Last weekend I attended WordCamp London and had a brilliant time. It was well organised, well supported, great value and friendly. The talks were varied and all offered a fantastic learning opportunity.
It was attended by hundreds of WordPress users, hosting providers, developers and designers who descended on London Metropolitan University to meet, learn, and grow as part of the greater WordPress community.
Friday – My First Contributor Day
I arrived early on Friday morning to participate on my first ever Contributor Day. This is an opportunity to support WordPress by helping with things like testing themes, answering questions in the WordPress Support Forums and translating WordPress into different languages.
I choose to help the Accessibility Team and had the pleasure of working with a fantastic team including WordPress co-founder Mike Little and WordPress accessibility test team co-ordinator Rian Rietveld.
This was my first experience at a contributor day and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to get more involved. It’s not just for developers, WordPress needs testers, designers and translators too.
On Friday night I met up with other UK Genesis Developers at the Speakers Party which was held at Bounce, where I was introduced to the very competitive world of Ping Pong by WordPress developer Gary Jones.
— Rian Rietveld (@RianRietveld) April 8, 2016
Saturday – Day 1
The food was amazing throughout the weekend and even included croissants, muffins and fruit for breakfast on arrival.
There were 3 talk tracks which were suitable for all levels of developers and non-developers alike. In fact is was difficult to choose which one to attend.
Saturday’s talks included Claire Brotherton’s talk on business blogging, Sarah Semark’s talk on using SVG (very timely as I’m about to start a project using these), Leena Haque’s on myth of a normal brain and Jason’s Agnew’s guilt free coding.
In-between talks there was plenty of coffee and time to talk to other attendees and sponsors. I was really impressed with the sponsors who were really helpful and interested in meeting their customers and learning about their businesses. In particular the hosting company 34SP.com who had loads of freebies and helpful advice. 34SP.com also brought along a life size Wapuu who was definitely the star of the weekend.
The After Party was a cool combination of drinking and retro-gaming, with gaming consoles from every decade as well as retro board games.
Sunday – Day 2
Day 2 included more fantastic talks including Ben Furfie’s very honest talk about his experience as a freelancer and what he would do differently.
My favourite talk of the weekend was Ross Wintle’s User Experience – It’s for Everyone. Ross used a little website http://hasyourbabyarrivedyet.com/ that he created to illustrate the many decisions that we have to make when designing a great user experience. As someone that’s interested in user experience and psychology I found his talk really inspiring and I even ordered the book he referred to:
— Angie (@purplebabyhippo) April 13, 2016
At 14.30 I was on the Web Accessibility Panel together with fellow Genesis Developers Gary Jones, Richard Senior and Rian Rietveld. It was hosted by journalist and broadcaster, Mik Scarlet and consisted of a Q&A session with the audience about WordPress and Web Accessibility. We talked about why Web Accessibility is important, what has been done to make WordPress more accessible and the plans to make it more accessible in the future.
For me it was a great way of being involved in presenting at a WordCamp without doing a whole scary talk by myself but the weekend has given the confidence to consider this next time!
The common theme for this year’s WordCamp was accessibility and how to make WordPress a more usable experience for everyone. The event itself was made more accessible for everyone with the addition of live transcription for all the talks and a creche for the first time.
Themes this year: simplicity, honesty, accessibility, people. In some ways low-tech topics, but a good direction for the web. #wcldn
— Ross Wintle (@magicroundabout) April 10, 2016
One of the things that I really enjoyed was meeting other developers, some of who are in the same position I was 2 years ago. I was able to share my experiences with them and offer advice on how make their processes more effective – I never thought I would be doing that!