WCUS 2023: Tips and takeaways from Maryland

We digested a boatload of content and crab rolls at last month’s WordCamp US, so now we’re back in the UK, here’s a summary of our best bits from the biggest ever WordPress community event.


Held downriver from Washington DC at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland, WordCamp US 2023 brought together almost 2,000 delegates from across the world, ranging from platform newcomers to well-seasoned experts. As such, the sold out event was packed with sessions and workshops that catered towards a broad spectrum of experience levels, touching on trending topics as well as evergreen areas of interest. 

The conference also featured key presentations from WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy and co-founder Matt Mullenweg on what’s next for WordPress and Gutenberg. With a strong focus on phase three of the block editor project, Matt showcased several highly-anticipated features including collaborative editing, as well as updates to revisions and the media library. As an enterprise WordPress agency, we’ve developed custom functionality across all of these areas on behalf of many of the large-scale organisations that we work with, so we’re confident that these planned core additions will be very well received.

Standout sessions

Additional highlights from WCUS included an insightful talk from Abby Bowman and J.J. Toothman entitled For All Userkind: NASA Web Modernization and WordPress, which looked at the process behind creating the new NASA website with Gutenberg. In a follow-up session, we were also granted access to the alpha version of the site, and encouraged to use its editor to experiment with pages and layouts, which gave us a rare glimpse into how other agencies and organisations are utilising Gutenberg. 

WordPress Playground, Present and Future Applications delivered by Antonio Sejas was another standout session. Using a hands-on format, it shared practical advice on how best to set up a standalone WordPress environment, and offered some valuable tips (which you can find here) that we’ll apply to future projects.

Accessibility and AI were also high on the agenda in terms of sessions and queries raised during the event’s closing Q&A. Although there’s more to be done on those fronts in terms of education and application – throughout both the WordPress and wider web development community – Matt assured the audience that those topics are already at the forefront of most WordPress developers’ minds.

Off-schedule highlights

Outside of the conference, we were invited by WordPress VIP to attend its inaugural Run with VIP: WordPress for Government Summit. Featuring flash talks and networking, the event provided a unique opportunity to hear from US government agencies on how they run safe, secure, accessible and reliable web applications with WordPress. This included a fascinating talk from Blaine Wasylkiw, Deputy Chief Technology Innovation Officer for the California Department of Technology, who highlighted how the organisation has successfully leveraged WordPress multisite functionality to launch a wide number of sites.

While in the Washington area, we also seized the chance to frequent many incredible seafood eateries, and we made a first-time visit to the HQ of a valued, long standing client to catch up face to face about upcoming WordPress projects. 

All in all, our trip was an amazing experience, and as always we’re especially grateful to the organisers and volunteers who make WordCamps happen across the globe. We’re already counting down the days to the next one! 
For more on WordCamp US 2023, click here to visit the official website.

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