16 November 2017

Pixel Pioneers Belfast


A one-day conference of practical and inspiring talks, featuring eight world-class speakers, sandwiched by a Shopify side event on the Wednesday and a choice of two full-day workshops on the Friday. 


All sessions and timings are subject to change, and we will update the schedule as soon as we confirm talks and side events. 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

  • Details

    An Evening with Shopify

    Join the Shopify Partners team for an informal evening of short and informative design-focused talks. Whether you are a seasoned web designer, considering getting started, or just keen to meet other web professionals, you are most welcome to join us.

    Drinks will be provided, and all are very welcome to stay after the sessions finish to mingle and chat.

    Time: Talks will kick off around 7pm (doors open from 6.30pm) and we'll be wrapping up around 9pm.

    Cost: Free! 

    Location: This workshop will take place at The Black Box:
    18-22 Hill St, Belfast, BT1 2LA

  • 19:00

    Talk Details

    Paul McKeever

    Getting a Real Job at a Big Company

    Three short stories on design leadership.

    What's it like to go from working with design in an agency environment to building a product?

    Paul tells his story of working with design in three very different environments, and what he learned about being an entrepreneur and leader along the way. 

  • 19:45

    Talk Details

    Nicola Carruthers

    How to Run a Business with Your Husband and Not Kill Each Other

    Working with your significant other presents a unique set of challenges. How do you grow from freelance to agency, while keeping the marriage afloat and raising three kids? Nicola Carruthers shares the mistakes she's made, so you don't have to. In addition, she'll cover some of the things her and her partner learned about striking a work/life balance. 

  • 20:30

    Talk Details

    David Bailey

    Further Together: Designing Culture Change

    The Global Experience Language (GEL) is the BBC’s shared design framework. It underpins the design of their entire online output. David’s team facilitate the origination and development of GEL, enabling a more efficient design department produce consistent UX across the BBC online.

    David's talk focuses on the challenging combination of strategy and culture in a large organisation, and how their department’s joined-up approach is inspiring change whilst benefiting the BBC’s ongoing digital transformation.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 (Conference Day)

  • 8:45

    Registration and Welcome

  • 9:30

    Talk Details

    Christopher Murphy

    We Are Orchestrators

    It’s been nearly 30 years since the birth of the web, and in that time our role as designers has changed dramatically.

    In the 90s we designed for a desktop context, focused primarily on standalone experiences. A decade ago, with the introduction of the iPhone, our remit expanded, embracing the challenge of designing for both desktop and mobile contexts. The recent emergence of a ‘connected landscape’ has transformed our industry once again. The challenge we now face as designers is to build ‘ecosystems’, considering hardware and software; desktop and mobile; web and native….

    As we race headlong into the future, a new role is emerging: the designer as ‘orchestrator’, a strategist transcending disciplines, akin to the ‘auteur’ from the world of film.

    By learning from the medium of film we’ll identify strategies for managing experiences holistically, delivering a total experience — or gesamtkunstwerk — that is both moving and memorable.

  • 10:15

    Talk Details

    Laura Elizabeth

    Launching Your First (Side) Product

    Many people, whether it's freelancers or business owners, in-house designers or developers, make products in their spare time. But have you ever thought about selling your product to others who would find it useful? In this talk, you'll learn how you can successfully launch your first product and start creating an income from it. We'll go from finding and validating your idea, building the product, all the way to getting your first customers.  

  • 10:55

    Morning Break

  • 11:20

    Talk Details

    Harry Roberts

    Why Fast Matters

    We’re all — hopefully! — well aware that performance is important; it’s great for business and it’s great for our users. But things are still not fast enough. With more and more emerging markets coming online, and more and more apps moving to the web platform, we’re reaching an intersection where connections are getting slower and websites are getting heavier. In this talk, we’ll learn just what these emerging markets mean to us, and how we can begin to move in the right direction.

  • 12:05

    Talk Details

    Chris Armstrong

    Creating an App on a Shoestring Budget

    The workflows and processes preached by Google and Facebook (eg their five-day design sprint) work great if you have a team of 20+ and/or $2million in the bank, but how about when you’re bootstrapping and can only afford a couple of days a week?

    Chris will talk about lessons learned developing creative collaboration platform Niice with a part-time team and no investment.

  • 12:45



    See our location guide for recommendations.

  • 14:00

    Talk Details

    Eva-Lotta Lamm

    Visual Literacy and Visual Fluency
    Why expressing our thoughts visually is a superpower we should master

    We are visual creatures by nature. We start to look at the world around us and make sense of what we see before we start to speak. We consume hundreds of images every day: photographs, infographics, diagrams, maps, icons, emoticons. We are pretty much experts when it comes to understanding information presented in a visual way. But when it comes to expressing ourselves visually, we are often not as well versed. We might pick some emoticons to add a personal touch to messages or share a photo, but we still too rarely (or never) use the full potential of visual expression to make our important ideas and thoughts heard and understood. We talk at length but we don't get up often enough to sketch out our ideas on a whiteboard in front of our colleagues. We write a lot, but we don't use the power of visual structure and spatial arrangement enough to give our words an extra layer of meaning and make them quicker and easier to scan.

    In her talk, Eva-Lotta will show why visual literacy and visual fluency matter and how images, visual structure and spatial arrangement can complement words in a powerful way. She will talk about her experience in using pen and paper (or marker and whiteboard) to explain complex problems and share the insights she gained in the process.

  • 14:45

    Talk Details

    Sareh Heidari

    Scaffolding CSS for Scale

    Ever thought about localising your site, but realised it led to a lot of messy duplication? Do you want to re-use component styles, but have some styles overwrite others due to that cascade? Not sure where to start with CSS architecture?

    In this talk, you'll learn how to get started with your own lightweight, localised CSS setup. We'll go through how we use Grandstand, a CSS framework built by BBC Sport, as the scaffolding for our CSS. Starting with bare bones of just ~10kb, it has the flexibility to allow layouts in 10 scripts for 20+ languages, and we’re using it across the BBC News & Sport sites.

  • 15:25

    Afternoon Break

  • 15:50

    Talk Details

    Sharon Steed

    Cultivating Community: Building Powerful Relationships by Communicating with Empathy

    One of our most valuable commodities as humans is our ability to build relationships — both personally and professionally. And the key to any successful relationship is empathy: being able to understand someone, connect with someone and view the world through their eyes. The problem is that the empathy needed to cultivate relationships, foster collaboration and build strong communities is often times lacking, especially when we are around people who are different from us. If empathy is the tie that binds us, then vulnerability is the thread that holds that rope together.

    It’s time to change the status quo in tech. Let’s explore the impact of empathy on communities. We’ll discuss how communication plays a role in building successful relationships; how empathy fosters highly collaborative teams; and finally we’ll talk about true accessibility. Why? Because innovation is at its best when it’s inclusive. And to be inclusive, you must be empathetic.

  • 16:35

    Talk Details

    Una Kravets

    The Power of CSS

    CSS and HTML alone are much more powerful than people tend to give them credit for. From fauxtoshop to recreating common UI elements and querying for browser information via at-rules, CSS gives you a lot of control. This talk will go over some of these superpowers, patterns and capabilities, keeping accessibility in mind along the way. You’ll definitely learn some tricks and hacks and why you should or shouldn’t use them.

  • 17:15


    End and Drinks!

    Come to 21 Social for a free drink on us!

Friday, 17 November 2017 (Workshop Day)

  • 10:00

    Talk Details

    Harry Roberts

    Front-End Performance: Building Faster Websites

    Every case study, every report, and every bit of feedback always tells us the same thing: speed matters. It’s good for users, it’s good for accessibility, and it’s good for business. But why are modern browsing experiences so slow? If technology is getting better, why are websites getting worse?

    In this workshop, we’ll take an in-depth look at:

    • how the network really works, and how to design around it
    • how to keep websites fast whilst keeping clients and stakeholders happy
    • how to optimise our assets for faster delivery
    • how to trick the browser into delivering assets with different priorities
    • how to measure and profile performance wins and losses
    • a whole host of tips, tricks, and techniques to help us deliver the same experiences in record times
    • a bunch of fascinating little factoids and trivia which help shine a light on what’s really going on under the hood
    • how to prepare for the web (and its users) of tomorrow
    • lots of naughty little micro-optimisations, just for fun
    • and a lot, lot more.

    This workshop is targeted at intermediate to advanced front-end developers, web designers, and software engineers, or anybody who writes code. There will be resources and case studies for you to take back to non-technical stakeholders to help convince them of the power of performance.

    You will need a laptop, and something for making a lot of notes.

  • 10:00

    Talk Details

    Eva-Lotta Lamm

    Sketching Interfaces
    Rapidly develop and iterate website designs and app interfaces, alone and in groups

    Sketching is a core skill and tool of any designer. It is a quick and cheap way to ideate, develop and iterate on possible design solutions, both alone and with a group.

    In this workshop, we will take a closer look at when and how to use sketching in the design process, how to make your sketches communicate more clearly and efficiently and how to run a collaborative sketching session with a group of people. We will start with basic sketching techniques and build up the pace through a mix of theory, exercises, practise sessions and group critiques.

    What you’ll learn

    • when to use sketching in the design process
    • sketching out flows to provide an overview
    • sketching detailed screen designs
    • sketching interactions and transitions
    • labelling and annotating your sketches
    • how to decide on the right level of fidelity for your sketches
    • how to run a sketching session with your team
    • tips and tricks to enhance your sketches

    Who should attend

    This workshop is ideal for designers, developers, product managers or anyone who is involved in creating websites or applications and wants to add sketching to their range of tools.

    All skill levels are welcome and no previous sketching skills or knowledge are necessary.

  • 17:00

    Workshops end

Don’t miss a thing!

Stay up to date with the latest Pixel Pioneers event news and blog posts. Our regular newsletter is packed with practical and inspiring content, handpicked by Oliver Lindberg, and it’s here that you will also find out first about any discounts and offers that we have lined up for you.

Huge thanks to our partners

  • 20i
  • TetraLogical
  • Jack Holmes
  • Interaction Design Foundation
  • GURU
  • State of the Browser
  • DevITjobs
  • Sync NI
  • Women Who Code
Partner with us

Without the stellar support of our partners, it wouldn’t be possible to run these events, and even if it was, the experience just wouldn’t be the same. If you’re interested in getting involved, just drop us an email and we’ll discuss how we can team up.

Get in touch