Our team recently returned from Nashville, where we spent two full days connecting with and learning from other ExpressionEngine developers. For the last few years, the conference has been organized and run by the community, for the community, and it's a great way to learn from other experts.
The theme of the event was "Energize" - and the conference kicked off with Rick Ellis, the founder of EllisLab, announced that starting in November, ExpressionEngine will be open source! This will expand ExpressionEngine's reach - and more importantly for our customers, it will mean that any future upgrades will not carry a licensing fee.
We heard from amazing speakers like James Matthias from EllisLab and Tracy Osborne of Hello Web Books. Our very own Tim Hoppe, master communicator and Project Manager, shared his system for communication known as GRPI. GRPI stands for: Goals, Roles, Processes, and Interpersonal, and is a tool for managing and understanding teams. You can learn more here: https://www.whatissixsigma.net/grpi/
Two of the main takeaways from the conference were:
User Experience is King
Almost every presentation touched on the user experience, which as both marketing managers and web developers/designers, it can be easy to loose touch with what the end user wants and needs. Though we can test and measure different theories, the most impactful thing we can do is to, wait for it, ask the end users. Susan Snipes of UX Within Reach suggested talking to 5 of your target users to learn more about their wants, needs, and challenges.
Double Down on Authenticity
Another reigning theme through many presentations, whether in relationship to creating a company culture, advertising, or connecting with clients, was to always be authentic. It's easy to project aspirations, but we're all human and that humanness is how we connect.
Oh! I almost forgot maybe the most exciting thing?! We won the award for BEST Client Site for our work on Microtrace! Congratulations to Jesse Starbuck, the front end developer who worked on this project.
We are all truly "energized" after this experience, and are already looking forward to the 2019 conference in Minneapolis! Although many of the attendees are agency owners and developers, clients who work extensively in ExpressionEngine may also find value in this conference and we'd love to see you there. Visit https://www.eeconf.com for more details.
One last ode to the conference from the multi-talented Paul Larson: