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3 insights from EU WordCamp 2019

by Cory Schmidt  |  June 24, 2019

3 min. read
An enthusiastic WCEU 2019 attendee

EU WordCamp 2019, or WCEU 2019, took place at the Estrel hotel in Berlin June 21-22. With around 2,800 attendees, it was the largest WordCamp ever. Here are three key insights from the event.

The inception of Gutenberg

Gutenberg for WordPress is an update to the WYSIWYG Page Builder that bypasses the constant switching between code and front-end. It emulates the Wix or SquareSpace model of website building.

Most of the talks at WCEU 2019 were about Gutenberg or at least mentioned Gutenberg. The impact – or potential impact if you haven’t moved yet – will be felt across all WordPress websites in the coming years.

The demo during the keynote speech by Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress, showed a simpler WP UI with flexible blocks that work inside of blocks, within blocks, within blocks – ad infinitum, like in the movie “Inception”.

Everything you see on pretty much any website is a pattern, which is essentially something that can be represented as a collection of blocks.

Gutenberg brings in pre-existing widgets and inserts them as blocks in real time. And if you use the Canto WordPress integration, you can insert images into blocks with one click and resize them directly in the block.

People attending the WordCamp 2019.
Gutenberg was the focus of this year’s WCEU 2019.

Accessibility personified

Accessibility was given more than just lip service at WCEU 2019. Many SEO conferences focus on accessibility for performance in Google, but this year at WordCamp we learned valuable, actionable and human-centered insights for websites.

My favorite talk of the conference was “Accessible Content” by Maja Benke. She focused on how accessibility improves people’s lives and is really about inclusion. She illustrated the need for accessibility by articulating Github’s accessibility personas.

The one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives.

Here are some great accessibility improvements you can implement right now:

  • Use short sentences in your copy
  • Break up text with images, block-quotes or lists
  • Use subheadings that explain the text
  • Make descriptive alt text for images

Watch Maja’s entire presentation here

The big players are playing in WordPress

For those of you who thought content management systems like WordPress would be absorbed by the big tech players, think again. Google, PayPal and Amazon vied for a part of the WordPress ecosystem at WCEU 2019.

Google, ‘Super Admin’ sponsor of the event, brought its firepower to get buy-in on its new bundled tools within WordPress. Its Site Kit add-on includes the Search Console, Analytics, PageSpeed Insights and AdSense all from the WP Dashboard. This makes it easier to monitor the performance of websites.

Google's booth at WCEU 2019
The Google booth at WCEU 2019 featured the Site Kit within WordPress.

SaaS was key for the vendors at WCEU 2019 with bundled services at fixed rates. Amazon brought its hosting platform Lightsail with easy, fixed rates and less hassle than most hosting services.

That’s all for this year. I hope to see you at WCEU 2020 in sunny Porto Portugal.

The Estrel hotel, a Canto customer, was a great host for WCEU and the attendees and sponsors complimented the excellent service.

Find out how the Estrel hotel utilizes Canto for PR and marketing