After all of these years, I finally got a chance to visit the Windy City! WordCamp Chicago was the perfect excuse. I was able to visit some friends in the city and listen to some great talks.
For those of you unfamiliar with WordCamps, they are conferences focused on WordPress. All of us at CYBERsprout are very big fans of these events. We specialize in WordPress so almost all of the talks are relevant. Even better is the ticket price is only $40 thanks to sponsors and hard-working volunteers.
My favorite part of these conferences is the networking. I was able to meet one one of the co-founders of Beaver Builder, Robbie McCullough, at WordCamp Chicago. Our design/development team LOVES Beaver Builder. It has allowed us to build sites faster than ever and stretch a client’s budget further. It was inspiring to hear some of the ideas and future projects planned for the plugin from Robby.
While there were many great talks, these ones resonated the most for me.
Better Mousetraps (Conversion Optimization)
While I spend most of my time on design and development, I’ve been learning more and more about better conversion. The idea of better “mousetraps” for conversion definitely peaked my interest.
Andy Crestodina’s talk on conversion optimization was nothing short of amazing. It hit on everything from social evidence to the descriptiveness of buttons. There was no stone unturned. It is tough to capture all the great info in the session, so I’ll point you to his slides online if you’d like to take a look.
Forecasting the Future
Forecasting our financial future has long been on our minds. Jason Knill’s talk just gave us the boost of energy we needed to put a plan in place. The best part of the talk was a consistent theme of keeping things simple. Any idiot can make things confusing but it takes a genius to make things simple.
At the core of the content was determining key metrics. These metrics help to measure the current health of the business and forecast where the business will be 3-months, a year, and two years down the road. Sharing this information with the management team makes it easier to adjust budgets, grow the team, and measure growth. Needless to say, our team has already put the wheels in motion to come up with our own plan.
How To Create User Centered Design
It is incredibly difficult to put yourself in the shoes of the audience. As designers, we typically create from our own perspective and experiences. Tracy Apps helped us take a step back and gain a new vantage point.
The talk boiled down to three points: avoid jargon, stay mission focused, and make things accessible. The last one, accessibility, has been on my mind a lot lately. While it is only mandatory for a few types of projects (e.g. municipalities, banks, etc.), it is going to be a requirement in the near future.