What did you like about this event, and what do you think could be better for the next time? Leave your feedback to help the organizers know what you liked, and what could be improved on.
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Really enjoyed the conference again this year, lots of great contents and new stuff to take back to the day job.
In previous years I've asked for the conference to not share a weekend with the Super League Grand Final. I don't know if it was deliberate, but this year it didn't and it seemed to make around a bit easier, so thank you for that.
Hats off to Manchester Conference Centre, they did a great job again this year keeping everything running smoothly and with the food provided.
I'd like to echo the previous comments and say the free bar has no attraction for me at all. I'd prefer to see money spent on this go somewhere else. I like the ircmaxell's idea of break out rooms. It might be nice to have some "social" time in the evening to play around with new things learnt during the day.
That being said, the photo booth was a great addition, I'd like to see this back in future.
The job board seemed very sparse this year - I don't know if this is because no one is hiring, or that it wasn't mentioned at all during the weekend... that I can recall anyway.
+1 on the t-shirts for women. It can't be that hard to produce some in more suitable sizes.
The email communication this year was a complete mess - I lost track of how many I got about Hackathon tickets with broken links. Then there was the email with the wrong subject saying "1 week to go" 3 days before the conference.
I'll put notes on the individual talks about this, but there seemed to be more talks this year that didn't match their abstracts much with the speakers saying "I tried to write the talk I submitted but couldn't". This seems like weak sauce to me. There were 4 applicants for each space available, so the least you could do is deliver the talk you beat them with.
The t-shirt design and even the colour was the same as last year, would've been nice to change it up a bit.
However, overall it was great. The talks were great, the hallway track was great, people are just so friendly. The conference centre staff were awesome, the conference organisers were awesome, the speakers were awesome.
I do, however, disagree with whoever said they'd pay more - if it was any more expensive, I wouldn't be able to afford to come. Not all of us can afford these conferences you know!
The one other thing that I would add would be to provide a space for "break out" sessions to occur. These wouldn't be talks, but instead rooms with tables where people can get together to talk or work on a common interest problem. They can be scheduled or not. For example, the Drupal community does the concept of a "BOF" (Birds of a Feather) where people just come together to discuss or work on things.
I agree with mikebell_'s comment on t-shirt design and geeki's comment on t-shirt sizes. The sizes of hoodies stopped me from buying one as i was unable to get one that fit me.
It would be cool if the front had the PHPNW logo and the back had sponsors but I understand that probably costs more.
Such a great conference that I was lucky enough to attend. Here are a few highlights and my thoughts:
- The conference venue was great, I loved the pendulum in the entrance. All the staff were really nice and friendly.
- Lunch and tea was a good mix but it was on the cool side. Still very good to have 2 solid meals as it really helps get you through the day, I wasn't expecting to be hungry in the evening after lunch but I really was.
- The keynote was great so enough said there!
- It was a nice idea having people with microphones to record the questions but they weren't given enough time to get to the questions before speakers started answering them. Priming speakers not to start answering questions before the microphone reaches the person would be nice.
- Venue temperature, this is going to sound odd but it was perfect, normally at these things its way too hot but the conference center had it just right for wandering around in a t-shirt. Quite impressive seeing as hundreds of people chuck out a lot of heat.
- I'm not sure if I missed it but a cloakroom would have been nice, somewhere I could dump my bag for the evening social so I didn't have to worry about carting it around with me.
- The tshirts are a bit dissapointing, I'd quite happily sacrifice my t-shirt and pay a bit extra for something unbranded with just the phpnw14 logo on but I understand you have to appease sponsors.
Overall I had a lovely weekend and can't wait for next years conference. If people are reading this who are thinking of going next year stop thinking and just get your ticket asap!
Overall I had a great weekend and I will no doubt be back next year. It was my first time there and I met tons of great people from the UK that I never got to meet before.
And now for a bunch of negative nitpicks :)
- I agree with @geekie above about the shirts. Furthermore I would have happily voided my tshirt rights if I was given the option during the ticket checkout process. Happy to save the conf 10 pounds or whatever they cost, if it can be reinjected somewhere more worthy.
- The bar tab was large and I understand that it is a bit of an institution at PHPNW, so this may come as a shocker but I'd say it's probably ok to go down with the tab a bit earlier and try to find a cool way to spend the money elsewhere. If you want to avoid a landrush for free booze that may not last all night, giving away drink vouchers can be a way to let everyone pace themselves :)
- SymfonyLive London this year had a few "community booths" they offered free of charge for a few open source projects to use, I think that was a cool idea to let some projects represent themselves in a more professional light. I hear they had an application process followed by a public vote to decide who gets them. Could be a thing to consider.
- For the uncon orga team: I think if the uncon is established and the schedule is packed, it'd be a cool experiment to try and restrict schedule entries to X slots in advance to give everyone a chance to chip in. I missed you at registration in the morning for some reason and when I learned about the uncon it was in that opening address sentence saying the schedule was full already, which was a shame for me, but also awesome that you filled it so quick. Food for thought but keep at it either way :)
- Finding a cheap hotel around was kinda hard, maybe trying to secure deals with surrounding hotels + the MCC for cheaper rooms is worth a shot?
Guess that's all I can think of - but I repeat just in case, this was overall a great conference! Thanks and 'till next year.
The conference keeps getting better and better! Every year I've been there I've been amazed at the content and the people that I meet. I'm so happy that I finally got accepted as a speaker! The way PHPNW treats their speakers, and their delegates is out of this world.
That said I do have something on my mind as an improvement next year:
If you're going to have official conference shirts for everyone, make sure they are for everyone. Coming there as a woman and finding out there's only t-shirts you wouldn't wear (not only because of the design) but also because of there not being a single shirt in your size makes you realise how much of a minority you are. As the diverse conference that PHPNW is becoming to be, I saw plenty of women there, and I'd like us all to be treated as first class citizens and not an afterthought.
If the cost is the issue, drop t-shirts all together rather than excluding people and focus on doing something else. (I know it's likely to be for the sponsors but I'm sure you can find other cool ways for them)
Just my two cents!
Otherwise again THANKS FOR A GREAT CONFERENCE and for letting me speak :)
The only constructive feedback I can give to the event as a whole is keep doing what you're doing, because it's working! Thanks for a great weekend
As always, a great conference, not just the talks but the socialising too, saw some old friends and met some "internet friends" for the first time too.
I also learned that there's an 8:45 IN THE MORNING on weekends too!
Great conference with great talks!
Another great conference covering everything you'd want. Will be there next year. Would be good if the talks had some estimate of the audience levels. Understandably there is a mix of the introduction to the challenging and would be nice to plan accordingly.
Thanks to everyone involved.
Wish I had known about the #uncon at least the night before - a couple of talks (especially Mike Bell's) sounded interesting, but had already planned out the day... Just hope video is available. Look forward to next year - perhaps you can do a deal with the hotel to offer a 3 night stay, hackathon and conference tickets package (and discounts on additional nights) - or at least, open the hackathon tickets up with the early bird tickets: I booked the tickets, then hotel and trains - and then found out about the hackathon :/..
Great event, loads of nice people and a good level on the talks.
Great conference again it just gets better and better
I say it every year but I blame the amount of ideas that get squashed in between my ears.
once again the range of topics was fantastic, lots of annoying clashes and a long list of talks to catchup on when the videos are released.
I like the idea others have mentioned about not having the free tshirt and maybe going for a better quality tshirt for sale instead, I would love an embroidered phpnw tshirt for example.
the only negative I can think of was the lack of table space at lunch, a few of us had to balance a plate in one hand trying to cut a lovely piece of chicken with the other.