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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 afternoon 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!

  3. Boston Red Sox vs Houston Astros (separate ticket required)

    Looking for peanuts and crackerjack?  How about an afternoon game between the Red Sox and Astros in the company of fellow attendees?  We’ve grabbed a block of seats in Pavilion Reserved Section 18 for just $79 each, but availability is very limited. Please contact us if you’re interested.

  1. Day 1

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

  3. Breakfast

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Designing With Web Standards in 2016

    It’s been thirteen years since the first edition of Designing With Web Standards turned our industry on its ear, changing the way we design and develop websites. ​In a web ruled by Flash, table layouts, and sites coded to work in only one browser or another, DWWS showed how to make web content and experiences available to all people, browsers, devices, and search engines. It was heady stuff back in 2003. But how well do the tactics and strategies the book and subsequent editions recommended hold up in our multi-device, framework- and app-driven web of 2016? Is it time to discard progressive enhancement, semantic markup, and accessibility? Or can these ​techniques still help us master today’s complex design and development challenges? Survey the state of the art, and learn how to ensure that your site will work everywhere—today and tomorrow.

  6. Designing Deliberately

    Designers today have to juggle many tasks: making sites that are beautiful, engaging, and delivered quickly across often unreliable networks. It’s not surprising that the current web landscape is full of heavy websites serving dozens of web fonts, images, and complex interactions—or super-minimal sites that lack personality. In this presentation, we’ll find the balance between these extremes. Yesenia will discuss how to make smarter decisions about typography and other UI elements, and how to design deliberately. She’ll also talk about how to sell designs to clients and stakeholders, and to shift from judging design solely on aesthetic merits, and instead focus on creating the best user experience.

  7. Revolutionize Your Page: Real Art Direction on the Web

    We finally have the tools necessary to create amazing page designs on the web. Now we can art direct our layouts, leveraging the power and tradition of graphic design. In this eye-opening talk, Jen will explore concrete examples of an incredible range of new possibilities. She’ll walk through a step-by-step design process for figuring out how to create a layout as unique as your content. You’ll learn how Flexbox, Grid, Shapes, Multicolumn, Viewport Units, and more can be combined together to revolutionize how you approach the page —any page.

  8. 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.

  9. The Physical Interface

    We suddenly live in a strange and wonderful nexus of digital and physical. Touchscreens let us hold information in our hands, and we touch, stretch, crumple, drag, and flick data itself. Our sensor-packed phones even reach beyond the screen to interact directly with the world around us. While these digital interfaces are becoming physical, the physical world is becoming digital, too. Objects, places, and even our bodies are lighting up with with sensors and connectivity. We’re not just clicking links anymore; we’re creating physical interfaces to digital systems. This requires new perspective and technique for web and product designers. The good news: it’s all within your reach. With a rich trove of examples, Designing for Touch author Josh Clark explores the practical, meaningful design opportunities for the web’s newly physical interfaces.

  10. Design Beyond Our Devices

    In this age of device diversity, we’ve been focusing less on pages, and more on patterns: reusable bits of design and content we stitch together into responsive design systems. But those patterns bring puzzles: how should they adapt, and why? And how do we, well, design with them? Let’s look at a few answers to those questions, and start moving our design practices beyond the screens in front of us.

  11. Opening Night Happy Hour

    Join us at A Happy Hour Apart, to be held right outside the main ballroom. 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. Resilience: Building a Robust Web That Lasts

    Web browsers have become so powerful that developers are now treating them as if they were a runtime environment as predictable as any other. But the truth is that we still need to deal with many unknown factors that torpedo our assumptions. The web is where Postel’s Law meets Murphy’s Law, so we can’t treat web development as if it were just another flavor of software. Instead we must work with the grain of the web. You’ll learn tried and tested (as well as new) approaches to building for the web that will result in experiences that are robust, flexible, and resilient.

  5. Compassionate Design

    Designers are skilled at creating an ideal experience for idealized users. But what happens when our idealized experience collides with messy, human reality? Designs can frustrate, alienate, or even offend; form options can exclude; on-boarding processes can turn away; interactions can reject or even endanger. The more we build websites and digital products that touch every aspect of our lives, the more critical it becomes for us to start designing for imperfect, distressed, and vulnerable situations—designing interfaces that don’t attempt to make everything seamless, but instead embrace and accommodate the rough edges of the human experience. In this talk, Eric will explore a wide variety of failure modes, from the small to the life-changing, and show how reorienting your perspective and making simple additions to your process can help anticipate and avoid these failures, leading to more humane, and ultimately more compassionate, outcomes.

  6. Extreme Design

    How can we be sure we’re creating the best design experiences possible? It turns out that creating great experiences for a particular subset of our users—people with disabilities—results in better designs for everyone. Focusing relentlessly on accessibility helps us think of extreme scenarios and ask questions like “how can we make this work eyes free?” and “how can we make this work with the least amount of typing?” Explore multiple methods of extremifying your designs—stressing them in ways they haven’t been stressed before—to illuminate opportunities for innovation, efficiency, and excellence that lead to great designs for everyone.

  7. Special Screening: CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap

    Robin Hauser Reynolds, Director/Producer; Staci Hartman, Producer. From Finish Line Features.

    Tech jobs are growing three times faster than our colleges are producing computer science graduates. By 2020, there will be one million unfilled software engineering jobs in the USA. Through compelling interviews and artistic animation, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap examines the varied reasons why more girls and people of color are not seeking opportunities in computer science and explores how mindsets, stereotypes, clogs in the educational pipeline, startup culture, a lack of role models, and sexism all play roles. Expert voices from the worlds of tech, psychology, science, and education—including coders at Yelp, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest, Strava, Pandora, GitHub, and Pivotal—are intercut with inspiring stories of women who are engaged in the fight to challenge complacency in the tech industry and have their voices heard. CODE aims to inspire change in mindsets, in the educational system, in startup culture, and in the way women see themselves in the field of coding. More an initial survey than a final declaration, CODE hopes to inspire the audience to begin the changes that will one day narrow the gap.

  8. 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.

  9. Designing for Performance

    As a web designer or front-end developer, you have tough choices to make when it comes to weighing aesthetics and performance. Images, fonts, layout, and interactivity are necessary to engage your audience, and each has an enormous impact on page load time and the overall user experience. This talk will focus on performance basics from a design and front-end perspective, including tips for optimizing design assets and patterns. Lara will also cover some tips for approaching your project with page speed in mind, how to make decisions about aesthetics and speed during the design process, and how to help those around you care about performance.

  10. 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.

  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 18. Register for all three days and save more than $200 off the cost of registering separately for the conference and A Day Apart.

  2. Designing Exceptional Mobile Experiences

    Breakfast and lunch are included in this day.

    Call it the mobile majority; a growing number of companies now see most web visits come from mobile devices. That means the mobile experience is no longer a sideshow; it’s the main event, with desktop in the supporting role. Does your design practice reflect this new reality? Designing for Touch author Josh Clark takes you on a full-day exploration of the techniques and design thinking you need to make your mobile experiences soar.

    This full-day learning session takes a clear-eyed, pragmatic approach to mobile design, replete with practical guidance, rich examples, thought-provoking exercises, and an updated set of guidelines that challenge conventional wisdom.

    The day starts with the fundamentals—how handheld ergonomics create a new set of design guidelines—and then explores the emerging UX practices that will put your mobile projects at the cutting edge. Learn how touch changes user expectations and requires entirely new interactions. Explore the possibilities and pitfalls of gestures on the web. Find out how to use mobile sensors for both efficiency and delight, even pushing interaction off the screen entirely. And finally, understand how mobile web browsers play a crucial role in the emerging internet of things, and what that means in your daily work.


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!