Webflow’s annual conference went big in 2023 by taking their user conference on the road to 4 different cities and virtually to engage with almost 30,000 passionate community members from around the world. This year was a special one for the team I was apart of in bringing it to life as it was the launch of several major new features, a refreshed brand, and a virtual event platform built in-house using our own product.
In years prior to 2023, Webflow managed its annual user conference with typical event registration platforms which typically underperformed and came with both internal frustration, and a less then ideal brand experience for attendees. Following Webflow Conf 2022, we pitched the idea of building our own registration platform in 2023 using Webflow and a couple other powerful no-code tools in order to optimize internal workflows, and create a world class brand and UX that we could fully control.
We strategically outlined a flexible user journey and content strategy, then aligned it with the best tools in the space that could all integrate for a powerful, custom event management solution. Of course the entire front-end was built in Webflow, and then we combined Airtable, Memberstack, and Whalesync, along with a couple other secondary services to build a platform that was both scalable for up to 50k attendees, and agile enough to quickly change to on-going requirement shifts.
At kickoff of the Webflow Conf 2023 work for the Brand team, we were already at capacity across many other work streams like the entire brand refresh work that would also launch at Conf that year, so we were given the direction to start from the 2022 Conf brand as a baseline to evolve the 2023 brand from, instead of starting from net new.
Many aspects of the general positioning and messaging of the Conf in 2022 carried through to 2023 and we also didn’t want to overthink the 2023 brand knowing we would be launching the new core Webflow brand and product UI that needed to be the primary focus, with the brand of the conference taking a supporting back seat. I jammed with two other designers on the Brand team across a weeks time of exploration and iteration to define the path we felt worked well as a related, yet unique and scalable visual expression to support all brand and marketing collateral for Conf 2023. This first image below outlines some of the early exploration work I found interesting, and which informed the final direction as seen in the second image.
The end-to-end attendee experience of Webflow Conf 2023 was the top focal point for our team, so we started from the highest level possible by mapping out the user journey (shown above) across both the digital experience and how that would even inform the in-person experience. By having control over both functionality and aesthetics of the Webflow Conf experience, we were able to iterate quickly and find systematic ways to create a familiar, refined user flow through the entire journey.
I led the development strategy and tool vetting process, as well as implemented a large variety of workflows, automations, and custom code which were the backbone of the entire platform. The core tools used were Webflow(front-end), Memberstack(authentication), Whalesync(data syncing), and Airtable(database + reporting), plus several secondary tools like Zapier (automation), Iterable (email), Marketo and Salesforce (CRMs). From the time of approval to move forward with new tools like Memberstack, we designed and developed out the platform from most critical aspects to least, and launched the public registration functionality only 3 weeks after kickoff.
Knowing we would have full control over the platform functionality, I worked closely with a fellow designer/dev internally to define and design every page and layout from scratch. With the tight timeline of the overall project, we continuously iterated on the overall design system we were creating as the site grew, and functional requirements continued to evolve.
The underlying development approach on the project utilized our in-house CSS Framework called Boilerplate, but we iterated on it a bit to align with unique aspects of the Webflow Conf 2023 brand. One example of this is found in the 32 column grid used to define both the contained layouts, as well as the background grid line accents throughout the site.
Since we were late out of the gate in building and launching the brand and platform for 2023, naturally later timelines became more and more condensed as we marched towards an October 5th go live. Thankfully, with the configuration of tools we were working with, we were able to utilize the fundamental building blocks of each one to quickly build new capabilities within days, compared to weeks/months for traditional approaches.
For example, to support high demand for in-person attendance, an extra day of Workshops were added to the schedule after registration had already launched, so we had to build out net new functionality to support a secondary registration workflow that attendees could go through once they registered for the main event. Also, as an experiment to drive registration closer to the event, I built out custom referral functionality allowing existing attendees to share a referral link for friends to register with.
At the end of the day, value is hard to prove without hard numbers to prove it. This is where Airtable and Whalesync were vital tools to defining and refining the marketing and growth levers throughout the lifecycle of the conference. More specifically, we used Airtable Interfaces to create custom dashboards of attendee data that was synced from Memberstack in real-time via Whalesync.
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From strategy and brand, to web and product design, I help teams bring businesses to life with modern, memorable and minimal creative work.
With 5+ years using Webflow, and 10+ years creating for the web, I can join your upcoming project to lead development in a design-first, systematic way that will scale with your brand.
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