Why I Invested My Staff’s Budget in UX+ Conference 2020

published on
August 30, 2020
words by
Bea Sison
Art by

I believe in the saying, “Spend money on experiences rather than material objects.” We can easily get tired of tangible things, but learning lasts a lifetime. It will stick to us no matter how old we get, since we can easily recall events that made an impact in our lives. Learning doesn’t only happen inside the four walls of a classroom. Even if we’re already full-time employees, we should still keep on discovering new things. There is no age limit on acquiring new knowledge. We can easily learn from various people we meet, since we all have different perspectives. 

In August 2019, the editors of The GUIDON's Digital Development staff started investing to attend UX+ 2019. Despite UX+ being a design-focused conference, our delegates for the inaugural event were all developers, as we believed it would still be beneficial for them to attend. Our decision was quickly proven right, as the team was able to gain more insights about the User Experience Design field and how developers can play an integral role in contributing to better UX. 

This year, now as the Digital Development Editor for Design at The GUIDON (the official student publication of the Ateneo de Manila University), one of my responsibilities is to organize learning and training opportunities for our staff. Since COVID-19 drastically changed our way of living, at first this task proved to be difficult one. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find relevant events and workshops that were valuable for our team. But thanks to UX+ Conference 2020 being easily accessible as a virtual 2-day event this time around, my staffers will be able to hear from the different points of view of renowned UX practitioners and designers from all over the world. I saw this as a fantastic opportunity for the team to continue growing in their craft and future careers. 

When I was drafting our staff’s budget proposal, I made sure that UX+ would be included. This took up the majority of our organization's training budget, but I would rather invest on experiences that our team can share, rather than material objects. With this investment, my goal is for our staffers to get inspired and learn from the best design and technology practitioners in the world, some of which would be close to impossible to learn and hear from, even in a normal scenario. Since we are currently experiencing a pandemic, it can often be difficult to reach our goals as a team. I'm confident that investing again in this conference will motivate and inspire them, and I’m glad that we were able to recruit additional delegates before UX+ starts because more can benefit from this opportunity. 

One of my objectives is for our designers and developers to foster better communication and collaboration. In previous years, for instance, I noticed in some of our projects that developers would just be handed a prototype file from the design team, without much interaction or involvement between them. This frequently led to the output looking a bit different than intended.

One of our learning's from last year's conference was that designers should communicate frequently and involve developers early, so that they’ll understand the feasibility of their designs and avoid unnecessary rework. We also learned that developers should not just be focused on execution, but also proactively communicate with designers to ensure that the final developed product actually solves the core problems of our users. 

Through UX+ Conference 2020, I hope that our development team will continue to learn more about why we design and build towards real outcomes for our users. As for our design team, I hope they can continue to create useful, functional, and delightful experiences that equally considers our business needs, the technical feasibilities of what we aim to produce, and the user's goals. Especially in this time of isolation, this is of the utmost importance, because information dissemination is mostly done online. The stronger the relationships and processes of our design and development teams, the more we can produce better experiences and outcomes.

No matter our differences—job title, age, nationality—it shouldn’t stop us from learning from other perspectives. We wouldn’t grow as individuals if we don't open ourselves up to new possibilities. Being open-minded allows us to gain new knowledge and challenge our preconceived notions. Since such an opportunity exists, I didn’t hesitate to grab it. This is why I happily invested in UX+.


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