Upcoming Events

Conferences for Thinkers, Explorers, and Pioneers of the Web



Building a Responsive Design Tool for the Future: An Interview with Macaw’s Co-Founder

In recent times there has been a boom in the number of tools for Web designers, all promising different things. Design apps like Sketch challenge the dominance of Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator, while Mark Boulton’s Gridset, frameworks like Bootstrap and CSS preprocessors like Sass have gained widespread use and have become popular tools to automate much of your front-end workflow.

Designing for a multi-device world has given birth to new tools for responsive design - tools like Webflow and Adobe Edge Reflow, which aim to enable designers to create responsive layouts without code. But none have captured the attention of designers and developers quite like Macaw.

Developed by DC-based duo Tom Giannattasio and Adam Christ, Macaw has got a lot of people in the Web world excited by being the first tool of its kind to generate useable, developer-friendly code. Last week saw the release of version 1.5, with some exciting new features. And the journey’s just beginning…

We caught up with the company’s co-founder, Tom Giannattasio, ahead of the team’s session at Future of Web Design NYC in November, to find out more.

Click to read more ...


Announcing New Speakers for FOWD NYC!

We can't wait to be heading back to NYC for Future of Web Design this fall, and we're excited to add these fantastic speakers to our line-up:

Yesenia Perez-Cruz | @yeseniaa

Yesenia Perez­-Cruz is a designer based out of Philadelphia, PA. She has created beautiful, functional design systems for clients like MTV, Zappos, and Iron Chef Jose Garces. She currently works at Intuitive Company, where her role spans design strategy, user experience, and graphic design. Previously she was a Senior Designer at Happy Cog in Philadelphia.

Yesenia will be speaking about Design Decisions Through the Lens of Performance at FOWD on Wed Nov 5.

Rising Stars

James Pannafino | @JPannafino

James Pannafino is an associate professor at Millersville University, where he teaches graphic and interactive design courses. His research interests include interactive design fundamentals, interdisciplinary design, visual storytelling and digital narrative forms. He writes regularly for on interactive design concepts and tools. James recently published Interdisciplinary Interaction Design: A Visual Guide to Basic Theories, Models and Ideas for Thinking and Designing for Interactive Web Design.

James will be speaking on Interdisciplinary Approach to Web and Experience-Based Design on Wed Aug 5.

Aye Moah | @ayemoah

Aye Moah is the co-founder and Chief of Product at Baydin, an email productivity company best known for its wildly popular Boomerang email productivity service.

Moah wears many hats at Baydin including UX designer, product manager, developer, marketer and resident gardener. Moah grew up in Burma and has a BS in Computer Science from MIT. She has given talks on design, email productivity, startup and user experience topics at the SXSW Interactive, Women 2.0, 500 Startups and Boston UXPA.

Moah will be speaking on Enhancing the Future of Work with Contextually Aware Tools on Wed Aug 5.

Tickets are on sale for Future of Web Design NYC - register before August 1 to save $300 with a Super Early Bird conference pass. Follow for news and updates from the Future of Web Design.


Steroids, D3js and How To Not Be an Expert!

Future of Web Apps (JS) Boston (FOWA.js) is only a few months away and we are continuing to add awesome speakers to the already pretty stellar line-up! It's the first time that FOWA.js is coming to Boston and we're very excited to bringing the show to the East Coast.

Not only will there be so many fantastic sessions, but we'll have lots of competitions and fun activities too, including our exclusive party - not to be missed!

Early Bird tickets are now on sale where you could save up to $300!! So go pick up a ticket today! 

I'm extremely happy to announce that we have two Rising Stars joining us along with our closing conference day-one keynote. We have more speakers coming soon so watch this space...

Jen Myers is a web designer/developer, speaker and teacher located in Chicago. In 2011, she founded the Columbus, Ohio chapter of Girl Develop It, an organization that provides introductory coding classes aimed at women, and currently works with Girl Develop It Chicago as a teacher and advisor. She speaks regularly about design, development and diversity, and focuses on finding new ways to make both technology and technology education accessible to everyone.

Jen's Keynote Session: How To Not Be an Expert!

Click to read more ...


Responsive Design, Frameworks and the Future of Web Design: An Interview with Patrick McNeil

At Future of Web Design there’s always a key emphasis on learning and practical takeaways (as well as the, er, future), which is why our workshops are so popular. Patrick McNeil is a developer, teacher and writer who cares a lot about teaching the next generation of web designers; he just so happens to be one of our workshop leaders. With the increasing popularity of frameworks, what better time to come along to FOWD NYC for his masterclass in Responsive Design with Bootstrap?

Patrick kindly took a few minutes out of his schedule to chat with us about FOWD, design and the recent reboot of his popular blog, Design Meltdown.

Michelle Barker: You’ve just relaunched Design Meltdown, which looks great. Tell us about the history of Design Meltdown and what sparked this revival…

Patrick McNeil: I originally created the site in 2006 when there was a big CSS gallery boom. I was in school at the time and we were doing a project where we collected design samples on the web. For some reason I had the nerve to start a blog! I collected all different examples of design trends and it took off, and the next thing you know I was pitching a book and speaking at a Future of Web Design event in London. Now I’ve written, like, six books on the subject. It’s carried me a long way.

Click to read more ...


Static Sites Can Be The Solution

At this month's London Web Meet-up we were joined by the talented Simon Wood. Based in Kent, Simon is a passionate tech/geek and is currently Head of Technology and Innovation at the Shortbreaks and New Ventures division of Holiday Extras, a travel technology company. Simon is also acting CTO for miDrive an in-house Start Up incubator. 

Since joining Future Insights as a Rising Star speaker at 2013's Future of Web Apps (FOWA) London, Simon has most definitely got the speaking bug and has continued to hone his skills at a number of events over the past year. Not only that but Simon is also a part of our advisory board, which is just one of the many reasons why we asked him to speak at the London Web Meet-up. 

Simon spoke about how he thinks 'Static Sites Can be the Solution'! As he explained "We build complex dynamic websites as a first port of call but these are slow, have issues with scaling and can be complex to host. I believe we should more often look to static sites first."

In his session Simon demonstrated why static sites are such a good choice and showed how you can build static sites, using tools like Jekyll and other static site generators. He covered how they can be hosted on S3 and GitHub pages and talked about how they can be frequently updated with the correct workflow even though they are static. We were able to film the session so why don't you see for yourself.....  

Click to read more ...


The Future Insights Family Just Grew (Sort Of)

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome two new faces to the Future Insights Advisory Board. It's a grand and glorious occasion, but not because we're adding two intelligent and engaged advisors who will start to help us shape our events. 

It's grand and glorious because we're finally recognizing two long-time members of our community that have been helping us shape events all along. Both of these two gents began as attendees to our events, have come up through the Rising Stars program, and have both gone out of their way to contribute to Future Insights in ways other than just speaking for us. 

With out any further adieu, let's introduce Jason Pamental and Steve Hickey. 

Jason Pamental

Jason Pamental is co-founder of h+w design, author of ‘Responsive Typography’ from O’Reilly, overall web & typography nerd who specializes in being a generalist. He’s worked on the web since 1994 in a range of capacities, having led creative and technical efforts for major universities, NFL and America’s Cup teams, Fortune 25 corporations and others. He also co-founded, speaks about design at conferences around the world (or pretty much anywhere people will listen), and follows @aProperCollie around Turner Reservoir in the morning, posting photos on Instagram.

Steve Hickey

Steve is a designer, typographer, front-end developer, and a User Experience Strategist at Fresh Tilled Soil in Watertown, Mass. He started his education/career in print design but quickly adopted the web as his medium of choice. Steve guest lectures on typography at Startup Institute Boston, teaches Sass and grid layout at Launch Academy, has contributed to Net Magazine/Creative Bloq, and has spoken at Future of Web Design/Future Insights Live. He is also a co-host of The Dirt, a UX podcast. You can find him on Twitter as @stevehickeydsgn.


Web Design Essentials: Style Guides and Pattern Libraries

Style guides or pattern libraries are increasingly recognised as essential for maintaining branding consistency on your site. A style guide provides a set of guidelines or standards for the design of a document, and will establish clear parameters for the people who take over a project from you down the line. 

Although style guides for branding have been around for a while, it’s only recently that they’ve become a widely-adopted, vital component of web design workflow. Responsive design has made style guides even more imperative, if more challenging: Your design must maintain a consistent voice across a multitude of devices and avoid unexpected or confusing interactions for your users.

Modern front-end style guides now often go as far as to specify interactions, animation and even how code should be written in addition to the more prosaic page elements and layout attributes.

A front-end style guide (one that focuses on code as much visuals) is often called a pattern library - you’ll hear of them referred to as ‘living’ style guides. This can be incredibly useful for your working process. Done well, a pattern library should provide you with a set of reusable components, streamlining workflow and facilitating sharing, testing and teamwork.

Click to read more ...


Building Better Experiences with Responsive JavaScript 

"Responsive design has thus far focused on using media queries to alter the way our site looks using CSS. The next step is to look at how we can progressively enhance our site based on the the features of the device. This is going beyond what CSS can offer and moving into the realms of responsive JavaScript. There are already new browser API’s are arriving to enables this, with the matchMedia API we can target specific functionality based on whether a media query matches."

This quote comes from web developer and open source contributor, Jonathan Fielding. Jonathan is the author of 'Beginning Responsive Design with HTML5 and CSS3' and spoke for us at June's London Web Meet-up, a free event for developers and designers. 

The aim of Jonathan's talk was "to help you learn about what you can do with responsive JavaScript. How you can target specific functionality to different types of devices which will enable you to optimise your user experience".

Jonathan's session was a great hit so we wanted to share the video with you. Enjoy! 

Click to read more ...


Data-Driven Job Research by MS Gooroo

Searching for a job is a stressful, especially in tech. New technologies, and therefore skill sets, are constantly entering the market. That makes your own skills very had to value. 

MS Gooroo feels that's why it's best to be as informed as possible about the market trends when you're doing employment research. The company has built a huge data set from 1.5 million job postings, and is building out an interesting platform that not only lets you sort through the data, but helps you surface your own expertise to potential employers. 

Carl JosephCarl Joseph, the general manager of product at MS Gooroo, said the company originally started its focus on just Microsoft technologists, since it provided a significant data set and a good jumping off point. 

But developers really use a mix of technologies, so there are  plenty of listings for things like "Python Developer" and "iOS Developer" in the data. 

"People don't necessarily identify as a 'Microsoft Developer,' hence the other roles and skills we've included," Carl said in an email interview. "There is a great deal of mixing of what we might tink are disparate skills. This might be because roles are increasingly becoming more generalized." 

I interviewed Carl via email about MS Gooroo's very cool data, how the company came about, and what's next for the platform; below are my questions and his answers. 

But I would be remiss without pointing out that MS Gooroo has a pretty neat contest going on right now.

Click to read more ...


Back of the Net! Graphic Design and the 2014 World Cup

Here at Future Insights we’re following the World Cup as closely as anyone else (although the debate rages whether you call it football or soccer…for the purpose of this article, being a Brit, it’s definitely football!).

While we’re sharing the highs and lows (Brazil - Germany. Ouch.), we’re especially captivated by the fantastic graphic design both created for or inspired by this year’s tournament. Here are some of our favourites:

Winning the toss…

Case Crouwel - Type design for the Netherlands kit by Wim Crouwel

Click to read more ...