Explore the Future of the Web


Keynote Sessions

The Axe Cop StoryHow Two Brothers Created a Massively Popular Online Comic Series

The Axe Cop saga began on a Christmas holiday when Ethan Nicolle, a 29 year old comic book artist, and his 5 year old brother Malachai, came up with an idea for Axe Cop, a gruff, tough police officer who wields an axe to battle bad guys.

The Future of the Web is Video

By 2014, Cisco estimates that 56 percent of all Internet traffic will come from viewing Internet video and Internet video-to-TV. This makes sense considering that people prefer video content to text content at a rate of 2-to-1. As the demand for video continues to surge online, there is another video-centric platform that will have a resurgence in the next few years: the television.

Making MakersNew Tools and Ideas that are Fueling a Movement

Starting with a brief but colorful history of 19th and 20th century making, I'll present the new tools and technologies that are driving innovation and giving individuals and small groups the ability to create amazing things that would've been out of their reach a few years ago. I will present new, inexpensive, and effective ways to conduct research and development, design prototypes, and set up manufacturing on the desktop or in the garage.

American ComicsHistory, Technology, Culture

Let's take a very brisk look at the first 75 years of the fascinating home-grown art form known as graphic storytelling. Discover how comicbooks have evolved as a medium and what has been its impact on America and the world.

Anti-Patterns that Stifle Lean UX Teams

Bill Scott

What happens when you take teams that have traditionally not worked together closely? Teams that are used to the "delivery mindset" and instead try to bring great experiences to life in a collaborative manner? All hell breaks loose!

The Art of ExplanationBecause Design and Technology are Not Enough

Lee LeFever

The biggest barrier to people adopting your product or idea may not be design, engineering, price point or UX, but a lack of understanding. If you can’t explain your product or service, or why anyone should care, they won’t be motivated to take the next step.

Bridging the GapWomen in Technology

The recent article notes the next generation’s leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Within the next five years, STEM jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as jobs in other fields according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. But we have a shortage on the number women graduating with the STEM major. Where are the discrepancies? How do we expose STEM educations to more girls at a very young age?

Build Your Brand the Rock Star Way

Rafa Soto

Most brands spend an insane amount of money in advertising. They read a ton of books on marketing and churn out a ridiculous number of powerpoint presentations.  As a result, their consumers become more and more skeptical. Rock Bands on the other hand, despite having never read a single marketing manual in their lives, have die-hard fans, waiting in line for hours in order to catch a glimpse and buy a t-shirt.

The Business of Play

Play isn't just for kids and heavy gamers. Anyone with a FourSquare account knows that - and the stickiness of a badge and a leaderboard. But a good, playful user experience isn't about those surface elements either- it's about creating an environment with well-understood rules, meaningful objectives, and a sense of fun.

Connected ThinkingKill User-Centric Design

Scé Pike

What is Connected Thinking? Put very simply, it is the next evolutionary step of Design Thinking, which has been preached about and in practice for the past 20 years. It defines the same process that all design firms use, which usually goes something like this - Discover/Immerse, Define, Design, Iterate, Test, Refine, etc. Connected Thinking takes the traditional Design Thinking and evolves it by looking at the rapid changes that is happening to humanity today.

The Content Competitive Advantage

Scott Cowley

Real content strategy produces competitive advantage. In this session, we’ll discuss effective strategy, drawing upon some of the latest academic business, marketing, and psychology research that most “content strategists” will never read.

Content Strategy for Multi-Touchpoint ExperiencesA Facebook Case Study

When people experience a design through multiple touchpoints, they embark on a journey. UX professionals are tasked with making that journey feel coherent and directed each step of the way. To do this, we need to know what story we’re trying to tell through the journey. And we need a good content strategy to plan how it’ll unfold at each touchpoint.

Context is KingUsing Visualization to Tell a Story Consumers Can Trust

Jason Lankow

A new generation of consumers are more cynical than ever with regard to brands and their messaging. Reaching them is challenging, appealing to them is a formidable task. The way to their hearts is through their curiosity - they crave new information and knowledge, presented in a unique and engaging ways.

Creating Animated Music Videos with CSS3 and HTML5

Rachel Nabors will show you how to make a browser-based music video using the HTML5 audio, JavaScript and CSS3 animations. Load assets, loop music, and fire events using JavaScript. Animate images and backgrounds with CSS3. Even if you never need to make a music video, you’re sure to come away with a head full of ideas.

Crowd-sourcing the Feminine Intelligence of the Planet

Increasing access to digital media technologies is enabling women from some of the remote regions of the world to organize across borders, obtain vital development information, and generate new solutions to the planet's most pressing problems. World Pulse Founder, Jensine Larsen, shares her personal journey designing an interactive global media enterprise uniting women from over 190 nations, and the big lessons learned along the way. 

Death to Pixel Perfect Design!Prototyping for the Real World

UX Designers spend hours iterating around visual comps created in applications designed for print production, trying to create high fidelity visual prototypes, but for the wrong medium. Instead of drawing prototypes, we need to start working in HTML and CSS as quickly as possible to realize our visions in the medium for which it will be produced.

Design Methodology and the Science Behind It

Dave Thomsen

It’s no surprise that every consumer experience around us is strategically designed. Today’s successful, forward-thinking companies, in turn, have become a growing source of inspiration. How does great innovation begin? And what can companies do to foster further creativity to ensure the greatest design impact?

Designing Life & Brands Through Aspirations

Mel Lim

Moving from the micro to the macro, Mel Lim teaches through storytelling. As the Designer of her life and brand, she takes her audience through real life moments where she applied design thinking to solve challenges. We meet Mel Lim the Daughter; Mel Lim the Immigrant; Mel Lim the Entrepreneur; and Mel Lim the Wife/Mother.

Digital Democracy & Startups

From the outside, the 2012 Presidential campaign’s digital presence and online tools were flawlessly coordinated and immaculately prepared, easily connecting voters and volunteers with the campaign. On the inside, a mission-driven team fought through long hours, chaos, creativity, laughs, and tears with a scrappy work ethic like you’d find at a great startup.

Doing Your Best Work for Social Good

Working for social good is not only a great way to share your talents with non-profits and community groups, many of which cannot afford to hire experienced professionals, but it's also a way to help build communities of practice that are able to solve problems and develop collaboration skills. Join a panel of social goodniks, non-profits and professionals for a panel discussion on how to do work for social good with best practices for delivering awesome projects.

Doors, Walls and Old TreesPrioritizing to Get Simple

We live in a world of increasing complexity, time challenges and utter distractions. As designers, we're routinely called upon to create digital experiences that help reduce perceived complexity, remove unnecessary "noise" and potential frustration for our users. It's an attempt to create a bit less stress, ease decision making and perhaps even instill a bit of surprise and delight.

From User Experience to Customer Experience

Kerry Bodine

We've entered the Age of the Customer — an era where a focus on customers matters more than any other strategic business imperative. With this shift, the business discipline of customer experience (CX) has emerged. There are very real and beneficial connections between CX and user experience (UX) – however, there’s been little to no convergence to date. 

The Future of Comics

While blockbuster films based on comic book characters have been a box office bonanza, the comic book industry as a whole has experienced radical change. Industry powerhouses like Marvel have diversified their non-print offerings by unveiling Infinite Comics, a new digital format targeting mobile devices. For smaller publishers and independent artists, the future of comics will be built on the shifting sands of change, but opportunities abound for self publishing, crowd sourced funding and digital distribution.

The Future of Making

From handmade to micro-manufacturing, the Maker Revolution is using digital design and rapid prototyping to push the boundaries of Making to new and exciting territories. Open source software, 3D printing, Maker spaces (like Portland's own ADX), and communities that offer ideas, advice and support are getting tinkerers out of the garage and on to the front lines of a new industrial revolution.

Future Web Layouts

Chris Mills

In this talk Chris Mills will take you through what's available in the CSS3/4 layout specs, what can be used now in production projects, and what's coming up on the horizon, including media queries, flexible box, multi-column layout, grids, regions, and more. Your cat pictures will never have looked better.

Just Make It FunWhat Designing For Kids Can Teach Us About User Experience

Debra Gelman

When designing digital experiences for adults, we focus on the “destination,” making sure our users can complete key tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. When designing for kids, however, we get to focus on the “journey,” and all the adventure and excitement that come from the experience itself.

Keep Asking Why

The most subtle skill that designers develop in their careers may be the most powerful: the ability to ask Why? Critiquing work, learning from others, engaging with clients, mentoring their juniors, evolving their organizations, and changing the world all depend on a calm, supportive, and engaging ability to ask Why?

Lean UXCreating a Shared Understanding Between UX and Developers

The basic tenets of Lean UX are treating design ideas as hypotheses, and replacing giant spec docs with a shared understanding. Many UX professionals and teams still have trouble bridging the gap with development teams when working toward this shared understanding.

Making 101Rapid Design with Data

A world of data, services and devices at our fingertips has fueled a making economy. We're now inspiring ourselves and each other to craft meaningful, exciting, entertaining and socially responsible experiences out of this unprecedented access to information. Unfortunately, while "at our fingertips" implies within reach, the reality is that this world is barricaded behind a wall of disparate APIs and their associated learning curves.

Making Meaningful Design with the Internet of Things

Carla Diana

As people continue to interact with data in all aspects of life, they will expect their digital devices to deliver real-time, visualized, networked feedback. Collectively, this “Internet of Things” will provide cloud-enabled experiences that can profoundly change many aspects of everyday life both in and out of the home. As designers, this presents a juicy opportunity to pioneer new territory in rich interaction, but it also can backfire, filling people’s lives with more frustrations over technology than ever before.

Misconceptions on Perception

Users are not like us — they view the world with a completing different filter. As designers, we’ve trained ourselves to notice every little detail about a design — everything grabs our attention. We assume that users do the same when coming to a site or using an application for the first time. We assume that all those details that took us, as the designers, hours to figure out just right will catch a user’s eye and invoke pleasant thoughts and emotions that go along with facilitating a positive user experience.

Mobile Web Design Anti-Patterns

Dave Shea

Mobile design is necessarily about embracing constraints, but sometimes we go too far. We strip down our content to a bare minimum in pursuit of misguided ideals about mobile context. We provide 'useful' mobile UI components that immediately proceed to get in a user's way. We make improper assumptions about a user's environment. Let's place dozens of these mobile design anti-patterns under the microscope and talk about why they don't work, and what we should be doing instead.

Modern Style Guides for a Better Tomorrow

Shay Howe

Times are changing and so must the process in which we design and build websites. The days of designing static compositions in Photoshop are a thing of the past, instead, responsive design within the browser is the future. This new world is not without its own risks, but if we focus on maintainability, organization, and modularity we can achieve a better tomorrow.

Mr. Know-It-AllBrainy B2B Brands for a Social, Mobile Planet

David Smith

Technology brands face a paradox in B2B markets: techies hate marketing, yet they are constantly on the prowl for fresh information to help them do their jobs better. The trick to engaging with these highly educated, skeptical audiences has always been the same: be in the right place at the right time with the right answer.

R&D (&P)Research, Development and Play

In this session, Thomas will provide insight into how Second Story Labs process of research, development and play influences the creation of innovative interactive experiences and how this delivers increasing levels of engagement.

Researching with a Team That is New to Research

Russ Unger

For design teams that lack experience, user research can be fairly intimidating, if not a big, scary thing to tackle. How can you get a team out of the office and out into the field with your customers when time and resources are constrained?

The Rise of Content MarketingWhy B2B Needs To Pay Attention

Anoop Sahgal

Storytelling, creativity and connecting audiences to a brand are all things marketers can relate to – but what is the relevancy to B2B when it’s not about pushing collateral and specifications? Content marketing is not new, but in the new world, it’s not just about the company.  It’s about engaging your audience throughout their journey and delivering the desired information at the right time.

Rules of Thumb for Design Chicanery from Obama for America HQ

Jason Kunesh

Being the first director of user experience in US Presidential campaign history presented a unique set of challenges, goals, and constraints. I'll share best practices and methods that helped Obama for America build winning social, mobile, e-commerce and in person experiences for as many people as possible. Tall tales, examples & plenty of QA to go around.

Science Up Your Designs

User experience research is a contact sport. When you understand your users - or potential users - you can build better products. Data doesn't explain attitudes, so we'll explore ways to science up your designs by talking to users.

Secrets RevealedWeb Development is For Everyone

Jeff Cohen

Front-end designers and UX specialists can build web applications as well as anyone else. Professional web developers aren't "better at math" or "abstract thinking" than the rest of us. Crazy jargon and intimidating user groups keep outsiders away, but here's the truth: coding isn't just for the chosen few. 

SHIFT DeluxeAn AIGA Portland presentation

Thought leaders of the design community and AIGA Portland will showcase examples of intentional design and processes that are making the world a better place environmentally, economically, culturally, and socially. Join us for this concentrated version of SHIFT that will include brief, inspiring presentations followed by panelist and audience discussion on how to make design for positive change actionable.

A Sketch is Worth a Thousand WordsUsing Sketching as a Communication and Collaboration Tool

Product teams often consist of team members with various disciplines and approaches to product design, this can often present communication hurdles with team members (designers, devs, product managers, marketing,research, etc) as well as kinks in team collaboration. In this talk, Aaron will provide tools, tips, and insights into using sketching to help improve communication and collaboration within product teams.

Snackable Content

In this session, we begin with an examination of what “snackable” means to our culture in a positive way (think baby carrots, baked-not-fried chips, and Sesame Street) and how to apply that premise to producing material for today’s web, social media, and mobile landscape.

Solving the Right Problem

A byproduct of design research, if performed well, is a deeper empathy with the people who use what we build. This connection with them drives a desire to solve their problems and solve them now. Deciding what problems can truly be solved—and which one's should be solved—stands between building a good product for your current patrons and a great product for all.

Speed Mentoring for Future Digital and Technology Leaders

Ivo Lukas

Speed mentoring is a great way for young women to get feedback on your strengths and professional challenges from an industry expert - it's an efficient and effective way to learn, connect and network.

Startup! Real Stories and Life-Saving TipsA Panel Discussion with Leading Entrepreneurs, VCs, Angel Investors

In many ways, it's never been easier to start a company. Bootstrapping is often a viable choice, but some businesses are almost impossible to launch without capital. There are endless books and blogs from the viewpoint of VCs espousing philosophies about how to raise venture capital, but the actual process from Day One of making the decision to raise money is still a black hole, left to private meetings, phone calls, and known to a relatively small population.

Thinking Beyond the Device

Responsive Web Design is just one of the tools we use to create better designs. In this session, we'll explore what "better" design is, and apply that in new ways as we craft interactions between people and web sites and applications.

Typography is the New Black

Jim Kidwell

In recent years web and motion designers have woken to the power and centrality of typography in visual communication. Jim Kidwell presents an array of the best cutting-edge typography, alongside a few cautionary tales of how crap typography can contradict a message or damage a brand.

Walt DisneyThe World’s First User Experience Designer

We all know that Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and a world-wide entertainment empire. But did you also know that he could also be considered the world's first user experience designer?

Welcome Makers!

Kevin Hoyt

Thank you Makers for coming to WebVisions!  Wait, what?  You are not a maker yet?  Perhaps you should be!  With the decreasing cost of electronics, and the increasing availability of Internet access, there is no better time to start.  And even if you do not have a project you want to put on Kickstarter, taking things apart or making physical things that work for you on a personal level is not only vastly gratifying, but downright fun! 

What Designers Can Learn From Filmmakers

Adam Connor

The techniques that films use to communicate with and engage audiences can serve as inspiration for designers. In this presentation, Adam Connor will look at  tools used in film such as: cinematic patterns, beat sheets, and storyboards and will examine why they’re used and how we might look to them for inspiration.

The World Is The ScreenUnderstanding the Ecology of Context

As mobile and cross-channel challenges become even more complex, we find ourselves chasing an endless explosion of devices, app platforms and operating systems. Meanwhile, user context is becoming more ambiguous and varied than ever. What if, rather than starting with the device, the content or the software, we started with fundamentals about how people perceive their environment?

Your CSS is a Mess

CSS is easy? CSS is messy! And as a project grows, it only gets messier. You find yourself throwing !important at everything or fighting with long selectors just to get a style to overrule another. This session looks at a few quick tips to help bring things under control.

Your Responsive Tool Box

Jacob Surber

Web designers today face many challenges, several of which cannot be solved by their current set of tools.  These challenges get amplified when your goal is to create a 'responsive design'. Using techniques like CSS layout and media queries may solve this challenge, but not in a very visual or creative way.