Apart from this being my first time in Dusseldorf, I’ve also been attending my very first beyond tellerrand conference. Little did I know that the two days would be filled with a great range of topics.
The majority of this year’s beyond tellerrand talks in Dusseldorf focused on design-related subjects, with both digital and real world applications. Putting constraints to our designs has been a common thread. While some talks have been more or less inspirational life stories, there were also quite important observations on how we broke the web and society in general. You are probably aware of how fake news, the rise of the alt-right, election interferences, and so on, put a damper on democracies these days. While I personally think this is of utmost importance (and you should totally check out “All Constraints are Beautiful” by Charlie Owen), if I had to recommend only one fifty minute video, I’d go with “The Power of Metaphor” by Mike Hill. No matter what company you work for, no matter what your role is, after his talk you too will value quality over quantity when it comes to the work you do.
I am currently tasked with establishing and maintaining a Design System for my employer. A lot of the stuff I’ve learned could be directly applied to my daily work. In “Humanising Your Documentation”, Carolyn Stransky showcased the use of tools (i.e. linters) to find problematic language in documentation. Some of those tools integrate nicely into IDEs, so developers are more likely the target audience, but it would be worth exploring if they could be used by copywriters too.
Apart from the regular 13 talks over the course of two days, I also attended all of the optional sessions. Notably, Chris Heilmann did a Q&A on the current state of Microsoft Edge going Chromium. But also, Christoph Reinartz from Trivago talked about “Lessons Learned from Running a Design System”, concluding that they had to abandon theirs because of excessive growth. After six years they had too many users and were no longer able to satisfy the different needs. Today they run cross-functional teams with Sketch as the single source of truth. Obviously very interesting for me, but not directly comparable to the situation at my company, as our Design System is built atop state-of-the-art technology, and our Frontend is directly integrating the underlying code.
Talks & Speakers
- “All Constraints are Beautiful” by Charlie Owen
- “Humanising Your Documentation” by Carolyn Stransky
- “The Power of Metaphor” by Mike Hill
- “Making Art With Familiar Objects” by Red Hong Yi
- “Hard Work, Relentless Dreams and WiFi” by Rob Draper
- “Never Snap to Guides” by David Carson
- “Imagination, Desire and the Call of the Future” by David Delgado
- “I Don't Care What Airbnb is Doing” by Stephen Hay
- “Data, Design, Code” by Shirley Wu
- “The Scoville Scale of Web Font Loading Opinions” by Zach Leatherman
- “Napworking” by @Dorobot
- “Flexbox Holy Albatross” by Heydon Pickering
- “Take Back Your Web” by Tantek Çelik
Usually I do a little live coverage when I visit a conference, but this time I had no equipment with me. Not really a problem after all, as organizer Marc Thiele posted a perfect wrap-up. And almost all videos of the talks have been uploaded shortly afterwards. Impressive.