Why Design Leaders?
As design moves from nice-to-have to being increasingly appreciated as having key strategic value for companies and organisations, design teams are growing, often rapidly, and design professionals are playing increasingly important leadership roles.
Who's it for?
Design leaders was created for experienced design professionals in, or moving into these management and leadership roles.
Real World Knowledge
For well over a decade, Web Directions has been holding conferences for web and digital creators, both for engineering as well design professionals.
Each of our conferences features real world, actionable knowledge, from leading practitioners, from around Australia and the world.
Extraordinary Speakers, and relevance
We've combed the country and the world for extraordinary spakers, covering the most relevant topics for today's design leaders.
Design leadership and mental health: challenges, questions, and (some) answers
Maria Sereno Design Lead Gippstech
Problems with mental health can have a huge negative impact on our work, especially when we're trying to create, design, or code. How do we function as excellent team leads when dealing with the additional challenges posed by mental illness in our teams?
I speak both as a design + front-end development lead, and as someone who deals with severe anxiety and depression on a daily basis. What useful questions can we ask to build better spaces for mental health in our industry - and what could some of these answers look like?
Design leadership for introverts
Timothy Yeo Head of Design Prospa
Do you squirm in your seat when all eyes are on you? Do you find networking awkward and embarrassing? In meetings, do you find yourself keeping quiet even though you have something to say? Does a quiet evening at home with a book sound more attractive to you than an evening socialising with people you’ve never met?
If your answer to most of these questions is yes, congratulations: you are (probably) an introvert.
Introversion is not a choice; I believe it is something you are born with. However, it should not limit you, especially your ability to lead. Yet, as an introvert, you lose energy when engaging with people rather than gain. People engagement is not optional if you want to lead. So how do you lead as an introvert?
In this talk, I share techniques I’ve used to manage my own introversion in order to perform my role as a design leader.
How to be a Design Leader and Keep Designing
Andrew Green Head of Design Canva
The traditional advice given to designers transitioning into leadership roles is that your craft skills will diminish as you manage more people.
However, for many designers, the prospect of dropping the craft creates anxiety and, in some cases, blocks them from moving into these roles.
For the last 10 years in product and design leadership roles, I’ve been toiling away at the notion — and would like to share practical ways that design leaders can lead but also not lose their craft.
Design Ethics: Integrating your values into the things you build
Josh Kinal Lead Consultant, Experience Design ThoughtWorks
How can we be sure that the things we build fit with what we want to put into the world? Ethics is sometimes a tricky subject when put up against profit but design is the culmination of decisions we make when creating. Let's put the two together.
Often the best intentions can have terrible consequences. The worst villains believe they are entirely justified in their actions and are fighting for a greater good. Companies with no intention to be evil release services that unintentionally ruin things for millions of people and can cause ongoing damage years into the future.
This is about how to avoid that.
Strategists describe to make. Designers make to describe
Harriet Wakelam Director Design Centre IAG
How do you design for a future so ambiguous that all things we take for granted turn out to be assumptions? What if cars drive themselves and people need insuring? How do you insure a home in a world where we are climate change nomads?
This talk explores how IAG is using Design as a prototype for a new kind of future practice. Where our opportunity of being a Design team inside an organisation offers the chance to leave the current design business model behind, using our craft to create tangible adaptable strategy, listen in new ways and make new types of choices?
I will explore some of the opportunities and challenges of leadership in this space, what we’ve learnt about design, and some of the more confronting (and exciting) opportunities it offers for our teams, our people and our organisations.
Designing good experience for good experience designers
Saurabh Karwal Experience Design Director Sitback Solutions
While stepping up from a lead experience designer to a director of experience design role, I noticed my team from 2 different perspectives. One being close to projects and the other being close to people, in this case, people being experience designers (mostly millennials)
I saw the team go through their daily routines juggling between different projects, clients, designs, researches etc. Rarely did I see or come across anyone taking time out to ‘THINK’. To think about why they are doing what they are doing, a bigger purpose, the future. I immediately knew that there was a need for change.
Often in the race to earn livelihood and working through deadlines, designers tend to forget about the super powers they have as well as the responsibilities that comes with it to shape the future. And then the career path becomes just like that of any other profession. I wonder what world we would be living in if the likes of Gaudi, Ghery, Jonathan Ivy, Paul Rand, Don Norman all were working only towards their projects and deadlines.
In this talk, I will cover the various aspects of how to create an environment, a better designed experience for those who design experiences for others and how it impacts their quality of outputs.
Great design teams start with transparency
Amelia Crook General Manager Cogent
The saying goes that money makes the world go around, but most designers value purpose and fulfillment over monetary compensation. How do we create diverse design teams that are both engaged and paid fairly, while also eliminating bias and inequality in the design industry?
This session explores how we've created more trusting and empowered teams through a completely transparent business model. From open salaries and equal profit share to involving staff in financial performance, we'll share the great (and not so great) aspects of this model. Get an understanding of how this approach can change team culture and grow engagement within a design team - or an entire company.
Jina Anne Design Systems Consultant Independent
Black Mirror Brainstorms–thinking the worst of your design
Jon Bell, Eva PenzeyMoog
We've seen all major social media platforms (and much more) abused and weaponised. Used to subvert democracies, foment ethnic hatred and violence.
But the misuse of digital products and services isn't just on the world stage. They open other vectors for intimate abuse, stalking, surveillance.
The naive days of expecting the best of the good intentions with which we design and build our products and services are over. But what then is to be done about it?
In security, penetration testing (or pen testing) is widely used to find security flaws and vulnerabilities in systems.
Dan Brown, with the concept of "Abusability Testing", and Aaron Z Lewis, with "Black Mirror Brainstorms" (named after the dystopian science fiction series) have proposed a similar idea for exploring flaws in systems that allow for abuse, and other negative outcomes with the aim of closing off these avenues for misuse.
In this final session of Design Leaders, we'll consider common ways in which the things we design can be misused, with insights from Eva Penzeymoog, and former lead design on Twitter's abuse team, Jon Bell, then conduct our own Black Mirror Brainstorm.
Find the conference pass for you
Design + Leaders Pass
Leaders Silver Pass
Leaders Classic Pass
Design Leaders Conference 10 April
Design Conference 11–12 April
Design Conference Videos
Design Leaders Conference Videos
Find the conference pass for you
Design + Leaders Pass
Design conference videos
Design speakers dinner
- $1,595 Until 23 March
- $1,695 Until 31 March
- $1,795 Standard
Design Silver Pass
Design conference video
- $1,295 Until 23 March
- $1,395 Until 31 March
- $1,495 Standard
Design Classic Pass
- $1195 Until 23 March
- $1,295 Until 31 March
- $1,395 Standard
Design 2019 will again be held in the Pavilion at the iconic Arts Centre Melbourne, right on the Yarra in Southbank.
Arts Centre Melbourne,
100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
With excellent public transport connections right outside, and Flinders Street Station right across the bridge, it's our best connected location yet.
If you're coming from out of town, there are many hotel and serviced apartments style accomodation options in Southbank, and otherwise close by. We have for some time put our speakers up at the Quest Southbank Apartments, and stay there ourselves.
If you work across disciplines, or if you play a leadership role, and need to keep up with developments across our industry, then our season passes are exactly what you need.
Choose a pass across 2, 3 or all 4 of our major 2019 events, and get a Gold ticket which includes conference video, speaker dinner at each, and more.
Passes are for a single named attendee across all events, and are not transferable between attendees. For teams we have great group pricing, contact us for more.
Four Conference Pass
Three Conference Pass
Two Conference Pass
Find the season pass for you
Four Conference Pass
A Gold ticket to every one of our main 2019 conferences
Bonus Silver ticket to our two Leaders and our Culture conferences
Three Conference Pass
A Gold ticket to your choice of three of our main 2019 conferences
Bonus Silver ticket to a choice of Code Leaders, Design Leaders or Culture
Two Conference Pass
A Gold ticket to your choice of two of our main 2019 conferences
Praise for past Web Directions events
Web Directions is the must-attend event of the year for anyone serious about web development.
Innovation Lead DigitasLBi
I’ve been admiring the Web Directions events for years, and was honored to be part… What a fantastic event!
inventor "responsive Web design"
Out of any conference, Web Directions is far and away our favourite
founder Campaign Monitor
Co-founded and now run by John Allsopp, Web Directions has for over a decade brought together leading developers, engineers, visual, IxD, UX and product designers, Art and Creative Directors, indeed everyone involved in producing web and digital products to learn from one another, and the World's leading experts across this vast field.
We spend our lives thinking about what comes next, keeping up with trends in technology, practices and processes, and filtering the hype, to make sure you don't miss trends that matter, and don't waste time on hype that doesn't.
We promise attending one of our events will leave you significantly better versed in the challenges you face day to day, and in solutions for addressing them.
In 2019, we'll be organising Design, Design Leaders, Code and Code Leaders and Product in Melbourne, and Web Directions Summit, and Culture in Sydney
John Allsopp has been working on the Web for over 20 years. He's been responsible for innovative developer tools such as Style Master, X-Ray and many more. He's spoken at numerous conferences around the World and delivered dozens of workshops in that time as well.
His writing includes two books, including Developing With Web Standards and countless articles and tutorials in print and online publications.
His "A Dao of Web Design" published in 2000 is cited by Ethan Marcotte as a key influence in the development of Responsive Web Design, who's rightly acclaimed article in 2010 begins by quoting John in detail, and by Jeremy Keith as "a manifesto for anyone working on the Web".
Code of Conduct
For over a decade, we've worked hard to create inclusive, fun, inspring and safe events for the Web Industry.
As part of our commitment to these values, we've adopted a code of conduct for all involved: ourselves, our speakers, our partners and our audience.If you have any concern or feedback, please don't hesitate to contact us.