Registrations for the Webstock conference to be held in Wellington from May 23 to 26 are coming in thick and fast.
Preliminary registrations number about 700, says Natasha Hall, one of the organisers.
Although only some 250 attendees have confirmed, a surge of confirmations is expected before March 31 when lower-cost “earlybird” registrations close, she said last week.
The conference is organised by Web Standards New Zealand. While part of its mission is to encourage the creation of websites which adhere to standards such as those promulgated by the State Services Commission and international organisation W3C, there is a more general message about raising the standard of sites through good design, creativity and clear English, Hall says.
“I see the vision of the conference as not just about the web,” Hall says. “It’s about getting people inspired” to create blogs and to pursue other community-creating activities through the internet. It also offers an opportunity “just to hang out with other people,” she says. “When you’re in the trenches, you tend to forget about other people in the community and their input.”
The social and creative aspects of the conference is the reason for the pun on the Woodstock rock festival. And, yes, there will be music, on the last evening, from Wellington band Odessa.
Of four workshops, on design, usability and user experience, accessibility and “creating passionate users”, three were sold out last week and the fourth is filling fast.
The organisers and sponsors provided 16 scholarships for people who otherwise would not have been able to attend. The fund did not stretch to air fares or accommodation, but conference fees have been paid. Scholarship winners include Samoan and Fijian attendees and a woman who provides ICT in the Australian outback. Applications were received from as far afield as Mongolia.
The most recent recruit to the speaker roll is Tony Chor, programme manager of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team.
Novell is the leading sponsor of Webstock, with Intergen, Positively Wellington Business, Provoke, Microsoft, Govis, DNA Design and Signify also contributing to the conference.