Sessions at University of Illinois Web Conference on Thursday 6th April

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  • An Intro to Google Protobufs for Web APIs

    by Jay Kreibich

    Protocol Buffers are a data encoding format made popular by Google for use in Web APIs. Google developed Protobufs as an alternative to JSON and XML-style data encoding. The Protobuf format can be encoded and decoded much faster using less memory than traditional text-based formats. The resulting encoding is also much more compact. Protobufs are designed to work hand-in-hand with JSON, allowing existing JSON-based APIs to be upgraded with relative ease. This session will provide an overview of how Protobufs work, the development process in using them, and some high level examples of how to develop APIs that utilize them.

    At 9:45am to 10:45am, Thursday 6th April

  • Better Teams, Better Products with Empathy

    by Lauren Johnson

    Having an idea and having a team is just the start of the process; this session will investigate the vital role that empathy plays in creating user-centered, engaging interfaces, products, and communities. We will explore a variety of exercises and activities targeted at understanding yourself, understanding your team, and gaining a real understanding of your audience and product. Stop making things, and start making useful, valuable solutions that people love. Help your team connect and collaborate beyond a superficial level, turning your process into an efficient, shipping pipeline.

    At 9:45am to 10:45am, Thursday 6th April

  • How to Grow Your Tribe by Integrating Email Marketing With Your Social Media Efforts

    by Anthony Antonicello

    Many businesses employ either email marketing, social media marketing, or a combination of both. However, many aren’t fully integrating the two together. By integrating your email and social strategies together, you can improve your brand’s reach while adding leads to your sales funnel and to your loyal tribe.

    So how do you get there?

    We're going to show you. We will discuss effective techniques, insights, and best practices into how to use the power of email marketing and social media to engage with customers and build your brand.

    In this session, you'll learn:

    • Why email marketing and social media marketing work better together
    • How to grow your email list through social media
    • How to grow your social media audience through email
    • How to retarget your audience
    • How to boost sales and customer relationships

    At 9:45am to 10:45am, Thursday 6th April

  • Refactor Like a Scientist

    by Fredrick Galoso

    Tests are a good baseline for defining the behavior of a program, but for complicated programs, are tests enough? Software is mission critical. It's increasingly the backbone of businesses and new applications like automated driving and connected devices increase the surface area of risk for changing software.

    Part experience report, refactoring discussion, and workshop, this talk will also explore safe refactoring techniques at companies like Trello and GitHub. It will also introduce Scientist, a Node.js library for creating and running experiments between old and new pieces of code. Scientist makes it easy to refactor critical code paths with confidence. It safely exposes refactorings to actual production interactions and measures potential mismatches.

    At 9:45am to 10:45am, Thursday 6th April

  • Responding to Responsive Web Design

    by Tyler Edwards

    In the past, web designers would begin a project by designing a series of pixel-perfect mockups for project leaders and stakeholders to approve before moving forward. Today, our need to create responsive websites has transformed the design process entirely. Web design is no longer static and singular but fluid and modular. Yet the expectations of many project leaders and stakeholders have remained the same. This session will help change the way you evaluate and approach web design projects in the responsive era. What does “good” responsive design look like, what does it require, and how can you engage in the process to achieve the best results?

    At 9:45am to 10:45am, Thursday 6th April

  • #askACES: A No-Budget Solution to Sharing Research on Social Media

    by Jennifer Shike and Stephanie Henry

    There's a lot of noise about the environment, food, families, agriculture, health, and finances on social media these days. In the College of ACES, we have the research to answer many of the questions posed on social media. But how could we get the facts out to the people and engage them in a true conversation rooted in science? Last fall, our dean charged us to find new ways to participate in conversations on social media about these big topics. But there was a catch: we had a $0 budget.

    Our solution: #askACES. #askACES is a program designed to educate the public about "hot topics" through regularly scheduled live Twitter chats with a College of ACES scientist. We have expanded this chat with a follow-up podcast with the featured scientist to break down the topic even more. The podcasts are distributed through Facebook and Twitter in addition to our website. Each of our chats follow a similar format and marketing plan to help us achieve a solid brand and to maintain consistency. Join us to learn more about this idea that has helped us increase engagement and awareness of ACES research on social media. We'll share the ups and downs we've discovered along the way, too!

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Thursday 6th April

  • 300k+ Lines of JavaScript: The Life of a Front-End Developer

    by Eric Barnard

    Ever wonder how large-ish teams manage significant front-end codebases? Trying to figure out what your next architectural step should be since your current plan is running out of rope? Join us as we dive into some of the tips and strategies that can be used to take your growing codebase to a new level. We'll look at real code and discuss some tried and tested, real-world approaches for managing the (vanilla) JavaScript, CSS, images, and HTML assets used in a large web application. As we share tips and failures, we'll include experiences related to testing, code performance, and deployment. All experience levels welcome!

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Bet on the Hare: Speeding Up Your Website

    by Bryan Jonker

    The prettiest website doesn't mean much if the users can't pull it up, or if they get bored and leave for another site. I'm going to talk about techniques in optimizing the speed of how pages load, including blocking JavaScript, script and style minification, caching, XML DOM changes, and Accelerated Mobile Pages (https://www.ampproject.org/). I'll also focus on how this connects to other website concerns, like accessibility, SEO, responsive design, and maintenance. I'll use our experience at the College of Education, working within a CMS where you don't necessarily have full control over the HTML.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Thursday 6th April

  • From Chaos to Control: The Delicate Art of Governing a Website

    by Toni Bird and Jenny Hutchinson

    Preventing your website from decaying or spiraling out of control is a full-time job. In this presentation, Digital Strategist Toni Bird and Web Manager Jenny Vance-Hutchinson will provide a full roadmap from setting yourself up for success with a smart content strategy and information architecture to building a comprehensive governance structure that ensures that your website thrives and continues to evolve.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Visual Literacy for the Web

    by Mark Lassoff

    It's a problem as old as the web.

    In a visual medium many sites, mobile apps and other digital presentations suffer from a giant case of ugly.

    Many of the original web "designers" were programmers who produced ugly content because they didn't understand the basic rules of visual design.

    You may not be a graphic designer, but, if you work in a visual space visual literacy is important. In about an hour, you'll learn a dozen tips, tricks and techniques that will improve your presentation layer 100%. From typography to layout, you'll be the developer who doesn't "make it ugly."

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Thursday 6th April

  • How to Create Engaging Videos for Social Without Losing Your Sanity

    by August Schiess, Eric Kurt and Meg Dickinson

    Everyone's talking about the importance of short, effective, and accessible video for social media, but who has the time, equipment, or expertise? You don't have to be a professional videographer (or buy a ton of expensive equipment) to showcase your best content via video. Our presentation will share best practices, planning strategies, and economic equipment purchases for videos on platforms like Facebook (and Facebook Live), Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope. We'll share ideas on how to elevate your production value just enough to make videos engaging and shareable, while fitting it within your time, budget, and sanity constraints.

    At 1:15pm to 2:15pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Content Flocking: Managing Migration

    by Ron Bronson

    Content is the most important and often, the last thing anybody focuses on during any website transition. In this talk, we'll explore frameworks for effectively managing the in-between parts of website redesigns by exploring successful models for planning and executing content migrations for new or existing digital properties.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Incorporating Lean UX Practices Into the Development Process

    by Rachel Krause

    A good app design is more than just modifying Bootstrap and clever usage of Font Awesome—it starts with a solid understanding of your users. This session will walk through lightweight and collaborative UX techniques that you can use in your development process to better understand your users and their workflows. You'll learn how user experience goes beyond UI design and discuss real world examples of how knowing your users can put your application ahead of the pack. You'll leave this session with techniques that you can apply to your current team without the need for complicated software or a complete shift in your corporate culture.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Live Coding: Building React Components Together

    by Sergio Cruz and Bruno Genaro

    We are going to build two interesting React Components together. The first one is a Tabs Component and the second is a Real Time Filter Component. The main idea of this live coding is to "think the React way."

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Use SVG to Bring the Web to Life

    by Quinton Jason

    SVG is more than just an image format. It's a solution that solves many problems with today's rapidly growing web, especially in responsive design. SVG also contains many features to enhance the user's experience: accessibility, resolution independence, and interactivity. We'll see why we should use SVG, how to style SVG using CSS, how to animate SVG to bring the web to life, and much more.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Designing for the Invisible: The Voice UX

    by Shyamala Prayaga

    With the growing technology for voice in smartphone with Siri, Ok Google, S Voice, and personal assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Ivee, voice is becoming a key experience for users to interact with any product. Despite the growing technology, users still struggle using voice on these devices due to multiple reasons, including being unsure what to say or how to say it.

    On a GUI, affordances are clear and users can relate to success, error, and processing everything, but voice is invisible. How can we communicate to users through voice? How can we extend help? How can voice UX become the next personal assistant? In my session, I will talk about how can we design for voice user experience, which solves for all the above problems. I will also present some best practices while we design for voice.

    At 2:45pm to 3:45pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Javascript Code Quality

    by Md Khan

    You were excited to build everything in JavaScript. You followed tutorials and installed some fancy build tools. And became a superhero. But that glory didn't last after the production deployment. App became slower, all sorts of crazy bugs, memory leaks, broken functionality, and so on. And superhero is dumped as a big zero with free yelling from your manager: "Your code sucks!" What to do now? Update LinkedIn profile and check recruiters' emails in the spam folder?

    In this session, we will talk about how to ensure code quality and maintain standard to reduce bugs before shipping code. Best practices that matters other than following some linting tools blindly. We will discuss about increasing effectiveness of unit tests instead of hanging a coverage percentage on the wall. We will cover code quality for some popular JavaScript framework, as well.

    At 2:45pm to 3:45pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Measuring the Unmeasurable: Strategic Analytics for Universities

    by Daniel O'Neil

    One of the greatest challenges universities face is determining how website behavior ultimately reflects the goals of the institution. Staff knows analytics can be powerful, but they struggle to determine the most important metrics for their department, especially with limited time and training. This case study shows how the core values of a university can be codified and turned into meaningful metrics, then used to create real online success metrics. This talk is especially valuable for: reframing the way to think about analytics organizationally; developing a language for metrics that is not chained to traditional marketing or sales metrics that typically are used when talking about analytics; and generating ideas for introducing web analytics into your organization.

    At 2:45pm to 3:45pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Project Management: The Musical!

    by Joe Allen-Black and Allison Manley

    Musicals tell stories of some sort of journey, typically a tale of overcoming some type of adversity, with plot twists, occasional heartbreak, and humor. And isn't that what a web project is?

    We'll give an overview with a soundtrack—a soundtrack of how to manage a website design and development project from contracting to post-launch. We'll share tools and spreadsheets, how to work with clients, and how project managers overcome the odds to navigate it all towards a fantastic product at the end. It's going to be informative, and at times, very musical.

    Topics covered:

    • How to get your project organized for success from the start
    • What analytics and KPIs to review
    • What to do when stakeholders disapprove
    • How to handle scope creep
    • How to survive a project with humor through use of the show tunes

    This session is not technical, and is for both beginning and advanced project managers alike. Knowledge of popular Broadway musicals is helpful, though not required.

    At 2:45pm to 3:45pm, Thursday 6th April

  • Yes, Designer, You CAN Be a Product Leader

    by Shay Howe

    There are many different ways to get into product leadership, and as a designer, you are better suited than most. You have a knack for details, problem solving, and organization. And those skills, believe it or not, make you better suited to get your start in product leadership than many other career paths.

    Over the course of his career, Shay has been a designer, front-end engineer, and now, most recently, a product leader. He's ready to demystify what it takes to become a product leader, share the steps he took, and provide advice so that you too may jump into product.

    It's not a journey without it's struggles, but it's ripe with opportunity and enjoyment!

    At 2:45pm to 3:45pm, Thursday 6th April