Web Designers’ Role: SXSW 2011

Hey, it’s South By Southwest panel submission season. The time of the year where all your friends tweet/email/yell/whatever in hopes of getting you to vote for their panel. Yes, this is one of those posts.

I’ve submitted my first ever panel proposal this year called “My Title Is Web Designer, Now What?”. The topic came out of conversations I’ve had with some designer friends — some of whom are on the panel — over the past few months.

One of the big questions we’ll be discussing, of course, is the hot topic of late: “should designers know how to code?”. That question has gotten a lot of attention lately, and it’s definitely not one we all agree on. But, this panel is about more than just that single question. We’ll also be looking at the bigger picture that the “should designers code” debate exists within.

We want to talk about the kinds of things web designers should have in their design toolbox. The industry as we know it seems to be changing at record pace lately, so how do we stay relevant? And as designers who want to advance our careers, what kinds of things should we be focusing on? How much traditional design background do you need to design for the web? These are questions we hear from both folks just starting out in the industry and veteran alike.

‘Web Designer’ has become such an ambiguous title with an equally ambiguous job description. We want this panel to help clarify these with a little bit of lively debate. The questions we plan to address have lots of room for opinion; and we have lots of opinions. And in all those we hope to find you some answers that you can use!

If you think our panel sounds good, please go and give it a thumbs up on the fancy sxsw panelpicker. My proposed panelists and I will think you’re extra awesome for it!