About the event.

Last Friday, 11th October, we kicked off the Cardiff WordPress Meetup for the first time in 2019 and it was AWESOME!

We love local Meetups and understand the part they play in bringing people together. They encourage learning and giving back to a community that has provided so much to us as an agency.

When Illustrate Digital started back in 2013 it relied on the support of the community to adopt and learn WordPress as a technology. Without that support we wouldn’t be here today, as platform experts, making a difference to well-known brands across the world.

The WordPress community.

The co-hosts of the Meetup – Leo Mindel (of Sotic) and Sarah Pantry (of WordPress VIP) – kicked off the evening by explaining why we meet together. Telling us what the WordPress community means to those who volunteer and make the events happen.

Many of those regularly attending WordPress Meetups either work in businesses where the directors don’t understand what they do, or work at home for companies across the world. Either way it can be easy to feel isolated and not get an essential sense of community. Meetup events help solve that and create great community amongst individuals and agencies alike.

On top of this, the Meetup events open up a brilliant, regular opportunity to learn new things and to avoid getting stuck in your ways. Talks from different people doing different things with the WordPress platform bring a great deal of variety and inspiration to the table. This breeds innovation and growth amongst the software’s large user base.

And it’s important to say, as mentioned on the night, that the Meetups aren’t just for industry professionals. The Cardiff Meetup is an open community, inviting people in from all walks of life and all levels of experience with WordPress. Some are starting out and using the software for fun, others are hardcore developers wanting to break the next ceiling in their knowledge or career.

The talk: the importance of UX Design.

For this kick-off event we heard from our MD at Illustrate Digital, talking about the importance of UX design in our industry. Listening to him articulating the importance of my job role was special, but it was a good message to our city about the lack of UX design professionals and talent. Not having enough people study the subject or switch roles has left a lot of brands struggling to grow. Website or software experiences aren’t quite as good as they could be in reality.

The point was made Scott’s talk title and in the message itself; UX Design is an important part of the website or software creation process. It’s often overlooked or labelled as ‘web design’. In reality it’s much more specific and specialist than most of our industry would make out.

To deliver the talk Scott started from the beginning, the start of the internet itself. He explained the journey we’ve been on from two-tone HTML, to flash, to responsive websites and right up to our modern day usage of flexible content and blocks using Gutenberg.

He explained some of the real-life situations that he’s experienced as a user and what difference they’ve made to how he purchases and who he purchases from. Introducing the idea that challenger banks have the upper hand when freezing a card is so easy if you think you’ve left your wallet on the train. Especially knowing you can shortly unfreeze it when you find it in your bag five minutes later! This sort of technology, and how it’s implemented, provides an amazing customer experience when compared to needing to call several other banks to cancel a bunch of cards that you may not have lost at all.

Scott closed off the session by talking through the process we go through as an agency to plan and deliver great UX from start to finish. He wanted to be sure he added as much value as possible to those attending the Meetup. To share our knowledge and experience as an agency who lead in our field, which was evident from the way it was delivered.

Great questions from attendees.

Cardiff WordPress Meetup

What took me by surprise was the number of great questions coming from the floor. People were sharing their own journeys and frustrations and seeking ways to overcome them.

In contrast, what was possibly no surprise, was that some people found their bosses or company directors quite limiting in terms of technology spend but also their appreciation of the difference that good UX can make, or in some cases any UX at all.

It was enjoying to see how people were reflecting on Scott’s talk and openly talking about what that looks like in their own workplaces. The questions from the audience were really good and Scott answered them from his own experience with UX and WordPress.

In collaboration with Cardiff Design Festival 2019.

This October event was organised in collaboration with Cardiff Design Festival. The festival was a city-wide movement of design focussed events and something we’ve also been heavily involved in helping to make happen.

Since the Meetup was tied to the design festival, it was more than appropriate that the subject of the event would be UX design. This gave an opportunity for those attending and exploring the design festival to get involved with a WordPress-based. An event they otherwise may not have known about or thought of attending.

The festival offered a unique opportunity to promote the WordPress Meetup and made the event a huge success as a result.

The next WordPress Meetup.

If you’re interested in attending a Meetup event in the future, the next one will be happening on 19th November. We’ll be hearing from two great speakers talk on subjects they’re passionate about, of course related to WordPress.

To find out more go along to: https://meetup.com/Cardiff-WordPress-Meetup/