Case Study

WordCamp Philly 2020:
Digital Workbook

Details

Problem: WordCamp Philly 2020 needed a digital form of the ‘Workbook’ for this year’s virtual event
Solution:  A customizable digital companion with information, sponsor swag, and guided note-taking space
Tools: Google Docs
Date: Fall 2020
Deliverable: Google Doc

Summary

This digital workbook was made for the attendees of WordCamp Philly 2020 to help them make the most out of the virtual conference. Attendees download a copy of the workbook to use in their Google Drive or Word Processor. Each section has note taking space with suggestions on how to fill these spaces. 

WordCamp Workbook in laptop

Make a copy of the WordCamp Philly 2020 Workbook for yourself:

1.

Research

1.1

Background

COVID-19 changed a lot about the annual WordCamp events, and a lot about event planning. No one on the organizing committee for WordCamp Philly 2020 had a solid idea of what a Workbook would look like in an online format for a virtual event. I had few points of reference, so I decided to start with primary research by interviewing other members of the organizing committee. As a new member of the committee, I was fortunate to work with many passionate, expert WordPress users that have been going to and organizing WordCamps for over a decade. 

1.2

Interviews

I asked other members of the organizing committee the same questions over Slack. 

Here are some of their responses:

What is a Workbook?:

  • In my opinion, a workbook should be a useful tool that will help attendees become more engaged with the WordCamp experience. Ideally, it would serve as a record of WordCamp Philly where ideas learned and people met can be quickly referenced.
  • I don’t have a well-formed opinion, as the point of it somewhat eludes me. It might be useful as a place to distribute swag from sponsors. Using an extra item (in the case a “workbook” was a special document that’s not a web page) during a virtual camp while already attending to tracks, schedule, sponsor opportunities, taking notes, plus whatever else is going on on my screen (Twitter connections, etc.) and in my household (Hungry! Thirsty! Need bathroom! Package delivery!) would be too much cognitive load for me. So for my own experience, I’d want a workbook to be optional, not required. Thinking in terms of attendees, I’m not sure what they would want a workbook to be.
  • for me, a workbook is/should be like a notebook or journal where I can write down important things (notes, contact info, schedules, etc.) – for me, the simpler the better.

 

Why go to WordCamp Philly?:

  • I began attending to learn more about WordPress – what’s possible, how people are using it, what techniques are used and why. After volunteering for a few years I was invited to join in organizing. I attend other camps when possible because I still need to hang onto the learning focus. Also, the community piece has grown for me. It’s good to see people you know and continue meeting community members/helping others connect. I notice that among other people, it’s a mix. Some want mainly info/learning, some want mainly community, and some want both.
  • I go to WordCamps primarily to connect with others in this community in a social level, but also to learn new skills and perspectives. In the online formats, I’d say I’ve been primarily driven by content/topic – in other words, wanting to learn about something specific.

 

What do you hope to gain from a virtual conference this year?:

  • From an organizer’s perspective, it’s a growth, learning, and exploration experience this year of virtual everything. From an attendee perspective, it (this year of many virtual camps) has been an opportunity to attend camps and experience communities and presentations that are less available outside of pandemic situations.
  • Virtual or in person, I hope to gain the same insights WordCamp has to offer through its tracks and sessions. There are so many people with different usages, applications, and ideas on what makes WordPress great, how to make it better, and how to improve using it in various environments.

 

Do you take notes?

  • I take some notes during WordCamp depending on the topic of a talk. I’ll take closer notes of a talk that goes in-depth on a topic that’s relevant to my job or interests. I typically jot down ideas and concepts that I haven’t heard of before to research later. I’ll also sometimes write down the names of people I’ve met or the name of a speaker to help me remember them later (still terrible at that though).
  • Yes, I take notes at WordCamps. Virtually: I use Word to capture screenshots and notes. Usually it’s advice given. Sometimes it’s notes of follow up actions (usually as instructed by presenter, sometimes notes to self applying the tips in the presentation). I open links as topics come up and batch bookmark windows from WordCamps and other events.; Do I read my notes later? Very occasionally.

1.3

Platform

I decided a Google Doc would be the best platform for it’s universality and level of customization. Word documents are easier to use and more malleable than PDFs. A downloadable version of the Google Doc allowed attendees to make a copy of the Workbook for their own personal use during the event, and to keep in their files to reference afterwards: 

2.

Development

2.1

Customization

The document is made for the user to add or change everything. Before each section, there are suggestions for how to use the note-taking space:

2.2

Navigation

Table of Contents created a helpful sidebar for easy navigation. There were a lot of events happening simultaneously and in different locations online. This sidebar made it easy for the user to look up the details of a session within the document and find the note-taking space of a session that interests them:

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