Recent Conference Talks Worth Watching

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These are some of my favorites from conferences I’ve either been to lately, have watched online, or were recommended to me (in which case they aren’t always super recent). I link up the playlist of videos from the conference the talk was at where I can, as your taste in talks may be different than mine.

I like the idea of popping stuff like this on the ol’ TV at night sometimes rather than whatever mindless garbage I normally watch.

In Defense of the Floppy Disk by Lis Pardi

Perhaps you’ve heard the line of thinking that we should ditch the floppy disk icon for “save” actions, since it’s so outdated. Lis digs into that a recent talk (slides) at Madison+ UX.

From the same conference, I also very much enjoyed Pamela Pavliscak’s talk GenZ and the Future of Technology about how the kids are using tech these days.

Steal This Talk by Wilson Miner

Sharing! Collaboration! From a Creative Mornings.

Content in Context is King by Derek Featherstone

There is so much you can do with content that most of us don’t do. Derek is full of practical ideas here that are all reasonable and doable.

Video is not embeddable, so watch it here and see more videos from An Event Apart.

Nine Things I’ve Learned by Tom Dale

Opinions and lessons on the state of JavaScript and frameworks on the modern web at TXJS. I hear TXJS had lots of great talks, like Simon Swain’s on canvas.

Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work by Jason Fried

Noah Jacobus recommended this one:

Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn’t a good place to do it. […] he lays out the main problems (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work.

This was from a number of years ago, as was Frank Chimero’s The Shape of Design which came highly recommended.

CSS is dead, long live CSS by Alan Mooiman

Alan touches on a ton of modern CSS topics, from preprocessors to new features of native CSS, to HTTP/2.

How to F*ck Up “Respect for People” & Really Piss Off your Employees by Jez Humble

Andy E. recommended this one about culture at work.

Cascading Sh*t Show by Jacob Thornton

Andy Davies recommended this.

Intro to WebGL and Three.js by David Lyons

Chris Williams said this talk doesn’t get the attention it deserves:

Enhancing Responsiveness with Flexbox by Zoe Mickley Gillenwater

Matt Bainton recommended Zoe’s talk (slides):

Flexbox and responsive web design go great together, like peanut butter and jelly. Flexbox gives you more control over the things you care about in a responsive layout—like order, alignment, and proportional sizes of your boxes—and lets the browser figure out the rest—the math-y stuff that computers are good at, like the exact dimensions that are needed on the boxes to perfectly fill the available space.

Being a Good Coworker by Jenn Lukas

I was at CSS Conf (playlist) recently and it was packed with great talks, like this one.

Encourage the ferret by Jon Burgerman

Not embeddable.

Code Like You Give a Damn by Léonie Watson

Sarah Drasner recommended this one on Custom interfaces with ARIA, HTML, and JavaScript:

What’s Next for the Web Platform? by Alex Russell

John Allsopp runs Web Directions and he recommended Alex’s talk:

Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security by James Mickens

Tim Kadlec said this one was highly entertaining. I can’t wait to watch it, with this kind of explanation:

He will explain why no programming language makes it easy to write secure code. He will then discuss why cloud computing is a black hole for privacy, and only useful for people who want to fill your machine with ads, viruses, or viruses that masquerade as ads. At this point in the talk, an audience member may suggest that Bitcoins can make things better. Mickens will laugh at this audience member and then explain why trusting the Bitcoin infrastructure is like asking Dracula to become a vegan. Mickens will conclude by describing why true love is a joke and why we are all destined to die alone and tormented.

Tim himself has a pretty stellar talk, Better by Proxy from SmashingConf.


So many conferences make their videos freely available, it’s kind of amazing:

Feel free to drop links to your favorites in the comments!