Witness the Power of This Fully Armed and Operational Website: The Emerging Power of WebSockets

Presenter: Tony Thomas (@truetone)
Time: Monday, April 15, 9:30 – 10:20.
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WebSockets are much faster than AJAX for client-server communication. AJAX requests are pull-only. The browser must make a request, which then must resolve via a DNS to be routed to a server which responds with data. Information is only exchanged when the browser requests it. WebSockets provide a direct connection to a server which can send data to the browser instantly with no request from the browser. This allows for “push” notifications.

Come equipped with a modern browser to take part in an interactive demo of WebSockets. Tony will give an overview of WebSocket communication and will then move into the JavaScript API for sending and receiving data over a websocket connection. Finally he’ll ask the audience to visit a WebSocket enabled demo site that will allow him to push notifications and data to audience members in real time.

Tony Thomas is a father, husband, musician and web developer at Student Unions and Activities at the University of Minnesota. He has worked in web development for over 12 years. He has given many presentations on web development topics to groups like the Minneapolis/St. Paul WordPress User Group, the University of Minnesota Web Standards and Code People Groups and presented at MinneWebCon in 2011 and 2012. He has covered topics like mobile web development, project tools for web development, and the Git Flow process for the SUA web team workflow.

Conditional Front-End Development Techniques

Presenter: Tiffany Brown (@webinista)
Time: Monday, April 15, 1:30 – 2:20
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In this session, we’ll take a look at a few new web APIs and CSS features that allow you to serve a different experience based on the user’s browser window. We’ll cover the CSS Conditional Rules module (@media and @support). We’ll dig into @viewport and viewport units. And we’ll also look consider some fallback strategies. By the end of this session, attendees should have an understanding of how to use these different features to create a multi-browser, multi-device experience from the same code base.

Tiffany Brown is an open web advocate and member of the Opera Developer Relations & Tools team. She has worked on the web for more than a decade, for media companies and agencies. Now she spends her days hanging out on the edge of the web and writing about it. Sometimes she also talks about it.

Fixing the UX of Infinite Scroll

Presenter: Zachary Johnson (@zacharyjohnson)
Time: Monday, April 15, 2:30 – 3:20
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Infinite Scroll sucks. It’s that feature where you can scroll down forever on Twitter or Facebook and more content keeps loading. It’s a brilliant UI idea in theory, but it creates all sorts of obnoxious problems for the user in practice. In this session we’re going to fix it! We will think through the UX issues we need to address, and we’ll dive into the HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript features we can use to code up a better Infinite Scroll… one where you don’t lose your place when there is an error or when you click a link or your back button… one where you can skip back in time fast without having to scroll forever… an infinite scroll solution that embraces the web and how browsers work! Ready? Let’s do this!

Zachary Johnson is a Minneapolis-based Creative Developer whose love affair with the web began in 1996. For the past two years he has been consulting and collaborating via his business, Zachstronaut LLC.


Clarity, Copy, and Content Strategy: De-fuzzing Fuzzy Concepts

Presenter: Scott Kubie (@scottrocketship)
Time: Monday, April 15, 9:30 – 10:20
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Ever been weeks or months deep into a design process without being able to articulate just what the heck it is you’re actually building? Or why it even matters?

Photographer Ansel Adams once said there’s nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept. I have a feeling he wasn’t just talking about photos. Today’s web designers and UX practitioners are blessed with a ridiculous bounty of tools, techniques and best practices that enable the development of increasingly sharp images. But what good is a sharp image (or wireframe…or prototype…or “version one”…) if our concepts are still fuzzy?

In this session, we’ll explore how copywriting, content strategy, creativity, and passion can be aligned to turn fuzzy concepts into brilliant products. Scott will provide actionable advice drawing on a diverse background spanning UX design, broadcasting, non-profit management, a mobile app startup, and the world of art and design.Learn how to clarify your design concepts, write meaningful copy, and even author your own product manifesto. It’s time to do a little de-fuzzing.

Scott Kubie uses writing, sketching, and editorial strategy to plan and design digital products and interfaces. He believes better writing makes for better experiences.

He currently works at Wolfram Research (makers of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha) as a Content Strategist and User Interface Writer. Scott is part of a larger user experience team that designs products for desktop, mobile, and the consumer web.

User Experience and Content Strategy: Two Great Things That Go Great Together

Presenters: Meghan Casey (@meghscase), Zack Naylor (@zacknaylor)
Time: Monday, April 15, 10:30 – 11:20
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Meghan: Well you know, Zack, the user experience doesn’t really matter if our clients aren’t even creating or curating content people want or need.
Zack: That may be true, Meghan, but without a superior user experience, people won’t be able to read or do anything with the content.
Meghan: Yeah, Zack, I know. That’s why I’m saying that the content has to be stellar so that the user experience has something to shine the light on.

Get the “what came first”and “who owns what” conversations out of the way and discover that the overlap between content strategy and user experience is a good thing. We’ll discuss how we’ve started to build content strategy into our user experience practice and how its making a huge difference for our team and our clients.

Meghan Casey is The Nerdery’s first official content strategist. She ventured away from Brain Traffic, the world’s leading agency devoted exclusively to content, to help build content strategy into The Nerdery’s user experience practice. She helps a wide variety of clients – start-ups, nonprofits, colleges and universities, Fortune 50 companies, and everything in between – solve the messy content problems most organizations encounter every day. A regular trainer and speaker on content strategy topics, she once inspired participants to spontaneously do the wave in a workshop setting. Yep, that really happened. Meghan has been working with content and communications since 1996 after receiving her bachelor of arts degree in writing from Concordia College. She also holds a master of arts in nonprofit management from Hamline University.

Zack Naylor is a connoisseur of both fine clothing and of a fine user experience. Receiving his Bachelor of Science in interactive media design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2006, Zack went on to work as a web designer and user experience designer before joining The Nerdery in 2011 as a UX designer. Zack quickly became an integral part of The Nerdery’s user experience team with his extensive user research, interaction design and information architecture experience. In 2012 Zack was promoted to Senior User Experience Designer before being promoted yet again to Principal UX designer. An active member of the interactive community, Zack’s credits include Nerdery webinars “An Into to User Research”and “The Science of UX”

Content Publishing with EPUB

Presenter: David Skarjune (@skarjune)
Time: Monday, April 15, 3:30 – 4:20
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The future of content publishing is emerging in new directions as ubiquitous computing on various devices expands the opportunities for distributing content. EPUB offers a pivotal format in digital publishing for content development and distribution as well as for reader experience.

For content publishers it’s critical to understand the capabilities, uses, differences, and conversions between competing formats for digital content, as diverse types of content are distributed to more kinds of devices. While Amazon Kindle and Apple iBook are proprietary formats, EPUB is an open standard coordinated by the International Digital Publishing Forum for ebooks throughout the publishing industry.

Learn how EPUB is used for ebooks, publications, and documents across many kinds of devices. Understand how the publishing industry is undergoing a paradigm shift with the changes from print to digital publishing. See new capabilities for enhanced ebooks that are possible using HTML5. Consider new workflow strategies for creating, producing, and distributing digital content. Get resources for documentation, tools, and services, so that you can leverage EPUB for your content publishing needs.

David Skarjune is a publisher and content consultant for Word & Image, which provides publishing and content solutions for authors, publishers, and organizations. Word & Image is a member of Midwest Independent Publishers Association and Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable. Skarjune is a certified Electronic Document Professional (EDP) with Xplor International and AIIM Professional Member in the enterprise content management industry. Skarjune has worked with content and publishing systems for decades in a variety of roles including writer, photographer, journalist, editor, designer, developer, system architect, and trainer.

Skarjune has worked and consulted for major companies including Best Buy, UnitedHealth Group, Personnel Decisions International, State of Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota. He taught at Dunwoody College of Technology; worked in public service at Minnesota AIDS Project, Minnesota State Arts Board, and Windustry; and is currently an adjunct faculty member at the Takoda Institute for Higher Education teaching Graphic Design and Internet Programs for the Public Relations Specialists program. He is active in technology user groups and speaks at local and national conferences.

How one large company integrated user experience into an agile methodology

Presenters: Lori Baker (@bakerlor), Sara Asche Anderson
Time: Monday, April 15, 1:30 – 2:20.

With two-week sprints and monthly releases, we were finding that User Experience methodology and agile processes often were at odds. With a single IA and a designer, we were struggling to keep up with the developers and work necessary to support releases. Long-term UX strategy didn’t fit the traditionally agile model, but it is necessary so we are working towards a big-picture solution. We decided to use an expanded staffing model: one Information Architect focused on the sprint and release work and another focused on the longer-term strategy work. This offered us the ability to look 1-2 years in the future, do usability testing on that design and define the quick wins for the sprint-level IA to implement. The entire team sees the benefit of what we want to work toward and we get to put some design in practice early to test it out. This session is to discuss how we chose this staffing model, how it is working, and how we can continue to improve on it. We will show work produced by each role and how it cyclically becomes output and input into new work. We will also offer an informal breakout session for those who want to learn how they can implement this type of work stream at their company – based on available budget, resources and timelines.

After spending 7 years in consulting, Lori Baker has been leading the UX group working on checkout at Best Buy for the last year. Throughout her career, Lori has worked extensively on process improvement and is currently working to ensure that UX work integrates into the Agile process at Best Buy.

Sara Asche Anderson is Sr. Manager of UX at Best Buy, where she’s been since 2006. Prior to Best Buy she worked at U.S. Bank on their user experience team. Sara has worked extensively on methodology projects throughout her career in UX and in prior positions for user acceptance testing and technical writing. She’s helped transition teams to RUP and now from waterfall to Agile, keeping the employee and customer experience at the forefront.


Social Media Law Update: The Legal Landscape in Cyberspace

Presenter: Amy Sanders
Time: Monday, April 15, 2:30 – 3:20.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Flickr allow users to connect with one another and share information with the click of a mouse or a tap on a touchscreen and have become vital tools for professionals in the news and strategic communication fields. But as rapidly as these services have grown in popularity, their legal ramifications aren’t widely understood. To what extent do communicators put themselves at risk for defamation and privacy lawsuits when they use these tools, and what rights do communicators have when other users talk about them on social networks? How can an entity maintain control of intellectual property issues such as posting copyrighted videos and photographs consistent with the developing law in this area? How and when can communicators use these tools to do their jobs without endangering their employers or clients?


Amy Kristin Sanders is an award-winning journalist and licensed attorney. Her research focuses on the intersection of law and new technology. Dr. Sanders regularly speaks about cyberspace law to journalism and civic groups, and recently authored a chapter in ‘Social Media and the Law: A Guidebook for Communication Students and Professionals’ (Routledge, 2012). In addition, she is the co-author, along with T. Barton Carter, Marc A. Franklin and Jay B. Wright, of First Amendment and the Fourth Estate (11th edition, Foundation Press, 2012). Dr. Sanders has published nearly a dozen articles in journals such as Communication Law and Policy, the Federal Communication Law Journal, the Journal of Media Law and Ethics and the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Sanders worked as a copy editor and page designer for the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, a New York Times Co. newspaper. She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication Law from the University of Florida. She obtained her MA in Professional Journalism and Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa.


The process and practice of mobile UI design

Presenter: Mike Bollinger (@mikebollinger)
Time: Monday, April 15, 9:30 – 10:20.

Creating great mobile experiences requires dedication to building and designing products specifically for mobile. Gain insight into the philosophies and processes that should drive your organization’s design practice as you look to build or expand a mobile product.

As mobile becomes an increasingly important component of organizations’ interactions with their clients and customers, attendees will walk away from this presentation with an understanding of how to approach the practice of mobile design inside their organizations. I will provide 5 key insights, each supported by real examples and practical take-aways for implementation. It is important to understand that this talk is not about specific design “tips” or templates or UI patterns for how navigation should work inside an app; rather, the talk is more philosophical in nature, and addresses how one should think about – and approach – mobile UI design.

In-House Content Strategy

Presenter: Meghan Seawell (@m3ggiesue)
Time: Monday, April 15, 3:30 – 4:20
View session notes

Your organization’s content needs help, and it’s your job to fix it. But where do you begin? Change from within can be daunting. It may seem like the problems are too big for one person, or one team, to fix. Luckily, you can start to make a meaningful impact with just a few small changes.

This session will offer tips and tools for creating a content strategy from within your organization. You’ll get a handful of easy-to-implement, start-today tactics, as well as insight into effecting meaningful long term change.

Meghan Seawell is an independent content strategist in Minneapolis. She draws on experience implementing content strategy in-house at a mid-size nonprofit, where she helped build a communications team from the ground up. She works with some of the best and brightest consulting minds in the industry, including local Brain Traffic, Inc. She is actively engaged in the Minneapolis interactive marketing community and has spoken at events such as Minnebar, DrupalCon, and Ignite.