Summit ’14: Talking with Clarissa Peterson

by Kevin Cuddihy on 10 April 2014

Clarissa Peterson is a UX designer and developer, specializing in building responsive websites and training organizations in responsive design workflow. Clarissa frequently speaks on responsive design and mobile content strategy. She is also the author of Learning Responsive Web Design, coming soon from O’Reilly Media. Clarissa joins us for the Summit this year with Improve Your Typography with Responsive Web Design. Conference Chair Chris Hester chatted with her recently about her session and the Summit.

You’ve been speaking on responsive typography quite a bit lately. How did that come about? What’s the history of this session?

I noticed many people were discussing responsive design at conferences, but nobody seemed to address the relationship between typography and responsive design. What you do with typography affects your content. While it’s important to focus on your message and what you want to communicate, it’s also important to ensure people can read it. There are rules about how to plan for responsive design and manage your typography from the beginning of your project so the content looks good.

You mentioned planning for responsive design and typography, and I like that. It aligns with what Sharron Rush will be presenting for us, which is building in accessibility from the start on our projects.

There’s a lot of overlap between responsive Web design and accessibility. They both need to be built in and accounted for from the start of a project. When we talk about accessibility, we tend to think about people with disabilities, but that’s not always the case. Good typography makes content more accessible for everybody.

Complete the sentence: “You should absolutely plan on attending these sessions if you …”

Have thought about the content you put on your site, but you haven’t thought much about how its visual appearance affects your ability to get your message across.

In the session evaluations, we ask attendees, “What is the best idea you heard in this session that you plan to use?” What do you expect the top answer to be?

If you have a responsive site, you can use media queries to provide optimum readability across every device. You can ensure your text looks good on every screen size, rather than focusing on particular sizes.

After the Summit, what will be the best way to start learning more about responsive Web design?

Ethan Marcotte’s book, Responsive Web Design, is a good place to start. Also, go into your browser and try out some code. Write a media query and see what happens in your browser. The best way to learn is to just start writing code and see what works and what doesn’t.

What are you looking forward to most in Phoenix?

I haven’t spent a lot of time in the desert areas of the country, so I’m looking forward to the scenery and hiking in the area.

More about Clarissa

Clarissa on Lanyrd

Clarissa on Twitter

Clarissa’s website

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