Last time I had a chance to visit Sofia was during WordCamp Europe 2014. It was a really great event where I met a lot of interesting people and reacquainted with friends. That’s why I was more than happy to submit a talk for the WordCamp Sofia 2016.
The organization was really good. The IMAX theater was a good choice for the venue, comfortable seats, large screen and excellent acoustics. Food and the after–party were also nice, but I don’t doubt that for a second if the conference in question is a WordCamp. Emanuel and I had to leave for Zagreb earlier than expected so we didn’t stay too long at Contributors day, but from what I’ve seen on Twitter, it was nice — hope to be there next time.
Even though there were two parallel tracks, the organizers made sure that the English talks don’t overlap so I even got a chance to listen to several talks. The ones I liked the most were the talk by Andrea Di Rocco (Craft Better Content With Data) and Milan Ivanović (Change your theme, but, keep your business). Emanuel had an interesting talk about accessibility practices and I would recommend you listen to it on WordPress.tv or in person (if he submits it to more WordCamps).
Designer or Developer?
My talk “Moving the design process to the browser” was really well received, even though I had that talk before at other WordCamps. I got some great comments and feedback after the talk, but the one that intrigued me the most was: “Are you sure you are a designer and not a front–end developer?”. That one resonated with me especially — mostly because the talks I do are usually based on HTML examples and coding practices and not only design theory. I think it’s much easier to accomplish a goal if we speak the common language.
When we talk about style guides, people often presume that they are designers responsibility — and while designers are usually the ones in charge of producing a (static) style guide, front–end developers are required to uphold that style guide in the long term. That’s why I think that front–end developers also have a strong role in pushing our industry towards building modular systems and design patterns which are documented in a style guide. If you want to make sure that your style guide doesn’t become obsolete, you have to find a way to keep it up–to–date whenever there are visual or code changes — and developers can help us make that happen.
If you are a designer, show your colleagues collection of front–end style guides and explain the benefits of having a similar style guide for your project. If you are a developer, help the designer enrich his process and transition their design patterns into a living style guide. Smashing Magazine has a really interesting article about challenges of keeping pattern libraries relevant.
Overall, I had a really nice time at WordCamp Sofia and I would certainly recommend everyone to visit next year.