Refresh Pittsburgh

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

Next Meetup:

Left Field Meeting Space

Financial Planning for Freelancers

Russell Dunkin

Learn to Decode Legalese!

Eric Davis

More Info

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.

February 2013 Meetup

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

We expect a large turnout this month, 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!

This month we’re talking a bit about typography and a bit about customer service!

Finding Your Perfect Web Font Match with Val Head

There’s a seemingly endless number of web fonts out there and it’s not just variety that makes it tough to choose one. We have browser rendering, file size and more to consider. In this talk Val will cover tips and tools for putting your potential web font selections through the paces before you commit.

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.

Building Trust with Users with Stephanie Hay

Many products and services promise to be the easiest, smartest, and best things ever. The problem is, they’re not — and this disconnect between marketing and reality is building a web of skeptics.

Fortunately, anyone can build trust with users by setting realistic expectations and meeting them. And Stephanie Hay is going to help you get started in three areas: writing candid content, crafting helpful user experiences, and maintaining users’ confidence even when you “fail.”

Whether you’re redoing your portfolio or crafting your company’s website, you’ll leave Steph’s energizing talk with a renewed sense of confidence that being genuine is actually the best.

Stephanie Hay (@steph_hay) is a content and UX specialist whose clients include UIE and Happy Cog. She’s spoken at conferences from SXSWi to New Adventures, and her articles have appeared in A List Apart, UX Magazine, and Web Standards Sherpa.

Steph — who is a resident mentor at 500 Startups — co-founded FastCustomer, founded NovaCowork, and co-organizes the (Washington) DC Lean Startup Circle. She once dated a guy from Pittsburgh.

Thanks for a Great 2012!

Thank you to everyone who helped make 2012 a great year for Refresh Pittsburgh.  We’ve seen our newsletter subscribers jump to over 500+ and our meeting attendance average around 60 people.  We’ve come a long way since our first meeting with 12 people in Kiva Han in Oakland.

First, thanks to everyone who presented or was on a panel this year.  Dave Olsen, Patrick Fulton, Rob Stinogle, Matt Griffin, Ryan Hamrick, Brad Colbow, Nate Bishop, Nathan PereticJames Acklin & Josh Sager.

Second, thank you to all the attendees and speakers of this year’s Web Design Day who helped to make it the our best event yet.

Finally, thanks to everyone who comes to Refresh, attends our workshops and spreads the word about what we are doing.  We couldn’t do this without your support.

We already have some neat plans in place for 2013.  We have a few interesting workshops in the loop and a few out-of town speakers you may enjoy.  And don’t forget, if you would like to present at an upcoming Refresh meet-up let us know!

We’ll announce our next meetup sometime in January, until then, Happy Holidays from Jason, Val and Geoff.

Yay Pittsburgh!!!