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Looking Back At SmashingConf San Francisco 2019

Looking Back At SmashingConf San Francisco 2019

Looking Back At SmashingConf San Francisco 2019

Rachel Andrew

This year, SmashingConf took place at the Fort Mason Center which has superb views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. The weather was very kind to us making it a very pleasant location to spend a few days in.

As always with any Smashing Conference, there were plenty of surprises! We had icecream and cookies, our amazing DJ Tobi Lessnow kept everyone well entertained between talks, and Vitaly opened the conference with just the right amount of balloons!

Conference attendees playing with colored balloons

Balloons, anyone? (Image credit: Marc Thiele) (Large preview)

The videos are now posted, so you can see exactly what our speakers got up to, most of them presenting slides-free, with livecoded sessions.

Conference Videos (Day One)

Chris Coyier and Brad Frost sitting at a desk on stage talking

Chris Coyier interviews Brad Frost (Image credit: Marc Thiele) (Large preview)

Conference Videos (Day Two)

Katie Sylor-Miller at a desk on stage with a laptop

Katie Sylor-Miller explaining Git (Image credit: Drew McLellan) (Large preview)

Our attendees collaborated on a Google Doc for both conference days. These documents are a treasure trove of information and links from our speakers.

  • Collaborative Doc (Day 1)
    Notes for talks by Brad Frost, Sara Soueidan, Anna Migas, Darin Senneff, Steve Schoger, Chris Coyier, Jennifer Brook and David P. Simon.
  • Collaborative Doc (Day 2)
    Notes for talks by Miriam Suzanne, Katie Sylor-Miller, Brendan Dawes, Jeremy Wagner, Jason Pamental and Jen Simmons.

In between the scheduled sessions, we had some great lunch sessions on both days from our friends at Deque, Netlify, and Medium.

Photo of DJ Tobi Lessnow on stage with the crowd watching

DJ Tobi Lessnow hard at work (Image credit: Marc Thiele) (Large preview)


Workshops are a great way to spend a day really thinking about a subject. We ran workshops on Monday (the day before) and on Thursday (the day after the conference); they were all sold out, and the rooms were packed! I got to demo subgrid in my workshop which had just appeared in an early build of Firefox the day previously, so they were some of the first people outside of Mozilla to get to see that working.


  • “How To Translate Wireframes Into Accessible HTML/CSS,” Deque Team (free workshop)
  • “Accessible UI Patterns,” Sara Soueidan
  • “Next Steps With CSS Layout,” Rachel Andrew
  • “New Front-end Adventures, 2019 Edition,” Vitaly Friedman

Sara Soueidan leading a workshop

Sara Soueidan running her accessible UI patterns workshop (Image credit: Marc Thiele) (Large preview)


  • “The Design System Process,” Brad Frost
  • “Git To The Next Level,” Katie Sylor-Miller
  • “Advanced CSS & Sass For Modern Applications,” Miriam Suzanne
  • “Smart Responsive UX Design Patterns,” Vitaly Friedman

Side Events

We always want to offer more than the conference, and try to arrange a bunch of side events which offer something for everyone.

Jam Session

On Monday, before the conference began, we had a Jam Session, organized by Mozilla and Shopify and held at the Mozilla offices. In addition to drinks and snacks, there were several micro-talks including:

  • “Creative Design With CSS Shapes And clip-path,” Mandy Michael
  • “Building Accessible Experiences,” Tiffany Tse
  • “The Power Of Code–Based Design,” Marcin Treder
  • “Axe-Pro: A New Kind Of Accessibility Tool,” April Ellsey
  • “Scroll Up! Scroll Up! A Tale Of Animating Over 10,000 Data Points,” Becky Rush
  • “What’s New At Mozilla,” Ali Spivak

Graffiti Walk

Also on Monday, we got together for a graffiti walk led by Scott Whitehead. A group of attendees spent time together exploring the street art of the Clarion Alley Art Street.

The Smashing Run Club

At Smashing SF 2018, Josh Clark suggested a morning run, which I helped organize. I thought we should continue the tradition this year and we had two lovely runs on both conference days out towards the Golden Gate Bridge. It has to be one of the most scenic locations possible for a conference run. It really is a great way to start a day of sitting and learning, by stretching your legs and getting some fresh air.

Conference Party

I was surprised to see so many Wednesday morning conference runners, as on Tuesday night we had a party sponsored by Speedcurve. There were drinks, mediterranean food, and the venue was filled with old-school arcade games!

The Photo Walk

After the final day of the conference, some attendees went off on a photo walk, to enjoy a pleasant San Francisco evening. If you have any photos from that we would love to see them — drop a note in the comments.

There are a few other places you can find conference resources, photos and feedback. If you have written a blog post, posted photos or anything else, add a link in the comments.

Smashing cat stickers on a table

Stickers! (Image credit: Marc Thiele) (Large preview)

Coming Up Next: SmashingConf Toronto

We are going to catch our breath and then we will be straight back into getting ready for our next SmashingConf in Toronto. We still have only a few tickets left, so be quick if you don’t want to miss out.

Note: Tickets to SmashingConf SF were quickly sold out. If you are keen to experience Smashing in San Francisco in 2020, tickets for that event are already on sale with super early-bird pricing.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for live updates when any Smashing Conference is ongoing — we always try and share some of the buzz and information with our friends around the world.

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