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Our highlights from Pixel Pioneers 2024

Last week members of Mentor Digital’s front end and creative team attended Pixel Pioneers 2024. The day-long conference, hosted at Bristol’s MShed, covered a range of UX design and front-end topics across 8 curated talks.

In this blog, our lead front-end developer, Chester takes us through his conference highlights:

Modern CSS Layouts Is Awesome by Michelle Barker

Michelle Barker’s talk covered numerous CSS techniques we can use today and new features that are on the horizon. She charted the progress that has been made in terms of CSS layout from floats, tables and clearfix (blast from the past...) to grid, flexbox, and viewport units, towards looking at new ways of building CSS layouts.

Here are a few of the features that sprung out to me during the talk:

Overall, it was great to see a deep-dive on the modern CSS techniques we can use today; I’m already looking at how we can use these in future projects.

“It’s time to re-learn CSS layout!”

Michelle Barker

DVH = Dynamic Viewport Height

LVH / SVH = Largest / Smallest Viewport Height

“…context is everything…”

Ian Lloyd

‘Less Help’ More ‘Yelp’: When Accessibility Enthusiasm Actively Harms by Ian Lloyd

Ian Lloyd works for an accessibility audit team and his talk covered the main pitfalls developers had made while earnestly trying to make their websites more accessible, he covered three key topics:

The main theme I took away from this talk is we as developers can do more harm than good in a lot of scenarios and adding more accessibility features does not always improve accessibility, rather we need to look at the context and implement them with care.

“Embracing the Web Platform.”

Ryan Townsend

The Unbearable weight of massive JavaScript by Ryan Townsend

Ryan’s talk raised the question: Sites are trending towards getting slower and heavier, do we need to ship as much JavaScript as we currently do? He highlighted how we are prioritizing developer experience over user experience in terms of the technologies we are choosing.

He went over some practical approaches to how we can use less JavaScript, increase page speeds and in turn improve the user experience by using native web APIs, some of which include:

I found this talk useful to reflect on our use of JavaScript and to investigate how we can leverage out-of-the-box features in the browser more.

It was a fascinating day of curated talks; I enjoyed the day out to learn from others in the industry – see you next year Pixel Pioneers!