Upcoming Events

Conferences for Thinkers, Explorers, and Pioneers of the Web



The Culture War Myth: Start-ups in the Enterprise

It's free video, flashback Friday here at Future Insights! That's right, we're going back to 2013 and Future Insights Live, Vegas, with a session from Jeffrey Burlin.

Jeffrey is part of the core team at PwC's Emerging Technology Lab, where he focuses his time on exploring new web technologies and understanding how they can be applied to solve enterprise-level business problems. He is also a strong advocate of agile and lean-startup principles, and believes they can be just as valuable to large companies as they are to start-ups and entrepreneurs.

In his session The Culture War Myth: Start-ups in the Enterprise, Jeffrey explained:

"The typical Enterprise business is traditional, slow to change, process-centric, and full of bureaucracy, but many companies today are taking lessons from the startup world and applying it to form more agile, innovation focused internal organizations that are attempting to change the way they do business. As a result, the culture gap between the two business models is beginning to narrow and in fact the two cultures can be complementary and greatly enhance the quality and quantity of the output/products of each. This talk will focus on exploring the reality of the perceived culture gap, the factors influencing corporate cultural changes, and discussing some real world examples of companies who are becoming more start-up like."


Jeffrey will be speaking on the Product & Strategy track at this years Future Insights Live (June 1-4) with his session Art of the Possible: How to Inspire Innovation and Make the Case for ChangeEarly Bird Tickets are ending TODAY, March 27, so make sure you book your ticket and join us! 

Follow @Future_Insights for regular updates and tweet us using #FILIVE


Is User Testing Just Design by Committee?

Editor's note: This blog is written by Chris Jones, UX Director at Blueleaf. Chris will be joined by Blueleaf’s Managing Director Rob Smith at Future of Web Design, London in April to run a full-day workshop on ‘Humanising the E-Commerce Experience’ and give the talk 'Is E-Commerce an Art or Science?'

If you ever find yourself frustrated by the feedback you get from a round of user testing, just think how far we've come in design from the days when the only feedback you got was from clients.

Design used to be easy back in the day before the web, right? When I studied at university and in the early days of my career, briefs would contain information about the target audience: gender, age, income, location, possibly likes and dislikes, or how they spend their free time.

These profiles might have come from market research, or more often, they were anecdotal. The brief represented who the client thought (or hoped) they were selling to. My job as a designer was to meet the client, get an understanding of the brief, and then create a solution that I believed would most effectively encourage our target audience to buy the product that we were selling. 

The operative word in that sentence was believed; very often we didn't know. We were designing for print or advertising, and finding out what effect your hard work was having was much harder than it is online. We could run a (notoriously unreliable) focus group to test different solutions, or attribute an increase in sales to a new ad campaign. This could take months and it was never completely clear cut how much of that increase was down to our work, or if it's because of an improved product, or discounted pricing, or higher media spend and so on.

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You Have No Idea How Big Mobile Will Be

Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Jonathan Stark, who will be launching Future Insights Live in Las Vegas as the opening keynote on June 2. 

Jonathan StarkIt's 2015. At this point it should be fairly obvious to everyone that mobile is big. Really big. But how big is big? Is mobile bigger than the industrial revolution? Undoubtedly. Is mobile bigger than the printing press? Absolutely. In fact, I think it's fair to say that mobile could be bigger than the alphabet.

Here's why:

The widespread adoption of the Greek alphabet is what enabled our transition from an oral culture to a literate culture. Before the alphabet, ideas were stored primarily in the human brain and transmitted by voice; after the alphabet, both the storage and transmission of ideas was primarily via the written word. When you get right down to it, the alphabet is basically a tool used to encode spoken words.

Mobile tech - specifically, the convergence of ubiquitous connectivity, cloud computing, and affordable smartphones - offers an alternative to text encoding. It makes it possible for anyone who can speak to record and share thoughts, ideas, stories, and so on. As smartphone ownership approaches 80% of the global adult population, it's possible to imagine world in which the written word no longer plays a central role. To my 46-year-old mind, this thought is almost too absurd to entertain.

But then again ...

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Designers and Devs! Learn About the Future of the Web... And Save $200!

Are you creative, clever, forward-thinking and interested in learning? 

If you answered yes to any of these, then you need to come to Future Insights Live, VegasTHE conference for web designers, developers and professionals. 

The 4th annual #FILIVE is fast approaching and you really don't want to miss out on the opportunity to see some of the best in the world of the web. So be sure to take advantage of the Early Bird tickets that provides you with great savings! The sale ends this Friday (March 27) so you'll have to be quick!

What's it about?

Future Insights Live covers the latest in future focused content from some of the best in the biz. From usability, JavaScript, Toolkits, APIs, responsive design to CSS technologies, product, strategy and how to build a great business, this is the most comprehensive event Future Insights produces. And even better - it's in Vegas!

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Aaron Draplin: Keep the Little Projects You Love in Your Design Portfolio 

Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co has had some big clients - Burton Snowboards, Patagonia, Target, Ford Motor Company, President Barack Obama - but he cherishes many of his smaller projects the most.

In designing for unsigned bands still out on the road, or talking to small groups in places like Ruston, Louisiana or Tulsa, Oklahoma, Aaron says he's able to have one-on-one human experiences that keep him excited to work every day.

Aaron is going to bring that excitement to the keynote stage at Future Insights Live in June, blending his small town roots with the bright lights of Las Vegas. 

It's almost 5,000 miles from Bath, UK to Portland, Oregon where Aaron lives and works, so we grabbed a coffee and hopped on Skype to learn a little more about the man behind the designs...

Sarah Robinson: Aaron you’re here! I’m sorry it’s so early for you! (4pm in Bath, UK is 9am in Portland, Oregon.) We wanted to have a chance to get to know you a little bit more and to get our audience even more excited about having you keynote for us at FI Live.

So you’ve just come back from Louisiana (Aaron spoke at AIGA Louisiana Tech Student Group, Ruston, Louisiana) how was that?

Aaron Draplin: It was incredible; my favourite speaking gigs to go do are the smaller ones. I’m from a small town and while its easy to go to the big art schools and the big cities and you know your going to get a lot of people, there’s something about getting people show up at these smaller gigs and they are hungry, because no one really comes to their town, and its on me to blow them away.  Funny part is; if I were to go do that in New York City and there’s 200 people, but they can be kind of uninterested. I mean maybe there’s some there that like what I do but it's more fun to do that in Louisiana. I’m going to Tulsa, Oklahoma next; it’s going to be great.

It’s kind of like, in western Louisiana it was just this tiny little town it was just cool. I’m from that, I’d rather go to that. There are some places I’m going to on this tour coming up… they are pretty out of the way! 

But then, to go to Vegas? I mean, It’s very fashionable to say Vegas is uncool or whatever, but I’ve always enjoyed going there – what I love about going to Vegas is that people can get off the plane there and any one can go, just the average American can save money and go.

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Flashback Friday - Varnish: Making Your Site Bullet Proof by Thijs Feryn

Its Friday! We're celebrating by taking a little Flashback to FI Live 2014 to enjoy a talk from the brilliant Thijs Feryn - Varnish: Making your Site Bullet Proof.

Having trouble scaling your website? Is that new marketing campaign killing your performance? Are you using a framework or a CMS that causes too much overhead? Give Varnish a try. Varnish is a reverse proxy that serves cached pages to your visitors instead of hitting the backend servers all the time. Cache is stored in RAM and there's a domain specific language that allows you to hook into your caching logic. If you respect the rules and use the tools, Varnish will make your site bullet proof!

There willl be more great sessions like this at Future Insights Live this year, which is hitting Vegas this June 1-4. Early Bird Tickets are now on sale but end March 27, so get booking and join us for a front row seat and learn about the future of the web! 

Check out the latest on our exciting speaker line-up on our Website and follow us on Twitter @Future_insights for updates. 


Dan Edwards joins the line up at Future of Web Design, London

Dan Edwards | @de

We are thrilled to announce that Dan Edwards will be joining us at Future of Web Design, London! Dan is a designer, surfer and occasional doodler, currently working as Creative Director at No Divide, an agency he co-founded in 2014. Dan is also winner of net magazine’s 2013 Young Designer of the Year and the co-creator of oozled.com

You can catch Dan on the Rising Star track at Future of Web Design, London on Wednesday April 29 where he will share his experiences of ‘Finding Your Mojo’!

VC: Why do you do what you do?

DE: Honestly? Because I’m not good enough to be a pro surfer. Haha! But seriously, I do what I do because I enjoy it and I’m good at it (apparently). I enjoy the creative process, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing an idea come to life through graphic design and the web. I love how connected we are to people and I enjoy the freedom of being my own boss.

VC: Tell us a bit about No Divide and how it came about?

DE: No Divide was formed after I had a pretty terrible 2014 as freelance designer, which I had been doing for 6+ years. I was in a bit of a creative rut and along with financial struggles I was also struggling with design in general. I’d fallen out of love with the thing I fell in love with. I was talking with my friend Ryan Taylor, who had very similar feelings and we made the decision to form a company together, to allow us to be stronger and help each other through the tough times. Things have been much more positive since and the talk I’m giving at FOWD is based on my experiences during that time and how I got my mojo back.

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Meet A FOWD Rising Star: Chris Clarke

Chris Clarke | @mr_mr 

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been chatting to our Rising Stars of Future of Web Design, London to give you a little sneak peek of who they are and what makes them tick.

This week we’ve been talking to Chris Clarke, a UX architect at the Guardian newspaper. Chris is currently involved in creating and launching the new responsive website. Previously he created digital products and services for Yahoo! Answers, the Huffington Post and Skype. With a long standing background in the web, as well as illustration and music, his focus is ultimately simple: Something that’s accessible for everyone.

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Meet A FOWD Rising Star: Lucy Blackwell

Lucy Blackwell | @lucyblackwell

We’ve been chatting to our Rising Stars of Future of Web Design, London to give you a little flavour of who they are. We are extremely thrilled to be introducing them to you so without further ado, please meet Lucy Blackwell.

Lucy is the Creative Director at FutureLearn, a social learning platform providing University courses online for free. She previously headed up design teams at the BBC and TES and spent eight years managing her own studio in New York for clients such as Smithsonian, PBS and Sesame Street.

VC: Why do you do what you do?

LB: Because I have to, I just can’t stop!  For me, making stuff, exploring new ideas and thinking about things from different perspectives is a bit of an obsession. I’m fascinated by people and things and how they all fit together, and I have a never-ending list of curiosities that I want to understand further.

Since a young age I’ve also felt a strong drive to use my creative energy for positive change in the world, which is a huge motivating force behind what I do.  If I manage to create something beautiful that people love to use and that enables them to gain a different perspective on their life, then all the creative strife one inevitably goes through in the process of making something good and simple is worth it!

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Jenn Lukas and Aaron Draplin Join FI Live to Talk Tech and Design 

We have two new Knockout Keynote speakers to announce for FI Live: Jenn Lukas of Ladies in Tech and Aaron Draplin of the Draplin Design Co. We're saving these great speakers for the last day of our amazing four-day conference, topping off our amazing speaker lineup.  

Jenn Lukas is a multi-talented front-end consultant and freelance developer in Philadelphia and is the founder of Ladies in Tech. She has spoken at a variety of conferences and writes for publications such as The Nerdary, .net magazine, 24 Ways, and The Pastry Box Project.

Jenn’s past experiences range from creating Navy training simulations to leading the front-end team at Happy Cog as Interactive Development Director. She was named one of Mashable’s 15 Developer/Hacker Women to Follow on Twitter, and you can find her on Twitter posting development and cat-related news.

When she’s not crafting sites with the finest of web standards, Jenn is the co-host of the Ladies in Tech Podcast and teaches HTML and CSS for GirlDevelopIt and Skillshare.


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