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Three Trends from Develop Denver 2016

By Karsh Hagan | 

Three Trends from Develop Denver 2016

A community based conference

Every year Karsh Hagan attends Develop Denver, a local, community-based conference that brings designers and developers together. Develop Denver helps professionals and students alike by introducing them to new technologies, processes, and philosophies that will help them innovate in the digital world. The conference continues to grow, and this year it has blossomed, partly because of Denver’s growing tech hub.
This year, the topics of discussion ranged from technical presentations about the latest tools and techniques to talks about secondary skills and philosophies, such as presenting and increasing designer/developer collaboration.  Here are some of the top trends discussed. 

1. Developers are becoming tired of the front-end ecosystem.

Right now, the current front-end toolset for web-app building looks something like this: React, Redux, Babel, Lodash, Gulp/Webpack, plus your templating language and testing framework of choice, and more (this is all Javascript). Some people are tired of adding dependency after dependency to their project because you have to spend time on setup rather than building your app. But, there’s an emerging alternative – the Elm Architecture. It’s based on the concept of functional programming and offers everything React, Redux, and the list above does in one package. It’s also supposedly lightning fast, which is crucial for a good user experience on the front end, and it promises to make app architecture more performant and foolproof. It certainly looked impressive and did solve many problems, but with how rapidly technologies change, we’ll see how popular it is in two years.

2. How we interact with computers is changing our behavior towards each other.

Cody Moiseve, an Interaction Designer, highlighted a recent article he read where the author stated that his Amazon Echo was making his daughter a jerk because she was talking to it in a mean tone and that was translating to her interactions with humans.

As developers, do we have a responsibility to program in responses or filters to prevent this negative behavioral change? If so, how much should we try to influence someone’s behavior? I think a good solution would be to have a child setting which restricts access based on certain keywords, plus it could talk back if a particular keyword isn’t used, such as “please.” Ultimately, it’s the parent’s or owner’s responsibility to differentiate between human and machine and tailor their behavior accordingly. To me, this is an interesting subject and as human and computer interaction increases, how will it change both the person and the machine?

3. Designer and developer collaboration.

Collaboration between designers and developers is never perfect, but new tools and methodologies are improving the workflow, helping us design, build, and plan today’s modern apps and web apps.

The basic overview

  • Design components, not pages – Components are reusable and scalable when you want to add new pages in the future.
  • Make a style guide – Ensuring consistent design is key to a good appearance and user experience.
  • Mood boards showing design systems over page mocks – These will help the client communicate a design direction, reduce rounds of revisions and offer more flexibility if you discover something needs to change later on.
  • Prototype Animations – Animations are critical in providing feedback to the site visitor. They also enhance the “feel” of the product. Principle and Framer.js will help you do this.
  • Design version control – Keep everything versioned so that everyone is working off of the latest materials.
  • Share often – Better to correct something before it’s fully built.

Get involved in the Denver development scene

Everyone I spoke to at Develop Denver was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. It’s a friendly community of men and women who actually enjoy their jobs and the craft. Whether you’re starting out or have been working as a developer for years, it’s important to get out and see what’s going on around you. If you are in the industry and looking to network, learn, or grow your business, I encourage you to attend Develop Denver and get involved in the Denver design and tech community. A good place to start is going to a Meetup.

-Joe Saperstein, Senior Creative Technologist

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