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Blend Conference: What I'm Looking Forward To

Blend Conference 2013

This Friday, I’ll be heading to Blend Conference, a brand-spanking new generalist conference in Charlotte, NC. The three-day conference boasts workshops and 50 speaker sessions on user experience, design and web development. After attending an inspiring design conference earlier this year, I’m excited to see what I can learn and create after Blend Conference. Here’s what I’m looking forward to most about Blend:

A Tech Conference Close To Home

Despite housing an incredibly large amount of talented designers, developers, web agencies and tech companies, good tech conferences in North Carolina are few and far between. Located just a couple hours from the NMC office, I’m excited for the chance to not travel far to see a great list of speakers, but also meet and interact with designers and developers that work close to me.

Speaker Diversity

As a woman in the tech industry, I’ve noticed firsthand how rare it is to have a solid lineup of female speakers at a conference. The organizers of Blend intentionally set out to have a 50/50 male/female speaker ratio. I’m very excited to hear a perspective that is often lost at tech conferences, and meet other ladies in the industry.

A Variety Of Talks

As a front-end developer turned web designer, attending a conference with sessions in design, UX, and development is like a dream come true. Here are a few sessions in particular I can’t wait to hear:

One Size Fits None: Creating Flexible Design Processes

We’ve been including responsive web design in our basic web package for about a year now at NMC, yet my design process has changed very little from when I was creating static width sites. I’m very interested in learning more about Happy Cog’s Yesenia Perez-Cruz’s mobile design process, toolkit, and solutions in this session.

Design Renegade

I saw this session’s speaker, James White of Signalnoise at Creative South 2013 and cannot wait to hear him speak again! His colorful 80’s metal style and illustration projects could not be more different than my own, but there’s something incredibly inspiring about his story about how creating personal projects on nights and weekends led to him making projects he loves full-time.

Convincing Clients Without (Much) Bravado

Trying to convince a client that doesn’t know traditional design principles that they should go with your beloved design is sometimes the hardest part of the job. I’m really looking forward to hearing Viget designer, Mindy Wagner, speak on her process on moving through obstacles in the approval process and sharing those with the NMC team. It’ll also be great to hear from another designer in the Triangle!

Going to the conference? Let me know!

If you’ll also be attending Blend Conference this weekend, reach out to me in the comments here or on Twitter @aabennet. I’d love to hear what you’re most looking forward to about this conference!

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