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The annual Port80 Conference in Newport was started a few years ago to bring together the knowledge from talented web agencies in the local area.

The 2016 event was held at the brilliant University of South Wales campus in Newport with a fantastic line-up of speakers from a variety of backgrounds.  Having missed out on the last couple of events I made sure I had my ticket booked early for 2016.  Fortunately the big day came round quickly so I packed-up my trusty notepad to make sure I didn’t miss out on any of the great tips on offer.

Here is a quick roundup of what I learnt during the conference:

Port80 conference

1. WEB ACCESSIBILITY IS IMPORTANT AT EVERY STAGE OF A PROJECT

At Spindogs we want to make sure everyone can access our websites and have a positive, enjoyable experience.  Gavin Evans, from the Digital Accessibility Centre, spoke passionately about accessible design and technologies, including a live demonstration of a screen reader reading through IMDb.com (the feedback was not great!).  One helpful tip from Gavin was to be aware that when someone is filling in a contact form, if they don’t fill in a specific field, the user should be taken directly to the missing information.

 2. LOOK FOR DIFFERENT WAYS TO DOCUMENT PROJECTS

Helen Clark from Ablewild, spoke about a recent project working with Derby Museum where they documented the project process using microblogging platform Tumblr.  They uploaded agendas, updates and meeting notes and shared the link so the client had full access to all the information.

Helen Clark Ablewild

3. THE FUTURE IS CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

The existing project model of requirements, design, development and testing may be tried and tested, but some agencies (Spindogs included!) are taking a slightly different approach by promoting continuous improvement.  The big idea is that the website is put online as quickly as possible with the most important website features prioritised first.  Regular updates are then made to the site to introduce new features.

 4. TEAM BUILDING IS GOING THE EXTRA MILE

One recent trend within digital agencies are ‘hack days’.  The likes of Google, Facebook and NASA have all been getting in on the act where teams are given 24 hours to create a new product, vastly improve an existing one or even give the office a makeover.  Louise Howells from Zengenti, told us about their recent hack day which proved to be great team building exercise and an excellent way to test the office caffeine habit!

teamwork Port80

5. LOOK BEYOND THE WEB FOR SOME DESIGN INSPIRATION

The world of web design is subject to ever-changing trends but Andy Clarke, from Stuff & Nonsense, has been taking inspiration from the world of comic books.  Anyone who has read a comic book knows that the size of the panels influences how quickly the reader moves through the page – could the same be said for websites?  Watch this space…

Port80 conference

Did you go to Port80? We would love to hear what you learnt at the conference, just tweet @spindogs and we can talk all things digital!

Alternatively, if you would like to see how your website could be improved, try out our FREE website review!