This year we’re proud to sponsor WordCamp US in St. Louis, MO. It’s the world’s largest event for WordPress fanatics like ourselves, and we’re likely up there among the largest WordPress-only development companies in the world with our 50 developers.
WordCamps are very inclusive, and the widespread users of WordPress are reflected in the participants that come to the events. Bloggers, junior developers, core contributors, and WordPress agencies.
We will be there to speak to agencies that are doing great and want to do more.
The speakers were recently announced, and most of the schedule has now been released with a few spots left to be announced.
The centerpiece will be State of the Word by Matt Mullenweg like previous years, but we have our eyes on several other presentations that we believe will resonate well with agencies in particular.
So without further ado, here are our top picks categorized by topic.
Topic 1: Web Accessibility
A topic that we hear about more often nowadays and a focus at this year’s WordCamp is web accessibility. We’ve had agency partners that have learned the hard way what’s required to make web design accessible, so it’s good to learn the basics proactively.
It’s still a recommendation for most industries, but required in others. So it’s good practice to make the websites you build accessible to all users.
- Friday 11:00 AM – User Personas as an Inclusive Design and Development Tool, Carie Fisher, Deque
- Friday 1:00 PM – Making your website work for everyone: Accessibility and inclusive design, Natalie MacLees, Digitally (Workshop)
- Friday 4:15 – Is something not very usable or accessible? Change it!, Tracy Apps
Topic 2: QA and Testing
If your WordPress agency is offering the full suite of digital marketing services, your creative skills are probably key to your success. Testing and quality assurance, on the other hand, is not that exciting and may be overlooked by creatives since it’s an operations issue where no magic happens.
Well, if the agency you’re running is a successful one, it will be in need of operations management as well to handle all the work that’s going on. So, it’s great that this topic is covered during WordCamp US 2019.
- Friday 10:00 AM – Automating Your QA With Visual Regression Testing, Andrew Taylor, Pantheon
- Friday 10:45 AM – Level Up Your Technical Troubleshooting, Ben Meredith, Give
- Saturday 10:00 AM – How to Perform a Quality UX Audit on a Budget, Maddy Osman, The-Blogsmith.com
Topic 3: Technical Best Practices
To avoid having to troubleshoot your websites in the first place, there are sessions that will help you on the preventive side. It’s not just tricks for the individual developer to keep in mind, but rather topics that would be relevant for the Tech Ops team.
Several agencies that we work with have an internal core team that has developed a custom starter theme with best practices that are applied to all their projects, more or less. We learn how to use it and help them produce more sites on it, with their standards.
If you’re looking to do the same, or if you have your own WordPress starter theme or coding standards and want to keep developing them, these sessions are for you.
- Friday 11:15 AM – The Hierarchy of Needs for High-Performing Websites, Steve Persch, Pantheon
- Friday 2:00 PM – Technical SEO auditing and optimizations, Pam Aungst, Pam Ann Marketing
- Friday 2:30 PM – The Power of CSS: Cool Things To Do With Styles, David Wolfpaw, FixUpFox
- Friday 3:15 PM – The Hacking Mindset: How Beating WordPress Hackers Taught Me to Overcome Obstacles & Innovate, Kathy Zant, WordFence
- Saturday 1:00 PM – Structuring Modern WordPress Sites for Scale, Chance Strickland
Topic 4: Design and UX
With technical matters out of the way, let’s turn the focus to the real value creator – design and UX. Wait, what? The real value creator, isn’t development a real value creator? Actually, I would argue it’s more of a value preserver. Hear me out.
A number of years ago, the office next to mine was occupied by one of the founders of the “Lean Product Development” philosophy, Durward Sobek. He made the distinction between the contributions of product design and manufacturing as follows. Value is created by product designers and engineers when creating the blueprints for the ideal product to get in the hands of a consumer or user. Manufacturing’s job was to realize that blueprint with minimal (if any) imperfections.
So following that logic, a web designer is the value creator, and the developer’s job is to realize that vision to the fullest, with minimal (if any) imperfections. A super important job, but the “value potential” has already been set by the designer and it can only be preserved – not increased – from there. Yes, yes, the developer can make suggestions and innovative contributions too but that’s extra.
- Friday 11:00 AM – ROI of UX, How to Assign Money Value to Your Designs, Olesya Boreyko, Automattic
- Friday 1:00 PM – Brand Messaging 101: How To Clearly Communicate Your Value And Get Clients To Say Yes, Jennifer Bourn, Bourn Creative
- Saturday 10:00 AM – Responsible Tracking: Learning from your users without being creepy, Katherine White, Kanopi Studios
As you can see, there are many interesting topics that will be covered. There are also others that you might want to check out besides the ones we’ve selected, and there are more to be released so have a look at the official schedule as well.
In the breaks, you hope you take the chance to come over to our sponsor table for a chat. See you there!