AfroTech is the premiere tech conference for techies, startups and entrepreneurs of color. Each year over 4,000 descend on San Francisco to take part in this collision of culture and technology, which features panel discussions, interactive workshops, recruiting sessions and opportunities to make new connections with the brightest in the tech world.
For the fourth annual AfroTech conference, the AfroTech team wanted to create a dynamic online experience that would serve as an intuitive, efficient tool to help attendees get the most out of their AfroTech experience before, during and after the festival. They also wanted to refresh the look and feel to further reflect AfroTech’s innovation and authenticity.
I began the ATC 2019 process by conducting interviews with attendees of the AfroTech 2018 conference to gain insight into the experience of using the previous site, identifying pain points and opportunities for improvement. I also did a comprehensive audit of other conference sites, noting their successes and failures. Based on data gathered from my research as well as the requirements from AfroTech stakeholders I created an information architecture and feature set that would best serve the AfroTech user; including a home page experience that would exist in three phases - pre, during, and post conference.
The wireframes for the 2019 experience were designed mobile first, as that would be the primary way users would be experiencing the site. Paramount in the process was getting the schedule and speaker user experiences right as they would require the most user interaction and provide the most info for users during the conference. After the initial wireframing a clickable prototype was created and tested. In these tests users showed a preference for filtered system vs. jumplinks, wanted increased shareability of individual events/ speakers, wanted the ability to add events/ speakers to personal calendar and more cross info between schedule and speakers pages.
The feedback from those tests lead to further iterations of the schedule and speaker experiences.
The visual exploration aimed to highlight the innovation and cultural significance of the conference and was presented in three directions, one drawing closely to the existing AfroTech brand, but incorporating image layering and a horizontal scroll, the second light and grid based, the third vibrant and colorful with bold type.
ATC 2019 presented an interesting challenge of crafting an online user experience that would have such an effect on one’s real world user experience at the conference. Having the opportunity to do user research and testing was pivotal to creating an experience that would be most beneficial for conference goers. Hopefully in future we’d have the bandwidth to create parity between the ATC 2019 app and online experience.
Responsibilities included: research, wireframing, prototyping, IA, visual design