5 best bits from #AwwwardsBCN

The Awwwards Conference is fast becoming the #1 web design conference in the world and they did a fantastic job of assembling a superb group of speakers this year in Barcelona.
There was a good balance of code, design and theory but the following 5 speakers stood out most to me…
1. Progressive Enhancement (Jeremy Keith)

This was a great talk about the increasing complexity of designing for an infinite number of browsers and devices and the increasing temptation to match this growth with increasingly complex solutions.
Jeremy started the talk by trying to rewire our brains to think differently about how we design and develop by making us all see the dog mask in a picture of a duck – something we will never “unsee”! Jeremy then went on to talk about how if we start our designs simply you can build a solid foundation which will almost always ensure a future-friendly site.
I especially enjoyed hearing his views on the ever complicated subject of browser support – to which his answer was simply “stop trying to make websites look the same on every browser” and instead focus on “browser support” not “browser optimisation”. This was music to nearly every developer ear’s in the room and something I think we should all stick to.
2. Designing with Chrome DevTools (Paul Bakaus)
Paul is from the Google Chrome DevTools team and came along to the conference to give us all a sneak preview of improved responsive design controls, rich live editing of animations and more and more fun with colors.
Chrome DevTools is something we use at Clicky use every day and we were so excited to see some of the plans. My favourite was the new animation tools which will be so useful… (see vid below)

3. Picture Element and Responsive images (Bruce Lawson)
This was an excellent talk! Bruce has an amazing talent for public speaking and kept the audience interested throughout.
The talk focused on the new element which will make sure “retina” images will be served in the most efficient way possible (avoiding double downloading etc). Bruce proposed the new picture element in 2011, and it’s just gone live in Opera, Chrome and Firefox, so this talk explained exactly how we can use it.
Bruce has given us all access to the presentation (complete with “browser fairies” and “image helper elves”) which you can see here – well worth a read!
4. Side Projects are Stupid (Tobias van Schneider)
This was an inspirational talk from the incredibly talented/bearded Tobias the designer behind Spotify (plus loads of other amazing projects).
Tobias talked us through some of the projects he’s worked on and the importance of making time for “stupid side-projects”.
Tobias went on to win Designer of the Year (well deserved) and delivered his talk with great enthusiasm, leaving us all a little bit more inspired than when we arrived! The slide above was my favourite!
5. Real Artists Ship (Haraldur Thorleifsson)
Haraldur is a real talent and is behind some amazing projects (including the amazing Google Santa Tracker – yes that one! & the awesome Airbnb).
Haraldur talked about how designing something nice in photoshop is easy. Designing something that solves the business problem, gets through the multiple stakeholders, looks nice and eventually launches is a lot harder.
Despite being first to talk, Haraldur spoke brilliantly, and has given me loads of ideas of how we could improve the design process here at Clicky to ensure we get great results.
And so to conclude…

There were so many other fantastic moments of the show, picking just 5 was hard, especially leaving out the inspiring and incredibly talented Hvass And Hannibal and also Phil Hawksworth‘s great talk about “Betting on the Web to #Win”.
All in all it was a great show with an excellent group of entirely relevant & inspiring talks. Barcelona was beautiful too (hope you like my timelapse from the top of my hotel above & here)
Next year I’m hoping the Awwwards team pick London so I can bring the whole Clicky web team!

Written by Oli Yeates


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