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Set yourself apart.

An Event Apart Minneapolis is a three-day conference with 17 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.

Early bird pricing ends in Get a reminder!


  1. Arrival Day

  2. Early Arrival/Check-in

    Ballroom foyer, Fourth 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

    Ballroom foyer, Fourth 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. User Preference Design

    If we can better meet the individual needs of our users we enable an exceptional superpower to take root; enabling us to create super fans of our sites, lowering customer acquisition costs and raising brand awareness. All in ways that have previously been under-utilised in the skill set of the modern web designer.

    Let’s think about the outlier data, the anomaly use cases and the really tricky “personas” that are rarely more than an afterthought in our current design processes. As scary as it seems, it’s time we put a little more control into our users hands, rather than limiting the web to a one-size-fits-most school of thought.

    Known for her practical sessions at An Event Apart, Sarah will show you real-life case studies as to how she’s achieved great successes with this model of thinking for her clients and well-known brands. As well as practical tips, tricks, and quick-wins that you can take back to the office and take full credit for implementing.

  7. The Mythology of Design Systems

    Design systems have dominated web design conversations for a few years. Just as there’s no one way to make a website, there is no one way to make a design system. Unfortunately this has led to a lot of misconceptions around the creation and impact of this increasingly important tool. Do any of these sound familiar?

    • “It’s too restrictive.”
    • “It limits creativity.”
    • “It won’t work for editorial projects.”
    • “It’ll solve all our problems.”

    Drawing on her experiences building design systems at two highly visible and vastly different organizations, Mina will debunk some common myths surrounding design systems.

  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. 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!

  1. Day 2

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

    Ballroom foyer, Fourth 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. 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 .

  7. 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.

  8. Truly Portable Design Patterns

    One of the main promises of design systems is to create a pattern or component once and see it reused by designers and developers throughout your organization. This promise is mostly unrealized. The most common design tools cannot consume our front-end patterns, which are often locked in to a specific framework that may not work for every team or project

    Fortunately, our tools and web standards are catching up with our design system aspirations. New web-based design tools like Framer X and UX Pin make it possible to import pattern library components directly. Even more traditional design tools like Sketch can be now consume pattern libraries. And web components have the potential to become a lingua franca for design systems allowing us to create components that can be used with whatever JavaScript framework your team chooses.

    In this session, Jason will demonstrate how close we are to the promise of design systems by showing how components can flow through our design tools and development frameworks and what challenges remain to be solved.

  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. 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.

  1. Day 3

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

    Ballroom foyer, Fourth Floor
  4. Morning Welcome

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. What is Design Ops, and Why Do I Care?

    Anything in our design process can be operationalized. The speed and accountability of front-end work are improved with “dev ops.” Research tasks like recruiting and usability lab management are more efficient with “research ops.” Just about any process or tool that saves time and money can be “oped,” getting design improvements to those that need it most: the people using our websites and products.

    Design Operations, or Design Ops for short, ties it all of this together in one big package. But what does Design Ops mean for you, your work, and your team? It depends, but one way to start is by looking at the design work we know and love through a new lens. By distinguishing workflow from software, outcomes from team structures, and maybe even “agile” from UX, we can give some much-needed love to spaces we inhabit in our work, letting us spend more time being the kind of designers we want to be.

  8. Inclusive Design: Thinking and Doing

    Inclusive design is a valuable process that we can use in our journey to make things more accessible for people with disabilities. This applies to all aspects of design — whether you’re designing your latest app or web site, a physical space, or even a meeting. There are some simple steps to take: first, we need to identify barriers to participation so that we can determine who has been excluded, and how they’ve been excluded in the past and present. Second, once we’ve identified those barriers, we can systematically improve our work by creating solutions that get past those barriers. And third, we can continue to learn from people with different disabilities what their needs are, and how we could continue to improve. Ultimately that all leads to creating an inclusive product that meets people’s accessibility needs AND we use an inclusive process to do it.

    In this session, Derek will share stories of success and failure as he worked with teams over the last year to engage with people with disabilities as co-designers, as well as the simple recipe for successfully creating a more inclusive design process.

  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.


Early Bird Ends Soon!

Three-Day Pass

August 17-19, 2020


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

Monday-Tuesday Pass

August 17-18, 2020


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

Tuesday-Wednesday Pass

August 18-19, 2020


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

Monday & Wednesday Pass

August 17-19, 2020


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

Monday Pass

August 17, 2020


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

Tuesday Pass

August 18, 2020


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

Wednesday Pass

August 19, 2020


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


The Minneapolis Marriott City Center has arranged special room rates with complimentary in-room internet access for An Event Apart attendees, starting at just $189/night. To get these savings, please book through the special site set up for attendees, or call +1 (612) 349-4000 and ask for the “An Event Apart” room rate.

Perfectly placed in the heart of vibrant downtown Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Marriott City Center boasts an impressive selection of modern guest rooms and suites and a variety of helpful on-site amenities. Enjoy outstanding seasonal fare at the Northern Shores Grille, stay in shape on your own schedule at our 24-hour fitness center, or take advantage of easy access to many of the city's most celebrated attractions. For added convenience, the hotel is directly attached to the Skyway System, and is only a short distance from destinations like Target Field, US Bank Stadium, and Nicollet Mall.

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An Event Apart Minneapolis 2020 is sponsored by:

Upcoming Events

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