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Event Schedule

  1. Arrival Day

  2. Early registration/Badge pick-up

    Avoid the check-in line Monday morning by checking in Sunday night just outside the Grand Ballroom. We’ll be fully staffed to get you checked in for the event, and to answer any questions you might have. Be the first to get all the goodies and breeze straight into the ballroom the next morning!

  1. Day 1

  2. Attendee Event Check-in/Badge Pick-up

  3. Breakfast

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. The Fault, Dear Brutus (or: Career Advice From a Cranky Old Man)

    We have met the enemy, and he is us. Many of the professional problems we blame on boneheaded bosses and clueless coworkers actually come from ourselves. Identify career woes you bring on yourself, and learn to get out of your own way. Make yourself irreplaceable. For better meetings, better projects, and a better life, cultivate the professionally and emotionally healthy worker within. Plan for a long, deep career. See how improving your sales ability can make all the difference in your work and job. Employees, learn what to do when your work doesn’t reflect your best abilities. Freelancers, find out how to raise your profile and your rates. Master the side project, and use it to make deeper contacts in your community. Above all, free yourself to know (and speak) your mind. You’ll come away full of inspiring new ideas, and brimming with energy and enthusiasm for your work and the people it serves.

  6. Trees for the Forest: Designing the Details for Consistently Great User Interfaces

    Learn to fully appreciate the craft of designing for digital interfaces by examining the difference between design hacks and the real thing. We’ll unapologetically examine examples of bad user interface design as well as practical ways to tweak those designs to make them more effective. We’ll embrace subtle details by looking at how to design for contemporary aesthetic trends and user experience design patterns. Lastly, we’ll examine how design details impact the core intent, and we’ll see what it means in practice to add an extra 10% of UI polish to make a project truly great.

  7. Unified Design

    With multi-screen use progressively increasing among web users, creating a unified user experience across screens is imperative to our work. Responsive Web Design laid the foundation for designing multi-screen UX within the browser, and Unified UX aims to build on that foundation by unifying the entire internet experience—browser or not. This session examines what's required to deliver a unified, consistent user experience regardless of where the digital experience begins, continues, and ends. You'll learn how to unite your entire internet presence, not just your web presence, and you'll take away practical advice for creating unified user experiences and fostering a mindset of unity among your organization.

  8. Modern Layouts: Getting Out of Our Ruts

    In the early years of the web, there was a lot of variation and experimentation with where to put content on a web page. Then, it seems, we all settled into a handful of patterns and stayed there for over a decade. It wasn’t until the arrival of responsive design that new ideas for page layout started appearing. Now with new CSS properties for layout landing in browsers, we may be about to see a bigger renaissance in layout design patterns. How can we better use the space inside the glass rectangle? What layout innovations could help users better find and focus on what they want? Take a walk through where we’ve been, where we might be going, and how we can better design for the true medium at hand. This talk features practical examples of what's newly possible, along with access to a code repo for you to play with later.

  9. Content in a Zombie Apocalypse

    Friends, a zombie apocalypse is upon us: an onslaught of new mobile devices, platforms, and screen sizes, hordes of them descending every day. We’re outmatched. There aren’t enough designers and developers to battle every platform. There aren’t enough editors and writers to populate every screen size. Defeating the zombies will require flexibility and stamina—in our content. We’ll have to separate our content from its form, so it can adapt appropriately to different contexts and constraints. We’ll have to change our production workflow so we’re not just shoveling content from one output to another. And we’ll have to enhance our content management tools and interfaces so they’re ready for the future. Surviving the zombie apocalypse is possible, and Karen will explain how: by developing a content strategy that treats all our platforms as if they’re equally important.

  10. Laziness in the Time of Responsive Design

    As screens and input types evolve, we’re managing more complexity in our designs than ever before: our layouts are becoming more flexible and responsive; our interfaces, more immersive. Maybe we can look for simpler approaches? In this session, Ethan—a singularly lazy person—will walk through some responsive designs, and show how we might do a lot more with a little bit less.

  11. Facebook Recharge Lounge

    Recharge yourself and your devices, too! Facebook is hosting a recharge lounge in the Executive Room, right near the conference ballroom. To help you stay fully charged for An Event Apart, there will be espressos, cappuccinos, and other specialty coffees as well as power snacks. Grab a coffee and snack, settle in to a comfortable chair, and plug your devices into one of the charging stations!

  12. Opening Night Happy Hour

    If your brain isn’t completely full from the day of talks, stick around afterwards for An Event Apart’s Happy Hour featuring drinks and snacks provided by Slack, the messaging app for teams. Come meet and mingle with fellow attendees, compare notes, and relive your first fun-filled day in Chicago. Take a load off and relax–you earned it, plus it’s a perfect pre-dinner transition before you venture out into the night.

  13. Evening Session: ShopTalk Show LIVE!

    Join us right after Happy Hour back on the main stage for a special LIVE edition of ShopTalk Show with Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier, who will answer your questions about all things front end web design and development. As Chris and Dave warned us, things you're likely to experience include bad jokes, hot drama, strong opinions, and weird guests. Anything could happen—send us your questions here and don't miss it!

  1. Day 2

  2. Breakfast

  3. Morning Welcome

  4. Everyone’s in the Customer Service Business

    No matter what your job title might say, chances are everyday you have the opportunity to improve things for the users of your sites and apps. This talk is ostensibly about empathy in design and programming but seen through the lens of customer service, a thing every company strives to do better. Matt Haughey will examine the last 15 years of projects and groups he has worked with, from a time when he never interviewed a single user of an app he helped design, all the way to the present, where user interviews, transparent support, and support days for all staff is the norm. He will show you how, even if you weren’t born dripping with empathy for others, you can practice it in your work and improve the lives of everyone who uses your products.

  5. Designing Meaningful Animation

    Motion design has become a necessary skill for designing and building the modern web. The character and energy that motion brings to an interface is becoming as expected on the web as it is in other media. Great web animation comes from thinking like a motion designer and brand steward, matching the motion we add to our message and design goals. Learn key animation principles such as timing, offsets, and secondary action as they apply to interface design decisions—plus motion principles specific to designing animated interactions. Consider this your crash course on becoming a motion design pro!

  6. Top Task Management: Making it Easier to Prioritize

    In an age of increasing complexity, prioritizing will be a key skill. Anybody can add features or content. In fact, in this age of glut it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. Top Tasks Management helps you identify the top tasks in your projects (what really matters). Just as importantly, you'll discover the tiny tasks, the low-level tasks that flood designs and content pages, smothering simplicity and confusing your users with an ocean of features and content. Top Tasks Management is a method, developed over ten years of research, that will help you focus on what really matters in your projects, giving you the evidence to remove that which doesn't. It’s been used to great effect by organizations such as Cisco, Microsoft, Lenovo, Google, and the European Commission. Gerry will teach you how to identify the top and tiny tasks in your projects and you'll walk away with a strategy, giving you the ability to defend your decisions to your team and to management.

  7. Content in Context Is King

    When most people think of Responsive Design, they think of fluid grids and adapting the layout of components in a site or application. But design goes far beyond layout. How far? We will start by combining content, context, and behavior in ways that let us create truly responsive sites—sites that meet the needs of the people using them, when they’re using them, and how they’re using them. Learn how to use clues like time, location, proximity, capabilities, and preferences to create better designs for users. After accounting for the device’s form factor, capabilities, and features, we’ll look at context of use, and the art of anticipation, delivering a more thoughtful, more useful user experience for everyone.

  8. Designing for Crisis

    It's easy to design for the idealized user, someone who's smart, calm, and informed. It's less easy, and thus more important, to design for a more realistic user: still smart, but harried and uncertain. The best designs handle both with care. But how many designs can help a user who is completely in the dark and barely capable of rational thought? In this talk, Eric will draw on his personal and professional experience to explore examples of crisis-mitigating design successes and failures. In the process, he'll illustrate ways that you can and should consider the needs of users teetering on the edge of panic. Helping them will make your designs more relevant and useful for all your users.

  9. The Wonderful World of SVG

    SVG is vector graphics for the web. But fear not, at its heart it’s just a file format, and no harder to use than JPG, PNG, or GIF. If you aren’t yet using SVG, by the end of this talk you’ll not only be anxious to start, but empowered to do amazing things with it. Things like style it with CSS, animate it with JavaScript, or use it to build out an entire icon system for your site. And you’ll know you’re doing the right thing, because you’ll learn how efficient and accessible SVG can be.

  10. Facebook Recharge Lounge

    Recharge yourself and your devices, too! Facebook is hosting a recharge lounge in the Executive Room, right near the conference ballroom. To help you stay fully charged for An Event Apart, there will be espressos, cappuccinos, and other specialty coffees as well as power snacks. Grab a coffee and snack, settle in to a comfortable chair, and plug your devices into one of the charging stations!

  1. A Day Apart

    This full-day session follows An Event Apart and runs 9:00am-4:00pm on Wednesday, September 2. You can register online and save over $100 when you sign up for all three days.

  2. Responsive Web Design: Content, Code, and Collaboration

    Ready for responsive? It’s not just about layout anymore: a responsive redesign will uncover challenges with your current design, development, and publishing processes. Whether you’re just starting out or already in the thick of things, Karen and Ethan can help you make the move to mobile and beyond.

    Ethan coined the term “responsive web design” and his popular book on responsive design has been widely praised. Karen advocates for truly device-independent content in her book Content Strategy for Mobile. Together, they will help you understand the full scope of what’s involved in making a responsive project go smoothly.

    If you want to know how to launch a responsive redesign right, in this full-day learning session you’ll hear the collective wisdom gleaned from their work with dozens of companies that have already been through the process. This workshop is appropriate for designers, developers, content owners, and business stakeholders—anyone who participates in making a responsive redesign happen.

    A Day Apart will cover:

    • Our Multi-Device Future: Karen lays the groundwork for understanding why mobile and responsive design change the way that teams work together.
    • Responsive Design’s Flexible Foundation: Ethan explains how a flexible foundation aligns with the way the web works—and how your team needs to work.
    • Content Strategy for Mobile: Karen introduces a framework for helping to revise and evolve your content to support a responsive redesign.
    • Fundamentals of Responsive Layout: Ethan explains the core concepts behind responsive design in a way that everyone (not just developers) can understand.
    • Process and Performance: Ethan discusses how the design and development process must change, and why performance is everyone’s problem.
    • Responsive Design Governance: Karen describes how organizations roll out responsive, and how hiring, org structure, and workflow need to evolve.

Location

Westin Chicago River North 320 N. Dearborn Street Chicago, IL 60654

The Westin Chicago River North has arranged special room rates for An Event Apart attendees: just $265/night plus free in-room 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!