November 8, 2019

World Usability Congress in Austria

World Usability Congress in Austria: Why to go and what to do – our tips and observations

We have long wanted to attend a large-scale European conference on design, and so in October, we went to Graz (Austria) at the World Usability Congress 2019. We have gathered our thoughts and impressions in this post – have a read!

The World Usability Congress is a two day international UX conference, which was held in Graz, Austria for the seventh time.

Here are some thoughts after attending the conference:

1. The World Usability Congress is about networking.

Yes, there are sessions with speakers, but nevertheless this event is mainly about acquaintances and communication and not about insights. It is especially useful for young and ambitious people. Companies come here to invite for internships and find new employees, there are stands of specialised universities. So, if you want to meet with potential European employers and get to know them, this is a very convenient platform for networking in an informal setting (with loads of delicious food, by the way).

2. Foreign speakers (perhaps, only at this particular conference) are reluctant to share real cases and especially their fails. If we can easily admit that “yes, we wanted the best, but it turned out how it turned out, but we learned our lesson and now we know how to do it, hooray!” – we didn’t hear that there. But we were pleased that, in general, the common vision of design and UX trends coincided with the vision of European professionals.

3. Next time, it seems, we’ll have the courage to come to the World Usability Congress as speakers, not just listeners. We realised that we also have something to share, and this is inspiring!

If you also want to attend the World Usability Congress, here are some tips from us:

1. Prepare a landing page with your presentation – who you are, what you do, etc.

2. Install the LinkedIn app – new friends will be adding you via QR code.

3. Bring plenty of chargers and power banks with you. There are spots at the conference where you can charge your laptop or phone, but in the afternoon all sockets will be occupied.

4. All presentations are available to participants within a month, so don't waste your battery on taking notes.

5. The cloakroom fee is €1.5 per item. Be mentally prepared for this!

6. If you are staying in Graz for a few days, buy a 24-hour transport ticket or a weekly pass – it's cheaper.

7. Most supermarkets work from 8 to 22. If you want to have something to eat before the conference, it is better to walk to the city center. But to be honest, the best option is to eat at the conference)

8. Get a ticket with a networking dinner. There are fairly short breaks between speeches, so you won't be able to have a meaningful conversation. But dinner is just perfect for this.

9. The list of speakers and the entire agenda are known before the conference. If you have any urgent questions on the topic, we recommend to prepare them in advance and ask after the speech (don't be shy). But there is no list of participants. To find out who is in front of you, you need to go up and introduce yourself.

10. The organisers are very attentive, and there are information desks in every corner. If you want to clarify something, there is always someone to ask. In this regard, everything is super cool.

And finally, the conference has an adequate schedule – we even managed to see some local attractions)

P. S.: We spent this week at an even larger conference – Web Summit 2019 in Lisbon and can’t wait to share this experience with you. Stay tuned for more updates.

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