The Noisy Little Monkey Blog

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Organising a UX Conference is Terrifying!

Posted in UX, Posted in Digital Gaggle by Claire Dibben on 14-Oct-2016 13:15:09

It’s 5am on Wednesday 5th October and I’ve woken abruptly from my already restless sleep with a pang of dread.

Why?

The conference I’d been busy planning for the last few months was starting in a couple of hours and I was TERRIFIED. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve organised plenty of events in my time for thousands of people but this was different. It was a conference on UX* and I had to sort out ‘tech stuff’. I felt out of my depth. I drifted back to sleep for 45 minutes until my alarm went off and reluctantly headed to the Colston Hall to start setting everything up.

Flash forward 6 hours later; the event is over and guess what? I BLOODY LOVED IT. “Wait, do you mean to tell me that those hours you spent filled with anxious anticipation were actually a complete waste of your time and energy?” Yup. Aren’t us humans interesting creatures?

Organisation is KEY

Turns out that those weeks spent promoting, liaising, briefing, ordering and organising (preparing for real users to turn up and experience the conference) meant that the whole thing wasn’t quite as big a catastrophe as I had assumed it might be. In-fact, the snapchat filter, Spotify playlist and breakfast sarnies were a hit.

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Sure, some things didn’t go so well…

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But now I know what I need to change for next time!

And, to be honest, the things which didn’t quite go to plan were the things I kind of expected: mainly everything to do with any kind of technology. I’ll openly admit to knowing very little about tech set-up. You say HDMI, I say WTF? And the thought of one of the presentations breaking or awkwardly buffering mid event filled me with abject horror. Luckily, I have other monkeys who are friggin’ awesome at that kind of stuff and took the reins straight off me (seriously, cheers Josh).

So, at the end of the day, what did I learn?

  1. Don’t create a bunch of slides which are basically impossible to read (especially at a conference on UX, lolz)
  2. When dishing out free bacon sandwiches, see if anyone has any dietary requirements (cause that’s just a nice thing to do)
  3. Use mail merge when creating name badges otherwise you’ll be doing them until 9pm the night before and sobbing like this:

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All in all, the Digital Gaggle conference got some great feedback from its attendees, speakers and sponsors and I’m now armed with a ton of ideas and improvements for the March 2017 event. Turns out all I needed was a little faith and an awesome group of monkeys helping me along the way.

The Digital Gaggle Team

If you’d like to come along to a future Digital Gaggle conference or meet-up, you can subscribe to the newsletter here.

*Legit didn’t know what UX was until I mustered up the courage to ask someone sat next to me on my second week.

Tags: UX, Digital Gaggle

Claire Dibben

Claire Dibben

Events & Marketing Manager Claire writes about events, and, uh, marketing.