Future Insights Live Conference – Day 2

Day 2 started with a keynote on team development which I skipped since I don’t do team development. Got some work done and emails answered and prepared for my first session, an hands-on demo of Twitter Bootstrap.

Mark Otto, one of the co-creators of Bootstrap was actually running the demo which was pretty freakin’ dreamy. Bootstrap is preparing to launch their third iteration with several major changes, including updates to the grid system – the whole thing is built to be mobile-first. The demo was perfect for showing off the incredible power and ease of the tool and I just want to go and play with it RIGHT NOW. I shared all this with Jason (Austin), who is already a big Twitter Bootstrap fan, and rightly told me, “I told you so” when I informed him that it rocked.

Next up for the AM was Jason Pamental’s session on “Rethinking Your Design for a Million-Device World.” Jason was one of the people I’d met and had an excellent conversation with at the networking event last night so I was anxious to see what he had to share. He rightly pointed out that the only major site to stay up during the Boston Marathon bombing, in the face of the critical demand for news, was the Boston Globe site – built very lightly and with low bandwidth demands.

Lunch was a special event: the conference coordinators had planned a networking lunch for those of us in higher ed. There wasn’t a huge turnout but we had some great conversations about the things we teach, how our campuses work, and talked about how online training is impacting colleges. One of the people there was an instructor who worries about the day when people start taking these free classes and getting real, good jobs. Or once these classes become accepted as college credit.

In the afternoon I went to David Shea’s “Mobile Web Design Anti-Patterns.” This was another session that contained a lot of good tips and reminders, though sadly many of them were repeats for me. He did provide some good insights into what the most important things to include on your mobile site. Think about your copy and make sure it makes sense for a mobile device (“click here” doesn’t apply for mobile) and be sure that when you skip a text menu for the sake of size you include sensible icons.

Estelle Weyl was up next with her “CSS Selectors” presentation and lemme tell you, this girl knows her CSS selectors. Some of her tips, once again, were repeats but she had much more that I hadn’t seen: sibling selectors, tabs built all in CSS (YAY), styling for drop caps and the first line of text, and using the ::before and ::after selectors to apply additional CSS to a div. All her stuff is in Github, which is delightful, and I really need to follow her blog, standardista.com.

Last session of the day was Bruce Lawson, my favorite presenter of Day One, talking about “How to Destroy the Web“. Yes, he’s being iconic, people. He talked about all kinds of things that we do as designers, that countries do, that companies do, that are all bad for the web and for users trying to use the web. It was fun and insightful: 40% of the web users are coming from China and India and they’re getting online with phones. And I don’t mean iPhones. So some more good reminders and a very nice way to end the day.