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Seven Must-See Web Design Videos and Presentations

In one of our previous articles, I put together a list of 7 must-see videos related to web design. Since then, I’ve come across a number of other videos from conferences and events, and I thought I would share some of those here.

The list includes a brief description of each video, some notable quotes from the presentations, and related links. So, sit back, take your time and enjoy some great technical insights and design principles from some well-known web designers, developers, and conference speakers.

The Influence of Print Design Link

Speaker: Jason Santa Maria

Part of the MFA in Interaction Design program, this is a candid and personal discussion of how print design and the technique of “storytelling” have affected the designs of the speaker in his professional career as a web designer.

Notable Quote:

“Over time I started looking at the way that publications look, and the way that web designs look, and I didn’t see that same connection, and I wondered why. So I want to go over some of the stuff I’ve discovered, and why web design looks the way that it does.”

Related Link:

Simplicity Sells Link

Speaker: David Pogue

Although not specifically about web design, this is an enlightening and entertaining TED Talk by New York Times columnist David Pogue. Pogue, who has authored many technology books, takes aim at technology’s worst interface-design offenders, and provides encouraging examples of products that get it right. To keep things interesting, he even occasionally breaks into song.

Notable Quote:

“I know one guy who spent $4,000 just on Photoshop over the years. Software companies make 35% of their revenue from just these software upgrades. I call it the software upgrade paradox, which is, if you improve a piece of software enough times, you eventually ruin it.”

Related Link:

Six Things Every jQuery Developer Must Know Link

Speaker: Elijah Manor

This somewhat technically-heavy talk from the Mix Conference provides an overview of several in-depth concepts that developers need to learn to bring their jQuery development to the next level. The discussion covers six things: “What Is ‘This’?”, “Am I Referencing the jQuery Object or a DOM Element?”, “Understanding Selectors”, “Combine and Minify Your Scripts”, “Different Ways of Storing Data”, and “The Dos and Don’ts of Events”.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Notable Quote:

“Whether you are a beginner or intermediate jQuery developer, if you don’t have a good understanding of the this statement then you’ll most likely find yourself stumbling along.”

Related Link:

  • The speaker’s talk summary plus info and downloads

Why Designers Fail and What to do About It Link

Speaker: Scott Berkun

Taken from the “From Business to Buttons” Conference, Scott Berkun talks about design failure and its causes. Sometimes it’s problems in our design process or how we carry it out that cause failure. But in many cases, it’s the other stuff, the non-design stuff, the business stuff that causes failure. Scott argues the need to consider these other aspects — pitching ideas, learning to talk the language of business, and so on — as design problems too.

Notable Quote:

“Studying the perfect cases doesn’t inform as much as the fail cases do.”

Related Link:

Great Designers Steal Link

Speaker: Jeff Veen

A very inspiring and informative talk based on a classic quote from Picasso (which he evidently “stole” from T.S. Eliot), “Good artists copy. Great artists steal”.

Notable Quotes:

“Every so often, there’s a product that works so well, that gets technology so right, that it appears almost to be like magic, and almost immediately, competitors do these superficial… knock-offs of the features that they see, hoping that they too can cash in on that success.”

“The key here is to be intentional with what we steal, to look at what the principles are behind the things that are successful, and steal those, rather than just a superficial copy.”

Related Link:

Using jQuery to Extend CSS Link

Speaker: Chris Coyier

At the 2009 Front-End Design Conference, Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks fame entertains the audience and discusses the many benefits of using jQuery with CSS development, demonstrating how jQuery resolves many typical CSS issues, and even helps extend CSS in ways that CSS alone probably never will.

Notable Quote:

“[Choosing jQuery] is like choosing the guitar. If you’re going to pick an instrument to play, the guitar’s a cool one to choose, because there’s so much information about it out there. There’s a lot more [Google] results for ‘guitar tabs’ and ‘jQuery tutorials’ than there are for ‘banjo tabs’ and ‘MooTools tutorials’.”

Related Link:

Seductive Design Link

Speaker: Andy Budd

Andy Budd, at Build Conference 2009, thinks looks and first impressions do matter, especially in design, and he shows how such principles can be applied to “seducing” users through design.

Notable Quote:

“Often [seduction] is seen as a negative thing, it’s seen as bad. People think of it as leading people astray. However, I actually think that seduction can be a good thing, it can be a fun thing.”

Related Link:

Footnotes Link

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Louis Lazaris is a freelance web developer and author based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs about front-end code on Impressive Webs and curates Web Tools Weekly, a weekly newsletter for front-end developers.

  1. 1

    nice collection, I also periodically watch lectures and talks on for inspiration when i’m feeling in a bit of a rut

  2. 2

    great resource….

  3. 3

    Watching the first video, I realize that one problem about poor design and full text content is that most of the time, the articles are not posted by the web designer.
    You can create a beautiful stylish website, but if the guy who post the articles doesn’t have design skills, the site will looks ugly.

    • 4

      I think you’re wrong when saying that. It’s the responsability of the designer to understand who’s gonna use the website and what they’re gonna do with it and adapt his design / programmation to the needs of his client.

      Same thing apply to every product. If a car designer do something aesthetic without checking if drivers can’t do well with it, it’s his fault.

      You can’t just blame every time the client, saying that his use of the website broke your design… Designing for ourselves without thinking about the usage or the user is poor design.

  4. 5

    The video “Six Things Every jQuery Developer Must Know” asks me to install Silverlight. NO! :)

    Any chance you could change the embed link to be a non-silverlight one? Unless it’s just me…

    Otherwise, it’s a very nice article. I particularly like Seductive Design.

    • 6

      Seriously, I’m on a Mac and would rather not fill it with Microsoft bloatware.

      • 7

        There is nothing wrong with Silverlight, if anything, it is more stable than Flash, so you have nothing to worry about.

      • 8

        Just had to get your mac plug and Microsoft bash in, didn’t you Jack?

    • 9

      I don’t think there’s a way to do that. Unless the video is available somewhere else. I’ll check to see if it’s on YouTube or Google Video, and correct it.

      Unfortunately, that talk was at a Microsoft conference, and is posted on the MIX website, a Microsoft site, so they’re obviously going to use their own platform for the video, instead of Flash.

      • 10

        “… so they’re obviously going to use their own platform for the video, instead of Flash.”

        This explains about half of what is wrong with Microsoft’s development strategy.

    • 12

      Michael Swanson

      April 27, 2010 3:41 pm

      The video is available on the Microsoft MIX10 event site in MP4 and WMV too:

  5. 13

    love presentations, thanks a lot !

  6. 14

    Sanket Nadhani

    April 24, 2010 11:44 am

    All the talks on design are awesome. Thanks for putting them together Louis.

    But I totally loved the one by Andy Budd. As soon as I got done with the talk, I hit TextEdit and noted some 23 different ideas I had for my own website. And will get back to it right after I write this comment :)

    Would love to see more of this stuff SmashingMag.

  7. 15


  8. 16

    This is indeed a great list of videos.

    I recently collected some of the most inspirational videos on Design and Creativity from the TED conferences. You guys must check it out :

  9. 17

    Graet Post !! Love the first video on the principles of Print design carrying over to web. It wont be long before print and web/screen are one in a tablet format

  10. 18

    Jorge Fernandez

    April 24, 2010 3:23 pm

    This is a little off topic but why can’t I read any post straight from the RSS????

  11. 20

    Morten Jonassen

    April 25, 2010 4:06 am

    Very great stuff here. Thank you!

  12. 21

    Andy Budd’s presentation was so seductive!

  13. 22

    I haven’t watched all the videos. But the ones I watched were really really bad, I have to say. They are very good examples of what I am getting more and more frustrated by the talks on the web and in design conferences lately. I am not saying all, but most are, talks by people involved in design one way or another, but NOT really hands-on designers themselves.

    I’ve been thinking why not the hands-on designers, but design academicians and other design related people such as project managers in design organizations and so on, are always giving these kind of speeches. I guess because they have more time to talk. I do respect their effort, but I don’t think most have enough insight.

    In short, what I am saying is that, in most cases the talks are either very superficial and not in depth at all, or plain wrong althogether. Some of them may be entertaining, but I wouldn’t recommend them to my clients and to the kids who want to pursue a career in desing.

    • 23


      Jason (JSM) and Andy Budd are definite hands-on designers.

      Regardless, it’s always good to get an outsider’s perspective to design. We designers are usually looking outward, from the inside. Yet, our work is intended for people who are from the outside, but rarely have the time to “look in”. So being able to see how they see is always worth our time.

  14. 24

    this is really great, thanks dude.

  15. 25

    These are really some food for thoughts to be used when designing useful sites. Great ideas and some of the problems discussed above a really real.

  16. 26

    Aaron Martone

    April 25, 2010 8:55 am

    “Install Microsoft Silverlight”

    …. HA HA HA HA HA!!!.

    No, I don’t think we’ll be doing that.

    Anyways, good vids.

  17. 27

    Venkata Giri Reddy

    April 25, 2010 8:57 am

    Thanks for the videos.

  18. 28

    Informative Video..

  19. 29

    I’ve never been to a design conference but I’ve watched many presentation videos. I noticed many of them are entertaining, people make jokes and show funny pictures but in the end you never learn anything from them, it’s all just inspiration/design blabla. The things they tell may be ok for a non-designer audience. But if I was a professional designer I wouldn’t waste money for hearing these presentations.
    I really liked Chris Coyier’s presentation although the quality was so bad. At least he really had something important to tell.

  20. 30

    Very cool, I like them, thanks!

  21. 31


    April 25, 2010 7:50 pm

    I agree nice collection

  22. 32

    Lokesh a.k.a Lucky

    April 25, 2010 8:04 pm

    feeling helpless :( sitting in my office where all videos sites are banned :( … will watch all videos after reaching home :)

  23. 33

    Vincenzo Acinapura

    April 25, 2010 9:57 pm

    Nice article but I found a 73MB video attached in the RSS Feed!
    the video is “Six Things Every jQuery Developer Must Know”

    please fix!

    • 34

      The video shouldn’t be auto playing, it should only download if you click on it, so I’m not sure why you’re having an issue with that.

  24. 35

    Nice collection you’ve compiled here. Let me add a video about increasing project workflow we’ve made for HotGloo, because I think this is also a very interesting topic for Designers, as being part of an agency project workflow. It’s called “Why workflow sucks without the right wireframing tool” Feedback very much appreciated!

  25. 36

    Awesome, finally a list post with a difference.. video :)

  26. 37

    Awesome set of videos

  27. 38

    Great videos, thanks for the share.

    TED has a tons of great videos about any subject. It’s a MUST WATCH for everybody in the world. Food for the mind I tell ya.

  28. 39

    Great! thx : )

  29. 40

    I enjoyed a few of those videos, but the Simplicity Sells one was terrible. I have no idea why that would be considered a must-see web design video.

    • 41

      It was talking about simplicity in user interfaces in software. Although that’s not directly about web design, it still applies in principle.

  30. 42

    This is a very useful collection, I’m grate for it. By the way I did rotfl with Seductive Design, this article made my day a little shiniesh :).

  31. 43

    I really enjoyed this post and I agree that sometimes these speakers can seem a little far removed from us every day design types but would one of us be able to give such an entertaining speech ?

  32. 44

    Drew Wiltsey

    May 1, 2010 6:41 pm

    Business 2.0 had a lot of great stories about major failures that back up a lot of what these videos describe. They compiled them in a book called The Dumbest Moments in Business History.
    Great post!

  33. 45

    Scott Berkun of all people ? He WAS the Program Manager for Internet Explorer when they released IE 5 / IE 6. He would be the last person I would listen to when it comes to designing something.

  34. 46

    Andrew swissser

    February 27, 2011 10:49 pm

    At first I thought it was not nice but when I watched the videos and read it I was wrong, It was really nice presentation. Love it!

  35. 47

    Great :)


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