It’s difficult for some folks to see the value in a designer attending a marketing conference such as INBOUND 2016, but anyone with a decent understanding of design knows that with context, you create better work. The best designs were not put together by a designer working in isolation, the best designs were put together by a designer that was aware of the material and concept at hand with an understanding that went beyond the surface level.

Knowing how and why your marketing team does certain things and grasping concept of the marketing approach helps the designer make better decisions in her work that are inline with the goals of the entire team.

How to get the most out of INBOUND as a designer

I go to conferences for two reasons, one to see what the pros are currently doing (whether it’s design, development or marketing) and two, to see what the rest community/attendees are currently innovating on (the golden nuggets of information).

The former is easy, just attend the talks of the most influential speakers that interest you. I usually go by Twitter followers and the company they represent. Fair warning, there are a handful of first time speakers that are rockstars in the making and it’s not the wisest to dismiss them completely without doing your due diligence.

The latter gets a bit more difficult since it requires you to leave your comfort zone and talk to people (this becomes extra challenging if you’re an introvert like myself). However, this is where I get the most out of INBOUND (3rd year attending); knowing how other teams interact, the tools they’re using, and the solutions and hacks to the same problems my team is facing, this is all useful information you normally wouldn’t get from scheduled talks. The same reason why Twitter is such a successful platform, you get access to the conversation of problems and their solutions happening in real time.

Roundup of Tools

Below is a list of all the tools I came across during talks, side conversations, & as well as coworkers while at INBOUND 2016.

Usability Hub

Remote user testing that can help you quickley get answers for what otherwise would take weeks of testing. Credit to @oligardner.

Readability Score

A readability score is a computer-calculated index which can tell you roughly what level of education someone will need to be able to read a piece of text easily. Credit to @oligardner.

HubDB

This is actually a HubSpot COS feature and not really a tool but worth mentioning. HubSpot has a great CMS tool called the HubSpot COS, but has lacked a database developers could access until now. Credit to @gabewahhab.

Ghostery

A browser plugin that allows you to go incognito to web analytics. This is pretty useful to avoid skewing any analytics without having to block your IP on every service or every time you use a different internet connection. Credit to @theardit.

User Testing

Videos of real users and their feedback on your website or app. Credit to @kyleplacy.

x.ai

An AI powered personal assistant with the ability to accurately schedule meetings for you. Credit to @kyleplacy.

Featured Talk

Content Comeback: How to Transform Freelance Chaos into a Kickass In-House Content Team – Mikaela Tierney

One of the more popular talks of the conference, Mikaela breaks down the process to creating an in-house content writing team that produces awesome work.

Full disclosure, Mikaela actually works with me at Results-Powered Marketing. She has done a kickass job of transforming a content writing team that constantly missed deadlines and created subpar work into a group of rockstars that are now the golden child of the agency.

You can download her slide deck here.


Julian Gaviria

I'm Julian, Director of User Experience at THOMASNET.com. I touch on topics such as UX/UI design, front-end development, and whatever I'm working on at the moment. If you want a heads up as soon as I publish something, .

Latest stuff I've written

User-Friendly Exit Intent Modals

User-Friendly Exit Intent Modals

As users, we hate popups. We never click on them. They’re annoying. They get in the way. But as conversion rate optimizers, they just work.