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Conferences Again!

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

After writing about Conferences yesterday it reminded me of a post I came across the other day. Paul’s post talks about design conferences being too safe, many of them going with the same old faces, speaking frequently about the same old things. I have to agree to a certain extent with what he says but I also agree that it’s difficult to strike a balance as well as to get people to pay to see complete unknowns, no matter how fantastic they may be.

But it’s not just the faces that should change it’s also the content. Too often you go to a design conference and learn about HTML and CSS, maybe something about design theory or how to survive as a freelancer. But all too often our jobs require more of us, Paul Boag’s session at FOWD this year highlighted this simple truth. For myself working at Bronco I feel means I’ve had to develop further than if I was at any other company. Not only do I have to know about the bread and butter of design and development but I also have to have an understanding of SEO, being that this is what Bronco is best known for. Yet at design conferences this is hardly raised, the concept frequently seen as evil and anti-user.

The same is probably true at SEO conferences, with the exception of when talking about conversion rates design is rarely spoken about and development only when it impacts on Google’s algorithm. Yet there is one conference that is trying to bridge the gap. Think Visibility is a conference held in Leeds twice a year and although it does lean more heavily to the Search Marketing side it does brand itself as covering the whole process involved in websites.

This year one of the sessions will cover Accessibility and I think it will be an interesting session as I think it’s a subject that conflicts with certain SEO techniques. I wouldn’t expect such a session to be at home in a SEO conference so certainly gives the attendees something new to consider. Think Visibility is a also a well known conference at Bronco with three of the team having spoken at the conference before and this year Dave is making his return as the headline act (well I’m not sure if they have headliners at conferences but he is the last on).

In the future I would like to see Think Visibility stretch even further into the design and development space as well as other traditional design conferences offer a more wide range of subjects. It would be great to see conferences challenging their attendees to learn something new rather than acting as a top-up on the knowledge they already have.