Earlier this month one of our fab web developers Tara-Lea travelled to Wellington, New Zealand for the annual Webstock conference. Webstock celebrates the magic of the web and those who craft it. Held over five days in February, Webstock offers three days of intensive, practical workshops, as well as two days of concentrated talks, featuring renowned industry leaders, covering a diverse range of topics from design, AI, information architecture, data collection, and digital transformation.
Tara-Lea shares some of her discoveries from attending Webstock 2018. So, how would she describe Webstock 2018?
Brilliant. Amazing. Eye-Opening. Inspiring. A summer’s day has nothing on the charm and magic of Webstock.
Two days of keynote talks, from international leaders in various web-based fields. Authors, Heads of Design and UX, a co-founder of the United States Digital Service, a CEO, Creative Directors, Professors at some of the leading universities for technology and science – we were definitely spoiled with such a varied and diverse range of speakers!
The diversity didn’t stop with the speakers themselves. There was a vast spectrum of topics covering a lot of digital ground, from Design Systems to Language, IndieWeb to A.I., and Inclusivity to Intuition. Every speaker was impassioned, engaging, and thought-provoking – I felt it was the pinnacle of Imposter Syndrome that I was able to be in the room with such learned minds.
Some of my personal highlights:
- Jeremy Keith opened the conference with an insightful look in to the history of the internet, the explosion of the World Wide Web, and the dangers and advantages of the “Social Network” phenomena. Jeremy presented a seemingly simple idea, which allows us take back ownership of our data and content, while still receiving the benefits of third-party services.
- Katrina Owen spoke about intuition and how to cultivate instinct - that indistinct quality that some people have, where they ‘just know’. Katrina outlined the differences between how novices and experts process information, and demonstrated ways to train our brains more efficiently to reach expert status quicker.
- Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Company, shared her experiences and research regarding the myths and misconceptions that employees and managers have about each other. Claire provided practical tips on how to combat these myths, and in turn make a more harmonious and agreeable work environment for all.
- The closing line of Scott Hanselman’s abstract says: Plus, you’ll see Scott *not die* live on stage as he’s been “looping” for over a year! Since his Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis over 20 years ago, Scott has been doing what every engineer with diabetes has also endeavoured to do – utilise technology to create an open source, artificial pancreas. The work of the diabetic online community is truly awe-inspiring!
- Laura Kalbag discussed the importance not only of accessibility, but of inclusivity. Laura had done her local research – I learned that 1 in 4 New Zealanders are limited by some sort of physical, sensory, learning, mental health, or other impairment. By designing and developing inclusively, we not only ensure that our work is accessible to as many people as possible now, but remains accessible to us in the future.
Due to external circumstances, Webstock 18 could possibly have been the last Webstock of its kind, which makes me even more grateful to have been able to be a part of it. From the great ‘schwag’: bags, water bottles, tshirts, notebooks, and socks, all sustainably sourced and recyclable; to the catering, which was entirely gluten-free, and provided for a variety of dietary requirements; right down to the closing ceremony, which included a credits reel listing every person that took part - Webstock 18 paid attention to every little detail. It was truly a conference for everyone.
Oh, and did I mention – as much free, barista-made coffee AND free ice-cream as you could consume?!
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