UXConf BR (event design)

Here, the entrepreneur, the leader and the designer in me are reconciled the best way possible. The history went from creating UXConf BR, a conference we organizers wanted, to a space where people in the community go to have deep conversations.

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Problem statement

  • Maybe what we had in hand, first, was more of a wish than a problem: brazilian designers like me and my partners wanted to have a place to go in between our largest conference, Interaction Latin America (the regional version of Interaction), which was the go-to place for interaction designers at the time if you wanted to grow in the field.

  • What was truly a problem, is that not everyone could afford going outside Brazil (Argentina, Chile, Colombia…) to conferences.

Conceiving the conference.

Conceiving the conference.

Process

In thinking what my role is in UXConf BR and the things I was involved, is easier to list those I wasn't implicated with :)

From the beginning, we always had — me and my 3 partners — a lean approach, since organizing the conference wasn't our plan A. The first edition in 2015 was modest: one day long, for 130 people, in Porto Alegre, our home town.

We published the event page with as much info we had (the venue, some speakers names and that's all). The response was awesome, getting to sold out 30 day before the date, thus indicating the need for this kind of in-person gatherings.

Regarding how we discovered what choices to make, we rarely did formal research. But we love to go to conferences! This is where we do our field studies, benchmarking and we talk to people. New ideas usually come from this observations, plus the feedbacks we gather along the way.

Sketches of mine conceiving graphic materials.

Things I have improved on with this work experience:

I oversaw, with my two partners, all conference aspects from start to finish, here are some of them:

  • How to do the math and get to break even with large sums of money involved

  • Graphic design and visual communication (online and print) was on me since the first days, from the logo, to t-shirts and large panels

  • Curating contents: being intentional about our “editorial” choices, knowing how to read what's hot in the community's mind and choosing the best people

  • Qualifying people to write proposals and speaking in public

  • Being a master of ceremony, putting a face for the conference

  • Doing support by mail and other communication channels

  • Engaging people to volunteer for the event (being persuasive and “selling” our ideas)

  • Copywriting, event promotion, social media management and strategy

  • In the first years, we did the event production 😮

The crowd!

The crowd!

Outcomes and results (so far)

With five editions from 2015-2019, we engraved our conference name in brazilian designer's heart. This conclusion I got from a lot o positive feedbacks. One of them usually goes like this, considering the whole event experience: “oh, they thought of everything!”.

We've created a safe space where people can discuss profound questions without afraid of being repressed, questions like: our role in the world, gender, accessibility, politics, ethics and so on.

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Sold out in all the editions, in 2019 with 80 days of advance.

Some indicators we're in a good way

  • 300 submissions in 2019's call for papers (for just 30 slots!)

  • Sponsorship from the greatest companies in Brazil, specially large banks like Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Itaú

  • Lots of great contents published online, check all the talks from 2019

  • And some kind testimonials

Lessons learned

  • If we did it, you can also do it by yourselves ;) We even publicized our learnings more than once in international conferences (get in touch if you want to know more)

  • We often feel we're doing something greater than ourselves, and I believe that's why people followed us all these years.

 
Graphic design pieces, which were created by me in all editions.

Graphic design pieces, which were created by me in all editions.

Me and Pedro emceeing.

Me and Pedro emceeing.

Our loyal public.

Our loyal public.

Our beloved crew (2019).

Our beloved crew (2019).