Smashing Conference Live — Day 2


Today is the second and last day of the Smashing Conference1. As promised, we’ve collected insights, photos and highlights just for you — live from the conference venue. You can also track the tweets from the conference by following the hashtag #smashingconf2 and the permalink for live updates3.

Smashing Conference Live — Day 24

Please note that no live stream is available, but all videos will be made available for free after the event. You might want to check out the schedule of the conference5 as well and the report from day 16.

Here are some of the highlights of Day 2:

Tuesday, September 10th 2013


Good morning everyone! Are you ready for Day 2?!

Hangover, you say? No worries, we’ve got fresh coffee ready for you! And some beautiful Bavarian accordion music:

But no, he is not the mystery speaker we had planned for the #smashingconf7 event. It’s only a foretaste of what’s to come! ;)


Unfortunately the weather isn’t really on our side this time (it has been raining all night and still is!)… Please don’t forget to bring along your coats and umbrellas as well as your attendee badges as you head back to the Smashing Conference venue11 this morning! :)

“It’s pouring rain in Freiburg, but warm and cosy inside the beautiful #smashingconf venue.” Image credits — thatpita15313212:

It's pouring rain in Freiburg, but warm and cosy inside the beautiful #smashingconf venue.13

“My ‘haus’ for the last two days #smashingconf.” Image credits — cable_ready14:

My "haus" for the last two days #smashingconf15

“Historisches Kaufhaus Freiburg. Location of #smashingconf 2013.” Image credits — k41z0r10816:

Historisches Kaufhaus Freiburg. Location of #smashingconf 201317



Have you guessed who the Mystery Speaker21 is yet? All we know is that his second name is “Klaus Schmidt”! But… WHO IS THIS KLAUS?


Dum dumm dummm dummmmmm… The moment we’ve all been waiting for… The mystery speaker is… *drumroll*… the one and only, Ethan Marcotte!


“We are getting away from pages and starting to think of small layout systems.” — Ethan M.


“We’re starting with the smallest piece of design. With every responsive process we work on we are building a new map of the Web. But we are only just beginning. Our map is far from complete.” — Ethan M.


“Something is always lost in translation. There is always a gap between a thing and the representation of it.” — Ethan M.


“How can we design more sustainably for the Web?” — Ethan M.


“Maybe some problems can’t necessarily solved with more code. And maybe we can invite our users in our design and let them help us solve our problems.” — Ethan M.


“We are designers and builders, but most of all we are map makers.” — Ethan M.


Jason Santa Maria on stage explaining how to get ideas out quickly through prototyping, sketching, and iteration. Not only can that help you work and test more quickly, but it can also help you to work smarter!

“Use whatever you need to tell your story… Actually holding type in my hand taught me how type reacts and made me understand type in whole different way. What if I could get people understand the physicality of type? What if I could get them that same idea?” — Jason S.M.


“Good design happens around good constraints.” — Jason S.M.


Jason S.M. refers to Wally Wood’s wisdom: “Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up.”



Congrats to another round of poster giveaway winners!

Image credits — eldh52:

#vscocam #smashingconf53

Image credits — codebryo54:

Cataddicted #smashingconf55

Image credits — tinakesova56:

#smashingconf postcard sent! Office, beware :)57

Image credits — simontheis58:

a lovely cat beside a waterfall in Freiburg at #smashingconf @brad59

Image credits — pattydelgado60:

#freiburg #smashingconf61


Designers use type families all the time, but what is the logic behind developing larger type families such as the ever-growing Skolar type system? David Březina discusses various approaches of making type families functional, easy to use, and cross-platform… and also how to stay sane while doing that! ;)


“I’m really bad at artistic freedom. I don’t know what to do if I don’t have my guidelines.” — David B.


“Sans are like T-Shirts. They are pretty much all the same.” — David B.


“What is great type for, if you cannot use it easily?” — David B.


“How do you test your type faces before you buy them? Do you actually test them? Did you hear of temporary licenses…? Or, what we did is we thought of test fonts. So you can just go and get the font from us and test how it works.” — David B.


The one and only Addy Osmani on stage now — yeeeehaw!!


“Become BFFs with how browsers work.” — Addy O.


“I’ve never built anything without a performance flaw of some kind. We all have to ship things. Face your performance demons! Don’t feel bad poking at pages. Don’t feel like you’re asshole looking at performance issues. It’s ok!” — Addy O.



“What defines a great web experience? For example, a consistent frame rate… Why should we care about it? The frame rate can directly impact engagement and conversion rate. It matter if you want engaged users.” — Addy O.



There’s no doubt that Addy Osmani rocked the stage — and this picture says it all!


Time for the lunch break everyone — we’ll be back at 2 PM!

“Great time at #smashingconf.” Image credits — k41z0r10816:

Great time at #smashingconf109


Natalie Downe is on stage telling us all the story of Lanyrd110 from a two-week proof of concept to a fully-fledged startup, as well as the lessons learned along the way… Lessons like:

  • If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you have launched too late
  • Learn how to take advice
  • Circle yourself with a circle of trust
  • Raise money to last for 18 months

Image credits — blumenberg189169165138118111:

«Startup Lessons Learned: From Idea To Exit» by Natalie Downe aka @natbat at #smashingconf112



If you’re a founder, Natalie suggests you to make an investor checklist including:

  • Elevator pitch
  • Executive summary
  • Pitch deck
  • Answers to common questions
  • Introductions
  • The phone number of a really good lawyer!


Check out the press pack117 that Lanyrd put together after LinkedIn shut down its events application.


“Trust your gut instinct.” – Natalie D.


Nicolas Gallagher starts out talking about CSS Application Architecture with some definitions:

  • Architecture – a plan about how you’re going to structure your application. Your design principles.
  • Framework – the implementation of an architecture. Like scaffolding it gives you something on which you can build out your application.
  • Toolkit – a collection of pre-built patterns that you assemble into an application.

Image credits — blumenberg189169165138118111:

«CSS Application Architecture» by Nicolas Gallagher aka @necolas at #smashingconf119


“The freest human is the one who never has to choose.” Nicolas G cites John Gray in this article.120



Nicolas G provides design principles for effective CSS:

  • Single responsibility
  • Extension over modification
  • Composition over inheritance
  • Low coupling
  • Encapsulating
  • Documentation

Image credits — brad_frost124:

Design principles for effective CSS, by @necolas #smashingconf125


“Nothing is perfect. Nothing lasts. Nothing is finished.” — Nicolas G.


And in the meantime…


Nishant Kothary is now on stage talking about everyone’s ability to understand and work with others — the project team, stakeholders, and users — that often determines the success of everyone’s work, as well as how they feel along the way.

Image credits — thatpita15313212:

Up next, @rainypixels! #smashingconf133


Image credits — blumenberg189169165138118111:

«The Design of People» by Nishant Kothary aka @rainypixels at #smashingconf139

Image credits — rzierhofer140:

Your chances are higher in russian roulette than when walking out of a design meeting #smashingconf141


“Logo re-design is like attacking an identity… What do people do if we fight people’s identity? They fight back. It’s normal.” — Nishant K.



A few of Nishant’s favorite cognitive biases:

  • Diagnosis bias
  • Loss aversion
  • Confirmation bias



Image credits — thatpita15313212:

The Design of People by @rainypixels at #smashingconf154



Aaaand the last speaker of the conference… Welcome Jeremy Keith! Who just announced that he’s not going to use any slides today but instead share with us some of his failures and old works from the past.

Image credits — blumenberg189169165138118111:

«The Long Web» by Jeremy Keith aka @adactio at #smashingconf166

Image credits — fran6167:

Jeremy Keith doing his talk on the sofa with a beer o/ #smashingconf168

Image credits — blumenberg189169165138118111:

«The Long Web» (pt. 2) by Jeremy Keith aka @adactio at #smashingconf170






“After the last talk: Vitaly, the head of @smashingmag at the Smashing Conference.” Image credits — blumenberg189169165138118111:

After the last talk: Vitaly, the head of @smashingmag at the #smashingconf190


Of course we were ALL fascinated by our one and only special speaker band and tried our best to convince them to sing another song… and they did! What a fantastic performance guys! Thank you once again — we sincerely appreciate it!

A standing ovation to Dan Rubin, Brad Frost, Nishant Kothary and Dan Mall! Y’all have melted many hearts that night!

Aaaaand… Cut!

Thanks again for coming everyone! It was indeed a SMASHING event — we couldn’t have done it without you! See you again next year, maybe? ;-)

Wi-Fi At The Conference:

A huuuuge Thank You to our technical team for taking care of the Wi-Fi. The attendees also sincerely appreciate it:

Feedback & Reviews

Here are a couple of thoughts and feedback of the Smashing Conference 2013 by some of the attendees:

Last But Not Least…

This year we had Elisabeth Irgens239 attending the Smashing Conference, and we’re so glad she did! Look at all these beauties she put on paper:

Inayaili de León Persson240: “The Most Important Part Of Your Job” (Image credits241)

Nishant Kothary242: “The Design of People” (Image credits243)

Natalie Downe244: “Startup Lessons Learned: From Idea To Exit” (Image credits245)

Luke Wroblewski246: “It’s a Write/Read (Mobile) Web” (Image credits247)

Ethan Marcotte248: “The Map Is Not The Territory” (Image credits249)

Elliot Jay Stocks250: “Where are we now, and from where have we come?”> (Image credits251)

David Březina252: “Rethinking Type Experience” (Image credits253)

Dan Mall254: “Responsive Web Design is Hard/Easy! Be Afraid/Don’t Worry!” (Image credits255)

Brad Frost260258256 Workshop Sketches (Image credits257)

Brad Frost260258256 Workshop Sketches (Image credits259)

Brad Frost260258256 Workshop Sketches (Image credits261)

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The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, books and eBooks and Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    So many impressive speakers! *shakes fists at impressive speakers* Impart that wisdom you scum bums! Impart it! 8:)

    I’m in the middle of re-reading Ethan Marcotte’s Responsive Web Design book. A great starting place to throw you into the fast-changing world of modern web design.

    Osami’s adage is spot on. This field changes so much, that many times we’re left to learn things on our own, and in the process, we do it wrong. But then we figure out the technology and utilize it properly. And from there, we’re always tinkering with taking that to the next step. Such a fun process!

  2. 2

    Hi! When the videos of the Smashing Conference 2013 will be available and where? Thanks ;)


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