ONA 2009 The Best Presenters
The presenter I was most impressed with at the recently concluded 2009 Online News Association conference in San Francisco was Hoa Loranger.
She is a director at the Nielsen Norman Group.
She spoke just a few minutes at a session called "Yep, Text still matters," and was very much to the point.
She said research has shown web users generally look at a page with an F pattern scan, and avoid most of the right side, which she said is best for advertising.
She explained the rule of twos, the importance of the first two words in a headline or sentence, and the first two paragraphs to grab the reader's attention.
She said images should usually be functional and have a direct correlation with the main point of the text, because she said, until web users click on something (say a video or a slideshow), they are still more interested in text than anything else.
Another amazing presenter was Lee Byron. He now works at Facebook, and used to work for the New York Times, symbolically indicating, perhaps, where the Internet is going.
This guy is pure genius. Everything he does is simple and beautiful. He talked about the values of serendipity and joy during his presentation.
Here's a design he helped with at the New York Times about the history of torches, and as he pointed out, if you do something with the first torch and then the last one, or maybe it's the other way around, something magical happens.