redesign case studys that I have had the honor to work as the design lead on: with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and with Springbox. Let's be useful.

Where Web Typography Goes To Next

Sunday March 13 5:00PM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom C 500 E Cesar Chavez St

The future of web typography is as uncertain as any other aspect of the medium, but one thing is for sure: it's got momentum. At no other time has typography been taken so seriously by so many involved in the web, and that means there's an awful lot of change and innovation to keep up with if you want to stay on the cutting edge of online type. In as much depth as 60 minutes will allow, this presentation will cover recent proposals and additions to CSS 3, from ligatures to hyphenation, synthesis to capitalisation, and much in between. It will cover the reasoning behind the new aspects of CSS 3, and reintroduce older properties which only now are becoming implemented and useful (and thus browser support will not be ignored either). No session on web typography would be complete without discussion of webfonts. There is still much learn in this field, both in what CSS can provide, and the technical implementation within browsers. But web typography is not just about CSS, or even good type setting. The bit that touches us most closely is the medium through which most of us read: text rendering and screens, and this presentation will discuss and demonstrate the cutting edge of both. Web typography is a hugely exciting part of web design, and the field that is moving most quickly. This presentation will give you everything you need to know to keep right on the spur of the serif, the apex of the ascender, and the edge of the curve.

My Title Is Web Designer, Now What?

Monday March 14 3:30PM - Marriott Courtyard Rio Grande A 300 East 4th Street

As agencies and professionals become more entrenched in their processes for creating sites, the role of the web designer has become more nuanced. The skillsets of people who call themselves web designers can vary greatly from one to the next. One may never touch code; one may have their hands in every step of building out their designs; others may be somewhere in between. These days it's hard to know what kind of things you should be expected to do as a web designer. Should we continue to add skills outside of the traditional realm of design to our toolbox? Do we focus on becoming design experts? The way we answer questions will affect our careers and how we work. In this panel we will discuss what we, as web designers, need to do to adapt to the new trends and ever-changing demands of our craft. We'll talk about what skills a web designer should have in their design toolbox and tackle questions like: should designers know how to code? Where do the skills of a graphic designer and a web designer overlap and where do they differ? And how does the differentiation of role expectations effect design processes?

Anatomy of a Design Decision

Monday March 14 5:00PM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom D 500 E Cesar Chavez St

What separates a good design from a bad design are the decisions that the designer made. Jared will explore the five styles of design decisions, showing you when gut instinct produces the right results and when designers need to look to more user-focused research. You'll see how informed decisions play out against rule-based techniques, such as guidelines and templates. And Jared will show you the latest research showing how to hire great decision makers and find opportunities that match your style. Of course, Jared will use his unforgettable presentation style to deliver an extremely entertaining and informative presentation.

Celebrating the Beauty of the Web, hosted by the Internet Explorer 9 team

Monday March 14 9:00PM - ACL Live at The Moody Theater All Ages 310 W 2nd St

Free drinks and great music performances from Yeasayer, The Head and The Heart, and Fences.

Voices From The HTML5 Trenches: Browser Wars IV

Tuesday March 15 5:00PM - Austin Convention Center Ballroom C 500 E Cesar Chavez St

The term HTML5 now refers to the much-hyped kitchen sink of the web. It covers *everything* including things not officially part of the HTML5 specification. Yet HTML5 is now the catch phrase to describe the new wave of platform competition on the web, and browser vendors vie to outdo each other on benchmark tests touting compliance and performance. Every major browser vendor -- Apple, Opera, IE, Chrome, and Firefox -- will have a significant browser release by SxSW 2011. Microsoft's recent IE9 press event suggests that they are all in for HTML5.So if all of us browser vendors are all for HTML5, what does this mean for web developers? And what's up with the dirty marketing buzz around tests and demo pages? This panel will expose the areas where we browser vendors cooperate as well as compete, and will push on the painful spots where we seem to disagree. We'll bring every major browser vendor to the table, and talk about open video on the web (and video codecs), what this all means to Flash, APIs (including contentious ones, like databases), CSS (including once hot areas like fonts) graphics, SVG vs. Canvas, WebGL, Device APIs, and security. This browser wars panel will be less like Inside Baseball, and more about the practical issues confronting web developers today. We'll poke at the raw spots that browser vendors need to discuss. As always, audience participation will account for a substantial chunk of time.

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