Haig Armen is a designer and artist living in Vancouver, Canada. For a number of years Haig has been exploring the intersection of art and programming, focusing on the areas of data visualization, gestural interfaces and wearable technology. His most recent area of research is within the physical manifestations of data and computation. Haig has had the honour of winning a variety of awards throughout his design career, including three Webby Awards, two Prix Italia for Web Arts and Drama and a Gold Medal from the Art Director’s Club of New York to name only a few. As a producer of CBC Radio 3′s groundbreaking online magazine during 2001-2005, Haig created editorial and design strategies that have earned international accolades. Haig currently holds a position as an Assistant Professor of Design and Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. When not teaching or designing he might be found playing jazz guitar or messing with electronics. Christopher Butler is the COO of Newfangled, where he directs strategy, design and personnel, as well as consults on a wide variety of topics surrounding design and technology. Christopher is a prolific writer and speaker. His articles have been published in PRINT, HOW, Smashing Magazine, Salon, and elsewhere, and he is the author of The Strategic Web Designer. He has spoken at events for HOW, the UCDA, AIGA, and the American Marketing Association. Catherine Farman is a Developer at Happy Cog, where she builds standards-based websites using HTML, CSS and Javascript. Catherine has taught responsive web design, Javascript, and Sass courses for Girl Develop It. She lives in Philadelphia and when she's not at a computer enjoys sewing, soccer, food, bikes and books. Andy Fitzgerald is an interaction designer at frog design in Seattle. Andy has spent the better part of a decade massaging truculent bits of information into difficult digital spaces. His recent work focuses on designing for effective experiences across diverse digital touchpoints and on creating flexible structures for understanding in the connected environment. Andy has given talks and workshops at the Information Architecture Summit, Google Dev Fest, and AIGA Into the Woods. He is also a frequent contributor to UX magazines and blogs including UX Booth and O’Reilly Radar. @andybywire Kevin M. Hoffman is an information architect and design strategist that has been building web stuff since 1995. He founded the distributed design network Seven Heads Design, a network of highly experienced digital design thinkers who operate independently, but love working together. Formerly he served as Experience Director for the award-winning web design agency Happy Cog. Dan Hon is a former creative director from the independent advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, based in Portland, Oregon. He's worked as an interactive creative director on Nike, Kraft, Sony and Coca-Cola and most recently as a creative director on Facebook, bringing to life their first brand campaign. A recovered lawyer, he helped Mind Candy build their first product, Perplex City, and co-founded Six to Start, an award-winning entertainment production company in 2007. He has been blogging for a very long time and now writes a popular email newsletter. He doesn’t play World of Warcraft anymore. Cassie is lead designer with the Mozilla Webmaker project, helping to spread web literacy across the globe. She founded the interview series Women&&Tech and her design publications include A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, Distance and Offscreen Magazine, among others. Her ultimate aim is to inspire people to use their talents for good, to work open and to be kind. She’s based in Toronto. Check out more work at www.cassiemcdaniel.com and feel free to say hello to @cassiemc on Twitter. Cameron Moll is the founder of Authentic Jobs, a targeted destination for web professionals and the companies seeking to hire them. He’s also the artist behind a unique series of letterpress type posters that re-imagine buildings as if constructed entirely of type. Cameron is a sucker for anything that involves his four sons and sports equipment. He lives in the coastal town of Sarasota, Florida with his lovely wife Suzanne. Matthew Muñoz is chief design officer and partner at New Kind. Leveraging his background as a communication designer, Muñoz provides design leadership on New Kind’s projects, which help organizations align perspectives, visualize ideas, and ultimately, form their future with intent. Matthew is a nationally award-winning designer, and in 2013 was honored as a Triangle Business Journal "40 Under 40 Leadership Award" winner. His work has been recognized by AIGA chapters, The Webby Awards, NYC Type Directors Club, Ad Club, HOW Magazine, and Communication Arts. For more than 15 years, Gregory Ng has developed effective, integrated, results-driven marketing programs for Fortune 500. An award-winning creative director, designer and optimization strategist, Gregory has combined the art of marketing with the science of testing, something he learned through work with clients like Dell, Bank of America, American Express, Comcast, Adobe, Brooks Brothers and AOL. As CMO for Brooks Bell, he leads all business development and marketing initiatives including content marketing, lead nurturing, value assessments, and new client onboarding. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Gregory now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife and children. Clarissa Peterson is a UX designer and developer, and co-founder of Peterson/Kandy, a digital consultancy specializing in building responsive websites and training organizations in responsive design workflow. Clarissa frequently speaks on responsive design and mobile content strategy. She is also the author of Learning Responsive Web Design, coming soon from O’Reilly Media. Cap Watkins is an interface designer living & working in Brooklyn, NY. He's a Senior Design Manager at Etsy, conference speaker, blogger 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 Zoosk, Formspring and hush-hush stuff at Amazon.
HOW Interactive Design Conference, how design conference, how conference, web development conferences 2014, web design 2014,UX design, cross-platform design, design tools, workflow, design empathy, ux, responsive design, marketing, front-end, agile process, research, content strategy, mobile design, design processes, agile development

Design for the Web. Better.

Meet the interactive designers, developers and programmers behind blockbuster web design projects for Nike, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Mozilla, Dell, Etsy and more. They’ll demystify complex concepts, share design processes you can apply to your own work, and clue you in to the web design trends and tools you need to know about. All with the trademark friendly content, networking and inspiration you expect from the team that created HOW Design Live.


Sunday, October 19

12:00 pm

Registration Opens

1:00 pm

Designing User Experiences that Narrow the Empathy Gap / Dan Hon - less

Find out why empathy is a core business value—and why, far from being a “mushy” emotion, it’s the key to designing user interactions that result in increased sales and satisfied customers.

There’s a shift happening in the world. If you pay attention, you can see it in the way that Silicon Valley is building the new products that will change our lives, in the way that established businesses are operating and in the way governments are deciding to interact with us.

Some of these organizations are learning the hard way, whereas others are making decisive moves. But all of this points to an inescapable fact: there’s a gap in empathy between these organizations and us, as audiences, citizens, consumers and individuals.

What’s the empathy gap?

It’s the gap in understanding between an organization and its audience. A recent example of the empathy gap might be Google’s introduction of new consumer technology like Google Glass, an augmented reality piece of headgear that provides a constant (and arguably useful) connection to the internet in the corner of your vision. But Google’s Glass also comes with a camera that can take stills and video, and the product ignited controversy when people felt the device violated social norms by appearing to encourage users to record others in their vicinity.

In the case of Google Glass, it’s easy to mount a defense: there was nothing different, its proponents say, between a person using Google Glass to take a photo and using a mobile phone to take a photo. But there’s undeniably something visceral and physical in the reaction that certain audiences had to a head-mounted camera, able to surreptitiously record. The science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, in his book Snow Crash, called such wired, always-recording individuals Gargoyles—hardly a warm and inviting description.

The empathy gap doesn’t just apply to Silicon Valley and stereotypical (and untrue) accusations of autism spectrum disorder engineers releasing new technology into the world. It turns out that, rightly or wrongly, this gap is experienced everywhere from the world of travel, where an airline’s customer service can frequently feel indifferent to the needs of those on a long journey; in government, when theoretical legislative policy reaches implementation; and in finance, where the entire world is struggling with income equality.

The situation we find ourselves in is not that the empathy gap is a given and that it must exist. It’s that the existence of a gap is indicative of a choice.

It exists when parties’ interests aren’t identified and are misaligned. It exists when one party doesn’t understand (or willfully ignores) the other’s needs and emotional state.

What’s worse is that it doesn’t look like the empathy gap is narrowing. Like financial inequality, the gap is instead widening: despite more tools and technology that allow us to connect, the businesses, organizations and government bodies that we interact with every day are feeling more and more distant.

This session is the story of how a more connected world made it easier for some organizations to widen the gap of understanding between themselves and their audience, and what other organizations are doing to combat it.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. See the consequences of an empathy gap.
  2. Find out how organizations are using our ever more connected world to narrow the empathy gap
  3. Learn how you, as an individual, can narrow the empathy gap through design.
2:00 pm

Responsive Web Design / Clarissa Peterson- less

Responsive web design allows you to create websites that provide an optimal user experience across devices. In this session, you’ll learn why the process for designing a (good) responsive website can be very different than the traditional web design process—and how to change your workflow to create a great responsive site. Discover why responsive sites need to start with a content strategy, and why performance needs to be part of your site's design. Learn why a mobile-first approach is the most effective way to make sure your site works well across different devices and device types. Find out how your team can successfully work together to create websites that will look good and work well on any device.

3:00 pm

Iterative Process: Product Design Principles at Etsy / Cap Watkins- less

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Etsy balances a culture of continuous deployment with a quality-obsessed design team in this talk with Cap Watkins.

Etsy is a company obsessed with moving fast and breaking things. Cap’s talk will encompass Etsy’s product design principles, illustrated with a variety of stories from inside the company. Peer into teeny-tiny feature design, successful (and unsuccessful) launches and how Etsy tackles design problems every day.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Find out how to scale a design team.
  2. Learn how the iterative process works at Etsy—and how you can adapt the process for your own team.
  3. Discover how you can roll the iterative process into your company, not just your product.


4:00 pm

Data Visualization: From Data to Design to Deployment / Bill Shander- less


In this session, Bill Shander will cover the fundamentals of data visualization and will help you think about getting your hands dirty with this skillset that is becoming more and more important every day. The conversation will take you from start to finish: how to think about and work with data, how to design data to maximize your communications impact with your audience, all the way through to deploying interactive data visualizations. This will be a terrific overview of the subject as well as provide some great jumping off points for you to proceed with this type of work.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. We will discuss some of the compelling reasons data visualization is so important for today's communicator to understand.
  2. You will learn some of the nuances and specific challenges around designing data visualizations.
  3. We will discuss two different and very specific ways to get data visualizations out of your head and to your audience.



5:00 pm

2015 Salary Spotlight: Compensation and Hiring Trends for Digital Creatives / Angela Vitzthum- less

Curious to know what kind of compensation you can command in today’s job market? Based on research for The Creative Group’s just-released 2015 Salary Guide, this session will provide an overview of the hiring landscape and salary trends for creative professionals in the coming year. Angela will discuss some of the most in-demand creative positions and the skills employers are willing to pay a premium for.

3 Main Takeaways:
  • Get a look at creative professional salary trends for the coming year.
  • Find out what the most in-demand creative positions are.
  • Get insight into the skills you need to learn to be in demand.
5:15 pm

Habitual Creativity / Jim Krause

6:00 pm

Designing Mineblock: Merging the Physical with the Digital to Create Meta Products / Haig Armen - less

Through this case study, you'll gain a better understanding of the new class of smart objects that many are calling Meta Products. Get an in-depth look at the process of designing meta products, new methods, physical and digital prototyping and an interdisciplinary approach.

In this presentation, LiFT Studios Founder and Creative Director Haig Armen will introduce Mineblock, an easy-to-use, safe sandbox for children to play Minecraft. You'll hear about how the project was conceived and developed, along with the challenges of designing objects that are equally digital and physical. You'll also learn about how new prototyping and production tools giving independent designers the ability to create sophisticated network-enabled products.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Find out what the big deal is about Meta Products.
  2. Learn how Designers and Makers are becoming one.
  3. Learn about independent product development and shifting from design as a service to design as a catalyst for a startup.
6:45 pm

Happy Hour Sponsored by The Creative Group

Monday, October 20

7:00 am

Registration Opens

8:00 am

Breakfast Table Topics and/or Speed Coaching - less

Enjoy optional lively conversation around specific topics during breakfast and/or join our experts for a one-on-one 10 minute personal coaching session from 8:00am-9:00am. Register in advance to secure your spot – first come, first served.
9:00 am

Content Strategy Development / Sara Wachter-Boettcher - less

Templates, trainings, threats: Sara Wachter-Boettcher has tried everything to get content from clients sooner—and mobile hasn’t made things easier. But in this talk, she’ll teach you practical approaches and activities anyone can use to bring harmony to the content process.

Instead of planning pages, now we’re asking stakeholders to prioritize and manage a million bits of modular content. So how do we keep our subject-matter experts from feeling overwhelmed, prevent carousel-obsessed executives from endless homepage arguments, and get the content we need to make design and development decisions?

The answer is in using content strategy as a means to orchestrate, not dictate. Orchestra conductors don’t control all the instruments or the people playing them. Instead, they:

  • Unify performers. Learn how to get your ensemble cast of content producers rallied around shared priorities and goals from the start—and see how understanding their politics and processes can improve design and development, too.

  • Listen and shape. Having a great ear will help you hear problems sooner, so you can better allocate time and resources to the areas that will most shape the content’s overall quality.

  • Keep the tempo. It’s hard to focus on the notes in front of you and think about where the song is heading. Learn to help your players stay focused on the details, while showing them how their part helps the whole piece come together.
Best of all, you don’t have to be a content expert to be your project’s conductor. Don’t miss this session if you’re a member of a multi-person content team!

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Unify performers.
  2. Listen and shape.
  3. Keep the temp.
10:00 am

Designing Responsively: Tips from a Developer / Catherine Farman - less

Learn what’s possible in responsive design and what’s a pain from a development point of view—and how to change your workflow to design more responsively.

In the age of smartphones, tablets, e-readers and smart TVs, responsive design has become the status quo in web design. But designing responsively requires more than just shrinking your website to fit small screens. Widths, heights, and images all become fluid, challenging your painstakingly created Photoshop grid layouts. Beautiful desktop designs become slow and unwieldy on mobile devices.

In this session, you’ll get tips that will allow you to partner with developers to make lean, lovely, responsive websites that will reach more users than ever before.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Find out which tried-and-true design techniques no longer work in responsive designs, and how to adjust your strategy.
  2. Learn why fast website performance can and should be designed.
  3. Discover how collaborating with developers will make your designs more successful.
11:00 am

Design Across Platforms / Cameron Moll - less

More information to come.

11:45 pm

Lunch on Your Own

1:15 pm

Creative Bootcamp / Stefan Mumaw


3:30 pm

Collaborative User Experience Design/ Kevin M. Hoffman - less

Learn how service design thinking, lean approaches to user experience, and co-design processes offer an alternative to the money pit, and deliver experiences that delight your users.

Organizations continue to pile features and fixes onto the redesign process. Companies that overlooked mobile are making big changes in a panic, while those with designs suitable for any device aren’t sure what to do next. One thing that won’t change is that people crave easier, faster, and more widespread access to their information and tools. Join Kevin M. Hoffman to find out how you can deliver that—while engaging in a smooth collaborative process.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. How to manage and improve stakeholder and user collaboration in the design process
  2. Using visual listening to improve innovation between collaborators
  3. Agreeing on hypotheses, not working from assumptions
4:30 pm

The Design Process and the Role of the Designer / Matthew Muñoz - less

Find out how you can balance both the craft of design and how design processes fit into the big picture in this session with Matthew Muñoz.

Matthew will delve into questions like: Why can a designer serve as a catalyst for broader impact? How do we bring a design mindset to organizational opportunities and wicked problems? Why is a design-driven approach useful to aligning interests, uncovering mindsets, and creating common ground? How do we create a space where people can focus on forming the future with intent?

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Explore key areas of the design thinking process.
  2. Discover a broader role designers can and should play.
  3. Find out how to bring diverse groups of people together into a creative space.
5:30 pm

Low-Tech Fuel for High-Test Creativity / Sam Harrison - less

To keep our creativity powerful and plentiful, we have to sometimes step away from technology and interact with what’s inside us and what’s all around us. Popular HOW speaker Sam Harrison reenergizes us after a busy day with five foolproof factors to fire up our creative hard drives.

6:00 pm

Happy Hour! sponsored by Hoefler & Co.

Tuesday, October 21

7:00 am

Registration Opens

8:00 am

Breakfast Table Topics and/or Speed Coaching - less

Enjoy optional lively conversation around specific topics during breakfast and/or join our experts for a one-on-one 10 minute personal coaching session from 8:00am-9:00am. Register in advance to secure your spot – first come, first served.
9:00 am

The Future of Web Design / Christopher Butler - less

This session with Christopher Butler will put you ahead of the trends in web design so that you can position yourself for success.

It's time we reframed our entire concept of web development. First, in terms of widening the scope of what websites do today and second, in terms of understanding what web development as a discipline is becoming. Sophisticated web development is no longer about creating discreet applications, but doing information logistics.

In this session, Christopher will explore the history and trajectory of web design and development and offer a glimpse of things to come.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Front-end design techniques are stabilizing and are headed toward commoditization.
  2. As web platforms become more complex, the use of APIs is becoming more central to web development. This is where information logistics comes in...
  3. Designers can position themselves around the change. This session will cover how...
10:00 am

Seven Successful Habits of Designers and Developers Who Actually Like Each Other
Cassie McDaniel - less

Whether you are a manager, team lead, developer or designer, getting two stubborn characters to play nice is an exercise in walking on eggshells. This session will take a look at the intricacies of these working relationships.

Cassie is an interactive designer who grew up surrounded by programmers—her dad and two geeky older brothers. She also ended up married to her favorite developer (who has since turned into a designer). Over many years in a variety of work environments—which has included leading a team of designers and developers at the fiercely independent and dev-driven Mozilla Foundation—she has picked up a thing or two about how to successfully navigate this fuzzy realm of interdisciplinary work. She’s delighted to tell you everything she knows.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Learn the best workflows for designer / developer cooperation.
  2. Find out how to develop work habits that will allow you to get the job done, even if you can't stand your colleagues.
  3. Get tips for a happy “marriage” between a designer and a developer.
11:00 pm

Information Design / Andy Fitzgerald - less

In this session, Andy Fitzgerald will share approaches that will help you craft cohesive information systems and articulate those systems smoothly across touchpoints in order to effectively design for the ease and consistency your users expect.

Users increasingly expect multi-device and multi-session consistency when they engage with digital products. At the same time, delivering a consistent experience grows increasingly complex as services and touchpoints diversify and add capabilities.

The information design techniques we’ve learned from the web have provided a good starting point, but the holistic information environments of the multi-device and cross-channel present demand a greater degree of understanding, flexibility, and precision than has ever been needed on the desktop web.

This talk will examine the rich potential of embodied and multi-modal perception—two methods for processing information through the body and senses—and offer solutions for how to design information systems that leverage these perceptual opportunities in effective, contextually appropriate ways.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Understand the importance of symbolic modalities and embodied perception in interaction design.
  2. Learn how to use taxonomies to create cohesive information systems across contexts.
  3. Find out how to leverage embodied perception in meaning making and information design.
11:45 am

Lunch on Your Own

1:15 pm

Adobe Workshop: Creative Cloud, Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign Tips and Tricks
Brian Wood - less

Get hot tips for working faster with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Whether you work mostly on print projects, or you’re more of a jack-of-all-trades, the one thing we all have in common is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. This workshop will deliver a litany of hot tips in the latest versions of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign that guarantee to save you time.

Here’s just some of what you’ll learn:

Photoshop CC

  • Font workflow improvements: The frustrations of “missing font” errors have been eliminated, along with a lot of the time and effort spent managing fonts. And adding new fonts is easy, now that you can simply click to select and add fonts from the Typekit website.
  • Smarter Smart Guides: Easily see the distance and alignment between two objects, and Smart Guides will snap when distances between sets of objects match.
  • Improved Layer Comps: The Layer Comps panel has been redesigned to show which attributes each layer comp controls, and you can sync changes to multiple Layer Comps.

Illustrator CC
  • Live Shapes: You can create and control the dimensions and radii of rectangles and rounded rectangles dynamically, either with on-art controls, or by entering precise numbers in the Transform panel.
  • Pen tool preview: You can preview your drawing before you commit to dropping a point, reducing the need to tweak your creations later.
  • Anchor Point enhancements: You can now make anchor point handles unequal, repair broken handles, have better control when closing paths, and reposition the closing point on the fly.

InDesign CC
  • Simplified tables: Easily move columns and rows in tables where you want them, by simply selecting, dragging, and dropping.
  • Fixed Layout EPUB: Make interactive EPUB books with live text — such as children’s books, cookbooks, travel books, and textbooks — that are rich with illustrations, photos, audio, video, or animations.
  • Color Groups: Manage and organize your color swatches in any way that makes sense for your projects.

This session is best suited for designers who spend most of their day using Photoshop, llustrator and InDesign. Adobe products used—Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Typekit desktop fonts, and Kuler—are all available as part of an Adobe Creative Cloud membership.


3:30 pm

Experience Wonder: See Different / Justin Ahrens - less

Get a refreshed perspective with Justin Ahrens as he explores the art of wonder through film, story and design. You’ll get suggestions on how to bring a little wonder, mystery and story into both your life and work, and learn how that one little change can shift the way you view each day.

4:30 pm

Closing Keynote / Jessica Walsh

Thanks for coming to HIDC!

Book Signings

The Speaker book signings will be held at the start of Happy Hour each evening.



Jim Krause
Clarissa Peterson
Christopher Butler
Sara Wachter-Boettcher

“It was great to hear from leaders in the industry, and to spend time with other designers from around the country.”

– Kristen S., Colorado Springs, Co

Breakfast Table Topics

We’ve set aside 8:00 am to 9:00 am on Monday and Tuesday, so that you can meet over breakfast with your fellow attendees to discuss various design topics. Get some food, find the topic you want to join, (look for the table tents), and pull up a chair. If there is something else you want to talk about ( we will provide blank table tents), make your own Topic sign, grab a table and start a conversation.

Speed Coaching

Join our experts for one-on-one 10 minute personal coaching sessions. These sessions will be held during the breakfast hour on Monday & Tuesday, from 8:00am-9:00am.


Chris Butler • Andy Fitzgerald • Sam Harrison • Dan Hon • Jim Krause • Stefan Mumaw
Bill Shander • Cap Watkins • Brian Wood


Chris Butler • Andy Fitzgerald • Jim Krause • Cassie McDaniel • Cameron Moll • Bill Shander • Haig Armen


Hyatt Regency Chicago

151 E. Upper Wacker Drive • Chicago, IL 60601

The AAA Four Diamond Hyatt Regency Chicago is conveniently located within minutes of the Magnificent Mile for world-class shopping and dining.

Discounted hotel rooms are available for HIDC attendees in Chicago while they last.

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