An Event Apart: “’Til Launch Do Us Part”

Dan Mall speaking at An Event Apart Orlando 2018 on October 9, 2018

From one designer to a front-end developer: I’m so grateful for you. You take my pretty pictures and turn them into real-live websites and applications; you convert ideas and sketches into real things that people can use. And even despite that superpower, you rarely get the respect you deserve. It’s time for that to change. No longer will I throw my comps over the proverbial wall for you to blindly build. I’ll change my process for you. Let’s sketch together more to be more efficient and effective as a team. Let’s decide in the browser more. I’ll learn to write JSON for you. Let’s share stories about new, more modern ways of shipping products at higher quality in record time. This is gonna be great!


  • Topics:
    • Changing work dynamics
    • More respect for front-end developers
    • Designers and engineers as collaborative partners
  • “How to Sell Cocaine” — Dead Drop
    • Wire your money to an offshore bank account. After the payment is verified, you’re told a location to go pick up your drugs.
    • No physical encounter ever occurs.
    • This is the best way to do transactions; you reduce your chances of physically getting caught.
  • Zeplin — tool for handing off designs to be converted to code
  • Replace Zeplin with talking
  • Manifesto for Agile Software Development
  • Team: (developers are the only ones producing the actual software)
    • Information architects — diagrams (documentation)
    • Copywriters — documents (documentation)
    • Strategists — briefs (documentation)
    • Product managers — requirements (documentation)
    • Designers — comps (documentation)
    • Developers — code (software)
  • When it comes to making web products, front-end development is more important than visual design.
  • Are HTML & CSS as important as JavaScript?
  • When it comes to making web products, front-end languages are more important than back-end languages.
  • A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.
  • It’s time to rebrand the front-end developer
    • Move front-end developers off the dev team, put them on the design team, and start calling them designers
    • Old
      • Not useful skills
      • Not “real” programmers
    • New
      • Important
      • Not programming, but something equally as valuable
      • Involved in product vision
      • Involved in creating user interface
  • Front-end developers should be leading the charge on new projects
    • Everyone else on the team should be asking “Developer, what do you need now?”
  • Usually the only time where all hands are on deck is at the end of a project — If you move all hands on deck to the beginning of a process, you get more benefits of collaboration earlier on
  • Spot comp — a comp of just a spot on the page
  • Designers usually have issues with this process
    • Ego
    • Identity — designers lose their identity when you change the process, so let’s give them a new identity
  • Project Aristotle
    • “Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions.”
    • Kick off team meetings by sharing a risk taken in the previous week

Speaker Links and Resources