Explore the Future of the Web


Authenticity, Technology and the Future of Storytelling

Looking at themes as diverse as the Egyptian Revolution to the Pacific Crest Trail, Andy Davidhazy deconstructs the creative process - from concept to web to interaction to movie - and shares his adventures and perspectives on authenticity and personal storytelling in the age of likes and social shares.

Cognitive ComputingThe Symbiosis of Humans and Machines

Mark Wyner

In what is being called the “third era of computing,” cognitive computing will revolutionize the relationship between humans and computers. Internet of Things is only the beginning. Artificial Intelligence will finally sprout out of science fiction and blossom into palpable technology. Cognitive systems are able to learn independently, build upon pre-programmed knowledge, understand natural language, and interact with human beings with reasoning and logic.

Collaboration and the Future of Work

Burn down the silos! The future of work is collaboration. Programmers, strategists and designers now need to determine new work processes in order to naturally and regularly interface with one another. Unlike the past, when labels offered false security and a sense of one's place in an organization, the present and future rely upon empathy, understanding and the ability to think laterally. How can work practices better match team goals and deliver better products?

Designing for Difficult ExperiencesThinking beyond the interface and into some of life's hardest moments

When designing products, we're often looking for ways to add delight. But it's important to account for the full range of emotional reactions people may have, depending on what they're going through. In recent work we’ve done at Facebook, we've gained compassion as well as opportunities to design for some of life's most complex experiences, such as suicidal thoughts and the passing of a loved one.

Downshifting Your Life to Rev Up Your Creativity

Kent Nichols

Life is not a linear journey from point A to B, there are bumps, detours, and failures that we must endure and persevere to achieve our goals and get to the next level. Kent Nichols talks about his journey from College dropout to New Media darling to overcoming being a one-hit wonder in this humorous look at his life since dropping out of the LA rat race.

The Future of User Experience

User Experience has come a long way, from a niche design discipline all the way to the boardroom. The practice of UX was once unknown, then treated as a wonky distraction, but now it's a staple of design, architecture, language, development, and leadership. We've built a community of practice and an industry with global impact. So where should we go from here? What's next for UX professionals as we chart our course forward? And what's at stake if we don't succeed at fulfilling our vision? Our panel of UX professionals will take your questions—no bullsh*t, all answers, and lots of fun.

Going DeepUncovering Hidden Insights through User Interviews

Susan Mercer

User interviews are a great technique for getting to know your target audience. But sometimes people just don’t know how to articulate what they need, want, or feel. We’ll discuss how to use projective techniques, such as word associations, collaging, sentence completion, and others to uncover hidden, actionable insights to fuel your designs.

How New Feature Development Can Slowly Kill Your Product

Have you ever launched a cool new feature only to find usage and engagement stay the exact same, or even worse decline? How about watching your dev team velocity dwindle slowly over time, having to focus more and more on tech debt, bugs and user complaints. Let's talk about how a strong understanding of your value proposition and executing on that plan can help you better accomplish your product goals. We'll take you on our journey as we learned, planned, developed, stumbled and reacted to the development of our College Coach Platform.

Innovation through Experience DesignExperience Designers as Innovators and Business Engineers

The pressure to create amazing, groundbreaking product and service experiences has intensified within just about every industry. Entire industries are now competing heavily on larger, connected ecosystems, not just individualized experiences. Competing organizations are increasingly enlisting designers to help bring clarity to decisions supporting the what, where, how and when of it all. In turn, the pressure point becomes the designer.

The Intersection Between Social Good and Business Goals

One of the top factors that influence millennials’ decisions to work for an organization is the social good and community in which that organization is actively involved. How can organizations become more actively involved in doing good as an accepted and common part of their work, and why is social good not only a recruiting tool but also a benefit to the bottom line? For example, when cities become more economically vital and wealth is spread across neighborhoods there is a positive business impact that is experienced and the sense of well being and connection to a community is increased.

Mind Melds and BattleBotsCreating the Right Kind of Designer/Developer Dynamic

Improving the designer/developer relationship is an ardent wish on a lot of project teams. And yet, a lot of excuses seem to be made for bad relationships between designers and developers… several of which are tied to when and how each are involved. How do you find the right balance of involvement without breaking the budget - and make the most of the skills that each team member can bring to the table?

Plunging into the Depths of CSS’s Future

When CSS arrived on the scene, liberating us from archaic styling attributes and font-tags, it served as a shallow puddle for us to splash blissfully about within. With time though, CSS grew deeper. For the adventurous, this meant more to explore. For others, it meant a greater unknown. After nearly twenty years of continued growth and expansion, it’s time to take a deep breath, and plunge ourselves into the unexplored depths of CSS’s future.

Poetry for RobotsA Digital Humanities Experiment

In 1989, scholar Norman Cousins published a piece called The Poet and the Computer. Anticipating the computer revolution at his doorstep Cousins makes a plea: do not allow our machines to dehumanize us. And he offers a specific prescription against the potential malady - poetry. At Poetry4Robots.com, we’ve made the experiment live. This ‘digital humanities experiment’ is being conducted by Neologic Labs, Webvisions, and Arizona State University's Center for Science and the Imagination.

Prototypes, Not Presentations

Joe Stewart

Joe Stewart, designer and partner at Work & Co, argues that making presentations is a waste of time and a terrible way to launch products that actually work. When you start creating prototypes instead, your work will get better and your life will be happier. Get a behind the scenes look of the hands-on designs & prototypes created in order to launch the new suite of digital products for Virgin America. Stop making bullshit. Start making products. 

The Science of Happy Design

So much of the news about technology tells us that the Internet makes us anxious, our smartphones take us out of the present moment, and social media ensnares us in a dopamine loop. If you look at what makes people happy, rarely is an app or a website in the mix. Happiness, it seems, is not a screen. Yet, delight is something of a holy grail. Clever, shiny, a little self-referential and certain to win hearts and minds. Of course, the sad truth is that most online experiences are just OK, and most sites and apps don’t make people very happy.

See You in ValhallaWebRTC, Vikings & The Real-Time Web

Tian Davis

If the Vikings had WebRTC, we'd all be speaking Danish. Battlefield communication in ancient warfare was primitive at best. The times of the Norse Gods were no different. They had trumpeters who would play a note, which you would recognize as your unit. Then a second set of notes that would tell your unit what to do. You had drums whose beat could change. That change would tell you to increase your pace or turn right. This all could be very confusing. The fog of war and the rattle of battle was a very real problem. Communication was tough.

Strategy & StructureDoing It Right, and How You'd Know

Dan Klyn

Whether we acknowledge it or not, millions of us will spend more than a week out of each month of this new year in places that are made of information. The average consumer in North America spends more than 40 hours each month "on the Internet," and Dan Klyn from The Understanding Group contends that the places we go to interact with and experience digital products and services are places that're as real as anything made of bricks and mortar. And further: that we should be talking and working in terms of architecture when planning and developing these places made of information.

Taming Context in the Internet of Things

As we continue to stitch our physical world together with digital information, context is becoming harder to manage and understand. Everything we do or buy is potentially connected to everything else, complicating the meaning of our everyday actions. How do we insure that the networked "things" we put into the world make sense as part a human environment? The answers have less to do with the devices we make than with the way people perceive and comprehend their surroundings.

Taming the Future of Connected Devices

As we look beyond the user experience for individual devices and instead think of how these devices interact with each other - and how they share data and provide consistent experiences - what are the challenges and opportunities that UX designers face? Are there factors connected to service design, organizational processes and machine learning that come into play as more and more connected devices enter our homes, public spaces and businesses?

Trends in Content Strategy

In recent years the focus has been on responsive web design and how content flows or appears between desktop and mobile devices. However; the larger question may be “What is the purpose of content as users experience apps, websites and future interactive devices?” How do organizations develop style guides, tone and content that helps them stand apart from others and what are the new opportunities for content strategy? For example; as we move toward interactive versus static experiences, how do we plan for the potential multipath environments for which we must build.

User Research, the Next Frontiers

Two decades ago, research was mainly in the purview of specialized market research companies and universities. Today user research has become not only possible but a necessary and commonly practiced gauge for understanding how users interact with product and services - as well as their expectations and connections to the brand experience. What are new techniques that organizations are employing to learn about their audiences and quickly incorporate findings into product development cycles and innovation?

Users are People, Too

Too often we create brands, experiences, and content that sacrifice humanity on the altar of conversion optimization. In this session, we’ll explore how to make our products feel less like a business transaction and more like a conversation through human-oriented brand, marketing, and experience design. Don’t worry, this won’t be a stern sermon about user personas or focus groups – Meagan knows that conference attendees are people too. Instead she’ll share some of the practical hows and whys of designing for people, not customers.

The UX of Bruce Lee

How can the famed martial artist and film star teach us how to be better user experience designers? By applying the same lessons he taught his students. In this presentation, Joseph Dickerson (UX Lead at Microsoft) discusses some “best practices” that can be applied based on Lee’s Keet Kune Do discipline. You’ll learn how to apply best practices from other disciplines, see some examples of UX best practices, and of course leave with wise insights from the great Bruce Lee.

We Are All Giant Babies

It isn’t just a job. It’s more than a career. This is your life’s work. So it makes perfect sense that you would completely lose your shit and give up the second someone is anything but head-over-heels in love with whatever you just invested your heart and soul in creating. We’ll examine the intricate dynamics of pursuing your passion for a living, like a grown up.

Wicked Ambiguity and User Experience

How do you solve the world’s hardest problems? And how would you respond if they’re unsolvable? As user experience professionals, we’re focused on people who live and work in the here and now. We dive into research, define the problem, break down silos, and focus on people’s intent when as we create. But how does our UX work change when a project lasts not for one year, or even 10 years, but for 10,000 years or more? Enter the “Wicked Problem,” or situations with so much ambiguity, complexity, and interdependencies that—by definition—they can’t be solved.