Last Friday, I joined over 125 web developers and designers in Cleveland, Ohio for the first Rustbelt Refresh conference. It was an inspiring day of learning about intentional layout, CSS, typography, HTML, responsive design, user experience, and the latest trends in front-end web design.
I was excited to see and meet many of the web professionals I follow and chat with online. And I was glad to meet a fellow Refreshing Cities organizer (hey, Val Head!). I came back with new ideas and methods to experiment with and streamline my web projects.
Here are my top takeaways from the conference:
- Flexbox and viewport width/height are game changers for design, solving many issues with layout and display. I’ve been reading about viewport width and height for the past few weeks, but haven’t tried them out. Eric Meyer showed demos of what’s possible, and I’m convinced I need to get started.
- Throwing Photoshop PSD files over the wall doesn’t work; it never really did. Jen Simmons’ shared her process for designing responsive layouts:
- Design content structure
- Design source order
- Design narrowest layout
- Design wider and wider layouts
- Culture is created. Hire people that fit your team/organization culture. You can train people. You can’t change their DNA.
- Being the first speaker after lunch is challenging. Energetic, enthusiastic, and barefoot, Jonathan Penn is the perfect speaker after lunch, when people come back after a full meal, and start dozing off. Loved his storytellling about how he explained HTTP to his young son.
— David Wickman (@davidwickman) May 3, 2013
- Not all fonts on the web were created for the web. Consider creating a short list of trusted fonts that work on the web. Use What Font (Chrome extension) to find out what fonts are used on a page.
- Microformats are easy to add to your markup. Learn more about microformats.
— Deborah Edwards-Onoro (@redcrew) May 3, 2013
- Use CSS child selectors. Manage CSS specificity and use child selectors to limit the scope of your CSS.
- Downtown Cleveland is amazing. Beautiful architecture, great restaurants, and very friendly people (as I discovered when I was looking for parking). I had no idea pommes frites cooked in duck fat and served with fresh rosemary and aioli could taste so good. I wish I had more time to explore the city.
I’m looking forward to attending Rustbelt Refresh 2014!