Page last updated at 06:45 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

The next Twitter or Facebook?

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Web designers are to take part in the conference

The search is on for "obsessive-compulsive" web designers, to create the next internet phenomenon to rival the success of sites like Twitter and Facebook - and it begins in Belfast.

A host of internationally renowned web designers are to descend on the city to call on local talent to help create the next "killer" internet application.

They will take part in special conference, aimed at bringing together the very best knowledge and latest developments in internet design, in order to "build a better web".

They include guest speakers such as former Apple interactive designer and EveryBlock co-founder Wilson Miner; the lead designer for social networking site Virb, Ryan Sim and the chief executive of one of the UK's largest web development studios, Clearleft's Andy Budd.

Mr Budd will tell the audience that they need "more than just a pretty (inter)face" to win web users "hearts, minds and registration details".

Those behind the Build Design Conference, which is sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, hope the idea will spread.

"In the dating game of the web, you need more than just a pretty (inter)face and a winning smile. You need to woo your users in a complex ritual of seduction and delight. Only then will you win their hearts, minds and registration details." Andy Budd
The web is relatively young, and people still have the wrong idea about the "nerds" and "geeks" who make a living building products for it. Tim Van Damme
How can you have the most impact in different environments, from a small startup to a big company? Wilson Miner
"Web-based applications - even operating systems - are spreading like wildfire. What does it all mean for us and for the sites we build?" Eric Meyer

Organiser Andy McMillan said: "Build is working to establish itself as the epitome of design events in Europe - effectively becoming a travelling design festival with a focus on web, interface and graphic design.

"Our first event in Belfast is but the first in a series of similarly scaled events we're planning around major European cities in the coming years."

Business opportunities

The conference will include workshops, lectures, fringe events and parties, giving the "growing Northern Irish tech community" the opportunity to meet, share ideas and learn from each other.

Donal Durkan from Invest NI said the conference would provide "an informative and stimulating forum for local companies in the digital content sector".

"The strong skills base in the sector combined with increasing use of web based communications presents major growth opportunities for local businesses.

"The workshops and guest speakers will help firms realise the market potential and engage in the development of innovative technologies," he said.

The event takes place at Belfast's Waterfront Studios on Thursday, 5 November.

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