The Mojito Team Reports on W3Conf 2013

This post is written by two members of the Mojito team, Cynthia Li (@cynthiax) and Steven Lu (@luchenghan), who both attended the W3Conf 2013 last month. They were kind enough to share with us their favorite talks from the event. We hope you enjoy their dual perspectives.

W3Conf 2013
Photo credit to Jason Cartwright

We are new college graduates, who started at Yahoo! less than a year ago. This was the first professional conference we ever attended, and we were pretty excited to get the “I have standards” T-shirt. Right attitude!

Cynthia’s favorite talk: Léonie talking about web accessibility.

I met someone over the lunch break from National Industries for the Blind. He is from a non-technical background and don’t understand most of the talks at this conference. He came to this conference just for this particular talk.

Seeing Léonie use a screen reader “browsing” web pages, reminds me how I take everything for granted and easily forget to design for everyone.

In her talk, Léonie reveals a lot of the issues that users with disabilities face. How would you navigate your site if you had impaired vision. How might you navigate without a mouse, or with a screenreader. What happens then? Can people with disabilities access your content? Can they navigate the site? Can they fill in the forms? We need to ask ourselves these questions when designing. Accessibility is not too much to ask.

Steven’s favorite talk: Intentional Layout by Eric Meyer

I am a developer who likes to use tables and float in laying out my web pages. However, table is not meant to be part of styling, as it is one of the HTML elements, and HTML elements should be semantic. Yet I still use it to display visual rows and columns. Float is also meant to be floating an image around some texts, but I also use it to float some buttons and boxes. Often I can tweak using table and float to create all of the layouts I want. Even though they are not designed to be used in this way, I never really found a better solution. Eric Meyer addressed the issue that has implicitly become an habit in many developers.

After talking about a brief HTML history and the developers’ bad habits, Eric declared that it finally comes down to the Era of CSS layout. With the new CSS3 element type flexbox, developers can finally stop using HTML tables for formatting. With the new viewport units, vh and vw, it becomes much easier to develop websites across devices with various viewports. The W3C committee is also developing grid and region to give developers more and more layout options.

It is a very exciting news to all web developers since finally HTML can be a solely standalone markup structure and CSS can fully manage the styling of a web page. Life becomes much more logical.

Overall, this W3Conf was great and served as a news update for us. We got the chance to know upcoming HTML5 and CSS features as well as the direction of web platforms as a whole.