Professionals looking to stay on top of the latest trends benefit from attending conferences that feature case studies, hands-on training, and interaction with their peers. Many events offer discounts for early registration, so it’s always a good idea to plan well in advance. Here’s a list of the best choices for 2018, along with advice for convincing your boss they’re worth the investment.
Explaining How Events Add Value
When you read the list of conferences below, you’re going to want to sign up for as many as you can fit in your schedule. The big challenge, though, isn’t narrowing down your list, it’s convincing your boss to spend the money on registration and travel while giving you time off to attend.
Before you make your request, find out how the conference you want to attend ties in with leadership and organizational goals. It may be easier to motivate decision makers if your event accomplishes one or more of the following:
- Provides solutions for an organizational pain point
- Supplies material to complete difficult projects currently in progress
- Trains you in processes you can share with your department or team
- Gives you knowledge that will keep management from needing to hire new talent
Once you have an idea how attendance will address needs, find workshops taking place at the event that align with what you want to learn. Pull information on specific skills from workshop descriptions. Research the types of materials presenters will provide that you can take back with you to train others. Videos, workbooks and links to further training are often included with your registration.
While it’s hard to put a dollar amount on the value of what you’ll learn, you can create a benefits worksheet so leadership can quickly compare the event cost to what they will gain. List the conference fee, hotel costs, flight, and transportation fees as expenses, but also use the information you’ve gathered to put the benefits into print. If there’s a discount for early registration, list that as well. Some events, such as UX Immersion, make it easy by offering a cost-to-benefit comparison to help convince your boss. Here are some of the benefits you might receive:
- Learning the latest UX trends, research and techniques for mobile design
- Networking with peers and experts to discover innovative ways others have solved the problems your organization regularly encounters
- Recording expert presentations for later training within your organization
- Receiving a greater understanding of how to apply research to responsive design so your team can complete projects faster
- Obtaining skills that are missing from your department to boost productivity
As you research events, you’ll notice there are many already finalized for early 2018, but some later in the year are still being planned. The agendas and speaker lists won’t be available until closer to the conference date, but email updates and newsletters keep you in the loop. Read reviews from established conferences to begin creating your list. Here are some of your top choices:
Digital Summit Phoenix 2018
Digital Summit offers tools for UX and design, content, search and SEO, mobile and more. The event promises to fill your professional toolkit with actionable takeaways that improve the way you work. Former speakers and event attendees include delegates from brands such as Disney, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. This year’s event has representatives from GoDaddy, Pfizer, LinkedIn and Expedia.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday offer full days of workshops on topics such as conversion optimization and social media strategies. Shorter morning or afternoon sessions also are available. Basic access costs $345 and includes entry to main conference sessions, keynote speakers, the exhibitor showcase, and various networking receptions. Plus and Premium passes provide bonus content and cost $445 and $545, respectively.
Convey UX 2018
Seattle is bustling with technology development and there’s no time to experience it like this conference taking place February 20 through March 1. There may be rain, but temperatures are mild in the Emerald City that time of year, so when you take a break from the conference you’ll be able to enjoy what the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
The conference takes place at the Motif Seattle Hotel and has speakers from Capital One, Facebook, Google, Amazon and more for a range of perspectives and techniques. Coordinators are still adding event sessions, but have already included topics such as Design for Well-Being, Starting Design Projects Right and Designing for VR/AR.
The full conference costs $1,495 and includes all sessions for the three days and lunch Wednesday and Thursday. Participants also take home video recordings and digital copies of presentation materials. Students, government organization employees and employees of charitable organizations are eligible for a discount.
Learn breakthrough methods and specific skills in Newport Beach, California, March 5 through 7. The conference focuses on distributing new techniques for obtaining stakeholder approval, identifying the techniques that make a brand stand out and using design to improve conversion rates. Master workshops last all day, and each day there are three from which to choose.
The conference takes place at the Island Hotel Newport Beach. The hotel offers a special rate of $213 a night for conference participants. The conference itself costs $2,375.
University of Illinois Web Conference 2018
Web designers, marketers, content managers and other professionals gather at WebCon April 4 through 6 in Champaign-Urbana. It’s one of the most affordable conferences with early-bird registration through the beginning of February of $175. The standard price is $250. The event includes networking opportunities and presentations on unleashing inner creativity, using technology to unite people and organizations, and integrating workflows.
An Event Apart Seattle
This Seattle event is held April 2 through 4. The conference has 18 sessions focused on UX, content and code. It offers professionals a chance to walk away from their desks and experience fresh people and new ideas. Speakers are industry leaders with extensive experience and the ability to inspire. Topics start with what’s trending and extend into the future. Event coordinators ask each speaker to provide tips and techniques you can implement right away. Registration includes resources from each speaker and access to a video library of talks from previous events.
Registration includes all sessions, breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Lodging and transportation is not included. Early pricing ends February 5 and costs $1,475.
The third annual Smashing Conference will be held April 17 though 18 in San Francisco. The event provides specific strategies for moving away from basic designs and ineffective code base to create better experiences. The conference has room for only 500 participants and provides 14 speakers specializing in design systems, graphic design, UX and other topics. Conference and workshop tickets cost $599. Individual full-day workshop tickets are $499.
Enterprise UX 2018
Every year, 500 enterprise leaders meet in San Francisco to refocus and redefine the way they transform perceptions. Find out which types of user behavior are most important to track and what UX elements you might be overlooking. Receive real-world insights from top experts to shape business and product strategies. Planners are still creating this year’s agenda, but previous years featured speakers from EightShapes, DigitalOcean and Snagajob. Sign up for their mailing list for information on early-bird discounts and conference updates.
This year, immerse yourself in your craft and learn new techniques and strategies. Face challenges head-on with professionals dealing with the same issues and take what you’ve learned back to your team to create seamless experiences across channels and interactive opportunities.