An Event Apart Boston 2018

Three days of design, code, and content with:

Set yourself apart.

An Event Apart Boston is two days of sessions from 12 speakers with intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more. Following the two-day conference comes a full day, A Day Apart, with a single speaker diving deeply into one important topic.

Seating is limited — Register Now!

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Event Schedule

  1. Day 1

  2. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

  3. Breakfast

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Beyond Engagement: the Content Performance Quotient

    Our products are tasked with providing ever-higher levels of “engagement.” But should they be? For many sites, analytics demonstrating high levels of “engagement” may actually be signs of failure. AEA co-founder and longtime web designer Zeldman introduces a new measurement of design success: the content performance quotient. Learn how relentlessly cutting needless content and architecture, fine-tuning UX and UI, and shoring up technical performance can create improved experiences that are better attuned to today’s web… and how to sell this profound change in design thinking to your bosses, clients, and colleagues.

  6. Scenario-Driven Design Systems

    Unified design systems are essential to building, maintaining, and evolving our sites and products. By empowering disparate teams via a common visual and UX language, they help us create cohesive user experiences. But creating a unified system that scales to serve a variety of content and use cases can be challenging. Sharing insights from her experience creating a unified design system for eight media brands with eight distinct editorial strategies, Yesenia will show how to approach a design system via a user-centered lens. Learn how being scenario-driven helps you design a scalable system that responds flexibly to specific contexts.

  7. Why Design Systems Fail

    Design systems are hot right now, and for good reason. They promote a modular approach to building a product, promote organizational unity, and ensure stability via reusable code snippets and utility styles. They make prototyping a breeze, and provide a common language for both designers and developers. But sometimes design systems are underutilized within organizations. Why is that, when they’re so darn useful? In an engaging hour, Una will draw on years of experience to explore what makes design systems successful, analyze real examples of success and failure, and show how to make sure your design system has the building blocks it needs to grow into a successful product.

  8. Graduating to Grid

    When CSS Grid Layout shipped into multiple browsers in the Spring of 2017 it heralded the dawn of a new way to do layout on the web. Now that the excitement of launch has passed, Rachel Andrew will take a look at what went right or wrong in these first few months, and offer help to those struggling to transition away from legacy methods. In a practical, example-packed hour, Rachel will help give you the confidence and practical skills to fully embrace Grid layout. We’ll compare common framework patterns to new Grid code, and learn how to create a workflow that is right up to date—a workflow grounded in new CSS, yet able to care for old browsers and ensure a good experience for their users.

  9. Fit For Purpose: Making Sense of the New CSS

    The past year has seen an incredible explosion in what we can do with CSS—from stable flexbox to the dawn of Grid, there are more powerful tools in our toolbox than ever before. Each system is, in its own way, simple, but the multitude of choices can make your head spin. What are the pros and cons? Where are the strengths and weaknesses? How does a committed craftsperson choose? In this detailed talk, Eric will compare and contrast CSS features in a series of real-world design scenarios, illuminating not only what he chose in each situation, but more importantly, why, always with an eye on what trade-offs were made at what cost. You’ll come away with a better sense of how to put all these new CSS features to work for you right away.

  10. Everything You Know About Web Design Just Changed

    2017 saw a sea change in web layout, one that few of us have truly come to grips with. We’re standing at the threshold of an entirely new era in digital design—one in which, rather than hacking layouts together, we can actually describe layouts directly. The benefits will touch everything from prototyping to custom art direction to responsive design. In this visionary talk, rooted in years of practical experience, Jen will show you how to understand what’s different, learn to think through multiple stages of flexibility, and let go of pixel constraints forever.

  11. Opening Night Happy Hour

    Join us at A Happy Hour Apart, to be held right outside the main auditorium. We’ll provide tasty snacks and tastier beverages to recharge your body after a full day of recharging your mind!

  12. Special Screening: “Tim’s Vermeer”

    Tim Jenison founded NewTek in 1985, where he led the way in the development of a series of highly successful products, including DigiView (one of the first video digitizers for a computer), DigiPaint, and the Video Toaster®. Spurred by a growing obsession, he attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) manage to paint so photo-realistically—150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers. Spanning eight years, Jenison’s adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces; on a pilgrimage to the North coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney; and even to Buckingham Palace to see a Vermeer masterpiece in the collection of the Queen.

    “An exquisitely fun documentary.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

    “A fascinating new documentary about art, obsessions, ideas and answers.” – Betsy Sharkey, The Los Angeles Times

  1. Day 2

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. The Way Of The Web

    Do you ever get overwhelmed by the ever-changing nature of web design and development? Exhausting, isn't it? How are you supposed to know which technologies and tools you should invest your time in? Will they stick around or will you just have to relearn everything in another few months? Join Jeremy as he takes a tour of the past, present, and future of working on the web. From the building blocks of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript through to frameworks and libraries right up to the latest and greatest Progressive Web Apps, this talk will examine our collective assumptions with a critical eye. By learning from the past, we can make sensible design decisions today to build the web of tomorrow.

  6. Story First: Crafting Products That Engage

    While many of us seek out the newest and shiniest tools, methods, and processes to build more successful products and services, we often overlook one of the oldest, leanest, most effective tools out there: the structurally sound story. Whether you realize it or not in the moment, you experience everything as if it was a story. The better the story, the more likely you are to want to use a product, continue to use it, pay to use it, and recommend it to others. In this talk, you will see how taking a story first approach to product design and development will help you build more successful websites, apps, campaigns, and services that excite your customers, draw them in, incite them to action, and keep them engaged over time.

  7. Building More Expressive Products

    The products we design today must connect with customers across different screen sizes, contexts, and even voice or chat interfaces. As such, we create emotional expressiveness in our products not only through visual design and language choices, but also through design details such as how interface elements move, or the way they sound. By using every tool at our disposal, including audio and animation, we can create more expressive products that feel cohesive across all of today's diverse media and social contexts. In this session, Val will show how to harness the design details from different media to build overarching themes—themes that persist across all screen sizes and user and interface contexts, creating a bigger emotional impact and connection with your audience.

  8. Vitamin T

    Sponsored Panel

    Grab some food and grab a seat for this panel discussion hosted by Jeremy Osborn of as he brings together three AEA speakers to talk about the challenges of working on your own or working with a team. The session will consist of a short introduction of the topic and panelists, 25 minutes of curated questions from the moderator, and 25 minutes of audience questions.

  9. Name That Script!

    How many third-party scripts are loading on our web pages these days? How can we objectively measure the value of these (advertising, a/b testing, analytics, etc.) scripts—considering their impact on web performance, user experience, and business goals? We’ve learned to scrutinize content hierarchy, browser support, and page speed as part of the design and development process. Similarly, Trent will share recent experiences and explore ways to evaluate and discuss the inclusion of 3rd-party scripts.

  10. Inclusive UX: Techniques for Everyone

    You and your teams are doing the things that need to be done to create inclusive designs. You’ve been using meaningful, semantic markup from the get-go. You stopped using light grey on slightly darker grey text years ago. Designing and building your apps and sites in an accessible way is just how you work now—you have to try really hard to make things that don’t work with a keyboard. So, what’s next for you? How can you make sure that you’re delivering on the promise of the web by delivering an inclusive design that can be easily used by people with disabilities? In this talk, Derek will tackle the tougher problems through design approaches and practical development techniques that you need to create accessible, modern web sites.

  11. Designing an Intuitive Navigation

    Confusing menus and links are the number one issue people have in getting stuff done in digital. Sure, search is critical but even the best search usually only jumps you down a few levels in the navigation hierarchy. To complete your task you nearly always have to click more, and selecting the right link is where so many people get frustrated, confused and annoyed. Learn about methods to reduce confusion and increase speed and simplicity for your customers. Learn how to use evidence to uncover the core navigational mental models within people’s minds and to create intuitive interfaces based on these mental models. Learn how to apply essential navigational principles such as: Familiarity, Unity, Essentiality, and Forward-Focus.

  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, June 27. Register for all three days and save more than $200 off the cost of registering separately for the conference and A Day Apart. Plus, if you register before early bird ends, you'll save another $100!

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Navigating The CSS Renaissance

    What we can do with CSS has greatly increased over just the past year, let alone the past five. There are production-ready features you may not be aware of, or that you haven’t yet had the time to figure out. Is Grid really ready for prime-time, or are we being sold another far-off panacaea? Have they fixed flexbox yet? What’s up with writing modes, and why are they better than just rotating elements? How can we break out of our rectangular boxes and really shake up our layouts? There are just a few of the many, many questions we can (and should) be asking ourselves.

    The good news is that there are answers to all these questions, and long-time CSS veteran Eric Meyer is here to put as many as he can to rest. Join him for a full day of exploration and excitement, including but not limited to:

    • Patterns of combining feature and media queries
    • Figuring out flex
    • Getting a grip on grid
    • Fitting and positioning objects
    • Auto margins for fun and placement
    • Shadows and borders
    • The new alignment methods and when they’ll be ready
    • Writing modes, how to use them, and when not to use them
    • Masking elements with PNG, SVG, and more
    • Shaping content to fit floats

    The concentration will primarily be on things you can use right away, without mangling layouts for half your audience. There will be some looks ahead to what’s coming next, but the main focus will be on the here and now. If you’ve been struggling to balance backwards compatibility with future friendliness, all while trying to learn a bevy of new features, this Day Apart is absolutely for you. Take a break from the hubbub of the daily grind and spend a day really coming to grips with everything CSS has in store.


Conference + A Day Apart Pass June 25-27, 2018 $1,475.00 through April 30

Your Conference + A Day Apart Pass includes admission to the two-day Boston conference and full-day workshop on day three, snacks and lunch on all three days, access to all social events, and schwag.

Conference Pass June 25-26, 2018 $1,100.00 through April 30

Your Conference Pass includes admission to all sessions at the two-day Boston conference, snacks and lunch on both days, access to all social events, and schwag.

A Day Apart Pass June 27, 2018 $600.00 through April 30

Your A Day Apart Pass includes admission to the workshop, snacks and lunch, and access to all social events.

Monday Pass June 25, 2018 $600.00 through April 30

Your Monday Pass includes admission to the first day of the three-day Boston conference, breakfast and lunch, and schwag.

Tuesday Pass June 26, 2018 $600.00 through April 30

Your Tuesday Pass includes admission to the second day of the three-day Boston conference, breakfast and lunch, and schwag.


Boston Renaissance Waterfront
606 Congress St Boston, MA 02210

The Renaissance Boston Waterfront has arranged special room rates with complimentary in-room internet access for AEA attendees, starting at $335/night. To get this rate, please use the dedicated reservation form Marriott has provided, or call (888) 796-4664 and request the “special An Event Apart room rate.” Limited rooms are available at this rate, so don’t delay.

Discover the luxury, convenience, and comfort of Renaissance Boston Waterfront. Ideally located in Seaport District’s waterfront, within easy driving distance of Logan International Airport, the hotel is also a short walk from public transportation at South Station and the Seaport World Trade Center. Unwind in stylish, nautical-style hotel rooms and suites, many offering fantastic waterfront and Seaport District views. Decompress with a workout in the modern fitness center, followed by a swim in the heated indoor pool.

Seating is limited — Register Now!