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GrapeCity's THAT Conference Recap

THAT Conference, held at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, was an unbelievable experience filled with great people,useful sessions, fun activities, and delicious food. I was thrilled to be able to represent GrapeCity at THAT Conference, and had a fantastic time connecting with hundreds of developers and technical professionals throughout the three-day event.

The Kalahari Resort is a family-friendly hotel and vacation destination, boasting countless entertainments such as an indoor waterpark, theme park, movie theatre, restaurants, and more. This made for a great atmosphere for the duration of THAT Conference and provided many fun things to do for the attendees.

THAT Conference Tabletop

Day 1: Monday

THAT Conference kicked off Sunday for pre-registration and meet and greet, but the bulk of the conference started on Monday. After breakfast, THAT Conference founder Clark Sell kicked off the conference, addressing roughly 1,100 campers out of the 1,800 total attendees. With our booth set up and stocked with GrapeCity swag, we talked with THAT campers throughout the day, discussing development, our products, and how great THAT Conference is. Because we were so busy talking to all of the campers, I only had time to attend one session the first day. Rachel Krause gave a great talk on UX – the good, the bad, and everything in between. Her key points really shed some light on the elements on UX that are often overlooked and not implemented in applications and web design. It was evident that Rachel knew UX inside and out, and I walked away with some great tips to keep in mind! Here are her four rules of UX design. I plan to reference these rules in the future for any work related to design.

The Four Rules of UX Design:

  1. Design for humans

  2. Simplify workflows

  3. Maintain consistency

  4. Be accessible

These steps are important to keep in mind so that they are not overlooked in the UX process. Designing for humans seems simple enough, but the rules encapsulate much more than the first few things that may come to mind. For example, it's important to have error messages that make sense, and specific instructions on how to get rid of the error. Providing context and giving the end user the least amount of work as possible are two key elements of simplifying workflows. Maintaining consistency is vital in UX as well. Keeping a steady color palette and having similar layouts in various pages is important for keeping your work user-friendly. Accessibility can be capitalized on by catering to all users, not just your expected users.

THAT Conference Crowd

Days 2 and 3: Tuesday and Wednesday

Compared to the first day, our GrapeCity booth on day two and three looked ravaged and barren – the majority of our swag had been snatched up by the waves of attendees who came and talked to us. Luckily, we saved our most valued swag for days two and three: t-shirts. We were glad to have repeat visitors, as well as see plenty of new faces throughout the day. Tuesday night was the THAT Conference Indoor Waterpark Party, a suitable celebration given the venue. We all had a blast taking advantage of the pool, lazy river, slides, and rides that were kept open from 10:30 PM to 1:30 AM just for us! After breakfast and some coffee on Wednesday morning, we were right back into the swing of things with campers collecting the last of our swag and getting in their final scans to be entered to win a free license for any of our products.

THAT Conference was a fantastic event, and it was obvious in every element that many people worked hard to make this year’s meeting a success. I know many of the campers, including myself, will be thrilled to return in the years to come!

Ethan Conner

Technical Engagement Engineer
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