An Event Apart Seattle 2017: Let’s Build a Website (and Talk About The Job of Front-End Design and Development) by Chris Coyier

The last session of the conference was what Chris referred to as an “all-day session”. Chris spoke extensively on multiple topics throughout the day, all of which centered around the idea that writing a website today has a lot of complexity.

Truth be told, most of us in the audience know perfectly well how to build a website, at least to the point that we can build something and get it into publication. Some days it seems like everyone and a whole bunch of things (looking at you, frameworks) believe they know how to build a website.

But best practices are harder to identify and codify, especially with the industry moving on so many topics in so many directions at once. The result: this session was a fantastic use of my time, even having been in the industry for over 20 years.

It’s worth nothing that the session was very geared toward front-end development and developers. This was not the session where you were going to learn how to design a website or how to brand or even at the other end how to test. In that sense, it was the most focused session of the conference.

Since it was an all-day session, and since Chris spent a significant amount of that time actively coding, I did my best to capture the highest concepts and did not get every detail. If you’d like ever detail, Chris is teaching another session in Chicago in August.
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An Event Apart Seattle 2017: 10 Things You Can and Should Do with SVG by Chris Coyier

While Una’s presentation was on optimizing raster images, Chris’s presentation is on the things that can be accomplished when we use SVG files – a specific form of vector images. (Neither speaker did a significant amount to explain the difference, and it’s a core concept in design, so if you’re new to the field or you need a refresher read up on the difference.) Continue reading

An Event Apart Seattle 2017: The Joy of Optimizing by Una Kravets

Una’s presentation centered around raster graphics and how they can be better optimized. Though she doesn’t go into it in detail, the implications of poorly-optimized raster images are costly: they tend to be large files, costing our users money in data fees (if on a price-per-MB connection) and time (if on a slow connection) as well as storage and other less-concerning issues.

For the application-heavy work that I tend to do in my day job (my wheelhouse is enterprise web app information architecture) I’m better off with SVG vector images for most uses than raster — iconography is better suited to vector for a number of reasons.

But ooh boy do I have some work to do for my personal WordPress sites. Continue reading

An Event Apart Seattle 2017: Design for Real Life by Eric Meyer

Eric Meyer has been speaking on the subject of making our designs more human and more robust for a number of years now, through discussions about designing for crisis. This year his talk was about Design for Real Life. He co-authored a book with the same name with Sara Wachter-Bettcher, and it stands as one of the most important books in the field of User Experience Design. Continue reading

An Event Apart Seattle 2017: Designing with Grid by Jen Simmons

Jen Simmons’ talk picked up essentially where Rachel’s left off, filling in a lot of the blanks that we might’ve had around CSS Grid, while also stressing that the new layout options will change how we approach the web as significantly as 25 years of filmmaking affected the film industry.

She also covers some of the core concepts of visual design as codified in the last century of graphic design and similar fields. For those of us who aren’t visual design workers on a regular basis, these are some very useful guides. Continue reading