Here’s an exercise for you: pick a random month – doesn’t matter when – and pick a major city. Finally, pick the design conference you’d like to attend. What started as an odd (to me, at least) trend has grown into an international phenomenon: web design conferences are everywhere. And they aren’t just for W3C geeks anymore; they’re for everyone! The only problem? Choosing the one that’s right for you.
Most designers know they should attend conferences. Working in organizations that aren’t known for impeccable design – or worse yet, working on their own – these designers can feel incredibly isolated. Part of the cure to the common design rut involves discussing ideas with others, learning something new, and changing their perspective.
So discussion is obviously a good place to start. But what about paid workshops? informal break-out sessions? un-conferences, even? Because there are simply so many options around getting the conversation started, it’s easy to understand how some conference organizers get it wrong. Luckily, most get it right.
In the past, some of our favorite conferences have included An Event Apart, dConstruct, and, of course, UX London (which we’re excited to be sponsoring this year). But in the spirit of making good things even better, we’ve begun to discuss the particulars of conferences with their organizers, thinking of ways to improve these fantastic events.
The “perfect” conference
If it existed, the “perfect” conference would obviously bring with everything we love about the aforementioned conferences: inspiring speakers, fantastic venues and, of course, amazing after parties. Moreover, it would help clarify the impact of design to those unfamiliar with it (like TED). But maybe that’s just me. On the homepage of UX London, Don Norman describes his prior experience with such an event:
I came. I listened. I stayed. Great event, great speakers, great crowd, great venue. Learn, network. enjoy. Isn’t that what great conferences are all about?
Which makes me think: “oh yeah, there’s networking!” We all have reasons we love conferences, and organizers are constantly trying to improve. What are your thoughts?
Share your thoughts and win
Because we’re not terribly experienced with organizing these kind of events (though the idea has crossed our minds…), I wanted to know: what might potential attendees—in this case, our readers—like to see? Potential choices include:
- Target audience Does it cater to newbies or advanced practitioners?
- Tracks Does the conference offer multiple sessions at the same time?
- Time span Is it held over just one day or two?
- Subject matter What kinds of topics does it cover?
- Speakers What speakers—from what backgrounds—would you expect to see/meet?
- Additional Options Are there workshops? City tours? Breakout sessions?
Here’s how to enter
For your chance to win one of these fantastic prizes, just:
- Follow UX Booth and UX London on Twitter
- Leave a comment on this post detailing your perfect conference might look like. Be sure to include your twitter handle!
- We’ll announce winners on February 3rd, contacting you via Twitter.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that these kindles come pre-loaded with over $100 of O’Reilly titles? Chock-full of books related to design and development, they’re easily worth about $250 apiece.
By sharing your thoughts, you’re much more likely to attend an event catering to your desires. We’ll see you in the comments below, and at UX London in April!
The winners have been chosen! Congratulations to Mike Houghton & Andrea Moed!