By Clive Roux, CEO
You all know the feeling: While you are in the thick of things, it does not seem as if much is moving. That is until you have a moment to stop and look back on where you have come from. That is the kind of summer SEGD is having.
Since writing the last update in May, we hosted a very well received 2014 SEGD Conference with Atlanta Chapter Chair Steve Carlin in the driving seat as our conference chair. We launched a whole new content portal on the website called Xplore, hosted a sell-out Exhibition & Experience Design Workshop in Washington D.C., launched the 2014 SEGD Global Design Awards and celebrated them at the conference, and further developed our links to our peers in the exhibitions, signage, museums, landscape architects, and technology fields to spread the word about the EGD/XGD community and profile the great work you are all doing. The chapters have been really busy with events and we have a new chapter started up by Kris Helmick and Mohamed Khalfan in Los Angeles! Welcome back, LA! In addition we have had some staff changes and we are gearing up for the biggest and most exciting XLab ever, chaired by SEGD Board member Bryan Meszaros, a New York digital EGD leader!
The good news just keeps coming, so where to start? Membership of course! August, as you know, is membership month and we are already up a healthy 7.2% in membership over 2013. Not only are we building the membership, but also participation in our events and website. The recent Exhibition & Experience Design Workshop in Washington D.C., was originally expected to have 40-60 attendees. In the end we hosted just over 180 attendees after booking and then selling out a new space for the event. Good thing the walls of the meeting space were made of glass, because we even had people sitting in the corridors! Everyone had a great time and got to hear some amazing presentations, went on one of 12 organized tours, and unwound at a reception held at Gensler's D.C. offices. We had participation from most of the major museums and attractions. SEGD captured the content on video thanks to the support of our video sponsors CREO Industrial Arts and Archetype. All videos of the sessions will be available free for all members on the website around the end of September. This is a trend we hope to continue, and have already signed up video sponsors for XLab. The goal is to ramp up our education content and get it into a format that is easily accessible for the membership. Non-members will be able to access this content by becoming members or buying the courses on the website. Welcome to SEGD's version of TED Talks!
An important part of our work to improve SEGD this year is our outreach to the larger design, signage, wayfinding, digital, and architectural communities. We have been very busy posting interesting articles on SEGD members' projects on 50 social media platforms on a weekly basis since January as well as working on our search and content accessibility on the website. Since we launched the XPlore section--which categorizes all of SEGD's articles, awards, members and firms, and courses into topics such as practice areas, industry verticals, and EGD/XGD design fundamentals to give easier access to our knowledge base--we have seen page reads increase by more than 30%.
Our website growth has been really substantial this year from the new site. Visits are up 33% YTD compared to 2013 and are continuously growing by roughly 8-10% a quarter! Most of this effect is due to the improved search optimization and better content tagging and content organization on the site. The most impressive result is the 72% increase in pages read on the site YTD versus 2013! We just exceeded 800,000 pages read on the website this week. I hope you have your member bio and firm listing up and have been sending us your firm news--otherwise you are missing out on a major member benefit--awareness. A little birdy recently told me that a new client sent them an RFP after finding them on the SEGD site. Tweet tweet, people.
SEGD is doing well financially, as well. We have just exceeded our revenue numbers for the full year 2013 a week ago. That does not mean we can rest on our laurels, though, as we have a lot more work to do to build SEGD's reserves back up again for the inevitable next downturn, not to mention the investments we want to make in improving our education content such as the videos and other workshop improvements such as the digital streaming we have done for two of the workshops this year already.
Possibly the most important thing to note about the past few months has been the jobs postings increases on our website. They are up 77% versus 2013, confirming what we hear from across the profession: firms are really busy and apparently hiring as well! A few months ago, we improved the jobs postings on the website by posting a link to every new listing on their respective chapter pages to highlight the new opportunities. Make sure to check out your chapter page for the latest jobs.
We would love to hear what your needs are as your firms grow and you tackle the task of becoming proficient in creating design value for clients, especially your challenges as data and digital signage solutions become ever more prevalent in the environment. Please let me know how we can support you as we make plans for 2015.