Laura Kalbag joins me as guest co-host of Unfinished Business on Monday (episode 12.) Before then, here’s video of Laura’s Responsive Design Systems talk from the Responsive Day Out conference. I think it was one of the best talks I’ve heard in a while and was brilliantly presented. (Conference organisers take note.)
Blog And All That Malarkey
Since 2004, our blog’s been a favourite destination for designers and developers.
Whenever I’m asked what aspects of design developers should learn, I always answer grid ratios and typography. From now on I’ll also point people to this great little slide deck by Dan Barber.
This year’s An Event Apart in Atlanta (the first of 2013) looks to have been filled with fantastic new talks. So much so that I’m considering attending one show this year. Once again, Luke does the web a great service by taking notes from the talks. I’d love to hear this one, from Josh Clark, in person.
Exactly one year ago, I linked to slides from a short talk I’d heard in Brisbane, Luke Brooker’s Future Friendly Style Guides. Again today, poking around SpeakerDeck I found slides from a more recent talk by Luke, Improving Your Responsive Workflow with Style Guides. It expands on his earlier thoughts and is well worth your time.
(Changing the subject slightly, it occurs to me that if you’re looking to get into speaking, writing a talk and sharing your slides even before you’ve given it is a great way to make conference organisers aware of what you have to say. Even better, give the talk as a screencast in the privacy of your own home and share the audio/video on YouTube or Vimeo. Everyone loves to find new talent, attendees, organisers and speakers.)
My first article for Smashing Magazine is my (ever so expanded) notes from my talk at the fabulous Smashing Conference in Freiburg. The original title was “How to call your client an idiot, to their face, without getting fired, then have them thank you for it.” I still like that one best, but we didn’t want a controversial title to get in the way of the serious points I wanted to make.
I’ve also expanded on my notes from my talk for my first article for Smashing Magazine, to be published any day now. Read that, read this, then watch the video from the conference (also coming soon) and you’ll have me in 3D. Fancy that.
I’d intended to go to The Digital Barn this weekend, but having just come back from Freiburg, I couldn’t make it. My main reason for attending was Harry Roberts and his talk about Big CSS.
I’ve linked to Harry a lot recently. I’m a big fan of his work, so I was disappointed I wouldn’t hear his talk. That’s why I was so pleased to find a rehearsal run through on YouTube.
It’s great when conference organisers record audio or video, but speakers shouldn’t rely on that. Like Harry, more people, particularly younger or newer speakers, should record their talks. It makes them more widely available, spreading the word about what you have to say and about you. It’s exactly what conference organisers are looking for when seeking out new speakers.
A couple of months ago, Smashing Magazine’s Vitaly Friedman, Marc Thiele and I were talking over email when he asked if I’d fill an open speaking slot at Smashing Conference. I was already hosting two ‘Fashionably Flexible Responsive Design’ workshops there, so I hesitated because, as you might remember, I’m cutting down the number of conferences I speak at and I’d planned to speak at only An Event Apart in Austin this year.
The talk’s called ‘Designing in the browser’ and while Divya delivers it well (except, speakers please remember to take your conference badge off when you go on stage) and she hits all the points you’d expect to hear, what struck me was how little of the talk was actually about the ‘designing’ from the title.
Take a look at the list of resources and what you’ll find are developer tools that I’ll bet you would leave most designers scratching their heads.
Now I fully understand that the lines between designing and developing are being redrawn. I know I also said in my talk at An Event Apart in Austin:
Design doesn’t work when it’s separate from development.
But for me, Divya (and others) gets something fundamentally wrong when talking about this subject. We would never expect a developer to learn bezier curves in Illustrator in order to work with a designer. On the flip side, the notion that designers should learn Docpad or Jekyll demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how designing and developing involve different experiences, knowledge and skills.
This is something that toolmakers like Adobe need to consider when making new tools, and a subject I think I’m going to write a lot about another day.
I’ve just come home from a ten hot days in Texas, where I had the honour, again, of speaking at An Event Apart alongside some of the best speakers in the industry. I enjoyed the trip, and especially the conference, enormously.
I’ve spoken at conferences regularly since my first time (again alongside Jeremy and Jeffrey) at @media 2005. (I’d never have guessed then that we’d still be friends, still doing this thing, all these years later.) But in the last couple of years I started to enjoy speaking less and emotional risk/reward ratio that goes with public speaking tipped too much toward risk. So I decided to not speak at all in 2012. That is until Jeffrey persuaded me to speak in Austin.
I’m glad I went. Every An Event Apart conference feels special, but at this one the (unplanned) recurring themes were spooky. My talk was about designing, design process and particularly how our conventional design tools — drawing tools like Fireworks and Photoshop — are not equipped for designing today’s web. They’re ‘Bringing a knife to a gunfight!’ From the website:
In the mid-nineties, when designers started making their mark on the web, they did it with software tools and processes that they’d brought with them from print. But the web’s a different place now than it was ten, five, even two years ago; the tools and processes we’ve relied on for years are no longer capable of properly designing today’s flexible, responsive web. In this session, we’ll find new ways to design that better serve the needs of today’s responsive web, and investigate better, alternative tools and approaches to design. We’ll learn too how new tools and approaches can improve communication between designers and developers and our clients.
I hear that the talk was well received and I had a great time giving it. In fact, it’s definitely helped me to get my speaking mojo working again.
For everyone not at An Event Apart in Austin: