The Benefits of WordCamp and the WordPress Community – WordCamp London

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An amazing, friendly, welcoming event. Your business benefits from the WordPress community. With a website built on the WordPress platform, you benefit from hundreds of developers continually fine tuning the core code and from thousands of plugin and extension developers that create specific functionality that you can use. Saving you time and money on your web design project. The alternative would be to start from a blank page and code something new.

Okay, so I am sure you are asking "what is a WordCamp and what does it have to do with WordPress? (and how does that help my business?)".
Here's the definition:

"WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress.WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other."

WordPress WordCamps happen across the world, typically in major cities, however, they can be larger, such as WordCamp Europe. March 2017 saw the WordCamp London Convention. Typically a 'three track' event, which means throughout each day there are 3 sets of talks on at any one time covering a broad range of WordPress and website related topics.

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This annual event was a great opportunity for me to meet up with fellow WordPress website designers and hear thoughts and insight from a wide range of developers, designers and users who presented over two days.

A welcoming WordCamp London community, sharing ideas, insight, tips and techniques. The whole event was very relaxed, and everyone was extremely helpful and friendly. Over 600 people were attending, and over 40 volunteers were helping out through the weekend. The catering and refreshments were impressive. With coffee, fresh fruit, bottled water, juices and biscuits available all day. A delicious lunch was provided each day, which created an opportunity for me to meet up with a few fellow WordPress designers who I had previously only met online, so great to meet in person.

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A welcoming and inclusive community, it's in the detail

One of the aspects I love about WordPress is the welcoming and inclusive community. The event had facilities for everyone, creche, hearing loops, lactation room, multi-faith room, live speed text reporters (live captions or every presentation), quiet room and accessible wheelchair access.

How could a WordCamp help your business?

Website creation and business websites need to perform and drive traffic and grow your business. The internet and web development is a fast moving, and ever changing landscape and the more your web provider knows about the latest changes, the better placed they are to pass that insight on to your project.

WordCamps provide your website team with the latest insight and best practice ideas and views on website creation, content marketing, effective web design processes (so your website gets produced faster and better).

Highlights for me from the WordCamp weekend

Day 1.
Track A - Lightning session from Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld someone I know well online, she travelled from Netherlands to take part in the WordCamp, and we finally got to meet in person. Her talk was about her experience of WordCamp Europe last year and how much she enjoyed the supportive community at the event, a real life changing event.

Track A - How to create and foster a loving client relationship. Some great insight into project management and fostering a positive client relationship. (by Tom Chute)

Track B - Migrating Content is like moving house. Ideas and methods for migrating content, mapping out what is needed and what not to move, planning a site move for success. (by Edd Hurst)

Track B- The importance of Information Architecture: How to organise content to improve the User Experience. Excellent guidance and insight for guiding visitors around your website with intuitive navigation and helping visitors find what they are looking for. (by Monique Dubbelman)

Track C - Designing for Accessibility. An excellent guide for designing and coding for an accessible website. What you need to be aware of and it impacts on Accessibility at all stages of a web design project (by Graham Armfield)

Track B - Website design pain points for clients and how to help them through it. A reasonable breakdown of some techniques for helping clients get their content together. (by Rachael Dines, Meg Fenn)

Track A - How do you build a custom theme. A panel of WordPress developers discussing their preferred development models. (by Sue Fernandes, Afzaal, Ulrich Pogson, Sami Keijonen, Jonny Allbut)

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Day 2.
Track B - The Unbearable Likeness of Design. A look back at the history of web design together with an examination of modern tools and practices that affect the design process and user experience. (by Sarah Semark)

Track A - An introduction to Agile. Agile project management – covering both KanBan and Scrum. Covering a little around history, Agile vs Waterfall and examples from real projects. (by Jim Bowes) I've used the KanBan technique for a few years so I was keen to hear insight from anther agencies experiences.

Track B - The art of empathy in customer marketing. A great talk covering understanding customer needs and how to empathise with the customer. (by NevenaTomovic)

Track C - Why and how to use screencasts to train users. A really useful presentation about tools and techniques for screencasts and animated GIFs in client training and support. (by Ross Wintle)

Track C - Ending design revision hell. Some great ideas and techniques that help both designers and clients in reducing revisions and creating a better delivery process. (by Nela Dunato)

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The Takeaway.

With attendees and sponsors travelling from across the UK and Europe to attend, it was a great opportunity to meet fellow WordPress designers in person. I came away with lots of ideas and insight that I can use on a daily basis to help my clients have a useful website for their business. It was an opportunity to network with fellow web designers and feel part of a positive community.

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