When it comes to forging a successful UX career, networking plays a crucial role. Just ask any of today’s leading industry experts, who would no doubt credit UX meetups as a major contributor to their success.
The opportunity to meet fellow UX professionals and exchange ideas will open countless doors—especially as a newcomer. But after two years of Covid-19, it’s hard to have a sense of what’s out there.
Despite the wave of cancelled events brought on by the pandemic, UX professionals will find no shortage of opportunities to meet, learn, and network in 2023. Keep reading for our roundup of the meetups every UX professional should consider adding to their calendar this year.
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The best UX meetups in 2023
Dates: June 22-23, 2023
Location: London, UK
London UX-ers: This is the meetup for you. Arguably one of the most well-established UX events in the UK, UX London is a two-day in-person conference taking place in London’s historic Tobacco Dock. The event explores all aspects of the design process; including interaction design, product design, user research, design systems, and UX writing.
Not a fan of sitting still all day? Attendees can experience the best of both worlds, with inspirational talks from industry leaders taking place each morning and hands-on workshops available to join in the afternoons. You’ll also be right in the heart of the action, surrounded by plenty of bars and cafés where you and your new friends can continue chatting about all things UX.
The UX Book Club
We all know that books are a great way to expand your UX horizons—and what’s more enjoyable than making new friends and connections with every new book you read? Enter: The UX Book Club.
Run out of Dublin, the UX Book Club is a growing community of UX-ers who meet bi-monthly to discuss must-read tech and product books. If you’re new to the field, this is a great way to meet fellow keen readers, engage in professional discussions, and learn collectively from some of the industry’s best authors.
In addition to book discussions, the organisers regularly run one-off virtual events with community contributors and authors. The group is free to join, and all levels and backgrounds are welcome!
Product Design Week
Dates: April 24th-28th, 2023
Product Design Week is a week-long online event that invites the global UX community to congregate and celebrate the industry.
Spread over five days, Product Design Week is a festival of UX innovation covering everything from UX writing to the interception of design and business. You can attend specific events based on your role, or stick around for the entire week and dip your toes into the latest trends and developments across UX disciplines.
Last year’s speakers included industry leaders from Google, J.P Morgan, and Headspace Health—so it’s only right to expect an equally star-studded collection of guest speakers for 2023.
Dates: June 3-4, 2023
Location: Berlin, Germany
Unconferences are popular in the design world, aptly named due to their lack of format (think participant-driven conversation and informal exchange of ideas instead of structured programs or sponsored presentations). If you prefer to ‘go with the flow’ rather than be restricted by set schedules, UX Camp Europe is the continent’s biggest unconference for UX professionals—and well worth a ticket.
Last year’s event saw over 500 attendees from around the world gather for a passionate celebration of UX; complete with interactive sessions, free-form networking, and even a party (in true Berlin fashion). This year, the emphasis on engaged participation is even bigger: Attendees need to hold a session, help with one, or contribute to the event in some volunteer capacity. So prepare to get stuck in!
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Hailed as UX design’s best-kept secret, Designer Hangout is an online, invite-only community of over 18,000 UX professionals (and counting). The group provides UX-ers with a dedicated platform to build powerful networks and develop meaningful connections.
The community boasts multiple Slack channels where designers can share insights, offer advice, post job opportunities, discuss trends, and organise local in-person meetups. The Design Hangout organisers also host regular events and get-togethers for the whole community throughout the year—often sponsored by industry-leading design companies like InVision.
Read next: 12 UX communities that are ready to welcome you
Dates: June 7-9, 2023
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Following a three-year hiatus, UX Scotland returns in 2023 for a three-day UX extravaganza. The international conference welcomes UX professionals from around the world to congregate in the heart of Edinburgh for a celebration of modern user-centricity.
Attendees can choose from a mix of keynote presentations, smaller sessions, and interactive workshops. UX Scotland is all about learning—and hopefully, you’ll walk away with an updated arsenal of tools, techniques, and design practices (plus a bunch of new friends).
The Chicago Digital Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup
Accessibility is a crucial pillar of UX design—and to continue to make their products user-friendly, it’s vital that UX professionals stay on the cutting edge of inclusive and accessible design practices.
The Chicago Digital Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup seeks to bring together like-minded digital professionals across UX and software development to share, learn, and network in the spirit of inclusivity. With almost 3,000 members, this is one of the USA’s biggest inclusive design meetup groups.
The group hosts regular events throughout the year, both online and in-person, on topics ranging from ableism in design to intersectionality—and everything in between.
Dates: February 17-19, 2023
Location: Online/Breda, The Netherlands
As the largest UX research community in Europe, UXinsight is hosting its seventh annual UX research conference—the highly-anticipated UXinsight Festival.
Created by UX researchers, for UX researchers, the festival will take place both online and in Breda (The Netherlands). Last year’s event, themed ‘Growth in UX research,’ focused on growth and development. While this year’s theme (and program) is still being put together, attendees can expect high-quality talks, a diverse panel of guest speakers, and abundant opportunities to engage and network with like-minded UX researchers.
UX Writer Conference
Dates: February 21-22, 2023
UX writing is a flourishing discipline, with a growing number of UX writing groups, networks, and events cropping up worldwide. Among them is the UX Writer Conference, a two-day virtual event produced by Joe Welinske—who has participated in conferences for tech writers since 1991.
The schedule includes talks and workshops from some of the industry’s most talented UX writers, content designers, and strategists; with topics ranging from writing with empathy to breaking into the field. Breakout rooms and virtual one-on-one chats are also built into the schedule, allowing attendees plenty of opportunities to meet fellow writers.
Design Thinking Conference
Dates: October 12-13, 2023
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Design Thinking Conference isn’t your average design conference. The two-day annual event takes on a theatrical format, with actors portraying different scenarios which explore the power of empathy (the first stage in the design thinking process). The event encourages participants to be part of ‘the Act’ and experience the world through alternate viewpoints; and to disrupt, discuss, and experiment rather than spectate.
Between acts, you’ll have the opportunity to network with experts and researchers alike. We guarantee you’ll never attend a UX event like this one!
Where to find local UX meetups
The above list is a snapshot of key UX meetups and events happening around the world—but it’s by no means an exhaustive list. It’s just as valuable to attend smaller, more local meetups as it is to invest in a ticket to global conferences.
You’ll still expand your network—but with the added benefit of grabbing a local coffee with your new contacts, without worrying about Zoom fatigue or clashing time zones.
The good news is that there are tonnes of ways to discover meetups, groups, and events happening both in-person and online in your local stomping ground.
Start by signing up to websites like:
You can also type ‘UX events near me’ into Google for a quick overview of what’s coming up in your city.
From new groups to well-established conferences, broad industry meetups to niche-topic webinars; the world is brimming with UX meetups just waiting for you to attend.
Attending UX meetups will see you:
- Develop your confidence as a UX professional
- Find like-minded UX newcomers on similar journeys
- Meet senior UX professionals and mentors who can guide you toward success
- Stay ahead of emerging UX trends, tools, and practices
- Get exposure to new job opportunities
Putting yourself out there at these events can be intimidating, especially if you’re a newbie to the industry or a solo attendee. But networking is a valuable tool that you’ll eventually master with practice. To learn more, check out our UX networking guide.
If attending one of the bigger conferences feels too overwhelming, try starting with a smaller local coffee group or online webinar.
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