Awwwards conference at Amsterdam

An event for designers, developers and digital dreamers.


Awwwards is a professional web design and development competition platform founded in 2009 in Valencia. Every year, web professionals worldwide submit their best projects to be reviewed by a jury featuring some of the most important designers, creative directors and agencies in the industry. The best submissions are recognized at awards conferences that take place in various cities across the US and Europe.

This February, I had the opportunity to participate in one of these conferences that was held in Amsterdam. The two-day event was filled with cutting-edge themes presented by industry-leading speakers. The Awwwards conference was not only an amazing opportunity to gain valuable knowledge from the industry’s best, but it also left me inspired and eager to apply the insights learned. While all the talks were very informative and stimulating, the messages of the following three speakers resonated with me the most:

Efficiently Design – The Process

Pablo Stanley, Design Lead at InvisionApp

Pablo is a great storyteller who held our interest with an emotional childhood story, enhanced by humor and his own illustrations, which described every designer’s struggle for freedom and the need to belong. He concluded that the way to succeed is to find the right balance between these two driving forces.

awwwards conference amsterdam

“Almost three decades later, I still have two kids fighting inside me. One wants to assert his individuality and uniqueness, move fast, not care about what others think—just do his own thing.

And the other kid wants to be liked, to be with other people, to get their approval—he wants to belong.

I think these two could make a dynamic duo if they worked together.”

See full talk here.

High Speeds, Higher Expectations

Raisa Cuevas, User Experience Specialist at Google NL

The focus of Raisa’s talk was mobile performance and user experience (UX). When browsing mobile sites, speed comes first in UX hierarchy.

importance of mobile speed

Experiencing mobile delays in 2019 tops the list of stress response factors.

awwwards conference mobility

With the average human attention span lower than that of a goldfish, the recommended loading time for a mobile page is three seconds.

mobile user experience

The importance of mobile speed is highlighted by the following statistic: “53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.” Clearly, mobile loading time should be the top priority when creating web experiences in 2019.

What designers can learn from (code) review

Ida Aalen, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer at Confrere

Ida’s talk drew a parallel between code review and the best way for constructive criticism between creative team members. I would personally add that these principles should also apply to the client approval process.

Moreover, she emphasized that this review should in no way resemble “design by committee.”

design by committee

Instead, she gave a clear description of what constructive criticism should include:

  • Critique the work, not the author.
  • Be critical, but remain affable and curious.
  • Differentiate between:
    a) suggestions
    b) requirements
    c) and points that need discussion or clarification.
  • Move discussions from text to face-to-face.
  • Don’t forget to praise the good parts!

Summary of the talk here.

Aside from many talks and workshops, there were numerous networking opportunities created by Awwwards organizers. From the Adobe lunch with speakers and sponsors to the rooftop party hosted by Ayden, the two days were filled with opportunities to mingle with dynamic professionals from around the world.

awwwards roof top party

The inspiring atmosphere of the event was further enhanced by Amsterdam itself. Dominated by its pretty canals and narrow houses built around them, this iconic city is eye candy for any creative individual. With inspiration all around, this stimulating backdrop was the ideal setting for this conference that gave me lots of new ideas to help step up my design game!


About the author

Natasha Yefman is the founder and creative director of Studio Azura, a digital agency specializing in branding, web development and inbound marketing.

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