Rustbelt Refresh

June 6th 2014 Cleveland, OH


Karen McGrane

Content in a Zombie Apocalypse

Friends, a zombie apocalypse is upon us: an onslaught of new mobile devices, platforms, and screen sizes, hordes of them descending every day. We're outmatched. There aren't enough designers and developers to battle every platform. There aren't enough editors and writers to populate every screen size. Defeating the zombies will require flexibility and stamina—in our content. We'll have to separate our content from its form, so it can adapt appropriately to different contexts and constraints. We'll have to change our production workflow so we're not just shoveling content from one output to another. And we'll have to enhance our content management tools and interfaces so they're ready for the future. Surviving the zombie apocalypse is possible. In this talk Karen will explain how: by developing a content strategy that treats all our platforms as if they're equally important.

About Karen

If the internet is more awesome than it was in 1995, Karen would like to claim a very tiny piece of the credit. For nearly 20 years Karen has helped businesses create better digital products through the power of user experience design and content strategy. She is Managing Partner at Bond Art + Science, a UX consultancy she founded in 2006, and formerly VP and National Lead for User Experience at Razorfish. She's led projects for dozens of publishing clients, including The New York Times, Condé Nast, The Atlantic, and Hearst. Karen teaches Design Management in the MFA in Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, which educates students on how to run successful projects, teams, and businesses. Her book, Content Strategy for Mobile, was published in 2012 by A Book Apart.

Jeremy Keith


We're working on increasingly complex websites. There's a temptation to match this growth with increasingly complex solutions. But there's a real value in keeping things simple… or at least starting things simple. If you can build a solid robust foundation, there's a good chance that your work will be future-friendly.

About Jeremy

Jeremy Keith lives in Brighton, England where he makes websites with the splendid design agency Clearleft. You may know him from such books as DOM Scripting: JavaScript's New Hope, Bulletproof Ajax: The Browser Strikes Back, and HTML5 For Web Designers: Return Of The Standards.

He's the curator of the dConstruct conference as well as Brighton SF, and he organised the world's first Science Hack Day. He also made the website Huffduffer to allow people to make podcasts of found sounds—it's like Instapaper for audio files.

Hailing from Erin's green shores, Jeremy maintains his link to Irish traditional music running the community site The Session. He also indulges a darker side of his bouzouki-playing in the band Salter Cane.

Jeremy spends most of his time goofing off on the internet, documenting his time-wasting on, where he has been writing for over ten years.

Rachel Nabors

Alice in Videoland: Creating an interactive Storybook with HTML5

Award-winning cartoonist turned front end developer Rachel Nabors's latest creation, Alice in Videoland, is a short interactive storybook created for iDevices and desktop browsers. This colorful reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll's children's classic serves as a proving ground for many useful and dazzling techniques. Learn about overcoming CSS3 animation gotchas and performance issues on the iPad, managing touch and click events uniformly, and the perils of scroll events and parallax on mobile browsers.

About Rachel

Rachel Nabors is an interaction developer and award-winning cartoonist. She deftly blends the art of traditional storytelling with digital media to "tell better stories through code" at her interaction studio, Tin Magpie.

Matt Griffin

Working Closer to the Medium: Responsive Design Process

It's clear that responsive web design demands it's own process. Elaborate Photoshop comps at endless breakpoint variations just don't cut it when designing for the flexible, multi-device web. But if not Photoshop, then… what?

Reassessing our methods for web design gives the opportunity to develop better process and deliverables, not just for responsive design, but for the web in general.

In this presentation Matt Griffin (founder, Bearded) will explore a more iterative, collaborative process for responsive web design, utilizing a variety of deliverables ranging from HTML/CSS wireframes, element collages, and low-fi static mock-ups to full-blown in-browser comps. He'll show case studies from Bearded's work, showing their own transition from Photoshop-dependency to front-end fluency.

About Matt

Matt Griffin is a designer and founder of the web design and development agency Bearded. He's a speaker, writer, educator, and an avid advocate for collaboration in design. His writing has been published by .net magazine and A List Apart, where he writes the regular column on How We Work.

Matt lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Elizabeth, and his son Argus. Previous to entering the world of design, Matt was an active musician (drums, mostly) in Bloomington, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. He toured all over the place with a few indie bands, and played on a fair number of records. Somehow he got sort of famous in Japan, which is a long story.

Jen Myers

Shepherding Unicorns: How to Be a Good Web Design Mentor

The web industry moves fast - so fast that web education often has a difficult time keeping up with it. What can those of us currently in the industry do to teach and support the new generation of web creators? Let's talk about strategies, resources and inspirations that we can use to help grow students, apprentices and colleagues into well-rounded designers who understand how to create beautiful and functional web products from the ground up.

About Jen

Jen Myers is a web designer/developer and part of the instructor team at Dev Bootcamp in Chicago. In 2011, she founded the Columbus, Ohio chapter of Girl Develop It, an organization that provides introductory coding classes aimed at women, and currently serves there as an organizational advisor. She speaks regularly about design, development and diversity, and focuses on finding new ways to make both technology and technology education accessible to everyone.

Tim Kadlec

Deliberate Performance

No one wants to create a slow site. Yet that's exactly what happens. Not only do fat sites exist, they're actually becoming more and more common. It would be one thing if performance was merely another feature, but the reality is that performance is a fundamental component of the user experience. As Steve Jobs once pointed out, design is not merely about how something looks but also how something works.

If we want to start providing people with the fast experiences they so desperately want, performance needs to be engrained throughout the entire process.

About Tim

Tim is an independent Web developer living in northern Wisconsin. He is the author of ‘Implementing Responsive Design: Building sites for an anywhere, everywhere web’ (New Riders, 2012) and was a contributing author for Smashing Book #4: New Perspectives on Web Design (Smashing Magazine, 2013) and the Web Performance Daybook Volume 2 (O'Reilly, 2012).

Jenn Lukas

The Developer’s Ampersandwich

Ever spent countless hours crafting a totally awesome type system for your beautiful design, only to have it lost in translation when it goes to development? Examine type and icon fonts through a developer lens, and learn how designers and front-end developers can work together to get everyone on the same (elegantly designed) page!

We'll cover:

  • Icon font implementation and tips
  • Web font trends
  • Accessibility concerns surrounding web and icon fonts
  • Tools for crafting type systems successfully with team collaboration

About Jenn

Jenn Lukas is a multi-talented front-end consultant and freelance developer in Philadelphia and is the founder of Ladies in Tech. She has spoken at a variety of conferences and writes for publications such as The Nerdary, .net magazine, 24 Ways, and The Pastry Box Project.

Jenn's past experiences range from creating Navy training simulations to leading the front-end team at Happy Cog as Interactive Development Director. She was named one of Mashable's 15 Developer/Hacker Women to Follow on Twitter, and you can find her on Twitter posting development and cat-related news. When she's not crafting sites with the finest of web standards, Jenn is the co-host of the Ladies in Tech Podcast and teaches HTML and CSS for GirlDevelopIt and Skillshare.