Tired of sitting in a big room listening to someone pontificate about their recent success? So was I until I started attending workshops instead of conferences.
Conferences are not all that bad, in fact it is quite a privilege to be able to attend one. There is certainly plenty to learn and absorb and many talented people to meet. However, a workshop format may help you learn better. This hands on work is what helped me transition from a web designer to a UX designer.
It was 2012 and after hearing Alan Cooper talk at SXSW, I knew that I needed to learn more, so I headed to Cooper’s UX Bootcamp. The class introduced me to the Goal-Directed Design process, but rather than stopping at theory, it provided the opportunity to put what we were learning into practice helping a non-profit with a design challenge. A big advantage of the workshop format is practical experience that makes a real difference.
Helping your organization understand the value of design is vital to actually providing that value to the organization. During the Design Leadership class, I got practical advice on how to do both at the same time and the guided practice I needed to make it all happen. The class size was small, so it was easy to interact with the speakers and attendees. Listening to other’s experience is of some value, but drawing on your own experience is better.
If you don’t want to completely leave the conference bit behind, many have additional or built in workshops. UIE’s User Interface conference is one of the best at combining these two concepts. UI20 in Boston was no exception. Rather than a separately ticketed event, the workshops were built into the conference. The same speakers who presented also ran workshops that bookended the conference. This unique approach allowed attendees to view a particular presentation from multiple perspectives.
If you are lucky enough to go to a conference in 2017, consider a workshop. You just may learn something you can actually take back to your organization.