An Event Apart https://aneventapart.com/ en-us Sat, 17 Aug 2019 14:05:50 -0700 Sat, 17 Aug 2019 14:05:50 -0700 Back to the Future with An Event Apart in 2020 https://aneventapart.com/news/post/back-to-the-future-with-an-event-apart-in-2020 Tue, 13 Aug 2019 08:45:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/back-to-the-future-with-an-event-apart-in-2020 They say hindsight is 20/20, but at An Event Apart, we’ll be bringing you foresight in 2020—just as we have every year since 2005—hand in glove with the immediate takeaways AEA is famous for. And we’ll be doing it all with 17 industry-leading speakers over three brilliant days of design, code and content.

Want to know the latest on all the trends affecting your work? Get a handle on teamwork, design thinking, user experience, and the latest technologies? As we do every year, we’ll bring all that to six cities next year.

As for what’s changed: for the first time in almost a decade, we’ll be back in Minneapolis! And, after years of looking for the right venue in Washington, DC, we’ve found it… and in the Spring, when DC is at the height of its beauty. Gain foresight, insight, and inspiration at An Event Apart in these cities:

We hope you’ll join us for three focused days of user experience, digital design, peer interaction, a host of immediately actionable insights, and sneak peeks at the future of our industry. All six events are now open for registration, so get ready to grab a seat and be part of our biggest year yet!

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“Variable Fonts and the Future of Web Typography” by Jason Pamental—An Event Apart video https://aneventapart.com/news/post/variable-fonts-and-the-future-of-web-typography-aea-video Wed, 07 Aug 2019 10:01:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/variable-fonts-and-the-future-of-web-typography-aea-video Variable fonts include EVERY width, weight, slant, and other permutation of a typeface, all in a single file not much bigger than a regular font file. In this hour-long presentation captured live at An Event Apart Orlando 2018, Jason Pamental delves into the ins and outs of variable fonts, showing you not just how far the new capabilities can take us, but how to make use of them right away.

Jason Pamental is a long-time practitioner of web design and development, having first gotten involved with the industry in 1994. Over the years he’s led projects ranging from Ivy League and high tech to the NFL and America’s Cup, from both creative and technical roles. He’s an avid cyclist, hiker, dog owner, and Instagrammer.

Enjoy all the videos in An Event Apart’s library! There are over 50 hours of them—all absolutely free! For more insightful presentations by the industry’s best and brightest, come to An Event Apart—three days of design, code, and content for web, UX, and interaction designers. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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Articles, Links, and Tools From An Event Apart DC 2019 https://aneventapart.com/news/post/resources-from-dc-2019 Sun, 28 Jul 2019 06:00:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/resources-from-dc-2019 Community

Jeffrey Zeldman, “Slow Design for an Anxious World”

Learn how to create designs that deliberately slow your visitors down, helping them understand more and make better decisions.

Margot Bloomstein, “Designing for Trust in an Uncertain World”

Consumers and citizens alike turn inward for the truth. By designing for empowerment, the smartest organizations meet them there.

Sarah Parmenter, “Designing for Personalities”

It’s time to create apps, websites, and internal processes that account for still another strand of human diversity: our very different personality types.

Tools I use that are relevant to this work:

Eric Meyer, “Generation Style”

A spotlight on generated content that shows how it can be a generator of creativity as well as a powerful, practical tool for everyday use.

Rachel Andrew, “Making Things Better: Redefining the Technical Possibilities of CSS”

By understanding the new medium of web design we can start to imagine the future, and even help to shape it.

The code examples can be found in this CodePen Collection.

Flexbox

Sizing

Logical Properties and Values

Scroll Snap

Subgrid (Grid Level 2)

Paged Media

Multicol

Fragmentation

Regions

Exclusions

Jen Simmons, “Designing Intrinsic Layouts”

Jen walks you through the thinking process of creating accessible & reusable page and component layouts.

Val Head, “Making Motion Inclusive”

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.

Sara Soueidan, “SVG Filters: The Crash Course”

Once you get a grasp of how SVG Filters 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.

The following series of articles is basically the talk written down in more depth:

More resources that I used to learn SVG Filters and find inspiration from:

Kevin M. Hoffman, “What is Design Ops, and Why Do I Care?”

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.

Articles, Videos, Podcasts, and Websites

Books

How would we live without

Laura Martini, “Data Basics”

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.

Dave Rupert, “What Has Changed and Where’s it Going?”

Where 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.

Aarron Walter, “Leveling Up Your Design Communication”

Our work thrives when it’s communicated in language that aligns to the goals of the business and invites participation early and often.

Cyd Harrell, “Making Research Count”

How to build a valuable research practice in any company by doing strong small research projects and involving the broader team.

Aaron Gustafson, “Progressive Web Apps: Where Do I Begin?”

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.

Gerry McGovern, “The Customer-Obsessed Professional”

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.

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“Use Your Words” by Kristina Halvorson – An Event Apart video https://aneventapart.com/news/post/use-your-words-by-kristina-halvorson-an-event-apart-video Tue, 23 Jul 2019 10:26:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/use-your-words-by-kristina-halvorson-an-event-apart-video UI is language. Interaction is conversation. Content is the fuel that powers our designs. So what happens when the writer’s not in the room, or is missing from your project team altogether?

Good news: you don’t need to settle for lorem ipsum or half-baked prose. In this dynamic presentation captured live at An Event Apart Orlando 2018, Kristina Halvorson shares language principles and content design tools anyone can put to work—yes, even the “non-writers” among us. Using examples from popular products and well-loved websites, she uncovers the secrets to stellar content that anyone can create, no matter your role or area of expertise.

Kristina runs Brain Traffic, a content strategy consultancy. She's the author of Content Strategy for the Web and the founder of Confab: The Content Strategy Conference.

Enjoy all the videos in An Event Apart’s library! There are over 40 hours of them—all absolutely free! For more insightful presentations by the industry’s best and brightest, come to An Event Apart—three days of design, code, and content for web, UX, and interaction designers. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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Finding Insights in Seas of Data: A Few Words with Laura Martini https://aneventapart.com/news/post/a-few-words-with-laura-martini Mon, 22 Jul 2019 08:33:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/a-few-words-with-laura-martini Tell us a little about yourself and what you've been doing recently.

I'm a UX designer at Google, working on the Google Analytics product that helps people understand how users are interacting with their website or mobile app. Recently, I've been learning more about how UX can use data insights to improve the products we build, and also to make a business case for the projects we're working on. I've been working closely with my Product Manager partner, and learning how to create product vision that can get our leadership invested in our ideas and make them into a reality in a large, complex organization.

What are some tools you find indispensable to your work? These can be any sort of tool, or really even things that aren't tools but are still super helpful.

As simple as it is, I couldn't be productive without a Post-it (or two or three...) with a running to-do list. I've recently taken on more people management, so a lot of my work involves talking with people and looking at data to understand what's going on, creating design briefs to articulate the problems we should be working on, and building slide decks to or creating storyboards to help people understand the team's vision.

Finally, what's current with/next for you and how does it relate to your talk?

I've recently been exploring how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help people find important insights in their complex data, and can even predict future trends. It's an interesting design challenge, as you're often dealing with information that's statistical, so you can't give people a definite yes-or-no answer. And anytime you involve a machine in the system, it makes things more complicated.

Computers are funny, in that they are so powerful, and yet struggle at tasks that seem basic to humans, like identifying whether a photo is of a dog or a blueberry muffin. The sweet spot is when you can design a system that allows machines to do what they're good at – like doing the same thing thousands or millions of times, and monitoring data 24/7 – and combine that with the human ability to know what data is important, and what action they should take. I touch on some of these types of features, like data insights and predictions, in my Data Basics talk.


See Laura present “Data Basics” at An Event Apart DC (July 29-31). Don’t miss this chance to hear Laura and sixteen other top-notch speakers share their insights!

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Talking About Design: A Few Words with Aarron Walter https://aneventapart.com/news/post/a-few-words-with-aarron-walter Thu, 18 Jul 2019 10:00:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/a-few-words-with-aarron-walter Tell us a little about yourself and what you've been doing recently.

I am the VP of Design Education at InVision. My team's mission is to help design teams become more effective so design as a discipline has more influence in business. To that end, we study design teams to find the practices that make them successful then we publish what we learn on DesignBetter.com in the form of books, reports, podcasts, and article.

After years of leading design teams, I find it fascinating to see how teams in various businesses work. Turns out, every team has something it's struggling to figure out. No one has it all figured out!

What are some tools you find indispensable to your work?

The tools I use daily are pretty pedestrian: Slack, Google Docs (I love a spreadsheet!), Zoom, Keynote, etc. I love Bear for keeping my notes sorted. I recently got a Electro Voice RE-20 Cardioid mic for my work on the Design Better Podcast, and I love it!

Wait, a podcast? Tell us more!

My co-host Eli Woolery and I explore a theme each season in our interviews with inspiring leaders and designers like David Kelley, IDEO and Stanford d.school founder; Julie Zhuo, Vice President of Product Design at Facebook; and Diana Mounter of Github, among others.

I'm a curious guy and our podcast has been a valuable way for me—and hopefully our listeners too!—to learn how to be a better designer and leader. The people we speak with are at the top of their game, and we love hearing how they got there as there are valuable lessons in their personal stories.

What's current with you, and does it relate to your talk?

Right now I'm very passionate about helping designers make a transition, to become more sophisticated about their work and how it connects to broader business goals. Design teams keep growing, which requires some adaptation and development of new skills: talking about our work beyond craft, communicating how design creates business value, building partnerships.

In my talk in DC, I'll be sharing practical guidance for designers on how to talk about design and bring more people into the process. It's the stuff I wish I'd learned earlier in my career as it would have made me much better at my job. I'm bundling up those lessons from the school of hard knocks and bringing them to the AEA audience!


See Aarron present “Leveling Up Your Design Communication” at An Event Apart DC (July 29-31). Don’t miss this chance to hear Aarron and sixteen other top-notch speakers share their insights!

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Designing for Trust: A Few Words with Margot Bloomstein https://aneventapart.com/news/post/a-few-words-with-margot-bloomstein Tue, 16 Jul 2019 11:30:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/a-few-words-with-margot-bloomstein Tell us a little about yourself and what you've been doing recently.

I've been working in content strategy about 20 years. My roots are in communication design, so the engagement and community at An Event Apart really feels like a way to bring it all together. Though our technical toolsets may differ, so many of us confront similar challenges in helping our organizations, supporting our users, and elevating valuable services.

Over the past two decades, I've had the opportunity to partner with clients on some slippery challenges—like how they can better convince skeptical audiences to buy into services or information to better help themselves. That problem is a fair summary of work I've done with tourist bureaus, financial institutions, and municipal transit offices—and that's just in the past few years. I work with many of my clients to clarify messaging as well, typically to build trust and empower their customers or constituents. BrandSort, the process and tool I developed, is a centerpiece of my workshops.

In the past few years, trust has been an increasing focus of my work and research. We talk a lot about trust, empathy, empowerment, and vulnerability, but do we do enough in our work to operationalize those things? Or are they just buzzwords and confetti from the marketing department? I believe to regain trust, organizations must empower their users. As designers, content strategists, creative directors, and others who make the web, we can empower our users through our choices in content and design—and that’s the story I’ve been researching and writing over the past year.

That’s not a topic we hear a lot about. What do designers commonly misunderstand about the role of trust in design?

When users lose trust in brands, services, government, or media, they stop engaging. Skepticism feeds skepticism, and suddenly everyone’s a liar. No amount of reskinning or PR spin can fix cynicism, but we can take steps to rebuild confidence. Design can empower users—and with empowerment comes openness, and gets us back on the path to trust.

We think of trust in vague terms. It’s like empathy: everyone likes it, no one opposes it, but few practitioners know how to do it from an operational perspective. How do you consistently integrate empathy into your work? Jonathon Colman, senior content design manager at Intercom, notes, “Empathetic content design requires deeper cultural support.” In other words, we can’t just firehose empathy over the front end by punctuating support pages with “did you find the information you’re looking for?”

Start earlier. Designers can advocate for making sure empathy drives our priorities, budgets, and staffing. Marchaé Grair, director of public relations and outreach at the Unitarian Universalist Association, speaks about designers’ responsibility to both users and clients by empathizing with marginalized people. That might mean offering easy, accessible tools for flagging hate speech—or easy, accessible tools for controlling your own experience to bypass disturbing topics through content warnings. It also means understanding your audience by accurately reflecting your audience—without pandering—in inclusive imagery and phrasing. “If you don’t have marginalized people creating content and making decisions about content, you can’t create authentic content for marginalized people,” she said in a talk at Confab 2019. That means good design requires a shift in culture, money, and hiring practices.

Those challenges and opportunities inform the conversation about building trust through design as well. Trust sounds great in theory—everyone likes it, no one opposes it, but how do you operationalize it? To go beyond the buzzword bingo, like empathy it requires deeper cultural support. In many organizations, that means cultural change. Do you trust your clients, teammates, and users, or do hallway conversations encourage disdain? Do you hear people at every level of your organization scoff “they don’t get it!” after meetings, or do they lead with respect? Listen to the internal language, then be a force for change. We can’t design to convey trust in our audiences if we don’t respect them, their ability to self-educate, and their wisdom to make good choices for themselves. Start there. Then you can explore tools that allow users to control the pace of product education, engage in a community of other consumers, or hide supplemental guidance that repeats what they already know. You can design to rebuild the trust of your users—but trust always starts with respect.

What are some tools you find indispensable to your work?

My toddler recently asked me why I had stopped to sketch a view out our window. Kids ask such arresting, affirming questions! I wanted to understand it better, I explained. I wanted to figure out the details in the distance. For me, sketching, writing about a topic, and exploring with my camera all serve the same purpose: I slow down to look, listen, and learn. And hopefully, figure out my own perspective on the world around me.

The other key ingredient for my work? A museum membership. We hone our unique perspectives, insight, and vision by examining how other people bring a critical eye to the world. I love seeing how a curator or exhibit designer explores a topic and assembles artwork or objects to illuminate a theme—their perspective always influences my own, even on the completely different subjects that I encounter with my clients. And if you can swing it, a museum membership means you never have to feel like you have to see as much as possible in a single visit. You’re free to pop in, fill your eyes with the perspective of a single gallery, and then get back to work.


See Margot present “Designing for Trust in an Uncertain World” at An Event Apart DC (July 29-31) and San Francisco (December 9-11). Don’t miss your chance to hear Margot and sixteen other top-notch speakers share their insights!

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“Till Launch Do Us Part,” by Dan Mall – An Event Apart video https://aneventapart.com/news/post/till-launch-do-us-part-by-dan-mall-aea-video Tue, 09 Jul 2019 13:30:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/till-launch-do-us-part-by-dan-mall-aea-video Front-end developers take designers’ pretty pictures and turn them into real-live websites and applications; they convert ideas and sketches into real things that people can use. Yet they rarely get the respect they deserve. It’s time for that to change.

In this 60-minute presentation captured live at An Event Apart Orlando 2018, Dan Mall shares a new design process that’s more inclusive, more collaborative, more productive, and even more fun. You’ll learn to sketch together to be more efficient and effective as a team; to decide in the browser more often; and even to write JSON for your developer. Discover new ways of shipping products at higher quality in record time.

Dan Mall is the Founder and Design Director at SuperFriendly, where he and his team defeat apathy and the forces of evil with heroic creative direction, design, and strategy. An award-winning art director and designer, he has worked for clients including ESPN, Kraft, Apple, Google, Microsoft, GE, Crayola, Lucasfilm, The Mozilla Foundation, Thomson Reuters, and The Sherwin-Williams Company. Dan writes about design and other issues on Twitter as @danmall and on his industry-recognized site, danielmall.com.

Enjoy all the videos in An Event Apart’s library! There are over 40 hours of them—all absolutely free! For more insightful presentations by the industry’s best and brightest, come to An Event Apart—three days of design, code, and content for web, UX, and interaction designers. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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“Durable Design” by Jon Tan—An Event Apart video https://aneventapart.com/news/post/durable-design-by-jon-tan-aea-video Tue, 25 Jun 2019 11:00:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/durable-design-by-jon-tan-aea-video Where should web design go next?

In a passionate 60-minute presentation captured live at An Event Apart Orlando 2018, designer Jon Tan makes a radical argument for recidivism in our design thinking: a return to durable, aesthetic, and inclusive web design.

Through evidence and examples, you’ll learn to design for serendipity, for speed, and for economy of time, resources, and attention. Durable design is responsive design for the next decade, and it starts now.

Jon Tan is a designer and typographer who co-founded the web fonts service, Fontdeck. He is a partner in Fictive Kin, where he worked with friends making things like Brooklyn Beta and Mapalong. Jon’s addiction to web typography led him to start co-writing a book on the subject, and share snippets of type news via @t8y. He also writes for publications like 8 Faces and Typographica, speaks at international events, and works with such organizations as the BBC. Jon is based in Mild Bunch HQ, the co-working studio he started in Bristol, UK. He can often be found wrestling with his two sons, losing, then celebrating the fact as @jontangerine on Twitter.

Enjoy all the videos in An Event Apart’s library! There are over 40 hours of them—all absolutely free! For more insightful presentations by the industry’s best and brightest, come to An Event Apart—three days of design, code, and content for web, UX, and interaction designers. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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“Building More Expressive Products” by Val Head – An Event Apart video https://aneventapart.com/news/post/building-more-expressive-products-by-val-head-aea-video Tue, 11 Jun 2019 08:30:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/building-more-expressive-products-by-val-head-aea-video The products we design today must connect with customers across different screen sizes, contexts, and even voice or chat interfaces. As such, we create emotional expressiveness in our products not only through visual design and language choices, but also through design details such as how interface elements move, or the way they sound.

In a dynamic 60-minute presentation recorded live at An Event Apart Orlando 2018, Val Head shows how to harness the design details from different media to build overarching themes—themes that persist across all screen sizes and user and interface contexts, creating a bigger emotional impact and connection with your audience.

You’ll learn how to use every tool at your disposal, including audio and animation, to create more expressive products that feel cohesive across all of today’s diverse media and social contexts.

Val Head is a web animation expert, author, and Design Evangelist at Adobe. She’s the author of Designing Interface Animations, published by Rosenfeld Media, and teaches CSS Animation on LinkedIn Learning.

Enjoy all the videos in An Event Apart’s library! There are over 40 hours of them—all absolutely free! For more insightful presentations by the industry’s best and brightest, come to An Event Apart—three days of design, code, and content for web, UX, and interaction designers. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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Making Motion Inclusive, by Val Head https://aneventapart.com/news/post/making-motion-inclusive-by-val-head Mon, 10 Jun 2019 09:17:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/making-motion-inclusive-by-val-head 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 micro-interactions, animated illustrations, or larger animated experiences, a little care and consideration can give your users the best of both worlds.

In a dynamic session at last month’s An Event Apart Boston conference, Adobe Design Advocate Val Head showed us how to build animated interactions with inclusivity in mind. Val shared 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.

If you missed it…

Nothing takes the place of being there, but these resources related to Val’s presentation will help you get up to speed on how to have your inclusive design cake and eat your motion effects, too:

Learn more!

For more about Val, check her An Event Apart biography, subscribe to her UI Animation Newsletter, or read her book, Designing Interface Animations from Rosenfeld Media.

And if you wish you hadn’t missed Making Motion Inclusive, the good news is you have four more chances to see it this year, at An Event Apart shows in Washington DC: July 29–31, Chicago: August 26–28, Denver: October 28–30, and San Francisco: December 9–11.

In addition to Val, all four shows feature 16 other industry-leading speakers. Give us three days, and we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know to up your web game and stay current or ahead of the curve on the rapid-fire changes in this industry. Each show is three days packed with design, code, and content for UX designers and front-end specialists. You’ll come away inspired, and ready to work!

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SVG Filters: The Crash Course with Sara Soueidan https://aneventapart.com/news/post/svg-filters-the-crash-course-with-sara-soueidan Tue, 04 Jun 2019 11:14:00 -0700 admin https://aneventapart.com/news/post/svg-filters-the-crash-course-with-sara-soueidan 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. Yet compared to the effects available in editors like Photoshop, CSS still lags 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 a detail-packed talk at this month’s An Event Apart Boston conference, Sara Soueidan showed us how to do just that. Sara’s first-ever AEA appearance was a tip-filled crash course on SVG filters: why they’re awesome, how they work, and how to use them to create a dazzling range of inspiring and powerful special effects.

While the syntax and attributes of these filters may have seemed intimidating at first, Sara’s natural teaching style helped the designers and developers at AEA quickly grasp how they work—leaving us with plenty of great ideas on how to push the boundaries of what’s possible in our websites.

If you missed it…

While nothing can replace watching Sara in action, these articles can help those who missed her session begin coming to terms with the magical creative possibilities of SVG on today’s web:

Learn more

For more about Sara, check her AEA bio and this nifty interview from a few months ago.

And if you wish you hadn’t missed SVG Filters: The Crash Course, the good news is, you have two more chances to see it: at An Event Apart DC, July 29–31, and An Event Apart San Francisco, December 9–11.

In addition to Sara, both shows feature 16 more industry-leading speakers. Each show is three education-packed days of design, code, and content for UX and front-end specialists. You’ll come away inspired, and ready to get to work.

Don’t miss out!

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Same Bat-Time! Same Bat-Channel! by Mike Essl – An Event Apart video https://aneventapart.com/news/post/same-bat-time-same-bat-channel-by-mike-essl-aea-video Tue, 28 May 2019 08:30:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/same-bat-time-same-bat-channel-by-mike-essl-aea-video What connects Batman, Wonder Woman, Thomas Edison, Madonna, Bazooka Joe, and Alfred E. Neuman? Is it type? Is it graphic design? Who is Peter Cooper? Find out in this special inspirational presentation by Mike Essl, Dean of The Cooper Union School of Art.

Mike Essl is a graphic designer, educator, and Mr. T memorabilia collector. With over twenty years in the field, Essl’s bold approach has earned him equal acclaim for his elevation of comic books with DC Comics and Rizzoli as for websites with Wikipedia and San Francisco Opera.

At The Chopping Block (co-founded 1996) and on his own, Essl led projects that were featured by the AIGA, ComicCon, the Cooper Hewitt, and MoMA. Essl’s illustrations have been included in the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Yale University Art Gallery, and his outspoken commentary has been featured on Design Matters with Debbie Millman, The Howard Stern Show, and VH1’s Totally Obsessed. Essl is presently the Dean of the Cooper Union School of Art, where he has been an Associate Professor of graphic design since 2002.

Enjoy all the videos in An Event Apart’s library! There are over 40 hours of them—all absolutely free! For more insightful presentations by the industry’s best and brightest, come to An Event Apart—three days of design, code, and content for web, UX, and interaction designers. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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Meeting Expectations: A Few Words with Kevin M. Hoffman https://aneventapart.com/news/post/meeting-expectations-a-few-words-with-kevin-m-hoffman Tue, 21 May 2019 08:00:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/meeting-expectations-a-few-words-with-kevin-m-hoffman Tell us a little about yourself and what you've been doing recently.

I’ve been working in the field of web and application design since 1995, but more recently I’ve been drawn to work in service and product design. I’ve got a lovely collection of titles and business cards—remember those?—which include Webmaster, Director of Communications, UX Director, Founder, and Vice President.

Over the last few months, I’ve been training designers to become better facilitators based on material from my latest book, Meeting Design. I’m very interested in continuing to learn about and explore how we normalize design methods and quality of work for different sized teams and different kinds of organizations. This includes things like emerging practices in design operations and strategies for building agreement on what it means to do great work under the real-world constraints designers face every day.

Common constraints I’ve seen are misunderstandings around what design can/cannot/is supposed to do, confusion about where accountability lies for decision making, and the prioritization, and occasional false correlation, of velocity over direction and clarity—faster doesn’t mean better. Real insights about people are hard earned and our digital behaviors are constantly evolving. Shipping more code more often doesn’t get you ahead of that.

What are some tools you find indispensable to your work?

My number one tool is a whiteboard, or a piece of paper and a pencil. There is not a problem or idea that cannot be more clearly understood by spending a little time sketching it out alone or together. Everything from simple use cases to complex UI choices can be quickly illustrated, discussed, and addressed by visualizing things in a rough fashion. Even the most talented visual designers in the world do some of their best thinking through sketching.

Most of the rest of my work involves talking to people, listening, and writing things down, so I’d be dead in the water without good ways of managing text. I’m a huge fan of Bear Notes for iOS, and use it several times a day for capturing and then easily finding all the cool things I learn from the people I work for and with. I particularly dig how it syncs across devices.

Finally, what’s new and coming up with you?

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve recently joined the United States Digital Services (USDS) team. I’m going to start by working on digital services and products that serve America’s veterans, working with the Digital Services team at the Veterans Administration (DSVA). If you’ve ever been frustrated dealing with a health insurance claim to get the care you need, just imagine layering on the complexity associated with government processes and policies. I’m excited to contribute to the application of great design and user experience in support of streamlining and innovating services for veterans who have been of great service to American citizens.


See Kevin share his hard-won insights in “What is Design Ops, and Why Do I Care?” at An Event Apart DC (July 29-31, 2019). Don’t miss your chance to see Kevin and sixteen other top-notch speakers!

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“Maintaining Design Systems” by Brad Frost – An Event Apart video https://aneventapart.com/news/post/maintaining-design-systems-by-brad-frost-aea-video Tue, 14 May 2019 11:30:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/maintaining-design-systems-by-brad-frost-aea-video By now, ’most every in-house team has some form of design system initiative underway. Yet many designers and developers on those teams still struggle to make the system really take root in their organization. Working together, designers and developers create wonderful, reusable components, tools, guidelines, and documentation. But if those elements don’t reflect the reality of how the organization builds its products, all their effort is for naught.

Having spent years creating, evangelizing, and teaching design systems and corporate integration of same, Brad Frost is here to help. In this 60-minute presentation from An Event Apart Orlando 2018, he shares strategies and methods to ensure that your design system stands the test of time. You’ll learn how to keep your system and the products it serves in sync, and you'll understand how to maintain and evolve your design system to give your users get the best possible experience.

Brad Frost is a web designer, speaker, writer, and consultant located in beautiful Pittsburgh, PA. He’s passionate about creating web experiences that look and function beautifully on a never-ending stream of connected devices, and loves helping organizations do the same. He’s the author of Atomic Design, and has also helped create several tools and resources for web designers, including This Is Responsive, Pattern Lab, and Styleguides.io.

Enjoy all the videos in An Event Apart’s library! There are over 40 hours of them—all absolutely free! For more insightful presentations by the industry’s best and brightest, come to An Event Apart—three days of design, code, and content for web, UX, and interaction designers. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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Articles, Links, and Tools From An Event Apart Boston 2019 https://aneventapart.com/news/post/resources-from-boston-2019 Sun, 05 May 2019 06:00:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/resources-from-boston-2019 Jeffrey Zeldman

Mina Markham

Art Direction, Design & Creativity

Progressive

Localized

Cross-Functional

Inclusive

Systematic

Val Head

Eric Meyer

Rachel Andrew

The code examples can be found in this CodePen Collection.

Flexbox

Sizing

Logical Properties and Values

Scroll Snap

Subgrid (Grid Level 2)

Paged Media

Multicol

Fragmentation

Regions

Exclusions

Jen Simmons

Jason Pamental

Code

The following code examples from the presentation can be tried out live.

Sara Soueidan

The following series of articles is basically the talk written down in more depth:

More resources that I used to learn SVG Filters and find inspiration from:

Sarah Parmenter

Tools I use that are relevant to this work:

Dan Mall

Michael Austin Sui

Marcy Sutton

Jason Grigsby

Web form best practices

Sign-up and login

Checkout and payment

Autofill

Gerry McGovern

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“Why Design Systems Fail” by Una Kravets https://aneventapart.com/news/post/why-design-systems-fail-by-una-kravets Tue, 30 Apr 2019 08:30:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/why-design-systems-fail-by-una-kravets Design systems are hot right now, and for good reason. They support a modular approach to building a product, promote organizational unity, and ensure stability via reusable code snippets and utility styles. They make prototyping a breeze, and provide a common language for both designers and developers. But sometimes design systems are underutilized within organizations. Why is that, when they’re so darn useful?

In this 60-minute presentation from An Event Apart Orlando 2018, Una Kravets draws on years of experience to explore what makes design systems successful, analyze real examples of success and failure, and show how to make sure your design system has the building blocks it needs to grow into a successful product.

Una Kravets is a Developer Advocate at Google. She’s also a technical writer, and has written for A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, and Sitepoint. Una co-hosts the Toolsday podcast, started both the Washington DC and Austin Sass Meetups, and is involved in the open source community as a design advocate and the maintainer of the CSSgram project.

Enjoy all the videos in An Event Apart’s library! There are over 40 hours of them—all absolutely free! For more insightful presentations by the industry’s best and brightest, come to An Event Apart—three days of design, code, and content for web, UX, and interaction designers. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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The Survey for Web & UX Professionals https://aneventapart.com/news/post/the-survey-for-web-ux-professionals Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:00:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/the-survey-for-web-ux-professionals Attention, front-enders and UX-ers. Listen up, designers and coders, writers and strategists. The wait is over: it’s time to take this year’s Survey for Web and UX Professionals—brought to you, as always, by An Event Apart and A List Apart.

Whether you spend your day in Coda or Sketch, in Google Docs or Slack, or in some combination of all the above and more, we want to hear from you. By filling out our brief survey, you’ll be helping let the world know exactly who makes the websites and apps that consume so much of our world’s attention.

We’ve been publishing this survey (with a few years off here and there) since 2007. Back then we called it “the survey for people who make websites.” Also back then, we were largely unseen. Oh, people had heard of Mark Zuckerberg, but nobody really knew who the people doing the day-to-day work were. Over the past decade-plus, through surveys like ours and others, that picture became more clear.

This year’s survey begins at surveyapart.survey.fm/ala-survey-2019. It’s simpler and more streamlined than the surveys of years past, and should take only a few minutes to complete. Please fill it out, and please ask your friends and colleagues to do the same. The more of us who share our experience, quirks, beliefs, and preferences, the better this industry will know itself. So please spread the word far and wide, using the hashtag #WebProSurvey (if hashtagging is your thing). We thank you for your time and all you do for the industry!

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Taking the Long View: A Few Words With Marcy Sutton https://aneventapart.com/news/post/taking-the-long-view-marcy-sutton Tue, 23 Apr 2019 08:14:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/taking-the-long-view-marcy-sutton Hey, Marcy! Tell us a little bit about you.

I have a background in photojournalism and web design, and after struggling to get a job I pivoted into web development back in 2007. After working as a mainstream web developer at an agency, I became hooked on digital accessibility and steadily grew closer to the action until I worked on accessibility testing tools full time. In January of this year, I pivoted again and joined a new team as the Head of Learning at Gatsby, a web development startup with a great community. I’m really enjoying bringing an accessibility focus to such a high-impact project!

In my free time I love to cook, snowboard, hike, and ride bicycles, and I very recently started kayaking. My dog and cat frequently make me laugh and it’s amazing I get ever anything done with them around.

Congratulations on the new position! What will you be doing at Gatsby?

My job is to lead the learning experience and own the docs, making sure that users of all skill levels feel welcome and empowered to create Gatsby sites. Before joining, I'd recently redesigned and developed my website with Gatsby, as I was drawn to its method of building static HTML pages that rehydrate with React.js, with great defaults for performance and accessibility. Getting to work on such a big open source project full-time got me really excited, so I jumped at the chance! Themes are a big new feature that I anticipate will have an impact on the web soon, and I look forward to keeping an accessibility focus in the ecosystem.

What are some tools you find indispensable in your work?

I use color contrast tools a lot: the contrast ratio color picker in the Chrome devtools for web things, and the Color Contrast Analyzer from Paciello Group for sampling colors from PDFs, images and other things I can’t analyze in the browser.

Along with the Accessibility Inspectors in Chrome, Firefox and Safari, I regularly use the axe Chrome extension for testing webpage accessibility. I use Voiceover on the Mac, as well as a Windows virtual machine for testing with the JAWS and NVDA screen readers. This also enables me to test my CSS in Windows High Contrast Mode–which has a nifty media query that is in the process of being standardized for other browsers!

And you’re talking about CSS and accessibility at AEA. Does that come out of the work you’ve been doing?

Some of my work on Gatsby will apply to my talk; specifically, improving workflows for users who don’t exactly love CSS-in-JS or workflows outside of the thoroughly-documented “happy path.” There is some tension in the web development community over inclusive tooling, and as someone who cares deeply about accessibility, HTML and CSS as well as JavaScript, I feel right in the middle of that. I’m grateful for the opportunity to act as a bridge between communities, and hope to inspire people to do their best work in ways that they enjoy the most.


See Marcy’s talk “Emerging CSS Techniques and What They Mean for Accessibility” at An Event Apart Boston (May 5-7, 2019) and Chicago (August 26-28). Don’t miss your chance to see Marcy and sixteen other expert speakers!

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“Tech Humanism: Data, Meaning, and Human Experience” by Kate O’Neill https://aneventapart.com/news/post/tech-humanism-data-meaning-and-human-experience-by-kate-oneill Tue, 16 Apr 2019 08:30:00 -0700 Eric Meyer https://aneventapart.com/news/post/tech-humanism-data-meaning-and-human-experience-by-kate-oneill With so much emphasis in business on artificial intelligence, automation of various kinds, and digital transformation, the future of human work — and even humanity itself — can feel uncertain. What should a truly integrated human experience look and feel like?

In this 60-minute presentation from An Event Apart Orlando 2018, “Tech Humanist” Kate O’Neill presents the case for why the future of humanity is in creating more meaningful, dimensional, and integrated experiences, and shows how emerging technologies like chatbots, wearables, IoT devices, and more can be included in this kind of human-centric design.

Kate O’Neill is an executive consultant, keynote speaker, and author who advises corporate and cultural leaders on hot to take a human-centric approach to digital transformation. Her latest book, Pixels and Place: Connecting Human Experience Across Physical and Digital Spaces, launched in late 2016.

Enjoy all the free videos in An Event Apart's library. And for your free monthly guide to all things web, design, and developer-y, subscribe to The AEA Digest.

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