LC Advanced attended Design 4 Drupal in Boston this past weekend, in both our capacity as a team of Drupal enthusiasts and as proud event sponsors. Being further down the design end than the Drupal end on the spectrum of LCA web developers, I was thrilled with the content of this event and had a hard time choosing between sessions. Here’s a rundown of what I saw.

  • Designing with Web Fonts: Type, Responsively by Jason Pamental. Jason delivered the keynote at the Drupal camp we co-organize, Western Mass Drupal Camp, and I really enjoy his talks. He always delivers a good balance between big ideas and practical knowledge. He laid out a detailed, current strategy for working with fonts online, and gave me a lot to bring back to the team. He’s got a new Drupal focused video podcast he’s launching called Talking Drupal. His slides, including a chart detailing recommended font sizes for different devices and screen sizes, are available on his website.
  • The Saturday keynote, Design for a Moving Target, by Richard Banfield, was very cool. My biggest takeaway was that there are no magic bullets in marketing. It’s the responsibility of every business to get inside the heads of their customers and figure out how to best provide for them, and that the content you create from that philosophy should inform all your design decisions.
  • Designing (and theming) for performance by Matthew Dorman was a technically-minded session that illustrated the importance of a website’s speed in attracting and keeping users. He then gave us a bunch of handy resources that I was able to take back to the team. You can see them in his slides, available at the session page linked above.
  • Truly Responsive Design by John Eckman was a very interesting talk where he expanded the definition of the word “responsive” from the way the webdev industry has been using it lately to the way a business thinks about its customers. Namely, that customer experience be made a priority. And he did a great job of explaining how to make that happen.

Events like Design 4 Drupal are great, because you get a sense that the direction of this industry is being chosen by a group of flesh and blood people, not the blogs and usernames you more frequently interact with online. By participating in them, you and your fellow developers give a hard shove to help alter that direction.

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