Meta Refresh 2013

The design and engineering of user interface on the web

Meta Refresh is a conference on the construction of the user experience on the web. The 2013 edition is about letting go. It’s about learning the skills necessary to build experiences which cannot possibly exist on any medium apart from the internet. It will showcase people who have a deep understanding of what the internet is, and what it can be; people who have built experiences and who can recount their experiences doing so.

The details

Meta Refresh 2013 is a single-track event over two days. All proposals will be evaluated by the program committee consisting of:

The program committee will not consider public voting when making selections, as the current form of voting has a weak correlation to relevance, but will instead look at the discussion each proposal generates. If there is a proposal you find notable, please leave a comment.

For this year’s event, we are seeking original presentations from practising designers and frontend engineers on why something should be done the way you say, rather than how. The conference stage is a place to convince the audience to your point of view. Howto guides go on the website.

As a single track event, you will have the full audience in the room with you, and we expect you to keep it engaged. Please submit examples of prior speaking experience, or a video introducing yourself and your topic, plus proof that you practice what you preach.

Attendance is free for selected speakers. HasGeek will cover your travel to and accommodation in Bangalore from anywhere in the world. As our budget is limited, we will prefer speakers from locations closer home, but will do our best to cover for anyone exceptional. If you are able to raise support for your trip, we will count that towards an event sponsorship.

There are no sponsored sessions at Meta Refresh. Your speaking opportunity is at the discretion of the program committee alone.

If your proposal is not accepted, you can buy a ticket at the same rate as was available on the day of your proposal.

Discounted tickets are available from


We will make the first round of confirmations by late December, a second round by mid-January, and will finalize the schedule in early February. More specific dates as they get closer. The event is on Feb 22-23.

Commitment to open source

HasGeek believes in open source as the foundation of the internet. Our aim is to strengthen these foundations for future generations. If your talk describes a codebase for developers to work with, we require that it is available under a permissive open source license, a license that does not impose itself on subsequent work.

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Meta Refresh is an umbrella forum for conversations about different aspects of design and product including: UX and interaction design CMS, content management, publishing and content marketing Information architecture more

Arun Ganesh


Designing the Wiki way - Experiences from the center of the open web

Submitted Jan 29, 2013

I had got a unique opportunity to work for the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) Language Engineering team as a UI/UX designer for crucial localization components of the mediawiki software. I would like to share my experiences on the design process we followed in the face of the unique community and organizational challenges in an open source setup.


In November 2011, the senior designer of the WMF, Brandon Harris came to Mumbai and spoke of a unique UX issue Wikipedia was facing - language switching, between 300 languages.

Six months later, the foundation contracted two designers into the Language Engineering team to design a language selection widget that would allow anyone in the world to switch from a foreign language to his native language with minimal effort.

On our plate was:

  • A UX problem no one had ever solved satisfactorily for non-English users of the web
  • A design team with no prior experience in designing for the non-English web
  • A highly vocal and opinionated community of English Wikipedians and mediawiki developers
  • Designing in an open source - agile development environment

My talk will take you through our experiment of negotiating these barriers, the complications of design in the open source world and ultimately, the rewards of it.

My observations come from a personal perspective and cannot be considered as the official views of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Speaker bio

I believe that the tools of future change lie in open source. Having contributed significantly to Wikipedia and the OpenStreetMap projects for several years, and being an interaction designer gives me a unique understanding of community dynamics and UX design.

Having had the opportunity to design for one of the greatest collaborative project of our civilization, I feel I have a responsibility to share my experiences, so that others can learn, build upon and improve things for the future.


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Hosted by

Meta Refresh is an umbrella forum for conversations about different aspects of design and product including: UX and interaction design CMS, content management, publishing and content marketing Information architecture more