ARTIFACT’s mission is to educate designers on emerging practices for creating sites that work on all devices and to foster a sense of cooperation in the designer/developer community. We focus on the design process—how designers do their creative work and how they communicate those ideas to clients, stakeholders, and development teams. The conference features an all-star line-up of leaders in the mobile web design field.
ARTIFACT attracts attendees who are eager to bring their design and coding skills up to date to meet the business imperatives of creating device-blind web sites. Over the course of two days, they learn about responsive workflows, prototyping strategies, new tools, and deliverables that make sense. The intimate scale of the conference fosters a sense of community and is frequently mentioned as attendees’ favorite aspect of the event. A third-day of workshops allow attendees to deep-dive into topics such as prototyping, responsive design patterns, and state-of-the-art development practices.
What We Talk About
The ARTIFACT program and workshops address all aspects of designing sites that work on multiple devices. We provide as many practical takeaways as possible, topped off with a layer of inspiration.
Responsive web design has forced many of us to reevaluate our workflows and processes, including how we do our creative work, how we show our ideas to our clients, and how we build the site. Our emphasis on helping designers through this transition has made us the go-to conference for responsive design.
We’ve pretty much agreed that static Photoshop comps don’t cut it as a deliverable when there are so many screen sizes to design for. But if not comps... what?! We show alternative ways to communicate a visual language that are not tied to specific page layouts.
Tools and Technologies
Many of our sessions zero in on a specific technology that is central to a professional web designer’s toolkit. Topics include:
- Adaptive images
- Photoshop tips and tricks (yes, you can still use Photoshop)
- Web fonts
- Icon fonts
- Git and Github
- HTML email
Designers love examples of real work and real problems solved. We make sure that there are plenty of sessions that show actual work and how it was done, step-by-step.
From handling layouts to creating interactive prototypes, our speakers explain the thinking behind their approach to design problems.
The Business of Design
If designers are making their way up a steep learning curve, their clients and stakeholders need to be educated as well. In 2013, we hosted a panel on how to set client expectations, and in 2014 we’ll focus on the experience of the in-house design team at CapitalOne as they pushed a responsive site solution through a large enterprise.
What would a design conference be without some Big Ideas? In 2013, Trent Walton shared his personal experience adapting his entire approach to web design, and Brad Frost left everyone fired up to work together and share what they know, because as he said “The Web Is People.” In 2014, we’re excited to have the always inspiring Jeremy Keith keynote and Josh Clark bring it all home with a look into what we need to be prepared for in the future.
Who We Are
Jennifer Robbins has been designing for the Web since 1993 when she designed the first commercial web site, Global Network Navigator, for O'Reilly Media. Since then she has written several books on web design for O'Reilly, including Web Design in a Nutshell and Learning Web Design. She taught at Mass College of Art and Johnson and Wales University, and she has spoken at many tech conferences. Her pet project, Cooking with Rockstars, combined her love of cooking and indie rock music.
Christopher Schmitt is an award-winning web designer who has been working in the medium for over twenty years, Christopher interned for both David Siegel and Lynda Weinman as an undergraduate at Florida State University.
He has a Masters in Communication for Interactive and New Communication Technologies, and is the author of six books, including Designing Web & Mobile Graphics and CSS Cookbook, the latter was named Best Web Design Book of 2006.
Before Ari Stiles became a Conference Organizer, Ari was a SXSW Staffer, a University Webmaster, an Art Director, a Newspaper Production Manager, a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Photographer, Variety Show Writer, Documentary Production Assistant, Live News Director, Reporter, Experimental Video Maker and Storyteller.
Through it all, her focus has been on communications, learning environments and networking experiences that are inclusive, engaging and fun.
Our Origin Story
Despite over 20 years of web design experience and authoring 13 books on the topic, Jennifer felt lost when it came to making mobile-friendly web sites. What she wanted was for smart people who were already doing this work to just show her how it’s done.
On August 12, 2012, she put this desire out to the Universe…using Twitter, of course! Just two minutes later, Christopher Schmitt answered her call with “I’m in!” and a conference was born. The combination of Jennifer’s, Christopher’s, and Ari’s years of experience, connections in the web community, and passion for education has gotten ARTIFACT off to a roaring good start.