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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 at our registration desk in the 4th floor foyer. 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. Icon Design Process

    Icons are more than just pretty decorative graphics for sites and applications; they are little miracle workers. They summarize and explain actions, provide direction, offer feedback and even break through language barriers. Whether you design icons yourself or just need to be able to work with them, this session will take you through the whole process of designing and deploying resolution-independent icons—from the initial brief, to choosing the format or method to deploy them. On the way, it will cover choosing the right metaphor, achieving visual balance, and using SVG for scalable and lightweight distribution.

  7. Designing for Social Behavior

    Love it or loathe it, social media has been burned into everything we do. Once more, it’s fallen on the head of the trusty, multiple-hat-wearing web designer to become a social engineer. In addition to everything else we do, it’s now our job to design strategies and integrate them into our projects. It’s not just about connecting these services to our apps or websites. It’s about knowing how to craft together behaviors, user experience, and traditional design elements in a beautifully harmonious way that achieves business goals. From lessons learned while designing a large social network from scratch, and minus the overly familiar buzzwords and marketing cliches, Sarah will teach you how to truly engage with your users. Discover the real value of social media reciprocity, and learn how to make it work for you. Sarah’s design tips and tricks will help you get those vanity-pleasing, but not particularly helpful, Likes, Friends, and Followers to actually do something for your organization.

  8. Magical UX and the Internet of Things

    What if this thing was magic? The web is touching everyday objects now, and designing for the internet of things means blessing everyday objects, places, even people with extraordinary abilities—requiring designers, too, to break with the ordinary. Designing for this new medium is less a challenge of technology than imagination. Sharing a rich trove of examples, designer and author Josh Clark explores the new experiences that are possible when ANYTHING can be an interface. The digital manipulation of physical objects (and vice versa) effectively turns all of us into wizards. Sling content between devices, bring objects to life from a distance, weave "spells" by combining speech and gesture. But magic doesn't have to be otherworldly; the UX of connected devices should build on the natural physical interactions we have everyday with the world around us. This new UX must bend technology to the way we live our lives, not the reverse. Explore the values and design principles that amplify our humanity, not just our superpowers.

  9. Smaller, Faster Websites

    When the goal is to serve an ever-expanding landscape of browsers, devices, and connection speeds, a responsive layout is just the beginning. Regardless of their browsing context, users expect a site to load as fast—or faster—on their phones and tablets than anywhere else. From bandwidth budgets and responsive images to smarter caching and leaner scripting, Mat Marquis will share the tools and techniques that ensure that your content will reach your most demanding (and least powerfully equipped) users, without detracting from the experience of users on the latest and greatest devices—without limiting the creativity of your team, and without a massively inflated deadline. We’ll discuss strategies for smarter asset delivery, techniques for avoiding potential points of failure, and start to cultivate development habits that help us deal with a vast landscape of unknowns from the very start of a project.

  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. Opening Night Happy Hour

    Join us at A Happy Hour Apart, to be held in the 4th floor foyer, right next to the registration desk. We’ll provide tasty snacks and tastier beverages to recharge your body after a full day of recharging your mind!

  1. Day 2

  2. Breakfast

  3. Morning Welcome

  4. 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.

  5. CSS Grid Layout

    Since the early days of the web, designers have been trying to lay out web pages using grid systems. Likewise, almost every CSS framework attempts to implement some kind of grid system, using floats and often leaning on preprocessors. The CSS Grid Layout module brings us a native CSS Grid system for the first time—a grid system that does not rely on document source order, and can create complex layouts which are easily redefined with media queries. Following along with practical examples, you’ll learn how Grid works, and how it can be used to implement modern layouts and responsive designs.

  6. Atomic Design

    Over the past few years, we’ve seen the web community create style tiles, element collages, style guides, pattern libraries, and a slew of other tools in order to break interfaces down to their atomic elements. Our interfaces are going more places than ever before, so this shift is essential to help us better understand what our websites consist of in order for us create smart, scalable, maintainable designs. This session will introduce atomic design, a methodology for creating robust design systems. We’ll cover how to apply atomic design to implement your very own design system in order to set you, your organization and clients up for success.

  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. Touchy Subjects: Creating Content for Sensitive Situations

    Our readers and users are human. They have their own preferences, experiences, senses of humor, and perspectives—and they bring all of that to the table when they interact with our content. We can’t see our users, and we don’t know what’s going on in their lives, so we don’t always create experiences with their feelings in mind. Certain topics are likely to make them feel uncomfortable or frustrated. Sensitive content types many of us work on every day include error messages, alerts, legal content, financial information, and warnings. Learn how to address touchy subjects, anticipate the reader’s emotional state, and write from a place of empathy.

  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.

  1. A Day Apart

    This full-day session, which includes a full breakfast and lunch, follows An Event Apart and runs 9:00am-4:00pm on Wednesday, May 13. Register for all three days and save more than $200 off the cost of registering separately for the conference and A Day Apart.

  2. Everything You Wanted to Know About Responsive Design…And Less!

    Brad Frost will present a full-day masterclass that takes a deep dive into the world of responsive web design, covering subjects including broad concepts, strategy, how responsive design affects process, responsive design patterns and principles, and more.

    Oh, and the “...And Less” part? Responsive design is a huge topic, so it’s impossible to pack everything into a single day. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try, right? Here’s what will be covered:

    • The Ever-Shifting Landscape – The web landscape is getting more diverse every day. We’ll address why responsive web design is becoming increasingly essential.
    • Approach – There’s more than one way to skin this mobile web cat. We’ll look at the various strategies being used to approach the multi-device Web landscape.
    • Foundations of Responsive Design – Responsive web design 101. Fluid grids, flexible media, and media queries make up the core of responsive web design.
    • Principles of Adaptive Design – What beyond layout do we need to concern ourselves with when creating great multi-device web experiences? We’ll cover how ubiquity, flexibility, performance, enhancement, and future-friendliness are powerful principles for making great adaptive web experiences.
    • Atomic Design– Learn about this design methodology for creating robust design systems, as well as Pattern Lab, a tool for creating atomic design systems.
    • Strategy and Workflow – Our websites are fluid, so our process and workflow need to be fluid, as well. We’ll tackle thorny issues like convincing clients and colleagues, and discuss tools and techniques to effectively design in the Post-PSD era.
    • Responsive Patterns – Creating adaptive interfaces is challenging, but thankfully the Web community is hard at work creating flexible, downright innovative design patterns. We’ll look at how to tackle layout, navigation, images, data tables, and really anything else you can put in an interface.
    • Development Best Practices – The way we build websites has changed. We’ll discuss mobile-first development, CSS techniques, “support” vs “optimization,” device testing, and more to help you develop future-friendly web experiences.


Boston Marriott Copley Place 110 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02116

The Boston Marriott Copley Place has arranged special room rates and complimentary in-room internet access for AEA attendees, starting at $311. To get these savings, visit our special Marriott reservations page, or call (617) 236-5800 and request the “special An Event Apart room rate.” Limited rooms are available at this rate, so don’t delay.

Located in beautiful and historic Back Bay, just off the Massachusetts Turnpike, four miles from Logan Airport and two minutes’ walk from the Back Bay Amtrak station, the Marriott Copley Place provides in-room, high-speed internet access; laptop safes and coolers; 27-inch color TV with cable movies, in-room pay movies, Web TV and Gameboy; luxurious bedding and linens, and more. Best of all, it’s the site of the conference. You can walk out of your room and into the show!