We’ve been running SmashingConf since 2012, when we held our very first conference in Freiburg, Germany. Since then, we’ve continued to experiment and improve on our conference experience. Our aim is that you enjoy your time with us, but also return to work with new insights and knowledge. Each time we hope to leave you with practical takeaways that will help you in your own work and want to share with your team.
What is a SmashingConf like? It’s hard to explain until you have been there, however ,this video compilation from Toronto might just give you an idea!
Experimenting With Presentation Formats
Back in 2018, we began to experiment with the live-coding format. While not every presentation at SmashingConf was live-coded, many presenters brought a live element to their talk. Some speakers opted to present without slides completely, and these interactive sessions have been incredibly popular with audiences. Being able to watch an expert doing their work, seeing the tools they use and the choices they make in real time, brought many subjects to life.
“I love the fact that this talk format also kind of rid me of the expectation that it needed to be flawless.”
Many of our speakers enjoyed the chance to try something different on stage; some have gone so far as to decide to make live-coding part of how they present in the future.
“I didn’t expect this, but I’m now seriously considering this format as a way I do talks at other conferences.”
— Dan Mall
Not every talk fits a live-coding format, of course. Throughout 2019, we feel that we’ve found a great balance of practical live-coded (or live-designed) sessions, more traditional presentations with slides, and some which have mixed the two approaches. SmashingConf audiences are a mixture of designers and developers, of visual thinkers and those who learn best from seeing a lot of code.
As Dan Mall noted in his write-up of his live-coded talk:
“A few designers felt validated in their processes by seeing mine […]
“A few developers said design felt less intimidating now, both to understand as well as to try.”
In mixing up the formats as well as the subjects being discussed, we hope to bring parts of the industry to life — even for those who don’t normally work in that area.
In addition to playing with the format of presentations, we encourage audiences to engage with the speakers and each other. Talks are followed by an interview on stage — with the emcee posing questions asked by the audience. We publish a live Google Doc, so everyone can share their thoughts and ideas with the speakers as well as each other. Most of our speakers will attend the entire event, and enjoy the chance to chat with attendees. We believe everyone has useful knowledge to share — whether on stage or from the comfort of your seat!
Looking Forward To 2020
SmashingConf has always taken a holistic approach to the web. We believe that we all do better work when we work together and understand something of the roles of other team members. In 2020, we hope to build on the successes of 2019 by continuing to bring you some of the best live sessions — mixed with case studies, opportunities for networking, and surfacing some topics that are sometimes forgotten when focusing on design and development! We’ll cover topics such as HTML email, internationalization and localization, how to provide more accurate estimates, privacy, security, refactoring, debugging and the way designers and developers think as they work through their tasks and challenges.
We’re currently working hard on curating the line-up for all of the events next year. So, the big question is… where will you join us?
San Francisco, Freiburg, New York Or Austin!
The Smashing Cat will soon be on its way to Austin for the first time. We’re really excited about heading to Texas and about our events in cities we already know and love. Over the next few months, we’ll be announcing speakers and schedules for all of the events, but early-bird tickets are already available for San Francisco, Austin, and Freiburg 2020.
This year’s events have all been sold out well in advance of the conference dates, so mark the following dates in your calendars, have a chat with your boss, and work out where you will be heading to spend a fun and educational few days with the Smashing crew!
San Francisco, USA
SmashingConf SF will be taking place on April 21–22 where we’ll be bringing back two full days packed with front-end, UX and all that jazz! Live sessions on performance, accessibility, security, interface design, debugging and fancy CSS/JS techniques — and a few surprises along the way, of course! 🎸
SmashingConf Austin will be taking place in the wonderful ZACH Theatre on June 9–10, 2020. Tacos, cats, and a friendly community — see ya in Austin, I reckon? 🌮
We will be returning to our hometown for SmashingConf Freiburg on the 7-8 September 2020. We pour our hearts into creating friendly, inclusive events that are focused on real-world problems and solutions. Our focus is on front-end and UX, but we cover all things web — be it UI design or machine learning. The Freiburg edition is, of course, no exception!
New York, USA
Join us for SmashingConf NYC on the 20-21 October 2020. This event is always a popular one, so watch out for tickets going on sale very soon!