projekt202's Front Porch View on Value of Tech Conferences

Especially in the technology industry, professional events and conferences are valuable resources for education, career growth and peer-to-peer networking. Ahead of the Oct. 24 Front Porch Conference in Dallas, projekt202 Vice President of Technology Paul Tidwell shared insights on Austin's recent edition of the premier tech conference and projekt202's active role in providing an environment for people to network and learn.

Let’s talk about projekt202’s commitment to the tech community in Central Texas. This summer, projekt202 sponsored the Front Porch Conference for web developers, the first time it was held in Austin. Can you tell us about that?

Bringing a successful conference from the Dallas area down to Austin seemed like a logical extension of the projekt202 footprint. We hosted the event here at the Alamo Drafthouse, primarily focused around UX and front-end development. It was a full day, preceded by a workshop the day before the conference that was targeted toward UX designers learning more about responsive design. It was all-in-all a really successful event, with lots of community outreach and some compelling topics discussed.

At the Alamo Drafthouse, attendees lined up for for Austin's first Front Porch Conference for web developers, sponsored by projekt202.
At the Alamo Drafthouse, attendees lined up for for Austin's first Front Porch Conference for web developers, sponsored by projekt202.

You mentioned a workshop. What did that workshop entail?

It was actual work time, sitting down at terminals, talking about proper approach to responsive design and then some hands-on practice. It was around the idea of getting UX designers thinking about how developers go about actually implementing responsive designs in the web, so that they have a better grasp of semantics and the environment that the developers are dealing with when they're executing on these designs.

The whole theme of the workshop was to make sure designers understand the purpose of the grid system and why it actually exists. It helps them make better decisions during the design phase and step into the shoes of the developer, so the developer is not left trying to interpret too much.

projekt202's Paul Tidwell takes center stage at Front Porch Austin.
projekt202's Paul Tidwell takes center stage at Front Porch Austin.

What were some of the other talks during the Front Porch Conference in Austin?

They covered a lot. There were some around enterprise design patterns. There were some about testing front-end code, test automation for JavaScript, which is really exciting and becoming more and more commonplace, which is a phenomenal outcome.

We talked a bit about web components, which is an emerging direction for the way applications are being built in the browser.

There was also a really interesting one on accessibility that was primarily driven around not just your typical five-way compliance and WCAG accessibility considerations, but driven by really clean semantics, a smaller code footprint for the web page, leveraging the way the browser inherently wants to handle markup, to a really positive outcome that works best for people with disabilities browsing your web page. Be a more responsible developer and the side effect is almost that you get higher accessibility.

projekt202's Josh Kemmerling presents at Front Porch Austin.
projekt202's Josh Kemmerling presents at Front Porch Austin.

One of projekt202’s developers helped bring Front Porch to Austin, right?

That's correct. UI Developer Chris Williams is the key founding member of the Front Porch Conference in Dallas. He’s the one who effectively made a road show out of it and brought it to Austin.

Front Porch organizer and founder Chris Williams

Front Porch organizer and founder Chris Williams

We underwrote the event and used it as an opportunity to reach out to our network of developers, our friends in the community, and to provide an environment for people to get together and learn something.

We have a really strong commitment to the development community. We want to be as active as we can, not only so that we're able to attract and retain really good talent here at projekt202, but also to help buoy the community at large. We're always looking for great talent and the way that we approach building solutions -- by having integrated UX and leading into that with research -- helps us attract developers who have a deep interest in seeing their applications actually in the hands of users.

We're entering the development process knowing a lot about what the end user needs, which features are really important, so we have a higher-than-average success rate with not only delivering to market, but delivering the right features to market, so that end users are getting the maximum benefit and you're not writing a bunch of features that end up gathering dust on the shelf.

Don't miss the Front Porch Conference in Dallas on Oct. 24, 2016.

There's even more coming to Austin this fall: As a leader in Austin’s tech community, projekt202 is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the inaugural Austin Design Week Nov. 7-11. It’s a showcase of Austin's best in visual, interactive, product, industrial, architectural and civic design.

To find out how we can help you make software make sense in 2017 and beyond, contact us today.

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