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WordCamp Europe 2018 takeaways from Meks

WordCamp Europe 2018 takeaways from Meks

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As you know, this year’s WordCamp Europe was held in Belgrade, Serbia, the very town where we from Meks live and work. Just five years after establishing a local WordPress community, we managed to organize and host the biggest WordPress conference in this part of the world. 54 people worked hard to pull off such an event, and in case you’ve missed, we got you covered. Just read on our key takeaways from WordCamp Europe 2018. The official hashtag #WCEU is another great source of the event recap, so be sure to check it out, too.

Now, have in mind we didn’t cover things like food and hospitality since it’s something you all wonderful people are doing by yourselves already. Besides, it’s much more valuable to hear it from foreign people than locals so – leave a comment or two how you liked our city, peope and – did we mention food? 🙂

Contributor Day

 

Amazing venue and out-of-the-world experience being among more than 500 people who contributed within 24 different teams! And, although the Wi-Fi wasn’t working all the time, that didn’t stop enthusiasts to work and contribute to the WordPress project, with the help of 52 team leads and mentors. Contributing didn’t stop there – the organizing team had also one dedicated room during the conference days for all of those who wanted to work more. A great thing, indeed!

WordCamp Europe 2018 hashtag

The Talks

Main conference event was divided into two days talks, 33 of them to be exact. To write all the details from every one of them would take us too long and you might not be interested to read all of it, so we’re just gonna do a recap from the ones we’ve managed to listen and learn from.

Conference days kicked off with Paolo Belcastro’s insights about World of WordPress and his experience of remote working after twenty years work with globally distributed teams.

At the same time, Adam Silverstein had his talk about JavaScript APIs in WordPress and was generous to share his slides later on:

Maja Benke shared her tips and tricks on building a website for the people through her Accessible Design talk, including common issues and good practices. She also mentioned several tools and resources which help to design an accessible website which is important nowadays. Not every person experiences websites the same way, and we need to consider every one of them while designing a site. As Maja said in her talk, for people with disabilities (Cognitive, physical, audio and visual), tech makes things possible – something to think about when designing, right? And while we wait for her’s and all the rest talks to be uploaded to WordPress.tv, here are some key takeaways from Maja’s talk at WordCamp Europe 2018:

  • Design has to support functionality. For example, keep all the letters uppercase when printing wifi password on badges.
  • Links should be underlined. Otherwise, as a person who can’t see colors, they don’t see the link.
  • Use a strong color contrast. You want readers to read things easily, even if they aren’t color blind but viewing your site in the sunlight. (Use tools as Contrast Checker to make your design accessible).
  • Use a smart site structure when it comes to text. Have a clear headline,  clear start, and clear ending. Make it user-friendly.
  • Design layouts in black and white first to make sure the color blind can effectively use your site.
  • Design is not art. Design is making sure your site is usable by users.
  • Form has to support functionality, not the other way around.

And the basic workflow tips when designing an accessible website:

  1. Select Content Formats
  2. Create Layout with Semantic in Mind
  3. Style the Text Elements (in black and white)
  4. Add Color
  5. Create Styleguide (for Developers + Content Creators)

WordCamp Europe 2018 Milky Way track

Because, if you integrate accessibility from the beginning, you don’t have to think about it later. And, just to give you some more value on this important topic, there’s an Accessibility handbook with best practices that Maja shared with us in her’s talk, so be sure to check it out.

More great talks that we managed to listen the first day were the ones that Laura Nelson, John Maeda, and Morten Rand-Hendriksen held. Dealing with the anxiety at work, implementing good inclusive design and The Ethics of Web Design were widely popular and interesting topics and we can’t wait for them to be on WordPress.tv for you all to see.

And the second-day talks… From Michael Selander’s and Libby Barker’s TechCrunch case study to Tammie Lister’s talk about Gutenberg Blocks, to Nol Tock’s WordPress in 2019 and Hajj Flemings’s insights on Rebrand Cities and the impact we all can have in making the world a better place, it’s safe to say this year’s WordCamp Europe was maybe the best one yet! Call us biased or whatever, but it sure was an informative, inspirational, useful and memorable experience that we managed to share with you within these lines.

Matt Mullenweg’s key takeaways from WordCamp Europe 2018

The peak of the day was, of course, Matt Mullenweg’s keynote lecture – something like pre-State of the Word (like this one in 2017), where he talked about Gutenberg update and all the things around WordPress they’re working on.

As a part of the WordCamp tradition, Matt Mullenweg had a keynote speech on all the new things in the World of WordPress. And of course, all everyone wanted to know was when will the Gutenberg Editor become the core and is it ready yet. In his Summertime Update, as he called it, Matt shared that he wants Gutenberg to be a full site customizer in the future and shared some upcoming things they’ll work on in the coming months. And the whole Gutenberg roadmap for the upcoming months looks like this:

June:

  • Freezing new features.
  • Inviting hosts, agencies, and teachers to opt-in. (Including wp-admin users for http://WP.com )
  • Mobile apps

July:

  • 4.9.x. release with “strong invite” to install.
  • Opt-out for wp-admin users on http://WP.com
  • Bug triage
  • Exploring “beyond the post” into site customization.

Matt Mullenweg at the WordCamp Europe 2018 stage

August and beyond:

  • 100k+ sites having made 250k posts using Gutenberg
  • Core merge, beginning the 5.0 release cycle.

Workshops

One of the new things on WordCamp Europe were these workshops, 19 of them, to be exact. Organizers covered everything from Gutenberg to development, design, personal well being to Unit Testing, Branding, Voice Search, and More! Looking forward to more of them in the future, too.

What caught our attention were workshops about Gutenberg development and building a block. We heard Matías Ventura, and the Gutenberg Team learned from Lara Schenck and were really happy to meet Zac Gordon (whose tips we covered in this article) who was showing us Block Development with React. Great time, great tips and great learning and network opportunities!

Talking more about accessibility, Adrian Roselli held a great three hours workshop on that topic. An interactive and computer-free workshop in which participants were able to learn at the spot what accessibility means and how to implement it. The slides from his workshop can be found on his website and on SlideShare as well.

Another great workshop was the one by Heather Burns about privacy and data protection. Just like we talked about GDPR in WordPress in our recent article, Heather addressed that matter as well as the overall data protection and privacy landscape. All of it which you can find in here slides she happily shared.

WordCamp Europe 2018 Gutenberg workshop

The second day of the WordCamp Europe 2018 was equally interested and packed with so many useful talks and workshops. Like the one where people could learn how to measure, test and improve page speed together with good practices for improvement, by Lucas Prigge. Or the one that Sherry Walling held on Mental Health Superpowers, dedicated to all the people working in IT and similar industries. As a psychologist & yoga teacher, Sherry taught us the ways to better manage stress, decrease procrastination, and become adept at focusing on what’s most important.

Conclusion

As far as we could experience, there’s a lot going on and more to come within WordPress environment! And, if asked what would be the most important WordCamp Europe 2018 takeaways or key messages to remember, we’d say it would be:

  • Implementing accessibility in website design

  • Start using Gutenberg in general
  • Take care of yourselves mentally and physically

The next WordCamp Europe will be held in Berlin, from 20 to 22 June. All the details on tickets purchase and venue event are already on the official website.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions about WordCamp Europe 2018. Have you been to it or watched online and what are some of your takeaways from it? Drop us your views in the comment section, let’s chat!

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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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