UX Reviewed: Global TEDx websites

In this article:

  • The task
  • The Australian: TEDx Sydney
  • The Transitional: TEDx Copenhagen
  • The Double Deluxe: TEDx Bethesda
  • Refined Simplicity: TEDx Portland
  • The Original: TED Global
  • The Wow Factor
  • Our ranking

I love a good TED talk.

And with the development of the TEDx concept to establish locally organised ‘franchised’ versions of the TED concept, we’ve seen a democratisation of the TED talk. Any one with an interesting experience or perspective can potentially speak at an event – and you don’t need to pay the US$10,000 to attend the global conference (if you are accepted to attend).

In our day to day we make sure we keep ourselves across interesting websites and web design solutions, and it’s common for us to come across a TEDx website that demonstrates a concept or idea that we want to communicate with a client.

So we figured why not look at them holistically and present back some of the interesting web design concepts and usability practices we have found in our travels.

The task

The TEDx website ultimately is an event website.

An event website doesn’t need to be complicated. But there are a couple of things the website likely needs to achieve.

The core challenge is to create an impression of interest and curiosity in the event. While it is a TEDx event, they are locally organised, and so the quality of the event is going to be largely influenced by the quality of the organisers.

  1. Create an impression of an innovative and well resourced event
  2. High light the quality of the speakers
  3. Make sure it is as simple as possible to purchase tickets.

The Australian: TEDx Sydney

What we liked:

  1. The website is very functionally driven, so the information architecture is quite clear.

What could be better:

  • The logo sits flush against the top of the page, there should be some additional padding. It looks ill placed.
  • There is a great shot of a crowd, but the key message is ‘legacy’. Perhaps another photo with a phrase that better aligns with the event brand.
  • Quite a lot of text!
  • Horizontally organised menu items aren’t ideal for usability.
  • Social icons don’t need to be so prominent.

The Transitional: TEDx Copenhagen

What’s great:

  1. The inter-page animation effects are really interesting
  2. Quick loading website
  3. Clean and simple video filtering system

What could be better:

  • The design could be a little more progressive.
  • The typography choices could have been better, more interesting

The Double Deluxe: TEDx Bethesda

What’s great:

  1. Really interesting and engaging home page hero element, very unique.
  2. Clear and simple information architecture.
  3. Judicious usage of the TEDx red.

What we love most about Bethesda is that while there is flair, it doesn’t get in the way of usability.

What could be better:

  • The site isn’t as snappy to load as it could be.

Refined Simplicity: TEDx Portland

A supremely simple site, but it’s exceptionally simple.

What’s great:

  1. A big focus on the speakers very striking imagery.
  2. Nice usage of mega typography to make a few thematic points.

What could be better:

  • The horizontal scrolling of speakers is bad for usability. Always avoid horizontal scrolling on desktop.

The Original: TED Global

The Global TED website is a little different to the other TEDx sites we reviewed. They don’t push the creative or innovation angle for the event.

Why? They don’t need to. The TED brand is already well established as being innovative and forward thinking. They have a bigger problem of trying to provide some kind of meaningful and useful system to enable users to browse the many thousands of videos – without users necessarily looking for anything in specific. They are just looking to be inspired.

What’s great

  1. Clear presentation of TED topic areas.
  2. Orienting the website design to the function of the site, instead of trying to make.

What could be better:

  • The design components could be put together a little more carefully.
  • The font/typography choices could be a little more interesting.

The Wow Factor

The interesting thing about the TEDx websites was the justified utility of adding in a Wow factor into the website.

As an event, you want people to get excited about what you are doing, you want to push them over the contemplation threshold to a place where they think they can’t miss out of the event.

Normally, we don’t recommend investing as much into creating a statement piece like this, but it makes sense for this type of website, for this brand.

Our ranking

1. TEDx Bethesda

We really loved the Bethesda website. The punchy and innovative home page element is a unique used of video with dynamic interactivity – it looks gorgeous.

2. TEDx Portland

The website is very nice, but the mega imagery doesn’t necessarily translate onto mobile as well as it could. It may help if they used a single large image, than to try and replicate the two large facial images on the desktop experience.

3. TEDx Copenhagen

The inter page transition is great and unique, but the overall design and content sophistication isn’t as high.

What do you think?


Tell us what you think!
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