Last year we teamed up with Praqma to give their spin-off brand, Code-Conf, a totally new look. This is a story about how we helped them to completely turn their fortunes around with a bold redesign.
Praqma run conferences on Continuous Delivery and DevOps across Scandinavia through Code-Conf. When we met them they were trying really hard to build a software based community around CoDe and DevOps. They’d not had much success though - only a few conferences a year attracting the same old faces. The attendees were friends, friends of friends, ex-colleagues - basically all people from within their existing network. Not exactly the vibrant community they were aiming for.
They were really struggling to reach people outside of their existing network
Eventually they faced up to what they had known all along - the website wasn’t very appealing. There was noting in the promotion of CoDe-Conf that adequately captured its true quality. They realised that they were putting a ton of effort into organising great CoDe events but were selling themselves short with inferior marketing.
Before we got involved Code-Conf looked like this:
You can understand why potential customers weren’t rushing to buy tickets. Unless you were a CoDe fanatic these events weren’t being pencilled into your diary. There was absolutely no FOMO and Code-Conf managed to host only 4 conferences in 2015.
Praqma needed better results ASAP. Their 2016 conference season was only a few weeks away. We made ourselves available and jetted off to Copenhagen to see what one of these conferences was actually like. Was it as uninspiring as the website seemed to suggest? We went along to check one out.
And it was great! The talks were really informative, there were interactive workshops for the attendees, and the whole event had a really welcoming, friendly vibe. There was lots of informal networking going on, some nice food, and beers in the evening. What more do you want from a conference?
Basically, it was a whole lot more interesting and fun than it looked online.
So, we got to work transforming the Code-Conf website into something that would capture the real nature of the conferences. After an initial research and development phase (see below) we spent an intensive three days on site at Praqma's office in Oslo with two of their partners and their web developer.
What made this project really interesting is that Praqma wanted all changes to be written in their own code and stored in a GitHub repository. This created some notable challenges in a static page layout, but we were able to overcome our issues through close collaboration.
The resulting design and new look was then implemented for all upcoming events in 2016, from social media to rollups and swag. The result was a more unified and professional looking conference which led to increased sponsor activity and higher attendance.
Since the rebrand Code-Conf has expanded massively. They hosted 15 conferences in 2016 and this year they’re set to run 35 separate events. In fact, they’ve become so busy that they’ve had to hire a full time events manager to handle all the work.
If you’ve got a great product then make sure people can see how great it is.
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