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Upfront Conference 2020

Friday, 27 March 2020

9:00 to 18:00

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, M2 3WS



EVENT UPDATE: Unfortunately UpFront is joining many other events in postponing in light of #coronavirus / #COVID19. We intend to reschedule once we have a clearer idea of when might be appropriate.

UpFront Conf is a one-day event for the front-end development community, designed by leading practitioners from the North of England. Now in it’s sixth year, the conference brings together the world’s foremost authorities on development, design, UX/UI and all things web and is ideal for any developer or designer looking for access to hot topics and the latest trends.

Brought to you by Mcr FRED & Speak the Web in partnership with Manchester Digital.




Sophie is a full-stack web engineer on the Web Platform Team at Monzo, building internal tooling in React and Go. A mentor at Node Girls London and keen tech blogger, she featured on the Makers Academy Women in Tech Power List in 2019. She’s also the maestro of Monzo’s very own choir, Hot Choral.



An Irish web developer working with @Clearleft, playing music with @SalterCane, creator of @Huffduffer.



Vimla is a design thinker, international speaker and advocate for changing the way businesses think: using technology, design and culture to align profit and purpose. With Culture Design and community building as a driving force, Vimla forged Experience Matters, a design-thinking consultancy with clients including the NHS, Northern Collective: Women in Public Space, and SheSaysMCR.

Currently, Vim is on a mission to change interior design as Lead Service Designer at DigitalBridge, whilst powerlifting, writing her new book on Culture Design, rapping along to 90’s hip hop and drinking all the tea in coffee shops.



Tom Cheesewright is the Applied Futurist, helping people and organisations around the world to see the future more clearly, share their vision and respond with innovation.



Originally from the UK, Shaun has been living and working in Stockholm for the last 3 years. At Spotify, he leads two teams working on design systems efforts at Spotify and helps advocate for accessibility best practices across the company. Previously he worked at the BBC, where he played a leading role in developing the BBC's design system (GEL) and delivered the responsive transformation of the BBC Sport website and a new Live events platform.



Marina’s work focuses on the intersection of language and user experience. As a Principal UX Writer at Spotify, she created company-wide writing guidelines, wrote product copy for the launch of Spotify’s free app, and helped launch Encore, a family of design systems. Previously, she worked at Facebook, Dropbox, and Opower, where she was the content strategy lead for design systems. Now based in Gothenburg, Sweden, she loves all things Scandinavian.


Please note, speakers and times may be subject to change.


Come collect your lanyard and get ready for the day. Grab a drink on us and have a mingle.


A quick intro from us to give you the lowdown on the day ahead.


Breaking the Glass: Life beyond the screen

In a decade's time, the screen will no longer be our primary digital interface. Instead our interactions are extended into the physical world, as our digital creations break through the glass walls that have always separated us and them. AIs will extrapolate our desires from sensory input. Ambient digital interfaces will capture our intentions from intuitive touches and gestures, and return information in subtle and beautiful ways. And our physical world will be overlaid with digital creations in a near-permanent mixed reality. What does this mean for people and brands, at home and at work? And how do we start to prepare for this new world?


Little JavaScript Bundles of Joy

Backend microservices are so hot right now, but it's still the norm for web apps to be big JavaScript monoliths. Problem is, the more people you have contributing, and the more code you add, the slower the build and deployment process becomes. Find out how we tackled this problem at Monzo using independently deployed and dynamically loaded JavaScript modules for our React-based customer support application. I'll share the motivations behind the project, the options we considered, the difficulties we had along the way - and how developer experience has more of an impact on customer experience than you might think.


More tea and coffee on us, because where would we be without caffeine?


Building design systems with words and code

Yes, “design systems” are about design—but not just the visual kind. In this talk, we’ll share how we collaborated across disciplines to create Encore, Spotify’s family of design systems. We’ll dig into two concrete examples of how we unblocked design system challenges and share some lessons we learned in the process of building a system of systems for 80+ different platforms.


13:00 - LUNCH

More tea and coffee on us, because where would we be without caffeine?



Sessions from our Speaker Bursary


More tea and coffee on us, because where would we be without caffeine?



The Layers Of The Web

The World Wide Web turned 30 last year. The web has changed quite a bit over that time. But progress has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary: changes have accreted on top of what has come before. This layered iterative approach also works for building websites. Together we'll uncover how to build resilient, performant, accessible and beautiful structures that work with the grain of the materials of the web.


A wrap up of the day, thanks to all our speakers and sponsors