Mike Arauz is a Partner at the digital strategy firm, Undercurrent, based in New York. Since joining Undercurrent in 2008, Mike has helped leaders of global companies, including GE, PepsiCo, Ford, American Express, Pearson, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, understand how digital technology is disrupting their world and what to do about it. Before joining Undercurrent, Mike worked at the digital agency Deep Focus and at Pompei A.D., the design firm behind the vanguard retailers Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. Mike is widely respected in his field for his ideas about the nature of online relationships, community-centered collective action, and the fundamentals of strategy. His writing is frequently referenced, and he has spoken and lectured at numerous conferences and universities including SXSW, NEXT Berlin, Future Trends, and Hyper Island and Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm, Sweden. 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. Christopher Cashdollar is a multidisciplinary-trained graphic designer with interactive experience dating back to the mid 1990s. He has provided consultative strategy and design direction for clients such as Ben & Jerry’s, Harvard, Viacom, Monotype Imaging, Northwestern Mutual, LG Mobile, and Zappos. Currently the Vice President of Design for the world-renowned web design agency Happy Cog, Chris has championed how user-centric experiences successfully marries beautiful, results-driven design. Maciej Ceglowski is the founder of Pinboard.In, an "antisocial" bookmarking site founded in 2009. Prior to beginning work as an independent contractor, Maciej worked as the first engineer at Yahoo!'s Brickhouse, where he worked as a backend developer and community manager and developed a visual airfare search engine called FareMaps. Some of Maciej's projects have included designing and building an internal data warehouse for Twitter, Building an online book reader for Otworz Ksiazke, a Polish Creative Commons project at the University of Warsaw, among others. ALEXA CURTIS As a Director at Moment, Alexa expertly leads teams; collaboratively designing digital products for the real world. Over her 10-year career, she has contributed to designing successful products for ESPN, Walt Disney, and other great companies. As technology changes rapidly, Alexa seeks to understand how new platforms are reframing services so that she can prepare her clients for the not-so-distant future. Alexa earned a Masters in Design from IIT's Institute of Design where she focused on design research, product strategy, and product definition. Aside from digital-product-problem-solving, Alexa spends her time cooking, telling bad jokes, and sketching. 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 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. Eric Karjaluoto is creative director and a founding partner of the creative agency smashLAB. Since 2000, he has helped a broad range of clients including The Vancouver Aquarium, the University of Minnesota, and The Nature Conservancy with their strategic, design, and communication challenges. Eric authored the books Speak Human and The Design Method. He writes regularly about design at erickarjaluoto.com. Jenn Lukas is a multi-talented front-end consultant and freelance developer in Philadelphia and is founder of Ladies in Tech. She writes for publications such as The Nerdary, .net magazine, 24 Ways, and The Pastry Box Project. Jenn's past experiences range from creating Navy training simulations to leading the front-end team at Happy Cog as Interactive Development Director. She was named one of Mashable’s 15 Developer/Hacker Women to Follow on Twitter, and you can find her on Twitter posting development and cat-related news. Jenn is the co-host of the Ladies in Tech Podcast and teaches for GirlDevelopIt and Skillshare. If the internet is more awesome than it was in 1995, Karen McGrane would like to claim a very tiny piece of the credit. For nearly 20 years Karen has helped businesses create better digital products through the power of user experience design and content strategy. She is Managing Partner at Bond Art + Science, a UX consultancy she founded in 2006, and formerly VP and National Lead for User Experience at Razorfish. She's led projects for dozens of publishing clients, including The New York Times, Condé Nast, The Atlantic, and Hearst. Karen teaches Design Management in the MFA in Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, which educates students on how to run successful projects, teams, and businesses. Her book, Content Strategy for Mobile, was published in 2012 by A Book Apart. Karen McGrane If the internet is more awesome than it was in 1995, Karen would like to claim a very tiny piece of the credit. For nearly 20 years Karen has helped businesses create better digital products through the power of user experience design and content strategy. She is Managing Partner at Bond Art + Science, a UX consultancy she founded in 2006, and formerly VP and National Lead for User Experience at Razorfish. She's led projects for dozens of publishing clients, including The New York Times, Condé Nast, The Atlantic, and Hearst. Karen teaches Design Management in the MFA in Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, which educates students on how to run successful projects, teams, and businesses. Her book, Content Strategy for Mobile, was published in 2012 by A Book Apart. 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. David Sherwin is Director of User Experience at Lynda.com, where he leads a team of UX designers that are helping people around the world learn the skills they need to succeed and pursue their passions. He is also a Fellow at frog, a global product strategy and design firm. His books on design include Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills and Success by Design: The Essential Business Reference for Designers, both published by HOW Books. David has spoken at events such as SxSW, Interaction, UX London, and HOW Design Live, as well as taught at schools such as California College of the Arts and Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. His writing has appeared in FastCoDesign, TheAtlantic.com, A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, HOW, and many other periodicals. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, the poet and writer Mary Paynter Sherwin. In his free time, he maintains the blog ChangeOrder at www.changeorderblog.com. Geoff Teehan has been designing digital products for well over a decade. In 2002, he co-founded the design firm Teehan+Lax. Geoff and his company have helped shape products at companies like Google, Yahoo, Prismatic, Facebook, Weather Network, LG, Globe and Mail, Readability and more. He led the design of Medium during its conception, and recently wrapped up projects for Yahoo/Tumblr and Flipboard. He is currently working with YouTube.
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.

Our D.C. event sold out, but there’s still time for you to get to our Chicago and San Francisco events. Check out what people are saying about their web-design epiphanies at #HIDC, and then register to reserve your spot!


Wednesday, September 3

7:00 am

Registration Opens

9:00 am

The True Adventures of a Dot-Com Bust Survivor / Geoff Teehan - less

Amass the wisdom of an interactive designer who has weathered the highs and lows of the internet—without the pain!

Over Teehan+Lax’s 12-year history, cofounder Geoff Teehan has learned a lot about what makes for successful—and unsuccessful—people, projects and companies. Founded during the darkest days of the dot-com bust, his firm was one of the first to specialize in UX, with a focus on solving real problems for users.

In this session you’ll learn the secrets of Teehan+Lax’s success, as well as the importance of nurturing a spirit of adaptability and helping others in our industry.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Hear the do’s and don’ts of developing a successful career in interactive design.
  2. Find out why staying nimble and flexible is a core skill for web designers.
  3. Get an insider’s perspective on the fascinating history of web design.

10:00 am

Understanding Information Architecture / Brian Miller - less

In this session, you’ll find out what the information architecture phase is—and why it's critical to your website design. Going phase by phase from requirements gathering through wireframes and even style tiles, Brian Miller will offer practical information about the process, purpose and software of this critical step in web design. Brian will also walk you through his process as he shares a few of his own projects, showing how information architecture planning made the outcomes significantly better.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Find out how information architecture is different than design.
  2. Get advice on where a designer should start when it comes to information architecture.
  3. Learn what software is used for IA and prototyping.
11:00 am

Workflow / Mike Arauz- less

Join Mike Arauz from Undercurrent, for a in-depth look at how to use an agile method with clients to gain the best possible results. He will reveal how to use interactive designers and UX experts in small teams in collaboration with developers and product strategists. Explore how the role of designers has changed and how you can apply this workflow to your team and future projects.

11:45 am


1:45 pm

Design Research with a Mission / Alexa Curtis- less

Product innovation rarely happens in a vacuum. By seeking outside perspective at the right moments in the design process, teams are positioned to arrive at smarter solutions faster, and to connect more meaningfully with the product's audience. But how can you, as a designer, identify these moments and act to get the feedback you need?

This session will introduce a practical framework for matching designer-facilitated research methods with feedback goals at various points in the product design lifecycle. We will discuss strategies to help you scale research activities to different timelines and budgets, and important pointers for conducting useful research.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Get a detailed overview of design research methods (beyond personas).
  2. Learn which design research methods are appropriate at different points a digital product’s lifecycle.
  3. Take home practical resources for preparing a qualitative research program.


2:45 pm

The Developer's Ampersandwich / Jenn Lukas - less

Ever spent countless hours crafting a totally awesome type system for your beautiful design, only to have it lost in translation when it goes to development? Examine type and icon fonts through a developer lens, and learn how designers and front-end developers can work together to get everyone on the same (elegantly designed) page!

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. How to utilize web fonts within your projects
  2. How icon fonts can help your site performance
  3. Tools for crafting an efficient type system on the web
3:45 pm

Designing Responsive Websites / 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 Main Takeaways:

  1. Learn strategies for designing responsive sites as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  2. Find out some of the key user experience considerations when creating responsive websites.
  3. Discover why a content-focused, mobile-first approach is the most effective way to create a responsive website.


4:30 pm

Happy Hour!

Thursday, September 4

7:30 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 in a Zombie Apocalypse / Karen McGrane - less

Surviving the zombie apocalypse is possible. In this talk Karen McGrane will explain how: by developing a content strategy that treats all our platforms as if they're equally important.

Friends, a zombie apocalypse is upon us: an onslaught of new mobile devices, platforms, and screen sizes, hordes of them descending every day. We're outmatched. There aren't enough designers and developers to battle every platform. There aren't enough editors and writers to populate every screen size.

Defeating the zombies will require flexibility and stamina—in our content. We'll have to separate our content from its form, so it can adapt appropriately to different contexts and constraints.

We'll have to change our production workflow so we're not just shoveling content from one output to another.

And we'll have to enhance our content management tools and interfaces so they're ready for the future.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. New devices will continue to proliferate. It doesn't matter which ones you think will succeed—there will always be another device, another screen size, another platform.
  2. Getting our content onto different devices requires true separation of content from form. This is a turning point for how design and content work together.
  3. Examples of what it means to separate content from presentation will help explain how this works.
10:00 am

The Design Method: Using Process to Hack Design / Eric Karjaluoto - less

Find out why the idea of being “creative” may be getting in the way of producing good design, and how you can start designing better, more effective work by moving the focus away from the studio/designer—and back to the client.

Eric Karjaluoto says biases about creativity are leading designers to bank on inspiration, worship “big ideas,” and treat design as a means of personal expression. Unlike art, he believes design is about discipline and producing sensible, functional, and appropriate work.

In this session, Eric will debunk some creative myths, present a better way to produce design, and provide tips on how to make the design process clearer, faster, more valuable, and profitable.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Learn how to develop a process for establishing strategies and plans for your design projects.
  2. Find out how to develop a cohesive concept and visual direction for each client/job.
  3. Discover an iterative approach to prototype, test, refine, and produce effective design.
11:00 am

Designing for Positive Behaviors and Habits / David Sherwin - less

Explore a growing trend in the interactive space— apps and services that responsibly encourage behavior change in users—and discover the tools and techniques you can use to create them.

We live in a world where we expect the applications and services we use every day to not only help us do what we want to do, but encourage us to change our behavior in ways that will make us healthier, wealthier, and happier. David Sherwin, an Interaction Design Director at frog, will explore this growing trend in the interactive space, where designers are using techniques drawn from the social sciences to support (or nudge) the choices their users make. You’ll walk away from this session with a new vocabulary and tools you can use to plan, construct, and test design solutions intended to change user behavior in a responsible manner.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Find out what people mean when they say they are designing for behavior change.
  2. Explore the tools and techniques designers are using to design for behavior change.
  3. Learn how an interactive designer can responsibly encourage behavior change.
11:45 am


1:00 pm

Debbie Millman

2:00 pm

Adobe Workshop / 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.

4:15 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.
5:15 pm

Web Design: The First Hundred Years / Maciej Ceglowski - less

Join Maciej Ceglowski for an insightful look “back” at web design’s beginnings, from the perspective of someone 100 years in the future. You’ll see how the web is evolving in ways nobody expected, and how you can design with the future in mind.

It’s normal for a new medium to be in a state of flux, but the situation is particularly acute for those of us working online, since the constraints we work under are not physical. The medium changes whenever the code changes, and the code changes all the time. What lessons can we take from other media about how to manage this dizzying rate of change? And how can we hope to do lasting work in a medium so obsessed with novelty? Enjoy this report from the year 2110 on attempts to reconstruct what the early web must have looked like.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Hear lessons from other mediums about how to manage web design’s constant change.
  2. Get ideas for doing work that lasts, despite the medium’s obsession with novelty.
  3. Look at web design from a whole new angle and experience some “a-ha” moments.
6:00 pm

Happy Hour! sponsored by Hoefler & Co.

Friday, September 5

7:30 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 Chris 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, Chris 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

Reevaluating the Role of Your Client in the Design Process / Chris Cashdollar - less

Web design projects can be excruciatingly complex, often fraught with hidden stakeholders, nebulous business goals, and indiscriminate design approvals—and with the explosion of Responsive Web Design, the equation has only gotten more complex. In this session, you’ll learn how to build a design process and deliverables strategy to ensure a successful engagement with your clients that keeps the communication with them open, fluid and productive.

How are we able to better predict the common hurdles that can keep our projects from becoming a success? Instead of being caught off guard when new issues arise, staying ahead of these frequent pain points can keep you focused on crafting beautiful, results-driven solutions for your clients.

In this session, Chris Cashdollar will break down the design process for Responsive Web Design to better diagnose what design artifacts work best when it comes to communicating design-thinking in the new multi-device customer landscape.

You’ll gain confidence, learn how to break down traditional client-versus-vendor roles and, ultimately, shape a course of action that equates to a successful, productive, and collaborative relationship with your clients.

3 Main Takeaways:

  1. Learn to better diagnose what type of design deliverable works best for different problems and different clients.
  2. Understand the common pitfalls that befall a Responsive Web Design project to better predict and get ahead of these issues.
  3. Reevaluate how you communicate with your clients since traditional client-vendor working relationships are no longer enough.
11:00 am

Designing Away 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.

Thanks for coming to HIDC!


Grand Hyatt Washington

1000 H St NW • Washington, DC 20001 • 800.211.7496

Centrally located in the trendy Penn Quarter near popular local attractions, Grand Hyatt Washington is ideally situated for leisure and business travelers.

Discounted hotel rooms are available for HIDC attendees in Washington, D.C. while they last.

Book your room Register Now

Speed Coaching

Join our experts for one-on-one 10 minute personal coaching sessions. These sessions will be held during the breakfast hour on Thursday and Friday, from 8:00am-9:00am. Register in advance to secure your spot – first come, first served.


Chris Butler • Dan Hon • Eric Karjaluoto • Geoff Teehan • Brian Wood


Chris Butler • Dan Hon • Andy Fitzgerald • Eric Karjaluoto

“I felt like I needed to keep finding room in my brain to hold more information. Even for me, who does not know interactive design yet, I felt like I was able to learn so much that I am heading home to talk to my boss about some things I want to try.”

– Ashley H., Traverse City, MI

Book Signings

The Speaker book signings will be held at the start of our Lunch Break on Wednesday or Happy Hour each evening in Independence BCDE.


Eric Karjaluoto
David Sherwin

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