Web Directions Code 2018

21st August 2018

By The Code Company

The Code Company went to Web Directions Code! This Australian conference specialises in JavaScript developers and front end engineers, bringing together some of the best minds to solve problems, discuss the future of coding, and more.

Our own Jean Loureiro and Ivan Goncalves attended the conference this year, and are sharing the experience and what they’ve learned.

Setting the scene

The iconic Arts Centre Melbourne lies right in the middle of the city, beside Flinders Street Station and at the heart of excellent cafes, restaurants, and other eateries. Our team enjoyed the backdrop of the event, and were never at a loss for where to grab a good cup of coffee in the mornings.

“The food and drinks were spectacular.” – Ivan

It was here that our developer/project managers met some amazing coders, mentors, pioneers in development, and a hilarious Jason O’Neil, who complains “Your webpage never listens to me.”

Major takeaways

How to make the web accessible for everyone

“Every feature that I work on from now on I will be thinking of accessibility, and thinking of people with difficulties and how we can help them.” – Jean

Many of us are fortunate enough to have the full use of all of our senses, but plenty of people who need to access the web have problems that most developers overlook. An estimated 253 million people live with some form of vision impairment, and may have trouble navigating a website.

It’s our responsibility to make the web accessible for everyone. We learned how to code with considerations for individuals who are color blind, and make it easy for everyone to find what they’re looking for.

Balance optimism and reality

We pour our hearts and souls into our websites, creating them as if nothing will ever go wrong. We forget about the worldwide problem of poor Internet connections and slow load times. When we do consider users’ offline experience, we slap a bandage on by creating a simple “cannot connect” message.

But we can do better.

At Web Directions Code, we learned how to optimise the offline experience, to delight the user despite a bad (yet unavoidable) situation. We discussed silent failures, fault-tolerance, and how not to spam users with a “you’re now connected” notification.

Stop ignoring your foundations

Developers are “ignoring” the foundation of the web, like HTML and CSS. We learned how going back to the basics contributes to overall best practices, and how to get the most of laying strong foundations.

Tips from Jean

  • Build websites around the scores of WebPageTest and LightHouse.
  • Concentrate on the 4 most important items that helps you rank on Google;
    1. Last Metric Hero
    2. First interactive
    3. Start render
    4. User Timing

Going beyond development

Finally, we discussed life after development. This is where all of the leaders of the industry were once afraid to venture into.

For some developers, the natural progression was to take on PM roles. For others, they needed to take on technical lead positions.

“I will apply what I learned in Web Directions to the work I do in every TCC project. I will also try to pass on what I learned to my co-workers when chatting about new ideas and putting them into practice.” – Ivan

In the end, we learned how vital it is to continue leveling-up our skills as developers, as well as our overall skill sets and careers in order to serve The Code Company clients at our best.