by Flo Preynat

I’m just back from Düsseldorf, having attended for the first time Beyond Tellerand, the now-famous web design conference organised by the now-equally-famous Marc Thiele.

I fully enjoyed it. For starters, the venue was a cracking one (Düsseldorf’s Capitol is a cool and beautiful venue for musicals, theater and other events), the hosts had it all planned out for a large audience (500 of us), the line-up was awesome (see my highlights below), and more importantly there were tons of booze (only half kidding).


It all started with a pre-conf warm-up party in the Altstadt, at the Coworking Space GarageBilk. I had the chance to make that one, since I was traveling from Brussels on Sunday. Quite a few beers and a night later, we were all set to make it into the Capitol for the first conf talks.

The conf being single tracked, there were no chances of missing out on cool stuff, and although I found the pace of the conference far from intense, it gave us all the chance to network and share our little geeky stories outside, under — most likely — the brightest sun seen at #btconf since its start.

Right, my highlights of the two-day Conference were (in no particular order):

  • Ethan Marcotte‘s “Laziness In The Time Of Responsive Design” prez. As a designer/front end dev spending most of its time thinking about responsive stuff, it obviously meant a lot seeing Ethan in the flesh.
  • Chris Coyier‘s “SVG Is For Everybody” talk which has got to convince you to jump on the svg bandwagon if you — like me — have yet to make that move.
  • Robin Christopherson‘s overwhelming talk on accessibility. “Technology – The Power And The Promise” is the name of the talk, and I can only encourage you to look it up as you’ll learn a thing or two, and will defo be willing to put more thoughts on accessibility when starting a new design. By far the most touching talk from Robin. The kind of ending that make you want to rush back home and hug your kids.
  • Daniel Mall putting your good ol’ waterfall methodology to sleep and leveraging collaboration between ux, design and development, and showing us the many tools/processes he uses during his small and large responsive projects. Very thorough and detailed.
  • Jonathan Snook‘s review of the smacss methodology. You had to love the “don’t code css for the page, code css for the system” quote. CSS isn’t such of a mess when you modularize, isolate and refactor after all. Side note: I was kind of glad to hear Jonathan’s code bloat remark when inappropriately using extends, which I tend not to use all over the place for that very same reason.
  • Karen McGrane‘s “Content in a Zombie Apocalypse” was very entertaining and since I spent quite some time to move some very important content from a pdf file to a presentation-independent digital format this afternoon, I was wondering throughout the day when our content would indeed be ready to be burned on delicious toasts, …classic quote from Karen yesterday.
  • Typography is far from the most exciting subject to me. I was however mega chuffed to have been there for Erik Spiekermann‘s “Type Is Visible Language” talk. Very enlightening and entertaining.
  • finally Jon Burgerman‘s crazy and hilarious creative talk on his art, life and jacket.

What a community

I had the chance to make small talk with Ethan and Chris, those guys are real rock stars to us, ain’t they. As I mentionned it to Chris late on Monday night: we are so lucky to be living (as in growing, working and round we go) in such a fucking cool community.

Guys like all those great speakers, and the many more other amateurs out there, all ready to share their work, is what makes us grow. I personnally know what I’m talking about (I graduated in mechanical engineering) and today, I live off playing all day with html, css and more…


Beyond Tellerand was awesome. Good talks, great time, and way affordable.
In five words: See you next year btconf.

Kudos to Marc and the rest of his squad!


My name is Flo Preynat and I am the freelance webdesigner and developer behind shoogle designs. I live in France and specialize in responsive web design. Give me a shoogle or get in touch with me on twitter.

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