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Fall Summit 2020

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The event may be over, but you can purchase on-demand access to all the talks, Q&A recordings, and more for a minimum of six months!

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  1. I Am So Very Tired of Terrible Content

    Kristina published Content Strategy for the Web in 2009. She assumed 11 years would be enough time for everyone to fix their content. Apparently, it was not. Come take an entertaining tour of Very Bad Content in 2020 with Kristina, and get tips on how to prevent your content from being featured in her next earth-scorching talk (hint: it’s content strategy).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Dissecting the ‘Name-Brand’ CSS Conventions

    How do we write code that is modular and maintainable, in a language designed to be systematic and contextual? Over the years developers have explored a range of techniques, frameworks, and naming conventions to achieve that goal—from Nicole Sullivan’s OOCSS and Natalie Downe’s CSS Systems, to BEM, SMACSS, ITCSS, CUBE, and recent attempts at purely “utility-based” CSS.

    In this talk, Miriam will take a look at what these systems have in common, where they differ, and how they are informed by CSS itself. By understanding the trade-offs involved, we can make more informed decisions about how to mix, match, adjust, or re-write these conventions to meet our needs.

  6. Modern CSS Tips and Tricks

    CSS is evolving at a rapid pace, and with the market share of browsers now being widely evergreen, our ability to use modern techniques is growing too. In this talk, Una will go over some of the newer capabilities CSS brings us, such as min(), max(), and clamp(), the attr() function, grid and flexbox gap, place-items, filters and blend modes, matching selectors such as :is, and more. We’ll explore when and where these properties are appropriate to use, and how we can use PostCSS to polyfill them for unsupported browsers.

  7. A Conversation with Wil Reynolds: Crafting Better Experiences Through Machine Learning

    In a fun, freewheeling, casual conversation with Jeffrey Zeldman, self-professed “SEO guy” Wil Reynolds shares insights that can help you and your team make better, more strategic decisions. He also discusses how to use Google’s free machine learning to help you understand—and build better experiences for—your customers.

  1. 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.

  2. Habits of the Cross-Cultural Designer

    The internet is connecting more people in more places than ever before, and our audiences bring a dazzling variety of languages, perspectives, and expectations with them. If we want to effectively design for these modern, multicultural audiences, we have to be willing to challenge our usual strategies and processes. But what are the core actions of the cross-cultural practitioner?

    In this session, Senongo will offer a framework for understanding and working on culturally adaptable products and experiences. He will examine interfaces as cultural products, ways of thinking about our audiences, and how to strengthen your cross-cultural design abilities.

  3. 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.

  4. Design for Cognitive Bias

    Users’ minds take shortcuts to get through the day. Usually they’re harmless—even helpful. But what happens when they’re not? In this talk, David will use real-world examples to identify some particularly nasty biases that frequently lead users to make bad decisions. He’ll then talk about some content strategy and design choices we can use in our apps, designs, and platforms to redirect or eliminate the impact of those biases. Finally, he'll explore our biases as designers and some methods to prevent our blind spots from hurting users.

  5. Human Connection at Scale: Using Design Systems to Communicate with Empathy

    Communication and design are inherently linked in every step of both processes. When creating a new experience, you are engaging in a conversation with the consumer, and your design needs to speak to them in their language so they’ll feel compelled to learn more about the products your company sells. For this process to be as successful as possible, it has to be rooted in empathy both for the customer as well as within the ranks of your team. Communicating with empathy within teams means more empathetic, customer-focused design.

    Unfortunately that communication sometimes fails, and as a result design suffers. So how do you reconnect the dots from design to communication? And how can you make sure that design - and communication - never deteriorates to the point of no return? With empathy. In this talk, Sharon will draw on her experience guiding her clients as well as her own team to help you make empathy a core part of your success.

  6. Remote Meetings That Get Us Back to Work

    Companies around the world are adapting to business as usual in a distributed culture. For better or worse, that adaptation seems to have carried with it an increase in meetings. Having good remote meetings carries all of the challenges of in-person meetings plus additional layers of technology issues, distractions, and the inherent reduction in good communication that comes with eliminating things like body language and subtle variations in tone that don’t translate to video calls. They have to be good, because there isn’t enough time for them to be bad.

    But the good news is that the things that make meetings work well apply to both remote and in-person collaboration. Things like agenda design principles, facilitation and feedback loops, documentation of decisions and action items, and human-centered attendance policies lay a solid foundation for good collaboration and efficient use of time. In this talk, Kevin will pull extensively from his book Meeting Design and his experience teaching these skills and tackling these problems in conference workshops with companies around the world to show you how to make the most of all your meetings.

  7. A Conversation with Jennifer Robbins: Making The Web—Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

    Come for the banter, stay for the stories. In conversation with Jeffrey Zeldman, best-selling tech author Jennifer Robbins looks back at 27 years of professional web design, shares tales of swapping recipes with rock stars on her pioneering video podcast, reminisces about tech past, and reveals how she keeps up with our ever-changing industry.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Practical Ethics for the Modern Web Designer

    Ethics is front of mind these days, especially in the tech industry. The industry ethos of “move fast and break things” has resulted in real harm to real people—ranging from the erosion of privacy to the deterioration of democracy itself. We need an ethics for our industry, of that there is little doubt. But how do we make it happen? How do we incorporate ethics into our design and development work?

    In this talk, Morten lays down a path toward an explicit ethics for web workers, by anchoring the work we do in the capabilities we manipulate in the people we design for, and providing an ethical foundation to stand on when making the decisions that build the future for our users.

  4. The Dawn of Design Engineering

    Creating innovative products without room for exploration and experimentation can be a challenge. That’s why companies are starting to create hybrid roles, like design technologist or UX engineer, to be connectors between design and engineering. These new “hybrids” thrive on quickly going from concept to completion by creating well thought-out hypotheses, exploring different ideas and validating proof-of-concepts with users. But what are the specific steps we can take to promote the practice of design technology within our organization? In this talk, Adekunle will outline not only what Design Engineering means for our practice, but how you can start implementing it right away to accelerate your innovation as well as your output.

  5. 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.

  6. Mind the Gap

    Despite good intentions, lots of user-centered design isn’t actually user-centered. Learn what drives these gaps and how your organization can align business and customer needs to deliver the kind of user experiences we all want to have online. With data informed insights, “live” redesigns, and more, Luke will give you the tools and information you need for successful user journeys.

  7. Fall Summit Wrap-up With Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer

    The two web designers (and AEA co-founders) 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 On-Demand Registration includes:

  • On-demand access to all session recordings and Q&As for the days you are registered for through October 28, 2021.
  • Speaker handouts and resources from some of the world’s top experts.
  • Savings on future live and online events with the alumni discount.

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