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We so often hear from UX Academy graduates that networking was the number one reason they were able to land a job.

Whether you already have a job you love as a UX designer, or you’re just starting to consider a career in UX design, heading to a UX design conference in 2020 could be exactly what you need.

Check out this list of the top 20 UX design conferences to attend in 2020. We’ll be updating this list as more details are announced!

#1: Interaction20

When: February 2–7, 2020
Where: Milan, Italy 🇮🇹

Interaction 20 is a 3-day conference featuring 80 talks, 21 workshops, and awards in 6 categories. This year, the theme is “A New Dawn,” which will explore the meaning and evolution of designing almost anything for anywhere. 

Added Bonuses:

  • Access to the Leonardo exhibition at the opening party in the Science Museum of Milan.
  • Design Community Dinners in iconic restaurants throughout the weekend.
  • Studio Tours to explore some of the most interesting design studios in Milan.
  • Closing party at Studio Novanta—a gloriously post-industrial warehouse.

Notable Session:Plan Z: A case for redesign” by Marco Steinberg

“A call for innovation not just to deliver better services, but more fundamentally to redesign the form of government itself. A smarter government will deliver smarter solutions, so goes the thinking. But how and where will this smarter government emerge?”

Notable Speaker: Giorgia Lupi, Information Designer

“Giorgia Lupi is an information designer whose work takes a humanistic approach to data. In her practice, she challenges the impersonality of data, designing engaging visual narratives that reconnect numbers to what they stand for: stories, people, ideas.”

#2: South by Southwest (SXSW) Design Conference

When: March 13–22 2020
Where: Austin, Texas, United States 🇺🇸

SXSW is an annual week-long conglomeration of festivals and conferences that has taken place since 1987. It’s huge. The Design track covers all sorts of things from futuristic product design to design-thinking approaches. This year’s programming will examine how design informs our interactions, shapes our experiences, and plays a critical role in problem-solving.

Added Bonuses:

  • Entry to the 2020 Place by Design contest, in which contestants present their scalable solutions for improving our shared landscape.
  • Access to SXSW’s suite of networking tools–SXSW GO Mobile App, SXSW Social, and the SXSW Schedule.
  • Check out the SXSW Music, Film, or Comedy festivals happening simultaneously. 

Notable Session:Voice Is The New Command Line” by Joseph Price, Senior Product Manager @ NPR

“It’s been 5 years since the first Amazon Echo launched. While smart speaker device shipments have mirrored the explosive growth of the mobile era, the voice experience lagged mobile’s rapid expansion in capability. In fact, many of today’s voice experiences recall the earlier era of command line computing—limited, unforgiving, and not mass-market friendly. This talk will explore the current state of voice by contrasting it with the mobile app boom and highlight the key factors currently inhibiting voice experiences. It will forecast what it will take from voice to emerge from its current adolescent command line phase.”

Notable Speaker: Mark Webster, Director of Product (Voice UI/UX) @ Adobe

“Mark Webster is Director of Product at Adobe, focusing on voice integration for Adobe XD. He is also responsible for driving product strategy for emerging technologies within XD. Mark joined Adobe through the acquisition of the company he founded, Sayspring, which offers a design and prototyping platform for voice interfaces.”

Mark is leading the session, “Designing for a World Beyond Screens.”

#3: UX Copenhagen

When: March 30–31, 2020
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark 🇩🇰

UX Copenhagen is a 2-day conference filled with content from 20+ speakers, hands-on workshops, and networking opportunities. This year’s theme is “Influence & Designing for Good,” which will cover topics like DesignOps, privilege, tech for social good, futures thinking, ethical OS, designing against domestic violence, and even rocket science.

Added Bonuses:

  • Time spent in the “happiest, healthiest city in the world,” Copenhagen.
  • A specific focus on designing for good, with sessions like “Design Heroes: Design for Good in Action”

Notable Session: “Designing For Your Worst User” by Marisa Morby, UX Designer @ Netlify

“UX Design has typically been about making experiences easier, more enjoyable, and more valuable for our user. But in recent years, we’ve started to realize that there truly are bad actors whose primary intention is to do harm. How might we take what we already know about UX Design and design for those bad actors to make the experience harder and less enjoyable explicitly for people who are trying to abuse our products and apps?”

Notable Speaker: Trine Falbe, UX Strategist, Designer, and Author

“Trine Falbe has been working professionally with Internet related things since 2001.  She is a researcher, consultant, speaker and lecturer who works in the intersection between UX, business and ethical design. Author of the books White Hat UX and the upcoming The Ethical Design Handbook.”

#4: The UX Conference

When: March 2–3, 2020
Where: London, United Kingdom 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

The UX Conference is an intimate 2-day experience featuring 14 speakers and 300 guests ranging from fellow junior to senior UX, UI, visual and content designers. The talks will all happen on day 1 and the hands-on workshops on day 2. 

Added Bonuses:

  • The conference will run at London's historic Tobacco Dock.
  • Truly hands-on workshops on Crafting a Design Language System, Prototyping UI, Content Design, and A/B Testing.
  • Networking opportunities with designers from OpenTable, Toptal, Transport for London, and more. 

Notable Session:Communicating With Intent” with Andrew Godfrey, Senior Product Designer @ Spotify

“As designers, it’s often the visible and tangible aspects of a design practice that are the focus of our attention. But what about the unseen, inherent behaviours that exist within our organisations? How might communication be impacting our best intentions, and unconsciously creating undesirable experiences for our users? Strong communication skills are essential for effective collaboration, helping us navigate the intangible forces that are inadvertently impacting our design efforts and focus. We’ll explore practical habits, principles, and lessons learned from a fully distributed organisation that can help improve collaboration and indirectly influence positive change in our design practice.”

Notable Speaker: Hayley Hughes, UX Manager, Polaris Design System @ Shopify. 

“She formerly pioneered the Design Language at IBM, and led the evolution of the Design System at Airbnb. Hayley’s work has been featured in Women Who Design, Under Consideration, and 26 Innovations by 26 Women. She is a certified IBM Enterprise Design Thinking Leader and contributed to the Adobe + Idean e-book, Hack the Design System.” 

Hayley is leading the session, “Creating Unity, Not Uniformity with Design Language Systems.”

#5: WebCon

When: April 8–10, 2020
Where: University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, United States) 🇺🇸

Added Bonuses:

  • Being at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign puts you in the same hallways as 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, 23 Nobel Laureates, the inventors of YouTube, PayPal and a long list of game-changing innovators.
  • This conference is very affordable: tickets are only $50–$200.

Notable Session: “Around the Web in 70 Days: The Radical Reintroduction of Gies Business” by Meagan Hennessy and Garrett Pauley @ Gies College of Business

“Some website redesigns are akin to just a fresh coat of paint. At Gies College of Business, we chose to burn the house down and build a new one with a better foundation. The final result is a site that better meets our users’ needs and that we coded, populated, and launched within 70 days of receiving our vendor's static design comps. Three members of the IT Partners and Gies' Marketing and Communications team explain the scope of this project.”

Notable Speakers: Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson

“Emily Thompson is a long-time business coach and creative warrior, helping retailers, makers, coaches, and designers develop an online business model and grow their creative business. She is also the founder of Almanac Supply Co., a retail business that makes and curates products that help people connect with nature. Kathleen Shannon is the founder of Braid Creative and Consulting, a boutique branding agency and consultancy she co-owns with her sister. Together they have helped thousands of creative entrepreneurs authentically brand and position themselves as creative experts. Emily and Kathleen co-host a podcast called Being Boss for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, and side-hustlers.”

#6: An Event Apart 

When: April 13–15, 2020
Where: Washington DC, United States 🇺🇸

An Event Apart is a web design conference for UX & front-end experts. Over three days you’ll discuss design, code, and content for interaction designers and developers. This conference in Washington DC is the start of a series of An Event Apart conferences to run in 2020 in cities like Seattle, Boston, Minneapolis, Orlando, and San Francisco.

Added Bonuses: Your Three-Day Pass includes admission to the three-day Washington D.C. conference, breakfast and lunch on all three days, access to all social events, and schwag.

Notable Session:Truths and Myths About Animation in our Work,” by Val Head, Design Advocate @ Adobe

“As an industry we make many assumptions about animation and its role in our work. Assumptions like: You need to be a motion designer to do UI animation, or that animation is just an extra decoration. These assumptions can hold us back from fully appreciating the potential of UI animation and hinder our design decisions. In this session, Val will cover common assumptions around UI animation and how understanding each—whether a myth or a truth—can impact your work. Learn how to successfully share motion ideas across design and development; to create meaningful principles around animation for your product; what animation can bring to the table for good UX; how to plan and choreograph multiple UI animations throughout a project; and more. You'll come away with a renewed confidence on how to effectively pull off UI animation.”

Notable Speaker: Derek Featherstone, Chief Experience Officer @ Level Access

“Derek Featherstone is an internationally known speaker, practitioner, and authority on accessibility and inclusive design. He has been working on the web since 1999, when he left his career as a high school teacher to start his own web design company. Derek is now the Chief Experience Officer at Level Access—focused on ensuring that accessibility and inclusion are an integral part of creating outstanding customer experiences. He teaches teams accessibility concepts and skills, and leads hands-on workshops with teams of all sizes. Working with Derek will help you analyze and improve your process, and incorporate accessibility and inclusive design processes into your UX and service design practice, and development methodologies.”

#7: IAC: Information Architecture Conference

When: April 14–18, 2020
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States 🇺🇸

The IAC is where information architects, UX designers, content strategists, and other design practitioners meet. The theme of this year’s event is “Sense and Sense-making.” In New Orleans, you will interrogate and celebrate the huge variety of ways that we can sense, think and be in the world. 

Added Bonuses:

  • Mixers and activities aimed at the more creative, social side of attendees
  • Special first-timers dinners, where you can meet fellow first-timers and experienced IAC attendees (karaoke, game night, yoga)

Notable Session:Adventures in User-centric Taxonomy: Getting Job Seeker Feedback into the Back-end” by Alexandra Teodorescu, Amanda Krauss, and Leora Yardenay @ Indeed

“Our talk is targeted at IA practitioners who want to create user-centered taxonomies in an agile fashion, are interested in performing open ended user research, and would like to learn about the communicative and collaborative processes required to manage UX research, product decisions, and back-end implementation.”

Notable Speaker: Mutale Nkonde, Executive Director @ AI for the People

“Mutale Nkonde is a researcher, writer and policy maker. She is currently the Executive Director of AI for the People a nonprofit that seeks to use popular culture to educate Black audiences about the social justice implications of the use of AI Technologies in public life. She is a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Prior to this she was an AI Policy advisor and was part of a team that introduced the Algorithmic Accountability and Deep Fakes Accountability Acts to the US House of Representatives as well as the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act. Her work sits at the intersection of race and technology and she is fascinated by how power is is taken or retained by communities through the design and deployment of technical systems.”

#8: UX Burlington: 20/20 Hindsight

When: May 1, 2020
Where: Burlington, Vermont, United States 🇺🇸

This year’s UX Burlington conference theme is 20/20 Hindsight. You’ll hear from UX practitioners who can share what they’ve learned from their own user experience mistakes. This one-day only conference has two tracks and is, both, intimate and affordable. 

Added Bonuses:

  • Located at The Film House at Lake and College at Main Street Landing, an environmentally and socially conscious mixed-use space.
  • Held in Burlington, Vermont, a celebrated, vibrant, small city located on the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain.

Notable Session: TBD

Notable Speaker: TBD

#9 Pixel Up!

When: May 4–6, 2020
Where: Cape Town, South Africa 🇿🇦

Pixel Up! is a conference by designers for designers. 

Added Bonuses:

  • Networking opportunities with creatives at Mailchimp, Asana, Shopify, Facebook, and more.
  • Diverse group of speakers including authors, local and international designers, as well as rising stars.
  • Held at the strikingly beautiful Cavalli Wine and Stud Farm, 40 minutes outside of Cape Town.

Notable Session: TBD

Notable Speaker: Margaret Lee, Director, UX Community & Culture at Google

“For the past 20 years, Margaret has built User Experience teams in tech, including CNET, Yahoo, TiVo, and Google. Between 2007 and 2016, she grew the Google Maps UX team from three people, to a global org of multi-disciplinarian practitioners, garnering awards from Fast Company Innovation by Design and Good Design in Japan. Margaret is passionate about mentoring and developing UX practitioners, to uncover their unique leadership style. In 2016, she founded the UX Community + Culture team at Google, the first of its kind to invest in the health and success of the User Experience discipline across the company.”

#10: How Design Live

When: May 4–7, 2020
Where: Boston, Massachusetts, United States 🇺🇸

HOW Design Live is a conference and expo for any kind of creative professional. HOW can help to fuel your creativity, develop key skills your job requires, explore products and technologies, and create vital connections in the industry.

Added Bonuses:

  • Connect online before the conference to make new friends and plan meet-ups.
  • Socialize during the conference, organizing pub crawls, morning walk/run sessions, lunch outings and more. 

Notable Session: Designer In the Mirror: Finding Your Data to Grow by Alison Entsminger, Design Lead @ IBM

“As human-centered designers, we welcome user feedback on work we create but struggle to discuss personal feedback with our peers, managers, and direct reports. Opening yourself up to critique requires uncomfortable vulnerability. Without objective data, we develop crippling blindspots, miscommunication, and warped perspectives that stunt our careers. But what if we approached our work performance like we research our products? Which assumptions would we validate? Where would we strategically invest? And what areas of opportunity would we uncover as a result? Come learn to use data points around you to understand your strengths, weakness, and areas for growth. You'll leave with strategies for getting necessary feedback, overcoming blindspots, and reshaping your career along the way.”

Notable Speaker: Johnny Cupcakes, CEO/Owner @ Johnny Cupcakes, Inc.

“Johnny Cupcakes, founded by speaker Johnny Earle, has grown from a "joke" to a multi-million dollar, highly exclusive t-shirt brand driven by a community of world-wide collectors. Johnny shares his story of how he took his t-shirt brand from the trunk of his rusty car at age 19, to some of the world's most sought after retail locations.”

#11: User Experience Lisbon

When: May 19–22, 2020
Where: Lisbon, Portugal

UXLx is a premier User Experience Conference with over 80 hours of intensive workshops and inspirational talks. 

Added Bonuses:

  • At the FIL Meeting Centre, a great venue overlooking the beautiful river Tagus (one of the largest in Europe).
  • In the newly renovated Lisbon Eastern Business District, surrounded by great bars, restaurants and coffee shops by the river.
  • Ideal central location, great transportation, and nearby shopping.

Notable Session: “When Research Meets Reality” by Katie Briggs, Senior Product Designer @ NPR

“‘When Research Meets Reality’ addresses the most common obstacles facing user research: biases due to organizational expertise or metrics, a lack of people who can or want to collaborate on research, and the perceptions that research takes too much money or time. Attendees will learn how to counter some arguments against conducting research, and they will get familiar with the Super-Rapid User Research Framework, which includes several tactics to conduct high-quality research with significantly little time or money.”

Notable Speaker: Torrey Podmajersky, UX Writer @ Google

“Torrey Podmajersky uses her experience doing UX writing and content strategy for Xbox, Microsoft education, OfferUp, and now Google, to help her create great experiences with and for a broad range of people. She has a Bachelor's degree in Physics and a Masters in Curriculum Instruction, and has done freelance fiction writing, home health care work, high-power rocketry, marketing communications, high-school science teaching, and 9 years of UX writing. Her best-selling book Strategic Writing for UX was published by O’Reilly Media in mid-2019.”

#12: #UXR Conference

When: June 3–5, 2020
Where: Toronto, Canada 🇨🇦

Join 1,200+ members of The UXR Collective to celebrate world class research content from global leaders. Featuring speakers from companies like Airbnb, Postmates, Spotify, Zapier, Bitly, and so many more. 

Added Bonuses:

  • Five independently run workshops facilitated by some of the world’s most capable research leaders and specialists.
  • An online community for research practitioners to ask questions, share jobs, and connect.

Notable Session: “TL;DR: Testing copy” by Jennifer Siedjak, Sr. UX Researcher @ Redbox

“You’ll leave with a practical UXR toolkit to tackle any copy debate in your organization—as well as the cognitive psychology “why” behind these methodologies.”

Notable Speaker: Behzod Sirjani, Head of Research and Analytics Operations @ Slack

“Behzod Sirjani studies how people work and work together. He is currently the Head of Operations for Research and Analytics at Slack, where he supports a team of people who help make work simpler, more pleasant, and more productive for Slack employees. Behzod also cares deeply about sharing and teaching the practice of research, both through and outside of his work at Slack.”

#13: Design + Diversity

When: July 30–August 1, 2020
Where: St. Louis, Missouri, United States 🇺🇸

Head to St. Louis for the 5 year celebration of the Design + Diversity Conference—the conference which inspires, celebrates and promotes not only diversity in design, but the diversity of design. Each year the conference focuses on the themes of:Social Justice, Designing Diversity, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Notable Session: TBD

Notable Speaker: TBD

#14: Seattle Interactive

When: October 20–22, 2020
Where: Seattle, Washington, United States 🇺🇸

SIC is a celebration of the incredible work happening at the intersection of technology, creativity and industry. This conference spotlights innovation in experience, design, and strategy. With 80 sessions and workshops, 2,000+ attendees, and endless ideas, it’s sure to leave you feeling smarter.

Notable Session: TBD

Notable Speaker: TBD

#15: Web Summit

When: November 2–5, 2020
Where: Lisbon, Portugal 🇵🇹

Forbes has said we run “the best technology conference on the planet.” Web Summit brings together people and companies redefining the global tech industry. 

Notable Session: TBD

Notable 2019 Speaker: Melanie Perkins, Co-founder & CEO @ Canva

“Melanie Perkins is the co-founder & CEO of Canva, an online design and publishing tool which makes graphic design simple for everyone. Since launching in 2013 Canva has grown to over 15M MAUs across 190 countries, with more than 1 billion designs created.”

#16: Convey UX

When: March 3–5, 2020
Where: Seattle, Washington, United States 🇺🇸

ConveyUX is a premier user experience conference on the West Coast. The 2020 conference in Seattle features 65 sessions from 50 UX leaders across three full days. Speakers will take the stage from companies like Facebook, IDEO, Verizon, Adobe, and of course, Microsoft.

Added Bonuses:

  • The Project Showcase is a unique opportunity to hear about the details of actual projects from the people who designed and implemented them.
  • ConveyUX is a home-grown Seattle event, produced by Blink UX. This is the one event that UX professionals can count on to bring a yearly stream of great content to the Puget Sound area.
  • Seattle is a hotbed of design and development, making it a great place to make contacts in the UX field.

Notable Session:A/B Testing at the Scale of Millions” by Sadok Cervantes, Design Lead @ Wikimedia Foundation

“A/B testing is a common and fruitful practice, but how do you deem something as successful? What happens when you don’t have enough data points? And worse yet, what happens when you have too many data points? At Wikipedia, we have a moral obligation and an ethical mission to design for every person, every age, every profession, every background, every location. It’s hard. It’s also rewarding. A lot of data comes into play, however, we follow one motto: Data-informed design, instead of data-driven design. Sometimes the hard numbers lose, but the people win. In this talk, you’ll have an insider’s look into Wikipedia’s A/B testing practices for you to analyze, learn, and copy from.”

Notable Speaker: Tasha Lutfi, Principal Design Manager @ Microsoft

“During her sixteen-year tenure at Microsoft, Tasha was influential in rebuilding MSN several times, streamlining the customer journey and redefining the mobile landscape. Prior to Microsoft, Tasha founded Genesis Se7en, a global design studio dedicated to crafting branding solutions and unique interactive experiences.”

#17: Creative South

When: April 2–4, 2020
Where: Columbus, Georgia, United States 🇺🇸

Creative South is a weekend of creative thinking, collaboration, and exploration. Attendees enjoy workshops and talks focused on process and experience, with the overall goal being to connect you to folks in the industry and the design community. It's also a whole lot of fun.

Notable Session: TBD

Notable Speaker: TBD

#18: From Business to Buttons

When: May 8, 2020
Where: Stockholm, Sweden 🇸🇪

From Business to Buttons (FBTB) is Scandinavia’s premier User Experience and Service Design conference, held every year in Stockholm, Sweden. It is the meeting place for everyone who wants inspiration, and hands-on advice, on how to generate business value by creating great experiences.

Added Bonuses:

  • A design sprint bootcamp with the literal inventor of the design sprint.
  • A truly amazing lineup of speakers and workshop facilitators. 

Notable Session: “How to Lead Your CEO” by Jake Knapp, Inventor of the Design Sprint

“Every designer secretly wants to be the boss, but the sad truth is that designers are rarely in charge. So how can you lead your CEO even if you don’t have the authority? Over his twenty year career, Jake Knapp has managed to get into meetings with over a hundred CEOs (not all at once) including Bill Gates, 23&me’s Ann Wojcicki, Slack’s Stewart Butterfield, and Oracle’s Larry Page. He has been ignored, yelled at, and frequently made an ass of himself… but also, occasionally, he got his way. In this talk, Jake will tell stories and share practical advice for influencing executives and boosting self-confidence in high-stakes meetings. Or, at the very least, he’ll make an ass of himself one more time.”

Notable Speaker: Erika Hall, Author of “Conversational Design, and Just Enough Research”

“Erika has been a strategic design consultant since the late twentieth century. She is the cofounder of Mule Design Studio and specializes in helping clients improve their decision-making processes and establish collaborative, evidence-based design practices. Erika speaks and writes about topics that challenge the conventional wisdom of the field to encourage designers to think more deeply about the implications of their work.”

#19: Camp Digital 

When: May 13, 2020
Where: Manchester, England, United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Camp Digital is an inspirational conference that brings together the digital, design and UX communities for a series of seminars exploring the latest thinking in our industry.

Notable Session: TBD

Notable Speaker: TBD

#20: UX London

When: May 27–29, 2020
Where: London, England, United Kingdom 🇬🇧

“We bring engaging industry leaders from around the world to present a combination of inspirational talks and lively, hands-on workshops.”

Added Bonuses: Designed by the architects behind the Turbine Hall and Beijing Olympic Stadium, the RIBA Award-winning Trinity Laban is the perfect setting for three days of pure UX inspiration.

Notable Session: TBD

Notable Speaker: Rachel Price, Senior Information Architect @ Microsoft

“Rachel Price is a UX architect, user researcher, and jazz musician. With a background in information science and saxophone (eventually they do intersect), she focuses on crafting thoughtfully structured information environments informed by the human experience. She is currently a Senior Information Architect for Microsoft Docs, applying IA principles at scale to a substantial compendium of developer documentation.”

Thinking about switching to a career in design in 2020? Check out our UX Academy program and grab your free syllabus.

author avatar

Alexa Harrison

Designlab

Content Writer

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