Our 5 Main Takeaways from Form Function & Class 7 Conference 2016

We recently attended <form> function() & .class web design conference , together with over 300 attendees to hear 10 amazing speakers on the latest insights in Business, UI/UX Design, and Front-End Development technologies.

4 of us from Minitheory, flew up to Manila, Philippines to attend the 2-day conference. We had great fun listening to the conference speakers, as well as meeting with the FFCPH organisers, and like-minded attendees.

Image from FFCPH

With so many great insights from the speakers over the course of the conference, here are our top 5 takeaways:

1. Lose the ‘tude. (You know nothing, Jon Snow) — on western companies going into, and designing for China.

Kendra Schaefer spoke on “Designing Cross-Cultural UI: Localising your Visual Interface”. She shared on how the visual language actually impacts the design, how colours, cultural indicators are secret codes and fonts are incredibly important.

An interesting takeaway was that apps with low colour saturation do not have as much on an impact in the Chinese market compared to one with brighter colours. Kendra recommends doing the following before embarking on your design:

  1. Looking at local designs,
  2. Identify design patterns, and cultural references
  3. Support your UX team with the knowledge.

Always look first before you make assumptions on what is a good design and a bad design for that culture.

2. Data visualisation for analysis is different from data visualisation for communication.

Mika Aldaba topic on designing with data-driving documents was an interesting one. She covered on how poorly designed data can lead to making bad decisions, and on the other end of the spectrum, how well designed data can help save lives. The main takeaway from her talk was to be as accurate as possible when designing data.

Combing facts + feelings = Data Storytelling

While free online tools are often limited in features, D3.js stands out particular for being great for creating interactive visualisations.

There are also two main key types of visualisations: scrollytelling and steeper, with scrollytelling being the preferred visualisation type. Mika also demostrated the differences between D3.js and Dimple.js.

3. Allow people to make mistakes. Clearly mark invalid fields. Enforce the minimum and not the maximum.

Very so often, we would hear cries of frustrations from people trying to fill out a form, and failing to complete it due to the bad form design. Chris Lienert shows us how we can mitigate the effects of bad form design.

In his talk, Chris gave a brief walkthrough on the current state of HTML 5 forms, touching on various input types before addressing bad form designs. A similar talk he gave in JSConf.Asia 2014 which can be viewed here.

Enforce the minimum, not the maximum.

4. You might not need redux.

One of the toughest issues when building Javascript apps is state management. Sacha Greif, creator of Telescope, Sidebar.io started by helping the audience understand how modern web apps work, what is a state and the three different types of state: local, global and server.

He also showed us Redux Bank, a simple banking app built with the Redux suite (React, Redux, and Semantic UI), to further illustrate using Redux to manage states. Despite the advantages of Redux, he ended his talk off by sharing an article written by Dan Abramov that you might not need redux.

5. Performance optimisation is a journey, not a destination.

Holger Bartel conducted the Masterclass “Front-end Performance and Optimisation” on Day 2.

He shared tips and tricks on how to supercharge your website/webapp to load faster and behave more reliably. He also shared a plethora of performance strategies, which consisted of optimisation techniques that would give your site the biggest boost for the least amount of effort, and other techniques that require a bit more time, effort, and testing to get the optimal results.

The biggest takeaway from his talk: Front-End Performance and Optimisation is a journey, and not a destination. A website/webapp requires constant optimisation.


We would highly recommend attending the FFC conference for it’s great value for money, and great speakers. Most of all, we had great fun too!

We will be heading to CSSConf.Asia & JSConf.Asia! If you are interested, use the promocode ‘FFC20’ or ‘MANILAJS’ to get a 20% discount off your ticket!


Minitheory is a digital design studio based in sunny Singapore with a particular focus on UI and UX design. We make software simple, based on how people think and behave.

Written By: Sylvia Ng and Jacob Tan 🐶