CFUnited 09

I have been to several CFUnited’s in the past, an CFUnited Alumni if you will. I am typically there to help Fusion Authority Quarterly Update, as I am the Creative Director and weirdly enough now know more CF people then almost anyone else. I am a designer who codes, not a hardcore CF developer like Ray Camden or Sean Corfield. (I secretly would love to be, but not sure I have what it takes — a logical mind) I’ve learned a lot about CF from making sure it all looks great from inside the comfort of InDesign. I’ve also learned a lot going to the conferences and sitting in on the sessions. Sean’s last year actually made perfect sense to me. Of course, Sean is an amazing speaker, so that helped. If he can make me understand Edmund, hey, anyone will get it.  🙂

This next year though, I finally made the speaker deadline and submitted 3 sessions and 2 BOF’s (birds of a feather). They put it up for a vote this year for the first time. As a past attendee, I really thought that was great. You can’t complain about the sessions if you helped pick them. So I submitted a Hands-on CSS session, and 2 Flash Catalyst sessions. I assumed of course that Catalyst might be out by August of next year. Ya never know though about betas and when they’ll be released. I had hoped for a public beta by then at least. I am pretty excited about Catalyst and am hoping it will do wonders for bridging the gap between designer and developer which is my current passion.

I submitted the Hands-on session for CSS because you can’t really learn something you aren’t touching, and these are developers, they need to touch some code, right? So what will they learn? Since CF developers spend a lot of time with tables, for data consumption only of course, we’ll make sure they can style a table first. Then we’ll go into how easy it is to lay out a page with pure CSS then styling navigation. If we can’t finish, we’ll end up in the bar or the pool coding CSS on napkins. 🙂

My 2 Flash Catalyst sessions aren’t picked so far, but the CSS one is. Yippee. It might take awhile for people to see the true benefit for Flash Catalyst. For me, right now, it’s a fantastic wireframing tool. Use Catalyst to lay out the page, then it can be handed to the developer in Flex to make it function, then when the artwork is ready, brought back into Catalyst then back into Flex without missing a beat. It’ll save tons of time making sure the app works correctly, and the client is happy. Since Catalyst takes a design from Photoshop Illustrator or Fireworks (not yet, but it will), the designer will feel like he/she finally gets the pixel perfect feel to their designs. Sounds great, right?

Now I have 2 BOF’s I need to decide from. My first is a Personal Brand BOF. There are a ton of things to make sure your personal brand is up to date. Why should you care? Are you kidding, in this economy, having a good personal brand can make the difference if you are hired by an employer, or if you are freelancing, it’s even more important. Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more? That isn’t all to a personal brand, but that’s a part of getting your name out.

My second idea for a BOF, I’ve blogged about before. I see developers complain about designers on blogs all the time. Wondering why they don’t design properly in the first place. Many of us work or have worked where we are the last to see the approved design, making our job more difficult when it comes to implementing the design. Some designers do the craziest things expecting us to make it happen. Can’t you do anything I design? Yes, but done correctly, and in a timely fashion, maybe not.  So whar I want to do is start a checklist for designers and a standards document that can be shared on the web like Google docs, and Adobe Buzzword. Then the developer can alter to meet his/her needs and had the designer and their boss/supervisor the checklist, and ask to be brought in before the client sees the work. That way we can make sure things are done in a way to make it easier for everyone.

For instance, not all designers understand for Usability purposes that a search box should always be in the upper right corner, or at least somewhere where the user n to look for it. Hey designers, CSS is big these days, we can use background images for many things, now if they have never looked into CSS, they wouldn’t understand. Maybe a few links to some CSS sites might help them understand. Hey, CSSZenGarden at the very least.

So, it’s a current fight of mine to do all I can to bring designers and developers together.

I’m really looking forward to CFUnited 09 it seems. Another reason is I get to see all my friends. Since I am a User group manager and a Community Expert, I know a lot of the guys, and girls from our Summit in San Jose, CA. With the lay offs at Adobe recently, I am not convinced that we are having a Summit this year. We also increased the managers and co-managers to the point where logistically meeting in person might be hard as well. I just saw many at MAX NA 2008, so that was great, but Summit and other conferences like CFUnited let me see the ones I don’t see otherwise. Adam Bell always does a Mini MAX at CFUnited, and I’ve never got there early enough to see it, so looking forward to having a Manager 2 Manager meeting at CFunited this year as well.

More to come later, and congrats to all my friends whose sessions were voted on and accepted as well.

See ya soon!

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