Web & UX in Lab

web & UX
Main site: combgeo.org
In the beginning more then now Lab’s website was a collective effort. We needed to plan it flexible enough for the things ahead, while making one page at a time. We decided it was a good idea to stay away from what is trendy in web at the moment, try make design plain and invisible, content-focused. The way I think about Labs’ website:
  1. The first priority is the visitor’s perspective. For example, for online talks it's best to make a visually structured infoblocks with date & time, the speaker & the topic. So that each visitor could easily find the bits, that are important for them, without missing anything or needing to read too much.
  2. Publicity usually is helpful when treated as a second priority and has a supporting not the main role.
  1. Anything that can be qualified as “noise” should not be mentioned at all if possible.
Instead of fancy web design I started making graphic posters for events and talks. Posters have a function in the design, they help to emphasise and add to user experience. But overall they are more artworks then design.
We figured that sometimes it is worth creating separate web space for conferences on subdomains (PCO’20, MoCCA’20, MLC).
It allows to clean pages from any unrelated navigation, and so visitors feel safer and more certain about the destination of the links.
Moreover, each conference website can have a different layout, framing artworks and text in a new way, thus creating it’s own visual feel to it.
web & art & animation
The Vinberg Lecture
The Vinberg Lecture is an online seminar. Its' website accumulates information on future and past talks. Like with most online talks the crucial information is: time, date, the speaker and the topic. Secondary, but also important is the way to get the zoom-link and the abstract.
Navigationwise the goal is to provide convenient schedule and the archive. For the talks, that were recorded, link to the video is highlighted to be easily found. I believe logo and intros turned out to be powerfully simple.
Web & art & animation
Conferense PCO’20
PCO'20 stands for Probabilistic Combinatorics Online 2020. It was a first big collaborative online conference. There were three days filled with different talks on randomness in combinatorics. With previous conferences (CGD I, II) we already figured out quite a lot of tricks in order to make several days schedule easy to read. PCO'20 took it a little further.
This was the first project that was given web space separate from the Labs' page. I love that it has a very focused feel to it. All the organizers were proactive and helped a lot. Special thanks to Sergei Kiselev for the code that generated random graphs pictures. It created a foundation for visual side of my work for the conference.
Web & art & animation
Conferense MoCCA’20
MoCCA'20 also known as Moscow Conference on Combinatorics and Applications had a heartbreaking background story. We started preparing for it in early 2020 and it was supposed to be the LABs' big conference in Moscow with a lot of great mathematicians from around the world. We gathered the info on the places to stay, sights to see, and other fun stuff to do. It was exciting. Then came the limitations of COVID-19. The virus dictated the rules of travelling for way longer then I though it would, but at that point it wasn't clear. Eventually we realized that our plans cannot be executed.
One year later MoCCA'20 took place online. There were two blocks with a pause inbetween, each block had 5 days of talks and lectures, open for everyone willing to learn. Having all the talks in one take would have been too heavy on everyone involved. Unfortunately, online format lacks the opportunities for having quality rest & informal communication that appears naturally in physical space. But online has its bright sides too! Apart from web I also did graphics and motion design for our lovely MoCCA'20. In the end the conference happened in 2021, but we decided to keep the original name.
About my web & UX background
Web was my professional field for years. At first I looked at sites from a search-engine-ranking-factors point of view. Then turned to Usability for tools to make user experience better and less frustrating. When done separately form design, work with usability usually is focused on mistakes. At that point I already knew that I wanted to create designs, not test and correct them. While analyzing usability, I often had ideas and sketches for a completely new designs. User Experience (aka UX) as far as I can see does not necessarily mean the lack of mistakes. Design can be flawed in many ways and still provide beautiful UX and the other way around. Also content-based design needs solid ground, and it won’t make up for poor content.
Within my journey in web I have learned to make code with html, css and js that looks and works quite nicely. But I’m not a coder. I know it can be done better, faster, more professionally. To me it's a helpful tool I enjoy using sometimes to bring the ideas to life. I’ve learned to put together designs to serve both intended function and user needs. Yet, I can not honestly say I’m a good designer or that the dream to become one drives me. I feel very lucky to work with the Lab, because it provides the content of the highest quality. Everyone I have worked within the Lab care little for formalities, instead have a true purpose and interest. I respect and genuinely want to support that.