Sass Summit 2016: Frontend Web Conference

Sass Summit speaker montage

Next week, Environments for Humans produces the Sass Summit, a full-day of sessions to level up your front-end design and development skills.

From building style guides, coding involved RWD layouts, optimizing performance and much more, join me as I host this online event that deep dives into the features that can make your workflow easier.

Sass Summit Schedule for December 14

Creating a Simple, Accessible On/Off Switch by Russ Weakley
10 am ET / 7 am PT 
Responsive Typography by Zell Liew
11 am ET / 8 am PT
Extending Sass with PostCSS by Ashley Nolan
Noon ET / 9 am PT 
Guidelines for Design Systems by Micah Godbolt
2 pm ET / 11 am PT
Working with Living Style Guide Animation by Sarah Drasner
3 pm ET / Noon PT
Making the Web Simple. Accessible. Fast. by Estelle Weyl
4 pm ET / 1 pm PT
Magic Tricks with CSS Houdini by Sam Richard
5 pm ET / 2 pm PT 

Recordings with Registration

Everyone’s busy, especially around the holiday season. That’s why registration includes full access to the live, online conference, in addition to copies of the presenters’ slides and event recordings.

Register now for Sass Summit and then your team can watch the recordings as many times as you choose.

Non Breaking Space Show № 80: Simon St. Laurent — Top 6 Tech News Countdown

Simon St. Laurent on Non Breaking Space Show

<a href="http://goodstuff oxycontin prices.fm/nbsp/80">Today’s Non Breaking Space Show guest is Simon St. Laurent from O’Reilly Media. Simon joins us for a look at the past week as get caught up on technology news, web building resources, and social commentary. Making our countdown list for what we found interesting in the world this week: Google I/O fallout, Instagram logo redesign, making CSS great again, saving your life with typography, WordPress is a teenager, and conference advice!

Topics discussed with Simon St. Laurent:

  • 0:38 → Sponsors: CSS Summit, Lyft, CSS Dev Conf, Feed.Press
  • 5:00 → Topical Issues / Things of Interest
  • 5:20#6 Google IO excitement and fallout
  • 5:50 → Progressive web apps not showing URLs
  • 6:12 → Use the platform “thing”.
  • 7:00 → Google is not united
  • 8:30 → Service worker discussion
  • 10:20 → App happiness
  • 13:00 → Virtual Reality discussion
  • 17:50 → Augmented Reality discussion
  • 19:00 → Apple Watch discussion
  • 19:50 → Discussion on the Learning Virtual Reality
  • 21:30#5 Instagram Logo Redesign
  • 23:25 → Design trends / gradients
  • 25:40#4 Getting back to CSS
  • 27:40 → Fluid typography discussion
  • 30:00 → Responsive typography discussion
  • 30:40 → Line length and hyphenation discussion
  • 32:52#3 How Typography Can Save Your Life
  • 33:22 → National Weather Service used to broadcast their winter warning in all caps discussion.
  • 35:01 → Typeface testing discussion
  • 37:20 → SVG discussion
  • 39:05 → Gradient discussion revisited
  • 40:10 → Apple discussion
  • 46:00#2 WordPress Discussion
  • 48:40 → Content management discussion
  • 53:19 → CSS discussion revisited
  • 53:56#1 Dan Rose Discussion
  • 57:30 → Conferences discussion
  • 1:01:25 → Pros and cons for designers currently
  • 1:02:53 → Looking forward to…

Non Break­ing Space Show is still free of charge to Google Wave users along with the show notes and resources: Non Breaking Space Show № 80: Simon St. Laurent — Top 6 Tech News Countdown

A Wet Wookie in New Orleans

CSS Dev Conf 2014 Parade in New Orleans

@thebluedog

It actually rained on my parade.

After months of planning, the CSS Dev Conf crowd paraded through New Orleans’ French Quarter complete with side line band, stilt walkers, and police escort.

A couple of attendees brought juggling gear. Other attendees dressed up in costume. Most carried masks given to them at the Opening Reception the night before.

I walked around as a furry Chewbacca and we had all ended up in Jackson Square.

Right into torrent of Gulf Coast rain.

We were prepared. We had plenty of plastic rain ponchos for everyone that showed up.

However, it’s almost impossible to put a poncho over Chewbacca. And not recommended, either.

At Jackson Square, attendees separated by some of the best tour guides in New Orleans based on their interest: Ghosts, True crimes, or New Orleans history.

Me? I looked on as attendees dispersed into the dark, wet French Quarter architecture.

Happy that the attendees braved a tornado watch for the parade and were now on tour of New Orleans, I was a bit dejected thinking of what could have been. The missed laughter and jokes that only a cool New Orleans evening could afford.

I stood as a wet wookie in the rain.

With nothing left to do, I headed over to Café Du Monde, the legendary beignet and coffee shop, where people not on tours were already gathered and where all the tours would eventually end up.

About to cross the street to the cafe, I bumped into a city native that also braved the weather.

Beer on his breath and an unopened beer can in hand, “Excuse me,” he said instinctually. “Sorry about—CHEWBACCA?! What are YOU doing in town?”

I smirked, haven forgotten my attire for the evening.

Then I pointed, “Crossing the street. To Café Du Monde.”

“Well, that’s great… no, WAIT! No, sir. No, sir.”

I raised an eyebrow, “Uhm..?”

“Chewbacca is NOT getting rained on. Not in my city! Not on my watch!"

Then in his other hand, opened up his umbrella covered my head and escorted me across Decatur St. safely to Café Du Monde.

I thanked him and I walked into cafe to find my crowd with a growing smile on my face.

It never rained on me in New Orleans that night or the rest of my time in the Crescent City.

Foo Camp: Impostor Syndrome

Foo Camp 2014 is an unconference hosted by O’Reilly Media where sessions such as “Impostor Syndrome” are suggested and scheduled by the attendees themselves.


  • Impostor syndrome is dragging us down. 
    • It can also drag others down when our work impacts other people.
  • An expert is someone that can optimize that she knows quite a bit, but not someone who knows everything. 
    • Be at least one step ahead (esp. if you have kids); you don’t have to know everything.
  • Symptoms of imposter syndrome: 
    • You are the only one in the group that doesn’t know what’s going on.
    • And you will be found out is one of your worst fears.
    • Struggle with trying to find out what their strengths are.
    • Give more weight to negative comments, people than more weight, control than positive ones
  • If you are bad ass, you cannot experience imposter syndrome. 
  • When we talk to others to find out the value of our work, we are dis-empowering ourselves. 
    • Questions of worth should be self-realized, understood internally: 
      • What is good enough?”
      • What is my best work?”
  • Impostor critic:
    • Inner critic reinforces impostor syndrome.
    • You have a inner critic, if you are hearing youeslf say a lot of “I should”.
    • Give your inner critic a name, like “F@!& –o”.
    • Change the voice of your inner critic or negative comments to that of a cartoon character.
  • Perfectionism is stifling the release of code, projects. 
    • Perfectionists procrastinate.
    • Often times there’s a feeling of not knowing what to do or how to do it
    • Then there is stuff you don’t want to do–not realizing how it’s helpful.
    • To cope with perfectionism: 
      • Break projects into smaller steps
      • Outsource to freelancers, when possible
    • Ways to change a mental view of perfectionism: 
      • Embrace mantras:
        • Done is beautiful.”
        • Done is enough.”
        • Real artists ship.”
      • Deliberately make something bad. 
        • Make bad sentence; make series of bad sentences; make bad paragraphs.
  • Satisifcing = Satisfying, suffice 
    • Realize there’s a difference between “excellence” and “perfectionist”.
    • A satisfactory solution is better or chosen over an optimal choice.
    • 80% completion of a project is better than 100%. 
      • Realize that going from 81–100% can take a lifetime.
      • The last 3% is Olympic level of perfectionism
    • In the digital age, adding corrections or updates to software is easier than creating fixing.
    • Iterating is embraced on web projects often better to revise/update than redesign.
  • It’s hard to embrace achieving or accomplishing for people with impostor syndrome. 
    • When something amazing happens to you because of your own effort, embrace it.
    • Understand that you worked hard for this.
    • Realize that “This is mine because it’s supposed to be mine” and say, “thank you.”
  • Recommended reading:

FOO Camp: Introvert Hacks

Foo Camp 2014 is an unconference hosted by O’Reilly Media where sessions such as “Introvert Hacks” are suggested and scheduled by the attendees themselves.


  • Scheduling, tracking:
    • Track energy level on Google calendar. If you have a few-to-several low energy days in a row, schedule a “do nothing” day.
    • When getting invited to hang out, say “no” first, then “maybe”.
      • Next, put it on the calendar. When the time comes for the event, you can then decide if it feels right to go.
      • If you do decide to go, limit your time there. E.g., stay for one hour or portion of the event.
    • Schedule on the calendar a “do nothing” weekend
    • You don’t need to be everywhere, embrace JoMO or Joy of Missing Out
    • Try to be realistic with your workload 
      • Past-Me is really ambitious compared to Current-Me”
      • Don’t get upset with yourself when you pile on work.
  • Related to conference events: 
    • At a conference, give yourself compassion to take breaks so you can maintain people skills.
    • Speaking at an event is better than being an attendee for an introvert since at a large number of people will hear what you have to say and, if they want, seek you out to follow-up after your talk.
    • When giving a presentation, focus on 3–4 key people in an audience when speaking. Talk to them, don’t get fluster yourself looking into a sea of people.
  • Conversation tips:
    • Frame a question in terms of “First”, “Best”, “Last”, “Worst”. E.g. “what was the best thing that happened to you at XYZ company?”
    • What was the most interesting thing you saw/learned/did today?”
    • After someone tells you what they do, simply say, “That sounds hard.”
    • Get a service dog to get others to start the conversation.
    • Exit conversations by saying: 
      • I’ll be right back.”
      • I’ll be a second.”
      • It was nice meeting you.”
      • Alright. All the best.”
  • On finding quiet: 
    • Use Musician earplugs for bars, large networking events, etc.
    • One of the greatest things you can do is change the venue of a conversation with someone. 
      • While it moves the conversation to somewhere quieter, it signals to the other person that you want to focus on them and what they have to say.
      • Change the noise level by suggesting a move to a new, nearby location. Feeling adventurous? Invite the other away from the venue completely for something new.
  • Making the most of your alone time: 
    • Use earplugs, if needed.
    • Meditate, if it suits you.
    • Write down in a journal, like DayOne app, one thing you are grateful each day
    • Schedule your alone time for first thing every day as way to pay yourself first before giving your time, energy, and resources to others.
  • Recommended reading:

In Control Conference: Scott McCloud’s Keynote Address

Scott McCloud, creator of Eisner Award winner Understanding Comics and Jack Kirby Award winner Zot!, delivered a keynote address on the second day of the AIGA In Control Orlando 2014 Conference.


  • If I don’t need to think it, I don’t need to see it.”

Scott McCloud makes the case for great user experience design. When creating moments for your users–no matter if it’s digital design, story telling, or how to make a cup of cofee–don’t give extraneous information to your audience. 

When they need the information, deliver the information to them. 

Not a moment before.

  • Content should not be a bitter pill.”
  • Form and content must never apologize for one another.”

Don’t dress up badly-written content with gorgeous graphics or animated GIFs.

On the flip side, don’t add visuals to wonderful prose. 

Both misguided approaches end up ruining the form and undermine the message.

Make good content that people want. 

  • You don’t want to piss off Family Circus fans.”

This line just made me laugh out loud.

  • The open book is the shape of print.”

Print media isn’t a closed book or, if I may, a neatly folded newspaper. 

When a book is opened, it makes a horizontal rectangle. This format is better for our eyes since the eyes are placed on a horizontal axis, placed side-by-side only to be separated by a nose. 

When the print matter is opened, it’s a working medium.

Viewing digital comics on an iPad, when it’s vertical, isn’t how it was intended. A crafted two-page spread fails miserably to convey information–causing more work for the reader to understand what’s going on. 

Comixology’s guided view for reading comic books reinforces the flawed construct of mistaking the medium for the message. That the shape of a physical comic book is the comic book itself.

With Comixology, there’s a “guided view”. The guided view shows a panel at a time until it comes to the end of the page, where it breaks the reader out from the world of comics reading to show that they are now zooming out of the panel, flip to the next page, and then zoom to the first panel on that page. But, why zoom out at all? Why not use this new medium to display panel after panel rather than reinforce print restrictions in the digital age. 

  • The art of coming in second place is when the client says, ‘I want to do what they did.’”

In my own opinion, an absolutely brutal take down of every instance when a client wants to copy the competition. 

Try to get your client to be themselves. If you are working on your own brand, be true to yourself.

  • Once upon a time, a ‘good talk’ was one that where the presenter didn’t read the content off the slides to their audience. Now a good talk is called a ‘TED Talk’.”

All talks should aspire to be a TED Talk. Otherwise you’re just reading. 

  1. Learn from everyone
  2. Follow no one
  3. Watch for patterns
  4. Work like hell

Follow the four rules above to pursue your own vision, not what you think is important. If you do, you will be satisfied with your work and, with luck, others will, too. 


For more about Scott McCloud’s work and insight, see these resources:

Speakers Announced for CSS Dev Conf 2013

To say that I’m excited for CSS Dev Conf this year is a bit of an understatement.

We started planning this year’s event after leaving last year’s venue en route to the airport. 

I’m happy to say that the first CSS conference for web builders, CSS Dev Conf, returns for its second year this October–check out the lineup.

Community Voting

While we knew the venue and some of the featured speakers early on, we didn’t know who were most of our speakers were going to be.

To join the lineup featuring great CSS experts like Eric Meyer, Nicole Sullivan, Tab Atkins, and more, the potential speakers had to answer the call for speakers and have it voted for in a double-blind process. 

Names were removed from sessions before voting was opened to the community, creating a level playing field: a ballot full of great session ideas without the biases created by name, employer, or gender.

Why do take these laborious steps when we could have reached out to stalwarts in the industry?

Well, it allows for more ambitious and new speakers to step into the limelight that other venues might not give them the chance.

This is the second time we’ve done this–it’s in CSS Dev Conf’s DNA now–and I’m surprised yet again by the awesome topics that were picked. 

They weren’t ones I might not have voted for necessarily, but they all sound interesting and can’t be missed. 

Best of CSS Dev Conf Tracks

We’re also doing something new this year for CSS Dev Conf that we learned from doing it once already.

The biggest complaint we received was that there were so many aweseome sessions going on at the same time that attendees had trouble making up their mind.

That complaint was actually a compliment to the speakers and their sessions–we had too many awesome talks for people to see! 

To help alleviate this problem, we are setting up a Best of CSS Dev Conf tracks. 

The top talks of CSS Dev Conf 2013 are going to be repeated at the end of the second day of the conference.

That’s right.

You will get two chances to see the top talks from the conference.

And for the speakers with those great talks? They get The Best of CSS Dev Conf Award and the bragging rights that come with it. 

Almost Here

New tricks, great content, gurus and young guns make up the 2nd annual CSS conference. Don’t miss it.

If you haven’t already, be sure to grab a ticket for CSS Dev Conf before the event sells out.

Think Responsively

The mobile explosion has changed not just how and where we view the web. This modern web development also means a change our workflow.

Led by Ben Callahan, Think Responsively is a one hour-ish long free online, live seminar that’s happening next week.

It’s about the process and organizational changes needed to allow “responsive thinking” to take root in your organization.

Designers, developers, project and account managers, sales reps, content strategists, information architects—all are welcome as we discuss how to create a collaborative workflow and build for a device independence.

Ben, covers the basics of RWD, new deliverables in the responsive process, and lessons learned from experience implementing responsive projects.

Come with open minds and constructive questions. We’ll make sure there’s plenty of time for discussion!

NOTE: All 200 tickets to the live session got grabbed in about two hours! However, getting on the waiting list gets you access to recordings after the session. 

RWD Summit 2013: Performance, Clients, Trenches

The web doesn’t sit still for a moment. Illustrating just how much has happened in a year, this year’s RWD Summit stretches into a jammed-pack three days this April 16–18.

Performance dominates the first day of the RWD Summit. Before the smart phone and tablet revolution, sites got fat.

One of the main talents a web designer can possess: creating a big impression with the least amount of code. It’s time to get back to our roots by recognizing we don’t always know how fast our sites show up on our visitor’s devices.

The second day is dedicated to strategy. We discuss client management in the more agile development process of RWD, along with new approaches to content strategy and typography.

The third day is for those that are in the trenches: the web builders.

We will be looking at new concepts in building out RWD sites with CSS fractals, how to use Sass and Compass, RWD sidebars, and much more.

If you want to dive into RWD and bring the experts to your desktop, sign up for RWD Summit today.

If you are busy and can’t make it for one or all-three days, don’t worry. All the sessions are recorded and are part of the purchase price. You can catch the sessions later at your own convenience.

See you at the Summit!