Pittsburgh Web Design Day 2012

Pittsburgh Web Design Day 2012

October 26, 2012 Pittsburgh, PA


Dan Mall

Founder & Design Director, SuperFriendly

Dan is an award-winning designer from Philadelphia, an enthralled husband, and new dad. As the Founder & Design Director at SuperFriendly, Dan and his team defeat apathy and the forces of evil with heroic creative direction, design, & strategy. He’s also co-founder of Typedia and swfIR, and plays keyboard for contemporary-Christian band Four24. Dan was formerly Design Director at Big Spaceship, Interactive Director at Happy Cog, and a technical editor for A List Apart. He writes about design and other issues on Twitter as @danielmall and on his industry-recognized site, danielmall.com.

Previously, Dan has spoken at SXSW, An Event Apart, Future of Web Design, New Adventures in Web Design and Flashpitt.

“Hulkamania & Design”

Hulk Hogan is the greatest wrestler that has ever lived. He taught us more about being great designers than we might realize.

Dan Mall

Brad Frost

Mobile Web Strategist and Front-End Designer at R/GA

Brad Frost is a mobile web strategist and front-end designer at R/GA and is based out of beautiful Pittsburgh, PA. He is the creator of Mobile Web Best Practices, a resource site aimed at helping people create great mobile and responsive web experiences. He runs a responsive web design newsletter and also curates WTF Mobile Web, a site that teaches by example what not to do when working with the mobile web. He is passionate about mobile and is constantly tweeting and writing about it.

Previously, Brad has spoken at An Event Apart, Washington DC 2012, Smashing Conference, Freiburg Germany 2012, Mobilism Conference, Amsterdam Netherlands 2012, Breaking Development Conference, Dallas TX 2011 and 2012, WebVisions, Chicago 2012, Inspire Conference, Leiden Netherlands 2012, Web Design Day, Pittsburgh PA 2011 & Capitol JS Washington DC, 2011.

“Responsive Design vs Separate Mobile Sites: Presidential Smackdown Edition”

The US presidential race is heading into full swing, and the candidates will soon be intensely debating the country's hot-button issues. The web design world is entrenched in its own debate about how to address the mobile web: should you create a separate mobile site or create a responsive experience instead? It just so happens that the two US presidential candidates have chosen different mobile web strategies for their official websites. In the red corner is Republican candidate Mitt Romney's dedicated mobile site, while in the blue corner is incumbent president Barack Obama's responsive website. Which will prevail? We'll dissect the candidates' sites to uncover best practices and common mobile web pitfalls.

Brad Frost

Jessica Ivins

UX Designer and Researcher

While in college, Jessica took a class devoted to HTML and CSS, fell in love, and never looked back. She began her career as a front-end developer, and while working in the real world, she fell in love again with the principles of user-centered design. An alumni of Happy Cog, Jessica is now a freelance UX Designer & Researcher.

A strong advocate for universal usability, Jessica is the first to admit that she’s befuddled by a lack of clarity in everything from road signage to food packaging. She’s passionate about making things easy and enjoyable to use and regularly contributes her time and experience to the UX community. From 2008-2010, she served as an officer for PhillyCHI. She has also organized meetings for the Philadelphia UX Book Club.

In her spare time, Jessica busies herself with reading, cooking, and enjoying a fine glass of wine. She’s also mildly obsessed with the TV show Forensic Files.

Previously, Jess has spoken at IA Summit 2011, Wharton UI Conference 2011 & 2012, Midwest UX 2012 & SXSW 2012.

“Useful, Usable & Desirable: Designing for People”

"It needs to be easy to use." We've heard this many times before from stakeholders, clients, and colleagues. But how do you go about making a website--or any product or service--easy to use? While there are plenty of industry leaders, books, articles, and best practices to learn from, what matters is context. For whom are you designing? What is this person's goals, motivations, and pain points? What is he or she trying to accomplish? Good design solves real problems. It doesn't just decorate. How can you design to solve real problems for real people?

This session will explore the fundamentals of user experience. We'll explore industry best practices and examples of websites that solve real problems for real people. There are many tools and disciplines within user experience, from content strategy to information architecture to user research. By understanding these tools and when to use them, and by understanding the context of each design problem we are faced with, we can begin to understand how to utilize design thinking and creating user experiences that are useful, usable, and desirable.

Brad Frost

Geoff Barnes

Director of User Experience at Elliance, Inc.

Geoff is Director of User Experience at Elliance, an award-winning digital marketing agency on Pittsburgh's North Shore. Before joining Elliance in 2007, he designed user interfaces at Collaborative Fusion (now Intermedix), helped design and launch one of the country's first degree-granting Web Design programs at Robert Morris University, taught design at Robert Morris, taught painting and drawing at Savannah College of Art & Design, and co-founded San Francisco web firm Trendmedia.com.

Previously, Geoff has spoken at Web Design Day 2009, South By Southwest 2010 & EduWeb 2011.

“It's 2012 & I'm Still Writing 'Should web designers know how to code?' On All My Checks”

For the last few years, three questions have, in one way or another, driven a disproportionate number of the web-related presentations I've either attended or seen online:

  1. Should web designers know how to code?
  2. How do I convince my boss that we should be building our [thing] responsively?
  3. How do we get clients to pay for [new thing du jour]?

On the surface, these are good and relevant questions. Ours is an industry in upheaval, and we're all trying to figure out how to cope with revolutionary change and its implications. But a deeper examination of questions like these reveals a dangerous and shared achilles heel: In the name of community, we have built around us a professional echo chamber so tight, it's weakened our ability to do the very synthesis required to advance the causes that drove such questions in the first place. For forty minutes, we'll focus on practical ways to wrestle ourselves and our profession from this straightjacket of regurgitative nonthinking, and stop creating needless Sisyphean drama where progress, play, and growth ought naturally to dwell instead.

Geoff Barnes

Meagan Fisher

Art Director, Chartbeat

Meagan is a designer and front end developer with a passion for typography, texture, and well-written markup. She is currently the Art Director for Chartbeat.

In her seven year career she's partnered with legendary design firms such as SimpleBits and Happy Cog West. She's also done client work for a broad range of companies, including Twitter and Change.org. Nowadays she spends her time making amazing things as the Art Director for Chartbeat, and occasionally writing on her site, owltastic.com. She loves owls, responsive design, Pokemon, and Brooklyn. She can be found on twitter at @owltastic.

Previously, Meagan has spoke at FOWD, Build, Brooklyn Beta, Front End Design Conf, Fronteers, Interlink & InControl.

“Becoming a Web Design Champion: How to Better Collaborate, Develop Your Style, and Get Designs Launched”

In the course of her career working solo, in a duo, with agencies, with corporations, and with a startup, Meagan's learned a few valuable lessons (some the hard way) about how to grow as a designer. She'll talk about how she got started, as well as insights on collaborating, evolving your style, and getting things launched. You'll also hear about the design maxims she holds dear (and which ones she ignores), and the web development techniques that have strengthened her design skills. She hopes to leave you with some ideas for how to be a web design champion.

Meagan Fisher

Kevin M. Hoffman

Information Designer, Meeting Strategist, Goofball

Kevin M. Hoffman is an information architect and design strategist that has been building stuff with bits and pixels since 1995. He has served as the Experience Director for the award-winning web design agency Happy Cog, and as the Director of Digital Communications for MICA, one of the top design schools in the world, where he also taught web design and information archtiecture in the BFA and MFA programs. He has been the lead user experience strategist and information architect for a wide variety of clients, including higher education, museums, type foundries, radio and television channels, power companies, and the occasional independent record label. He appreciates your valuable time, and he'll thank you personally if you contact him on twitter You can lean more about Kevin at kevinmhoffman.com.

Previously, Kevin has spoken at An Event Apart, The IA Summit, UX Week, SXSW, UX London, UI16, & Web Design Day 2011.

“Designing Meetings to Work For”

Great design doesn’t normally happen in business meetings; we expect it to happen on the sketchpad and the screen. Meetings are ragged speed bumps in our creative process: necessary evils we have in place to secure agreement without incurring excessive tire damage to our projects. But by treating them as a design problem, they can be so much more. With careful consideration of user goals and system constraints, time spent collaborating together can become a design tool even more powerful than your computer. Kevin will show you a selection of meeting interaction frameworks that get actionable results, and help course correct when meetings aren’t hitting the targets that they should (even if you aren’t in charge).

Kevin Hoffman

Laura Sweltz

User Experience Designer, Viget

Laura is a User Experience Designer at Viget, an agency based outside of Washington, DC. The team at Viget works with a variety of clients, from large corporations to non-profits and startups, to design and build digital products and platforms.  Laura is passionate about helping clients understand their users to better create engaging, memorable experiences.  She also enjoys drinking more tea than the Royal Family, doing yoga, and channeling Beyoncé on the karaoke stage (and maybe a little around the office). Laura grew up in the Flood City: Johnstown, PA. You can find her on twitter: @lsweltz or at laurasweltz.com

“Overcoming Collaboration Challenges”

Whether it’s with your client or your internal team, collaboration is a critical part of the design process.  However, facilitating those discussions is not always an easy task.  During this talk, I’ll take you behind the scenes of real collaboration sessions and discuss some of the solutions that I’ve utilized to overcome challenges.

Laura Sweltz

Jacob Swartwood

Sr. Web Developer, American Eagle Outfitters

Jacob is a developer's developer. Although his specialty is front-end development, he takes as much pride in the beauty of code as the output it produces. He studied computer science and had romances with many programming languages, but fell hardest for the inherit openness of the web (and JavaScript). Jacob has been steadily converting monolithic legacy code and processes at American Eagle Outfitters into lean manageable systems for the last 3 years. He continues to drive innovation in front-end development and the rest of the AEO architecture. He is core contributor to the Sublime Text 2 plugin, SublimeLinter. You can find him on Twitter as @jswartwood and similarly on Github.

“A Short Lintermission”

Ever made a typo? Forget to declare a variable? Ugh... bugs. What if I told you there is a code equivalent of a spell/grammar check? Oh yeah, that's what a code linter does. Let's chat about which linters are out there, what they can help you find, and how you can integrate them into your dev process.

Jacob Swartwood

Joshua Sager

Program Director for Multimedia Technologies, Pittsburgh Technical Institute

Josh is an award-winning instructor at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute where he writes and teaches courses in web design and development. He's also co-manager of the code slamming user group Loop Pittsburgh, he plays guitar, sax, and keys in the nerd rock band the Jim Dandies, and is the founder of Second Block Studio. Josh is passionate about interactive technologies and loves to build things for all sizes and devices.

Previously, Josh has spoken at Web Design Day 2009 & 2010, Podcamp, FlashPitt and FlashBelt. He has given guest lectures and has lead workshops on design, development, and printmaking for teens as well as working working professionals. You can follow him on twitter @joshsager

“Large Format Playgrounds”

Interactive technologies are branching beyond our desktops and mobile devices to ever expanding screen sizes and formats. Virtually any surface can be a touch screen and projections can turn buildings into interactive playgrounds. Come and see what's happening right here in Pittsburgh and view some demos of what's possible with large format and touch technologies.   

Joshua Sager