I gave a talk at DrupalCamp Chicago on front-end style guides over the weekend and it was a really cool experience. It was about a 45-minute presentation, with some really good Q&A (how do you get started transitioning from CSS to Sass on a project? At what point in the process do you build front-end style guides? How do you test what you have?, etc.) with some very engaging and smart people.
I'm the type of person who will go to a conference or workshop and try to soak up as much as possible and take notes so I'll remember what I heard when I leave. Taking the time to share what I know gave me a chance to talk about some of these ideas and best practices with people outside of my team and find out how others work.
Over the past year I've been fortunate enough to go to DrupalCon in Portland, An Event Apart in Chicago, some really underated Chicago Camps (i.e. prototype camp) and SassConf in NYC. These super specific conferences, like DrupalCon or SassConf are infinitely valuable because chances are, the topics are something that directly relate to you and will more than likely change how you work. And higher-level conferences like An Event Apart allow you to get a pulse of how web design is changing and the direction that its headed.
Talks at web conferences tend to focus on the "why" and not the "how". You only have an hour or less so your mission is to pitch a change in mindset and encourage an audience to go explore more about the subject on their own time. And the audience's job is really to get as many insights as possible on an idea (whether it's automated testing or instituting a workflow change for responsive design) and see if it is something that would improve their work.
Because of this, the best talks tend to be the ones that get you excited or get you to think a little bit differently. And with a subject material like web design that changes constantly. On the other hand, full-day workshops that last all day are an excellent way to really dive into a topic and pick up a working knowledge before you leave.
Sharing what I knew today was a positive experience, mostly because the open-source community is so welcoming. If you're interested, the slides from my talk are below.
Work hard. Don't be an asshole. Share what you know. - Brad Frost