Aaron Gustafson

Aaron Gustafson


Aaron has been working on the web since the mid-90s, which makes him a bit of an old man in this relatively young industry.

Over the years, he has cultivated a love of web standards and an in-depth knowledge of website strategy and architecture, interface design, and numerous languages (including XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP). He co-founded Retreats 4 Geeks, an intimate technology training series, and is the former Group Manager of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) where he spearheaded both Web Standards Sherpa and a small business outreach effort.

He served as Technical Editor for A List Apart, is a contributing writer for .net Magazine, and has filled a small library with his technical writing and editing credits.

His latest book is Adaptive Web Design: Crafting Rich Experiences with Progressive Enhancement.


Designing with Empathy

Every decision we make affects the way real people experience our products.

We've all heard the rallying cry for user-centered design, but even those of us who ascribe to that ideal often fall back on our own biases and instincts when it comes to making decisions about how people experience our content and our services.

Sadly, this often means we make decisions we think will be good for our "users" - that anonymous, faceless crowd - rather than actually trying to understand the perspectives, surroundings, capabilities, and disadvantages of the actual people who we are here to serve.

In this session, Aaron will explore why empathy is a good thing, how empathy empowers creativity, and how we, as a community, can inject more empathy into our work.