Our 8 Favorite UX and Usability Conferences in 2013

| February 14, 2013
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Were you the kid who (maybe secretly) loved going to school? Because in between all of the social activities you actually enjoyed learning?

If you’re a lifelong learner, this passion has never gone away. So you also want to attend the best user experience, design, or usability conferences. (Of course, if you were more of a teacher’s pet, many of these conferences are also accepting proposals. . . )

Here are some of our favorite user experience and usability conferences, workshops and training sessions for 2013. 

Pull out that business card—it’s time to learn from the best in the usability industry.

1. ConveyUX, March 4-6, 2013

  • Where: Seattle, WA
  • Website: http://conveyux.com
  • Cost: $1,195
  • Speakers18 speakers including
    • Jared Spool, User Interface Engineering
    • Vijay Kumar, Illinois Institute of Technology
    • Erika Hall, Mute Design Studio
    • Carol Taylor, Rhapsody
    • Luke Wroblewski, author of Mobile First, Web Form Design, and  Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability

With speakers hailing from some of the biggest software giants in the nation (like Google and Microsoft), you’ll be getting more than you pay for as you explore usability topics related to software. This year, Heather Gold will emcee the event. Just don’t forget to bring your umbrella—as the site reminds us—you’re visiting Seattle.

2. IA Summit, April 3-7, 2013

Focused and passionate about usability, the IA Summit’s goal for this year is to learn how to build bridges to those “outside the information architecture and user experience disciplines.” Packed with about 50 sessions of varying lengths (20-minutes, 40-minutes, and 90-minutes), this conference is well-worth its $750 early registration fee. The summit is affiliated with the American Society for Information Science and Technology and the Information Architecture Institute.

3. Boston UX Conference, May 29, 2013

Unless you can be in two places at once, you will not be able to get to all 32 sessions offered during this one-day UX conference in Boston. You will brush shoulders and network with students, practitioners, and experts in the UX community. Boston UX is a regional chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association (UXPA). In addition to their annual conference in the spring, they also offer free monthly meetings and quarterly workshops within the Boston area. If you live in Boston, you should have lots of opportunities to network with the UX community!

4. Nielsen Norman Group Usability Week Training Camps, Various Dates

Who doesn’t want to learn from the experts? NN/g, led by Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman, and Bruce Tognazzini, specializes in providing week-long training, ideal for organizations who want to “spread the user experience perspective throughout the entire organization.” These in-depth courses of best practices and methods by the experts will keep you coming back.

5. UXPA International & UXPA D.C., July 9-12, 2013

The Usability Professionals’ Association organization is over 20 years old and now includes members from 60 countries. This year, the International conference will be held in conjunction with the DC chapter in Washington, D.C.

6. SXSW Interactive, March 8-12, 2013

Of course the most popular and creative technology conference every year will host a track on usability and user experience. Many of the sessions in either the Design & Development track or the Gaming and Game Development track address usability topics—and besides, who doesn’t want to attend the largest tech conference?

7. An Event Apart, Various Dates

If you love alistapart.com, then you’ll love their 2-day web design regional conferences with 12 speakers and sessions. Each regional conference also offers a 1-day intensive workshop, which is Multi-device Web Design by Luke Wroblewski this year.

8. IRWD, February 11-13, 2013

You probably won’t hear any earth-shattering new theories at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference (IRWD) related to usability. But this might be a good conference for you to find potential clients, since the conference is geared toward ecommerce sites—who need usability consulting for their sites and purchasing processes. Top-notch design firms offer 30-minute consultations to attendees.

What’s Your Favorite UX or Usability Conference?

Have you attended any of these? What are your recommendations? What’s your favorite?