Home to America’s original makers, Philadelphia has tons of great people, meetups and groups, but Forge Conference is the flagship event for those making an impact in the digital space. The conference brings together extraordinary speakers and practitioners from around the country in user experience, design, development, and digital product management. There’s an intimacy to the event, and to the talks, which are focused on sharing stories and lessons learned from some of the most talented and passionate people in the industry.
Make sure to bring your curiosity, and your appetite for good food and a good time, because Forge ensures that the event is much more than just a conference.Buy Tickets
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About Cap Watkins
Cap Watkins is a product designer living in Brooklyn, NY. He’s the VP of Design at BuzzFeed, as well as a blogger, conference speaker, podcast guest and lover of startups and technology. Cap believes in thoughtful, holistic design solutions that get out of the way and empower people to accomplish more. His past work includes Etsy, Zoosk, Formspring and hush-hush stuff at Amazon.
We talk a lot about design-driven organizations and user-focused design practices. But how do you get your organization bought into that in the first place? How do you convince people that starting with design is the good and right thing to do? We’ll talk about strategies for winning hearts and minds, building trust and ultimately designing not just the product, but your entire organization.
About King Britt
King Britt’s curiosity has paved the way for the artist he is now. From creating house tunes for the legendary Strictly Rhythm, djing for Sector 6 comrades Digable Planets, starting Ovum Recordings with techno wunderkind, Josh Wink, being tapped to underscore Michael Mann’s Miami Vice and various commercials, to curating a full day at MoMA PS1 in New York, the list goes on and on. Presently, he is exploring many afro sonic possibilities with his Hyperdub released, Fhloston Paradigm project, The Phoenix, and his aural experiments with friends appear on his imprint, The Buddy System Project. King’s creativity is at a point where process meets end result. It’s the journey and not the destination. No limitations. Come join the ride.
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About Dan Tello
Dan is a Sriracha-powered ex-graphic designer turned front-end dev at Viget.com who believes that every successful day starts with a plate of bacon. When not sitting with bad posture at his desk typing code, he enjoys listening to vinyl, smoking pipe tobacco, reading C.S. Lewis, and being alive in Falls Church, VA with his wife, Bekah, and his dog Maeby.
Native or Not? The Untapped Power of Web Apps
There are countless articles touting the superiority of native apps over web. “60fps”, full access to hardware, “jank free”, and so on. While these points are certainly valid, I think the hype has skewed the public perception of the potential power of web-based apps. Sure, we can’t access everything from the browser, but we can access a whole lot. We can design for a touchscreen, a motion sensor, geolocation, audio, and general mobility-instantly accessible across platforms without needing to make room on your phone for yet another app. Through a behind the scenes look at the Jambells.com experiment and other examples, we’ll remind ourselves of what’s possible in a web app, and take critical look at the pros (and cons) of non-native development.
About Amritha Prasad
Amritha is currently a UX Designer at Uber and is extremely passionate about changing the way people perceive transportation and modern convenience. She’s worked on a wide variety of products at Uber over the past 2 years or so, including the Uber and Spotify integration. In her spare time she enjoys reading modern fiction over brunch, watching Bollywood films, and hanging out with the Uber design team.
Raising the Bar Through Collaborative Design Techniques
There was once a time when people were wow’d by the idea of simply being able to hail a driver by tapping a button on their phones. However, as Uber continues to grow and evolve, everything the team designs and builds quickly becomes the norm. Designers at Uber are continually challenged to “raise the bar” and elevate transportation in ways that people never thought was possible. As the design lead of the API & Partnerships team, Amritha Prasad sees it as her responsibility to bring the creative spark and take partner product integrations beyond the expected solution set. During her talk Amritha will talk through different collaborative sketching and brainstorming techniques she has applied on several projects at Uber.
About Michael Lebowitz
Michael is Founder and CEO of Big Spaceship, a globally-recognized digital creative agency. Since launching the agency in 2000, he has defined the strategy and vision for their growth and culture, and worked closely with their clients. Michael has led Big Spaceship to attain countless awards of high distinction and established himself as an industry thought leader. Speaking on creativity, innovation and the evolution of business, Michael leads seminars across the globe and has engaged audiences at AIGA, Cannes, SXSW and ad:tech, to name a few. Michael is a member of P&G’s Design Advisory Board, the Chairman of the IAB Agency Advisory Board and is one of the founders of SoDA.
The Age of How
Tech is accelerating us and our culture forward at an exponential pace, but many creative companies are still focusing on the same questions and solutions of decades past. In this session, you will hear Big Spaceship CEO Michael Lebowitz talk about an evolved approach to creativity centered on “how.” From the “Philosophical How” that will address how to exist in today’s culture created by tech. To the “Organizational How,” that will dive into organizational models and how to construct a framework that is built for now, sans creative silos. And lastly, the “Practical How,” which will cover how to move nimbly and learn as you go in an effort to identify and harness the right, creative inputs and outputs.
About Zander Brimijoin
Zander Brimijoin is Creative Director and Co Founder of Red Paper Heart, an interactive art studio in Brooklyn. After over 10 years as an Art Director, and an MFA to boot, Zander left his career to combine art, technology... and bears. The result was Red Paper Heart, a studio that has created large scale installations for likes of Sonos, Red Bull Studios, BMWi, MOMI, and Google. Zander makes people run, jump, and maybe even find unexpected joy in life.
The Art of Messing with People
Why can’t a sword be used to create an art piece? What if spirit animals followed you on a bike ride? Shouldn’t a pool should light up with animations when you jump in? In our studio, these are the odd questions we ask each other – and they are about playing with users expectations of physical objects. Enter the transformative world of interactive installations. Responsive technology can redefine the rules for even the simplest of objects by changing their function. Deftly alternating between gratifying and confounding deep-seated expectations can create surprising moments of delight. In this session, I will talk about swords, music boxes and how we created surprisingly immersive art installations with them. And why cats can’t hold swords.
About Nickey Skarstad
Nickey Skarstad is a Group Product Manager on Etsy's Shop Management team. She’s worked with Etsy sellers for over five years helping to build the tools that power their creative businesses. On the weekends, you can usually find her biking around Brooklyn or flying home to Minnesota to sharpen her waning midwestern accent.
Leveraging Community to Build Great Products
Etsy’s heart and soul is its community. It is the people who power the marketplace. So how do we make sure that when we build products for our customers, it’s to their advantage? As the Group Product Manager of Shop Management, Nickey Skarstad will share Etsy’s people-powered development process. She’ll talk about Etsy’s unique prototyping process, discuss the ways in which they collect and apply customer feedback, and share different strategies to help your users accept and even embrace change. In her talk, Nickey will back up her learnings with a range of real Etsy examples, share how they have leveraged community through the product development process, and send you packing feeling empowered to work with your own community to create a new product.
About Will Harding
Will Harding is currently a Senior Product Designer at NPR in Washington DC. Will is a proponent of a fast and iterative design process that relies on user research and analytics to judge the success of a hypothesis. When away from his computer he spends his time with his wife and two young sons.
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About Renda Morton
My name is Renda Morton and I write my bios in the first person. I’m a Product Design Director at the The New York Times, where I’ve been working on a redesign of NYTimes.com. Previously, I founded and ran a small, multi-disciplinary design studio called Rumors. Before moving to New York ten years ago, I worked on physical interactive media at a design studio called Lust in The Hauge, Netherlands. I have BFA in Interactive Media from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Please Check Back as This Story Develops
The digital design team at The New York Times is re-thinking what news is and how it works. In this talk, Renda will take you behind-the-scenes of the design and product development process behind The New York Times. She’ll also talk about what it means to find what’s new, important, or interesting to you, dear reader, and how that’s transforming a 164-year-old institution.
About Judd Antin
Judd Antin is a social psychologist and Head of Insights at Airbnb. Prior to joining Airbnb in May 2015, Judd was Research Manager at Facebook, where he led research teams working on products such as News Feed, Groups, Feed Ads, and Photos. Also the co-founder of a relatively short-lived crowdsourcing start-up and a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, Judd’s diverse experiences have helped him appreciate the value of multiple perspectives when building great products. Judd completed his Ph.D. in Information Management & Systems at the School of Information at UC Berkeley in 2010. In 2011 Judd was named one of MIT Technology Review’s top 35 innovators under 35 (TR35).
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About Natalie Be’er
Natalie Be’er is a Senior Interaction Designer at Huge, where she is responsible for producing work that is usable, intuitive, and intelligent. Her passion for cross-discipline collaborations has led her to focus on technology, interaction design, and user experience. Prior to Huge, Natalie was an Interaction Designer at Noise, translating business problems into best possible user experiences. Natalie received a BA in Sociology and Studio Art from the University of Mary Washington, and an MPS from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.
The Homepage is Dead: Designing for Content and Functionality
When browsing the web, users are directly linked to content through various channels, such as social media sites, search results, and email newsletters. With traffic driving straight to the content, website homepages are usually bypassed altogether. So why do designers still focus on the homepage experience first? In this presentation, Natalie Be’er, Senior Interaction Designer at Huge, will discuss the steps UX designers need to take to get to the post-homepage era design. Be’er will briefly examine the history of the homepage and illustrate how she works with clients to produce the best content experiences for users.
Situated on the vibrant UPenn campus, the Penn Museum is the largest university museum in the United States. With a mission to broaden the collective understanding of our human experience, the museum’s goal makes it a perfect fit for our UX conference. It’s brimming with creations from makers of yesteryear and serves not just as a venue, but another source of inspiration as we take a look at the future of the web.
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
This year we’re excited to share that we have partnered with Hotel Palomar in Rittenhouse to offer a special rate for Forge Conference attendees. The stylish hotel’s Art Deco theme paired with its excellent service will undoubtedly provide you with a unique and comfortable experience in Philadelphia from start to finish. If you’re still standing following the Forge Conference After Party, we highly recommend that you find out for yourself why Square 1682 was voted “#1 Hotel Bar” by the readers of USA Today.
A limited number of discounted rooms will be available through the end of August. Please mention “Forge Conference” if you’re booking over the phone.Book Hotel Room
117 South 17th Street at Sansom
Philadelphia, PA 19103
On September 26th, 2014 designers, developers, and product people from around the U.S. came together in Philadelphia, PA to learn the story behind some of the web’s most loved brands, products, and experiences. We listened to some of the industry’s brightest folks talk about the things they feel the most passionate about. We learned how to bring internal stakeholders together, how UX in gaming can provide new perspectives to traditional web processes, and how we as an industry are collectively experiencing first-hand, the digital revolution.Visit the 2014 Site