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What Can We Learn from Digital #Fail(ures)?

The idea that we will become free through technology is not new. However, we do not live in a world that is a blank slate. Hierarchies of power are reproduced and enacted through digital technologies. The ways in which our everyday lives are digitized into easily stored and repurposed bits of information actually heightens control and surveillance: as we are tracked and categorized, power-laden boundaries across race, gender, and class become digital enclosures.

Technology is not neutral. In this talk, Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble from the UCLA Department of Information Studies will discuss the importance of new models of intervention and resistance. By illuminating linkages to power struggles over values, particularly in the context of the digital, we can re-examine information contexts and realize we have great responsibility and the imperative to act.

Using Data and Digital Activism to End Police Violence

Data can be a powerful tool to tell the truth about urgent issues impacting communities and to identify solutions to those issues. Samuel will present how he’s used data, in collaboration with activists across the country, to visualize the scale of police violence in America and advance policy goals within the Black Lives Matter movement through the Mapping Police Violence and Campaign Zero projects. He’ll demonstrate how data can be collected, analyzed, and visualized in ways that center the communities most impacted and that empower communities with actionable information to effectively advocate for systemic change.

Search-First Writing

This talk digs into how optimizing for search and using the existing technical assistance forums can put your product ahead of the pack. Technical writing, in all its variations, is a type of interface with your product. It incorporates everything from an error message to an implementation guide. How can you as a web producer make deploying, using, and promoting your site as painless as possible? Make it searchable. Make finding the answer to a problem so trivially easy that your user barely even remembers they had a problem.

No one wants to be using software. They want to be data mining or manipulating beautiful photos or targeting advertising. Making them think about the software diverts them from what they want to be accomplishing. Use these documentation techniques to get them in and out and on their way.


  • Use search terms to drive development
  • Understand failure modes in users
  • Use outside resources to improve site development
  • Test changes to site content

Attendee skill level: Audience should have some familiarity with analytics, SaaS concepts, and accessibility.


You Can Do This. Web Accessibility Testing for Everyone.

Visit the site with materials from this session.

The first step in building or maintaining an accessible web site or application is identifying accessibility issues. Yet accessibility testing is something that feels overly complicated, requires special expertise, or is time-consuming. It doesn’t have to be. Really. Come find out how.

In this session, we will demonstrate simple checks for accessibility that can be easily integrated into your web development process including the use of free easy-to-use tools. In addition we will discuss what types of checks should be done at certain points while developing or updating a web site or application to catch a majority of web accessibility issues.

Getting into the habit of checking or web accessibility, like all good habits, can be hard. Checking for accessibility doesn’t do a lot of good unless you check often, so we will discuss possible tactics you and your team can take to insure accessibility is checked for over the long run.

At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Perform simple accessibility tests
  • Describe when accessibility tests should be performed
  • Describe some common testing tools
  • Describe some common accessibility issues
  • Tactics for encouraging continued accessibility testing

Attendee skill level: Introduction. This session is aimed at members of a web development team, both technical and non-technical, who want to feel empowered to find accessibility problems.

So Long and Thanks for All the Requests: Front-end Performance in the Age of HTTP/2

There you are, minding your business, aggregating your CSS and JS while waiting for your morning toast. Then the Vogons arrive, and they’re wiping out your front-end performance best practices to put in a new intergalactic superhighway, http/2. What’s a front-end developer to do when everything starts spinning, and we still need to stay on top of life, the universe and everything? The answer is more complicated than “limit yourself to 42 requests.” Should we still concatenate our front-end assets into great big lumps on all our pages? Or are we now free to scatter small modular files willy nilly? Don’t panic! New front-end performance techniques need not be entirely unlike what we’ve learned so far about optimizing our source order, CSS, JS, fonts and images to leap across the galaxy as quick as can be. We’ll look at what the advent of http/2 means for us, when to begin changing our strategies for speed, and how to stay calm despite the whirling vortices surrounding us all.

In this talk, we’ll look at how http/2 affects front-end performance. To do that, we’ll recap some basics of how browsers process web requests, and how that’s changing in http/2. We’ll look at where the web is in terms of adoption of http/2, and when the right time is for us to tweak our optimization strategies. Best practices and real-world results take time to develop when a sea change like this happens. So it can be challenging to know how to adapt when there are no definitive answers. We’ll work through some of the options for aggregation strategies, font loading and image optimization that are available with emerging changes. The goal is not to definitively say “Here’s the new way to do things,” but to evaluate various tactics, and encourage attendees to further ponder and investigate and share what they learn as they experiment with new front-end performance optimizations. 


  • Reconsider aggregation strategies for CSS and JS
  • Look at other performance strategies like font loading and responsive images
  • Look at various stats and studies on http/2, and what that might mean for your site

Attendee skill level: Intermediate to advanced. Some familiarity with front-end development performance optimization may be helpful, but we will cover the basics of what you need to know.

Project Triage: What To Do When It All Hits The Fan

“Hope for the best and plan for the worst.” We spend a lot of time talking about best practices: the ways we should run our projects and write our software so that everything turns out as well as possible. But when you add human beings to the mix—whether they’re coworkers, clients, or, well, you and I—something will eventually go wrong.

Using case studies from the interactive agency world (where no two clients are ever the same), we’ll talk about methods for triage, what to do when you sense a project is on shaky ground, and ways to ensure everyone gets to the other side in one piece.


After this talk, attendees should:

  • Know when and how to use The Five Whys to find an issue’s root cause
  • Understand the value of empathy, communication, and flexibility when dealing with client issues
  • Have tools to deal with emergency situations: 1) Step back, 2) Make a plan — And understand the ideal for a *good* plan (What you’re going to do + How you’re going to do it, with flexibility and trust built in)
  • Have tools to clean up after emergency situations: 1) Cultivate a blame-free culture, 2) Circle back and prevent the issue from happening again
  • Believe in the awesome power of the checklist at *least* one third as much as I do
  • Know what an incident response plan is, know when to use one, and have a framework for creating their own

 Attendee skill level: This talk is accessible to anyone with even a small amount of professional software experience (role not important, but parts are geared towards developers and people like PMs and team leads who work with them). However, it contains content that may be useful even to people who have been doing this for a while.

Salary Negotiation for Women in Tech

I am excited to share the ins and outs of negotiating salary from the first job offer, to one you’ve had for some time, and will cover both consulting gigs and full time employment. This is a subject that I, and other women in tech, feel very passionately about. We may be savvy developers, but we don’t always know how to approach a negotiating table. We aren’t sure what we should ask for or how we should ask for it- and overwhelmingly, we just don’t ask for more than we’re offered. We see the effect this has on women from their first job- if women don’t negotiate the first job offer, we make less on subsequent raises, and then our next employer bases the next offer on our salary history, and we’re beat.

I want all of my session attendees to walk away with tools to understand their value in the marketplace, have some techniques to get what they deserve, and the guts to go do it!

Attendee skill level: Ideally, this talk is for people at the beginning or middle of their careers.

Web Components: The Future of Web Development is Here

If you haven’t explored Web Components yet, you’re missing out on a powerful tool that can greatly enhance reusability of common web elements throughout your websites and web applications. As Comcast has been updating our web properties to unify under a single UX, using Web Components with Polymer has helped make that process much more efficient.

This session will introduce you to what exactly Web Components are and how to use them. We’ll also cover building Web Components with Polymer, the most popular Web Component library. You’ll get to hear how Comcast is using the web platform to build its next generation single page apps & websites using the latest browser APIs.

You’ll also learn about how easy it is to onboard a team to using Polymer, tips for sharing components with other websites & across teams, and best practices Comcast has established for efficient development & deployment of Web Components.


Attendee skill level: This talk assumes an understanding of HTML, CSS & JavaScript. No prior experience with Web Components, Polymer, or any library or framework (Web Components or otherwise) is required.

Selfish Accessibility

We can all pretend that we’re helping others by making web sites and software accessible, but we are really making them better for our future selves. Learn some fundamentals of accessibility and how it can benefit you (whether future you from aging or you after something else limits your abilities). We’ll review simple testing techniques, basic features and enhancements, coming trends, and where to get help. This isn’t intended to be a deep dive, but more of an overall primer for those who aren’t sure where to start nor how it helps them.


  • Broader context for how all users are or will be disabled, whether temporarily or permanently.
  • Basic tests and best practices that can be integrated into development team workflows to make interfaces accessible.
  • Introduction to standards and tools already available.

Attendee skill level: Minimal and some skill level in accessibility

More Than Words: The Power of Type

Before the mind reads your message, it has already gathered information based on the visual clues from your type alone. Type is an extremely powerful design element that can literally transform the way people perceive your content. Type influences perceptions, emotions, and feelings of trust in the messages you are sending.

Harnessing this power goes beyond simply selecting a typeface. It requires an understanding of typographic elements, theory, history, pairing, and application. Websites are just a jumping off point for applying these lessons. By the end of this session, you will be able to use type thoughtfully to communicate more clearly, visually differentiate yourself, and even control the way your message is received.

By the end of this session, attendees will be able to use type thoughtfully to communicate more clearly, visually differentiate themselves, and even control the way their message is received regardless of medium.

Attendee skill level: Beginner to Intermediate

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