BADCamp 2015

I attended my fourth year of BADCamp (Bay Area Drupal Camp) over the weekend, and it was, hands-down, the best yet. This year, the conference returned to the UC Berkeley campus. Following are some of the session highlights.

Site Building with the End User in Mind

Presented by Molly Byrnes and Eden Gwyn

End users are you, my clients. You are creating pages, editing pages, adding products to your webstore, checking boxes, adding photos; my job is to make all of this as simple as possible for you. The more you can do yourself with your website, the less reliant you will be on your website developer to get things done quickly and efficiently.

My first action is to interview my clients before I provide an estimate. I need to figure out the common tasks you need to be able to accomplish, gather your requirements, and understand your technical aptitude.

Next, I need to build a website that gives my clients the ability to do everything they need, but not so much that it's overwhelming. This means providing help text where needed and removing unnecessary buttons and fields that may clutter the user interface.

Finally, it's important to create a user guide that is accessible on the website. This provides documentation my clients can review when they feel stuck on a task. They can also use this information to help train new team members.

Conquering Imposter Syndrome in the Open Source Community

Presented by Heather Rodriguez and Kat Kuhl

As a woman, a freelancer, and a self-taught web developer, this presentation spoke to me. Heather and Kat discussed the Imposter Syndrome and how it affects women and minorities in the web development community.

From their session description:

When you're new to any field, particularly a rapidly evolving, ever-changing one, it's normal to experience feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt. However, for many of us, these feelings continue well beyond the beginner phase, even after we've become successful in our careers.  The persistence of self-doubt and fear of being discovered as a fraud despite evidence of achievement and success is known as impostor syndrome; and although it can happen to anyone, it most commonly afflicts high-achieving women, minorities, and other groups that are more likely to feel as if they don't belong.

Heather and Kat provided practical advice, including:

  • Give yourself permission to make mistakes; you learn faster when you take risks
  • Get active in your tech community and build a support network
  • Become a mentor and patiently offer time to those who need it
  • Own your career: Decide what you want to do, do your research, tell your boss what you want, know the responsibilities and job description of the position you want
  • Keep a record of your accomplishments
  • Take graceful credit for what you accomplish
  • Don't hesitate to apply for a position you want. You don't necessarily need to meet all qualifications

This advice led to a lively discussion among session attendees. Good stuff.

Other excellent sessions I attended

  • Continuous Integration Workflow: Using the continuous integration process to contribute to project success and ultimately business success
  • People First: Create user-centered experiences by understanding, expanding, prototyping and evaluating throughout the life of a project
  • Making Awesome Search Pages with Solr: How to create faster, more usable search pages with the Solr software stack
  • UX (User Experience) Birds of a Feather: An informal discussion regarding the user interface of Drupal 8
  • How to Make a Drupal Dev or Drupal Career: Solving the human resource challenge in Drupal