UX Strat Amsterdam
Who knew running a conference could be so fun?
A Unique Experience
In June of 2019 I was blown away with the chance to help run the UX Strat conference in Amsterdam. Not only because I was in Europe for the first time in my life, but because I was able to gain insights from and help with a part of the UX community in Europe. UX Strat is a large UX Strategy conference and in 2019 they had amazing people from companies like Spotify, Google, Shell, and LogMeIn come and share their experience and knowledge. I was able to be part of this experience because of the incredibly dedicated professors and others and Utah Valley University who are constantly seeking ways for us to connect with the UX community.
There were 7 students, including myself, who were able to come and enjoy this experience. Before going to the conference we were able to meet with Happy Labs and Osudio to work on design challenges. This was another amazing part of the experience in Amsterdam that helped me to gain more insights into how companies are approaching creative challenges. It was a nice way to prepare for the conference and get our minds thinking about design.
When the conference was ready to begin we woke up bright and early to make it on time to the Tropenmuseum to start setting up the conference and preparing for the attendees to arrive. I was tasked with being the primary photographer for the event, which I was both excited and nervous about. Photography from previous years hadn’t provided a lot of high quality images like was hoped for and this would need to be the year that changed. I felt the pressure!
As the conference got going I started snapping photos everywhere I could. It was basically non-stop trying to collect as many good shots as I could. They generally had multiple workshops and presentations happening at the same time and I wanted to make sure that there would be a mix of all sorts of people and events. I tried to listen and collect insights from the small snippets I was able to hear. During breaks, I would copy the photos to the external hard drive, clear the SD card, do as many edits as I could, and maybe make a post to social media if possible. We also needed to keep the photos organized so that we could clean them up and share them quicker after the conference was over. Professor Mike Harper (who organized the event and came with us from UVU), really helped me to stay on top of it and keep organized and I appreciated his help a lot!
I was nervous about whether I was getting the quality of photos that they needed, but I kept focused and trying to do the best I knew how to do. When I heard from Paul Bryan (the creator of the conference), that he was very impressed with the photos, I took a huge sigh of relief and then kept running around just as hard!
We had also created some postcards before leaving to Europe and before the conference we had someone on the team gathering 3D photos around Amsterdam. These photos were then stitched together and tied into the postcard using Augmented Reality with Zapworks. I helped build some animated quotes from a few of the conference presentations, and those were also added to the AR experience with the postcard. The purpose was to give a more immersive look at the city of Amsterdam, and to be a nice memory for the conference attendees. It was a huge hit! They were so popular that we ran out before we could give one to everyone!
I had so much fun being involved with the conference not only because of the people that I was able to learn from, but because of the experience that I had in helping bring it to life. People seemed to be enjoying the photos a lot and quite a few asked how they could get access to them after the conference. I could not have asked for a better experience and I hope to cross paths with such an amazing event again in the future!
Want to check out the conference yourself?