Refresh Pittsburgh

A community of web designers & developers working to refresh the web design industry in Pittsburgh.

Next Meetup:

AlphaLab

Digital Duct Tape for Non-Profits

Jeffrey Inscho, The Warhol Museum

Web Development In an Uncontrolled Environment

Breck Fresen, Shoefitr

Register

October, 2014 Meetup!

Please join us at 6:30pm on Thursday, October 23rd at AlphaLab for our next meet-up.

AlphaLab is located at 2325 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. There is plenty of street parking around the Southside area.

We’ll be starting promptly at 6:30pm. As usual, all Refresh Pittsburgh Meet-Ups are free but all attendees need to register to attend.

We have two great speakers lined up for the evening focusing on topics relating managing your work and goals under unique work settings:

Digital Duct Tape for Non-Profits: Enabling Innovation and Creative Outcomes on a Shoestring

Jeffrey Inscho, Manager of Digital Engagement for The Andy Warhol Museum

It’s no secret that, for many non-profits, operational budgets are tight and resources are limited. Institutions aspire to harness the promise of digital and emerging technologies, but financial roadblocks and organizational obstacles often keep these aspirations from being realized. In some non-profits, such limitations are inspiring innovation. By using no-tech tactics, scrappy solutions, creative partnerships, and a little bit of digital duct tape, they are able to activate innovative and creative digital outcomes.

Jeffrey Inscho built his first website in the late-90s and has been working on the web ever since. Currently serving as Manager of Digital Engagement for The Andy Warhol Museum, Jeffrey oversees all aspects of web and mobile application development, multimedia production and in-gallery technology initiatives. He also co-produces the popular Museopunks podcast, which investigates creativity, innovation and progressivism in the museum sector. You can follow Jeffrey on twitter at: @StaticMade.

Web Development In an Uncontrolled Environment

Breck Fresen, CTO & Co-Founder, Shoefitr, Inc.

1 in 3 shoes bought online is returned. Shoefitr, an Oakland-based start up, solves this problem with an app that helps online shoe shoppers buy the right size. The app is available on more than 50 sites (including Nordstrom, New Balance, and Netshoes.com) and is served in 9 languages to an audience of 15 million unique shoppers every month.

Here’s the thing: web development gets tricky when your code has to run inside of a webpage you the developer don’t control. From style conflicts, to not even being able to make AJAX requests, everything gets harder. Breck Fresen, one of Shoefitr’s co-founders, will discuss how to overcome these challenges.

Breck co-founded Shoefitr during his senior year at CMU’s School of Computer Science and now serves as the company’s CTO. He met his co-founders as a member of CMU’s cross country and track and field teams. He grew up in Chicago, moved to Pittsburgh for school in 2005, and has been in love with the city ever since.

Please register online to attend this meet-up on Thursday, October 23rd!

Pittsburgh Accessibility Group Joint Meetup

Please join us at 5:30pm on Wednesday, September 24th at Google Pittsburgh for a joint meet-up with the Pittsburgh Accessibility Group.

We are limited to the number of attendees that we can have at this meetup and will need to provide a list of names to Google in advance so please be sure to register for this event to ensure that you can attend.

Who really needs the internet anyway?

Online accessibility affects almost every aspect of life, from managing a company to just finding out when the next bus is coming. Come learn about web accessibility at our next accessibility meetup from 5:30 pm – 7:30 on Wednesday, September 24th, at the Pittsburgh Google  offices in Bakery Square, 6425 Penn Ave, 15206. We’ll have presentations from both software developers and people who use assistive technology to access the internet.

Eve Andersson
A Google Hangout with Google Senior Manager, Accessibility Engineering
http://www.eveandersson.com/

Gabe McMorland
Screen reader demo by Pittsburgh Accessibility Meetup Co-organizer. Gabe lost much of his vision at age 19, and is still waiting for an accessible version of Catan.
https://www.facebook.com/pittsburghaccessibilitymeetup

Mark Steidl
Local college student Mark Steidl demonstrates how uses a Dynavox system to navigate online without using his hands.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DynaVox

Heather Migliorisi
“Web Accessibility: Overlooked & Unaccounted For”
Can you imagine not using the Internet for a day? For most of us, we spend so much of our time online that we can’t stand to be unplugged for an hour. At the same time, there are so many people that are excluded from having an optimal experience because the web isn’t designed for them to use.

How many times have you been in a meeting where the topic of web accessibility was brought up? Unless you work for a company that is specifically tailored for web accessibility, I’m guessing the topic doesn’t come up very often.

It’s time to level the playing field on the web. Just like the mobile-first mentality, we need to embrace an “accessibility-first” approach to web development. We should be incorporating accessibility design into all of the stages of the development process to ensure we are offering the best experience for people with accessibility needs.

As a UI Developer for GiftCards.com, Heather is responsible for maintaining a custom-built pattern library and ensuring the UI utilizes the most current trends in usability.

Also, we’ll have pizza!

This event is co-hosted by Refresh Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Accessibility Meetup.

An ASL interpreter will be available, and we can also meet people outside or at the bus stop to help you find the building.

Pittsburgh Accessibility Group free events are made possible by donations from participants like you. Please consider making a donation at the event.

We’re grateful to the Urban Affairs Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh for their support With their help we are able to provide ASL interpreters and food at all of our events.

Register Online to attend.

 

July 2013 Code Meetup!

Please join us on Thursday, July 11th for the next Refresh Pittsburgh meet up at Left Field Meeting Space on the North Shore.

This meetup will be our first “Code-Only” meetup.  The discussions will be code-intensive!

We’ll be starting around 6:30pm. When you get to the building, walk into the larger glass doors that say “Smith Brothers Agency” and take the elevator to the 4th floor. The front doors will be on automatic lock for 7:15!

As usual, please RSVP by sending an email to info@refreshpittsburgh.org or just let us know you are coming on the Facebook event page so we can plan accordingly!

CSS Animations are the Awesomest! With Val Head

The things that contribute most to how great CSS animations can be are the slightly less obvious ones. Properties that handle direction, fill-mode, delay, and timing functions can make or break the usefulness of CSS animations in practice. In this short session we’ll look at how useful these additional properties can be, and maybe even have you loving CSS animations before the evening is over.

Val Head is totally into design, type and code. She is a designer and consultant currently based in Pittsburgh where she works with agencies and small businesses to make fun and effective web sites. She speaks internationally at conferences and leads workshops on web design and creative coding. Val tweets too much, occasionally dribbbles, and blogs somewhat inconsistently.

Promises are awesome. Promises/A+ are awesomer. With Brian Cavalier

Promises help you manage asynchronous code.  We’ll look at how Promises help you escape “callback hell”, flatten the asynchronous pyramid of doom, and give you back the sanity of `return` and `try/catch/throw` when dealing with asynchrony.  And that’s just for warm-ups.  Time permitting, we’ll really push the envelope, and see how, with ES6 generators, promises can act as shallow coroutines, or even how they can act as proxies for remote objects across a network.

Frustration, a rant, a test suite, a gist. Then, community awesomeness, and Promises/A+ was born.

We’ll wrap up by looking at how Promises/A+ came to be.  We didn’t join a standards body, but instead formed a GitHub organization. We had no mailing list, only an issue tracker. We submitted pull requests, made revisions, debated versions tags, etc.—all in the open, on GitHub. And, we succeeded! Promises/A+ is widely used and implemented today, with its extensible core forming the starting point of any discussions about promises. This community-produced, open standard has recently been informing the incorporation of promises into ECMAScript and the DOM. I’d like to share the story of how this happened, the lessons we learned along the way, and speculate on the role such ad-hoc, community-driven, and completely open specifications have for the future of the web.

Brian is a server-side Java guy turned front-end engineer and open source fanatic. From collaborative aircraft maintenance systems for the US Navy, to Computer Assisted Surgery systems for Orthopedic surgery, to a global-scale content curation and personalization system, he loves building things that users love to use.  He works at Pivotal on making the web more awesome, is co-lead of the cujoJS architecture unframework and co-editor of the Promises/A+ spec, a lover of Siberian huskies, family, and things with two wheels.

June 2013 Meetup!

Please join us on Tuesday, June 4th for the next Refresh Pittsburgh meet up at Left Field Meeting Space on the North Shore.

We’ll be starting around 6:30pm. When you get to the building, walk into the larger glass doors that say “Smith Brothers Agency” and take the elevator to the 4th floor. The front doors will be on automatic lock for 7:15!

As usual, please RSVP by sending an email to info@refreshpittsburgh.org or just let us know you are coming on the Facebook event page so we can plan accordingly!

We have two great presentations lined-up for the evening including Dave Olson from Morgantown and Christopher Schmitt from Austin, TX!:

Web Performance & You.

Dave Olson, Professional Technologist, West Virginia University

Today, a web page can be delivered to desktop computers, televisions, or handheld devices like tablets or phones. While a technique like responsive design helps ensure that our web sites look good across that spectrum of devices we may forget that we need to make sure that our web sites also perform well across that same spectrum. More and more of our users are shifting their Internet usage to these more varied platforms and connection speeds with some moving entirely to mobile Internet. In this session we’ll look at the tools that can help you understand, measure and improve the web performance of your web sites and applications. This presentation builds upon Dave’s “Optimization for Mobile” chapter in Smashing Magazine’s “The Mobile Book.”

Dave Olson has been a developer and project manager with the University Relations – Web unit at West Virginia University (WVU) for the last nine years. Over that time he has worked on and led projects that range from developing a university-wide CMS to creating award-winning marketing websites. For the last two years he has also worked on implementing mobile solutions for the University. These include SMS-based services as well as WVU’s central mobile web portal. In addition to his work at WVU, Dave has released and currently maintains the open source project Mobile Web OSP. Mobile Web OSP is designed to make it easier for higher education institutions to launch their own central mobile web portals. It is currently being used by a number of institutions around the world.

Adaptive Images in Responsive Web Design

Christopher Schmitt, Author of *Designing Web & Mobile Graphics* and *CSS Cookbook*

The open web doesn’t stop at our desktop. Smart phones and tablets not only contain more computing power and better browsers than the computers that started the Internet economy, they have better displays. In this presentation by Christopher Schmitt, we will work through tips and tricks to develop future friendly images in our sites and apps.

Christopher Schmitt is the founder of Heatvision.com, Inc., an Austin-based new media publishing and design firm. An award-winning web designer who has been working in the medium for 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 Mobile and Web Graphics and CSS Cookbook, which was named Best Web Design Book of 2006.


April, 2013 Meetup!

Please join us on Tuesday, April 2nd for the next Refresh Pittsburgh meet up at Left Field Meeting Space on the North Shore.

We’ll be starting around 6:30pm. When you get to the building, walk into the larger glass doors that say “Smith Brothers Agency” and take the elevator to the 4th floor. The front doors will be on automatic lock for 7:15!

As usual, please RSVP by sending an email to info@refreshpittsburgh.org or just let us know you are coming on the Facebook event page so we can plan accordingly!

We have two great presentations lined-up for the evening:

Stop Writing CSS for Yourself, and Start Writing it for Other People.

Rob Wierzbowski

Css preprocessors (Sass, Less, Stylus, all that good stuff) are changing the way we author layout for the web. But it’s not just a little time saving here, a few less prefixes there. Rob will show us how preprocessors give our code meaning, let us design systems, not stylesheets, and are moving professional css development into the world of open source.

Rob Wierzbowski is the co-founder of SassyPgh. He gets his hands dirty with front-end architecture, development, and IA, and did this horrible thing recently where he learned a little Ruby and absolutely loves it. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Clients vs. Side Projects

Jay Fanelli & Nathan Peretic

Running a client services business is a full-time job. Developing your own products and side projects is also a full-time job. How do you keep it all going?

In 2009, Jay and Nate co-founded Full Stop, a Pittsburgh web design and development shop. In 2010, they co-founded United Pixelworkers, a worldwide collective and online t-shirt shop for web designers and developers. Somehow, they’ve found time for both.