Refresh Pittsburgh

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

Next Meetup:

January 24 / 6:30pm

Stack Co-Working

“Burnout and the Cult of Busy”

Caroline Moore

RSVP

January 2017 Meetup!

Please join us on Tuesday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Stack (5740 Baum Blvd. 3rd Floor Pittsburgh PA, 15206)!

Street parking near Stack is available, and the East Busway is nearby.

As always, this is a free event, but all attendees must RSVP so we can get an accurate headcount for the night.  Just follow this link and let us know you are coming!

Afterward, we’ll head over to the Sharp Edge Beer Emporium to hang out, grab some drinks and food, and talk shop (as we always do). The Sharp Edge is just one block away from Stack, and is within walking distance.

This month we’re discussing career burnout and self-care with Caroline Moore:

Our culture glorifies busyness, and perhaps the worst of it can be found in the tech industry. Workers at startups brag about how much they work, and how little they sleep. Engineers forgo lunch for more hours at their desk, social media is riddled with #hustlin and #riseandgrind, and everyone is available at all times. This kind of stress is bad for employees, and bad for business. This talk will cover the importance of self-care, avoiding burnout, and ways to set boundaries to protect your health.

Caroline Moore is a photographer, designer, and mouthy broad. Her book Punk Rock Entrepreneur features lessons from the DIY punk scene and business advice that involves Juggalos. She recently added WAHM, BAMF, MFA to her twitter bio.

December 2017 Meetup!

It’s time for our December, Meetup!

Please join us on Tuesday, December 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Stack (5740 Baum Blvd. 3rd Floor Pittsburgh PA, 15206)!

Street parking near Stack is available, and the East Busway is nearby.

As always, this is a free event, but all attendees must RSVP so we can get an accurate headcount for the night.  Just follow this link and let us know you are coming!

Afterward, we’ll head over to the Sharp Edge Beer Emporium to hang out, grab some drinks and food, and talk shop (as we always do). The Sharp Edge is just one block away from Stack, and is within walking distance.

This month we’re focusing on conversational apps with Chris Maury, founder of Conversant Labs.

“Creating Conversational Apps: how to design, develop, and manage voice-based applications”

The increasing diversity of products being designed, created and managed by product teams requires a broader set of skills to successfully bring these products and features to market. The heuristics we have developed in managing web and mobile applications don’t translate to the world of conversational applications, yet the knowledge of best practices exists. Who knows better than a blind person, the requirements for a voice based interface? In this talk we’ll explore the process of building and managing conversational applications: The design process, choosing the right technology, and how to integrate them into a data driven product release cycle.

Chris Maury has over 6 years of experience in designing and developing mobile and web based applications. He is the founder of Conversant Labs which develops conversational technology, including audio-based smartphone interfaces, for blind and visually impaired consumers. Conversant Labs has been recognized for their work in accessible technology, winning the 2015 UpPrize Social Impact award from the Forbes Foundation and the Bank of New York Mellon. Chris sits on the advisory boards for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Disability Resource Center as well as the Andy Warhol Museum’s Accessibility Initiative where he has helped them to design and create accessible mobile applications that perform for both the disabled and general populations. He is also the co-organizer of the Pittsburgh Accessibility meetup with over 250 members, focusing on the promotion of awareness and innovation in the field of Accessibility. Events feature leaders in Accessibility, include workshops for solving specific challenges for the disabled and resources to help support new ideas in accessible design.

October Meetup with CodePen Pittsburgh!

After a long break after this year’s Web Design Day conference, we’re back to our regular scheduled programming!

Join us at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, October 5th at Stack as we join forces with CodePen Pittsburgh for a fun night.  As always, this is a free event, but all attendees must RSVP so we can get an accurate headcount for the night.  Just follow this link and let us know you are coming!

Tracey Berg-Fulton will be giving a talk to start the session off, followed by a CodePen show & tell and a code challenge at the end. There will also be some CodePen swag that you can’t get anywhere else. If you still want to hang out after the meet up, come to Sharp Edge Beer Emporium for more food and drinks.

Tracey Berg-Fulton is Provenance Researcher and Collections Database Associate at the Carnegie Museum of Art, in addition to being a junior web developer and the voice behind @MuseumSwearJar. Since 2012, she has served as web chair of the Registrars Committee of the American Alliance of Museums. Tracey is a graduate of Otterbein University and the University of Glasgow. She and her husband share their home with an adopted Giant Schnabrador named Walter.

Hit it with a Hammer or Light it on Fire: Lessons on Web Development from an Old Car

In August, I made the best worst decision of my life and purchased a two door, 59 horsepower, four cylinder, three gear, 57 year old rust bucket death trap called a Nash Metropolitan, with the intention of learning how to work on cars under the tutelage of my father. Little did I know that the tiny car would teach me more about web development than the workings of British engines. This talk will focus on how the manual processes and problem solving required to work on an old car have helped me grow as a web developer, the parallels that exist between the two worlds, and pushing through the tough times.

Venue sponsored by Stack. Food and beverages sponsored by Media Temple.

Media Temple is also offering all attendees 20% off any web hosting for an entire year, using coupon code CODEPENMEETUP.

 

March 2016 Meetup Panel Discussion

Please join us on Tuesday, March 29th at 6:30 PM for our March Meet-up! RSVP at Eventbrite!

We’ll be meeting in our usual place at Left Field Meeting Space, provided by our hosts, Smith Brothers Agency.

As always, Refresh Pittsburgh is free to all attendees, we just ask that you RSVP at Eventbrite so we know how many people to plan for.

This month, we’ll be hosting a panel discussion. Please join us for the “Freelancer’s Forum”

These days, there’s a lot of talk about striking out on your own. Going independent can be scary – but it can also be rewarding. What does it take to start your own company? How do you find clients? How do you get paid? What kind of schedule do you keep?

Whether you work with, are becoming, or are considering becoming a freelancer, we’ll answer all of your questions and more with a panel of professionals who are currently part-time and full-time freelancers. And, we’ll get the perspective of those who’ve left freelancing to join agencies or start their own companies.

Our moderator for the panel will be Jeffrey Inscho.

Jeffrey built his first website in the late-90s and has been working on the web ever since. A museopunk and cultural hacktivist based in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, Jeffrey leads the Innovation Studio, a research, design and development laboratory at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Mildly obsessed with the collision of culture and technology, Jeffrey has spent the last decade helping cultural heritage institutions adapt and thrive in the digital age.

Jeffrey tweets @jinscho and would rather be forgotten than remembered for giving in.

Joining us on the panel will be:

Caroline Moore:
Caroline is a photographer and designer from Brownsville, Pennsylvania. She is currently working on a book which comes out this September, a conference talk on self-care, and determining a “work appropriate” amount of eyeliner. She hopes that these biographies were intended to be written in the third person.

David Newbury:
David is a freelance developer working at the intersections of technology, art, and information. He has over 15 years of experience as a freelancer, developing rich, data-driven experiences for universities, libraries, and museums, as well as large-scale interactive installations for industry and marketing. He currently works with the Carnegie Museum of Art, and has previously worked for the Smithsonian, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Victoria, and PBS, among many others.

Sean Maxa:
Sean is a graphic designer who has been freelancing part-time for 7 years focusing on Custom WordPress Themes. His experiences overlap both design and development to provide an understanding of both sides of a project and how they work together to provide unique user experiences.

Cynthia Closkey:
Cynthia is a partner and digital strategist at Shift Collaborative. She began her career working at high-tech companies, and has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Prior to joining Shift, Cynthia worked for over 10 years as a freelance web designer and marketer, mostly through her company Big Big Design. At Shift, she hires and manages freelancers for a range of projects, so she’s had the chance to see the freelancer experience from different perspectives. In her work she brings together skills in management, website development, communication, and marketing strategy.

February 2016 Meet-up!

Please join us on Tuesday, February 23rd at 6:30 PM for our February Meet-up!  RSVP at Eventbrite!

We’ll be meeting in our usual place at Left Field Meeting Space, provided by our hosts, Smith Brothers Agency.

As always, Refresh Pittsburgh is free to all attendees, we just ask that you register at Eventbrite so we know how many people to plan for.

We’ll start the night with a presentation by Jenn Murray,  Web Manager & Creative Director for the Allegheny County Division of Computer Services.

“Embracing The Rise of the DIY Designer”

The rise of Canva marks a new era for both business and design. Entrepreneurship – particularly solo entrepreneurship – is increasing by leaps and bounds. At the same time, marketing has never been so digital and highly visual. Thus, entrepreneurs, with their tight budgets, are being forced to figure out how to code and design for themselves. (Which, for a non-designer, is immensely time-consuming and frustrating.)

While the rise of the DIY designer can be seen as detrimental to the design community, in this talk, Jenn explains why it is actually a godsend. Learn how this need is really an amazing opportunity for the design world; the exact benefits it can bring to us all; and practical tips on how you can be a part of this beneficial movement!

Jenn Murray is the Web Manager & Creative Director for the Allegheny County Division of Computer Services. Her days consist of design work, branding standards, and website update requests from the County’s various departments. (Plus lots of chocolate!)

In addition to her day job, Jenn recently transformed her own business to target the needs of the DIY designer. Specifically, those entrepreneurs who recognize quality design and its importance to their business – but can’t yet afford to hire a professional. Jenn is positioning herself as a go-to authority for resources, knowledge, and tools in this area.

When she’s not working, Jenn enjoys the Pittsburgh ballet, ballgames at PNC Park, bike rides, and belting out some tunes.

Next, we’re happy to have the return of Patrick Fulton, developer at Bearded in Pittsburgh

“Breaking Up With Media Queries”

Responsive Web Design ushered in one of the most fundamental shifts our industry has ever seen. Now, nearly six years since Ethan Marcott’s original article was published on A List Apart, we’ve begun to see RWD evolve. And, subsequently our processes, workflows, and tools have begun to evolve as well.

As developers and designers, we’re familiar with change being ever-present. As we address complex problems with solutions such as component-based design and development (aka Atomic Design), we’re faced with wondering: do our browsers’ viewport heights and widths really provide everything we need to inform our atoms, molecules, and organisms?

Enter: element queries – or, as we’ve recently reshaped them: container queries.

We’ll take a dive into what container queries are, how to use them, and when they might win out over our old friend the media query.

Patrick started building web sites in 1997, and never stopped. He takes pride in high-quality code, solving complex problems with simple solutions, and helping others. He is a frequent public speaker and writer on web development. Currently a developer at Bearded in Pittsburgh, Patrick is also co-organizer of Refresh Pittsburgh.