Web Directions Conferences for web and digital professionals

Design at Web Directions Summit ’18

At our earliest events, the design aspects of our programs were very much focussed on Web design.

But over the last decade or so, just as professionals have increasingly specialised, and design in the broad sense has become central to what we build, so too has the focus on design shifted at Web Directions.

What was once called Web Design, became Front End Design–with its focus on CSS in particular–is now largely part of Front End development. If that is what you do, in our engineering track you’ll find a good deal of focus on these aspects of designing and building for the Web. There are amazing new layout and typographical capabilities now widely supported, that we’re covering there.

The design track has evolved to focus on aspects of design such as interaction and UX design, design research, typography and even illustration. But as it says in our name, (the Directions bit), our aim is always to look to where we are headed next. As we’ve done for many years, we’ll provide insights into the topics and techniques we feel should be on your radar, and starting to incorporate into your practice today.

We also pay attention to the broader practice of design, and the way design integrates into business and strategy, and a topic now central to everything we do: ethics.

Some of the particular highlights for this year’s Summit with a design focus include

Oliver Reichenstein, one of the most influential experts in the field of Information Architecture, and founder of IAWriter, the hugely popular writing app, will consider deeply the connection between design, philosophy and ethics.

Yiying Lu will be familiar to many. She grew up in Shanghai, came to Australia to study design, and now works with companies from early stage startups to the scale of Disney. As our world becomes increasingly cross-cultural, Yiying will shed light on how design can help cross cultures in a digital world, a challenge particularly vital to Australia.

Mara Giudice is a legend in the world of design. With high level roles in product design at Facebook and AutoDesk where she was VP of Design in her resume, and books like the the highly influential ‘The Rise of the DEO’, about Leaders who understand the transformative power of design and embrace its traits and tenets, Maria has been instrumental in the transition of design from marginal to central in strategic decision making.

Joe Toscano: our models for interacting with machines are changing rapidly, toward a conversational, chat based approach. The past few years have been filled with chatbot experiments—some brilliant, many not—but the future has yet to be experienced. As artificial intelligence capabilities advance, conversation will become the next major interaction model, not just a messenger experience.
Joe Toscano, an award winning Experience Designer at the likes of Google, and now founder of the not for profit Design Good, will explain why conversation will play such a large role in the future, define how it will happen, and suggest how you can integrate conversation into your product roadmap.

Caroline Sinders: Hugely popular when she spoke at Directions 2016 on the fateful morning of Donald Trump’s election, Caroline has a long career in thinking deeply about the impact of technology on the individual, society and culture. With stints in design research at IBM Watson, BuzzFeed, and the Wikimedia Foundation, Caroline will ask: Instead of building future worlds imagined in the ’60s during the Space Race, what is the future now, and how can we build it?

Cyd Harrell was until recently Chief of Staff at F8, an agency embedded in the US Digital Service (similar to Australia’s DTA). With extensive experience in design leadership and research in the private and public sector, Cyd will consider how to use your metaphorical capacity to do great qualitative analysis. She’ll dig into how to source apt metaphors from users and from your team, how to use them as pointers into the salient parts of a mountain of qualitative data

But this barely scratches the surface of what is on offer. Jennifer Hom, and illustrator and Experience Design Manager at Airbnb will showcase the development process of Airbnb’s illustrative aesthetics. Tim Buesing will demonstrate how transparency creates trust and brings success to products, services and brands. Allison Ravenhall will show us what the latest Accessibility standards mean for designers.

And that’s not even the entire design focussed program. Take a look at the full schedule now, then register your place for this once-a-year event. There are extra special pricing for freelancers and not for profits, and great team offers as well.

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Going to #wds18 has given me inspiration to attend more conferences. Meeting tech folks like myself and learning from each other is pretty amazing!

Hinesh Patel Ruby and React Developer

Join us in 2019:

  • Web Directions Design 2019

    Australia's product design conference with the world's leading expert

    Melbourne April 11 & 12 2019

  • Web Directions Code 2019

    Australia's conference for JavaScript and Front End Engineers

    Melbourne June 20 & 21 2019

  • Web Directions Product 2019

    Australia's conference for Product professionals

    Melbourne August 1 & 2 2019

  • Web Directions Summit 2019

    Our legendary event. Three big tracks,–Product, Design and Developer focused.

    Sydney November 2019