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Leeds Digital Festival 2018: A Round Up

Charlotte Bunker
By Charlotte BunkerCreative Copywriter
8 minutes to read

For two weeks in April, agencies, individuals and businesses get together to talk about our favourite topic: digital.

From seminars on the future of AI to the importance of data in marketing, it’s a chance to learn something new and polish up our skills. Here’s our rundown on a handful of the events that we attended.

Building Websites that Convert

This session did exactly what it said on the tin and covered all the elements you need to build a website that generates conversions.

It all starts with identifying the client’s core problem and need. From there, you can design prototypes that solve the problem, but the real way to make sure the site converts is through constant testing. This involves A/B testing, interviews with customers, heat-mapping and feedback polls.

All this testing and tweaking is definitely worth the effort as once the site is deployed, you can be assured that it’s the best it can possibly be.

Then we moved on to how to keep customers engaged as this is a key part of generating conversions. Content like offers, blogs, videos, live chats and social remarketing can grab your customer’s attention and keep them engaged throughout their journey. Engaging pieces keep your customers on your site for longer and can encourage repeat visitors.

We also covered the key engagement killer: brands that talk about themselves too much and ignore the user’s problems and needs!

As a final point, we talked about how important page speed is in keeping customers engaged. It’s also increasingly becoming a key ranking factor for search engines. If your site speed is slow then you will lose conversions. In fact a 100 millisecond delay in loading times can hurt conversion rates by 7 per cent!

Building websites that convert was a really comprehensive morning that showed how each element of the process has an impact on the next. We’re really looking forward to putting the process into practice.

Northern UX Camp

Speaking of conversions and user engagement, Northern UX (user experience) Camp was all about creating engagement through effective user experiences and user interfaces.

As part of this, we spent a while talking about one of the hottest (or hyped depending on your view) trends in marketing – voice assistants. Now you might think that there’s not a lot of consideration from a UX point of view, but in fact there’s a huge opportunity.

To demonstrate that, we created our own Alexa-esque voice assistant - ‘Loo’ (an empty toilet roll with googly eyes). We quickly realised just how extensive and complex the decision trees behind this technology are, as there are literally thousands of possibilities. We started off simply and discovered that actually it’s quite easy to carry out tasks like ordering meals on wheels.

The second part of NUX camp focused on content design that’s backed by data. We talked about how basing designs in data is beneficial to everyone – from the user who can see exactly what they’re getting, to stakeholders who have greater confidence in the process.

Choosing the right metrics is as important too. Simply measuring website visits is useless if you can’t tell how many visitors went on to convert. So, it’s crucial to intelligently choose the right metrics to measure performance and put your data to good use.

Overall, NUX camp was an insightful day out, but we’re itching to get involved in creating a voice assistant now! Maybe EDdie will make an appearance in the future?

Innovations in UI and UX

Sticking to the theme of user experience, we learnt about the impact of a positive user experience and user interface. And it all involves collaboration, consistency, planning, evolution and focusing on the finer details.

We also talked about how to identify user priorities based on feedback, personas, business priority and how easy it is to develop. But all of these changes can’t be introduced in one bunch by just one team – it takes collaboration and incremental improvements. This allows you different points of view and the ability to be continually add value and maintain relevancy.

The Future of Social Media

A particularly topical session, Facebook was a big focus. We discussed topics like ad free versions of platforms (and whether Facebook would become one of them), and the importance of using Google Analytics with social media to see how platforms work together.

There was also a lot of discussion about the power of influencers and Wetherspoon’s decision to come off social media (have a look to see what we think!)

We focused on how brands can treat their followers like an audience and not just a customer. Instead of constantly selling products, we talked about the importance of building content that people value and want to engage with.

We also talked about how social media platforms are becoming the new go-to for ecommerce. Instagram has already embraced this, so should brands be considering an ecommerce strategy for social media? We think so!

Digital Transformation in Banking

This event focused on the importance of a culture of change in large organisations when rolling out development operations or agile methodology.

The talk covered the challenges faced by teams, software engineering and change teams, and how these were overcome.

It was interesting to hear about the concepts discussed and how they were scaled both up and down to work for a huge organisation.

She Does Hey

This was a great night listening to inspirational women in the industry talk about their careers. It wasn’t just all about celebrating successes though – it was hearing that failure is okay and can be beneficial so long as you learn from it.

What makes a great World Cup poster?

It wasn’t all serious work topics though, we did go to some events that appealed to our extracurricular interests!

We looked at every World Cup poster and identified what it was about them that made them great. It turns out that each of them had a consistent theme, recurring elements and elements that harked back to the host country.

Then it was our turn to decide what would make a good poster for Qatar 2022. It was pretty good, so fingers crossed it makes the cut!

We had a great time at Leeds Digital Festival 2018 and can’t wait for next year. Let us know in the comments which events were your favourites.

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Articles by Charlotte Bunker

Hi I'm Charlotte and I'm the resident Creative Copywriter.