Our team has officially returned from Athens, Greece and sharing their experiences with you for our annual WordCamp Europe 2023 recap post. This event was held from June 8-10, 2023 and crammed in plenty of updates, news and key findings on everything related to WordPress. Catch up on all the takeaways from sessions and panel discussions, along with all the community excitement surrounding WordPress's 20th Anniversary.
Need a refresher on what happened last year? Take a stroll through memory lane as we gathered in Porto, Portugal for WordCamp Europe 2022.
WordCamp Europe 2023 recap and highlights
Each year, WordPress events are held in various cities across the globe, and everyone from content creators to Core software committers gather together to learn, network and contribute to the open source Wordpress project — a software platform that powers 43% of all websites.
Additionally, WordCamp communities provide much of the power behind the software, offering support and knowledge to one another so that the platform continues to evolve. These capstone events occur in Asia, Europe and North America each year and hold a flagship continental space for all skill sets to join and contribute.
Quick stats at a glance
- Location: Athens, Greece
- Duration: June 8-10, 2023
- Theme: Empowering the Web
- Participants: 3,000+
- Sessions: 64
- Speakers: 90
- Organizers: 112
- Volunteers: 250
- Sponsors: 64
- Media Partners: 21
Exploration in Athens, Greece
June in Athens is like stepping into a time machine filled with history, delicious food and positive energy. Attendees experienced a wonderful fusion of past and present cultures, with beautiful views of the Acropolis as a backdrop. The event took place at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre, one of the largest venues in the capital, and is central to a variety of historical landmarks within the city.
Here, attendees strolled through the crowded streets, watched street performers for entertainment and basked in enticing fragrances from local Greek cafés and food vendors. The Aegean Sea also made an ideal setting for leisurely walks along the beach promenades.
Next year, WordCamp Europe will be held in Turin, Italy for a new experience
Contributor Day highlights: WCEU 2023 recap notes
The GoDaddy team was active at Contributor Day, with some of our staff representing teams as table leads. Attendees got a chance to hear from:
- Courtney Robertson
- Mike Schroder
- George Mamadashvili
- Marcus Burnette
- Evan Herman
They also has a chance to work with groups like :
- Training and Feature Notifications
One of the more notable achievements came from the Theme Group, which created a new community theme from scratch using only Gutenberg (a block editor in WordPress).
A new workshop for kids was introduced
This year, a special Workshop for Kids session was introduced — allowing younger generations to experiment with web-building techniques. The youth were given a chance to build their very own website using WordPress and volunteers assisted them in setting up a website, selecting a theme and acquiring the skills to generate various types of content.
Session highlights: WCEU 2023 recap notes
The theme for this year’s WCEU event centered on “Empowering the Web.” We heard from industry experts and community leaders as they discussed subjects like:
- Content creation
- Web development and more
Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, also spoke on theme variations and the platform’s 20-year anniversary during his keynote presentation on the last day of the event.
Session: State of WordPress security – insights from 2022
Speaker: Oliver Slid
Category: Track 1
Oliver touched on security insights from data collected in 2022 for the WordPress platform. The findings showed that there were over 4,000 security vulnerabilities within WP themes and plugins, and only a small percentage (less than 1%) affecting WordPress Core. One area of concern included security issues within the supply chain (primarily when it comes to plugins and patches). To combat this, he suggested a feature request (view the form here) that would incorporate an alert into the WordPress admin panel, notifying site owners of plugin vulnerabilities. He also called for plugin transparency from developers and incentives for security researchers.
Session: AI in WordPress
Speakers: Sujay Pawar, Gabriella Laster, Daniel Kanchev, Shane Pearlman, Constanze Kratel
Category: Track 1
This panel discussed examples of AI products that are actively being used in WordPress today. We heard about things like:
- AI applications for developers
- AI web-building capabilities
- Feed optimization for ecommerce
- Language translations for global websites
- Content classification
- Code generating
- Image generation and more
It was an enriching conversation with exciting insight into what AI can do for industry professionals today and in the future.
Session: How to ask for web design feedback
Speaker: Ana Cirujano
Category: Track 2
Ana energized the crowd with tips on how to ask for web design feedback tips, while making clients feel comfortable and secure. She discussed tools and techniques that help encourage communication and collaboration (like Figma, Asana and Slack), so that feedback remains open throughout all stages of the design process. She also touched on imposter syndrome and time constraints as reasons why some designers are afraid to ask for feedback and how they can feel more confident. Including the client in business decisions, anticipating client requests and asking targeted questions (related to business objectives) were some of the solutions she suggested.
Session: Five for the future
Speakers: Hari Shanker, Afshana Diya, Emanuel Blagonic. Courtney Robertson
Category: WP Connect
This new type of session was a dedicated space for attendees to meetup, connect and chat about ways to contribute to Five for the Future. The featured speakers discussed ways on how someone can become a sponsored contributor, along with how a company can donate an employee to the WP project. Our very own Courtney Robertson was a speaker at this session and offered her advice on why the program is beneficial for the overall WordPress growth. Check out the video livestream here.
Session: The blind guy who beat the developer at his own game
Speakers: Lazar Bulatovic, Andrija Radojev
Category: Track 1
Lazar and Adrija discussed how a lot of designers and developers are missing out on an opportunity to boost accessibility on the web — not because they are bad people, but because they lack the right education and awareness. Lazar primarily focused on the topic of screen reader accessibility and its limitations, calling for developers to make improvements. The discussion also emphasized a need for testing from actual users with disabilities, since they have first-hand knowledge of what to look out for. Andrija added that developers need to be aware of assistive technologies and specific behaviors related to users with different disabilities. He also shared a key takeaway that called for everyone to go out and make the internet more accessible.
Session: 15 ways user experience impacts business success
Speaker: Cathi Bosco
Category: Track 1
Cathi discussed the importance of UX research and design, and how it has the power to positively impact business success. The main talking points centered on taking more time to research customer pain-points, prioritizing team collaborations during the learning process and decreasing long-term costs and risks for the business.
Session: Contributing to WordPress without knowing “how to code”
Speakers: Birgit Olzem, Patricia Brun, TorreJunko Nukaga, Alice Orrù
Category: Track 1
Each of the panel members shared insights on how they got involved with the WordPress community and how they overcame challenges along the way. The common thread between all of their stories touched on: not being afraid to ask questions, networking with other community members and the courage to provide honest feedback.
Session: Checkout or checkmate: the lasting effects of eCommerce customer experience
Speaker: Tess Coughlan-Allen
Category: Track 1
Tess noted that the ecommerce boom from the pandemic is now leveling out, emphasizing a need for online entrepreneurs to prioritize “flexibility” and the “customer experience.” She encourages platforms, agencies and merchants to collaborate and be open to feedback, so that experimentation can spawn new best practices — not just feedback from within the WordPress community, but from outside communities, too. Besides convenience and savings, she also noted that consumers want a company that aligns with their values.
Keynote highlights: WCEU 2023 recap notes
The final day of WCEU 2023 ended with plenty of exciting insights about the future of WordPress. Panel hosts Matt Mullenwag, Josepha Haden Chomphosey and Matías Ventura touched on topics like
- Five for the Future
- WP Playground
- Wordpress 6.3
View the full keynote livestream here or check out the quick summary below:
Five for the Future:
Contributions for this initiative continue to grow as contributors, individual pledges and company contributors (including GoDaddy) rally together to support the development of Wordpress. Here’s a breakdown of the growing numbers from the past year:
- Contributors +737
- Individual pledges +95
- Company contributors +30
This new open source project, built for creatives looking to source free stock photos and audio, can now visit the opensource.net website for a library of resources that reach over 800 million files. (Now available in WP 6.2 within the editor)
Live translations are now part of the WP Playground API, allowing you to run WordPress applications instantly in the browser without a PHP server. Peek the tweet below to view how to use it:
Matías Ventura reflected on the development of Gutenberg over the past six years, saying “It has opened up the ability for the design community to contribute to the project directly, without depending on a developer to translate their ideas into a design — and to me I think that’s really rewarding.”
The overall goal of 6.3 is to help create a more cohesive narrative. And although the first beta is set to arrive within the next few weeks, Matías showed a quick demo of the following features to look forward to:
- Wayfinder tool: This new tool allows you to run commands and navigate to different pages quickly.
- Style book revisions panel: Allows you to review all your changes or updates for comparison purposes (has a nice side-by-side view).
- Navigation menu: Feels more consolidated and allows you to edit directly from the nav menu, without having to get into the “nitty-gritty of the editor,” notes Matías.
- Content vs template editing: Users can now toggle between both editors more efficiently — either by clicking through visual blocks or by using the features listed in the side panel.
- Patterns: A new rollout feature now allows users to save their own patterns, so that they’re easily accessible for users to refer back to or continue editing in the future.
If you’d like to play around with some of these new features, you can download the new plugin and start familiarizing yourself with how it all works.
Fun moments from the community
From the afterparties to the giveaways, community members were eager to share online photo galleries and shoutouts of their favorite moments. Check out a few of our favorite moments here:
Who attended WordCamp Europe?
WordCamp Europe drew in the most diverse crowd of attendees and welcomed all skill-sets and backgrounds — whether they were attending in-person or remotely. It was an opportunity for WordPress enthusiasts to gather from around the globe, as part of a community ecosystem that includes creators, developers, designers and more.
- Adam Warner — Director of Field Marketing
- Courtney Robertson — Open Source Web Designer & Developer Advocate
- Mike Schroder – Core & Performance team contributor
- George Mamadashvili — Gutenberg contributor
- Maja Loncar — Field Marketing, EMEA
- Marcus Burnette — WooCommerce Community for & Field Marketing Specialist
- Justin Nealey — Media Director
- Lilly Crick — Pagely Brand Experience Director
- Allison Thieme — Pagely Director of Services
- Ty Sprock — Pagely Partner Relationship Manager
- Predrag Zdravkovic — ManageWP Associate Marketing Manager
- Krystle Herbrandson — Sucuri Sr. Marketing Director
- Victor Santoyo — Partners Sales Consultant
- Evan Herman — Plugin Review Team & Engineer
- Jelena Sobic — Advanced Tech Support
Additionally, in-person attendees got a chance to meet many individuals in the extender community who create plugins, themes and other services used across many websites.
How WordCamp Europe works
If you’re thinking about attending in-person events in the future, you’ll want to start by catching the replay of the GoDaddy Field Marketing Team sharing their tips from past experiences. In this video, they discuss everything from networking professionally to handling first time jitters.
In addition to the phenomenal sessions and workshops, you can also expect after-hour events where familiar friends reconnect and new networking relationships form.
Want to learn more about Tracks, Contributor Day and Workshops? Keep reading for a quick breakdown of how each one typically functions, using information and examples from this year’s event that made the experience unique.
Traditional tracks consist of various speaker sessions spread out throughout the day. You can often find discussions and presentations on topics ranging from marketing to web development and much, much more.
This year, a new Wellness Track was added to the itinerary for attendees that were interested in mindful and beginner-level physical activities like hiking, yoga and tai chi.
If you want to get a feel for how the tracks and sessions were organized for this year’s event, take a peek at the screenshots of the schedule listings below to view all the details.
WordPress Contributor Days are not to be missed — whether at international flagship WordCamps or smaller city-level events (even online). Because WordPress is an open source software, anyone can see and modify the code. This allows individuals who create the software to:
- Translate it
- Prepare educational materials
- Upload videos of WordPress events
Best part is, you have that ability to participate by joining a WP team on Contributor Day — no matter if you’re attending in-person or by remote access. In the next section, we’ll explain how to navigate Contributor Day live at the event or from wherever you are globally.
How attendees participated in-person:
Contributor Day is typically open for attendees who pre-registered for the event. The day often begins with a team representative sharing what their team regularly does and what they will be working on that day. Teams will then break off into different tables and rooms, as they get to know and onboard attendees.
By the afternoon, all attendees listen to a recap of what transpired throughout the day. This is an amazing opportunity for folks to meet and connect. Plus, they get to see who makes WordPress possible and learn how to give back in ways that match their skill sets.
How attendees participated online:
This year, WordPress community members participated remotely on Contributor Day by following along on the Make WordPress Slack channel. This required them having a WordPress account and a Slack account to get started, and they needed to ensure they set that up ahead of time by visiting the guidelines here.
Once they completed all the prep work outlined above, they then followed these three steps on the day of:
- Joined the Slack channel #contributor-day at 9:30 a.m. (EEST)
- Found the team(s) they’d like to partner with and joined their coordinating channel
- Followed along in the channels for additional guidance
Once they gained access, virtual attendees were invited to chat and ask questions from fellow team members — allowing them to share insights that others can benefit from.
Registering for a workshop is a great experience for in-person attendees to get their hands dirty by solving practical problems in a group environment. Typical workshop experiences range from: coding, design, marketing strategy, planning and more.
Attendees were encouraged to register ahead of time this year (as spots were limited) and were required to take note of the following guidelines:
- Registration took place on Contributor Day at 2 p.m. (EEST)
- Workshops were based on a first-come, first-serve rollout (early arrival suggested)
- Each attendee was only allowed to register for up to three workshop sessions
- They needed to meet the prerequisites before registering (ensured all necessary tools and software were loaded)
This year, the new Workshop for Kids served as a dedicated space for children to build their own WordPress website — with guidance from industry experts.
And that’s a wrap on our WordCamp Europe 2023 recap
We hope you enjoyed all of our notes from sessions, workshops and fun activities throughout our time there. Join us next year as we travel to Turin, Italy for WordCamp Europe 2024. Hope to see you all there!