On Saturday I took a trip up to Manchester for an unconference organised by the North West Drupal user group.

An unconference is like a conference, but without a pre-planned programme. You go, ideally prepared to speak about a topic or lead a discussion, and the schedule is defined on the day. It’s a great environment for anyone new to public speaking, or for trying out a new talk. You needn’t worry about small audiences either - sessions often naturally turn into discussion groups.

The topics were really varied, starting off with a discussion around recruitment and things that get in the way of that process. We discussed cooperation with other conferences, and how we can benefit from attending conferences outside of the Drupal world. On that note we had Brian Teeman from the Joomla project talking about address formats in different parts of the world. We also covered usability testing, Mike Bell explained debugging using his central heating system to illustrate, and JP Stacy talked about the forthcoming Tour de Drupal cycle ride to Vienna.

I gave an abridged version of my offline first talk. It felt a little rushed trying to squeeze a longer talk into 25 minutes, but was a good learning exercise on preparing a talk to be different lengths. It seemed to go well though, and led to some good conversations around progressive web apps afterwards.

The afternoon finished with some very funny presentation poker - 2 minute off the cuff talks on aspects of Agile development, with random images as slides!

All in all I had a fun day, learnt new things and met some new people both from the Drupal community and outside.

Thanks to the team that organised it, and to Auto Trader for sponsoring and the top notch lunch!