Tortoise or designer? The evolution of impact

evolvedConfession time. When I started designing for the web nearly 14 years ago, I pretty much made it all up as I went along. Brave souls all, we ventured out bravely into the wilderness, hoped for the best and called our mistakes “lessons learned”. Most of us survived to tell the tale, emerging stronger, smarter and a little more acclimated to this brave new world. Others just grew gills, but that’s a story for another time.

As the web industry has matured, it fascinates me that processes and best practices have developed to the degree that all of us are singing a similar song, even though we may not have all gotten the same memo. Working in the web these days feels like spending time on the Galapagos Islands. Evolving to fit our environment, we have somehow still retained the elements that make us all unique without sacrificing forward progress and growth. I always knew Darwin was a designer at heart.

So combining the passion I have for design with my desire to share what I have learned the hard way about the ways of the web, on occasion I stick my hand in the lion’s mouth and go talk to people about it.

Sharing the stage at’s Web Design for Non Profits workshop with Mckenzine Lock (Senior Communications Manager, Communications and Outreach at Women Thrive Worldwide) and Shirley Sexton (Director of Interactive Marketing & Fundraising at See3 Communications) was further proof that we have learned how to speak the same language without sacrificing our own point of view. Exploring the challenges facing non profits on the web these days, we tackled the same subject from 3 different angles: as a designer who creates visual environments to support an organization’s complex ecosystem, a client who just survived a redesign rooted in best practices, and a marketing evangelist who lives and breathes this stuff every day.

And wouldn’t you know, without comparing notes or peeking at the other’s presentation ahead of time, we shared a cohesive message with our audience. Amazingly, we empowered these non profit professionals in their pursuit of a great new website for their organization, transformed their ability to achieve their goals, and left them excited to take their mission to a larger audience online.

Ain’t evolution fun? Check out my presentation here and tell us what you think!

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