Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the Artifact Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. The conference focused on Responsive Web Design (RWD), work flow, and the dynamic of the designer/developer in a team.
Overall the speakers were eloquent, approachable, and fun. In my opinion it was the perfect amount of presentation and practice. We heard about best practices when it comes to web fonts, responsive images, team dynamics and client relations, as well as RWD’s role in our growing media driven world.
If I had to pick my three most important takeaways from the conference I would have to say:
- It’s time to implement Agile: For those of you who don’t know, “Agile software development is a group of software development methods based oniterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen interactions throughout the development cycle.” In laymen’s terms this means that instead of the old linear structure where concept goes to designer and design goes to developer etc, the process is more cyclical which allows for more interaction, less miscommunication and faster workflow.
- It’s time to have a well thought out plan for responsive image and web font implementation: Two of the best presenters, in my opinion, were Dave Rupert (Paravel) who focused on Responsive Image implementation and Jason Pamental who is could probably start a university dedicated to Web Fonts and best practices. According to Rupert, “80% of page load times are because of the front end … mostly to do with images.” Between retina screens and responsive imagery, the implementation of images has become more difficult, to say the least. While there are hacks and some interesting efforts out there, the different methods don’t solve every problem. In the end, choose your implementation based on your needs for the project. As for web fonts, if you aren’t using apps like TypeCast.com or Webink.com – do it. Seriously, thank me later. As for web fonts, Pamental emphasizes that “you get what you pay for.” Free web fonts perform differently over different browsers and while you can try to work with these inconsistencies your best bet is probably embedding fonts.
- It’s past time to get an account on GitHub: Christopher Schmitt had a great presentation about Github basics. It was really the first time I’d heard someone speak in an approachable way about github. If you aren’t a serious developer, github can seem kind of daunting. That being said, it’s an extremely useful way to view others code, experiment with developed code on your own and see discussions about bugs or trouble spots that you may have had. A great article that reiterates much of what Schmitt says is this article by Lauren Orsini, GitHb for Beginners: Don’t get scared, get started.