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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Well Said: Giving Your Content a Voice

    The vast majority of the user interfaces we manipulate on a daily basis are artificial and learned: keyboards and mice, touchscreens and styluses. Speech, however, rooted in natural language, is the most human and ancient of all interfaces. With the ongoing explosion of voice interfaces quickening thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, more people are acquiring information in the form of spoken content. Because voice throws more than a few wrenches in the content-first, web-only, and even chatbot paradigms we’re accustomed to, we can’t just copy and paste our existing website content to be recited unadorned.

    In this talk, Preston will share what makes voice content unique, how spoken content upends chatbot paradigms, and how giving your content a voice humanizes it in accessible but sensitive ways. You’ll come away inspired to recast your own corpus as dialogue and to deliver voice content to your own users.

  6. Rich Research At A Distance

    It might seem like you’re restricted to learning about your users from analytics and surveys during social distancing, but never fear: Cyd Harrell will show you how to get all the depth of qualitative research methods while keeping yourself and your users safe. She’ll talk through what’s harder, what’s easier, and what’s just different, from recruiting to interviews to diary studies. Conducting meaningful research is even more important as our society shifts to cope with a crisis, and it takes just a little more study design work to set up a flow that keeps your participant comfortable and engaged in a remote session. Cyd will share her best conversational and technical tips from 14 years of remote research practice, and talk about ways to handle mobile interfaces, difficult topics, internet outages, and more.


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