The design conference for people who make websites.
An Event Apart Chicago is an intensely educational learning session for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design. If you care about code as well as content, usability as well as design, An Event Apart is the conference you’ve been waiting for. Join us for twelve great speakers and sessions, plus an optional day-long workshop on multi-device web design.
AEA Chicago will be held at the Westin Chicago River North, which has arranged special room rates for An Event Apart attendees. Full Details
General on-site registration for badge pick-up takes place on the afternoon before the first day, and throughout the event.
Leave the brown bag at home! Breakfast, a hot lunch and snacks on both days, access to all parties, and a bag of swag are all included with your conference registration.
The Ten Commandments of Web Design
Thou shalt ship. Thou shalt iterate. Love thy reader as thyself. Like their biblical predecessors, the ten commandments of modern web design can inspire us to be and do better. Learn to think noncanonically about responsive layouts, to avoid bearing false visual witness, to keep the content holy, and more.
Strong Layout Systems
CSS has been the web’s core presentation language for at least a decade, and yet it has always lacked the one thing you would instinctively expect a presentation language to possess: a strong layout system. In its absence, we latched onto floats as would a drowning man and then proceeded to pile on hack after hack after hack. There’s no denying the strategy was effective, but now that era is drawing to a close. With the recent work of the CSS Working Group and multiple vendors, strong layouts are coming to a browser near you; in fact, depending on your specific situation, they may already be here. We’ll explore the fast-emerging CSS enhancements that will one day allow us to sneer at floats the way we sneer at tables today.
The Nimble Process: Think Before You Design
Design processes vary from person to person, but there is always room to improve and evolve the way we work. We have many tools to help us achieve polished designs earlier than ever now, but many times knowing which tool or method to choose when can influence the strength of our ideas. Is analog better that digital? At what point do you start working in a browser instead of Photoshop? Learn how getting ideas out quickly through prototyping, sketching, and iteration can help you work and test more quickly, while also working smarter.
It’s a Write/Read (Mobile) Web
On the surface, content is king online. But digging deeper into the underbelly of the web reveals a complex ecosystem of communication and contribution that shapes the web and how we interact with it. What lessons can we learn from the web’s inner workings as we move to a mobile-driven, multi-device internet? Luke will not only lift the covers on where we need to focus our efforts but share lots of practical advice on how as well.
Big Data UX
Big data is helping many companies become smarter. Now it's empowering UX practitioners to see patterns in mountains of data that would otherwise be underused or overlooked. Customer feedback, trends in support issues, analytics, usability test notes, customer interview transcripts, tweets, blog comments and more can be connected and searched to find serious flaws in designs and inform the next iteration. Research has always been a core part of the UX workflow, but after a study ends, the wisdom gained often slips into obscurity and is never seen again. Aarron will teach you how to centralize all research data and stream new sources into the pool so you can learn more about your audience and make smarter design decisions.
The Map & The Territory
When we create for the web, we participate in a kind of public art. We code, we design, we build for an audience, shaping digital experiences that provide a service, or that create joy, or that simply connect readers with words written half a world away. But in this session we’ll revisit what we’ve learned about responsive design, and ensure our content, not just our design, is readily accessible to them wherever and whenever they are. In doing so, we’ll look at some ways in which our audience reshapes the way we think about our medium, and see where they might be leading us—and the web—next.
Opening Night Party
Media Temple’s opening night parties for An Event Apart are legendary. Join the speakers and hundreds of fellow attendees for great conversation, lively debate, loud music, hot snacks, and a seemingly endless stream of grown-up beverages.
The Long Web
The pace of change in our industry is relentless. New frameworks, processes, and technologies are popping up daily. If you're feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. Let's take a step back and look at the over-arching trajectory of web design. Instead of focussing all our attention on the real-time web, let's see which design principles and development approaches have stood the test of the time. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, but those who can learn from the past will create a future-friendly web.
As famed Chicago architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe liked to say, "God is in the details." Thoughtful handling of UI details—from frequently used features of your site to corner cases—is a lovely way to delight your users and practice true web craftsmanship. Learn from dozens of UI examples from a variety of contexts and explore how and why they work. You'll come away with specific techniques you can use in your own work, along with inspiration to sweat the small stuff.
The Post-PSD Era
For years, we’ve shown printed-out mockups to the powers that be and confidently proclaimed, "Here's what your website will look like!" But in this multi-device age, it’s literally impossible to articulate every environment, resolution, user preference, and circumstance in a static environment like Photoshop. The web landscape has changed, and our design process needs to evolve with it. In this tip-packed session, Brad will dive into how adaptive web design is changing every aspect of the design process, why rigid waterfall processes must die, what Post-PSD Era deliverables look like, and how true collaboration is more important than ever.
The Mobile Content Mandate
You don’t get to decide which device people use to access your content: they do. By 2015, more people will access the internet via mobile devices than on traditional computers; in the US today, nearly one-third of people who browse the internet on their mobile phone say that’s the only way they go online. It’s time to stop avoiding the issue by saying “no one will ever want to do that on mobile;” chances are, someone already wants to. In this session, Karen will discuss why you need to deliver content wherever your customer wants to consume it, and explain how to get started with your mobile content strategy—defining what you want to publish, what the relationship should be between your mobile and desktop site, and how your editorial workflow and content management tools need to evolve.
As web professionals, our jobs require more cross-team collaboration than ever, and that means it’s getting tougher to delineate our disciplines. When was the last time you did “just” design, content, or code? It’s no longer an option to only care about what’s on your plate. Drawing from her experience as a “content therapist,” Kristina will share insights about how curiosity, empathy, and shared ambition will help us all build a better web.
It’s a Great Time To Be a UX Designer
After years of wishing we’d be recognized and appreciated for the value we bring, we designers are now highly sought after. The demand for great design has never been higher! Yet, while we’re presented with more opportunities than ever, we also face increased challenges. Mobile design requires us to rethink how we design for screens and interaction. Agile methodology forces us to critically reevaluate best processes and techniques. Learn how we can deliver world-changing designs while our own world is dramatically shifting under our feet.
The Web Everywhere: Multi-Device Web Design
The web no longer starts and ends on our desktop and laptop computers. Today, the tremendous growth of mobile devices is turning more and more people into multi-device and, as a result, cross-device users. Designing for this reality requires new ways of thinking and building for the web.
Join Luke Wroblewski, author of Mobile First (A Book Apart, 2012), for an up-to-the-minute, in-depth look at today’s multi-device ecosystem. Learn how mobile provides a foundation for this new reality, how to build on this foundation to reach an ever-increasing set of devices, and where the web will take us next.
Packed with all-new material, this is an absolutely essential workshop for anyone designing digital experiences in today’s rapidly changing multi-device environment.
This full-day workshop follows An Event Apart Chicago and runs 9:00am-4:00pm on Wednesday, August 28. You can register online and save over $100 when you sign up for both An Event Apart and the workshop.
Note: The workshop is not a hands-on learning session; 300 or more people typically attend.
The VenueWestin Chicago River North 320 N. Dearborn Avenue Chicago, IL 60610
The Westin Chicago River North has arranged special room rates for An Event Apart attendees: just $249/night plus free internet for the duration of your stay. Call (312) 744-1900 and request the “An Event Apart special rate.” Limited rooms are available at this rate, so don’t delay.
The Westin Chicago River North offers refined accommodations and magnificent views of the Chicago River that will leave you feeling rested and recharged. The hotel is nestled in the heart of the business and theatre districts, trendy restaurants, and art galleries. Guests enjoy scenic views and an ideal location just steps from Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park. This AAA Four Diamond Award winning hotel is a completely smoke-free environment and offers delicious restaurants and a gym. Best of all, it’s the site of the conference. You can walk out of your room and into the show!