#WCEU – WORDCAMP Europe 2020 goes online

During this current pandemic lot of events have been cancelled due to the necessity for social distancing. That has uniquely put us all in the same position and unable to travel and live freely.

Category: Events | Read time: 5 minutes

Read more

In June 2020 I attended the 8th annual WordCamp Europe in which the WordPress Community met for 3 days of learning, collaboration and networking online over the weekend of the 4th-6th June 2020.

This years event was due to take place in Porto, Portugal. Thanks to the incredible team of organisers and volunteers the event went for the first time – online.

Like many events that can go online, a lot of them have adapted quickly and made than leap into this space.

Table of Content

    WordCamp Europe

    The online only event attracted 8756 attendees from over 140 different countries.

    Which is an amazing feat to put together in such a short period of time. 51% of the speakers at the event where women.

    What is WordCamp Europe?

    “WordCamp Europe is an informal, community-organised gathering of WordPress enthusiasts – from casual users to Core developers – where we discuss all things WordPress, share ideas and get to know each other.”

    WordCamp Europe – What is WordCamp Europe?

    The extensive schedule of engaging and thought provoking talks

    During the main conference event on Friday and Saturday there was a range of talks on content, marketing, language, accessibility, technical enhancements and experimentation. This made the event truly engaging and gave me lots to listen in to over the two days.

    During the two days I attended virtually 18 different talks. A feat that isn’t always easy at a real time conference. The many plus sides of being able to join virtually.

    The talks I attended

    1. “Why understanding data privacy and cookie law for your WordPress website is critical for success” – Suzanne Dibble (@law4onlinebiz)
    2. “Sustainable Freelancing!” – Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld
    3. “Getting the best from code review” – Sarah Pantry
    4. “Everything you ever wanted to know about WordPress transients” – David Artiss
    5. “Beyond pretty-simple design principles to create richer user experiences” – Eileen Violini
    6. “WordPress performance trends 2020” – Hristo Pandjarov (SiteGround – @pandjarov)
    7. “Why the next generation is critical to the survival of WordPress” – Chris Teitzel
    8. “A/B testing – the art of building better websites with science!” – Ruth Raventós
    9. “Secure your site by becoming a hacker!” – Chris Teitzel
    10. “Art direction with Gutenberg” – Mel Choyce
    11. “Accessibility: digital transformation or social digital transformation?” – Merary Alvarado
    12. “Accessible CSS: Introducing Dark mode!” – Kirsty Burgoine
    13. “eCommerce and storytelling: the shift away from catalogs and carts” – Chris Lema
    14. “10 steps to a faster site” – Doug Cone
    15. “Designing for conversion” – Sonja Jaakkola
    16. “AI in the ‘Hacking world war” – Nestor Angulo de Ugarte
    17. “How to use PR tactics to build better links and supercharge your SEO strategy” – James Brocklebank
    18. “Towards universal design through accessibility, usability and inclusion” – Stefano Minoia

    The Key talks

    As you can see I had a really busy WordCamp Europe. It was my first time attending the event so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am going to feature a few of the talks in order to review them.

    Featured Talks

    1. “Why understanding data privacy and cookie law for your WordPress website is critical for success” – Suzanne Dibble
    2. “Art direction with Gutenberg” – Mel Choyce
    3. “Accessibility: digital transformation or social digital transformation?” –Suzanne Dibble
    4. “Designing for conversion” – Sonja Jaakkola
    5. “Accessible CSS: Introducing Dark mode!” – Kirsty Burgoine

    “Why understanding data privacy and cookie law for your WordPress website is critical for success” – Suzanne Dibble

    What I gained was further to reinforce the difference between ePrivacy Directive and GDPR. The EU ePrivacy directive is to do with the use of cookies on your website . Whereas GDPR is the governance over the processing of all personal data and cookies. It isn’t all about consent. So GDPR has larger scope than EU ePrivacy directive.

    This talk has made me think further about revisiting and revising my privacy policy to ensure I am compliant as I can be. Things to look at are: articles 13&14 of EU Privacy law, adding links to my privacy policy where you are requesting data. You don’t need to tick a box to ask for consent. It is not necessary in some cases.

    “Art direction with Gutenberg” – Mel Choyce

    I have been experimenting with Gutenberg on my blog posts and this is something I want to pick up more moving forward. This talk really highlighted what can be achieved with the Gutenberg editor that can make your content even more engaging.

    Mel really demonstrated how powerful and freeing the content editor is for content writers and definitely came up with some great ideas for future enhancements. It made me really want to experiment with them myself more in my posts and pages.

    Gutenberg featured during Matt Mullenweg closing talk a great deal and showed the potential and some future improvements coming to Gutenberg.

    Excited to see what happens next with these developments.

    “Accessibility: digital transformation or social digital transformation?” – Suzanne Dibble

    This talk from Suzanne Dibble was really useful as it equipped me with more knowledge on how we should all do better when it comes to website accessibility. Something I am keen to address with my new website design that I am finalising the design of at the moment.

    The biggest takeaways were gaining more understanding around the 4 models of accessibility. These are:

    1. Social
    2. Medical
    3. Functional
    4. Economical

    All four of these have impact on how users interact with your website. Suzanne gave some really great tools and plugins in which to utilise and I will be doing some more reading of ADA (Americans with Disability Act) and WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and there governance of accessibility to further develop into my projects.

    “Designing for conversion” – Sonja Jaakkola

    I found Sonja’s talk really interesting and gave me better understanding of the different forms of conversion. Macro and Micro. Marco being a customer comes to your site and makes a purchase and Micro being the customer lands on your page from a search. It is important you conversion page does not force them into signing up and it should encourage and advise what the benefits are if they decide to sign up.

    I have already done quite a few site tracking exercises previously so it was great to hear how other people work on conversion. The biggest takeaways were:

    1. Have a clear hypothesis
    2. Run the test for a decent amount of time (min. 2 weeks)
    3. Be prepared for unclear and failed tests
    4. Learn to refine and retest again and again
    5. Test one aspect at a time to really see what impact each bit has achieved.

    “Accessible CSS: Introducing Dark mode!” – Kirsty Burgoine

    This talk was really exciting. I have seen quite a few sites that have utilised the media support of dark/light modes. Something I would like to experiment with more. Think it would be a really interesting test.

    This CSS technique has really big impact in terms of accessibility. It further highlights that colour alone is not enough to emphasise buttons, links and section colour blocks in our designs. We need to consider contrasts and designs that could adapt well to swapping between the modes.

    A few of the speakers mentioned a really helpful resource from Microsoft called “The inclusive design toolkit” https://www.microsoft.com/design/inclusive/ . This is something I have added to my reading list.

    Closing thoughts on WordCamp Europe

    This was my first ever WordCamp Europe. Having been doing WordPress Development for over 6 years now and WordPress Meet-up organiser for nearly two years, I have been keen to expand my knowledge and building connections with other developers. Being able to attend online and also for free was a unique opportunity to really see what these types of conferences are about.

    My reading list has expanded and I am enthused to drive forward in my development in WordPress and beyond. As well as learning more frameworks and technologies I want to delve deeper into accessibility so that it is embedded in my designs and sites.

    The format of longer and then lightning talks worked well and also the Zoom drop in sessions was really useful to gleam some more knowledge from speakers and sponsors. It was nice to have a question answered from SiteGround who I have used for the last year. Some great potential there.

    So after such a positive 2 days in which I was able to catch multiple talks in different “tracks”, I am keen to join and travel to the conference in person in 2021 2022.

    So that is my full run down in summary. Thanks to the amazing organisers, sponsors and volunteers involved. See you in Porto online! Sadly as of autumn 2020 it was confirmed that the 2021 is to be held online.