An Event Apart Washington DC 2019

Three days of design, code, and content

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Event Schedule

  1. Arrival Day

  2. Early Registration/Badge Pick-Up

    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

  3. Breakfast

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Slow Design for an Anxious World

    Most web pages are too fast or too slow. Last year, Zeldman showed us how to create design that works faster for customers in a hurry to get things done. This year he’ll show how to create designs that deliberately slow your visitors down, helping them understand more and make better decisions.

    Learn to make layouts that coax the visitor to sit back, relax, and actually absorb the content your team works so hard to create. Improve UX significantly without spending a lot or chasing the tail lights of the latest whiz-bang tech. Whether you build interactive experiences or craft editorial pages, you’ll learn how to ease your customers into the experience and build the kind of engagement you thought the web had lost forever.

  6. Designing for Trust in an Uncertain World

    Mass media and our most cynical memes say we live in a post-fact era. So who can we trust—and how do our users invest their trust? Expert opinions are a thing of the past; we favor user reviews from “people like us” whether we're planning a meal or prioritizing a newsfeed. But as our filter bubbles burst, consumers and citizens alike turn inward for the truth. By designing for empowerment, the smartest organizations meet them there.

    We must empower our audiences to earn their trust—not the other way around—and our tactical choices in content and design can fuel empowerment. Margot will walk you through examples from retail, publishing, government, and other industries to detail what you can do to meet unprecedented problems in information consumption. Learn how voice, volume, and vulnerability can inform your design and content strategy to earn the trust of your users. We'll ask the tough questions: How do brands develop rapport when audiences let emotion cloud logic? Can you design around cultural predisposition to improve public safety? And how do voice and vulnerability go beyond buzzwords and into broader corporate strategy? Learn how these questions can drive design choices in organizations of any size and industry—and discover how your choices can empower users and rebuild our very sense of trust itself.

  7. Designing for Personalities

    Just as our designs today must accommodate differences of gender, cultural background, and other factors, it’s time to create apps, websites, and internal processes that account for still another strand of human diversity: our very different personality types.

    In this new presentation, Sarah shares real-life case studies demonstrating how businesses and organizations large and small are learning to adjust the thinking behind their websites and processes to account for the wishes, needs, and comfort levels of all kinds of people.

    We know that the world is full of different conventions—currency, measuring systems, and more—and our web forms address these differences. Let’s do the same for the emotional and psychological assumptions behind our customer profiles. Let’s learn to design for a palette of different personalities.

  8. Generation Style

    Consider, if you will, CSS generated content. We can, and sometimes even do, use it to insert icons before or after pieces of text. Occasionally we even use it add a bit of extra information. And once upon a time, we pressed it into service as a hack to get containers to wrap around their floated children. That’s all fine—but what good is generated content, really? What can we do with it? What are its limitations? And how far can we push content generation in a new landscape full of flexible boxes, grids, and more? Join Eric as he turns a spotlight on generated content and shows how it can be a generator of creativity as well as a powerful, practical tool for everyday use.

  9. Making Things Better: Redefining the Technical Possibilities of CSS

    For years we’ve explained that the web is not like print; that a particular idea is not how things work on the web; that certain things are simply not possible. Over the last few years, rapid browser implementation of advances in CSS have given us the ability to do many of these previously impossible things. We can use our new powers to build the same designs faster, or we can start to ask ourselves what we might do if we were solving these problems afresh.

    In this talk, Rachel will look at the things coming into browsers right now which change the way we see web design. CSS subgrids allowing nested grids to use the track definition of their parent; logical properties and values moving the web away from the physical dimensions of a computer screen; screen experiences which behave more like an app, or even paged media, due to scroll snapping and multidimensional control. By understanding the new medium of web design we can start to imagine the future, and even help to shape it.

  10. Designing Intrinsic Layouts

    Twenty-five years after the web began, we finally have a real toolkit for creating layouts. Combining CSS Grid, Flexbox, Multicolumn, Flow layout and Writing Modes gives us the technical ability to build layouts today without the horrible hacks and compromises of the past. But what does this mean for our design medium? How might we better leverage the art of graphic design? How will we create something practical, useable, and realistically doable?

    In a talk full of specific examples, Jen will walk you through the thinking process of creating accessible & reusable page and component layouts. For the last four years, Jen’s been getting audiences excited about what, when, and why. Now it’s time for how.

  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!

  12. Sponsored Panel: The Web We Want

    Brought to you by:
    Microsoft Edge

    If you build websites, you inevitably run into problems. Maybe there’s no way to achieve an aspect of your design using CSS. Or maybe there’s a device feature you really wish you could tap into using JavaScript. Or perhaps the in-browser DevTools don’t give you a key insight you need to do your job. We want to know your pain. Submit a problem and you could get to present it to an expert panel of judges and the AEA audience live on stage. Best of all, the top problems will win awesome prizes!

  1. Day 2

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Making Motion Inclusive

    Let’s clear the air about animation and inclusive design. It’s a common misconception that things like inclusive design and accessibility only come at the cost of design details like motion, but that’s just not the case. Whether it’s microinteractions, animated illustrations, or larger animated experiences, a little care and consideration can go a long way towards getting the best of both worlds. In this dynamic session, Val will show you how to build animated interactions with inclusivity in mind from the start. We’ll discuss how to apply web accessibility guidelines to modern web animation, when and how to implement reduced motion, and approaches to building up animated interactions for a solid standards base.

  6. Animation on the Bleeding Edge

    As a community, we talk about how to animate on the web in terms of what's possible—but where is animation heading? From the intersection of health and animation with biofeedback sensors, to teaching with web technologies, to the very future of what the browser will be capable of animating, we're just getting started. In this engaging talk, Sarah will explore the latest bleeding-edge animation techniques, including native-like page transitions with client side rendering… and then will push them even further.

  7. SVG Filters: The Crash Course

    When it comes to graphical effects, CSS has come a long way in the last few years, with the introduction of CSS filters and blend modes. However, when compared to effects available in graphics editors such as Photoshop and the likes, CSS is still a long way behind. SVG, on the other hand, comes with a set of filter primitives that enable you to recreate Photoshop-grade effects in the browser, using just a few lines of code.

    In this detail-packed talk, Sara will give you a crash course on SVG filters: why they're awesome, how they work, and examples of powerful effects you can create with them. While the syntax and attributes of these filters may seem intimidating and not very friendly at first, once you get a grasp of how they work, you'll have a very powerful tool in your arsenal, that allows you to push the boundaries of what is possible on the Web.

  8. Special Screening: Rams

    Rams is the new documentary film from Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified, Urbanized) about legendary designer Dieter Rams. For over 50 years, Rams has left an indelible mark on the field of product design with his iconic work at Braun and Vitsoe, and his influence on Apple. So at 86 years old, why does he now regret being a designer? Rams is a design documentary, but it’s also a rumination on consumerism, sustainability, and how technology is changing human behavior. Dieter's philosophy is about more than just design, it’s about a way to live. The film features an original score by pioneering musician Brian Eno.

  9. 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.

  10. Data Basics

    Whether you work on web or native apps, you’re probably seeing an increased demand to gather data about your product. The way we build products is always changing, and so too is the way we track how people use them—we’ve come a long way from the days of just tracking clicks and page views. In this detailed session, Laura will cover the latest trends in data collection, including ​the best kinds of data to collect from apps versus the web; how to make the best use of crash and other troubleshooting data; and how refined A/B testing can work for you.

  11. What Has Changed and Where’s it Going?

    The web moves fast. It always has. While involved in a large ecommerce redesign (originally built in 2012 during the heyday of responsive redesigns) we identified dozens of “responsive best practices” that are simply no longer necessary or no longer best practices. With a critical eye, we’ve been able to reduce quite a bit of cruft and overhead which improves the overall customer experience. Consider this talk a Responsive Web Design Refresher Course where we’ll look at problems that are no longer problems and find places you might be able to remove code and improve the user experience. We’ll also discuss where the web technology is going and what choices you might want to consider if you’re making new decisions today to help future-proof your site for tomorrow.

  1. Day 3

  2. Breakfast

  3. Attendee Check-in/Badge Pick-up

  4. Morning Welcome

  5. Leveling Up Your Design Communication

    Design is a medium for communication, and to do it well, we must cultivate our own communication skills. Within design teams, we do our best work when we create a culture of feedback shaped by our creative space and our design review process. Beyond the design tribe, our work thrives when it’s communicated in language that aligns to the goals of the business and invites participation early and often. In this presentation, Aarron will share the experiences of real design teams at Apple, Spotify, and other organizations to show how to improve the communication of design both inside your team and with key outside stakeholders. You’ll see how to run effective design reviews and retrospectives which will help you create a culture of feedback that produces better work, helps designers sharpen their skills, and communicates the value of design by making it more transparent and inviting.

  6. Making Research Count

    It’s hard to do really impactful user research, not just because research techniques aren’t easy but because getting the permission, time, budget, and attention can be huge challenges on their own. Cyd will discuss how to build a valuable research practice in any company by doing strong small research projects and involving the broader team. Her talk will cover both technical tips (such as how to create simple templates for data recording that make research synthesis easier) and communication advice gained from decades of expanding the reach of research in organizations large and small. If your team hasn’t yet made user research a core part of your design and product work, you’ll leave this talk with a map of how to start. And if you already do research but see it ignored or dismissed, you’ll go home with new ways to make sure it gets the attention and influence it should have. Wherever you are, Cyd’s talk will help your team get the most out of the time and energy you spend with your users.

  7. Progressive Web Apps: Where Do I Begin?

    For the last three years, our industry has been coming to terms with Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and what they mean for the work we do every day. Scores of articles, reams of documentation, and dozens of white papers touting the successes and failures in this space can really get your head spinning. It’s easy to get lost in the complexities of service workers, manifests, and oh so many JavaScript frameworks and toolkits. Aaron believes it’s time to take a step back and refocus our attention on what really matters: building great web experiences. In this session, you’ll learn how to apply modern web design and development best practices to your web projects. You’ll learn how to grow a project from a core, universally-accessible experience to a sophisticated Progressive Web App that ensures users will be able to access your product, no matter what.

  8. Inclusive, by Design

    For years, conversations about accessibility have bubbled around designers and developers. We’ve seen waves of hope and despair as mainstream products hit the internet and include or exclude accessibility considerations, and subsequently people with disabilities. Then we hear people state emphatically “We aren’t intentionally excluding people with disabilities!” We hear it. But the reality is this: you’re not intentionally including them either.

    In this talk, Derek walks you through case studies of accessibility and inclusion on the web and with apps. You’ll get an inside look at the techniques he’s used with clients for the last decade, and at the lessons learned that help you move towards a truly inclusive design process. Put that all together, and you’ll leave with a repeatable framework for intentional inclusion in your design.

  9. The Customer-Obsessed Professional

    This is the Age of the Consumer. Never before have customers had more power, more connectivity, more information, or more tools. Today, it’s not about designing for the customer but with them. Supporting your company’s business and advancing your career in this new age takes three essential skills: Humility, Agility, and Simplicity. Gerry McGovern explores all three in this fast-paced and memorable all-new session. You’ll learn to enhance the humility skills of listening, collaborating, and using evidence instead of gut instinct. Become more agile by increasing the amount of customer feedback you receive, and developing faster methods to make changes to your code, content, or design. And master the key metrics of customer simplicity. You’ll leave inspired to improve how you serve your customer, and knowing how to prove to management that making things simpler for the customer is the best business case of all.

Location

Sheraton Pentagon City
900 South Orme Street Arlington, VA 22204

The Sheraton Pentagon City has arranged special room rates with complimentary in-room internet access for AEA attendees, starting at just $179/night. To get these savings, please book your group rate for An Event Apart or call (800) 325-3535 and request the “special An Event Apart room rate.” Limited rooms are available at this rate, so don’t delay.

With fantastic views of the nation’s capital, the Sheraton Pentagon City is conveniently located just minutes from Washington, D.C., Pentagon City Metro, Crystal City, Georgetown, and Old Towne Alexandria. Located just off Interstate 395 and Washington Blvd., it’s surrounded by a variety of ethnic restaurants, fabulous shopping, and great entertainment. Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) is just five miles from the hotel, which offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport. Enjoy swimming in the enclosed, rooftop, heated pool or work up a sweat at Sheraton Fitness, a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Seating is limited — Register Now!

An Event Apart Washington DC 2019 is proud to be sponsored by: