Design on Rails for Usability

10:45–11:30 Thursday, 4-09-2008
Location: Saal Maritim B Level: Intermediate
Average rating: **...
(2.23, 26 ratings)

… Or why designers should start to understand code and developers should start to sketch and use design methods.
When we talk about web developers and designers, we often talk about two “species”. Here the “nerds” and there the “artists” – it seems like a big gap to bridge …
Here the rails developers with their own design principles and methods to create elegant and beautiful code – there the designers creating stunning graphics and CSS powered layouts and color concepts.
But it’s not only about writing elegant code and changing colors or layout: When we design web or mobile applications we have to design user interaction. Developers and designers have to work closely together to create user interfaces with great usability and stunning overall user experience.
So, within the session we’ll focus on the two faces of the same usability coin:

- What rails developers should learn from designers: Methods, like

  • Sketching and mapping to visualize ideas and concepts,
  • Dealing with wicked problems,
  • Using Occam’s razor, or
  • Building mock-ups and rapid prototyping.

- What designers should learn from developers and the rails framework: Best practice user interaction design with rails, like

  • Telling users what they did wrong – by providing direct user feedback through validations and smart error handling,
  • Keeping the users informed about results, errors or useful tips – by using and improving the rails flash message system,
  • Showing the users where they are – by using elegant routing to guide them,
  • Interacting with users when they have to wait for results – by using animations and AJAX to spin wheels or progress bars,
  • Taking users where they want to be – by using smart ways in direct addressing users from specific referrers.
Photo of Christian Lupp

Christian Lupp


There are always two hearts beating inside Christian: He loves typography and sketching as well as system engineering and computer science. He holds a master’s degree in system-design and also graduated as a technology-and-innovation-manager from the University of Kassel, Germany. As a lecturer in the field of mobile application design he worked with postgraduate students at the Zurich University of Art, Switzerland.
As an entrepreneur and co-founder of a successful design and consulting company he worked on bringing the user-centered-design focus into a technology-driven mobile telecommunications industry in the early days of mobile business. These days he bridges the gap between design and development as the founder of codedifferent by creating mobile and web innovations in interdisciplinary teams with the help of Ruby on Rails.

News and Coverage
co-presented by Ruby Central, Inc. O'Reilly
  • Engine Yard
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Brightbox
  • ELC Technologies
  • T3N

Sponsor Opportunities

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at RailsConf Europe, contact Yvonne Romaine at

Press and Media

For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings at

Contact Us

View a complete list of RailsConf Europe Contacts