Amber Case

Digital Anthropologist

Amber Case studies the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way cultures think, act, and understand their worlds. Case is currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a visiting researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media.

A TED speaker and author, Case enjoys meeting and interacting with interesting audiences all over the world. Her speeches range from the future of technology and humanity to telecom, location-based applications and anthropology.

Designing Calm Technology

Our world is made of information that competes for our attention. What is needed? What is not? We cannot interact with our everyday life in the same way we interact with a desktop computer. The terms calm computing and calm technology were coined in 1995 by PARC Researchers Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown in reaction to the increasing complexities that information technologies were creating. Calm technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea behind Calm Technology is to have smarter people, not things. Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary. How can our devices take advantage of location, proximity and haptics to help improve our lives instead of get in the way? How can designers can make apps “ambient” while respecting privacy and security? This talk will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead.

Aras Bilgen

UX Lead at Expertera

Aras provides design training and coaching for designers, business analysts, agile teams, managers, and executives.

He was the Senior Vice President of experience design and front-end development at Garanti Bank, a BBVA joint-venture in Turkey. His team worked on a broad range of areas, from mobile apps, web sites, ATMs to chatbots, enterprise software, and long-term strategic research.

Prior to Garanti, he was the Product Director for ÇiçekSepeti, the largest flower and gifting site in the world. He was a Product Development Group Manager at Monitise, where his team of product managers and designers delivered top-notch digital experiences for leading financial institutions and e-commerce sites, such as İşBank, Visa, eBay, Turkcell, and Turkish Airlines. He was a UX planner at Intel where he led the UX planning for Tizen (with Samsung), worked on MeeGo (with Nokia) and adapted Intel’s brand identity system for the software products.

Previously, he was at Microsoft Research, where he developed a gestural system for interacting with displays remotely. He completed similar research efforts at the University of California, Irvine and Lancaster University, United Kingdom.

Aras holds a BSc from Bilkent University and an MSc in Computer Science from Georgia Tech. He is currently pursuing a BA in Sociology from Anadolu University. He is an avid cook and he drives his colleagues crazy by winning all food-related trivia games.

Avoiding Arctic Expeditions: Ways to do research together

A bad user research program feels like an arctic expedition. A small team of researchers take their super-special equipment, go to far places by themselves, and then send a report six months later. No one knows about how they worked, no one knows if they made the right assumptions, no one was able to help them with the hard work. The team struggles to relate to the users by reading a dense report, so they stop at page 5.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Everyone can and should be a part of user research, so that we can all learn faster and find better insights. In this talk we will go over four steps to turn heavy, siloed research efforts into distributed, collaborative research projects. We will discuss tenets of good user research, show methods to work with actual users, and share ways to sustain a user-centric culture, so that you and your teams can get richer insights faster, together.

Arne Kittler

Product Director at XING

Arne Kittler is a Product Director at XING, currently based in Porto. He is a curator of Mind the Product Engage and ProductTank in Hamburg. Arne sees strong similarities between good product managers and good rock bassists - guess which instrument he plays?

Clarity in Collaboration

It’s no secret that good cross-disciplinary collaboration between Programmers, Designers and Product People is the way to build strong products. Not only that, it’s also a great opportunity for everybody involved to broaden their horizons and learn from new perspectives. And if you work in a larger organization you will also most likely collaborate across teams which adds another layer of new perspectives and potentials for building products people love. But let’s face it: Collaboration is also difficult. And while some difficulties & frictions are certainly worth going through for the sake of a better results there are other aspects that we could all happily avoid. In particular I’m talking about missing clarity and its consequences in misunderstandings & bad blood as well as the resulting inefficiencies or untapped potentials.

I have build digital products as part of cross-disciplinary teams for more than 17 years and especially in the last 7 years of my work at XING learned to appreciate clarity as one keen ingredient for better results and more fun in collaboration. The interesting thing about clarity is that while it may seem obvious that clarity is better than lack thereof, we often lack clarity in collaboration. So why is that? How can be notice a lack of clarity early on? And what can we do to get more clarity into our collaboration within our team as well as when collaborating between several teams?

In my talk I will look at different aspects of clarity, including role clarity, clarity of intent, clarity in conflict and clarity in communication. For each of these aspects I will reflect on why we avoid clarity, show you how you can easily spot when there’s a lack of clarity and propose ways how you can actively change this for the sake of better collaboration.

One of the main messages of this talk is that no matter what your role or your organizational setup is you can actively push for clarity and should not rely on others to do it for you.

Jackie Balzer

Head of Front-End Development, Behance and Adobe Portfolio

Jackie Balzer writes CSS like it’s her job (it is). She is the Head of Front end Development for Behance at Adobe in NYC. She loves bringing designs to life with code.

Preprocessors, Components, and CSS in JS or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Website

Behance's codebase has existed in various states for over 8 continuous years - which includes multiple major redesigns, brand overhauls, CSS preprocessors, JavaScript frameworks, templating languages, feature births and deaths, product integrations, and more.

And now, we are working on our latest project: building out a full redesign while moving our Sass and JavaScript to CSS Modules and Vue.js.

This talk explores our journey over the years, from how we choose which technologies to implement, how we piecemeal large rewrites while maintaining developer sanity and website integrity (and how to cut corners gracefully), how our developers and designers work together to ensure product quality, and most importantly, how to be at peace with the reality of a fragmented codebase.

Jared Spool

Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre/UIE

Jared M. Spool is a Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre/UIE. Center Centre is the school he started with Leslie Jensen-Inman to create industry-ready User Experience Designers. UIE is Center Centre’s professional development arm, dedicated to understanding what it takes for organizations to produce competitively great products and services.

In the 39 years he's been in the tech field, he's worked with hundreds of organizations, written two books, published hundreds of articles and podcasts, and tours the world speaking to audiences everywhere. When he can, he does his laundry in Andover, Massachusetts.

Design is a Team Sport

Every seasoned designer has fallen into the trap. They see the bad design in front of them. They can’t help but see how bad it is. And they want to redesign it. Show the world how it could be done. How it should be done.

Well-intentioned as the desire to rid the world of this bad design is, their approach often is a disaster. It pushes their allies away, accidentally giving off the air of superiority filled with the smells of arrogance and contempt.

An alternative is a well-designed process for creating your designs. The secret sauce for in that well-designed process is a realization and inclusiveness of everyone on the team. It’s infused with an understanding of how people contribute to the design process, even when they aren’t trained in design skills. And it opens up opportunities to give everyone—not just your trained designers—the superpowers necessary to rid your products and services of bad design.

In this entertaining presentation, Jared will inspire you to: Realize the reason everyone thinks they are a designer is they are a designer, however unskilled Learn that our design processes need to be designed, with intention and thoughtfulness Focus on helping every contributing influencer of your designs become a consciously competent designer themselves

Jessica Jordan

Software Engineer at simplabs

Jessica Jordan is a member of the Ember Learning Core team and a software engineer working at simplabs. She is an editor at The Ember Times and organizes the Ember Berlin meetup. She is a big fan of CSS, art and comics.

Crafting Web Comics with Ember

Although nowadays many tools and Web APIs to create rich and interesting art experiences on the web already exist, many developers rarely have a chance to make themselves familiar with these tools during their regular day job. In this regard this talk aims to give an overview of some of the methods that can be used to create comic art like experiences on the web and highlight interesting features of these APIs in a tangible way.

This talk will include an introduction into the development timeline of the traditional analogue medium of comics to the modern, digital web comic. We will see how many web comics today still leverage a traditional approach of publishing their art online by using simple, still images of comic illustrations. In contrast to that we will also take a look at some more recent examples which experiment with Web APIs for a more integrated and interactive experiences.

Up next, we will take a quick look at commonly used Web APIs for creating animated, interactive web content, including the CSS3 spec for animations and the Web Animations API. We’ll highlight how they can be leveraged, and polyfilled and how we can find graceful fallbacks for users of less up-to-date browsers. We’ll take a look at a couple of performance concerns, which patterns to avoid to keep performance high and how we can make sure to use any of the mentioned technologies in the most efficient manner.

Third, we’ll take a look at an online comic book demo built with Ember.js which highlights a multi-page web experience. We’ll see how routing can help us to access application state through distinct routes and how we can leverage the router to ease-in and ease-out of routes to create an UI experience that resembles “page skimming”. We’ll take a look on how we can create reusable components to present our illustrative content in our application easily and how we integrate user interaction to make the comic book an intriguing experience.

Finally, we will take a look into the future of web comics and discuss which tools might benefit future web comic artists the most. This will raise the subject on how we can make the APIs, frameworks and libraries that we are using to create web comics today even more approachable and accessible for tomorrow.

Researcher at MIT CSAIL and author of CSS Secrets

Lea is currently busy researching how to make web programming easier at MIT CSAIL. She is the author of bestselling advanced CSS book CSS Secrets and has worked as a Developer Advocate at W3C. She has a long-standing passion for open web standards, and is one of the few Invited Experts in the CSS Working Group. Lea has also started several popular open source projects and web applications, such as Mavo, Prism, and -prefix-free and maintains a technical blog at She holds a MSc in Computer Science from MIT. Despite her academic pursuits in Computer Science, Lea is one of the few misfits who love code and design equally.

Even More CSS Secrets

CSS Secrets was a series of talks that were loved by audiences all around the globe and led to Lea’s bestselling book “CSS Secrets”. The premise is simple: Ten surprising yet practical things you didn’t know you could do in CSS, live-coded in Lea’s trademark interactive presentation style. This third installment of the series will include new juicy secrets related to CSS Variables, SVG, grid layout, flexbox, variable fonts, among other things. Prepare to be inspired again as Lea debuts ten all-new feats of advanced CSS wizardry, which will help you understand CSS at a much deeper level.

Mike Monteiro

Co-founder and design director of Mule Design

Mike Monteiro is the co-founder and design director of Mule Design. He prefers that designers have strong spines. Mike writes and speaks frequently about the craft, ethics, and business of design.

He loves design so much he wrote two books on the topic, Design is a Job and You’re My Favorite Client, both from A Book Apart. Mike received the 2014 Net award for Conference Talk of the Year for his inspirational polemic on responsibility, “How Designers Destroyed the World.”

How To Build an Atomic Bomb

We were supposed to build a better world. Design and technology was supposed to point the way towards utopia. Instead, we designed a nightmare. Find out why this was our fault and what you can do to help fix it.


Rails Girls Summer of Code 2018

Sabine van der Eijk, Software Developer at RGSoC & Front End developer at ANWB Alina Leuca, Software Developer at RGSoC

Hurdles of Junior Developers and How To Overcome Them

From the first time you rebase a git branch to the first time you're looking for a coding job, all junior developers go through imposter syndrome and callback hell. Alina and Sabine are here to talk about how to stay level-headed and positive, maintain a good attitude, and persevere through these hurdles.

Vitaly Friedman

Editor-in-chief on Smashing Magazine

Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and does not give up easily. From Minsk in Belarus, he studied computer science and mathematics, then in Germany discovered a passion for typography, writing and design. After working as a freelance designer and developer for six years, he co-founded Smashing Magazine, a leading online magazine dedicated to design and web development. Vitaly is the author, co-author and editor of all Smashing Books. He currently works as editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine in the lovely city of Freiburg, Germany, at the very foot of the Black Forest.

Bringing Personality Back To The Web

Generic web layouts have become somewhat of a misnomer in conversations circling around web design these days. As creatives, we’re bored and slightly annoyed by how predictable and uninspired most web experiences have become. How do we break out of predictable and boring designs without breaking the usability and functionality of our experiences?

In this talk, Vitaly Friedman, the co-founder of Smashing Magazine, will shed some light into a strategy of how to bring personality back to web design, and how we can make our experiences more humane while also having a higher ROI. Beware: you might not be able to unlearn what you’ll learn in this session. Bonus: you’ll see some slightly dirty examples of things being done out there, so bring along some pragmatism to this talk.

Stephanie Troeth

Independent Strategist and Researcher

Steph is an independent strategist and researcher. She was most recently the Head of Research at digital agency Clearleft, where she helped companies and organisations build customer intelligence through combining design research with other disciplines. Previously, she led design research at the Telegraph and spearheaded European customer research with MailChimp.

In 20 years of working in the digital industry, Steph has worn many hats, including a product lead for a startup in digital publishing and a director of technology at a digital agency. She is also a regular speaker at conferences and guest lectures annually at the University of Greenwich. When not bound to a digital device, she makes things by hand, grows edible flowers and has a tendency to cook enough to feed a continent at a time. She now lives on her 4th continent on her 4th island in the UK.

Behind the Story

Storytelling” appears to be a magic word when it comes to creating user experience—we use it to evoke design ideals, to summon the creative spirit, or to cry out for a narrative link across the complex world of devices and short attention spans. In the context of design, we often talk about using the three-act structure, characters, and how conflict is a key essential ingredient. But is it all there is?

Steph spent a few years learning from the art of making documentaries, crime fiction, novels and the shortest of stories. In this session, Steph will show how understanding the essence and practice of story opens a world of possibilities and adds another dimension to your UX toolset. Better still, it’s less of a mystery than what you might think.

Vivianne Castillo

UX Researcher. Humanity & Diversity in tech Advocate-Warrior

I’m a UX Researcher with 7 years of psychology and research experiences spanning multiple contexts, cultures, and industries and am an advocate for prioritizing empathy and humanity in design, and for synthesizing complex research into intuitive, simple systems. Prior to becoming a UX Researcher, I worked primarily in the arenas of trauma counseling, tackling issues like shame, empathy, vulnerability and compassion. My unique experiences as a human services professional, my multi-cultural upbringing, and my love for psychology have been major influences in my approach to UX Research and allow me to embody the term “human-centered design” by bringing these disciplines together to ensure that design is made with humanity.

I was a speaker at Lever’s first Diversity & Inclusion Forum in San Francisco last year, alongside the Heads of Diversity and Inclusion at places like Lyft, Netflix, and Atlassian. I was also an O’Reilly Diversity & Inclusion Scholar in 2017, and was named as a TED Resident finalist this spring after presenting an idea related to design that I desired to share with the rest of the world. For 2018, I am currently scheduled to speak at CanUX in Ottawa, The Radical Research Summit in Vancouver, and a remote talk to Atlassian in San Francisco.

Aside from that, I grew up celebrating Korean New Year (my mom is half Korean) and I’ve won 5 (yes, five!) vacations in my lifetime! I’ve also played my trumpet in concert on the Great Wall of China, I once found $950 on the sidewalk, and my mom once made me write a paper on how I can take more initiative with my life when I was seven years old.

Ethics & Power: Understanding the Role of Shame in UX Research

We are overdue for a much-needed conversation on bias and privilege within the UX Industry’s culture, but we can’t achieve this conversation without addressing one of its core barriers: shame. If designers and front-end developers are to be truly human-centered and empathy-driven in their work, they not only need to fight to have a seat at the table with UX Researchers, but they are ethically and professionally responsible for the experiences they create without acknowledging the role of bias, privilege, and shame in their work. Dr. Brene Brown once said, “You have comfort and you have courage, but you can’t have both at the same time. Choose.” By the end of this talk designers and front-end developers will no longer be able to sit on the side lines of this critical conversation, instead, they’ll find themselves pursuing courage over comfort in both the professional and personal space of their lives.