I normally do “how-to” blogs, but this one is slightly different – more of a diary. So, on Saturday I went across to Glasgow to attend my first WordCamp – WordCamp Glasgow 2020. What a day – it was brilliant! It was well-organised, I learned a lot, made some new friends and got a free t-shirt! Not bad for twenty quid… 🙂
The WordCamp was held at Project Ability on Trongate in Glasgow. It’s visual arts charity and gallery supporting people with learning difficulties. On arrival we were given a lanyard and t-shirt as we registered and there was tea and coffee available. I just had time for a quick wander around the venue and a chat to some of the sponsors before Jeremy welcomed us all.
The day was split into two streams – Design/Business and Development. The event was timed really well by the speakers and volunteers so that the the talks finished on time and it was easy to swap between the streams.
Dropped Stitches and Tangles Yarn
I decided to start in the Design/Business stream at the “Dropped Stitches and Tangled Yarn” talk by Tammie Lister. It was fascinating. As a relative newcomer to WordPress it really took me back to my initial feelings of confusion – omg? where am I supposed to start? where do I click first? I still clearly remember my first feelings of horror when I encountered WordPress about a year ago. Now my website is designed using it… 🙂
You’ve got a website – now what? Get Optimising!
The second session in the Design/Business stream was by my talented friend Jessica Thomas – her top ten SEO tips. As always with Jess I learned something new! Can’t wait to see how I get on with the Rank Math plugin she recommended. It was great to see the whole audience engaging with her talk and frantically scribbling notes as she went along.
Security Testing: Outside Looking In
After the coffee break, I swapped streams and went to Nigel Pentland’s talk “Security Testing: Outside Looking In”. I had never heard of Kali, and it was great to see Nigel explain not only how to download it, but some basic usage tips too. Really got me thinking (and worrying slightly! – but that’s a good thing) about my website security.
Lunch was provided by local company Soul Food Sisters, and the veggie options were fantastic!
For the first slot in the afternoon session, I decided to swap back to the Design/Business stream. I love it when you meet someone who makes you view the world slightly differently, and that was certainly the case with Claire Brotherton. She is passionate about accessibility, a subject with I am ashamed to to be naive. She took the time to test the accessibility of several pages created with two WordPress page builders – Elementor and Beaver Builder. Neither did as well as they should have… If I take one thing away from this session it’s to download the NVDA screen reader for Windows and test my own website with it, and make sure I adhere to the Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust standard for everyone.
I then swapped back to the Development screen to see a talk I was really looking forward to – Kayleigh Thorpe’s talk on how to fix slow sites, and I wasn’t disappointed. Kayleigh is a confident engaging speaker (and if she created the illustrations on her slides, she’s also a talented illustrator!). She looked at several ways to identify speed issues, what the main culprits usually are, and what you can do to try and overcome the problems. I left the session with a list of jobs, and a much better understanding of what might be slowing my website down and what I can do about it – thanks Kayleigh!
Coffee break time! And there was even cake…. (Thanks to local business, Spoons Cafe)
Finally, I went to a very perceptive talk by David Artiss about Remote Working, looking at people’s (and business’s) misconceptions about it, about why it hasn’t worked for some companies, but other have embraced it successfully. As a remote worker myself, many of the issues he raised were ones I’ve faced myself.
I had a brilliant day – learnt a lot, surrounded by friendly people in a really welcoming environment. Thank you so much to all involved in the organisation of WordCamp Glasgow 2020! (When’s the next one???)