The Front-End Design Conference was made from a lot of "firsts". Many of us speakers were speaking in front of an audience of peers for the first time since college Speech. For Dan Denney, it was his first time organizing and promoting an event. For me, it was my first time speaking or even attending a design conference, not to mention my first Gator-meat taco. But the overwhelming response from the attendees was that nothing felt first-time about it. The venue was very nice, everything was nicely organized, and the print materials were nice. A+ work by Dan and his whole crew!
All the speakers where cool enough to provide their slides and extra materials for anyone to download. Nate from FortySevenMedia brought a video camera and has provided video of all the presentations as well. No complaining about the quality or sound! We are lucky to have anything at all, and it just gives you more motivation to come in person next time =).
I thought I'd gather up all the materials and get them out to you folks here, in case you are interested.
Fabio Sasso: Design Inspiration
You probably know Fabio from Abduzeedo.com. His slides were beautifully designed, and flowed with the narrative of his fascinating story. He talked about everything from his personal story of rebuilding from losing everything to how Brazil and the 80's heavily influence his current work. I think my favorite part was when he emphasized that in doing client work, you need to do what the clients' clients need, not what the client wants.
Grant Friedman: Techniques for Creating and Using Design Resources
Grant took a unique approach to his presentation by getting down-and-dirty with us with real paint and paper. Ever wonder how those "splatter" and "drip" Photoshop brushes are made? Literally from splatters and drips! The major tips were: don't use shitty paper and do your due diligence after scanning. Grant put all the brushes from his presentation up for download.
Jonathan Longnecker: Why ExpressionEngine is Great for Designers
Jonathan's design shop FortySeven Media uses ExpressionEngine as it's CMS of choice. He dug into some real practical examples showing us how dynamic and flexible ExpressionEngine code can be. It was pretty clear Jonathan feels as strongly about EE as I do about WordPress. I definitely understand EE better and could see it being awesome in many circumstances. His slides are available here.
ME! - Using jQuery to Extend CSS
I'm not sure if my title was exactly perfect, but whatever. I just launched into why I think jQuery is the bee's knees and trudged through a bunch of practical examples of it's use.
Andrew Maier: Affordances in Modern Web Design
Andrew's presentation was all about the theory of user interface. People learn how to interact with things throughout their lives and develop expectations about what things do and how they work. The web is not unique in this way, so we can learn from the wider world in how to design things that people intuitively understand (a good thing).
John Ashenden: How to Make It Better
John is a creative director at GrooveShark, which was clearly evidenced in the thoughtful way he approaches design in Photoshop. He talked about the importance of detail, things like making your light sources consistent in both direction and color. Then about organization, and how when working in a team environment creating your files with plenty of precise guides will have better results and less frustration. One of my favorite parts was in learning how vector paths can be placed not directly on a pixel, resulting in fuzzy lines. That happens to me often and I never quite understood why.
John made his slides and example creative files available for download.
Kevin Hale: How to Design Web Apps People Love
As you probably all know, I absolutely love Wufoo for making web forms. When I step back and look at my feelings rationally, it seems almost weird how strongly I feel about the awesomeness of Wufoo. Well I learned from Kevin's talk that I have slowly been manipulated into feeling this way by one of the most well-designed web apps ever. It's hard not to love an app that features dragon and dinosaur graphics, random weird Shakespeare quotes, and sends Christmas cards to it's users.
You can download Kevin's presentation slides.