Online Together

Fall Summit 2021

Capacity is limited — Register Now!

Set yourself apart.

Online Together: Fall Summit 2021 is a three-day online web design conference with an intense focus on digital design, UX, content, code, and more—featuring 15 in-depth sessions, Q&A with the speakers, special after-hours sessions, resources, and more. You'll get deep insights into where we are now and where things are going next. Note: All session times are given in US Central.


  1. Building Brands Online

    We are long past the days of having to sell the benefits of the web to our clients, but a web presence alone nowadays isn't enough to stand out from the crowd. There are many facets that all need to come together, almost perfectly, to allow a brand to thrive.

    In our post-pandemic world, we see brands shift from bricks and mortar stores to wholly online; the transitional shift is a complex and ever-changing beast for us as designers, developers and UX professionals to solve.

    In this talk, Sarah will tell you the exact blueprint she uses to guide her clients through the online branding process and how to be fearless in your choices to convince your clients, stakeholders and investors that following the crowd and chasing follower counts is a fool's game.

  2. Accessibility and Progressive Enhancement: A Framework for a More inclusive Web

    What do progressive enhancement and accessibility have in common? They both put the user first. When combined, they create a more inclusive foundation and are a powerful framework that can change the way you approach designing and building for the Web. While Progressive Enhancement advocates for separating HTML, CSS, and JavaScript layers, it can also be used to connect these layers in a way that ensures a more accessible and inclusive end result.

    In this talk, Sara will share how she strategically combines accessibility and progressive enhancement to create more inclusive products. From writing HTML enhanced with ARIA to using CSS to enforce accessibility requirements, and making sure JavaScript behavior meets user expectations, she will share design considerations and code techniques for creating more robust and resilient accessible digital experiences.

  3. Styling the Intrinsic Web with Cascade Layers & Container Queries

    Over the last decade, Responsive Web Design and Object Oriented CSS have grown from exciting new trends into the foundations of modern, component-driven web design. But our medium is not done evolving. In 2018, Jen Simmons coined this the era of "Intrinsic Web Design" — with powerful new tools that allow us to build entire layouts based on the intrinsic needs of each component.

    This evolution of the responsive web is becoming more clear with several new features in CSS. We'll look at a number of these developments, with a special focus on Cascade Layers (giving you control over your own cascade), and Container Queries (allowing components to respond to their immediate context). Not only do these features build on what we love most about responsive components, but they they're designed to address some of the biggest challenges in CSS today.

  4. Our Stylish Future

    The capabilities of CSS have expanded in leaps and bounds in recent years, as browsers have sped up their release cycles, and specifications are being developed and adopted faster than before. There was a time back then when CSS was not even meant for doing layouts, but that time has long past. Today, web layouts are practically synonymous with CSS. In addition to that, CSS can now be used to build components that used to only be feasible with Javascript. This talk will go in-depth into a few of such features and how each property works to cater to real-life use cases.

  5. Rethinking Flexbox

    We’ve been wrestling with Flexbox for a long time. First, because early implementations kept changing. Then, because of bugs. Most often, because we've been trying to force Flexbox to do something it doesn’t want to do — to be CSS Grid. Finally now, in 2021, with the most recent updates to browsers, and widespread support for other layout options, it’s time to rethink our understanding of Flexbox. What is Flexbox good at? When is it the right choice? How can we learn, understand, and teach Flexbox better? In this talk, Jen Simmons will take a fresh look at Flexbox and explain what it was born to do. Come learn how to be friends with this often misused layout mode.

  6. After Hours: A Conversation with Kristina Halvorson

    Join Kristina Halvorson and host Eric Meyer as they talk about why content strategists never appear on “UX hero” lists, the role you can play in forging connections between silos, cultivating inclusivity and diversity in the content design community, being true to yourself, and much more, including answering questions from the audience.

  1. Zero Waste Web Design

    There's a growing movement of people embracing a “zero waste” lifestyle, seeking to minimize trash in every aspect of their lives. While it might sound like a life full of sacrifice in the name of saving the planet, proponents say it actually saves them time and money and enriches their lives.

    What might happen if we took this modern minimalist approach of “zero waste” and applied it to web design and development? Tom Greenwood shows us how, by adopting a zero waste approach to our work as web professionals, we can create a web that is more enriching for users and that delivers better results for our business…and the planet.

  2. The Craft of Feedback

    Poor or unstructured feedback can be destructive not only to our work, but also to the long-term morale of the team. Sometimes even when the content of feedback is good, the delivery can be so rough that it makes it hard to work with. But if we apply the right principles, feedback can be a force for change that allows projects to succeed, and even pushes you and your teammates to grow. Erin will dive deeply into the foundation of feedback from a cognitive perspective, synthesizing lessons and principles you can apply in your day-to-day work. Whether you’re a designer or a developer, a team lead or an IC, you’ll come away with powerfully transformative ideas for giving and getting feedback.

  3. Your 1:1 — It’s a Tool, Not a Meeting

    The most important conversations about your career take place during the one-on-one meeting between you and your manager—or, at least, they should.

    In an effective 1:1, you and your lead prioritize and untangle the topics that will have the most positive impact on how you work and even how you show up. But many of us miss the fact that a 1:1 is more than just a meeting. It is one of the few vital tools that you and your manager can use to unblock your career progress and unlock your potential.

    Discover what makes a 1:1 effective, and learn the traps to avoid. Farai will share a framework for understanding, prioritizing, and discussing your needs—even if you find it difficult. 1:1s are about you and for you and your career. Learn to use them well.

  4. Elements Heard, Not Seen: Moving from Web Design to Voice Design

    Voice interfaces like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and others are products we understand as users, but can feel impenetrable when we're asked to design for them. When the only context our users have in front of them is a smart speaker without a screen, where do we even begin? In a world where navigation becomes negotiation—where scrolling becomes speaking—voice interaction design demands that we treat our canvas as time, not space. Preston will show how to connect the dots between familiar elements we’ve long known and alien affordances we’re just beginning to understand.

  5. Accessible Data and Sound

    The Eclipse Soundscapes: Citizen Science Project (ES: CSP) will introduce accessible opportunities for citizen scientists to participate in real and meaningful scientific research focusing on how eclipses affect Earth's life. Regine and her students have conducted in-depth research to create a multi-sensory experience related to the 2023 and 2024 Eclipse. This talk will discuss the analysis and design behind making a web application focused on accessibility for the NASA Eclipse Soundscapes project. Together we will explore what it means to create accessible experiences related to science, sound, and data. This presentation is based upon work supported by NASA under project Eclipse Soundscapes: Citizen Science Project, award No. 80NSSC21M0008.

  6. After Hours: A​ Conversation​ With Mike Essl

    Legendary designer ​Mike Essl ​and co-host Jeffrey Zeldman discuss graphic design, Essl’s inspiring web and print design work, his portfolio and career highlights, and what it’s like to be Dean at The Cooper Union ​School of Art. Come for the stories, stay for the inspiration.

  1. Speaking of Accessibility: How Screen Readers Present Your Content

    Accessibility can rightly be considered a key fundamental for web practitioners: truly well-designed experiences are those that include the needs of people with disabilities. Perhaps you’ve embraced accessibility as part of your craft, but find the connection from web content to assistive technologies somewhat mysterious. How does markup become something that screen readers (for example) can understand and interact with on behalf of the user? Together we’ll dive into how assistive tech integrates with the experiences that you create. Armed with this knowledge, we’ll explore what considerations you might make as you build and test your web experiences—including how to chase down the source of a bug!

  2. We're All Writing Our Own Web Standards Now

    Design systems built on vanilla HTML and CSS can adhere closer to the “atomic” portion of Atomic Design, but when you move to a design system built on components—whether web components or JavaScript frameworks components like React—the smallest pieces of a design system become more complex. That evolution is inevitable, and the payoffs are significant, but the move to components means new challenges for the teams that maintain design systems. Now teams are defining their own HTML elements and associated attributes.

    How an HTML element should work used to be a question left to the web's standard-setting bodies. Now it's a cross-disciplinary discussion about what components should or should not do, and how to support that behavior. For better or worse, we're all in the standards business now. In this session, Jason will teach you the questions you need to ask, how to plan for future use, and how your project schedules may change when you move from css-based to component-based design systems.

  3. Built In, Not Bolted On: How to Get Accessibility Right From the Start

    Your team is tasked with building a web app, and it needs to be accessible. You and your team feel confident you can deliver if you can just improve your process to take accessibility into account from the beginning.

    Join Derek as he walks through the steps of building an accessible product the right way from the start. Focused on an ideal process, and learning from the lessons of projects past, you'll see how to integrate accessibility as much into the research and design and development process as you can. He’ll talk about tried and true methods for moving accessibility forward in your work, identify the must haves to make sure you’re headed in the right direction, and share techniques that will get you back on track when things don’t go as planned.

  4. Justice, Safety, Compassion: Contributing to the Ethical Tech Paradigm Shift

    We’re in the beginning of a paradigm shift within the tech industry as tech workers and everyday people begin to push back against the enormous harms that tech is wreaking. But these harms are so many and so complex that fixing them can feel like an overwhelming and impossible task. How can an individual make a meaningful contribution to the work of fixing our broken, unethical tech industry?

    In this talk, Eva PenzeyMoog uses historical paradigm shifts to inform where we are in the fight to change tech for the better and what we can expect in the future. She’ll break down the call for “ethical” tech into smaller problems of justice, safety, and compassion, and audience members will learn specific strategies for making meaningful change. Big tech is counting on us to feel like we can’t make a difference, but the history of various paradigm shifts shows us that change for the better is always possible. This talk will help you learn how.

  5. “That’s Great, but How Do I Convince My Boss?”

    It’s one thing to know what your organization should be doing, but that’s not always enough to convince the people who sign the checks. How do you get them on board? In this talk, David Dylan Thomas, author of Design for Cognitive Bias, will talk about the biases that drive organizations to make counterproductive and sometimes unethical choices, and what we can do about it. You’ll come away with a greater understanding of how to fight bias with bias to navigate some of the risk-averse, short-sighted, and poorly incentivized habits organizations and clients often fall into.

  6. After Hours: Fall Summit 2021 Wrap-up

    Two web veterans look back on three amazing days of design, code, and content — talking about the themes that emerged and how they came together, sharing the moments that got them the most excited, and offering ideas and resources for further learning after the event.


Your Event Registration includes:

  • Admission to all sessions, live Q&A, discussion boards to connect with other attendees, and extra sessions during the event itself.
  • On-demand access to all session recordings and Q&As for the days you are registered for a full six months.
  • Speaker handouts and resources from some of the world’s top experts.
  • Savings on future live and online events with the alumni discount.

Three-Day Pass

October 11-13, 2021


Your Three-Day Pass includes admission to all sessions, live Q&A, discussion boards to connect with other attendees, and extra sessions for all three days of the Fall Summit.

Monday-Tuesday Pass

October 11-12, 2021


Your Monday-Tuesday Pass includes admission to all sessions, live Q&A, discussion boards to connect with other attendees, and any extra sessions on the first two days of the Fall Summit.

Tuesday-Wednesday Pass

October 12-13, 2021


Your Tuesday-Wednesday Pass includes admission to all sessions, live Q&A, discussion boards to connect with other attendees, and any extra sessions on the last two days of the Fall Summit.

Monday and Wednesday Pass

October 11-13, 2021


Your Monday and Wednesday Pass includes admission to all sessions, live Q&A, discussion boards to connect with other attendees, and any extra sessions on the first and last days of the Fall Summit.

Monday Pass

October 11, 2021


Your Monday Pass includes admission to all sessions, live Q&A, discussion boards to connect with other attendees, and any extra sessions on the first day of the Fall Summit.

Tuesday Pass

October 12, 2021


Your Tuesday Pass includes admission to all sessions, live Q&A, discussion boards to connect with other attendees, and any extra sessions on the second day of the Fall Summit.

Wednesday Pass

October 13, 2021


Your Wednesday Pass includes admission to all sessions, live Q&A, discussion boards to connect with other attendees, and any extra sessions on the last day of the Fall Summit.

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Upcoming Events

  1. Fall Summit 2021

    Full schedule available!