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Set yourself apart.

An Event Apart Boston is a three-day conference with 18 sessions and an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more, giving you deep insights into where we are now and where things are going next.

We are keeping a close eye on the coronavirus situation. As of now, An Event Apart Boston is scheduled to be held as planned, but events may upend those plans. Please see our post for more details on our thinking and any updates to our plans.

Early bird pricing ends in Get a reminder!


  1. Arrival Day

  2. Early Arrival/Check-in

    Pacific Grand Ballroom foyer, Third Floor

    Avoid the check-in line Monday morning by checking in Sunday afternoon outside the main 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 Check-in/Badge Pick-up

    Pacific Grand Ballroom foyer, Third Floor
  3. Breakfast

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Soft Skills are Hard!

    Our resumes promote our expertise with languages, toolsets, and frameworks, but to become truly effective in our organizations, we must also possess so-called “soft” skills. The finest CSS and sweetest Sketch chops in the world won’t get the right product made if you lack listening and persuasion abilities to match. Fear not: that Old Man of the Web, Jeffrey Zeldman, is here to share concepts and exercises that can help even the shyest, most cerebral developer or designer learn to step out from behind the monitor with confidence, and sell their best work ever.

  6. Truths and Myths About Animation in our Work

    As an industry we make many assumptions about animation and its role in our work. Assumptions like: You need to be a motion designer to do UI animation, or that animation is just an extra decoration. These assumptions can hold us back from fully appreciating the potential of UI animation and hinder our design decisions.

    In this session, Val will cover common assumptions around UI animation and how understanding each—whether a myth or a truth—can impact your work. Learn how to successfully share motion ideas across design and development; to create meaningful principles around animation for your product; what animation can bring to the table for good UX; how to plan and choreograph multiple UI animations throughout a project; and more. You'll come away with a renewed confidence on how to effectively pull off UI animation.

  7. Getting Graphic: Reinventing Design with Type on the Web

    Graphic designers have customized layouts and title pages in magazines for decades. But, between the limited technology of the early web, and our race to systematize design once we had sufficiently capable technologies, we’ve missed out on much of what good graphic design has to offer.

    Now that we’ve designed our systems, polished our patterns, and perfected our pages, it’s finally time to refocus on the specifics. With scaling typographic systems, we can leverage the power of modern CSS and variable fonts to create compelling, unique design variations tailored for the content they render. In this talk, Jason will look at powerful examples of publication design, and explore how many of those concepts can be incorporated in our own work in compelling and sustainable ways.

  8. Working Together in Diverse Teams

    Every day, we work with people who aren’t like us, and it’s a trend that will only grow over time. Working in diverse teams, we share more perspectives and ways of thinking; using these, we can improve the ways we solve problems and build products. On the flip side, like an invisible hand, our home cultures influence how we perform day-to-day tasks at work. This can mean diverse teams are prone to increased conflict and misunderstanding, because cultural biases influence how we deal with conflict, how we handle feedback and critique, and how we communicate.

    In this wide-ranging talk, Farai will share underlying principles, practical recommendations, and ready-to-use tactics you can use to become more effective working in diverse teams. When we know more about cultural biases and their influence, we can reduce friction, giving us a better chance to gain the true benefit of working in diverse teams.

  9. Remembrance of Tags Past

    As the web enters its fourth decade, we're still chasing the latest shiny techniques and tools like we're candy-fueled four year olds, and our users are too often suffering for it-- not just when we launch, but for years afterward. The past reaches into the present; it's up to us to make sure the present can reach into the future. It's time to start thinking beyond our ship dates and accept that the web is a long-term medium, one that demands more care than we're giving. In this wide-ranging talk, Eric will trace the roots of where we are to illuminate what we're missing, and how we can do better.

  10. Leveraging the Superpowers of Layout in 2020

    It’s been three years since CSS Grid landed in browsers, marking a technological sea change in layout on the web. But our processes and thinking patterns haven’t caught up. We’re still stuck thinking about layout like it’s 2012. To kickstart our understanding of what’s newly possible, we need a step-by-step process for designing in our new reality. Jen Simmons will provide that process—sharing practical examples of how to use the power and tradition of graphic design on the web, while still creating work that’s usable and doable within time constraints.

  11. 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. Getting to Senior in UX

    In this informal talk, Cyd condenses her extensive mentoring experience to show you how to take the career step from mid-level to senior as a designer working in organizations. How do you keep your edge as a practitioner as you step into leadership responsibilities? How do you become a pragmatic advocate for UX? How do you develop a resume and portfolio that speaks to the next level? How do you deal positively with organizational politics? How do you show up as a senior person both internally and in public? She'll discuss all of these tricky areas and there will be extra time to answer your questions.

  1. Day 2

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

    Pacific Grand Ballroom foyer, Third Floor
  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Design Principles For the Web

    Designing and developing on the web can feel like a never-ending crusade against the unknown. Design principles are one way of unifying your team to better fight this battle. But as well as the design principles specific to your product or service, there are core principles underpinning the very fabric of the World Wide Web itself. Together, we'll dive into applying these design principles to build websites that are resilient, performant, accessible, and beautiful.

  6. The Most Human of Interfaces: Conversational Usability and Content Strategy

    The vast majority of the user interfaces we manipulate on a daily basis are artificial and learned: keyboards and mice, touchscreens and styluses. Conversation, however, rooted in natural language, is the most human and most ancient of all interfaces. With the ongoing explosion of conversational interfaces in the form of chatbots and voice assistants, a corresponding revolution is underway in content strategy, information architecture, and user experience. Conversational experiences—especially those involving content—throw more than a few wrenches in the web-based paradigms for design and usability we’re accustomed to.

    In this talk, with the help of case studies in the real world, Preston will share how to design and build usable conversational experiences, including designing for interfaces that are aural, not visual; performing effective voice usability tests; and conceiving a robust content strategy across web, voice, and chat. You’ll come away inspired to recast your own site as a conversation and excited to experiment with these emerging approaches for your own users.

  7. I Brake for Users: Content Strategy for Slower Experiences

    Online experiences can be fast, efficient, easy, orderly-and sometimes, that's all wrong. Users click to confirm too soon, confuse important details, or miss key features in product descriptions. Efficient isn’t always effective. Not all experiences need to be fast to be functional. In fact, some of the most memorable and profitable engagements are slow and messy...and that's just right.

    By designing for pace, we can intentionally help users focus on details and gain confidence in their choices. We can also encourage their sense of discovery and help them build stronger memories. Not all experiences need to be slower, but by appreciating and identifying opportunities for friction as a feature we can support user experiences that demand greater care and attention. In this talk, Margot will look to REI, Target, Fidelity, Patagonia, Disney, and others for lessons you can apply to aid learning, retention, and user satisfaction. Help your audience soak up the journey or just engage with more certainty, all by design.

  8. Superpowered UI with CSS Houdini

    CSS Houdini is a set of new browser APIs that give developers incredible power and control over the CSS they create. This means true CSS polyfills and more performant styles are now possible off the main thread. From animation to paint, from layout to new browser primitives, Una will explore how to super-power your design systems and user interfaces with progressively-enhanced Houdini. You'll learn all about the latest capabilities and how to build performant, resilient, and stylish systems with ease.

  9. Now You See It: Understanding Display

    CSS Layout is all about boxes. We know that some boxes are blocks, and others are inline, and we can change the display type of elements by changing the value of the display property. That property holds the key to much more than this, however. It is the foundation on which all layout is built; the core of the inbuilt CSS layout system. Learning Grid Layout, or Flexbox, without understanding Display, leaves you with a wobbly foundation and more questions than answers.

    The real question isn't "Should I use Grid or Flexbox?" but instead, "How do I want these boxes to behave?" Understanding the interaction between layout methods will enable you to easily create fallbacks for older browsers, and knowing how the various formatting contexts behave unlocks margin collapsing and the behavior of items inside grid or flex layout. By the end of the hour, you'll understand how the display property underpins the layout system we have today, the things coming in the future, and be able to make more informed decisions when deciding how to build any part of your design, big or small.

  10. Designing Beyond Websites: What is Dead May Never Die

    News of the website’s death has been greatly exaggerated, but we can no longer assume our customers will sit down at a single device to complete tasks. Reality is more complicated: a single experience might span a website, a mobile app, a smart speaker, and a car. The future is multi-modal… and multi-device. By embracing new frameworks for modeling human experience and a multidevice perspective, our products can adapt to human needs in the moment, as opposed to forcing adaptations upon us.

    Whether you're designing a cutting edge multi-modal experience or a broad, cross-channel customer journey, you'll walk away with a taxonomy for representing human behavior, as well as example processes and deliverables you can apply when tackling these problems on your product .

  1. Day 3

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

    Pacific Grand Ballroom foyer, Third Floor
  4. Morning Welcome

  5. High-Impact User Research

    Research hours and dollars are precious: no one has enough of them, and everyone needs to make the most of every user interaction. In this in-depth discussion of user research recruiting techniques, Cyd will share her secrets for finding and engaging the best possible participants. She’ll talk about how to scope your sample size, identify behavioral (rather than just demographic) matches, offer enticing incentives, and even how to recruit people in the moment they experience the problem your product is meant to solve. If you can show your stakeholders engaged users coping with challenges in real time, you can generate a whole new level of impact for UX. Cyd’s advice will help you spend your precious research time with the people who can provide the most valuable and reliable responses to your product ideas.

  6. Applied Accessibility: Practical Tips for Building More Accessible Front-Ends

    As front-end developers, we are tasked with building the front end of a Web site or application — in other words, we are building the user's end of an interface. This is why it is crucial that we ensure that the front-end foundations that we build are as inclusive of and accessible to as many users as possible. To do that, we must build with accessibility in mind from the get-go. This, in turn, means that the way we approach writing HTML, CSS, SVG and JavaScript might need to change as we take into consideration many factors that affect how (in)accessible our UIs are.

    This talk is a practical one, chock-full of tips for creating more accessible front-end foundations. If writing HTML, CSS, SVG and JavaScript is part of your job, then this talk is for you.

    In this session — a series of macro case studies from real client projects — Sara shares some frustrations, many lessons learned, and a lot of practical tips and tricks for building accessible front-end foundations that you can take and apply in your own projects right away.

  7. Performance is Accessibility

    Poor site performance is not just an annoyance. For the average user, it's often a fundamental accessibility issue... a barrier to using and accessing the web. With network speed and stability improving each day, we might think this problem is fixing itself. But recent trends show that performance has actually been getting worse, and that our own practices are often to blame.

    Thankfully, we have great tools today to analyze our site performance, and with careful use of standard web features and patterns, we can regain the resilience and speed our users desire–without the complicated workarounds of the past. In this session, Scott will argue that performance is an accessibility problem, and show how we can prioritize it to improve access for everyone.

  8. The Weight of the WWWorld is Up to Us

    In just over 25 years since World Wide Web was invented, we’ve reached a tipping point where more than 50% of the planet’s population is connected. The Web has dramatically transformed the way we live, work, shop, collaborate, communicate, educate and entertain ourselves, and find opportunities to improve our lives. As the audience has grown, so has the size of the Web itself: bigger pages, more images, video, scripts and styles, all with a very real cost — in connection and bandwidth fees, files stored and transferred, batteries charged, etc. These costs can materially influence conversion rates and profit levels, and can also determine whether we promote access for everyone, and widen or narrow the digital divide.

    We web designers and developers make decisions every day that tip the scale in one direction the other. This talk will examine how performance-related decisions (intentional or not) affect our users, explore tools to measure and assess the impacts of our choices, and offer techniques to improve web performance and accessibility for all.

  9. World Wide Waste

    Digital is the fastest growing user of energy and emitter of CO2. In 2019 alone, 50 million tons of e-waste was produced. If one year’s e-waste—just one year’s—was brought together in a single place, it would cover an area the size of Manhattan. More data was produced in the last two years than all the data produced in the entire history of humanity up until then. 90% of that data is not accessed again three months after it is created. In other words, 90% of what we do in digital is crap. What a waste!

    In this wide-ranging talk, Gerry McGovern will give you a waste-reduction plan and an energy-optimization plan for digital. It can be summarized as: less but better. How to minimize your personal, and your organization’s digital footprint. How to clean up the content and the code. How to identify what is not being used and remove it. How to maintain and continuously improve rather than launch and leave. How to plan your digital projects with the environment in mind so that you don’t add to the digital bloat and waste in the first place. How to tap into digital’s potential to support a cleaner and energy-efficient environment.


Three-Day Pass

June 29-July 1, 2020

$1,500 through May 5

Your Three-Day Pass includes admission to the three-day Boston conference , breakfast and lunch on all three days, access to all social events, and schwag.

Monday-Tuesday Pass

June 29-30, 2020

$1,100 through May 5

Your Monday-Tuesday Pass includes admission to the first two days of the Boston conference, breakfast and lunch on both days, access to all social events, and schwag.

Tuesday-Wednesday Pass

June 30-July 1, 2020

$1,100 through May 5

Your Tuesday-Wednesday Pass includes admission to the last two days of the Boston conference, breakfast and lunch on both days, access to all social events, and schwag.

Monday & Wednesday Pass

June 29-July 1, 2020

$1,100 through May 5

Your Monday & Wednesday Pass includes admission to the first and last days of the Boston conference, breakfast and lunch on both days, access to all social events, and schwag.

Monday Pass

June 29, 2020

$600 through May 5

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

Tuesday Pass

June 30, 2020

$600 through May 5

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

Wednesday Pass

July 1, 2020

$600 through May 5

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


The Renaissance Boston Waterfront has arranged special room rates starting at $299/night plus complementary in-room internet access for An Event Apart attendees. To get this rate, please 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.

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An Event Apart Boston 2020 is sponsored by:

Upcoming Events

  1. Boston

    Full schedule available!
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