I offer keynote and workshop presentations at internal and industry events around the world.

Over the years I've spoken about many topics, always with the intention to remind listeners that the problems we face are human ones.

I am currently offering presentations and workshops that cover the design system research I've conducted in the last few years.

If you're looking for a presenter or facilitator for your meeting or event, please reach out.

Bring me to your event or organization

Design System Presentations

Wisdom from the Trees

45 minute presentation, Q&A welcome

Design system work is as much about the space between the components as it is about the components themselves. In this 45 minute keynote presentation I share learnings from my experiene running The Question, a weekly collaborative learning conversation where the design system community answers a very specific question and we dive into the data together.

This presentation weaves the narrative of the coastal redwoods together with the power of language and classic systems thinking. The result is an edifying realization of the impact a system can have when we remember that we need each other to move our industry forward in a sustainable way.

The Anatomy of a Design System

30–60 minute presentation, Q&A welcome

Most organizations don't have a clearly articulated, shared understanding of the definition of a design system. Oftentimes, even those closest to the design system haven't aligned on this. Armed with this recognition, I spent many months examining and comparing design systems across industries and company sizes. The end result is The Anatomy of a Design System.

This model breaks down the layers of a system as well as the parts that make up each layer. Having a clear explanation, along with easy to understand visuals, helps teams find that missing shared understanding and encourages the necessary conversations to find their own design system anatomy.

Read The Anatomy of a Design System article

A Maturity Model for Design Systems

30–60 minute presentation, Q&A welcome

For the last five to ten years, systematic design and development practices have been growing and growing. It’s no wonder that, once we put a name on this snowball (hello, design systems), it only picked up speed. If you manage more than one site, if you support more than one brand, if you want to be more efficient or more consistent or more unified in your product building approach—this presentation is for you.

We'll dig into the four major concepts covered by my Design System Maturity Model, developed from years of interviews and industry-wide surveys.

  • The four stages of design system maturity
  • How a design system's origin story impacts its path through maturity
  • A framework for maturing in a healthy way
  • A framework for maintaining stability
Read the Design System Maturity Model article

Design System Culture

30–60 minute presentation, Q&A welcome

The technical and creative aspects of a design system are undoubtedly important, but they are only two parts of a three-part puzzle. The third piece? Culture. Organizational culture, the subculture of a design system team, and (most importantly) the relationship between the two is vital to the success or failure of any systematic program.

In this presentation, I share a model for understanding organizational culture, offer tools for evaluating your own culture, and expose how this knowledge can dramatically impact the approach you take with your design system.

If you've ever felt like you're swimming against the current, this is the presentation for you.

Read the Design System Culture article

Maturing Design Systems

Half-day or full-day workshop, Up to 40 attendees

This workshop is designed to expand your team's thinking about what systems are and how to nurture their healthy maturity inside the unique culture of your organization. We'll dive deep into what design systems are, we'll discuss the four stages of design system maturity, and we'll wrap up with a detailed explanation of the impact an organization's culture has on a design system.

Each section has activities and breakout discussions intended to help attendees make the material practical in their specific context.

My new design system course is available!

This Frontend Masters course is for technical and design leadership looking for strategies to lead, create, and mature your organization's systematic design program. I offer a series of mental models to help shift the way you think about design systems, addressing the root causes of so many design system challenges.

This course covers the anatomy of design systems, how systems mature, how your organization's culture impacts your design system, and a whole lot more.

Fair warning: this is not a course on Figma, React, Zeroheight, or any other tool. This is a chance to let go of the tooling and tackle the hard problems—the people problems.

Take Enterprise Design Systems Management

Previous Speaking Engagements

Front-End Design Conference

Presented in St. Petersburg, Florida on April 25—26, 2024

I offered a 45 minute keynote presentation on my learnings from The Question community. The material covers a range of design system concepts, connecting traditional systems thinking with the power of language.

User Experience Lisbon

Presented in Lisbon, Portugal on May 23—26, 2023

I offered a full day workshop on maturing design systems to 55 people and a keynote presentation on design system culture to over 400 people.

UXDX Community

Presented Online on January 11, 2023

I offered a one hour online presentation along with Q&A covering the Design System Maturity Model.

Smashing Meets Design Systems

Presented Online on November 15, 2022

A 45 minute online presentation alongside Hayley Hughes and Dan Mall about design system culture.

Clarity Conference

Presented in New Orleans, Lousiana on November 9—11, 2022

A 45 minute presentation along with a follow up discussion led by Jeremy Keith on design system culture for Clarity, a design system conference.

Amuse UX

Presented in Budapest, Hungary on October 5-7, 2022

I led a full-day workshop on maturing design systems along with a 45 minute keynote and Q&A session on the anatomy of a design system.

Smashing Conference

Presented in Freiburg, Germany on October 5–7, 2022

A 45 minute keynote presentation with Q&A led by Vitaly Friedman about the anatomy of a design system.

La Product Conference

Presented in Paris, France on June 9, 2022

I gave a 45 minute keynote session on the anatomy of a design system.

La Product Conference

Presented in Madrid, Spain on May 19, 2022

I gave a 45 minute keynote session on the anatomy of a design system.

Front Conference

Presented in Zürich, Switzerland on August 25–26, 2021

I gave a 45 minute keynote presentation along with Q&A covering the design system maturity model.

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