Design for Developers

Do you have strong design sensibilities? Would you say you have a good relationship with designers? Are you creating products that your customers and clients absolutely love? Can you speak confidently about each of your user-facing decisions?

Listen and learn as Michelle Schulp, Natalie MacLees, and Chris Ford help you answer “yes” to each of those questions.

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Each of our sessions are digitally broadcast live and typically feature 3 separate presenters each focusing on a specific aspect of some WordPress topic. Each presenter will have roughly 30-40 minutes allotted for instruction and 15 minutes allotted for Q&A at the end. This means that, typically, the session will run three hours start-to-finish.

About This Session

There are volumes of articles about how designers need to better understand development. In fact, you’ve probably seen dozens of them yourself. Developers go to great lengths to tell designers how they should name and organize their Photoshop documents, how things should (or shouldn’t) overlap, which font or icon libraries to use, even going so far as to request they learn many development skills themselves so that they can understand the hardships developers face.

What most of these articles fail to realize is: this is a two-way street.

Developers also need to understand some baseline design principles. Developers should be familiar with basic design language, user experience and interaction design, user interface fundamentals, and even basic design theory. Just a little bit of knowledge in the design domain can go a long way in building products that surprise and delight customers and users, and even further in forging strong and successful relationships with quality designers.

Whether you’re a developer or a designer looking to gain a better footing, you owe it to yourself and your career to attend this session.

Session Schedule

This live session will take place September 20th, 2014, starting at 1pm EST.

How To Speak Unicorn: Improving Designer/Developer Collaboration Featuring Michelle Schulp

It seems that designers and developers speak different languages: developers are fluent in How, while designers are fluent in Why. Both are extremely important to a project, but this difference often leads to communication breakdowns. This talk will give developers insight into the design process, including vocabulary, problem solving methods, and workflow, and outline some simple methods to avoid “fail points” along the way.

Your user is not a robot: Bringing design thinking to your development process Featuring Natalie MacLees

When you spend your days in the land of code and databases, it’s easy to approach projects with the tools on hand. But your users aren’t robots and they won’t be thinking about how you’ve structured the database tables or constructed your queries. This talk will review a three-step process for stepping out of the developer mindset to approach things from your user’s point of view. Learn to build better products, really connect with your users and identify new opportunities.

Write better code by design: Five simple ways to improve your theme or plugin’s code with design thinking​ Featuring Chris Ford

Design isn’t just about making things pretty. It’s also about solving a specific problem for a distinct audience in the most efficient way possible. Learn five simple ways you can improve your theme or plug-in’s code by leveraging the same thought process designers use.

Session Highlights

  • Learn & Understand basic design language.
  • Become familiar with User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) principles.
  • Learn to build products designers will love (and sell to their clients).
  • Forge stronger relationships with designers.
  • Get a better understanding of user point-of-view.
  • Create experiences that will surprise and delight your customers and clients.
  • Solve the right problems.

About the Speakers


Michelle Schulp

Michelle Schulp is an independent graphic designer based in Minneapolis (formerly Chicagoland). She was on the WordCamp Chicago organizing committee in 2012 and 2013, and lead organizer in 2014. She was formally schooled in many aspects of design including print, branding, packaging, etc., as well as Psychology and Sociology, all tying together in a love of How To Solve Problems. She is a lover of WordCamps and the WordPress community. You may have seen her work on the WordPress Template Hierarchy or her Git-Themed poetry.

Follow Michelle on Twitter

Natalie MacLees

Natalie MacLees is a front-end web developer and UI designer and is founder + principal of the interactive agency, Purple Pen Productions. She is the author of jQuery for Designers, now in its second edition. She founded and runs the jQuery LA Users’ Group and together with Noel Saw she heads up theSouthern California WordPress User’s Group, organizing WordPress meetups, help sessions, and workshops. She is the lead organizer for WordCamp Los Angeles 2014 and organized the first annual Website Weekend LA. She’s also the founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Girl Develop It, bringing affordable and accessible coding classes to the community. She makes her online home at

Follow Natalie on Twitter

Chris Ford

Chris became a storyteller in the third grade when she wrote and bound her first book. She became a graphic designer in junior high when she was introduced to a proportion wheel and Proper Cropper as co-editor of the yearbook. She became a computer nerd when she discovered the Mac and Pagemaker as a journalism student in high school. When she stepped foot into her first college graphic design classroom she knew she’d found her life’s work in a field that combined all three of those passions. Over the last 18 years the tools and technologies she’s used have changed, but her design philosophy has stayed the same; she helps her clients tell their unique story: the story of who they are and why their customers will love them.

Follow Chris on Twitter


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