This weekend, fellow Lullabot, Kyle Hofmeyer and I, attended the Front-End Design Conference and it was amazing! It was great meeting a lot of the attendees, many of whom I’ve admired and followed. Here are some of the highlights of the awesome events.

The Speakers

The event had a line-up of seven featured speakers. In all honesty, I loved every single talk and you could tell there had been lots of preparation for each.

Jason Van Lue was one of my favorites with a great talk called “Three Pipe Problems and How Design Can Solve Them”. He brought up some amazing points about how, as designers, we are problem solvers and he invited the audience to analyze problems that are worth solving. Quoting Cameron Koczon, he said, “If we want design to be seen as more than decoration, we must treat development as more than plumbing.” A great quote and one I hope to better put into practice.

Gio DiFeterici also gave a great talk on Conceptual Design. It was interesting to see his perspective and how he approaches design from a fine art perspective. He showed slides of artists and their work and what they communicate. He made it clear that although the beauty of something doesn't make anything more usable, it’s an essential part of our craft.

Another great talk was Bermon Painter’s. He talked about CSS preprocessors. I was a bit skeptical before this talk, but he did a great job of convincing all of us of how easy it is to get it up and running to use on your next project. However, one basic truth remains the same: If you write poor CSS, a preprocessor isn't going to magically make it better.

Carl Smith spoke right after lunch and his talk was titled “Choose!” Carl is such an amazing story teller. He walked us through the lives of some of the most successful people (yes, some were jerks) and talked about the decisions they made. One line I loved from his presentation was, “If you fail at something, just choose something else.” I think it’s easy to forget that failure should never keep us down, it serves as a learning experience for success.

Another one of my favorites was Dave Rupert. I had the awesome pleasure of going for burgers with Dave and he’s pretty awesome. He renamed his talk to “Gettin' Flexy with Uncle Dave”, and it was absolutely hilarious. Dave has such a unique way of teaching otherwise complex concepts in a simple way. He reduced responsive web design to simple math and even said, “responsive web design isn’t a religion, it’s math.” He’s made some great little jQuery plugins like FitText and FitVids.js which are a huge help for making responsive sites.

Other Fun Stuff

As I mentioned, it was really great meeting people whom I’d been following on Twitter and others whom I’d actually worked with in the past but never met in person (working from home FTW!). The party was great, the chocolate-covered bacon was deliciously sweet and salty, but I’d have to say that the highlight of the whole conference was learning about the future of fonts, shapes, and colors (the meme of the conference).

Wrapping-Up the Wrap-Up

I would like to extend a personal thank you to Dan Denney, his wife Cherrie Denney, their awesome family and friends who helped us feel welcome, the speakers, and all of those who attended for making this such a great experience. I learned a ton and can’t wait to see you all next year.

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Josh Riggs

Josh Riggs is a former Senior Interactive Designer at Lullabot.

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