Lavacon’s Web 2.0 Conference Website

Lavacon is a yearly conference Jack Molisani puts together on professional development for technical communicators. This year’s conference focuses on social media. You can’t run a conference on social media without having a cool-looking social media driven website, right? So Jack contacted me to help make the Lavacon conference site more of a web 2.0 / social-media-driven experience.

Lavacon Conference Website

Lavacon's conference website incorporates a number of social media features

Working on the Lavacon conference website has been the most interesting WordPress project I’ve ever done. Here are the main features on the Lavacon conference website that make it social:

  • Lots of pictures of presenters. Every presenter has a headshot, and when you group these headshots together, the result is that you see . .. a lot of people. It’s a social looking experience. You don’t just have presentation titles. You have actual people grouped together. I forefronted the speaker’s images to centralize this idea.
  • You can comment on each speaker’s session. Because each session description is its own post, you can add your own comments, questions, or feedback on each session. Prior to the session, you can ask questions; during the session, you can add comments; and afterwards, you can ask follow-up questions all through the session’s page. Here’s an example.
  • You can like or dislike other people’s comments. If you want to second someone’s comment, you can express your like or dislike by clicking the thumbs-up or thumbs-down icon next to the person’s comment  The most liked comments are aggregated on the Program page, but they also receive a count next to the thumb icon for the number of likes.
  • Rate your interest in the session. Through the stars below each presenter’s name, you can rate the session. You can use the ratings in a variety of ways. Jack is using the rating system to gauge interest in the topics to determine room sizes (to start with). The highest rated sessions are grouped together on the program page.
  • View current activity on the Live page. The Live page shows a map of the latest visitors for the past month. It also collects the latest tweets that have the word lavacon, and it shows all mentions of the word lavacon conference in the blogsophere.

I’m interested to see how this conference plays out as people start adding comments and ratings and other information. In other words, the site isn’t finished — it has only begun.

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By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for the 41st Parameter in San Jose, California. I'm interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication, API documentation, information architecture, web publishing, DITA, and more. If you're trying to keep up to date about the field of technical communication, subscribe to my blog. Email

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