Just like last year, we attended the 11th Fronteers Conference, perhaps the best conference we know when it comes to front-end development. With a new location (DeLaMar theater) and 16 brand new international top speakers, it was of course inevitable that we returned to the office after two days fully loaded with knowledge and inspiration. Below is an overview of the fascinating things we saw!

Day 1

We kick off with Espen Brunborg and his talk “The Secret Life of Comedy”. Despite the enormous versatility of tools, frameworks, CMSs and libraries, much of what we see on the web is similar. Be different, be creative and you will be rewarded. For example, a gorilla can provide care for 10% more sales and Jan Claude VanDamme who is on two of your trucks 24% more sales to assure. Watch The Secret Life of Comedy given by Espen at beyond tellerrand in 2017 here.

We continue the talk of John Wilander with his talk Privacy by Default on the Web. The web becomes a better place when user privacy is respected and protected. 60 to 70% of your browser history can be reconstructed by third-party trackers. Vulnerable target groups are misled on the web with dark ads, malware, click bait and fake news just to collect more data about them. Safari now offers an option to disable third party tracking. But there is also a task for developers to combat unwanted tracking. For example with the Storage Access API.

Chiara Aliotta continues the morning with her presentation called I put a spell on you. As designers, we have many magical powers to offer the visitor to our website a perfect experience, without tricks or deception. Chiara is based on three pillars in how to design: Misdirection, Illusion and Mental Forcing. Make your content easy to scan, stimulate an emotion so that visitors remember your message and create clear copy so that visitors understand you well (misdirection). Use storytelling to rationalize visitors' emotions so that emotions are converted into motivation to buy your product or use configurators with direct price updates for optimal transparency (illusion). And finally, build trust, authority and likeability in your design (mental forcing). Make sure people can identify with you, write good content to gain trust and show that others like you by using testimonials.

I put a spell on you from Chiara Aliotta

You may not think about it, but probably 10 to 20% of your visitors cannot buy your product or read your content at all, even though they might want to. Laura Carvajal gives with her talk But my site looks fine! an overview of common mistakes in front-end development that negatively affect the accessibility of your site. For example, never set focus outline to 'none', use headings correctly, always use subtitles for videos and test your site without using your mouse to see where you can still optimize accessibility. Also check this, this, riding a this resources.

After lunch it stings Chris Gannon from shore with his story The Almighty Rabbit Hole. With a lot of energy and humor he explained what his search for inspiration looks like and what he encounters (or not). Of boxes that trying to look out the window, to cows being kidnapped, tot interactive graphs en hamburger menus. His advice: only put things in your portfolio that you enjoyed building, even if it is nonsense or just for fun, so that you are asked for projects that you actually enjoy.

Hamburger menu new style according to Chris Gannon.
Hamburger menu new style according to Chris Gannon.

Heydon Pickering continues his talk Get Your Priorities Straight about inclusive design and he summarizes it nicely:

Inclusive design is not giving everyone the same experience. It's giving as many people as possible a NOT SHIT experience.

When you are developing or designing your website, focus on the things that are important and don't focus on the trivial. Not everyone notices if a shadow is missing somewhere or if the typography does not meet the gold standard. Pixel perfect does not exist. However, be consistent, add value for the user, give the user control and prioritize content.

Stefan Judis tell us about his story What the f…DOM? about vDom. There is no magic in coding, so if you are stuck while programming, take a break, visit a friend or sleep on it. His presentation explains in great detail how you can apply the vDom, check out his slides here.

We conclude the series of presentations with Sebastiaan de With, ex-Apple designer who takes us through his talk Designing Halide: A Tactile Camera App where we get an inside look into the design process of this app. When it comes to app design, always keep the perfect thumb zone in your mind, or the part on the smartphone screen that your thumb can reach most easily. Test and try your app to see if it feels natural and good to use and don't focus on figures or research about "the perfect design".

The perfect thumb zone according to research by Scott Hurff
The perfect thumb zone according to research by Scott Hurff

After this first full day we return home, recharged and satisfied. More about day 2 of Fronteers Conference 2018 later!