How do you create a great website design that is attractive, usable, and converts visitors to attendees? Lets look at how some other successful conferences manage that. This is part two, in our Conference Websites Basics series.
#1. Clean and Clear
Less is more in conference website design. You want your message to be read, not merely to exist. Here are some examples of clean and clear conference websites:
- Twitter’s Chirp conference has an artsy, hand-drawn feel, but that doesn’t get in the way with presenting information clearly.
- IXDA gets the basics right and changes their home page message according to what’s relevant right now.
- User conferences, like Webtrends Engage, have an easier time because everyone knows what the conference is about. Webtrends sees that as an opportunity to focus on customer engagement.
#2 Simplified Navigation
Navigation tabs should present a small amount of clearly organized information, but some conferences feel like the navigation should include links to every conceivable bit of information. Here are examples of how to simplify and organize your navigation:
- TED boils their navigation down to just three elements.
- Google IO cuts down on the number of web pages by answering most questions in a FAQ.
- CES tries to make up for too many navigation options (45 items in the tabs and sub-tabs) by having a sidebar for each type of attendee (press, attendee, exhbitor).
- SIGGRAPH organizes all of their navigation by audience. That way if you’re an attendee you don’t ever have to see the clutter that’s for exhibitors.
- Anime Expo has 97 navigation items, but at least they read, usability expert, Jacob Neilsen’s article on mega drop downs as a very usable way to handle complex navigation hierarchies.
#3. Value Proposition
What is the number one thing you want people to notice on your website? Does it stand out against the noise of everything else you’re saying? Here’s how other conferences communicate their top goal: letting potential attendees know why they should attend.
- RailsConf uses their banner area to sell the event by listing their top speakers.
- Microsoft PDC puts their full agenda on their home page–their agenda is their sales pitch
- Social Media World pairs company logo with speakers and makes a compelling case that they cover news from all important companies in their industry.