News design expert Roger Black will lead discussion on responsive design at 14th ISOJ

Roger Black
Roger Black, from Roger Black Studios. (Knight Center/Flickr)

The 14th International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) will present a leading Web designer, Roger Black, as the chair of a forum highlighting “responsive design and other trends in digital platforms architecture and design” on April 19.

An inspired choice as chair, Black is excited to be involved, asserting that Rosental Alves, ISOJ founder and chair, “has put together a truly expert panel on responsive websites, and it’s an honor to be asked to be the moderator. Just in the preliminary conference call, more light was shed on the subject than an article I’ve read.”

Leading Roger Black Studios in New York, Black is a known proponent of responsive design, an approach taken by websites to ensure an optimal viewing experience for users by allowing content to fit the screen of multiple types of browsing platforms like laptops, tablets and mobile phones, and also re-shape content if the user expands of contracts the browser.

The panel that Black will chair features: Trei Brundett, vice-president of Vox Media; Michael Donohoe, product engineering director of Quartz and a former senior product engineer at The New York Times; Miranda Mulligan, executive director of the Knight Lab at Northwestern University and a former digital design director at The Boston Globe; Liz Danzico, designer, chair and co-founder of the MFA in Interaction Design program at the New York School of Visual Arts; and Travis Swicegood, the director of technology at the Austin-based Texas Tribune.

“We’re going to hear from the people behind several successful responsive websites about the lessons they’ve learned. In the planning session, we put all this issues on the table: design for multiple screen sizes, advertising, workflow, and ‘sites vs. apps,’” said Black. “We’ll show some of the digital publications that adapt to different devices and screen sizes, and show how ‘responsive’ could mean more than just layout, by responding directly to a reader’s context, interests and behavior.”

The panel will start at 2:30 p.m. on the first day of the 14th ISOJ conference to be held April 19-20 at the University of Texas at Austin in the Blanton Museum of Art’s auditorium.

“If I learn as much from the ISOJ session as I did on the first conference call,” Black continued in an email interview, “this will be the most valuable conference of the year for me!”

Black has led redesigns for websites operated by Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, and Esquire, and has consulted the Los Angeles Times and Houston Chronicle on redesigning their Web presence. Black has worked for the likes of Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and, developing unique and innovative ways to make content more effective and easily communicated for the reader on the Web.

Roger Black Studios has also successfully launched startups Treesaver, Webtype, and Ready-Media, all dedicated to making online content more convenient and attractive for consumers.

A pioneer of online design, Black has been quoted as saying, “I’ve designed more magazines than you’ll ever read.” One of two recipients of the 2012 Society of News Design’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Black runs his business and designs projects based on 10 rules: pages, content, information, history, design equity, inspiration, technology, people, readers, and life.

A firm believer in “technology is your friend,” Black has written a well-received book Websites That Work and stands behind the belief that the Web is visual, and design is just as important as, if not more than, content.

The International Symposium on Online Journalism is a program of the Knight Chair in Journalism, the UNESCO Chair in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin. ISOJ is a unique conference that blends industry-oriented discussion and academic research. Since 1999, it has attracted journalists, media executives and scholars from around the world.

Sheyna Webster is a student in the class “Entrepreneurial Journalism” within the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.