The world of front-end development is progressing so fast that it’s impossible to keep up.

Or: Modern front-end development involves so many tools, frameworks and techniques that figuring out the bare minimum you need to know is an overwhelming barrier for new developers.

This is certainly how it feels some times.

These aren’t new sentiments — in fact, we’ve heard many excellent talks at Front-end London (and elsewhere) over the years about dealing with keeping up with the curve.

And it is true: front-end development is growing more complex, and with this complexity comes tools to help manage it.

However, what hasn’t changed are the fundamentals. As developers, our job is not to write code, it’s to help realise a vision that creates user and business value.

While the proliferation of build tools is exciting, is it really more important than understanding how and why users will be using what you’re building?

So rather than showcase the latest hot new framework on the block, we wanted this year’s EpicFEL to focus on some of the more human-centred aspects of development.

EpicFEL is the annual, full-day “mini conference” that’s grown out of the monthly Front-end Londonmeet-up. Over the course of a bright autumnal Saturday, we heard from seven speakers on a diverse range of topics (along with a brief interlude into the hilarious in the form of Tech Just A Minute).

The speakers all spoke from personal experience, with passion, honesty, humility and humour. They exhorted our industry to have empathy for our users and for our team members. They showed, utterly convincingly, how “mere” technology choices are rarely just technology choices — any given choice has the potential of becoming a barrier for users. They called for us to recognise that how we see ourselves and how we behave toward each other affect our productivity, our happiness, and, ultimately, the health of our industry.

But don’t take our word for it. Watch the talks!

Edd Sowden: Accessibility and how to get the most from your screenreader

Andy Davies: The case for HTTP2

Ben Scott: The step after styleguides

Emma Pratt: What the heck do I know?

Peter O’Shaughnessy: A hybrid app journey

Seren Davies: Death to icon fonts

Andrew Faraday hosts “Tech Just a Minute”

Lily Dart: Building stronger teams for better user experience

For us organisers — Andy, Fiona and myself — the day was a great success. We are constantly blown away by the brilliance of our community. We’re also pleased that others enjoyed the day. Cristiano Rastelli’s write-up made us blush.

A massive thanks to all the speakers, our sponsors, Futurice and Zebra People, and, of course, the attendees. The best part of nearly three years of organising Front-end London is the incredibly friendly and talented community that it springs from.

You can also check out some great photos from the day taken by @thealexmoyler.

Ilya Tulvio

Ilya Tulvio Technology Director

Ilya was tech director at Made by Many and believes in the potential for technology to empower and liberate. He started his first company as a teenager and studied computer science at university (only to drop out to run a software agency). He has worked as a cruise ship cleaner, a journalist and a web developer. His most dubious claim to fame is that he founded the first Finnish weblog.


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