An Event Apart Chicago 2018

Three days of design, code, and content

Set yourself apart.

An Event Apart Chicago 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. Arrival Day

  2. Early registration/Badge pick-up

    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

  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. Customizable Art Direction on the Web

    Art direction is a critical component of establishing a visual language for your product, but too often, the direction is set for one use case and then varied in an ad-hoc manner for all the others. What if we could vary the visual tone of our work based using tools like CSS Grid, custom properties, variable fonts, feature queries, and even battery status? In this talk drawn from her work for Slack and other properties, Mina shares her favorite tip and tricks and shows how little changes lead to big design payoffs.

  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. 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. Mobile In the Future

    In this session, Luke will take a look at what we've learned over the past ten years of designing for the largest, most connected form of mass media on our planet. Have all the mock-ups, meetings, emails, and more we've created in the last decade moved us beyond desktop computing interfaces and ideas? If not, can we find inspiration to go further from looking at what's happening in natural user interfaces and hardware design? Find out in this session from the author of Mobile First.

  6. Designing Progressive Web Apps

    If you have a website—particularly one that generates revenue for your organization—you need a Progressive Web App. So where do you begin? How do you decide which features of a Progressive Web App make sense for your users? What tools can make the process easier (or harder)? In this practical session, Jason will guide you through the key design decisions you’ll need to make about your Progressive Web App and how those decisions impact the scope of your project. He'll also teach you how to avoid common pitfalls and help you take full advantage of Progressive Web App technology.

  7. Data Basics

    Whether you work on web or native apps, you’re probably seeing an increased demand to gather data about your product. The way we build products is always changing, and so too is the way we track how people use them—we’ve come a long way from the days of just tracking clicks and page views. In this detailed session, Laura will cover the latest trends in data collection, including ​the best kinds of data to collect from apps versus the web; how to make the best use of crash and other troubleshooting data; and how refined A/B testing can work for you.

  8. 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.

  9. The Four Divine Beasts of Accessibility

    Accessibility is hard. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to understand what users and assistive technology expect from your markup and designs. Can accessibility be easier to learn? Can it be…fun? In this engaging talk, Dave will approach accessibility the way we might tackle a video game—looking at a handful of common UI patterns like popup, tabs, accordions, and modals; how to test them; and how to defeat them while leveling up your skillset along the way.

  10. 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, August 29. Register for all three days and save more than $200 off the cost of registering separately for the conference and A Day Apart.

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Top Tasks: Helping You Deliver a Better User Experience

    If you’re designing a website or app, how do you know what really matters to your users? How do you know what really doesn’t matter? Once you’ve identified what really matters, how do you ensure that these top tasks are easy to find? How do you ensure that they are easy to do? As you change your website or app, how do you know the user experience is getting better? How do you develop user experience metrics that can convince management your doing a good job?

    Gerry McGovern’s Top Tasks: Helping You Deliver a Better User Experience will answer these questions and a lot more. You will learn how to clinically and objectively observe user behavior to derive management metrics that help you truly understand what’s working and what isn’t—and how to make things better. Top Tasks gives you compelling evidence to present to management and peers to show that the work you’re doing is improving the user experience.

    Gerry’s Top Tasks methods have been used by organizations such as Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Toyota, the European Union, Canadian Government, and hundreds of others. You’re going to get 20 years of experience here. Mistakes made—lessons learned. Tips and tricks, how-tos.

    Specifically, you will learn three methods:

    1. Top Tasks Identification — Using a unique survey method, how to create a league table of user tasks, clearly showing what matters most and what matters least.
    2. Task Performance Indicator — Once you have identified your user top tasks, how to measure their performance and create a management metric based on success rate and time. Consider the Task Performance Indicator as a stage on from traditional usability testing.
    3. User Architecture — How to take Top Tasks data and create a wonderfully intuitive and simple set of menus and links. Navigation design is so crucial to digital success, and yet is so often overlooked. This rigorous method gives you a navigation that your users will love.

Pricing

Conference + A Day Apart Pass August 27-29, 2018 $1,600.00 through August 26

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

Conference Pass August 27-28, 2018 $1,250.00 through August 26

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

Monday Pass August 27, 2018 $700.00 through August 26

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

Tuesday Pass August 28, 2018 $700.00 through August 27

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

Wednesday Pass - A Day Apart August 29, 2018 $700.00 through August 28

Your A Day Apart Pass includes admission to the full-day session “Top Tasks: Helping You Deliver a Better User Experience,” breakfast and lunch, and access to all social events.

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 $269/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!

Seating is limited — Register Now!