Last week, we were back again in the amazing city of Amsterdam for the 10th edition of Awwwards Conference 2019. The event is a great opportunity to attend quality talks held by world-renowned designers and agencies from around the world, and a chance to dip our toes in the creative pool of the Awwwards community.

We kicked off day one with a bit of early morning sightseeing and snapping, on are our way to the venue at the DeLaMar Theater. In typical first day fashion, we arrived with a huge amount of excitement, picked up our lanyards and tote bag filled with goodies, noting the great print quality and stock choice on the book and notepad. And then got stuck into the complimentary coffee and macarons, at an enriching venue to say the least.

A warm welcome was received from Peter Smart, our host throughout the conference, and a great one at that, we were looking forward to his own talk later on.

Pablo Stanley opened the first day with a very personal talk about his creative journey. A truly captivating story inspiring designers, to remain focused and reminding them that you first must accept who you are and believe in your abilities in order to bring that little extra to projects.

Joel Van Bodegraven & Pedro Marques – Machine Learning is a UX problem

This was an informative talk delving into UX from a machine learning aspect. The pair shared a lot of great examples such as a comparison between Netflix and YouTube UX (Netflix being the better of the two) Touching on relevant subjects such as giving the user transparency, a sense of control and decision fatigue on the user.

They finished with a great quote “We’re not here just to solve problems, we are here to help develop the technology further.” – Pedro Marques 

Lorenzo & Sergio from AQuest were another favourite, their talk was in a similar vein to Pablo Stanley focusing on believing in your ideas and how to make them ‘flow’ using only the essentials to make it work. Our key take away – No longer wasting time in meeting unnecessary needs.

Raisa Cuevas from Google – High speeds, higher expectations.  

She provided us with valuable, in-depth knowledge on page speeds and in particular mobile speed. Also sharing some great insights on load times and attention spans highlighting the effect this can have on conversions.

  • Good UX = Good ££
  • Top mobile site factors that increase bounce rate: DOM ready time + Full-page load time
  • 1-second faster = up to a 27% increase in conversion rate
  • “Prioritise visible content and lazy load the rest”
  • “Emphasize speed in design briefs”

Peter Smart – Creating Magic

Peter Smart, Lead Designer at Fantasy provided great insight into how an international agency manages complex briefs and their process behind the project case study for Royal Caribbean company. Known to create rich experiences, Fantasy has shown us how valuable a wireframe is.

Marie Van Driessche – Designing for deaf people, but for everyone actually.

Marie’s vibrantly designed talk was very informative, making the audience aware of how to be conscious of designing for people with impairments. She showed great examples of design and UX along with creative campaigns for awareness.

Locomotive – Work Hard and Play Harder, a Case for Meaningful Environments

Great talk from the guys at Locomotive on how dynamics in a company can affect a project outcome, touching on collaboration and involving everyone early on in a project, more so creating a workspace in which everyone is free to express themselves. They also touched on how rapid prototyping can help influence the client due to a more realistic sense of the final product.  

Shoutout to Adyen for the afterparty on the first night, it was an awesome venue the SkyBar, It was a great opportunity to chat with everyone including the guest speakers.

Ida Aalen – What designers can learn from (code) review

Day 2 began with a very insightful talk centered around collaboration and reviewing each other’s work, which we like to do a lot of in BED as we are a small team we all work very close.

  • Critique the work, not the author.
  • Be critical, but remain affable and curious.
  • Differentiate between a) suggestions, b) requirements, c) and points that need discussion or clarification.
  • Move discussions from text to face-to-face.
  • Don’t forget to praise the good parts!

Daan Klaver, the man behind Build in Amsterdam a multi-award-winning eCommerce powerhouse. This was our favourite talk of the conference, due to us both in the same market it was interesting to hear what tips and advice he had to share with us.

Highlights:

  • “Every brand has something to sell. So in our mind, every brand is eCommerce,”
  • Don’t pitch for work: Your working for free and using up valuable time where you could use that time in the project. You wouldn’t ask several painters to come to your house and each paint a wall then make a decision afterward on who to choose. Your portfolio should speak for itself.
  • Take a nap for 26 mins between 1-3pm would improve performance by 34% and alertness by 54%. (proven by NASA research) We’ll get back to you if we get approval on that…

Thanks for the free beanie too!

So a massive thanks to Awwwards for having us at this year’s conference, we met some inspiring people over the two days and gained some valuable knowledge around UX, along with tips and tricks from the speakers that we will no doubt be implementing into our projects very soon so keep an eye out.

Top tip to remember, have confidence in your ideas and don’t forget to be creative!  

By Megan

22 / 02 / 2019

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