I recently recapped my experience at the first day of Smashing Conference in Toronto, and didn’t want to leave you hanging so here’s a quick summary of day 2. As before, I’ve published a fairly comprehensive writeup over on Medium.

Day 2 covered trending topics in front-end development such as service workers, performance, CSS grid, color systems, and component-based development and design.

The day also featured a mystery speaker who frankly blew me away – renowned English artist and calligrapher Seb Lester. I was mesmerized by his work and presentation, and took away some things that will reshape the way I work – like knowing when to stop and move on, and how experimenting with ideas away from corporate work can give way to more creative, expressive designs.

Here’s a summary of my take on the rest of the speakers:

  • For the Love of the Grid: In just forty minutes, and in front of our very eyes, Jules Forrest transformed a printed restaurant menu into a responsive web page using CSS Grid and CodePen. She emphasized the fact that getting overly creative isn’t always necessary or good, as sticking with common UI patterns can help users more easily navigate your site.
  • Diving into Service Workers, Live: Phil Nash demonstrated how “service worker” strategy can be used to make websites work offline.
  • Seeing the Pages for Components: Graphic designer Dan Rose then shared his thoughts on how to identify common symptoms of non-cohesive design. He explained how component connectivity can help you prioritize consistency to create a steady visual flow among all components, while working with the content team because content drives design.
  • The Secret Lives of Color Systems: In this session, Diana Mounter demonstrated the work behind adding a new feature to offer users the ability to change GitHub’s color theme from white to dark mode. She used a Gatsby app and a sample repository of the GitHub to demonstrate the process, techniques, and challenges of updating the color scheme of an enterprise-level web application.
  • Move Fast and Don’t Break Things: In this forty minutes session, Scott Jehl talked about issues in web performance and shared some ways of improving them. One example being “progressive enhancement” that can accelerate a web site regardless of network speed and device type.

Day 2 ended with a Photo Walk, which we unfortunately missed, but here is a fun picture of the “Smashing Family.” Smashing Family, thank you for a great event!

Arshabhi Rai

Arshabhi Rai is a technical writer at Solace. Other than developing technical information for Solace PubSub+ products and managing the documentation portal, he enjoys developing beautiful and useful web designs.