The Future of Web Design for You

Future of webdesign New york 2011

Sometimes i’m pleasantly surprised to find out that innovations have happened that will greatly effect the way I design, develop and think. Over the past 72 hours I had the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in the web design & development world at Future of Web Design NYC. This delightful Carsonified event is centered around the idea of progressions in the industry and hopes of leaving it’s attendees with a pocket full of new tools, ideas & a list of like-minded connections.

As I expect HTML5, CSS3 & Mobile were the most popular topics but not introduced away that let you get your feet, you we’re thrown in head first and it was great!

Brandon Mathis, Sass & Compass

One of the first impactful sessions that I attended was by Brandon Mathis who is a part of the core development team at Compass. His sessions gave an overview of Sass, and how to leverage the power of Sass using Compass. If you’ve used LESS in the past then you can understand the idea of compiled CSS. Sass has a similar concept but offers so much more. One thing that really showcased its power was an example using social media sprites. With Compass you can specify a directory for all of your sprites static & hover states and then with a few lines of code, generate all of the CSS for your sprites. Writing the CSS for 50 sprites could take an hour, with Compass you’re looking at 30 seconds. I also love the fact that you don’t need to write out the vendor specific prefixes for CSS3, with Compass mixin’s, you can just write the base for each style and it will generates the vendor specific prefixes when you compile the CSS.

I suggest taking a look at the slides from Brandon’s session on Sass & Compass : The Future Of Style Sheets Now, here —>

“if it’s not responsive its not web design”

It’s been a long time coming and luckily i’ve been getting my hands dirty with media queries for my mobile feedback platform SquaQr. It’s seems that the consensus amongst everyone in the design/development community is that going forward you must design & architect your sites with a responsive layout. It’s one website, no matter the device, a user must have a good experience. Media queries have been available to us for years but are just now being used in full capacity. Again and again responsive web design became a speaking point and each speaker had deep insight on the topic. My personal favorites were Steve Fisher( & Aaron Weyenberg(, both were very entertaining speakers at the core but had relevant examples and clear solutions.

HTML5 Device API & Web Workers

I thought I knew a lot about HTML5 until Tim Wright introduced the device API’s and web worker. The addition of these to features to the HTML5 spec truly helps developers push the web into the future. Web workers allow you to run multiple javascript files in parallel with each other, as where the DOM previously was limited to running one script at a time. Tim gave a great example of how this might be beneficial. So in Yelp you have the option on the Google map to allow the location pins to reload onces the map has moved, but as it works now the map is moved then a script runs and performs a search for locations on the current view of the map. With web workers you would always show the locations pins and a script wouldn’t need to perform a new search every time the map is moved.

Through the device API we can easily access & interactive with mobile devices. Security is certainly an issue but once we can access a devices camera, contact lists, applications a whole new world is opened up for developers. The device API is still in the works but the WC3 are expecting to have a full spec doc released in March 2012, in the mean time you can see some of the details here(

The future of web design is no longer the future and we now have the tools to make it what ever we want. Thanks again to Cat, Carsonified & all the speakers for making Future of Web Design such a great experience, I look forward to seeing you next year!

Category: Ambiguity, Live & Learn

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3 Responses

  1. This is good. I really like this.

  2. Jon says:

    I wish I was there! I love the “If it’s not responsive it’s not web design”. I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately.

  3. admin says:

    Jon, have you read the Mobile First from the Book Apart Series? There were a lot of references to this book during the conference because it discusses the mass adoption of smartphone and how to design & develop for it. Anyway It was a great conference, I highly recommend going next year, even as a volunteer!

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