Explore the Future of the Web


Keynote Sessions

Throwing Rocks at the Google BusHow Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity

The digital economy has gone wrong. Everybody knows it, but no one knows quite how to fix it, or even how to explain the problem. Workers lose to automation, investors lose to algorithms, musicians lose to power law dynamics, drivers lose to Uber, neighborhoods lose to Airbnb, and even tech developers lose their visions to the demands of the startup economy. Douglas Rushkoff argues that it doesn't have to be this way. This isn't the fault of digital technology at all, but the way we are deploying it: instead of building the distributed digital economy these new networks could foster, we are doubling down on the industrial age mandate for growth above all.

Art + Commerce

Sarah Hall

Art has always had an uncomfortable relationship with commerce.  Never more so than now that the bulk of the "creative class" is employed by the business sector in the service of selling products and increasing their bottom line.   This has created a new, and often uncomfortable dynamic, where our work is now evaluated primarily for it's ability to affect consumers and sell a product and secondarily for its creative merit. These pressures have also made it difficult for our "art" to fulfill one of its essential functions -- provoke essential conversations/debates in society. This has in turn left many of us frequently feeling frustrated and unsatisfied by the work itself. 

Bridging the Innovation Culture Divide

Much of the business conversation surrounding customer experience within corporations is based on myths that don’t support great products and services and UX developers get stuck in the middle (between customers, managers, and financial decision-makers). The cultures of business and design (and engineering) are very different and need to be bridged before they can work effective together. This isn’t limited to only the product development and strategy teams but must reach throughout the organization in order to be successful.

GenZ and the Future of Technology

GenZ is the largest generation yet and they are truly digital natives. The attitudes and behaviors of Zs will have a huge impact on the future of technology. Grounded in data from hundreds of online research sessions, diaries, and interviews, learn what Gen Z really does online and the ways it will change how we design the experience.

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.


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