David LaFontaine escapes the maze

David LaFontaineDavid LaFontaine

David LaFontaine is an author, journalist, digital media consultant, and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.

David specializes in content strategy, UX/UI design, and digital media production.

His clients include: The University of Southern California, The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, U.S. State Department, Lynda.com, KelbyOne Media, CreativeLive, Wiley Publishing, B3Communications, AssetShield, and Roundabout Entertainment.

His expertise in media and technology have earned him invitations to lecture at universities in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, including at the Institute for the Digital Future of Journalism at the Mohyla University in Kiev, Ukraine, the Nelson Mandala School of Journalism in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and at the University Mayor in Santiago, Chile.

Design Books

Dave is the author or coauthor of five books, including:

  • Social Media Design For Dummies
  • Mobile Web Design For Dummies
  • iPhone and ┬áiPad Design For Dummies
  • The Poison Pen

Dave's background in journalism included designing pages for newspapers and magazines, a skill he's updated for the web, mobile and social media as a Dummies author.

To Dave, great design is about making complex information immediately appealing and engaging.

Speaking and Teaching

David's engaging, informal presentation style has earned him repeated invitations to speak at conference and events around the world.

Speaking topics include:

  • Multimedia on a McNugget Budget
  • Zombie Content Strategy Rules
  • The Great Traffic-Driving Experiment: Content may be king, but distribution is queen. And she wears the pants

Watch videos of David speaking and being interviewed.

Training Videos

KelbyOne Media asked David to produce a series of training videos on the entire Adobe Edge Suite of webtools. These include:

Edge Animate - Adobe's attempt to make creating "HTML5 animations" an intuitive process. Of course, I know that there really is no such thing as an "HTML5 animation" -- what we're really talking about is animations that use CSS3, JavaScript and jQuery to produce interactive animations that play in browsers without the need for a Flash plug-in. Yes, this is all in response to the lack of support for Flash on iOS mobile devices. And yes, this is still very much a work in progress. But you can do some surprisingly cool stuff - just check out my video.

Edge Code/Brackets - These are hard-core coding tools, with features that will make all the code monkeys chirp and jump up and down excitedly. I know that the vast majority of designers freak out at the mere sight of HTML, CSS, or JavaScript code (to say nothing of Ruby on Rails, PHP, or (horrors!) C++. I'm not saying that Edge Code and Brackets will make you into a code genius overnight ... but they do make the process easier.

Edge Inspect - You can see the results of this tool on all the screens behind me in this still frame, taken from my training video. Inspect allows designers to test their designs on iPhones, iPads, Android tablets and phones, and even on Amazon Kindle Fire platforms. You've heard the old saw, "In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is." Well, Inspect pushes theoretical designs out into the real world, where we can check out their flaws on actual mobile devices.

Edge Reflow - This tool is still officially a "Preview" as of February 2016, but most of its functionality is being folded into Adobe's other web-design tools, such as Dreamweaver or Muse. Reflow was built to help designers visualize how their pages would look at various pagewidths, by giving them a "handle" to click and drag around on the screen. But its most intriguing functionality was to allow a designer to crank out an entire webpage in Photoshop, and then import it all in one gulp into a web design program, to be converted into HTML and CSS. It works ... kinda. If you're in an absolute hurry and can't stand to sweat the details, well then, yeah, you can built a web page this way. But I don't recommend it.

NAA audience planbookResearch and Case Studies

David's background as an investigative reporter and editor have given him the skills to do in-depth analysis of tech trends and tools.

His freelance work includes case studies on newspapers and multimedia development for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA.org), the World Associaton of Newspapers (WAN), the Online Journalism Review (OJR.org), and Advanced Interactive Media (AIM Group).

As a managing editor, he assembled a team of expert journalists, digital entrepreneurs and marketing mavens, to build the Audience Planbook for the NAA. It lays out the necessary processes that a news organization must go through in order to reinvent itself and start producing the kind of content that attracts online readers.

You can read the .pdf version of the Audience Planbook here.