Upcoming design conferences we are attending

Matthew Standage

As a design team we love attending industry events. We are fortunate that Oxford has a number of great events on our doorstep for user experience designers and front-end developers. Here is our roundup of events we are attending over the next few months.

Smashing Conference Oxford

Smashing Conference is back for its third year in Oxford Town Hall. The main conference, spread over two days, is set to be a thought provoking mixture of design and front-end development. Talk topics range from building great design teams to animating SVGs. I am looking forward to Jon Setzen’s (@jonsetzen) talk on ‘Overthinking design and embracing minutia’ in which he will explore how embracing a ‘design for service’ methodology can encourage design teams shift from transaction-driven thinking to a relationship-centric approach.

I am also particularly excited to see what extras the organisers have in the bag after this stunning interactive laser show from Seb-Lee Delisle (@seb_ly) and Val Head (@vlh) last year.

If you are attending please say hello – it will be great to meet new people and share ideas.

UX in the City

UX in the City is a new conference which is next door to our office in the Said Business School. A partnership between the organisers of UX Cambridge and UX Scotland, and the organisers of UX Oxford, it is Oxford’s first UX conference. The programme is shaping up to be an inspiring mix of keynotes, practical sessions and case studies. I am particularly looking forward to Martin White’s ( talk ‘About the Design For Everyone Toolkit’, which is set explore how Sainsbury’s are helping colleagues empathise with the diverse needs of their customers and design services with this in mind.

We are proud to be a sponsor of Oxford’s first conference exclusively devoted to user experience. If you are going, make sure you visit our stand to chat with Ben, Mariana and I about the interesting things we are doing in the design team here at OCC. We will also have lots of exciting giveaways!


Render is a new conference from the organisers of jQuery UK. It promises to be two days packed full of front-end talks from a great lineup of speakers. We think one talk to watch is ‘Technology – the power and the promise’ by Robin Christopherson (@USA2DAY), which will explore a range of inclusive technologies and their power to change and even transform people’s lives regardless of ability or environment.

Other events

UX Oxford

UX Oxford is a regular meet up in Oxford for anyone interested in user experience. UX Oxford is sponsored by OCC and was co-founded by our Head of Design, Mariana. Last month, I gave a lightning talk on ‘Typography and information’ and explored why good typography is integral to communicating information successfully on the web. This was my first talk at an industry event and while stressful is something I would like to do more of in 2016. In addition, James Chudley (@chudders) gave a very informative talk on the skills for ux leadership. His talk explored the challenges he faced transitioning from a practitioner to a leader and the soft skills which are crucial for success when leading great UX projects.

James Chudley, UX Director (CX Partners) James Chudley, UX Director (CX Partners)

DOPM Oxford

DOPM is a meetup for digital project managers in Oxford. Mariana and Rachel attended a talk by Gez Smith (@gez_smith) on servant leadership – you can watch a video of the talk online. In addition there were talks from Melissa Wilson (@MelissaWilson32) on transitioning from waterfall to agile and from Charlie Davidson (@csgdavidson) who gave a roundup of up of DPM:UK 16.

JS Oxford

Ben and Mariana attended JS Oxford earlier this month. With talks from Mike Elsmore (@ukmadlz) on online web technologies and Marc Tamlyn (@mjtamlyn) on interactive data driven websites, we were interested in exploring how these ideas could work within our projects. Ben had this to say:

‘Even though I am not a developer I’m interested in Javascript, and have been looking for ways to get involved. This was my first time at JS Oxford and the event was a great way to meet people. The talks were interesting – particularly one about React – and were understandable above and beyond a technical level. Afterwards there were casual drinks and I got to talk to people about how they got their start. I’m looking forward to meeting up with these people at the next event!’

Breaking Borders

Ok, this one is not in Oxford, but I also attended Breaking Borders earlier this month. The evening was focused around the theme ‘Mental Barriers’ and featured talks from Christopher Murphy (@fehler) and James Williams (@WilliamsJames_). Chris’s lively talk, ‘Start! Stop procrastinating and pursue your passion’, explored why we start so many ideas, but struggle to turn them into reality. James’s talk, ‘Distraction by design’, explored why, as designers, we have moral and ethical responsibility to help technology move toward having a greater respect for users’ time, attention, and wellbeing.

That is our roundup of upcoming design events in Oxford. It would be great to hear what events you are attending over the coming months.