Refresh Pittsburgh

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

Next Meetup:

March 16 / 6:30pm

Left Field Meeting Space

“Enabling Collaboration”

Ben Callahan

“Let’s Work Together”

Brad Frost

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March 2017 Meetup!

Please join us on Thursday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. for our March meet-up!

This month, we’re returning to 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 here so we know how many people to plan for.

Afterward, we’ll head downstairs to Beerhead Bar to hang out, grab some drinks, and talk shop (as we always do). Beerhead Bar is located at 110 Federal Street – almost directly below Left Field Meeting Space.

This month, we’ll have talks from Ben Callahan of Sparkbox and Brad Frost.

“Enabling Collaboration”

Most of us have learned the hard way that technical projects don’t fail for technical reasons. Politics, egos, misunderstandings … working with people is a messy business. And yet, every experience we create alongside our human clients is intended to make life a little better for a human user. These things are only possible through collaboration. This presentation will focus on the things each of us can do to create a culture which enables healthy collaboration. From the sales cycle to the push to production, we’ll hit on topics relevant to making collaboration possible for you and your team.

President of Sparkbox and founder of the Build Right workshop series, Ben shares his ideas about the web on the Sparkbox Foundry and other leading industry blogs. He’s incredibly grateful for the team at Sparkbox as they pioneer new responsive web design techniques and he continues to push for great user experiences outside the context of specific devices. You can find him speaking around the worldrambling on Twittertinkering with his personal site, or splitting wood in his backyard for next winter.

“Let’s Work Together”

Nobody works alone in a vacuum, and successful work hinges on how well a team communicates and collaborates with each other. This talk will explore many methods, tools, and techniques teams use to produce great web experiences. How do front-end development teams make sure they write clean and consistent code together? How do designers ensure colors, typography, and other design elements are used correctly? What deliverables should be created in an effective web design process? How are decisions communicated with the team, stakeholders, and the broader organization? There are no “right” answers to these questions, but this talk will cover some important principles and helpful tactics to help your team make great work together.

Brad Frost is a web designer, speaker, writer, and consultant located in beautiful Pittsburgh, PA. He’s passionate about creating Web experiences that look and function beautifully on a never-ending stream of connected devices, and is constantly tweeting, writing and speaking about it. He’s the author of Atomic Design, and has also helped create several tools and resources for web designers, including This Is Responsive, Pattern Lab, Styleguides.io, WTF Mobile Web, and Mobile Web Best Practices.

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February 2017 Meetup!

Please join us on Tuesday, February 21 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 Ethics of Web Design in 2017: How We Can Do Our Best with Randy Oest:

There are a lot of engineering marvels coming out of the technology industry every day and this breakneck pace of disruption is effecting everything. Unintended consequences of design, engineering, and workflow can wreak havoc in the lives of real people—users, clients, and coworkers alike. In this talk we’re going to slow things down to consider not if we can do a thing, but how we should best do a thing.

This presentation will examine the impact of the work that we do on several groups:

  • Our responsibility to users (and the wider world)
  • Our responsibility to our clients (and them to us)
  • Our responsibility to our coworkers (including bosses and employees)
  • Our responsibility to our communities (Drupal and open source in general.)
  • And lastly, our responsibility to ourselves.

At the end of this presentation, attendees should be inspired to keep the conversation going in the hopes of making the world a better place, even if it is one small piece at a time.

Randy Oest is a designer, thinker, and teacher. He works for Four Kitchens as a Designer and Frontend Engineer, is an avid Star Trek fan, plays too many board games, and bought his mother an iPad so that he wouldn’t have to fix her computer anymore.

June 2014 Meetup!

After a few months off, we’re back!

Please join us on Tuesday, June 24 for the next Refresh Pittsburgh at Left Field Meeting Space, 116 Federal Street, on the North Shore. We’ll be starting at 6:30 pm. When you get to the building, walk through the large, glass doors that say “Smith Brothers Agency” and take the elevator to the 4th floor. The front doors will automatically lock at 7:15!

We have two great presentations lined up for the evening including Russell Dunkin from Fort Henry Capital, and Eric Davis from Elliot & Davis, PC!

To make sure we have enough space for everyone, please reserve your seat by grabbing a FREE ticket from our Eventbrite page: http://refreshpgh062014.eventbrite.com.

Financial Planning for Freelancers

Russell Dunkin, Certified Financial Planner & Partner at Fort Henry Capital

Working for yourself presents many challenges, but also many benefits to take advantage of. The traditional approach to financial planning and investments typically doesn’t work for those with uneven cash flows, or multiple businesses. We’ll review the top things you should consider with your personal finances as well as the things you should avoid.

Russell Dunkin is a native of Wheeling, where he currently resides. A graduate of Capitol University, Columbus, Ohio, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree in 1998. He has been a certified financial planner since 2007.

After 16 years as an advisor, Russell took the plunge and opened his own firm in 2014. He and his business partner, Jeremy Lowe, operate Fort Henry Capital, located at 48-14th Street, Wheeling, West Virginia.

An active community member, Russell has served as president of OV Connect for two terms, 2013 and 2014. He is a past treasurer of Laughlin Memorial Chapel, Ohio Valley Jaycees and Russell Nesbitt Services, Inc., all of Wheeling.

He is an avid runner, having completed six marathons. He and his wife Christine have one daughter, Aubrey.

Learn to Decode Legalese!

Eric S. Davis, Managing Partner, Elliott & Davis, PC

Attorney Eric Davis has worked with start-ups, entrepreneurs, designers and technologists for much of his career. He’s seen it all. Let Eric answer your legal questions: incorporation, contracts, collections, immigration and cyberlaw. The talk will involve a discussion of liability, tax, entity formation and contract law basics that will be relevant to every designer and developer.

Eric Davis is the Managing Partner of Elliott & Davis, a twelve Attorney, full-service law firm based in Pittsburgh. He specializes in working with start-up and technology businesses. Eric has a lot of experience working with developers and designers. If you look to your right and left at this talk, it is likely that one of those people is a client of his firm.

Elliott & Davis is a law firm that is organized under collectivist principles and this interesting form of organization has enabled the firm to attract the finest Attorneys and build a loyal and connected client community. Simply put, Elliott & Davis walks the walk when it comes to organizing itself from the ground up to be an extremely positive place. Such forward thinking and business awareness could bring a unique perspective to how you approach legal issues. Given the amount of time Eric has put into creating business processes designed to create happier lawyers and happier clients, and incorporating this thinking into organizational documents, contracts, invoices, client communications and marketing, he might be able to provide insight to you about a healthy approach for dealing with legal aspects of your business.

Eric is recognized as a leader in providing corporate, business and tax counseling to privately-held companies, including representing clients in transactions involving equity and debt financing, formation and start-up, raising capital, sales, mergers and acquisitions, technology licensing, and information technology. Eric is also at the forefront of the social enterprise movement and has worked with many of the B-Corporations, Worker Owned Cooperatives, Social Enterprises, Nonprofits and other do-gooder types of organizations in the area. He teaches lawyers about how to form nonprofits and social enterprises and is always willing to lend a hand to people trying to make the world a better place or advance the legal profession. This talk will provide an opportunity to get some insight about legal issues you will probably face and give you the chance to meet Eric and get some free legal advice.

Check out the attendees list for this month’s meetup on Lanyrd!

September 2013 Meetup!

Please join us on Thursday, September 26 for the next Refresh Pittsburgh at Left Field Meeting Space on the North Shore.

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

To make sure we have enough space for everyone, please reserve your seat by grabbing a FREE ticket from our Eventbrite page: http://refreshpgh092013.eventbrite.com/.

We have two great presentations lined-up for the evening including Drew Parroccini from Elliance, and Jim Homme from Bender Accessible Technology Services.

Responsive Email: Bringing Your Email Newsletters Out of the Stone Age

Drew Parroccini, Front-end Web Developer, Elliance

We’ve beaten the responsive web to death, but what about your fixed-width email newsletters? Drew will show you how to build responsive email templates that look appealing on your mobile devices.

Drew is a graphic designer turned front-end developer, and has been in the war against bad code for nearly ten years. Currently with Elliance, he is responsible for building large responsive solutions for .edu websites. Drew is a lover of craft beer, rock climbing and cycling.

Web Accessibility For Everyone: It Ain’t Rocket Science

Jim Homme, Manager of Bender Accessible Technology Services

Web accessibility has something for everyone. What’s in it for you?

Jim has over 24 years of experience in information technology. He has worked on a wide-ranging variety of technologies, which include Java, Lotus Notes, HTML, JavaScript, PHP, MYSQL, Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Office, multiple packaged development/technology toolkits, in addition to legacy mainframe technologies. Jim has served most recently as accessibility subject matter expert on a team that included Highmark, Inc. executives, management and staff and consultants from IBM.

In addition to many other clients, Jim has consulted with Bayer Corporation to roll out the introduction of JAWS as a remote Citrix server application on more than 20 servers, without any interference with the systems, so that a blind Oracle database administrator could administer critical databases. Jim was on the private beta team for JAWS including JAWS version 12. He is the first blind person in the world to receive a certification in Lotus Notes development. Jim speaks on the subject of technology accessibility to many audiences including private sector companies, community groups and academic institutions, including Duquesne University.

Check out the attendees list for this month’s meetup on Lanyrd!

August 2013 Meetup!

Please join us on Thursday, August 15 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 through the large, glass doors that say “Smith Brothers Agency” and take the elevator to the 4th floor. The front doors will automatically lock at 7:15!

We’re consolidating our RSVP system and we’re using tickets for this meeting. To reserve your seat at the August meeting, grab a free ticket from our Eventbrite page: http://refreshpgh082013.eventbrite.com.

We have two great presentations lined-up for the evening including Heather Migliorisi from The Oncology Nursing Society in Pittsburgh, and Rob Harr from Sparkbox in Dayton, Ohio:

User Testing: The Secret Sauce to Great Meetings

Heather Migliorisi,  Web Designer, The Oncology Nursing Society

We’ve all been there. In a conference room with a few colleagues from the IS team and a few from the Marketing team where both teams are adamantly trying to get the other to concede to their ideas for the website.

See how user testing can take the tug-of-war power struggle between opposing teams and turn it into constructive planning by focusing on what the user’s needs are.

Heather Migliorisi has been in the web field since 2000. She’s designed/developed everything from Flash CD’s (ugh) to E-learning courses to Websites. Currently, Heather is a Web Designer (emphasis on RWD and UX) for the Oncology Nursing Society in Pittsburgh.

Let’s Be Brutally Honest About Operations and Pricing for Web Agencies

Rob Harr, Technical Director, Sparkbox

Let’s face it – most of us running web shops did not study business. We just love building things, so we started companies where we could build on our own terms. Unfortunately, being a great builder of web things does not necessarily equip us to make sound business decisions.

Co-managing Sparkbox the past five years, I’ve made plenty of mistakes. From an operations and pricing perspective, let’s discuss what didn’t work and what is working for us at Sparkbox. We’ll talk about different pricing strategies, work estimates, and how we run business operations. My hope is that you can learn from our mistakes – and our successes.

This will be a brutally honest discussion, so please come armed with questions.

As Technical Director for Sparkbox, Rob is responsible for operations and leading the development team. On any given day, Rob meets with prospective clients, writes code, or continues to lead the charge in improving development process. Sparkbox has become known as a leader in responsive web design and custom software solutions.

Check out the speaker list for the Refresh Pittsburgh – August 2013 Meetup on Lanyrd!