Great design is much more than aesthetically pleasing pages and properly sized images. Web design is about building meaningful and relevant experiences that guide users through a website and into action. Our design team attended the UX Conference last week and are going to share a little bit about their experience.

Conferences are a great place to network with your peers, learn industry best practices, and gain inspiration from leaders in the industry, but design is one of the most fluid subjects as it is constantly advancing and impacts every aspect of your brand and your website. Unleashed Technology encourages our experts to attend valuable industry conferences, like the UX conference, so they can share and implement what they learn with our team and our clients. See what they learned from the UX Conference below.

What was your favorite session? What was it about?

Matt: My favorite was “How We Design for A Global D2C Platform Discovery+” by Laith Wallace. Laith provided some great insights about the overall design process for creating the Discovery+ app and how his team devised a global design system. The design team consolidated inconsistent treatments seen across a wide range of platforms – including typography, buttons, card teasers, and other interface elements. Figma was used to help 200+ designers and engineers stay on the same page and collaborate. It was interesting to see how his team attacked a complex problem and build a great cohesive experience.

Kayla: My favorite session was “How We Utilize Eye Tracking, Audio and VO in Game Design” by Nathalie Ek. She talked about how the smallest change can affect the entire user experience. Her design team ran into issues when players wouldn’t realize what they were supposed to do in the game and so the feedback they got was negative. They would try thinking outside of the box by thinking what they could do to let the players know. Instead of coming up with even more complex ideas, they added an additional screen at the end of their game intro with just two lines of text describing what they needed to do and then it turned out to be a very popular game. It was interesting to see how you didn’t have to match a big solution to a big problem, you sometimes just need to go back to basics.

What is a key concept or lesson you were able to take away from the conference?

Matt: I learned the value of continuous user research to validate design decisions. We saw a few real-world success stories where small adjustments were made based on user feedback that went a long way to make the experience better. It is important to listen to the actual visitors and not always rely on quantitative analytics data. We should always be iterating designs to make the experience better.

Kayla: I learned the impact that design applications can have on a team and how not setting up work properly first can waste more time later. A lot of similar applications were being used by different teams throughout the conference for similar reasons too. Many stated that they want instant handoffs and easy collaboration across designers. Along with the right program, many mentioned having your designs be cohesive the first time, instead of having 10 different treatments for one thing. Time seemed to be a big factor that people didn’t want to waste because sometimes it would lead to wasting money if they had to redo something on a larger scale.

Who would you recommend this conference for? Beginners, marketers, dedicated or experienced designers?

Matt: This conference is great for anyone in the UX or UI design field with any level of experience. There are a lot of great sessions and workshops that pull in real world applications and show steps taken to solve problems through user research and design exercises. It is also a great way to connect with designers and strategists from all over the world and see what others are doing in their field.

Kayla: I think anyone with an interest in UI or UX with a basic understanding would enjoy this. A lot of the speakers talked about different practices and examples of how UI or UX impacts their work and then the workshops seemed to be going more into the programs and how to implement the practices in your work. I think anyone could find something they could take with them into their own work.

Did you like the way the conference was set up?

Matt: The conference was very well organized and structured. The sessions were great and easy to join. There was plenty of time for Q&A with the panelists after each session. There were short breaks between sessions to grab a coffee and take notes.

Kayla: This was my very first conference experience, so I didn’t know what to expect. Everything was very easy to find, and I didn’t have to search for anything. I thought having a chat box was especially nice because a lot of people would find the resources the speakers would talk about and add it to the chat so everyone could view them.

Did the virtual conference software meet the UX standards talked about at the conference?

Matt: The conference used Hopin for the sessions, chat rooms, expo, and workshops. I thought this was a great application and kept everything in one place. The music between sessions was a nice touch.

Kayla: I thought it did. Nothing was overwhelming especially for having so many presenters. Also, everything had a nice hierarchy within the page. Everything was easy to navigate, and you didn’t have to search for anything.

Would you recommend the UX conference to other designers?

Matt: Absolutely. There are sessions and workshops for all design disciplines. It is a great way to see how people focused on user experience or user interface design work and collaborate with one another. Learning about how others are using research and design tools is extremely valuable.

Kayla: Yes, I think even if you aren’t in the UX field there are takeaways and lessons that you could bring with you in the sense of how to approach your own work. It’s even nice to see how other designers work within their teams and how they are set up within their companies.

Were you able to connect with any industry professionals and network as you would expect from a traditional conference? If not, could they make design changes to encourage more networking?

Matt: The conference software did provide a chat feature during sessions to ask questions and collaborate with others. There were also conference “rooms” or spaces where attendees could join and discuss topics. I joined a few of the discussions after the sessions to listen in, but my time was limited. I think the conference did a great job making collaboration possible.

Kayla: I’m not sure what a traditional conference experience is like. They had small networking opportunities where they would set you up with someone random and they referenced it as “speed dating” and it would be three minutes long. Many people did use their chat feature and would even discuss the presentation together.

Are there any day-to-day changes that you will be implementing after visiting the conference?

Matt: Yes. The conference gave us great insight into what other professionals are doing to create design prototypes quickly and efficiently. There were also great tips on validating design decisions using user survey tools. There was a lot of great material that will help make adjustments to our overall workflow.
 
Kayla: Yes, learning about different design tools was very interesting to see how they can be used and how they can change the workflow. I think even learning about different approaches to design can be useful to see problems in a new way and find different solutions for them.

As the conference was based in Europe, how was it waking up at 4 am ET to learn about UX? Do you wake up in the middle of the night now thinking about UX?

Matt: The sessions started at 4 a.m., but ended around 7:15 am on both days. I was able to take a nap before starting the workday. I’ve been able to sleep soundly since the conference. Of course, I’ll dream about work from time to time.

Kayla: It was a bit difficult waking up at 4 in the morning, but the conference and speakers were interesting, so It wasn’t too hard to stay awake. I haven’t woken up in the middle of the night thinking about UX design, but th