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Tammy Lee
Tammy Lee

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5 Things I learned at Artifact Conf 2019

I got up at 3.30am to take three flights (one of which was delayed by a blizzard) and arrived in Austin, TX at 7pm to attend Artifact Conf.

Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!


If you aren't familiar with the acronym K.I.S.S. It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Websites are becoming over-engineered, bloated, and more to download as time goes on. Why?

It seems it's largely JavaScript's fault.

Here's some advice:

  • see if HTML5 can reproduce some JS functionality, then kill that JS
  • see if CSS3 can reproduce some JS functionally, then kill that JS
  • see if you can use Nuxt.js instead of Vue, Preact.js instead of React, or Svelte.js which compiles down to Vanilla JS

Why would you put the burden of a heavy tech stack on a user? DO YOU HATE YOUR VISITORS?

I Got 99 Problems But Components Ain't One

Do you think a design system is just a matter of building a bunch of reusable components? Nooope. (Don't feel bad, that's pretty much the impression I had before I attended this conference.)

Design systems help align teams, are a shared language, and help eliminate the boring task of rebuilding the same basic components over and over again.

If you're a designer, a good design system can take 80% of the work off of your plate so you can spend time doing the work that actually matters! The work that requires your skill and creativity! You know, the stuff that makes you a designer?

A design system also lets a developer stub out what a page might look like given a rough sketch using existing components. Then the developer and designer can work together to see if they need a new component or if an existing component can be altered.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen

Great. Now that song is going to be stuck in my head.

Stop what you are doing. Did you just start building something without bothering to ask questions? To listen to who your users are going to be? To communicate and collaborate with the rest of your team?

Your final product will be stronger and more relevant to your users if you actually take the time to listen to what they have to say, to collaborate with other people, and to stop and think.

Slow Down (and Think)

I come from the digital marketing world and in that world the pace is break-neck. Hand-offs are more like having deliverables thrown at your head from a speeding car. Solutions need to be found quickly because solving problems wasn't built into the budget. So you tend to go for the first thing that looks solution-shaped without taking the time to slow down and really think about it.

Quick (and first solutions) leave you open to bias and usually aren't future-proof. Take the time to challenge why you picked the first solution that came to mind.

The Future of Web Animation is Mind-Blowing

The end.

PS. The Alamo Draft House is a great place for a conference!
PPS. I don't know how I can go back to Canada where I won't be able to find Mexican vanilla ice cream milkshakes with cinnamon on top. So. Good!

Stock Photo that I vandalized was taken by Enrique Macias on Unsplash

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