By Ros Hodgekiss on 17th March 2014
Looking to sharpen your skills this year, meet new people, or simply get out of the office more? We've shortlisted our favorite web design and development conferences for this year, so you can plan, sweet talk the boss and go!
As the curator of Campaign Monitor's Giving Back Program and self-confessed conference fiend, narrowing down all the great events out there to a list of 10 was no easy task. That said, there were a number of standouts - and not just because of high-profile speaker line-ups, but because of their commitment to being affordable and accessible to everyone, diversity and efforts towards building local communities around design and development.
There are many conferences that didn't make my top 10, but are just as worthy. If there's one in particular that you feel meets the criteria above, be sure to let us know about it in the comments. Now, on with the show...
9 April, Melbourne, Australia - http://2014.cssconf.com.au
Why we love it: Aussies, rejoice! Following the strong lead of CSSConf US and CSSConf EU in 2013, CSSConf is coming to Australia - and is already tipped to be one of the most exciting web events this year. Featuring a strong, international lineup of speakers (including Lea Verou!), CSSConf Australia is a day crammed with both practical advice and big ideas on front-end dev and design. Let's not forget the sideshows - for starters, how many conferences give you the chance to learn about Australian animals?
Tickets are now sold out, but if you're in Australia, you can join their waitlist, or… Go into the draw to win an expenses-paid trip via our "Win a trip to CSSConf" competition.
18 April, Indianapolis, United States - http://rebuildconf.com
Why we love it: re:build is the anti-thesis to any assumptions that all amazing web gigs are either located in New York or San Francisco. It's also got serious geek cred, too. With speakers like Rachel Andrews (Perch), Michael Lopp (Rands) and Morgan Knutson (Dropbox), re:build is all killer, no filler - and our gig of choice for the pragmatic developer/designer. At $149 a ticket, it's a huge bargain, too.
If you're not sold yet on the idea of spending a great day learning from the best, here's something - we're giving out free ice-cream. Just so you know.
23 April, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom - http://2014.industryconf.com
Why we love it: Despite its well-deserved reputation for attracting the friendliest of web folk, Industry is far from just a social gathering. This year, the've rounded up 8 amazing speakers to talk shop - covering everything from CSS frameworks, to fundraising for charity: water. If this sounds like your deal, register now, as there are only a handful of tickets left. Use the discount code "campaign" for £40 off.
April, Boston | May, Austin | 4 October, Charleston - United States - http://webafternoon.com
Why we love it: Not-for-profit, no-frills and featuring attention-span friendly talks, Web Afternoon is a multi-city web event with a difference. With all money going into local meetups and lots of face-time with the people behind interesting projects, it's also about building vibrant web communities, too. While Web Afternoon hasn't been formally launched for 2014, it's already in our books - for updates, sign up to their mailing list.
16 May, Newport, South Wales, United Kingdom - http://port80events.co.uk
Why we love it: Port80 squarely belongs on this list for its terrific talks, covering everything from building sites for government to seeking success. Its developed a cult following in the UK, with its super-affordable tickets, spin-off web dev workshops and empathetic cherub mascot. Also worth mentioning is its sister event, The Business of Web Design, which is squarely aimed at freelance web designers. If you run your own shop, don't miss the chance to hear from Paul Boag and others in the trenches of everyday client work.
5 - 8 June, San Diego, United States - http://valiocon.com
Why we love it: With its Californian cool and promise of fun, Valio Con is where designers and makers go to work hard and play hard together. This year, they've got 4 days of talks covering brand identity, motion graphics to iOS development - plus product demos, a night featuring drinks created exclusively to Valio Con and of course, no lack of fun things to do!
31 July, Wellington, New Zealand - http://wdcnz.com
Why we love it: First of all, if you haven't been to New Zealand, you haven't lived. From The Lord of the Rings and Lorde, to incredible events for creatives like Webstock, NZ has it going right now - and it's no secret that their Australian neighbours are just a little bit jealous. As far as gigs go, WDCNZ is another thing to get worked up about. Bringing together an incredibly talented group of technical speakers (of which, 7 out of 10 are women!) to discuss everything from open video to product development, WDCNZ is where diversity meets design, code and a darn good time. Do yourself a favour and go Welly way - you won't regret it.
21-22 August, Stockholm, Sweden - http://hybridconf.net
Why we love it: Irreverent, yet grand. The best, yet all-inclusive. HybridConf is all about bringing different cultures and creative disciplines together, to discuss everything from the development of web apps like Ghost, to selling custom t-shirts online. If you're a design/dev/maker/product hybrid (or something like that), then these are your people - and Stockholm is where you should find yourself in 2014.
Need it be repeated, this is a conference in Sweden. If you're not packing already, I honestly don't understand you.
11-14 September, Portland, United States - http://xoxofest.com
Why we love it: Hands down, this was my favorite creative event in 2013. Its got designers, indie gamers, filmmakers and everything in-between, making the big ideas happen in Portland. Even if you don't make it into the talks (which last year, included heroes like Tim Schafer and Jonathan Coulton), you'll find plenty to amaze and amuse. Previous sideshows like The Noun Project and Anamanaguchi have gone on to become geek darlings, so who knows what's going to blow up this year. Conference passes are offered by lottery, so to get your chance at an in, sign up for their list.
30-31 October, Sydney, Australia - http://www.webdirections.org/wds14/
Why we love it: We couldn't wrap up this top 10 without mentioning a conference that our team have been attending for years - Web Directions South. While only the dates have been made available for now, our bets are on some big announcements leading up to the 10th edition of Australia's best-known web gig. Sydney's digital community really rallies around WDS, too - this year, we'll be expecting even bigger after-parties, Ignites, meetups and more. For the latest from the Web Directions team, subscribe to updates.
Campaign Monitor are proud to sponsor many of the above events via our Giving Back Program. We've supported dozens of projects worldwide as part of our commitment to giving back the web community, so if there's something you're passionate about and need a hand to make it happen, please get in touch with us - we'd love to hear from you.
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