Smashing Conference


Below you'll find the schedule of the Smashing Conference Freiburg. And we do have some surprises for you—but they are not included in the schedule, of course. Stay updated.

Monday, 15th | Tuesday, 16th

08:00 Doors Open
9:00 Welcome!

Good is the enemy of great: On designing, and then undesigning, a perfect link underline

It took Marcin thirty-one days to design a perfect underline for Medium, the popular publishing platform. Alright, so it was more like a few days, and the underlines are far from perfect. The point remains. And that point might be: craftsmanship is hard and it will break your heart – and learning when it’s important to keep it up, and when it’s okay to leave it behind, might be one of the harder things to master as a designer.

Let’s talk about craft, maintenance, old typewriters, how CSS gradients are always a solution to every single goddamn problem, and how much fun working on typography is in a modern web product.

Did I say “fun”? I might have meant “pain.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did.


Design Decisions Through The Lens Of a Performance Budget

We design sites for a myriad of devices with varying connection speeds. More and more, we’re discovering the importance of fast page speed. Even 100 millisecond delays in load times negatively impact user experience and conversions.

The problem is, making a site fast and lightweight is often at odds with other design goals—like creating visually immersive experiences or meeting all of an organization’s rich-media ad requirements. While a stripped-down site with no images, set entirely in Arial, is certainly going to be light, it’s not going to accomplish all of our client’s business goals.

In this talk, Yesenia will discuss how we can make smarter design decisions, from the beginning of a project, to ensure that our sites perform well. Some topics she’ll discuss are optimizing typography and UI, responsive images, and how to get clients on board.

10:35 Morning Break

Dynamic Static Site Strategies (and other tongue twisters).

Are we over-engineering? What is the real effort in developing, hosting and maintaining sites which have many moving parts? The cost of serving static sites has never been lower. And front-end development practices have never been richer. Couldn't we harness this better and make life simpler without dumbing down?

In this talk we'll explore some unexpected capabilities and characteristics of "static" sites. We'll look at ways to use emerging tools and services to create robust, high performance websites which can be more dynamic than some of their heavier and more costly brothers and sisters.


Responsive Games: What it takes to make in-browser games that work on any device

How do we design games to work on every device, and what effect does this have upon the gaming experience? In this talk, Josh Emerson will look at what it takes to make in-browser games which will work on everything from your iPhone, to your laptop, and even your games console.

Looking at his own experience of making games in the browser, Josh will highlight some of the pitfalls of making highly interactive experiences work across many devices, and how to overcome these challenges. He will also look at best practices from the web in general, and how they translate to making games.

12:30 Lunch Break

Unicode ♥ JavaScript

In this talk we’ll take a look at the various ways JavaScript relies on Unicode, what the consequences are for JavaScript developers wishing to support full Unicode, and how the upcoming ECMAScript 6 will improve this.

This talk is important because bad support for uncommon Unicode symbols is a very common cause for software bugs, especially in JavaScript programs.

If at any time you use JavaScript to handle any form of user input or data from a third party, there’s a chance those strings contain ‘special’ Unicode symbols, and you really have no choice but to make sure your code supports these properly. This talk will explain the problems and offer solutions to each of them.


Design Consistency for the Responsive Web: how we define and deliver

One of our biggest challenges designing responsive websites and applications is articulating and documenting the design system so we and our client teams -- developers, business, design/brand owners, and most especially QA -- all understand it. Old-school pixel-perfect fixed-screen size style guides are too rigid to cover the changing world of screen sizes and device capabilities. Still, we need artifacts to understand our goals and make sure our sites achieve them. How much design is enough to capture visual and functional characteristics? How do we best represent key interaction characteristics and behaviors? And what about distinguishing bugs from the many expected variations for the vast range of devices and platforms?

Through a range of client projects including news sites, e-commerce, and custom web applications, we'll look at concrete examples of design deliverables, documentation and demonstrations that capture UI design patterns for delivering a coherent design system that works, and discuss a mental model for evaluating how to apply those rules optimally across the responsive spectrum.

15:30 Afternoon Break

The Illusion of Motion

From every angle, self-proclaimed "performance experts" urge you to optimize your site so it runs at 60 fps. But why 60, when movies are perfectly acceptable at 24, video games at 30? Knowledge is power and understanding why enables you to truly embrace your performance goals. Dig deep into the illusion of motion and speed and listen to Paul's story about the perception of vision, frame and refresh rate, motion blur and display types.


Co-Design Not Redesign

Sure, we don't like sitting in meetings. They can be ragged speed bumps in our process; necessary evils used to secure agreement without incurring excessive tire damage. But by treating face-to-face collaboration as a design problem, that time together can become a tool more effective than any design, code, or content work you undertake alone.

Kevin will show you a selection of simple ideas and approaches that structure collaboration time, get actionable results, and help course correct when meetings aren’t hitting the targets that they should, even if you aren’t in charge. You’ll facilitate agreement faster in content discussions, manage feedback better, and explore problems in productive, inspiring multi-hour workshops. You'll leave with skills and approaches that empower teams to conceive of (and build) better approaches to getting things done.

17:25 Final Break

It’s About Time

Our industry offers tremendous potential. With the tools at our disposal we can create incredible things, and yet, we often find ourselves distracted by an ever-present tsunami of diversions.

Twitter, Facebook, Dribbble… All have considerable benefits, but all – if we’re not too careful – have the power to absorb our every waking moment at the expense of creating more meaningful work. It’s time to focus on what really matters. It's time use our time wisely and to the fullest extent.

In this talk, heavily drawing on personal experience, Christopher Murphy sounds a clarion call to make every moment count.

21:00 Party Time!

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