Amsterdam Awwwards Conference Day 1

The Awwwards Conference is the most visited digital design awards platform in the world and twice a year they hold conferences in numerous iconic cities all over the world for Designers, Web Developers and Digital Dreamers. The events unite the best agencies and thought leaders in the world of digital design.I decided to go this year to Awwwards Conference in Amsterdam to discover the trends, future predictions and to receive an overview of the current state in the digital industry. In the 2 days I spent there, I attended numerous talks and took the opportunity to do some networking, to share knowledge and to provide and receive constructive feedback.

I wrote an overview of each talk I found insightful. The main points on conference were user experience (how to create a better journey for the user) and how to stay creative.

Let’s start with the first talk from the well known Pablo Stanley, about the processes to design efficiently. The way we use products changes all the time, but the way we work actually doesn’t actually change and we should create great work regardless of what people say.

Raisa Cuevas from Google, explained that mobile load time delays causes the user stress. In addition to that, our attention span is now far smaller than a gold fish.  Hence, we should prioritise our visible content on mobile and lazy load the rest. There were some references on the importance of progressive web apps to boosting engagement, and creating a better user experience.

I began the afternoon of the first day with a talk by Marie Van Driessche, Designing for deaf people, but for everyone actually. The user only reads about 20% – 28% of a website and she mention that way we write for the web can be influential for a better understanding of the product or content:

  • Use headings and sub headings;
  • Short sentences;
  • Use easy accessible language whenever possible;
  • Write in a journalistic style: make your point and then explain it;
  • Write in an active form;
  • Avoid unnecessary jargon and slang, which can increase the user’s cognitive load.

As a final note, she mentioned that we should learn from diversity and never make the phone number field mandatory.

Locomotive, the Awwwards Agency of the Year, gave a talk about Work Hard and Play Harder, a Case for Meaningful Environments. To encourage creativity, they ask themselves how they can improve creating a PLAY environment/ WORK environment. Business’s should be giving people the best environment for them to create their best work. Invest in talent, treat employees kindly and make them feel appreciated. And what’s the result? Pride and accomplishment.

Questions to ask:

  • How do we make our employees really know how important they are to our business?
  • How can all this lead to a better user experience of the websites we produce?

Being open to different ways of adapting and collaborating, they discovered that allowing employees to collaborate early on in the process resulted in 80% of the prototype going into final product as opposed to the initial 50%.

Lastly, Andy Thelander ended the first day of the Awwwards Conference with his talk about Iterative Design and the importance of Creative Coding. A point that stood out to me was when he said “Happiness = Reality – Expectations”. We should always lower clients expectations explaining the limitations of the project on the real world!


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