The conference in review

The organizers did a fantastic job putting on Rustbelt Refresh. The venue was the Louis Stokes Auditorium at The Cleveland Public Library, which suited the size of the audience.

Fifteen minute breaks between each talk gave ample time to catch up with each other as well as getting to talk to the presenters.

A nice touch was being given a Visa gift card to spend on the ample selection of great dining on the libraries doorstep. The after-party was held at The Corner Alley with free bowling.

The speakers were a great mix of local talent and “industry names”. Though some of the information was not new to me, all of the presentations did a great job of adding new takeaways to the mix.

Taken as a whole everything pointed to a resurgence in web design; breaking away from the today’s expected designs and opening the challenge to all us to take it to the next level.

Brad, Bridget, and Brad did Cleveland, and it’s web community proud. I’m looking forward to next years Rustbelt Refresh.

Jonathan Snook – Your CSS is a Mess

Jonathan took time to walk through some of his Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS (SMACSS) book.


  1. Categorization:
  2. Naming Conventions
  3. Decouple HTML & CSS

1) Base = resets / Layout = sidebar, main, etc. / Modules = buttons, widgets, “chunks” / States = active, default, disabled /  Theme = colors, graphics.

2) Specificity; rootnode = no hyphens. Be consistent. Sub-modules & sub-components.

3) Use child-selectors. Test each part on its own.

Don’t code CSS for the page; Code for the system.


Emily Lewis – Take Your Markup to 11

Emily’s presentation covered a lot of items I use on a regular basis; POSH, Microformats, Microdata, and ARIA. Also, anyone who uses a ‘This Is Spinal Tap" video clip and ‘Firefly’ references is good in my book.

If you don’t take the time to learn, you’re not doing your job.


  1. Use POSH (Plain Old Semantic HTML)
  2. <main> is now part of HTML5 
  3. Microdata is made up by itemtype & itemproperty
  4. Microdata has a “lot of bloat” compared to microformats
  5. Microdata and microformats can be used together and it won’t break anything; Rich Snippets consumes both.
  6. ARIA not needed for some of the HTML5 elements such as <main>

Makes no sense to throw frosting on crap

Emily has made all of the links she listed available at