Building a WordCamp website that’s informative, eye-catching, and usable can be challenging. That’s why every year we want to give a special shout-out to the best WordCamp websites of the past year.
2015 was a great year for WordCamps. We saw the first ever WordCamp US take place in Philadelphia last December and also a couple new Camps sprout up. If you don’t know, WordCamps are community organized conferences focused on WordPress. Last year, we reviewed 10 WordCamp websites that stood out above the crowd in 2015. This year, we continue that tradition in rounding up the top WordCamp Websites of 2016.
Before we begin, last year I mentioned the difficulty in creating a WordCamp website for organizers. Thankfully, it has become a lot easier than it was in past years. That’s due to the hard work of the folks behind WordCamp Central and the additional tools and themes provided to make useful and well designed conference websites. Now you can clone past WordCamp website themes and start from an already established foundation with a base WordPress theme like twentyfifteen. Another improvement is that you’ll notice in 2015 that many WordCamp sites now use Underscores as a base. The WordCamp Planning website also added complete details about building your WordCamp website.
Onto the Showcase
Organizing a WordCamp is hard work. I know, I’ve been one of the organizers WordCamp San Diego both in 2015 and for our upcoming WordCamp in April of this year. Props to all the WordCamp organizers out there!
Here’s an overview of my criteria for a really impressive WordCamp website:
- How much does the site NOT look like a default WordPress theme (twenty*)
- Are the expected WordCamp sections cleanly laid out (schedule, speakers, location, attendees)?
- Are the sponsors’ logos treated with care?
- Logo and color palette
- Fonts choices
- Overall theme of the conference
- Unique header, footer and sidebar
- Unique animations and hover effects
- Is the site translated/accessible?
- Is it responsive?
These sites were NOT judged based on who the speakers are, where the location is at, or the overall WordCamp quality. We attended a bunch of great WordCamps last year, but this list is only about their websites. That being said, let’s get on to showcasing the best looking WordCamp websites of 2015:
Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina and home to some cool WordPress cucumbers. This website is cool. Check out the flat desktop view when you visit the site. That’s pretty neat! The colors and flat design of the website made this stand out to me. I haven’t seen a WordCamp website use twentyfifteen with a splash image like that until this one. That’s why I included Raleigh in this year’s list. Sure, once you start clicking around it may turn into more vanilla twentyfifteen with a few margin and padding issues here or there, but the initial impression sets it apart from the crowd of other even more vanilla twentyfifteen-based WordCamp theme websites.
Japan has long been known as a hotbed for WordPress usage. Kansai is a region in Japan and they’ve put together a really nice WordCamp website. Everything in Japan is cute, and that’s the best way I can describe their website. The soft colors, the flat design, the Wapuu with an animation makes it look great. I also like how they spent the time to create an alternative, smaller height header, for the interior pages. It’s attention to detail that makes a website shine. The organizers in Japan, specifically Kansai 2015, made it happen.
WordCamp Maine’s website uses twentyfifteen, like Raleigh, but what stood out to me was the unique logo design and color usage throughout the site. The colors jive with my mental image of Maine and I like the aspect of teamwork that the splash logo conveys. Working together is important, and lumberjacks are some of the best team members (their lives often depend on each other). I like how Maine’s website reflects cohesiveness within the community through visual tones and written queues.
WordCamp Tokyo took home last year’s #1 spot and this year they also make the list. They really have some great illustrators over there. I mean, it is the birthplace of Wapuu. This year’s site is very similar to last year’s, which is why I’ve docked them a bit. Despite this, the illustration is still very unique and appears to be written by the sword of a WordPress ninja. The hovering Wapuu is back in the top right, this time sporting a cool Samurai outfit. I haven’t seen a Wapuu like that before! On the negative side of things, the footer this year is a bit lackluster compared to last year’s Tokyo cityscape and there is no active Facebook or Twitter feed in the sidebar. Overall, the website is still impressive and I feel a testament to the hard work of the organizers and growing community in Japan.
If you haven’t been to Asheville, North Carolina you’re missing out. It’s beautiful. The same can be said for their website. I really love the scenic fullscreen black-and-white background image with the logo overlay. The subtext of the logo flows well and the illustration is unique and flashy. I want it on a shirt. Now.
Moving through the site is easy and intuitive with the multiple navigation menus in the header and sidebar. Navigation is key for many users and Asheville gets it right. The interior pages also utilize a smaller logo without the motto to bring the content higher up the page and more easily into the user’s view. Good work there! The one negative is the footer. Don’t forget to give the footer some love! It would have been cool to see some tree pattern or another unique design aspect down there. Other than that, you go Asheville! Not only do you have a great city, but you also have a WordCamp website that makes the community proud.
I know a number of folks who went to WordCamp Maui and let me just begin by saying that I’m still jealous. I heard great things about this Camp and their website showcases many of the great talks and effort that went into the camp. The header is simply stunning. I love the logo, it’s very Hawaii and the background image behind it makes me want to hop on a plane right now.
Cruising through the site you’ll see some unique CSS aspects went into the schedule page and other elements. I also like how the sidebar sits just above the header to give the site some depth. There’s a good mixture of flat design, textures, and overlays that make this design unique and memorable. As they would say in Hawaiian, this site is “Nani” (beautiful). Good job organizers!
WordCamp Poland (Polska) takes flat design illustration to the next level. I love the logo and how it beams front and center. I didn’t know they had dragons in Poland, but apparently there is one, and it’s staring at the logo. The header is a very cool image and the three widgets below it compliment it nicely. I also like the sticky header navigation when you scroll down the site.
Moving into the interior pages the header stays the same height but the three homepage widgets are no longer in place, making the content shift up higher. This is acceptable, but I’d like to see an alternate illustration for the interior pages. To make up for it, a sidebar appears on the left hand side as opposed to the normal placement on the right. It also has useful widgets. The sidebar placement is unique and I actually like it on the left. I also wish there was an English version of the site (there are portions translated).
The footer has another navigation, making is super easy for users to get around the site. It also looks good on mobile and tablet devices so attention was paid to responsiveness. Overall, this WordCamp website has warm colors, unique illustrations, and nicely constructed interior pages.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world but the WordCamp Orlando site made me take notice. The theme is a well executed concept centered around the “Magical World of WordPress”. The icons, logo, textures, and theme usage are executed very well throughout the website.
Clicking through from the homepage you’ll notice an alternate header format in place. Bonus points there for bringing the important content up to the top. I also like the woodsy background. It’s spooky, enchanting, wizard-y! One ding against the site is that the content style falls a bit flat. I like to see some containers around the content, featured images and closer attention to typography.
Florida has some great WordCamps. Miami being among the top in our yearly circuit. However, Orlando has demonstrated via their WordCamp website that they know their WordPress. The community there is talented, dedicated, and can build a fun website and throw a heck of a WordCamp.
WordCamp Los Angeles makes the West Coast WordPress community proud. The imagery used throughout this website turns heads. When I first saw it, I was like “Dang, if that doesn’t make you feel like you’re in California I don’t know what does”. Not only the images, but the iconography, typography and color palette flow.
This website was done so well multiple WordCamps have cloned the site for their own. I did it for WordCamp San Diego 2016. Why? Because it’s based on underscores and has some real clean CSS for you to expand on. If you’re looking to build a WordCamp site that uses flashy imagery, check this one out! The hard work is finding the images to fit with your WordCamp’s theme. As you can see here, they nailed it.
WordCamp US was a huge success and the website helped make it one. It helped keep people informed leading up to the Camp, assisted them with bookings and travel, and helped them find their way to a fro during the WordCamp. Undeniably, the WordCamp US website played a pivotal role in the success the event.
As many WordCamp sites, US has kept with the large impactful hero image for the homepage. The theme is very “Americana” and embraces the history of Philadelphia and the United States heritage. That’s great to see.
Close attention to detail sets websites apart from one another. A pixel isn’t just a pixel when it’s out of place. When clicking through WordCamp US’ website it’s hard to find mistakes, if any. The layouts are clean, the typography is neat and tidy, and extra features like CSS hovers in the main navigation go a long way.
WordCamp US wins the best WordCamp website of 2015. The organizers should be proud of their website. It’s a testament to the time and effort they dedicated to making the event a true success. Cheers!
Share your 2016 site
Are you building a WordCamp site now for 2016? Take some inspiration from these awesome sites, and share your work with us in the comments. Maybe yours will make it to our list next year.
Don’t forget to check out last year’s roundup. See you in 2017!