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The quality of a conference is largely defined by the quality of the presenters. The Front-End Design Conference has always worked hard to find a truly engaging and thoughtful lineup and this year is no different.

Ethan Marcotte | Carl Smith | Kuan Luo | Jared Ponchot | Chris Coyier | Ramya Mahalingam | Bermon Painter | Mina Markham | Tera Simon | Tim Smith | Ron Edelen

  • Ethan Marcotte

    Ethan Marcotte

    Responsive Web Design

    Ethan Marcotte is an independent designer/developer who is passionate about beautiful design, elegant code, and the intersection of the two. Over the years his clientele has included New York Magazine, the Sundance Film Festival, the Boston Globe, and the W3C.

    Ethan coined the term “responsive web design” to describe a new way of designing for the ever-changing Web and, if given the chance, will natter on excitedly about it—he even went so far as to write a book on the topic. A popular and experienced speaker, he is also the coauthor of Jeffrey Zeldman’s Designing With Web Standards (3rd Edition), and a contributing writer to Dan Cederholm’s Handcrafted CSS.

    Ethan lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and would like to be an unstoppable robot ninja when he grows up. Beep.

    The Map and The Territory

    When we create for the web, we participate in a kind of public art. We code, we design, we build for an audience, making digital experiences that provide a service, that create joy, or that simply connect readers with words written half a world away. But in this session we’ll revisit what we’ve learned about responsive design, and ensure our content, not just our design, is readily accessible to them wherever they are. In doing so, we’ll look at some ways in which our audience reshapes the way we think about our medium, and see where they might be leading us—and the web—next.

  • Carl Smith

    Carl Smith

    Bureau of Digital

    A theater major who decided to act like he understood business, Carl spent 14 years in advertising before launching his digital agency, nGen Works, in 2003.

    nGen ran for 12 years, constantly experimenting with different models of management and team structure, including the Jellyfish Model which was flat before flat was cool.

    Towards the end of nGen’s run, Carl attended the very first Bureau event and fell madly in love with the concept of building community in the web industry. So much so that a few years later he closed nGen to take over the Bureau in 2016. Now Carl spends every day connecting digital professionals to give them the support they need.

  • Kuan Luo

    Kuan Luo

    Cockroach Labs

    Kuan is passionate about optimizing small design teams to ship ambitious products. She is currently the Director of Design at Cockroach Labs, maker of the next-generation SQL database CockroachDB. Trained as a journalist and graphic designer, Kuan sees design as an humanistic investigation to tell a meaningful story. Prior to joining the enterprise world, she dabbled in design agencies and ultimately found her home leading in-house design efforts at The Washington Post and Etsy, delivering tools for the best of journalism and e-commerce. Somewhere in between, her startup Grand St. was acquired (by Etsy).

    How to Kick Ass While Wearing Many Hats

    Being the only designer at a company is hard. You wear many hats: designer, product manager, editor, researcher, and occasionally office furniture coordinator. In this webinar, you will learn how to drive prioritization, get useful critique, and leverage your non-designer co-workers... you'll be a powerhouse design team of one in an environment where design is a foreign language.

  • Jared Ponchot

    Jared Ponchot


    Jared is the Creative Director at Lullabot where he helps lead a talented, fully distributed team of strategists, designers and developers. Over the years they've designed and built sites for well-known brands and institutions like NBC, This Old House, Syfy, Intel, Harvard, MIT and more. Lullabot’s focus on projects with large editorial teams managing complex content models has helped Jared and his team build unique expertise when it comes to creating design systems that work at scale. Jared loves helping organizations use design thinking to simplify complexity, find focus, build alignment and make great experiences for the audiences they serve.

  • Chris Coyier

    Chris Coyier

    Codepen & CSS Tricks

    Howdy! I'm a web designer and developer. I built CSS-Tricks, a website all about building websites, going strong for 10 years.

    I'm the co-founder of CodePen, a playground for front-end web development. It’s a social development environment for front end designers and developers.

    Along with Dave Rupert, I'm the co-host of a podcast called ShopTalk, a show about (you guessed it), building websites.

    I've spoken at events and given workshops all over the world. I've also written two books: Practical SVG and Digging Into WordPress.

    The All-Powerful Front-End Developer

    Without servers, we'd have no way to share our creations with the world. The internet is, without metaphor, just a bunch of servers tied together with wires. In a bit of a paradox, servers are _less_ essential to our work than they've ever been. We can now do things on the front end that used to require a back end. When we do need a back end, our front end skills can be put to work, giving us some surprisingly powerful new abilities. Join Chris on a whirlwind tour of the tools, tech, and code that puts more power than ever into our front-end hands.

  • Ramya Mahalingam

    Ramya Mahalingam


    Ramya is a UX Architect at Cardinal Solutions with a background in physical product design. She is also the Co-founder and Creative Director of Charlotte Storytellers. She likes designing for the human experience because it’s chaotic, messy, and weird. She also believes that puns are basically the best thing ever.

    The Power of Personas

    Personas are used across a wide variety of design specialties, from UX to Information Design to Industrial Design. They’re often a key deliverable of the discovery phase of most projects, and are used to inspire empathy in the minds of the people who will be designing for them.

    But after the discovery phase, the personas often die. And they die without ceremony. No tears are shed, there’s no funeral; it’s rare that there's even an acknowledgement of their passing.

    For a tool that’s meant to create empathy, does this seem particularly non-empathic?

    This talk will explore the shortcomings of personas as they are currently used and leave you with a framework to rebuild your personas to better serve their purpose. Ramya promises that this description is as morbid as it will get.

  • Bermon Painter

    Bermon Painter


    A rootbeer drinking, cupcake eating, Spanish speaking, piano playing, handlebar mustache wearing designer/developer hybrid living in the glorious city of Charlotte, NC.

    Bermon is the organizer of various community groups for user experience designers and front-end developers, and the organizer of Blend Conference, a 3-day multi-track event for user experience strategists, designers and developers. He also leads the user experience team for Cardinal Solutions’ Charlotte office where he consults with large enterprise clients on interesting problems across user experience, design and front-end development.

    In his free time he contributes to and is the father of the Sass logo

    Rapid Prototyping with Vue.js

  • Mina Markham

    Mina Markham


    Mina Markham is a front-end architect, CSS junkie and design system enthusiast. She writes code for a living, currently as a Senior Engineer at Slack.

    Previously at Hillary for America, her work on the Pantsuit pattern library has been spotlighted in WIRED, Fast Company, and Communication Arts.

    A prolific public speaker, Mina has appeared at events worldwide, including CSS Dev Conf, Fluent, and Future of Web Design. In addition, she’s the co-organizer of Front Porch, a front-end conference which prides itself on showcasing and fostering new speakers.

    Styling Hillary – A Design System for all Americans

    A comprehensive design system is a critical tool for maintaining a consistent UI during rapid development that spans multiple codebases.

    During the 2016 US presidential campaign, Mina spent most of her time building and refining Pantsuit, the design system that powered many of the applications hosted on

    In this talk, Mina will share successes and failures from nearly two years at Hillary for America, including creating CSS architecture and implementing a redesign of the main website.

  • Tera Simon

    Tera Simon


    Fondly known as a Southern Belle with Yankee flair, Tera Simon works with PointSource, a Globant Company as their Delivery Director. She has over a decade of Project Management experience. Her attention to detail and grasp of usability empower her to see projects evolve on schedule and within scope, while achieving the high level of quality that she is recognized for delivering. Tera has the ability to combine traditional graphic design awareness and new media technologies with classic sensibilities, and apply this not just to her clients' projects, but also to her team.

    When she’s not sprinting from meeting to meeting, you can find her supporting local breweries, travelling, and educating anyone that will listen on why football is the greatest sport around.

    Generational Misfits - Designing for the next Generation.

    Objective: Move over Xennials and Millennials, the Plurals are here. Gen Z, the post-millennials, and they are the largest and most diverse cohort in U.S. History. Their normal is the old unconventional and we have to adapt how we design to truly engage this tech-savvy bunch.

    I remember the first time an AOL CD-ROM appeared in my parent’s mailbox. It promised me thousands of minutes to connect with others through our computer. A computer, that up until that moment, had been used primarily for solitaire.

    I patiently waited for the program to load. Nothing happened. Where was my Internet? I didn’t realize I needed a phone line to connect. I “borrowed” a phone cord from my parents room and figured out how to connect the computer’s modem to the phone jack. For the first time, I heard the strange sound of dial up, and the word “Connected!” appeared. I was online.

    Learning to use the web has changed slightly since then. While everything in the past had to be self-taught, we can now get degrees or go to bootcamps to learn all kinds of Internet technology. Indeed, staying abreast of the latest techniques is a must for designers and developers to do their jobs. As part of that education, we need to stay focused on trends within new Generations. GenZ is the first generation who are truly digital natives. They make up 25% of the population, representing how future technology users will navigate the web and expect applications and interfaces to work. By paying attention to how GenZ uses technology, we can both improve the quality of our own work and make future technology more accessible and useful going forward.

    What you'll learn:
    Understanding what's a Generational Misfit
    Who is Gen Z
    How does Gen Z use technology
    How to design for Gen Z
    What to market to Gen Z
    What does the future have in store

  • Tim Smith

    Tim Smith


    Tim Smith is a designer and frontend developer from Saint Paul, MN. He’s worked on the web for a decade, working with different companies and clients. Tim writes The Bold Report, a blog about design, development, technology, and most importantly, Star Wars. When away from his desk, he spends time with his amazing wife Kelly, eating brunch, watching movies, walking the mall, and other sappy-sounding couple stuff.

    Let’s Learn CSS Grid

    CSS Grid Layout is gaining more browser support everyday! But what is it? How does it work? Why should you use it? And what are some practical ways you can incorporate it into your project? I’ll show you how CSS Grid solves layout problems we’ve had for years, and how it’s a great compliment to the other layout tools we have.

  • Ron Edelen

    Ron Edelen


    Ron is a cofounder of Myjive, a digital agency based out of Charlotte, N.C. He started his career working for motion design studios in Los Angeles, Calif., where he began blending his passion for film, pop culture, fine arts and emerging technology.

    The UX of Interactive Virtual & Augmented Reality - Category: UX&Design

    - A "start small" and "rapid prototyping" approach to VR and AR
    - 5 best-practices for designing interactivity within an infinite canvas
    - We'll show 2 epic failures... so you can walk a different path
    - Attendees will get hands-on Oculas Rift demos; trigger open discussion - Are you ready, player one?

  • Eric Portis

    Eric Portis


    Eric is a Developer Advocate at Cloudinary where he works to build a better toolset for managing images on the web. He’s also a card-carrying and tee-shirt-wearing member of the Responsive Issues Community Group – a rag-tag band of everyday developers who worked with standards bodies and browser vendors to upgrade the element for the responsive web. He loves learning through teaching and building and lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

    The GIF is dead. Long live the Gif ^H^H^H Heif

    We all love and hate GIFs. They kill our batteries, but they are fun and engaging. This talk covers the importance of cinemagraphs and live photos, and how to overcome the many performance challenges of animated GIFs and inlined videos. We will cover new image formats and encoders (HEIF, HEVC, OV1), http content negotiation and new browser features. We will also explore some of the new emerging patterns such as responsive video.

    GIFs were not intended for animation, yet they have enabled cinemagraphs, memes and fantastic creative expression. Despite the battery draining and cellular consuming capabilities, animated GIFs have become ubiquitous because of the way they can engage users through auto play, muted and looped scenes.

    The old way to overcome these issues is to use mp4s and hosted video services. These unfortunately cause more performance challenges. Safari has led the way to introduce simpler ways of handling animated gifs by supporting inline video in img tags. This overcomes many of the additional challenges of the video and opens up new possibilities of responsive “video” and background “video”. Additionally new container formats like HEIF introduce new capabilities and uses for the web In this talk we will cover:

    - Differences and use cases for cinemagraphs, micro-form, short-form and long-form video
    - How GIF, APNG and animated WebP kill battery and increase cellular usage
    - Supporting img src=mp> and style=”background-image:src(mp4)”
    - Implications withnew formats and encoders: HEIF, HEVC, OV1
    - The browser legacy trap of content negotiation with RFC6381

Cloudinary BoldGrid bureau