Solving for the discovery of design events (From Idea to Execution)

Story

It all backtracks to the time when I was transitioning to design somewhere around early 2019.

& Bangalore design scenes were probably the best in the country then, and fortunately, my first job led me to Bangalore.

The point is that there used to be a lot of design events happening over weekends, and with little to no clue about the field, I started attending these events.

Cut short to this date, one of the significant factors I could transition to design successfully was “design events.”

In that period alone, I attended some 12+ events (offline) in a year & started posting the summaries & takeaways online. And people started asking me about how do I get to know about these design events? & I had no one source to tell because it was all scattered.

When offline events used to be a thing. Good old days

Things kept on rolling & I was trying to settle on my first-ever design job. At the same time, the thing mentioned earlier about design events was always on my mind.

I started doing some bit of research which I’ll elaborate on in the following section:

Research

I first started with a survey where the main objective was to get an idea around the sources where designers get to know about design events from?

And here are the sources from 43 participants.

Survey Summary

Parallelly, I also conducted a competitive analysis.

Meetup.com

  • Though it gives you a plethora of design events in your region but the good ones are often missed out that are circulated on social media platforms. In short, the point of curation was missing there.
  • Additionally, the design events are often mixed with a lot of other genres. There is a lot of noise through which the designers have to go through.

All Design Conferences

  • Pablo Stanley launched this in early 2020 and was quite a rage. It listed down all the conferences that are happening around the world. But again, these were just conferences + it soon got stale

Also, there were a couple of more such websites, but none were doing a good job.

Hence, it was a bit evident that there is no single source to see curated design events from multiple sources.

Problem Statement

From my experience and the preliminary research, it was evident that a gap exists.

To precisely define it, this is what I was solving for,

Ideation

The idea was simple: A source which curates design events from all the different avenues available out there.

Option 1: Get it developed. I asked a few of my friends; one of them even worked a bit on the backend but could not take a stab at the front end. So, it went off the shelf.

Option 2: Do it yourself. I was familiar with WordPress, and fortunately enough, I found a plugin that gives me a calendar view for events, but the customization was complicated.

Option 3: No Code. WebFlow was popping up a lot in those days, and I decided to give it a go, but that came up with challenges of its own. Later, it felt like the right move as I will have the control to do the customizations and have no dependency on anyone else.

I went with Option 3.

Design + Execution

Initial Versions

The plan was simple, A website that displays a list of upcoming events.

And this was the first-ever design that I created. I gathered some preliminary feedback from the designers and rolled it out on the 1st of March, 2020.

Initial Versions

It was received pretty well by the community, and that’s how things got kickstarted.

Community Support

Currently Live Version

Since the MVP was well received and started coming to the website, going to different events wasn’t enough. There were some issues with the UI, and it wasn’t pleasing enough.

Main Landing Page

The improvements:

  • Improved Card Layout
  • Better visuals
  • Introduction of two new sections namely, past events & event organizers
  • Email Subscription
Past Events & Event Organizers Repository

Let’s Talk Numbers & Impact

Here are the numbers:

Statistics of one and a half year
Testimonials from fellow designers

Future Plans

Being a single contributor makes it a little challenging to manage it along with your day job; hence, progress has been slow.

There are many fronts that need attention that has been listed below, and the product design skills I have acquired in the meanwhile will help tackle it.

  • Automating workflows: As of now, most of the stuff like curating, sending emails etc. requires a lot of manual effort. The next step would be to automate most of the boring stuff.
  • Building in public: The idea is to go and follow the ideology of building in public. So, following that.
  • Monetisation: Thinking how to make the project survive on it’s own is an interesting challenge to solve.

Learnings and Takeaways

The Good Parts:

  • When you take an idea from just being an idea to execution, you have to learn about every aspect of the product. Be it marketing, development, design (of course), and that way, you know about all the nuances associated with building a product, which’s the major highlight for me.
  • No Code: I built this with no code/low code tool called WebFlow, and that made me comfortable with the fact that come what may, I can learn anything if required.

The Mistakes:

  • Not building an email list from the beginning, the reason being that you should be able to own the audience, which also serves as a distribution channel.
  • The idea of not launching on product hunt as it serves as a booster for your indie project.
  • Not proactively managing the product and not thinking about automation from the very beginning.
  • I was not thinking about monetising it.

If you have managed to read this far, you are amazing. Do you know you can show your appreciation if you truly liked the story by smashing down the clap button, you can even clap 50 times. Try it, maybe. 😂

You can visit the website here: All Design Events

Connect with me here: Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog

Thanks and enjoy the rest of your day.

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