We're still fine-tuning the schedule, so some of these slots may change a bit by the time Web Design Day rolls around!

Time Session
8:00am - 8:30am


8:30am - 8:35am

Opening Remarks

G. Jason Head

8:40am - 9:25am

The Freelance Dating Game: How to Prevent the Nasty Break-up

Josh Sager

Managing freelance projects is a tricky thing. This session addresses questions like what to charge, scope creep, project selection, staying balanced, and more. We'll discuss tips and techniques that can help you stay on track and not hate yourself later. Bring a notebook, an open mind, and a terrible towel. You just might need it.

9:35am - 10:20pm

Staying Alive: Finding and Keeping your Creative Motivation

Elliott Munoz

We've all seen it happen. A superstar artist drops a major label debut, catapults up the charts, goes on a world tour, packs stadiums, sells millions, rushes back into the studio and two months later emerges with the single most tragic album ever recorded. It flops. They fade away. The world moves on.

Longevity haunts the music industry. It haunts ours too. Designers are overwhelmed. We're dejected. We're bored. And if we're not careful, we're lazy and later irrelevant.

In my session we'll take a quick look at what it takes to find our creative motivation and how to hang on to it throughout our career. We'll look at pillars of our industry. We'll look at how they stay motivated, how they keep changing our industry and how, with simple steps and hard work, you can do the same.

10:30am - 11:15am

Helping your Company Adopt a User-centered Process

Zack Naylor

Have you found yourself designing features that don't seem to make sense? Do you have this gut feeling that there is just a better way to determine what it is that your website should be doing? Alas there is, and it all starts with the user. Find out some creative ways of promoting UX within an organization that has not yet recognized it as their development process. Get ideas on how to sell the value of UX and start designing great experiences.

11:25am - 12:10pm

More Than Cheesesteaks: Can a Web Design Process Reinvent Philadelphia?

Christopher Cashdollar

Passionate about our city? Check. Evangelists for the region? Check. But did this exuberance for our city really mean that the Happy Cog design process was adequate enough to shift the needle on the “Philadelphia” brand? Did we have the necessary methods and techniques in our toolbox to change decades of poor impressions?

While everyone has personalized approaches to create beautiful web sites, designers should always BE hungry to improve process and product. This is especially important when the task at hand is changing the public’s impression of an entire region. Starting with our initial “anti-Rocky” inspiration and then ending with the creation of a simple yet nightmare-inducing UI element, you’ll get a frank step-by-step exposure to the potent mix of design-related exercises, methods, and tactics that Happy Cog design team employed at

12:10pm - 1:30pm


Catered by Franktuary!

A delicious lunch from a favorite Pittsburgh hotspot of downtown web developers! Franks, Spears, Cole Slaw, Perogies, Chips and Veggie Dogs and Spinach Salad for the vegetarian web folks!

1:30pm - 2:15pm

Making Websites is Easy - Bearded Studio & Maki App!

Matt Griffin & Michael Hellein

There are many steps to making a website, and a lot of these have nothing to do with traditional design – yet they are vital to the successful completion of the product. We'll take you through our process of making websites, including the all-important first client meeting, designer/developer planning, guiding clients through the design critique process, and implementing our web application Maki to ensure that the code matches the mock-up that we worked so hard to get client approval on.

2:25pm - 3:10pm

Be a Greedy Bastard: Do More with Content Strategy!

Margot Bloomstein

If you rock design, IA, SEO, or social media, let’s talk. What do you really want? Maybe to better understand your clients' needs? Help them see how your tactical decisions align with their communication goals? Maybe just to minimize rounds of revision and optimize the project budget? Whatever your area of focus in shaping the user experience, partnering with a content strategist can help you hit those goals. 2010 has been a breakout year for the industry, so let's talk about how you can incorporate insights from this aspect of interaction design into your next project. We'll discuss how the questions a content strategist brings to the table can enrich your deliverables and benefit your end users—and how you can reframe the RFP to upsell content strategy in your next pitch.

All while looking taller, thinner, younger, tanner, because you deserve all that too, and content strategy can—well, *some* things you need to just do on your own.

3:20pm - 4:05pm

The Designer’s Duty

Jon Dascola

As designers, our sites must follow a specific and detailed marketing strategy, both embrace and challenge the decisions made by the information architect, be visually stunning and pixel-perfect, all while staying simple enough for your grandmother to use. We have responsibilities to please our clients, our bosses and ourselves.

Jon will talk about our duties as designers to create a successful projects and the means by which to do so.

4:15pm - 5:00pm

You F*cked Up. Now What?

Kevin Hoffman

“Where did we go wrong? Is it my fault? Can this be salvaged? Should it?”

The life of a project is complex. From the smallest freelance CSS gigs to the largest, multi-year strategic online initiatives, many forces come together into a system that can, with one bad e-mail or misunderstanding, pull itself apart at any minute.

Pulling from his own experiences at Happy Cog and those of leaders in the web design community, Kevin will share war stories that have led to new approaches to defining project scope, managing risks, and communicating with clients. And <del>if</del>when the unthinkable happens and it’s time to abandon the ship, he’ll illustrate how to make the best of a bad situation in ways that you can use throughout your career.

The Organizers

Pittsburgh Web Design Day is brought to you by Refresh Pittsburgh and On the Fridge, LLC. Drop us a line: