A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend Smashing conference. This also gave me a chance to visit the beautiful city of Freiburg in Germany, which I can highly recommend. It was the first conference I’ve attended and I couldn’t of hoped for a better event. I met some lovely people from all across Europe, drank a few beers and ate a seeming un-ending supply of Bratwurst. Oh and I got to see a few good talks on web development as well.
Outside of Smashing conference the the beautiful Freiburg Minster
All the talks were excellent but for the sake of brevity here’s a brief round up of a few of my highlights.
Jeremy Keith - the spirit of the web: This talk gave a brief history of the web. Discussed some of the highs and lows and spoke about how we should view the web as we develop for it. Key take away from this talk “the web is responsive by default - just make sure you don’t break it”
Oliver Reichenstein - is time standing still?: Being a massive fan of iA’s work I really was looking forward to seeing Oliver Reichenstein speak, and I was not disappointed. The talk focused on skeuomorphism(which was a common theme at the conference). Reichenstein argued very well that skeuomorphism for it’s own sake was mostly pointless and emphasized that it was important to consider the UX rational behind aesthetic choices. He also gave a great run-down of some of the design choices made whilst creating iA writer.
Jake Archibald - application cache, douchebag: Although the technical level of this talk was a bit beyond me it was still riveting. Mainly dude to Jake Archibald’s great sense of humor and a liberal sprinkling of whoopie cushion magic.
Josh Brewer - responsive is as responsive does: A great talk detailing Josh Brewer’s quest to create a layout/grid that responds to the browser viewport (horizontally and vertically). It was great to see Josh’s process from start to finish referencing a lot of classic design wisdom along the way including Tschichold’s classic page canon. A really interesting approach to design using maths, I’ll defiantly try to incorporate some of the ideas mentioned here into my work.
Christian Heilmann - to be announced: Just in case you we’re wondering “to be announced” was the actual title of Christian Heilmann’s talk. And what a great talk it was. Heilmann’s talk concentrated on the positives of modern web development. Another speaker with a great sense of humor. He also demoed Gecko which looks very exciting.
It’s also worth mentioning the one talk I didn’t agree with.
- Paul Boag - better websites, happier clients and improved job satisfaction: Through out the talk one of Paul Boag’s main points was that developers should switch from being “user focused” to being “client focused”. I think the idea can be dangerous for three reasons. First as developers and experts it’s our job to inform and educate the client. Working based solely on the what the client imagines will be good for them is irresponsibleness. Second it opens the door to dark patterns. And thirdly design that benefits the end user will always benefit the client in some way. This isn’t as true the other way around.
So thats my mini roundup of Smashing conference.