Smashing workshop follow-up

I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop by Vitaly Friedman on Responsive Web Design that was held in Minsk the previous weekend. Editor-in-Chief of Smashing Magazine does not frequent Minsk much so I just could not miss it. He was damn prepared for this workshop happily telling the audience he had 900 slides for the first part of the workshop and over 900 more for the other. Crazy :) It covered almost every single bit of making a site truly responsive.

The first part of Vitaly’s workshop dealt with not-so-nerdy things like design and UX strategies, working process methodologies and various best practices to tackle the most common problems when making a site responsive. We discussed content strategy, responsive navigation (especially multi-level navigation), responsive tables, responsive images of course and a ton of other things. He has shown pretty cool examples of other companies that made a decision on being responsive as well as Smashing Magazine itself and the problems they faced.

The second part was more techy. It described ways to increase page performance, or to find bottlenecks and so on. We spoke about different techniques that allow a site to load as fast as possible with a particular interest in visual (perceived) loading not just actual loading. And he knew what he was saying )) Scoring over 95 out of 100 on Google page speed (both mobile and desktop) speaks for itself.

There were several things that struck me, I would like to describe two of them. First is that the workshop was not shallow… All that he spoke about was supported by real-life examples of well-known companies. It was not just his opinionated way of thinking that something is worth doing. It was a well-proven one. The second striking thing was that he sincerely described some techniques that he personally uses. It was no secret for him to reveal some tips and tricks up his sleeve to make the product better. Be it the way to deal with clients or the way to insert some inline CSS or custom fonts.

I consider myself a person who tries to keep track on what’s going on in the world of front-end. That’s my job. I may say that I knew or heard of 60-70% of the second part of the presentation, but what I found interesting and useful (besides the remaining 35%) was the first “general-topic” part which is in some ways far more important that the techy part because if a redesign is well-planned, well-organized and well-conducted it becomes far easier to make it well.

My general impression of the workshop was positive. Even given the fact that it was 10-hour long and by the end of the day I was overwhelmed with info. Will look forward to some more as soon as I digest this one.