Product design students participated in the Refresh Conference in Tartu

Feeling Refreshed!

We are 2nd year digital product design students of Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA), who are passionate about inclusive, sustainable and empathic design. We had a chance to take part in a program which is designed to kick off with a series of talks, discussions, and networking opportunities, with a mix of learning and inspiration.

What is Refresh?

Refresh Conference is a product and UX-design conference held in Estonia. It aims to provide fresh inspiration for creating better products on the web and making it even more awesome.

The conference setup is designed to foster connections and collaboration opportunities among participants and visitors. And there were people from SEB, Microsoft, Pipedrive, Bitweb, Bolt, Boku and so much more!

But what did we actually do there?

We got to show off EKA as the ultimate spot for digital and interaction design learning! We displayed student projects from various years using posters and slideshows, presenting a diverse range of EKA’s work and designs. They proved to be a powerful tool to showcase our work to potential new partners and revisit past collaborations with Swedbank, Estonian Museum of Natural History, North Estonia Medical Centre Foundation and National Library of Estonia, to mention some. It was rewarding to witness the interest and recognition towards our school, and to receive direct feedback and acknowledgment from industry experts. We even had a person approach us and say that his work is on one of our posters. What are the odds! (Whoever can crunch the numbers,please inform us as well!!)

Who was there?

In the pool of different industry experts, there was a really awesome presentation by Slava Shestopalov, who leads the team of designers at an enterprise software firm headquartered in the Netherlands. Slava made a really cool point, that management is not a natural continuation of design. It’s a different skillset that cannot be automatically obtained while working as a designer.  From his experience choosing the leadership track means a lot of changes in the mindset, tools, and methodologies.

Simply put, less designing — more communication, planning, and strategy.

Additionally we had the pleasure of listening to some truly interesting presentations, ranging from insights on how to navigate uncertainty on the oceans of product existential crisis by Patryk Jarzębski, to an engaging discussion on product-market fit by Kristjan Järvi, Rain Rannu and Triin Kask.

What we take away from it!

Elis: “Engaging in design discussions has been enlightening, highlighting the relevance of our work beyond the classroom. Conversations with fellow enthusiasts reaffirm Estonia’s focus on addressing design challenges, echoing the values instilled in us at EKA.”

Kristi: “ Conversations with seasoned professionals at Refresh Conference provided invaluable insights into their everyday work life. As a student preparing to enter the field, this firsthand knowledge will help along the way. Also had really insightful and important conversations about digital accessibility.”

Britmarii: It was really rewarding to see familiar faces—from teachers and coworkers to other amazing individuals, who you just know! It also gave us an opportunity to engage with people whose work, ideas, and practices inspire us. See you next year!

Elis-Christina Kuuse, Kristi Laanemäe, Brimtarii Kroon-Kesa

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Posted by Mari Maiste