A conference about making great products with pixels. Two days in South Africa, twelve in-depth talks with authors, speakers, and experts.

Karen McGrane; Ethan Marcotte; Ruth Buchanan; Michelle Morrison; Kwame Nyanning; Cennydd Bowle


  1. Karen McGrane — Adaptive content, context, and controversy
  2. Ethan Marcotte — Responsive design: Beyond our devices
  3. Jennifer Brook & Ruth Buchanan — Designing co-creative research
  4. Michelle Morrison — Cultivating communities
  5. Kwame Nyanning — Designing business
  6. Cennydd Bowles — Future ethics

1. Adaptive content, context, and controversy

Karen McGrane — Managing partner, Bond Art + Science, USA

Talk summary posted on PixelUp:

In 2016, “adaptive content” became a buzzword. To some, it’s a complex, long-term initiative to structure content for flexible reuse and dynamic targeting. To others, it’s a way to ensure that everyone, everywhere, sees exactly what they want — like magic!

In this talk, Karen shares her perspective (and reservations) on how adaptive content is being used today.

She’ll discuss how adaptive content supports targeting content to device type — and why that’s rarely necessary.

She’ll also describe ways that adaptive content can support tailoring content according to context — and ways that can go wrong.

You’ll walk away with a better understanding of when adaptive content is necessary and how to get the most value from it.


  1. Responsive — fluid grids, media queries, things happen on the client side

There is no reliable way to detect a device.

2. Adaptive happens server side

Adaptive is serving something different. A series of fixed width designs does not work with the large array of screen sizes. Adaptive is to rather serve something specific, tailored designs to a user or serve a specific feature or component.

3. Mobile or m. website — a mobile specific website

Solve layout on the client side (responsive)
Solve content server side (adaptive)

We can tailer to

  1. Device — os, desktop, mobile
  2. Context — time, location, temperature
  3. Person — age gender, language

Users hate it when you guess what they want.

  1. Don’t use a device as a proxy for content.
  2. Most of the time you are better off serving the same information to all.
  3. Adaptive is expensive, use responsive on the client side if you can.
  4. Adaptive and responsive work together, they are not competitors.
Similar talk given at eZ Content Technology Conference

2. Responsive design: Beyond our devices

Ethan Marcotte– Designer & author, RWD, USA

Talk summary posted on PixelUp:

Responsive designers now focus on patterns: reusable design modules we stitch together into larger layouts. But how should those patterns adapt, and when? And how do we design with them? We’ll look at answers to those questions, and start moving our design practices beyond the screens in front of us.

The talk covers the industry shift from “pages” to “patterns” — designing small, reusable little interface components — and how digital practices can adapt to that change by integrating pattern libraries into their company culture.


Where are we going in a mobile, tablet, post desktop world? We are moving from pages into patterns, where design needs to start at a level below the page.

The order of content on a page should not match the order in the code in terms of priority. Design with the priority in terms of visual layout, but rather code in the priority of context — conditionally then enhance the layout.

Supporting a browser does not mean supporting the exact same layout. Well crafted resonsive design should be device agnostic. Design for the non-ideal.

Pattern libraries and style guides

Document the responsive design and list when and how it use it. This is the defacto way to do responsive design.

How to:

1. Visual inventory

2. Name and organise — this creates a shared understanding and language

3. Translate into HTML and CSS

Try to the creation of style guides

From patterns to principles — patterns are bolted onto design principles.

Progress, not perfection

Similar talk given at Boston CSS

3. Designing co-creative research

Jennifer Brook & Ruth Buchanan — Design Researchers, Dropbox, USA

Talk summary posted on PixelUp:

When so many of the products and services launching around us seem to lack a fundamental understanding of people (or worse, act in ways that harm or undermine our goals) — how might we as designers commit to making things that are useful and meaningful for the people using them?

In this talk, we’ll share with you how we’ve been exploring co-creative research and participatory design as a means to have a different kind of conversation and relationship with our customers. And to make a different kind of product.

Co-creative research invites the people we’re typically designing for into the process with us — where together we discover problem spaces, envision possible solutions, and develop a deeper sense of what matters, what will make a difference, and why.

Co-creation is a fundamentally different way to approach design — it’s not only a way to generate new ideas, spark curiosity and creativity, and develop new products — but a process for placing mutual benefit and care for others, as well as deep consideration for their context, at the center of our practice. It’s a way of working that moves us toward developing truly human-centered products.


The problem — the status quo

Most products are crap. It’s really hard to innovate, it’s hard to get to people’s needs. Sometimes it feels like we are all alone. Working is hard or feels impossible. What can we do about it?

Design with people, not for people.
What do people need?
What should we make?
How do we inspire action?

What people do is not nessisarily what they say they are doing.

Use metaphors to facilitate conversation. They create a shared language and facilitate a shared learning.

How to bridge the gap between need and design

Give people choices to assemble something new, don’t ask them to come up with new ideas. Mix probable and impossible things so we can understand the underlying goals.

Knowing peoples goals

Knowledge is more durable than reactions to a particular design.

Inspiring action

Shift perspective, study extremes and explore possibilities. 
To inspire others, you need to be inspired. 
Expressing our creativity is an act.
A co-creative mindset.

4. Cultivating communities

Michelle Morrison — Senior design producer, Intercom, USA

Talk summary posted on PixelUp:

No matter our differences, one thing we share as humans is that we all seek to belong. In this talk we’ll explore how communities are built, why we value them, and how to create safe spaces for creativity in the design world.

Michelle will also share her thinking on how labels and identities play a role in our work and ultimately how they interact with our sense of belonging.


Design is inherently social. We design things to do thing s better, smater and faster. We need to get the perspective right, we need a safe space.

  1. Let it be relevant
  2. Let it be personal
  3. Let it be open

Why do we need communities? — Build your community

  1. To share work
  2. To share ideas
  3. To share process
  4. To share ourselves

Source link https://blog..io/what-i--at-the--day-2-54f75b966d44?source=rss—-eb297ea1161a—4


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