Design for Drupal, Boston 2012

Last weekend, Ken and I headed to MIT for the 4th annual Design for Drupal Boston—one of the few Drupal camps geared specifically toward design and front-end development. As is typical with Drupal Camps, we got to meet and share with a lot of new faces, all with a passion for Drupal and design. It was also the first opportunity for Ken and myself to present two new sessions we've been working on, both of which revolve around the processes we use daily here at Aten.

Ken presented "Designing and Implementing Beautiful, Flexible Interfaces" in which he shared tips and techniques for designing using his favorite tool, Photoshop. Ken points out that it doesn't matter if you design in the browser or in Photoshop. He went on to say "Find a process that works for you and perfect it." I couldn't agree more. In the end, it's all about delivering the best possible experience to your client and their audience. The tools are just a means to an end.

While Ken spoke to the design side of things, I focused on implementation. I presented "Scalable Stylesheets - Theming with Modular CSS", a presentation based heavily on my two most recent blog posts on adding classes to blocks and fields. I was really excited to share some theme techniques I've been using for the past few months. Techniques born from frustration and "ah ha" moments, these have proven to speed up my theming process and result in more maintainable code. A "win win" no doubt.

Both presentations were recorded and should be available soon on MIT's TechTV. However, if you're interested in seeing either live, we'll be presenting again this coming weekend in Washington, D.C. at Capital Camp along with Jon Clark, who will be talking about Drupal Strategies for Non-Profits. Ken will also be giving a version of his presentation in Germany on August 22nd. at Drupalcon Munich.

Camp Highlights

Jared Ponchot's gave a great keynote on Designing for Content Management Systems, which he will also be presenting at An Event Apart - San Francisco. I always enjoy Jared's presentations. They reinforce the fundamental aspects of design and how these relate to our day-to-day work.

The SASS BoF during lunch on Sunday was full of useful tidbits. Mark Reilly showed off some of the cool stuff he's doing with compass sprites and SVG. Ken shared the cool Blend Mode functions from @heygrady that allow you to create rich color effects based on a single color. I gave a glimpse into how I like to structure my compass project within our Drupal themes and gave a quick rundown on the the super awesome Breakpoint mixin by @codingdesigner and @snugug which makes managing media queries super easy.

We also ran into an enthusiastic user of our Open Aid distribution. It was great to get feedback and discuss in person as we continue to make improvements to the platform.

All-in-all it was a good camp, full of fun people and new approaches. We're already looking forward to next year. Until then, see you at Capital Camp and Drupalcon Munich!

Image of the MIT Strata Center by Peter Alfred Hess

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