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Death, Taxes & Viewport Chrome


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Some things in life are certain: death, taxes, and – if you’re a web professional – the inability to know the capabilities, access speed and dimensions of the viewport through which your design is viewed. Welcome to your future. As a designer, it’s essential to know how your content and design will be consumed (or perceived) before you can prepare its presentation. These days, that means the involvement of a Content Management System, or CMS. Getting to know one – such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or Expression Engine – can exponentially increase your capabilities as a designer without feeling trapped by the technology. To the contrary – becoming CMS-familiar can lead to greater creative freedom than you could ever have imagined. The tools are better than ever and their capabilities are just amazing. All just waiting for you.

Step up and take charge. The future IS the CMS.

Published in: Technology, Design
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Death, Taxes & Viewport Chrome

  1. 1. Death, Taxes & Viewport Chrome the only thing certain is uncertainty itself Future of Web Design (#FOWD) Jason Pamental (@jpamental) 8 November 2011 .comWednesday, November 9, 11
  2. 2. About Me ✤ Jason Pamental Web Strategist, Designer, Technologist ✤ Have been a strategist, designer, developer & cat-pixel-wrangler since roughly the launch of Netscape 1 ✤ Can be found @jpamental in most places ✤ Post thoughts, work & pics from @ .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  3. 3. How’d We Get Here ✤ Spoke last year about Web Strategy: the smarts between design, technology and your client ✤ A Content Management System is the perfect glue ✤ After 17 years working on the web, it’s still new every day .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  4. 4. (pause, for reflection) .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  5. 5. Few Things Are Certain ✤ We’ll all die eventually ✤ Usually after paying a lot of taxes ✤ We have no idea how someone is going to view our design – none ✤ Really. Think about that last one .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  6. 6. You Don’t Know Jack ✤ Where we admit we know nothing ✤ I kid, I kid... sorta ✤ HTML5, CSS3 & Web Fonts: game has changed in the past year or 2 ✤ Device/Platform multiplier mayhem no way to keep up with all of them ✤ At a bigger inflection point than any before – but let’s review .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  7. 7. History of The World (Part I) ✤ 1993: Mosaic graphical browser ✤ 1995: HTML 2.0 – Rise of the Table Tag ✤ 1997: Introduction of CSS 1 (‘Blink’ tag formally dropped) ✤ 1998: ASP / Tango / Cold Fusion / PERL – early CMS’s become common (it’s all about the database) ✤ 2001: Drupal introduced ✤ 2003: Wordpress introduced ✤ 2009: HTML5, CSS3, Web Font services introduced (and are still evolving) .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  8. 8. Now the Good Stuff ✤ Evolution of tools: better, cheaper, easier, more open ✤ Platforms as service have grown (,,, ✤ More power at less cost and easier to create than ever before ✤ What cost $500,000 to develop 10yrs ago is now free & can be managed from your phone (that’s real data) .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  9. 9. But one more little challenge... .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  10. 10. You Don’t Know Your User, Either ✤ Impossible to know how your design will be consumed ✤ Desktop/Laptop/Tablet/eReader/ Phone/Console/TV/Car ✤ Adapt, respond, react: make your designs more capable ✤ Accessibility: more than just ‘alt’ text ✤ You can’t do everything. Use tools to help do that voodoo you do so well – only more better(er?) .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  11. 11. We’re Not Designing Pages ✤ Good design has structure – but that structure must be fluid ✤ We’re designing systems of relationships & heirarchy to infer meaning & importance ✤ 960 pixels is a copout. More often than ever our work will be viewed on phones, tablets, tv’s – more than on computers as we know them .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  12. 12. We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby ✤ CMS’ are more common than ever ✤ More supported in more environments ✤ Many are free, more still are cheap ✤ Some hosted services (LightCMS, Squarespace, Shopify) ✤ Some hosted versions of Open Source platforms (, .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  13. 13. Hosted Services ✤ & Gateway drugs to the CMS world ✤ Interesting, kinda ✤ Useful, sorta ✤ Only goes so far and you can’t take it with you (not really) .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  14. 14. Hosted Open Source ✤ & Designer gateway drugs ✤ You CAN take it with you ✤ Powers hundreds of thousands of sites on the web ✤ Learn one system & have countless opportunities for work .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  15. 15. Since We Know Real Designers Code... ✤ Why not stretch a bit & learn to theme a CMS site? ✤ You could even crack a book (or at least watch a video) ✤ For every designer there’s a CMS you could use – today (even for designers who don’t code) .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  16. 16. Getting Started is Getting Better ✤ Packages like MAMP/WAMP make setting up locally a one-click affair ✤ Many hosting providers have one- click installs of the same platforms ✤ Lots of free/very inexpensive options for web fonts, too ✤ Step up your game & level up (you’re @FOWD, so that’s a good start) .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  17. 17. Why Harp on This? ✤ Because editing HTML pages is dumb ✤ Even worse: designing in Photoshop & not knowing how the design will truly be used ✤ Even prototyping in static HTML only tells part of the story .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  18. 18. You Just Never Know ✤ A few hundred thousand web professionals might be on to something ✤ Over 12% of the web is powered by just 3 platforms: WordPress, Drupal & Joomla! ✤ Hundreds of Camps around the world – most of them free ✤ Makes the bar for entry pretty low ✤ No shortage of work – over 600 jobs on for those 3 keywords alone .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  19. 19. Now You’re Cooking ✤ Once you learn a platform, you’ve begun designing in a system ✤ Explore, enhance, extend ✤ Try HTML5 ✤ Heck, throw in a real font ✤ Explore Responsive Design ✤ CMS as rapid prototyping platform .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  20. 20. What’s That Viewport Bit, Then? ✤ A tiny Catholic school in Ft. Worth, TX has over 15% mobile traffic ✤ Ford, Toyota including app-like interfaces in 2012 ✤ 10% of all mobile subscribers are using an iPhone ✤ Kindle Fire: 7” color tablet for $199, Webkit- based browser ✤ The revolution WILL be televised: Samsung has put apps on your TV .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  21. 21. You Gotta Know What You Don’t Know ✤ Responsive & Adaptive Design is about anticipating the unknown ✤ This has the benefit of being MUCH more flexible and fault-tolerant ✤ It’s WAY easier to do when you’re only editing a couple files – not a couple hundred .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  22. 22. Feature Forward ✤ Know what else you don’t know? ✤ What feature comes next ✤ WordPress & Drupal each have over 10,000 plugins/modules available ✤ There’s an app for that ✤ Often little–to–no extra work as the theme will carry design through .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  23. 23. So Where Do I Fit In? .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  24. 24. The Bit in the Middle ✤ That’s you ✤ You know design ✤ You know your client (or you should) ✤ You know the web & what can be done on it ✤ Learn a CMS to help you do it .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  25. 25. Tools in Your Toolbox ✤ HTML5, CSS3, Web Fonts ✤ Responsive/Adaptive design approaches and methods ✤ Don’t forget CSS systems like LESS, SASS, etc (seriously – go learn one) ✤ Pick a CMS & get to know it ✤ Buddy up if you need to .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  26. 26. What’s Next? .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  27. 27. Declare the Pennies on Your Eyes ✤ (You need a Beatles reference. Just because.) ✤ Platforms are getting smarter: leaner, more semantic markup & more reliable device detection ✤ Plethora of syndication options ✤ Enables use of CMS as content hub ✤ Use one platform & multiply your reach as a designer .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  28. 28. Now Get Out & Go Make Something Awesome .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11
  29. 29. Thank You! Jason Pamental (@jpamental) .com #fowdWednesday, November 9, 11