Keeping up-to-date with current design trends is a demanding task, as innovations pop up literally on an everyday basis.
Designers find themselves hopping across various channels and platforms, looking up Behance and Dribble posts at one moment, and the next they’re commenting on a YouTube tutorial while simultaneously thinking about recording their own.
This is especially applicable to user experience and user interface designers.
UX/UI is a powerful and dynamic tandem, and its close connections to tech, IT, AI development, and marketing make it particularly hard to follow. If you stop checking in on new developments, you could lose track of things and end up out of the loop. Worse yet, your skills might become outdated.
Okay, so how can I stay in the know? 🤔
The answer is: socializing. Reach out, mingle, meet, and talk to your peers.
You can do that by attending industry-based conferences and workshops.
In these troubled times, it’s hard to find conferences at all, let alone those that are on-location. Last year, everything was canceled with the hope of things going back to normal in 2021. We’re almost at the halfway point of the year now, and things are looking better. While many conferences remain online, those happening IRL are coming back.
So, if you are feeling lost and disconnected from your peers, worry not.
I’ve found the top events of UX/UI designers for 2021 for you.
The year is not over yet, we have a lot of work to do and, as the song says, the best is yet to come.
Upcoming UX/UI conferences and workshops for 2021
1- How Design Live – Oct 19-21 / Nashville, TN, USA
The HOW Creative Leadership Summit is an intimate virtual gathering that will focus on the emerging challenges faced by leaders in design, product, and engineering roles. These leaders will share insights, ideas, and tactics that they’ve implemented successfully to lead their teams to drive results.
This is a virtual event, and the number of attendees is limited. If this one seems interesting to you, book now. The focus is on leaders and leadership, so if you are an emerging designer, you could learn a lot about how to position yourself on the market to become an industry leader.
There are other HOW conferences in the works, with an upcoming conference about freelancing in July, so if you don’t attend this one, there are other opportunities.
2- CHI 2021 – May 8-13 / Online
Unfortunately, this event has passed. You can access the recordings here.
Making Waves, Combining Strengths. CHI 2021 was originally to take place in Yokohama, Japan, but that has been changed to another virtual event.
This is the first time this event will not take place IRL, but online. The 2021 ACM CHI Virtual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is the premier international conference on Human-Computer Interaction.
UX/UI designers are faced with human-computer interaction in their work all the time, on various levels.
You are interacting with your digital tools when working, creating interfaces and experiences based on human-computer interaction (HCI). CHI – pronounced ‘kai’ – is a place where global experts meet to discuss interactive technologies.
In the field of HCI, CHI is considered the most prestigious and brings together thousands of attendees every year. It’s all about making waves, sharing experiences, and discovering innovations. Champion sponsors include Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Adobe.
3- UX & Product Management Case Study Conference – 29 Sep-1 Oct 2021 / Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Brought to you by Pluralsight, Front Utah’s UX & Product Management Case Study Conference 2021 is planned as an on-location event for the end of September.
Keep an eye on this one if you are able to attend in person, as the demand will definitely be high.
The focus is on building better products, making this conference ideal for both UX designers and product developers.
What is it about?
Front Utah’s official description says that together with over 1,000 other professionals, you’ll learn from extremely talented people influencing the organizations they work for and changing the way our industry looks at digital products and the way people use them. Great products need cross-functional teams.
Get ready to learn how to build one, or how to become an irreplaceable team member.
4- UX Fest London 2021 – June / Online
Unfortunately, this event has passed and there are no recordings available.
An online celebration of digital design, taking place throughout June 2021 is open to all who wish to attend, so follow the link and reserve your spot. This is a multi-layered event, usually held IRL, with this year’s edition being a virtual one. There’s a three-day main conference, several min weekly conferences, Masterclasses and more. As the event is online, there is even on-demand content.
Various passes are available, so potential attendees can choose what segment of UX Fest 2021 they want to check out.
The first three-day conferences will be focused on interaction design, while Masterclasses take you deep into the industry and are moderated by design leaders and visionaries.
Each Thursday in June, UX Fest will hold Festival events, each one taking on big-picture issues such as how to increase the impact of design on everyday life and how to build an inclusive design culture for a sustainable future. Festival is ideal for senior designers, while newcomers will feel more comfortable with other segments of UX Fest.
There is literally something for everyone.
5- Pixel Pioneers Bristol – TBD / Bristol, UK
If you are in the United Kingdom, Pixel Pioneers Bristol might be an event worth attending.
With so many activities being transferred from IRL events to online ones, this conference might come as a much-needed morale boost. As it is a one-day conference, it won’t even take too much of your time, but the connections you make here could last a long time.
Due to the current situation, the date for Pixel Pioneers Bristol 2021 is yet to be announced. However, schedules have been announced, and the event will take place right near the city harbor, downtown. Everything is ready, making this another event you should keep on your radar and wait for the official date.
Attendees will get a chance to discuss UX and UI design, animation design, inclusive motion graphics, and building eco-friendly tech communities. If you bought a ticket for the 2020 edition of Pixel Pioneers Bristol, you reserved your attendance for this year’s event.
6- UX Strat Europe – September 6-8 / Amsterdam, Netherlands
The event is scheduled to take place in September in Amsterdam.
It brings together experienced design and product professionals from around the world to share methodologies, innovations, and tools focused on strategic design and innovation. This is the perfect setting to learn new skills, get inspired by the best of the best, and meet your experienced peers in a beautiful location.
UX Strat Europe features a no-risk policy, so if anything happens before the scheduled dates, your tickets are safe. Hopefully, this event will take place on location, and will not be forced to become another virtual conference.
Industry leaders will take center stage and share their experience, knowledge, and visions of the future. UX and UI designers will get a chance to find out, and hear speakers from around the globe.
Amsterdam is known as a design hub, so if you are nearby or can travel there, this is one of the best conferences for UX and UI designers in 2021.
7- Beyond Tellerrand Conference 2021 – September 1-4 / Berlin, Germany
Another event that was originally planned for 2020, the Beyond Tellerrand Conference was moved to late summer of this year, with the hope of the event taking place IRL.
The first day is introductory, while the main part of the conference will take place on the 2nd and 3rd of September. The event is still being updated, so follow the official website and their social media channels for news.
With global partners such as Mozilla and Storyblok, you know this is a serious event. After all, it’s taking place in wonderful Berlin, the city that is known as a cultural, economic, and tech center of the world. UX and UI designers will find amazing workshops meant to inspire, educate and connect.
While specific info is yet to be published, it is advisable to register your spot early.
People are hungry for IRL events, so this one could be stacked. Daily schedules can be found on the website, giving you a general idea of the timetable for this conference.
We’ve reached the end of our list – for now
Is that it?
No, it was simply impossible to list every notable conference in the second half of 2021.
Many postponed events are coming back, and there is also a lot of online conferences and workshops scheduled till the end of the year.
We’ll update this list as we go into late 2021, for the last quarter of the year.