Being an IT professional, it’s absolutely essential for me to keep learning. Industries change rapidly, and we can’t stop learning if we want to stay relevant. One of the best ways to learn and grow your network is to attend conferences, workshops, training and other professional events.
When I started looking for events in my area, I was frustrated at not finding one place listing all events. I found separate websites created by each event’s organizers, or semiannual blog posts compiled by Smashing Magazine (e.g. ). Considering all the technology available, it was a shame that nobody had created a one-stop resource of great UX events.
Provide a tool for geeks and IT professionals to find information on upcoming conferences, workshops and other events in their desired location.
Lead user experience work, and product management.
What I did
- Value Proposition Development
- Competitive Analysis
- User Interviews
- Task Flows
- Usability Testing
Our initial idea was to build a directory of events for web designers and developers, and later to extend the audience to include gamers and other geeks. We did lots of competitor research and found there wasn’t anything noteworthy out there. (Although, while we were working on this tool, a couple of decent websites with similar ideas to ours did appear on the market). All available solutions were either just event-specific websites, or a short listing of major world events. No search, no map. User interviews with our fellow web and game developers confirmed our idea that here was an opportunity for a new product.
We created a huge list of hundreds of events, capturing all the information we would need to effectively filter and search. Using sketches and wireframes, we received a lot of valuable feedback from our target users, and then proceeded to build the website.
We customized WordPress to fit our needs: added new custom objects for events and speakers, designed a new theme, and used XML to store our data.
The project went live in 2012 and got significant interest from the target audience. Our assumption was that after we seeded the initial list of over 100 events, users would be engaged enough to keep the website content relevant by contributing to the directory. However, real life testing revealed that our assumption was wrong and users only consumed information. Feeding new events to the site manually ourselves was not sustainable. And considering competitors launched their services around the same time, we decided to shut down the project.