Introducing Our New SmashingConf City Of Austin

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Rachel Andrew is a web developer, writer and speaker. She is the author of a number of books, including The New CSS Layout. She is one of the people behind the … More about Rachel ↬

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SmashingConf is coming to Austin! In this post, Rachel Andrew gives you a rundown of what you can expect and shares a video interview with Miriam Suzanne who will be sharing the stage with the rest of the brilliant SmashingConf Austin speakers!

We are so excited to be bringing SmashingConf to a new city this year. We’re bringing you SmashingConf Austin where, in addition to our amazing line-up of conference talks and workshops, there will be plenty of fun and things to see and do. The team has been quite busy finding out about the local area, and we hope you’ll be as excited as we are to explore.

The Venue

We’ve found a fantastic conference venue in the Topfer Theatre at The ZACH. This 420-seat theater was constructed in 2011 as part of the complex of theater buildings belonging to the ZACH Theater company. The company was founded in 1932 as The Austin Civic Theater, and is the oldest continuously operating theater company in Texas as well as the tenth oldest in the USA.

The Conference Line-Up

Our line-up for Austin is now complete. The Smashing double-act of Vitaly Friedman and Phil Hawksworth will be making a return — guiding you through the two days and helping you to get the most out of every minute.

In Austin, we have an amazing line-up of returning Smashing friends but also new faces. The topics have been carefully curated to ensure there really is something for every member of your team!

Chris Coyier created and runs CSS-Tricks, and is also the co-founder of CodePen. In his talk “Building Websites,” he will talk about how we can build websites with almost no fancy technology at all — just raw HTML. From that point on, we complicate things as the websites we build have different needs. It’s a reminder to everyone that complications are OK when they are need-based, but also that they have costs and we should minimize the number of things we add.

Frontend UI/UX developer Sara Soueidan returns to the Smashing stage to talk about accessibility and CSS; she will build some components live in order that you can see her process as she develops accessible components for a site.

Consultant Performance Engineer Harry Roberts will take a look at some of the numbers powering the web performance industry from both sides of the table: What do performance improvements mean for your clients, and how do we translate that into a working relationship?

We loved Gemma O’Brien’s fantastic work when she spoke in Toronto, so she is returning to our Smashing stage for Austin. She makes beautiful murals and illustrations (take a look at her Instagram account to see some of her work!).

Stage with a presenter, with illustration on a large screen
Gemma on stage in Toronto (Photo credit Marc Thiele)

They will be joined by Brad Frost speaking on Design Patterns, Mandy Michael on Front-end development, Miriam Suzanne on CSS, Rémi Parmentier on HTML email, Robyn Larsen on internationalization, Luke Wroblewski on UX, metrics and conversion, and Zach Leatherman on type and performance.

Vitaly has been recording interviews with some of our speakers, to give you a taste for what they will be sharing at the conference. Enjoy this chat with Miriam Suzanne, and watch out for more interviews in the coming weeks.

Miriam will be talking about "CSS is Rad" at SmashingConf Austin. See you there?

Our Wonderful Workshops

In addition to her talk, Miriam will also be running a workshop at SmashingConf showing you how to use CSS and Sass to create resilient and maintainable design systems that scale. We have a total of 8 workshops, 4 on the day before the conference and 4 on the day after. Workshops are a full day of learning — on the subject of your choice.

Miriam will be joined by Sara Soueidan, and her front-end accessibility workshop where you can learn how to think and code inclusively. Rémi Parmentier will teach you how to build HTML emails and Brad Frost will show you how to make and maintain successful design systems. If building faster websites is your aim, register for “Front-End Performance Building Faster Websites” with Harry Roberts.

Friendly reminder: As with every SmashingConf event, booking a workshop plus a conference ticket can save you $100 on the cost of the workshop!

The Smashing team is workshopping, too! I’ll be presenting my brand new CSS Layout Masterclass while Vitaly will be presenting two workshops: New Front-End Adventures 2020 Edition and Smart Responsive UX Design Paterns. I think the hardest thing will be knowing what to choose.

Social Events And Things To Do In Austin

Attending a conference can be a great way to meet new people, or to spend some time getting to know your own team better. We believe that the social events and opportunities to explore the area are an important part of each and every one of our events.

In Austin, we will hold a pre-event on the day before the conference. There will be snacks, drinks and talks from fellow attendees. Then, between the two conference days, there will be a SmashingConf party! We try to choose a venue where you can enjoy conversations with your attendees and speakers and talk about what you have learned.

Running And Swimming

Get outside and join me for a 5k run on Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ll find a route and run at a sociable pace! We have been doing our pre-conference runs for several events now, and it’s a great way to chat and get some exercise and fresh air before the day starts.

If running isn’t your thing, how about a swim? The Barton Springs Pool is an open-air swimming pool filled with water from natural springs. The pool is open daily between 5 AM and 10 PM, and costs $9 for a swim. If you are looking for other people to swim with, why not post in the conference Slack and get a group together.

Food And Things To Do

After all that learning, networking, running and swimming, you will be hungry! We’ve created a map of recommended local restaurants and other things to do. Our conference handbook also contains some suggestions.

Something we’re quite excited about this year’s event is the idea of going bat watching! In warm months, thousands of Mexican free-tailed Bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge and form clouds in the sky. Another reason not to forget your cameras!

You can see them while standing on the bridge or from a small park located at the foot of the bridge on the south bank of the river. Learn more about this wonderful weirdness of Austin over here.

There are several great hotels in Austin, but we have arranged a special Smashing discount at The Carpenter Hotel, which is a five-minute walk to the venue. You’ll save some money to spend on BBQ or tacos and also be staying in the same place as other attendees which will make meeting up easy!

Scholarships, Student Discounts And Volunteering

We have a few ways in which we try to help folk attend our conference who don’t have the budget to do so.

Anyone from an underrepresented group in tech is invited to apply for a scholarship. We especially invite and welcome LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities, and people facing economic or social hardships to apply.

You can have fun being part of the team, get a behind-the-scenes look and attend some talks and a full workshop if you volunteer with us. We need lots of friendly people to help on the conference days, and it’s a great way to meet people in the industry as well as see some of the conference.

Each conference also has 20 discounted tickets for students and non-profits. For more details on each of these schemes, which run at all our events, see the Scholarships and Volunteering page.

Tickets Are On Sale Now!

If you want to join in the fun, tickets are on sale. Last year, we sold out three of our conferences well before the conference date, and popular workshops also fill up fast. Just saying!

Smashing Editorial (il)