A few people asked what would be my Top 3 recommendations for Usability and Human-Computer Interaction Design conferences to plan for in 2009. I’m looking at this from very Central European centric point of view of course.
What I discovered at this NY event is that because they brought in a lot of out-of-town people they mingled a lot in the hallways, allowing everybody to casually meet others from the industry that are a bit more visible or work for bigger web companies. I also saw basically everyone at all the parties and social events, which by the end gave the whole event a nice homey filling.
I also noticed more people were using backchannel, CrowdVine and Twitter that provided valuable insights at what was happening at other sessions or extra events that I missed for some reason.
My Perfect Plan for Berlin Web 2.0 Expo
The idea of this plan is to take a week off, and fully dive into the â€œWeb 2.0â€ scene. Taking this much time, should allow to actually meet everyone enough times for initial bonds to start happening (and maybe also some idea sparks).
The whole event starts with Barcamp, unconference that is designed by participants. By now these events were done so many times that people have some great presentations ready. More prominent speakers also often speak at Barcamps to test their material and see how well they actually explain their material.
After weekend, you can take monday morning off, to go see the city, but preferably youâ€™ll meet enough people at Barcamp that are also new in town that you can arrange a meet up and go around together or just hang together for lunch. Doing something topical around your interests (semantic web, python enthusiasts, etc. is often good enough excuse to meet).
Alternative is to go to Facebook Developer garage and meet the people who create one of the main social networks of this age.
Make sure that you donâ€™t miss the Ignite event in the evening, as 5-minute presentations are usually extremely enjoyable and thereâ€™s a good excuse to go for a beer with fellow geeks afterwards.
Then the whole conference starts with the workshop day. Iâ€™ve attended workshops a couple of times and I can say that theyâ€™re usually worth their time. Thereâ€™s also a lot less people attending so it gives you easier time to meet new faces in less crowded environment.
The conference and expo days are great by itself, but Iâ€™m not going into detail about this since itâ€™s well covered in other peopleâ€™s writing.
Afternoon parties and extra events are also something to keep an eye out. Conference pages usually have a list of unofficial events, that might require separate RSVP, but keep you busy and mingling.
For bonus points, donâ€™t go home the very next morning. If you can stay another day in the city and hang around at post-conference breakfast or arrange another topical meetup. This way youâ€™ll get to meet yet another group of people.
Party, party, party
Reading above plan assumes a lot of partying and mingling. For me thatâ€™s the main thing about the conferences, as you get to meet all these great people that you can then start forging alliances together or just have great time. Since almost everyone will be from the industry, most of the time the talk will be about things that are somehow related to what we all do, as such youâ€™ll get first hand experience and by listening to lots of anecdotes get some new perspectives.
(this post was inspired by sheer greatness of O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo NY and I don’t get anything in return for writing it)
Here are a couple of Social media and Web 2.0 conferences in August and September 2008. It’s mostly European oriented since that’s my primary continent of work. It’s by no means a definitive list but mostly a list of conferences I plan to visit.
UX Week, 12-15 August, San Francisco – ~$2500 PICNIC, 24-26th September, Amsterdam – ~700-1500â‚¬ Blog World Expo, 20-21 September, Las Vegas – $400
From the neighboring countries to Slovenia there seems to be one Barcamp in Austria on 24th of September. There is also a big BlogFest in Italy, 12-14 September, but most of the information is in Italian which should make planning for this event interesting.
Some people are also mentioning rumors of possible Slovenian BarCamp in fall. It just might happen, but first the organizers need to figure out the time-slots and energy levels.