Designers to gather April 12; focus on latest industry trends

[caption id="attachment_31227" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Web design conference director and Webvanta president and CEO Michael Slater"][/caption]

ROHNERT PARK -- Michael Slater, a veteran of the Internet and Internet conferences, believes the North Bay is ready for its own web design conclave.

"There are at least two dozen top-notch web designers in the region, but no sizeable professional gatherings north of the Golden Gate," he said.

Mr. Slater and his Sebastopol company Webvanta are producing the conference. It’ll be held all day on April 12 at the Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center in Rohnert Park.

Mr. Slater is no stranger to directing conferences. His second company, Microdesign Resources in Silicon Valley, produced the Microprocessor Forum for 12 years, drawing 400 to 500 attendees to San Francisco.

After selling the company, he moved on to found Photiva in Santa Rosa, developing one of the first photo and video sharing platforms on the Net. Photiva was acquired by Adobe Systems in 2001. Mr. Slater worked for Adobe, then founded Webvanta in 2007.

Webvanta is a provider of site-building services and hosted content management systems (CMS) for agencies and web designers. It is one of the four major CMS developers.

“The conference won’t be about Webvanta, although as hosts we’ll talk a little bit about what we do,” said Mr. Slater. “And it’s not intended to be a money-making event. We want to bring the web design community together so we can all keep up on trends and technologies in a fast-shifting industry.”

The conference program will include talks on the latest generation of the core web technologies HTML5 and CSS3 as well as jQuery, the most popular JavaScript framework, he said.

Bill Mead, the lead instructor of web design at the Art Institute of California, will follow Mr. Slater’s keynote address by discussing the education of the next generation of web designers.

Jared White of Siteshine in Santa Rosa will address the challenges of web developing for a mobile, touch-based world.

The day will continue with presentations from Webvanta’s competing CSM developers and end with a focus on content.

“Too often content is neglected, when it should be the heart of every website,” said Mr. Slater. “Our speakers will cover content development strategy and the technology for implementing it.”

In addition to Webvanta, event sponsors include O’Reilly Publishing, the Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster, Comcast, The Art Institute of California-Sacramento, AcademyX and Engine Yard.

For more information and registration visit