In december 2020 I attended Web Summit 2020 – the online edition. The experience was amazing, although I really wanted to visit this conference in Portugal in 2020, but due to Covid-19, everything in 2020 was transferred online. And this was the biggest online conference I’ve attended till 2020.
The online experience was very well executed via their website, where I attended several talks and joined some really useful workshops. The community there was amazing and seeing these lecturers on the screen felt like I was even more focused on the topics that I would be if I’d fly over to Portugal and sat in the 68th row.
Web + mobile experience
Together with the browser experience the organisers developed a mobile app prior to making the website available. Mobile app was very useful for:
- checking and planning the schedule
- saving important talks
- connecting with participants
- chating with participants.
The lectures and their usefulness for designers
During the 3-day conference, I had ups and downs following all the talks and workshops due to other work I was doing in between. But generally speaking, most of the talks were quite useful for enterpreneurs, marketingers, product designers and managers. For designers, there were some great lectures to gain some perspective, but workshops were really a great source of additional knowledge.
Personal engagement on a virtual conference
Honestly, I don’t know if I’d be able to receive so many direct responses from very honorable lecturers if I’d be actually physically present at a conference. All of us, a mass of so many people, felt like all being in the front row. During the talks, we communicated in a special chat window with the participants and during breaks, meet and chat with them in private windows.
What’s different on a virtual conference?
Well, a good thing was to be able to chat during the talks, because we were on mute, but the chat windows were open so everybody could express their opinion at a specific moment. A bad thing, though, is the same thing actually – open chats with no approval can lead to a mass of pointless comments or even unpleasant ones.
A great thing during the event was to see opinion of people we watch on Netflix, my favourite duo, Los Hombres, posted below.
Well, regarding the costs, this was a very cheap massive conference to attend, but not neccessarily better than attending a real-life event. My advice for attending conferences would be to mix both options – attend real-life events and also some online events, especially if it’s harder to reach or you would be totally overwhelmed with the location and not be able to focus on the conference itself.
The overall experience
- + Good price-performance
- + Can work partly and attend the conference at the same time
- + No coffee overload
- – No physical contact with people
- – No airplanes and travelling