For the past few months, I’ve had the privilege to chair the creation of a Web design conference at AIGA Cincinnati, the Professional Association for Design, and, thanks to everyone’s efforts on the board and wonderful speakers, it’s shaping up to be a great one.
When tasked with this event, there were some parameters I wanted to set to make sure it wasn’t your usual industry conference. The first parameter was to have quality speakers.
We have awesome speakers: Khoi Vinh, Molly E. Holzschlag, Stephanie Sullivan, Aaron Gustafson, Ethan Marcotte, Greg Rewis, Kimberly Blessing, Mark Trammell and Juliette Melton.
Second parameter is a major one: I wanted presentors to speak for longer than an hour. It’s a little outside the norm, I know, but as our industry has progressed, easy tips and techniques have given way to expanding technologies and mapping long-term strategies. It doesn’t make sense to simply brush the surface on subjects.
On the flip side, it’s really hard to stay focused in a four hour workshop as an attendee.
So, as a comprimise our workshops run about two hours long. That is enough time for both speakers and attendess to dig deep and ask the tough questions without getting seriously bored.
The third key parameter was price. After doing a survey of numerous Web and design conferences, I’m very confident to say that this conference gives you a more than a fair deal for the price.
The early bird discount makes it affordable–and if you are an AIGA member, you get an even better break on the price. If you want the discount code and are an AIGA member contact your local chapter’s board.
If you aren’t an AIGA member, feel free to use my discount code, INCSCHM, and save $50.
The fourth parameter I looked at was the number of people that would be attending. I didn’t want the conference to be a large event where one would feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of people or feel like you were one soul packed in an overcrowded theatre.
So, we’ve capped the attendance to the first 100 people that sign up. By the end of this conference, you should have a number of genuine friends with the similar goal of honing Web design and development skills, not just a list a business contacts.
The fifth parameter I wanted set was a one-track conference. I firmly believe in the power of having a natural, organic conversation taking place over time. With multi-track conferences, I always felt bad about missing a quality session over another one. The link with other people at the conference is broken and there’s no replacement for hearing that amazing idea that changes your understanding first-hand as it’s being relayed from the speakers’ own presentation.
Also, at the end of each day, there is a Wrap-Up Panel with that day’s speakers.
Ever wish you had time to ask that question at the end of a session or get your point across? Attendees will be able to ask follow-up question or cross-pollinate material from multiple sessions to help keep the conversation and the learning going.
And why have a Web design conference in Cincinnati? Frankly, this is a type of Web conference that doesn’t happen in the Midwest, but it needs to.
The closest this list caliber of speakers has come to the Midwest is Chicago, which is five hours away by car. I’m sorry to say, but the Midwest needs Web design and development education just like the big cities seem to be in need of.
The benefit of also hosting the event in Cincinnati is the affordable hotels. I can’t tell you how shocked I am that the Garfield Suites Hotel is offering loft-sized hotel rooms starting at $99/night. For those traveling out of town for a conference, you can’t find the same price for a similarly sized room in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco or New York City.
And the final parameter? It had to be a conference I would not only want to go to, but I would put down my hard earned cash to see. In a tight economy, expanding or refining your skill set is crucial. The conference I want to go to needs to focus on practical, applicable skills I can use now, rather than the vague big picture stuff.
So, today with great happiness and pride, I’m announcing the In Control Web Design Workshop Conference produced through AIGA Cincinnati, the Professional Association for Design.
This upcoming June 11th and 12th, we are going to have a great time and I invite you to join us.