More Conferences than You Can Shake a Stick at



You  would expect with the economy in the toilet and the outlook in some quarters looking a little bleak, that there wouldn’t be a lot of education events like conferences going on around the country.   Usually one of the first things to go on the old corporate (and freelancers) budget is those expensive junkets *cough* conferences.   With people falling back on the more traditional media such as books and free online resources for their professional education requirements.

Interesting thing with conferences is the cost.  For me it’s regularly a plane flight plus accommodation on top of the conference ticket.   This can top out at around $2000 – $3000 per conference, even with early bird or prebooked discount airfares.  That’s also not taking into account lost productivity time, which can be up to week with some conferences.  So as you can see unless I had a very large budget a conference can be an expensive affair. Still I try and get to at least 2 conferences a year.

Just to buck the trend in Australia, there seems to be a stack of conferences, some old, some new that are running this year.   So many that sadly as a conference junky I just can’t get to them all.  If we discount the ones that have already been and gone (like Webstock and WebDU, awesome as they are ) that leaves us with:

  • WE Believe in Community

    Sydney, 20 & 21 August 2009

    This is a local government web conference, mainly focusing on the eastern seaboard.  However it one I have been interested in, but it’s always been at the wrong time of the year for me personally. Oh yeah it’s next week too.

  • UX Australia

    Canberra, 26 to 28 August 2009

    UX Australia is a new comer on the scene.   This Australian UX conference has had almost all of its major decision made by the UX community themselves, from the speakers on the program, session types, to the location of the social events and the even the lanyards design.   It should be an interesting conference  – Donna and Steve the main organisational protagonists deserve a hat tip for the effort so far.  The Australian Web Industry Association is  holding a free event on the Tuesday before the conference,  more details about that soon,

  • OZ-IA

    Sydney, 2 & 3 October 2009

    I was surprised this year that OZ-IA got up, I was under the impression that it wasn’t to be this year.   However Eric has pulled it all together and now has a call for presenters running that closes on Friday 21st August.   So if you have a cool idea for a UX/IA type presentation, drop Eric an email.  If it repeats the performance of previous years it’ll be the Information Architecture conference in Australia to go to.

  • Web Directions South

    Sydney, 6 to 9 October 2009

    This conference is now considered  the main stay of the Australian conference circuit.   This year  John and Maxine have put together a very relevant list of kick arse speakers, all on the top of their game; cementing Web Directions as the generalist Australian web conference not to be missed.  Okay I’m a little  bias as I am a regular attendee.

  • Edge of the Web

    Perth, 4 to 6 November 2009

    In its second year, this web conference from Perth believes in the total conference experience for it’s delegates.   It always seems to surprise with its keynote speakers and range of speakers from around Australia. Also what I love about Edge of the Web, for once I don’t have to fly or find accommodation. Disclaimer – I am on the committee for the Australian Web Industry Association who organise the Edge of the Web.


    Melbourne, 23 to 27 November 2009

    This conference is another one of those that I want to go to, but it just seems I can’t make the budget dollar for the conferences go that far, and OZCHI regularly gets the chop.  OZCHI is the baby of Australian Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group. I have been told its a little bit more academically focused from a usability, UX, IA view than most UX conferences of this ilk in Australia.  I have also heard it can be very dry in content, but then others have said that it is very enlightening.   I suppose only getting along to it will really allow me to cement my opinion.

So that’s it, the ones in my radar,  I’m bound to have left some off,  if so let me know, can’t remember them all, they are so many.

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  1. Great list of conferences. I want to attend them all but unfortunately I just don’t have the time nor the budget to attend all of our Aussie conferences (don’t get me started on the excellent overseas conferences as well…).

    As much as I would love to attend an OZCHI conference, I just can’t seem to squeeze it in.

    There’s also the OzeWAI accessibility conference held early in the year at LaTrobe university. It’s small but full of interesting and knowledgeable attendees.

  2. @Ruth, Yeah I agree there are just too many good conferences. I tend to not even look at the overseas ones, Most of them taking 1 full day to often two days in travel to get there. Then there is the cost, very quickly they can be around $5000 each, add to this at least a week off. For a freelancer it really makes you start to question will the overseas conferences ROI. Will the contacts bring in new leads and new ideas.

  3. Not obvious above, but Oz-IA occurs on the weekend immediately preceding the week of WebDirections South, which means you could double up on your conference fun for the same air-fare.

    I’d like to also point out that Oz-IA covers all accommodation and Australian travel expenses for it’s speakers, in addition to the usual complimentary entry. This is a policy which is intended to help support and spread IA/UX beyond the usual population centers.

    Anyone from Perth or Brisbane or Hobart or anywhere else are encouraged to come along and be a speaker.

  4. And stay tuned for two HUGE announcements about Web Directions – those who have already planned on being there are about to get lots more than they bargained for, and those who are on the fence, feel free to wait a few days, but there’s some very exciting stuff about to be announced. As I said, stay tuned.

  5. @John – Ohhh John you tease..I can’t wait 2 Days!!!

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