How to Select the Best Web Design Conference for You

Tips for choosing the conference that best fits your specific needs

A presenter at a business conference
Choosing the right web design conference is important to your success.

Attending a web design conference can be an exciting and professionally fulfilling experience, but with so many conferences to choose from, you must determine exactly which one(s) you hope to attend.

Let’s take a look at some tips you can use to help you find the right web design/development conference for your specifics needs.

Think About What You Hope to Learn

While some web conferences cover a variety of topics, other are narrowly focused on very specific technologies or ideas.

There are conferences that are dedicated to responsive web design and others focused on typography for the web. There are events that are centered on specific CMS-platforms or certain coding languages or even some of the specific sub-disciplines of web design, like search engine marketing or content strategy. To beginning narrowing down your choices, you should start by determining exactly what it is that you hope to learn.

In my experience, I have always found the conferences that cover a broad range of topics to be the most rewarding, but that is because those events appeal to my specific needed as more of a web generalist.  Because your needs may be different than my own, the best events for you may also be different.

Consider the Location

Web conferences take place all over the world, so you should determine whether you want to attend a conference close to home or if you would prefer to travel.

I always find that traveling for a conference allows me to better immerse myself in the event. Because I am away from home, I am focused exclusively on that event and not thinking about which train I will take home or what obligations may be waiting for me when I get there.

When I go away for a web conference, I really get the most out of the experience, but there is a higher price to pay when you attend a conference away from home, namely travel expenses.

The cost of transportation, lodging, and food can easily cost you more than the ticket to the conference itself. If you or your company have the training budget to absorb those costs (more on budgets in a moment), then this may be feasible. Otherwise, you may need to look closer to home and attend an event that will not require additional travel costs.

Know Your Budget

Web conferences are not inexpensive. Depending on the event, the cost can range from a few hundred dollars for a ticket to a few thousand, and that is before any of those aforementioned travel expenses are added on. As you begin researching web conferences, it is essential to know what your budget it for these events.

Most events offer early bird discounts that can save you hundreds of dollars, so if your budget is tight, look for deals by registering early.

If you are a student or taking a web design course of some kind, the conference may actually have a reduced student rate that you can take advantage of. If the website for the event does not list this reduced rate, consider contacting the organizer to see if they may be able to help you out.

Review the Speakers and Sessions

If you attend events on a regular basis, you will start to notice that many of the same presenters and sessions are featured at multiple events.

This makes sense when you consider how much work those speakers put into their presentations. They want to get multiple uses out of them and use them for different audiences. If you have seen that speaker/presentation before, however, you may not get much out of seeing it a second time.

By reviewing the speakers and topics that will be covered at an event, you can determine whether or not it seems worthwhile for you to attend. This is especially true for those events that cover a range of topics. In some cases, there may be one or two sessions that sound great to you, but if you discover that the remainder of the event is not what you are looking for, you will be able to quickly determine that another conference may be a better use of your time and training budget.

Mind Your Calendar

Conferences don’t always falls on convenient times in your calendar.

If you have other events booked, either professional events or personal obligations, knowing when those conferences falls is yet another way you can narrow your options.