My proposal for SCNA 2011

This blog post doubles as my proposal for a talk I’d like to give at Software Craftsmanship 2011. The working title is “Front End Craftsmanship: Toward a More Meaningful Web.“

With the advent of HTML5, CSS3, Microformats and WAI-ARIA we now have the ability to design our web applications with a semantic richness that can help bridge the gap between human and computer readability and make the web a more accessible place.

Unfortunately, despite the advancements of the web standards movement, many of us largely ignore or misunderstand front-end technologies.

Can we take pride in being called “craftsmen” if we continue to hastily construct the most public facing ends of our software, with code viewable by anyone!?

As craftsmen, we owe our namesakes to our willingness to go beyond the status quo. Our applications should be designed and built in such a way that they are usable, accessible, and responsive—front-end and back, for as many people/devices as possible.

As a User Experience craftsman, I view S.C.N.A. as an opportunity to help my developer colleagues better understand HTML5, CSS3 and basic client-side design principles in the spirit of working together toward a more meaningful web.

Proposed Talking Points

Raise your design awareness

  • What is “design” and who’s responsible? How do you know what’s good?
  • Style vs. Design and why the difference is important
  • Design from the content out
  • Meaningful typography on the web
  • Decision making made easier (grids and scales)
  • Authentic inspiration

Start making sense

  • Using HTML as intended (avoiding tables and “div-itis”)
  • Getting naked: Using browser defaults to check structure
  • HTML5 Horizons: What to use now, what to use soon
  • Filling in the gaps with WAI-ARIA

Use Responsively

  • Modular CSS: An object oriented approach
  • CSS Positioning
  • Filling in the gaps with Microformats
  • Responsive layouts with CSS3 Media Queries
  • Avoiding and/or optimizing images
  • Formatting stylesheets humanely for maintainability

Billy Whited was an 8th Light UX Craftsman from March 2011 - April 2012.