Sidebar Creative Web Design Master Class

What is the Web Design Master Class?

Think of it like a speed boost. Like getting the mushroom in the video game.

You’ll spend the day taking an in-depth look at how the Sidebar folks think when they approach the hard problems. Prepare to be inspired as you…

  • Take advantage of the coolest enhancements of HTML5 and CSS3 that will speed your production time and deliver stunning results.
  • Wrangle powerful lesser-known and underutilized functions of tools like Photoshop and Fireworks.
  • Learn new strategies for getting clients on the same page, plowing through projects faster, and producing awe-inspiring designs.
  • Vanquish your coding fears by conquering JavaScript with jQuery along with a storehouse of easy-to-learn techniques.

You’re new skills and mind-blowing techniques will make your peers assume you’ve acquired super powers. (We won’t tell them anything different.)

What makes this workshop special?

This is an intensive one-day clinic to fine tune your skills as a web designer.

We’ll walk you through new techniques and different approaches to front-end design and development. You’ll try them out right there, under the guidance of the Sidebar team. You can poke and prod, explore the boundaries, and master the tools. The unique blend of instruction and practice will ensure you bring home value. You can plan to put your new mastery to work the next day.

We’re keeping this master class small. Don’t expect a large ballroom with 564 other attendees looking at small people on a big stage. You’ll be up close and talking directly with Dan, Steve, Bryan, and Jon. When you have a question, they’ll look over your shoulder at the same code you’re talking about. This is all about you.

The day is an integrated workshop. Everything builds on what’s come before it. Each new technique and skill takes advantage of what you’ve just learned. Don’t expect four unrelated, disjointed topics. These guys have one goal for the day: to turn you into a master web designer.

Here’s just a taste of what you’ll learn:

Design Process

  • What are some simple strategies when defining your site’s branding and style?
  • Get the most from mood boards, to help capture the feel of the brand
  • Use color tools like Kuler to quickly get customers on board with a color palette they’ll love
  • Learn solid techniques for applying the brand to each part of the interface
  • See how to engage your clients in the up-front design process, saving you from re-doing your designs later
  • Surface your design ideas early to get client reactions and approval

Design Tool Workflow

  • What are some of the best Photoshop productivity tricks?
  • Discover new wireframing tricks to explore different page layouts
  • Discover layer comps, the incredibly useful (yet under-used) tool that let’s you store sets of layers within a single design file
  • Explore techniques for sharing common visual elements across screens
  • Increase your productivity with simple techniques for incorporating layer comp into your design workflow
  • Uncover little-known keyboard shortcuts to save important seconds throughout your workday
  • Learn techniques for keeping your design elements editable and flexible, ready to change at a moment’s notice (or your client’s whim)
  • Save precious moments on every project with Photoshop’s layer blending modes, blending options, and smart objects
  • How do you create and communicate a multiple-screen design?

Build Process

  • What’s the best way for you to incorporate progressive enhancement?
  • Learn how to build and test for the broadest compatibility
  • Determine how to draw the line between “works the same in all browsers” and when it’s okay for it to be different
  • See how to enhance the usability of your applications using CSS or JavaScript and when to consider which to use


  • When can you start using HTML5?
  • Discover what HTML5 encompasses and which parts you can start using now
  • Learn how to style HTML5 elements and avoid cross-browser incompatibilities
  • Discover how to combine HTML5’s data attributes with attribute selectors to provide hooks for CSS and JavaScript without having to use additional IDs or classes


  • How do you take advantage of CSS3 animations and transitions?
  • See how to time your transitions so they feel just right—not too fast and not too slow
  • Avoid traps and pitfalls that many first-timers make when trying to make CSS3 transitions work
  • How do you safely use CSS pseudo-elements?
  • Learn how to use CSS to insert images and text into your design that doesn’t need to live within your HTML document
  • Find out how pseudo-elements behave in older browsers to control your look and feel, no matter what your users are using
  • How can you release the powers contained inside CSS attribute selectors?
  • Find out how to use pattern matching to target specific selectors based on their attributes
  • Learn which browsers understand attribute selectors and how to work with browsers that don’t

Creating interactivity with JavaScript and jQuery

  • When should you create your own jQuery plugins?
  • Learn when including interactive components into your site can speed it up or slow it down
  • Explore the world of 3rd-party plugins that save you oodles of coding and debugging time
  • Discover how jQuery’s UI widgets and visual effects help you create awe-inspiring interactions
  • Learn the magic behind building your own time-saving jQuery plugin
  • What’s the most effective, up-front ways to organize your page designs?

So why wait? Now’s the best time to reserve your seat »