AWS re:Invent 2020
In 2020, a majority of events moved online, making them more accessible than ever before, and an outcome of this change has created new opportunities for user experience practices to be incorporated into the interactions brands have with their users. This year, the AWS re:Invent conference was a virtual, extended event which could be accessed around the world for free, and the experience was, by design, different from other conferences I had attended before.
I signed up for the conference online, and I immediately noticed that the sessions were scheduled throughout the day and night and that there were a similar number of events to attend regardless of the time. I found this fascinating because we often see virtual events revolve around our local, or at least Western, time zones. Since this event was not hosted by an individual — but rather a network of AWS employees, consumers, and evangelists — it was refreshing and surprising to see how broad of an audience could be reached and how accessible we can make information and experiences.
After the conference began and I started engaging in the sessions, I found a few to be particularly memorable. The Werner Vogels Keynote showcased how technological innovation at AWS could support software development around the world. It also touched on how these changes could support user experience efforts. One of the key takeaways for me was how companies that continuously considered leveraging technology to provide better user experiences are often the leaders of their industry. One of the examples of this was presented by Lea von Bidder, the CEO and Co-Founder of Ava — a company empowering those who want to track their reproductive health. I was so intrigued by their solution that I went to the website and did some digging and found that they use human-centered design and storytelling to showcase what problems they are solving for their users. This experience is only possible because of the technology they are able to take advantage of.
Technology is inherently creative and is the foundation upon which memorable, interactive, and inclusive experiences are built. Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are all building blocks that have the power to make users’ lives easier in ways that have even yet to be discovered.