Kind of Lost; Devsigner 2016

I had this post title written and sitting in draft mode for almost two weeks. For two weeks I spent my days forgetting about it, agonizing over whether or not a little bit of self-pity was needed, and then promptly forgetting about it again. Over the past weekend I have spent approximately 18 hours outside of my comfort zone in two bits of 9 hour increments.

I was at Devsignercon.

My comfort zone over the past two years has been me, my self, my husband, my cat, my family, my knitting, my self-loathing, my job, my social foul-ups, my social anxiety, my Facebook account, and more of my cat. This had to change. Everything HAS to change. And the reality is that it has all stayed the same, and has even gotten better.

Nothing changed, and yet it got better? Yes.

I don’t think the old Nike addage of “Just Do It” applies appropriately, but I threw my hat back into the volunteer ring as a way to gently reintroduce myself to the idea that I have something to offer to the technology community and there would be people there to commiserate and consider my opinion. This may have been the best decision I have made in the past year, and there is no room in my tired brain for regrets.

The Sessions:

(and some of my notes)

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Devsigner – Peter Ramsing

  • Don’t sacrifice Best to do Good.
  • Get feedback: ask someone “Who am I to you?”
  • Practice mindfulness consistency
  • Learn by teaching
  • Make a mission statement for yourself
  • Record everything: failures, successes, everything.
  • Reflection is not deprecating

10 Tools that make Designer and Developer Communication Easy aka Multi-Disciplinary Teams in the Digital Age – Cesar Jimenez

  • Interdisciplinary thinking is key
  • Learn who the other person is, not what they are to the company as an employee
  • Innovation comes from research and conceptualizing the solution
  • Research -> Concept -> Evaluation ->Implementation = Creative Process cycle
  • Use an enabler be it a manager, team leader, or other source, especially for conflict resolution
  • Define roles early and stick to them, but this doesn’t mean tunnel vision on only your part of the project
  • Have a robust feedback mechanism: action -> effect -> action -> effect, etc.
  • Invest in other disciplines, the project is a continuous group effort.
  • Toolbox: xScope, Avocode, Simpli, Appetize.io, Beanstalk, Invision, Marvel

Impostor Syndrome – Dan Linn

  • We are not doing cookie cutter work, it is different every time.
  • What are my triggers?
  • No one expects you to be a rainbow unicorn glitter shitting ninja, and they should not be
  • Test driven personal development: abstract what is an incredibly emotional situation into a logic pass/fail flowchart until you figure it out
  • What is the real bar and who has the real authority for defining success and failure?

My Name is Not Diversity or How to Mentor Outside your Comfort Zone – Letta Raven

  • Mentorship is a Partnership
  • Acclimate to the work culture, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with expecting that same consideration for yourself and your unique culture and background of life experiences
  • The workplace is a bubble, feedback must be acceptable and accepted by everyone
  • Sometimes those hard conversations need to happen, process, but always in a forward motion

Roadrunner Rules aka A Guide for Design Systems – Micah Godbolt (keynote)

  • Design systems are analogous to the systems found in academic linguistics
  • Visual organization as a design system create a visual language that has a common goal and common intention to that of written / verbal language
  • Three points of a shared vocabulary for design: Dialect, Jargon, and Slang
  • Rules:
    1. Methodology
    2. Single Source of Truth
    3. Single Responsibility
    4. Flat single selector
    5. Asset Guidelines
    6. Custom Rules (rules for our design universe)
      1. Visible
      2. Agreed Upon
      3. Actionable

Integrating Pattern Lab Prototyping into a CMS Build – Evan Lovely (workshop, ermahgerd Twig)

  • With group effort, any command line code can be properly figured out and executed
  • Pattern Lab 2 is a little platinum nugget spit shined with diamond filament
  • You really need to see the notes of the talk to go through the workshop and see for yourself.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Images – Jessica Tate

  • All .png’s were not created equal (lossless compression)
  • DO NOT save a jpeg repeatedly (lossy compression)
  • .gif is only valid as an animation
  • Golden Rules for Exporting:
    1. Save the correct file type in context
    2. Save the correct size: largest common denominator
    3. Always pixes, never inches (DPI is a lie)
  • Save for the web in CC Photoshop is being depricated
  • CC Photoshop supports type extensions in layer names to auto-generate subfolder structure and content exporting (Export as -> CCPS watches the parent folder)
  • Retina rule of thumb: produce images twice the pixel size -> developer must scale down via css 50%

Overall, how do I feel about this weekend beyond all the awesome sessions I was able to attend? Well for starters I talked and shook hands with a community of like minded people seriously engaged, plugged in, and willing to step forward and share their knowledge. I felt genuinely welcome to be there though I had been out of the loop for more than two years.

TWO YEARS.

In the words of a friend (paraphrasing, lol): You’re back from the dead. You should come hangout at Saturday’s Mentor meet-up at Metal Toad.

There’s so much in web-dev technology that has changed, but these people have stayed the same hardworking, dedicated, open minded and open hearted, welcoming, inclusive, sharing, creative, innovative, productive, humble, exciting, and exuberant bunch that made me want to come to these events back when I was doing just CSS and doodling basic layout architecture with a pen in a notebook.

And I’m so glad to be back and just listen and absorb and relate, and be a soundboard for all the enthusiasm, problem solving, information sharing, and tool sharing that invariably happens around too much coffee and too little sleep.

And I have nothing to be afraid of.

Special thanks to Greg, Chris, Marlene, Dan, Oliver, and Mikaela…

And also the 10k Pokemon Go egg that hatched on my way home. Aerodactyle…awww yis!

 

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