Environments for Humans
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RWD Summit 2014 logo

The 3rd annual online, live responsive web design conference

In-kind Sponsors

Environments for Humans brings together some of the Web's most notable experts in and for an all-new, three-day online conference, the RWD Summit 2014! Bring the experts to your desktop April 1-April 3, 2014 from 9AM to 5PM (CT).

Don't miss this great event and purchase your tickets now!

Performance \\ Apr. 1, 2014 \\ 9AM to 5PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)

Speed Matters 9am CT

by Tim Kadlec, independent Web developer

As Steve Jobs once pointed out, design is not merely about how something looks but also how something works.

No one wants to create a slow site. Yet that’s exactly what happens. Not only do fat sites exist, they’re actually becoming more and more common. It would be one thing if performance was merely another feature, but the reality is that performance is a fundamental component of the user experience.

If we want to start providing people with the fast experiences they so desperately want, performance needs to be engrained throughout the entire process. In this session, we’ll discuss how to make sure that our sites are as fast as they are beautiful by incorporating performance into our workflows from start to finish.

About Tim Kadlec

Tim is an independent Web developer living in northern Wisconsin with his wife and three daughters. He is very passionate about the Web and can frequently be found speaking about what he?s learned at a variety of Web conferences.


Measuring Mobile Web Performance 10am CT

by Tobias Baldauf, Freelance Web Performance Consultant

Traffic from mobile devices is outgrowing traditional traffic from laptops & desktops. This makes maintaining optimal performance crucial to deliver a great user experience and support high conversion rates.

Becoming part of the league of well performing websites is difficult, however: it only takes one second of wait time for users to influence their browsing behaviour. After more than six seconds of wait, many users abandon a site and will not return.

In this talk, we will therefore look at techniques to continuously measure mobile web performance on real devices & networks to keep our websites fast & resilient. Learn how to automate testing during development and how to analyze long term performance trends of your websites.

We will cover:

  • Node & PhantomJS
  • iOS & Android Performance Testing using WebPagetest
  • HTTP Archive & HAR Storage

About Tobias Baldauf

Tobias Baldauf is a freelance web-performance consultant with a passion for full stack web development. He created vital interfaces for European train-operations, tools for the world?s largest peering exchange and gives talks & workshops on web performance optimization.


Slow Pages Hurt the Entire UX 11am CT

by Tammy Everts, Solution Evangelist for Radware

When pages are slow, people don’t put their negative feelings about it in a neat little box labelled “Sadness About Web Performance”. Instead, their negative feelings bleed into their entire perception of your brand, and the effects are long lasting.

At Radware, we recently engaged in a three-part study that blended EEG and eyetracking technologies with implicit response testing to track metrics like frustration, emotional engagement, and various aspects of brand perception on a moment-by-moment basis throughout a series of online transactions. In this session, I’ll share our findings and discuss why they’re incredibly relevant to how we build websites and web apps.

Your takeaway from this session: Performance shouldn’t be kept in a silo or treated as an afterthought. It needs to be considered as an integral part of user experience design--alongside content, navigation, and visual design. These findings are evidence that you can bring to the table in making the case for a performance--first philosophy in your organization.

About Tammy Everts

As a senior researcher, writer, and solution evangelist for Radware, Tammy Everts has spent years researching the technical, business, and human factor sides of web/application performance. Before joining Radware, Tammy shared her research findings through countless blog posts, presentations, case studies, whitepapers, articles, reports, and infographics for Strangeloop Networks.

Tammy continues to deepen the publicly available body of web performance and UX research by regularly contributing her insights and research findings to the Radware blog, as well as the performance blog Web Performance Today.


Optimization Techniques and Strategies 1pm CT

by Bobby Pearson, Web Programmer for The Ivy Group

Loading time is in many ways more of an issue now than it was five years ago. The proliferation of mobile devices, increased user expectations, and the very real risks of losing customers and dropping in search result rankings have laid a heavy burden on developers to optimize loading time at all costs.

In this session, we will look at a few simple, practical techniques that you can use today to help your site load more quickly and better handle high-traffic periods. These techniques cover a wide range of technologies and platforms that will broaden your understanding of how a website loads and help you to optimize the process.

About Bobby Pearson

Bobby Pearson is a web programmer for The Ivy Group in Charlottesville, Virginia. He began his professional life as a .NET application developer for his alma mater, the University of Virginia, and pivoted into open-source web technologies for a more dynamic and varied work experience. Bobby has been the lead programmer on dozens of websites and loves it when a plan comes together. Valid HTML, clever JavaScript, clean CSS, and neatly refactored PHP give him a cosmic sense of satisfaction.

Bobby lives with his wife Audrey and their two children Luke and Lydia just down the street from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. In season, he brings the fury as a linebacker on the Blue Ridge Church of Christ flag football team. Out of season, he makes a mean spicy chili.


Before the @mq 2pm CT

by Erik Runyon, Manager of Interactive Development at Notre Dame

"Fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries". Those are the three technical ingredients for responsive web design. But sometimes, to make a site truly responsive, you need to go a step or two further. In a world where content and content parity are king, there are some practical ways to improve the experience on a per device basis while staying true to RWD. In this session we'll look at some real-world client-side and server-side solutions that help improve the user experience.

About Erik Runyon

A full-time web developer with University Communications at the University of Notre Dame, Eric's days are spent with my acronym laden friends HTML, CSS, JS, RoR and PHP. His evenings are spent with his wonderful wife, three kids and two vomit-happy cats.


Atomic Design 3pm CT

by Brad Frost, Web Designer

“We’re not designing pages anymore. We’re designing systems of components.” As with most things Stephen Hay says, he’s right.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the Web community create style tiles, element collages, style guides, pattern libraries and a slew of other tools in order to break interfaces down to their atomic elements. Our interfaces are going more places than ever before, so this shift is essential to help us better understand what our websites consist of in order for us create smart, scalable, maintainable designs.

This session will introduce atomic design, a methodology for creating robust design systems. We’ll cover how to apply atomic design to implement your very own design system in order to set you, your organization and clients up for success.

About Brad Frost

Brad Frost is a web designer based in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the creator of Mobile Web Best Practices, a resource site aimed at helping people create great mobile and responsive web experiences. He is also the curator of WTF Mobile Web, which teaches by example what not to do when working with the mobile web. He is passionate about mobile likes to tweet, blog, and speak about it.


Technical Track \\ Apr. 2, 2014 \\ 9AM to 5PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)

The What & Why of Pattern Lab 9am CT

by Dave Olsen, Creator of Mobile in Higher Ed

Responsive design is forcing us to reevaluate our design and development practices. It's also forcing us to rethink how we communicate with our clients and what a project's deliverables might be.

Pattern Lab helps bridge the gap by providing one tool that allows for the creation of modular systems as well as gives clients the tool review the work in the place it's going to be used: the browser.

About Dave Olsen

Dave Olsen has been a developer and project manager with the University Relations - Web unit at West Virginia University (WVU) for the last nine years. Over that time he has worked on and led projects that range from developing a university-wide CMS to creating award-winning marketing websites. For the last two years he has also worked on implementing mobile solutions for the University. These include SMS-based services as well as WVU's central mobile web portal.

In addition to his work at WVU, Dave has released and currently maintains the open source project Mobile Web OSP. Mobile Web OSP is designed to make it easier for higher education institutions to launch their own central mobile web portals. It is currently being used by a number of institutions around the world.

Dave shares what he's learned about mobile, as well as his reactions to mobile trends, on his blog, Mobile in Higher Ed.


Mouse Clicks and Touch Events 10am CT

by Jenn Lukas, Interactive Development Director at Happy Cog

We have the technology to add amazing interactions to our websites. With just a little bit of CSS or JavaScript, we can layer enhancements and animations onto our pages which allow our visitors to interact with our content in different ways. These enrichments, if used responsibly, can make our sites fun, memorable, and more enjoyable to use.

Examples of interactions we see range from common drop-down menus for navigation to interesting, in-depth transitions while hovering over links. Often, we rely on our mouse device to trigger actions on our sites. While we don’t want to lose these interactions, we also need to find solutions for our visitors without a mouse.

These days, we have users browsing our websites on desktops with a mouse, desktops that can touch, small screen mobile phones, large screen tablets, and more. Sometimes the endless possibilities for our audience might seem daunting, but we can find ways to make sure we optimize our site experience for the majority of our users without sacrificing our vision.

We’ll take a look at:

  • How interactions on your website affect your visitors
  • Ways to create meaningful and useful interactions with CSS animations and transitions
  • What happens to our actions and enhancements on mobile and touch devices
  • Options to make sure our interactions work well on all devices while maintaining design integrity

About Jenn Lukas

Jenn Lukas is a multi-talented front-end consultant and freelance developer in Philadelphia and is the founder of Ladies in Tech. She has spoken at a variety of conferences and writes for publications such as The Nerdary, .net magazine, 24 Ways, and The Pastry Box Project.

Jenn’s past experiences range from creating Navy training simulations to leading the front-end team at Happy Cog as Interactive Development Director. She was named one of Mashable?s 15 Developer/Hacker Women to Follow on Twitter, and you can find her on Twitter posting development and cat-related news. When she’s not crafting sites with the finest of web standards, Jenn is the co-host of the Ladies in Tech Podcast and teaches HTML and CSS for GirlDevelopIt and Skillshare.


Responsive HTML Emails 11am CT

by Justine Jordan, Marketing Director of Litmus.com

Email at the RWD Summit? Yep, you read that right.

Fluid, flexible, and responsive techniques are well-known for the web, but applying those concepts to email is misunderstood at best and appalling to web designers at worst.

We’ll cover:

  • Applying responsive concepts within the famously standards-adverse universe of email
  • How to successfully approach a responsive email project (and live through it)
  • Examples of well-known brands building awesome responsive emails

About Justine Jordan

Trained as a graphic designer, I discovered the world of email marketing when I joined ExactTarget in 2007 as an email designer and campaign manager. I quickly embraced the data-centered rationale behind email design and haven’t looked back since.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with a spectacular variety of customers representing every size, industry and vertical imaginable, while building expertise in email strategy, campaign processes, branding and content along the way. In my current role at Litmus, I manage content & product marketing, research and education for our suite of email tracking and testing tools.

I’m happiest when using data to make decisions, testing creative, making great products, talking about design and applying user experience principles to email marketing.

In addition, I also speak frequently at interactive & digital marketing events, usually on the topics of email design or mobile email.


Faster RWD Development with Sass 1pm CT

by Sven Wolfermann, Freelance Web Developer

Developing responsive websites is hard and unpredictable.

Sass is a preprocessor that brings many advantages when creating CSS. Sven gives a short introduction into Sass and its features and how to use Sass and Compass Gems to fasten the development workflow.

Keep your project in budget with the help of Sass:

  • Learn about Sass grids
  • Create breakpoints based on your content
  • Generate fallback for IE8 easily

About Sven Wolfermann

Sven Wolfermann is a freelance web developer living in south of Berlin. He is a consultant for modern web development, especially for Responsive Web design and helps agencies build top-notch websites. Sven loves Sass and Compass, writes articles for online and print magazines and speaks on conferences in Germany. On twitter you’ll find Sven as @maddesigns.


Automate Your Tools 2pm CT

by Dave Rupert, Lead developer for Paravel, Inc.

The front end web designer and developer tool chain has become more and more sophisticated over recent years. It's not easy to keep up especially if you have a fear of the command line. We'll take a look at just some of the things in the modern web toolbox covering things like the command line, Git, Grunt, and more.

About Dave Rupert

Dave Rupert is the lead developer for Paravel and host of the ATX Web Show, a podcast about the local web design and development scene in Austin, TX. Most of his attention is focused on current buzzwords: HTML5 / CSS3, Javascript, Rails, Sinatra, and the Mobile Web.


Grunting Maintainability 3pm CT

by Philip Zastrow, Web Designer at Sparkbox

For a frontend web developer, the final product is HTML, CSS, and Javascript, but the tools to get there have advanced greatly in the past few years.

Tools like Grunt make the responsive build process more versatile, by adding modularity to content and structure, managing preprocessors, and even generating the power of a simple content management system, resulting in clean and consistent markup, styles, and scripts.

  • The pros and cons of using preprocessors
  • Overview of Grunt.js setup and use
  • Overview of Grunt plugins including:
    • Assemble
    • Handlebars
    • Sass (SCSS)
    • Coffeescript
    • Grunticons

About Philip Zastrow

Philip is a developer specializing in frontend design, CSS, and HTML. As a member of Sparkbox, Philip works with his teammates to build a better and unconstrained web. Philip has also maintained a reputation of moving while working and wears white glasses.


RWD Front End Workflow 4pm CT

by Patrick Fulton, Front-end developer at BeardedStudio

RWD has opened our eyes to the flaws in our processes that were already there. And now, like it or not, we need to address them. The internet is flexible and we need to be as well if we want to create good solutions. We need to call off the quest for pixel perfection. We must plan, design, and build for extensibility.

But starting a new RWD project can be daunting! How do we keep our sanity while trying to build things that are future friendly to the web in general, and to everyone who has to maintain those projects later? We need a battle plan, and that plan involves building our own “starter kit.”

In this session, Patrick Fulton will discuss how the team at Bearded addresses these issues, and stays on top of the ever-changing challenges of the multi-device web.

Items covered:

  • Creating future-friendly HTML and CSS using modular principles
  • How Sass and Compass can help stylesheet authors maintain their sanity
  • Wrangling your media queries in Sass with the Breakpoint extension
  • How to handle client hand-offs

About Patrick Fulton

Patrick Fulton is a front end developer who has been working with the web since 1998.


Strategy Track \\ Apr. 3, 2014 \\ 9AM to 5PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)

Content Strategy for Slow and Responsive Experiences 9am CT

by Margot Bloomstein, Author of Content Strategy at Work

RWD offers us a methodology to optimize experiences regardless of device, but how do we know we're focusing on the right goals? Online experiences can be fast, efficient, easy, orderly–but sometimes, that's a recipe for disaster. Users click confirm too soon, confuse important details, or miss key features, whether they're thumbing through detail screens on a phone or mousing on a desktop browser. What's the problem? We often design for efficiency--and efficient isn't always effective. Not all experiences need to be fast to be functional. Some of the most memorable and profitable engagements encourage slow, deliberate engagement, and content helps drive that experience.

Content strategy can identify and support these outliers of user experience with a content model in the appropriate granularity. Drawing on examples from storytelling, ecommerce, and the brick-and-mortar world, we'll discuss tactics you can apply to aid learning, retention, and user satisfaction. Help your audience soak up the journey and engage with more certainty; content strategy can help you choose the pace even as your users choose the device.

About Margot Bloomstein

Margot Bloomstein is the author of Content Strategy at Work (Morgan Kaufmann, 2012) and principal of Appropriate, Inc., a Boston-based brand and content strategy consultancy. She crafts brand-appropriate user experiences to help organizations engage their audiences and project key messages with consistency and clarity through both traditional and social media. A featured speaker at SXSW, Margot speaks around the world about enriching interactive engagements with content strategy. Recent engagements include the HOW Interactive Design Conference, CS Forum Helsinki, IA Summit, Content Marketing World, Confab, and Web 2.0. She also teaches brand-driven content strategy in Columbia University?s graduate program in strategic communications. Find her blogging infrequently at Appropriate, Inc. and tweeting prolifically at @mbloomstein.


Responsive Wireframing in the Browser 10am CT

by Matt Griffin, Founder of Bearded

Wireframes have an important place in the design process. They allow us to make key content, UX, and information design decisions without investing premature effort in refining look and feel. But the old black and white PDF can quickly become a cumbersome, time-sucking deliverable in a responsive design process.

In this session, Bearded founder Matt Griffin will describe an approach to in-browser, interactive, HTML/CSS wireframes that better describe a responsive web experience, and are themselves the beginning of the final product.

Items covered:

  • RWD wireframe strategy
  • Related deliverables
  • Client / stakeholder communications
  • Implementing design patterns
  • Practical approaches to HTML and CSS structure
  • Building reusable wireframing elements
  • Managing client / stakeholder revisions
  • Preparing for the transition to design templates

About Matt Griffin

Matt Griffin is a designer and founder of Bearded. He has a great love for letterpress printing, which he acquired while attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where he received a BFA in Graphic Design. Matt is an avid advocate for collaboration in design, and has been published in A List Apart and .net magazine.

He is one of the creators of Wood Type Revival, a successfully Kickstarter-funded project which seeks out lost historic wood type and converts it into digital fonts for modern designers.

Matt believes that bringing together the knowledge and expertise of designers, developers and their clients is of paramount importance for the creation of successful designs. His work is governed by the idea that design should be driven by a clear user-centric purpose, rather than by subjective aesthetic concerns.

Previous to entering the world of graphic design, Matt was an active musician in Bloomington, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. He performed on a number of records for various bands, and toured extensively in North America and Europe. Somehow his college band got sort of famous in Japan, which is a long story.


Designing Immersive Mobile Experiences 11am CT

by Wren Lanier, Designer

Are you serving up content, or creating a mobile experience? Do you--and your clients--know the difference?

As mobile traffic begins to overtake the desktop web, users expect higher quality interactions from the sites they visit. Optimizing our sites for different screen sizes is no longer cutting edge; it's the bare minimum we must do.

In this session, Wren will explore design techniques that help you create more powerful and engaging mobile experiences. We'll talk about three-dimensional design, context-specific design, gestures, super-realism, and strategies for selling your designs to clients and stakeholders. You'll also learn about the elusive quality of seamlessness and what it takes to create the suspension of disbelief.

About Wren Lanier

Information coming soon. ×

Content Strategy for Designers 1pm CT

by Jared Ponchot, Creative Director at Lullabot

Have you ever been asked to design or redesign a site with large amounts of content that doesn’t yet exist? This can be one of the biggest challenges in a responsive web design project. Whether you’re designing or redesigning a CMS-powered site, design and content strategy have to work together to create something great.

However, designers often don’t have the luxury of working along-side a content strategist (sometimes there’s no content strategist on the project), so in this talk we’ll cover some practical steps you can take in your design process to uncover the parts you should be designing with and for and ensure your designs are sustainable and successful.

Topics covered will include …

  • Creating light-weight process updates and deliverables
  • Inventorying interfaces and content
  • Content and display modeling
  • Intent mapping
  • Working with clients and teams

About Jared Ponchot

Jared Ponchot is the Creative Director at Lullabot, an interactive strategy, design and development agency. Jared received his BFA in Graphic and Interactive Communications from Ringling College of Art and Design and began his career in print design, but has now spent more than ten years designing for the web and interactive applications. A strong advocate for responsive design, Jared helped create the first fully responsive site for GRAMMY.com for their 54th annual awards show. Jared is passionate about beautiful, usable design, and has shared his knowledge speaking extensively around the world on design principles, visual hierarchy, and designing for complex content models. He also hosts a bi-weekly Podcast called "The Creative Process", where he and Lullabot co-founder Jeff Robbins chat with designers, artists, musicians, authors and filmmakers about how creativity happens.


Responsive Design is Still Hard/Easy! Be Afraid/Don't Worry! 2pm CT

by Dan Mall, Founder of SuperFriendly

Surely, we've got this responsive thing down by now, right? Why does it feel like we're throwing out everything we know and love?

Fear not: Dan will share a few stories from the trenches of both big and small responsive projects, show you how to tweak your waterfall methodology into something more effective, help figure out where Photoshop belongs in your workflow, recommend a few new deliverables and artifacts, and suggest a new step-by-step process that will make you confident to design and develop for a multi-device world.

About Dan Mall

Dan Mall is an award-winning designer from Philadelphia, an enthralled husband, and new dad. As the Founder & Design Director at SuperFriendly Dan and his team defeat apathy and the forces of evil with heroic creative direction, design, & strategy.

He?s also co-founder of Typedia and swfIR, and sings/plays keyboard for contemporary-Christian band Four24. Dan was formerly Design Director at Big Spaceship, Interactive Director at Happy Cog, and a technical editor for A List Apart.



by Trent Walton, Founder & 1/3 of Paravel Inc.

There are very few absolutes in web design.

No project is like another because budgets, timelines, devices, browsers, and above all, people are in a constant state of flux.

I'll be reporting on my past responsive adventures with Paravel--covering what we've learned from one project to the next.

About Trent Walton

Trent Walton is founder and 1/3 of Paravel, a custom web design and development shop based out of the Texas Hill Country. In his spare time, he writes about what he learns at his website, and is co-creator of and contributor to TheManyFacesOf and DesignSwap.


About the RWD Summit 2014

Now that the growth of the mobile Web has outpaced the desktop, Web designers and developers are at a crossroads. The race to keep up with every new device dimension and interface could easily dwarf the pain of dealing with browser quirks, but only if we let it! Take a day to discover the newest Responsive Web Design techniques and change the way you build the Web.

Why attend the online conference?
  • Attending a conference online means no travel hassle!
  • Bring the experts live to your desktop!
  • Time spent on the road is better spent instead in the office or with family, friends!
  • Sessions are developed to dive deeper into the material!
  • Ask questions directly to the speakers!
  • Can't make it the day of the conference? Watch the recordings whenever you want!
Testimonials from
This conference was a load of fun. I loved the instant feedback from the speakers and the atmosphere.

John-David Dalton
Web Application Developer
& Web Performance Summit Attendee

I love these online conferences. It's convenient and you can still learn a lot from the comfort of your home or at work.

Candi Ligutan
5by5.tv Producer

An absolutely fantastic event. Well done—will definitely be back for more!

Russ Weakley
Chair of Web Standards Group
& CSS Summit Attendee

Satisfaction Guaranteed 100%

Buy Recordings

RWD Summit 2014 Recordings


Once you are registered, you will receive a follow-up email to confirm your reservation. Later on, as the event draws near, you will receive a more detailed message, with the full schedule and other helpful information to help you take full advantage of your conference-going experience and plan your day.

On the day of the conference, you will receive an email invitation about 45 minutes before everything starts. Click on the enclosed link to sign in and enter the virtual meeting space. Once you are signed in, you'll be able to see and hear the presentations as they happen, ask questions as needed and chat with the other attendees if you like!

Technical Specifications: to attend The Summit, you will need a modern web browser and a recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Follow this link to run our system diagnostic (opens in a new window). It will let you know right away which plug-ins, if any, you will need to update before the event.

Still have questions? Drop us a line or contact us at e4h@heatvision.com if there's anything else you'd like to know.