Frontend developer talk takes centre stage
This article was contributed by the organising team of the event.
Being a member of the organising team, Floor Drees spent last weekend in Linz for codefront.io, a frontend conference counting three tracks and no less than 26 speakers. She led one of the tracks at the Johannes Kepler University and still got to enjoy some other talks and highlights.
Architecting Resilient Frontends
How to build products people want
Co-founder and CEO of Blossom.io Thomas Schranz is an ambassador for dartlang. Yet, on Saturday he decided to chat about “the toughest challenge of all: building products people want”. “Tosh” praises Clayton M. Christensen and his new concept: “jobs to be done”. As an owner of a milkshake joint, looking to improve your product, you’re not necessarily competing with other milkshake joints, but with whatever people might want to consume in the user story of the morning commute. People don’t buy a quarter inch nail, they want a quarter inch hole, Schranz quoted Theodore Lewitt. Think about the result people “hire” your product for.
Furthermore, Schranz recommended to stop thinking in sprints, but in episodes with characters with desires. “It helps you focus on what you really want to do creating your solution. Plus, start with announcements (a blog post, press release) about why you would build something. It helps you to get clarity about what you are building exactly and why. We spend too much time on coding.”
Offline first and no backend
Ola Gasidlo joined Hoodie last year as a frontend developer. The Internet turned 25 and it grew up, we use our mobile phones for a large chunk of our time online. We all experienced unreliable wifi yet there are little “offline first” applications. We can’t keep building apps with the desktop mindset of permanent, fast connectivity, where a temporary disconnection or slow service is regarded as a problem and communicated as an error.”
Superpowers in your editor
Hampton Catlin is the inventor of Sass and the author of The Pragmatic Guide to Sass on the single most popular frontend pre-processor. Back in 2007, Hampton invented the concept of Sass. He talked about its history and that of Haml, its more opinionated older sibling (and alternative for writing HTML-as-you-know it).
UX best practices
Gerçek is an UX engineer at Redbeacon. In his slot, he shed some much deserved light on improving perceived speed and optimising conversion funnels. “Everything on the web is a form and the problem with forms is validation. Helping users understand why you need their information will avoid a huge drop-off after frontend validation,” Gerçek said in his crash course. “Offer meaningful error messages. When validating phone numbers, remove non-digit characters. Moreover, don’t ever ask for information that you don’t really need.”
“In addition to that: think about mobile input, auto-complete common fields and turn off auto-capitalisation for password input fields.” When optimizing perceived performance vs actual performance, Gerçek recommended building single page web apps, keeping cache in memory for fast access and avoiding spinners. “I don’t want an animation that shows me I am waiting to take up even more of the loading time.”
Design for open data
Hollie Lubbock is a London-based interaction designer at Bureau for Visual affairs. She has worked on search-specific projects including the collections of the V&A and the IWM, and talked about how to use design to aid the release of knowledge from within cultural institutions. Good design can increase the value of open data to the public and industry professionals.
“The semantic web isn’t just about putting data on the web. It is about making links, so that a person or machine can explore the web of data. With data linked, you find other data.” On why visualisation is important: “Data skills will become more important as data plays a larger part in our lives. Raw data isn’t easy to interpret. Maps and graphs are easier to digest.”
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