Highlights and thanks from the Australian conference

Highlights and thanks from the Australian conference

We had our first Write the Docs Australia conference in Melbourne on 15-16 Nov. While we had the Write the Docs Day in 2017, this was our first proper conference that went for 2 days and was packed with presentations, workshops, lightning talks and unconference sessions. Here’s a quick recap of the 2 days.

Conference recap

At over 100 people, our first conference was a great start to what should now become a regular event on the Write the Docs conference calendar. We had a mix of main stage and lightning talks, unconference sessions, workshops and a social event. We received a lot of positive feedback on all of these and look forward to carry them to future events. We also had some interesting feedback on some things we might improve for next time.

  • The main stage presentations had a good blend of topics across documentation, user experience, customer support, content strategy, coding and style guides.
  • The unconference sessions and the lightning talks was well received and prompted people to think, collaborate and talk about documentation in a more unstructured way. It also allowed people to discuss topics that were not covered fully or partially throughout the conference.
  • We received a mixed response to the workshops and this can be an area we can look at improving next year.

Overall, we were so excited to see our first conference come together and see our awesome community gather under one roof.

Conference venue

What better place to hold a documentation conference than a library! We had 2 rooms overlooking the sensational Port Phillip Bay right at the top floor of a public library. When the audience was not soaking in the documentation goodness, they were more than happy to stretch their legs and have a stroll through the library amidst tons of books.

Food and Drinks

In the spirit of the community sharing nature of Write the Docs events, we decided to use social enterprises for our catering. Our food (check out the photos to see the amazing spread!) was catered for by Streat, who are tackling youth homelessness and disadvantage their way. When it came to beverages, we were ably supported by Wheelly Good Coffee, who have programs to improve the social and economic capabilities of some of Australia’s most high risk young people.

Videos and photos

Videos of all the talks are now available on our Youtube channel. Thanks to Darren Chan Photography (also one of our regular documentarians) for doing such a great job with the videos and photos from the conference. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any future content!

We also have photos from the event available on Flickr You are welcome to use them for non-commercial purposes, as per our Creative Commons License.

Audience feedback

We sent out a survey to our attendees and these are some of the initial reactions:

80% of attendees found the conference relevant and helpful to their jobs

95% of attendees were satisfied with the session content

A few comments from the conference:

“Being part of the WTD community provides me access to a large, diverse group of very talented people.”

“I loved how diverse they all were. They were all great.”

“They were all great. A high bar set for next year.”

“I enjoyed the unconference sessions a lot as they were a good opportunity to take an active role, rather than a passive role.”

“Excellent event, well organised and structured, and highly enjoyable.”

“Great fun and social. Glad I attended. You created a safe / community space.”

Code of Conduct transparency report

As with any Write the Docs event, this conference was covered by our community Code of Conduct. We aim to be as transparent with CoC incidents and enforcement as we can.

To ensure that our CoC was visible and accessible, we took a number of specific steps:

  • Every participant agreed to the Code of Conduct in advance.
  • The CoC, or a summary, was included on the conference website, conference booklet, and in posters around the conference venue.
  • The CoC was repeatedly mentioned in announcements on the stage.
  • We specifically stressed that the CoC applies to all conference spaces including the social event, and therefore attendees should drink responsibly.
  • We encouraged all attendees to report any incident, even if they were not sure whether it was a violation.

None of our organizers were approached about any CoC concerns at this event. We know that this is, in part, a reflection of the thoughtful and inclusive community that we’re so lucky to have.

That being said, we’re also very conscious of the fact that just because nothing was reported doesn’t mean nothing happened. If there was any personal conduct or other aspect of the conference experience that did not meet the expectations of behavior set out in the CoC, please email us at australia@writethedocs.org.

Thanks again

We’re so grateful to our speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and attendees for making this conference possible. We hope to see you back next year – or even sooner at one of our other local events!