Online Together

Spring Summit

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Set yourself apart.

Online Together: Spring Summit is a three-day 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, and more. You'll get deep insights into where we are now and where things are going next.

Schedule

  1. The State of the Web

    The World Wide Web has come a long way in its three decades of existence. There’s so much we can do now with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript: animation, layout, powerful APIs… we can even make websites that work offline! And yet the web isn’t exactly looking rosy right now. The problems we face aren’t technical in nature. We’re facing a crisis of expectations: we’ve convinced people that the web is slow, buggy, and inaccessible. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is no fate but what we make. In this perspective-setting talk, we’ll go on a journey to the past, present, and future of web design and development. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and by the end, you’ll be ready to make the web better.

  2. Frameworks: Do They Really? And For Whom?

    For much of what we build on the web today, the fastest, most accessible solutions come from the simplest implementations HTML, CSS, and a light touch of JavaScript. But an increasing number of web applications call for more sophisticated, real-time, stateful user interfaces that can be difficult–even risky–to manage from scratch. Popular tools and frameworks exist to address these situations with smart, reliable patterns, but they come with their own costs. Where is the line at which we should use these tools, and how can we use them without compromising our performance, resilience, and accessibility? Scott will explore these questions, and offer his findings.

  3. How to Understand CSS

    We often learn CSS via looking for solutions to problems: We need to create a certain layout, or a particular animation, and so we go look for the exact CSS that will make it so. Many web developers today started their careers using a framework, and so much of their experience of CSS is in tweaking the code written by someone else. Too much time is spent trying to overwrite styles, and make customizations, without an understanding of what the underlying framework is actually doing.

    However, CSS has changed in the past few years, evolving into a system which can be understood like any other language. We do CSS and our own productivity a disservice if we continue to take a piecemeal approach to the language. By learning the key elements that underpin this system, you will find that the rest of CSS falls into place. In this brand-new talk, Rachel Andrew will set out the core concepts that enable a proper understanding of CSS. Whether you are a beginner or have been wrangling front-ends for years, you will find something here that will make your life much easier.

  4. Beyond Variables

    CSS Custom Properties (aka Cascading Variables) have gained broad browser support since 2015—but what are they good for, and why do we need them? Most tutorials follow the same pattern, defining color & size “design tokens” on a :root pseudo-class, and then using them globally. The problem is, we could already do that in pre-processors – and do so with much more powerful math and color manipulation at the ready.

    But that’s not the full picture, and it’s time for us to examine what makes custom properties unique in CSS and explore their unexpected power. In this session, Miriam will start with some simple experiments to demonstrate how CSS variables work, explore a wide range of practical use-cases, and then push them to the limit… and beyond.

  5. HTML with Super Powers

    It’s the year 2021. Lots of us are building our websites and apps with components and design systems, perhaps leveraging a JavaScript framework to help glue all the pieces together. The web has matured in the last 5 years and it might be time to start looking at how the Web’s native component system can give our HTML super powers. We’ll talk about how to create, style, and use Web Components in your project today as well as look at how the components you build today may offer a pathway to web standardization and help inform and influence the Web for future generations.

  6. After Hours: Getting to Senior in UX

    In this informal talk, Cyd condenses her extensive mentoring experience to show you how to take the career step from mid-level to senior as a designer working in organizations. How do you keep your edge as a practitioner as you step into leadership responsibilities? How do you become a pragmatic advocate for UX? How do you develop a resume and portfolio that speaks to the next level? How do you deal positively with organizational politics? How do you show up as a senior person both internally and in public? She'll discuss all of these tricky areas and there will be extra time to answer your questions.

  1. Better User Experience is Better SEO

    UX and SEO are different disciplines, right? Well, that’s the old way of thinking. SEO is as much about UX as any other discipline. Now that search engines can identify and prioritize contextual signals and user signals along with keyword and links signals, your strategy needs to be more holistic. When SEO was about crawlers, keywords, and canonicals, if you did the basics, your site was good to go. But today, prioritizing algorithm pleasing over user signals results in an incomplete profile which can lead to suppressed rankings due to constantly disappointing customers. If our industry’s True North is solving people’s problems, then those who add SEO to their arsenal of expertise will win the future. In this session, Wil will show you how it’s done.

  2. PWAs Five Years On

    When the concept of Progressive Web Apps was introduced in 2016, the world of frontend development seemed changed forever. Websites could be “installed” to devices and, better yet, they could be available offline! Surely, this would be the death of native? As we know, that isn’t exactly how things went. PWAs weren’t really able to live up to the ideology at the time. The groundwork was there but, as with everything else on the web, it was to be a slow process of incremental improvements.

    Now, five years down the line, things are different. PWAs are truly installable, reliable, and capable. In this talk, we’ll look at how PWAs have matured over the years and just how capable they’ve become.

  3. Modern Tools, Modern Layouts, Modern Web

    Web design and web layouts are rooted in old conventions: the single-column document structure of the platform, the float-based mindset, and a deeply rooted fear of browser incompatibilities. It doesn’t have to be this way. With modern tools for layout and content control, it’s time to radically rethink our approach to how the web looks and functions. Morten will show us how to wipe the slate clean and start over with today’s tools as our foundation. Learn to approach the web as a design surface with limitless possibilities. From paper sketches to full-fledged web experiences, you’ll discover new ways of thinking about web layouts and new opportunities to do things previously thought impossible.

  4. Inclusive Design Systems

    Design systems continue to grow and evolve as a tool for product teams to rapidly create digital apps and sites. They bring consistency, cohesion, efficiency, a shared vocabulary, and a single source of truth to the product design and development process.

    There's another benefit that a lot of teams have yet to uncover: accessibility leverage. An accessible design system is the single most under-utilized leverage for creating accessible products. Incorporate accessibility really well into your design system and your product is primed for success. Ignore accessibility in your design system and you're setting yourself up for a massive inclusion failure.

    Derek has worked with some of the top brands in the world on the accessibility of their design systems, and in this talk he'll share the 5 most important lessons he's learned along the way including which parts of accessibility MUST be part of your design system MVP, how to test your design system, and how to ensure that you're fulfilling the promise of creating inclusive designs.

  5. High-Impact User Research

    Research hours and dollars are precious: no one has enough of them, and everyone needs to make the most of every user interaction. In this in-depth discussion of user research recruiting techniques, Cyd will share her secrets for finding and engaging the best possible participants. She’ll talk about how to scope your sample size, identify behavioral (rather than just demographic) matches, offer enticing incentives, and even how to recruit people in the moment they experience the problem your product is meant to solve. If you can show your stakeholders engaged users coping with challenges in real time, you can generate a whole new level of impact for UX. Cyd’s advice will help you spend your precious research time with the people who can provide the most valuable and reliable responses to your product ideas.

  6. After Hours: ShopTalk Show LIVE!

    Be part of a special LIVE edition of ShopTalk Show with Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier, who will take questions from attendees, riff on talks from the show, and more. As Chris and Dave warned us, things you're likely to experience include bad jokes, hot drama, strong opinions, and weird takes. Anything could happen—don't miss it!

  1. 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.

  2. CSS at the Intersection

    CSS exists at an intersection between mental models. How do we know? Because we keep hearing the same endless debate: “Is CSS broken or awesome?" Fixed thought patterns in tech coupled with common defensive reactions, such as “CSS is broken,” can set back learning for years. Worse, those reactions can bring collaboration to a halt.

    In this engaging talk, Natalya will show that there are ways to intervene when things veer off course: we should aim to build tools to accommodate different mental models. Theory will be paired with practical tips and examples of effective approaches to promote above-average learning and collaboration across disciplines. You’ll come away with tips for creating successful design systems and several collaborative tools that facilitate the way designers and developers work together.

  3. Broadening Your Design Vision: How DIBs Can Make You a Better Designer

    Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) initiatives are increasingly common in workplaces. If done well, they are features that help us have better perspective on where our co workers are coming from. And, especially in a time of global remote work, the tools learned from these features can be used for more than just better connecting with your teammates; they are also essential to you being more effective in creating, marketing and selling products. In this talk, we’ll discuss the goals of internal DIB initiatives and how they relate to external success. And we will also draw parallels between the actions needed to bolster inclusion on teams and how they align with building more effective products for your customers.

  4. Semantics to Screen Readers

    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!

  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: Spring Summit Wrap-up

    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.

Pricing

Your 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 through April 21, 2022.
  • 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

April 19-21, 2021

$1,050

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 Spring Summit.

Monday-Tuesday Pass

April 19-20, 2021

$700

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 Spring Summit.

Tuesday-Wednesday Pass

April 20-21, 2021

$700

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

Monday and Wednesday Pass

April 19-21, 2021

$700

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

Monday Pass

April 19, 2021

$350

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

Tuesday Pass

April 20, 2021

$350

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

Wednesday Pass

April 21, 2021

$350

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

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Upcoming Events

  1. Spring Summit

    Full schedule available!
  2. Orlando

    Date and location posted!
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  4. San Francisco

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