July 2017 – The value of side projects

In July we focused on the value side projects. Adam presented a talk where he demonstrated building custom applications on the Amazon Alexa smart home platform. Talking us through the process and some of the things learnt along the way.

A massive thank you to our sponsors – iWeb and The Deskspace Project, run by TopCashback’s Charity (TopCharity).


The value of side projects

Adam Davis

Side projects are important, you can exercise your own creativity and build all sorts of random things. They allow you to pick up new skills and expand your knowledge along the way. They can just be for fun, or they may even turn into commercial success stories, or sometimes fail… but ultimately they allow us to learn something new, and more importantly, you’re the boss! In this presentation I will go through the value of side projects in more detail, running through some success stories and also showing you a side project I’ve worked on using an Amazon Echo Dot.

June 2017 – Welcoming our new venue

We saw a great turnout for June’s meetup. Thanks to everyone who came along to see our new venue and learn about mobile first SEO.

A massive thank you to our sponsors – iWeb and The Deskspace Project, run by TopCashback’s Charity (TopCharity).


An Arbitrary Number Of Things You Should Know About Mobile First SEO

Joe Turner


When Google’s Gary Illyes revealed plans to create a ‘mobile-first’ index in November 2016, it sent the SEO world into a tizz. But really there wasn’t any need. Fast forward seven months and we’re still waiting for Google to confirm when it will be fully rolled out.

So, while we wait, let’s address some of the fundamentals:

  • What the heck does ‘mobile-first’ even mean?
  • What can we do to prepare?
  • And how can we use to our advantage?

May 2017 – WordPress, Accessibility & Security

In May we were lucky to be joined by a number of speakers prominent in the WordPress community. We also said goodbye to the venue which has hosted us for the past two and a half years. The Bean enCounter has been a truly wonderful home for Staffs Web Meetup and we wish Jonathan, it’s proprietor; all the best in his new venture.

A massive thank you to our sponsors – iWeb and The Deskspace Project, run by TopCashback’s Charity (TopCharity).

Designing for accessibility

Graham Armfield

The accessibility of a website is significantly affected by the underlying HTML, CSS and javascript that developers use to create it. But it is also possible to impact upon the accessibility of a site at the design stage – both the visual design, and the interactive design or UX. And it’s not just about colour schemes either.

In this presentation I will outline a few key points to keep in mind when you are designing your next beautiful website or theme. I will illustrate the points with some good (and bad) examples.

Good design and web accessibility can go hand in hand – come and find out how.

Key message: It’s not just developers that need to think about accessibility, it’s designers too.

Practical WordPress Security

Tim Nash

So we have all been to the scary WordPress security talk or indeed any security talk where Tim or someone else frightens you to death, but its not too dire, in those talks there is a theme that everything is beyond despair and very little helps. So this talk, which is low on scary tales and high on simple practical tips to improve your sites security. On their own they might not be the silver bullet but they all add up. Tim will guide you through things anyone of any ability level can implement to improve their sites security. While focusing on WordPress these tips can on the whole be used anywhere.

April 2017 – Microsoft Guest Speaker

March saw a fantastic turnout – thanks to all who came along and made this night memorable. We welcomed Martin Kearn, our guest speaker for the evening. He presented his talk on machine learning; complete with a live demonstration.

Thanks to our sponsors for this event – iWeb and The Deskspace Project, run by TopCashback’s Charity (TopCharity).


Machine Learning for Muggles

Martin Kearn – Microsoft

Artificial Intelligence is the latest hotness. Machine Learning sits behind artificial intelligence and on the surface it may seem like a deeply technical, scientific topic. We are here to tell you that it is more accessible than you think. We’ll look at some of the basics around the Azure Machine Learning service. We’ll also look some of the Microsoft Cognitive Services APIs which make it very easy to implement artificial intelligence ‘smarts’ into your application with simple, standard REST calls.

March 2017 – Productivity

Thanks for those who came to March’s meetup focussed on productivity – we had a great turn out.

A big thanks to Paul and Andrew for speaking and Trevor for hosting the open discussion.

A massive thank you to our sponsors – iWeb and The Deskspace Project, run by TopCashback’s Charity (TopCharity).


The Toyota Way in Action

Paul Boocock

At Codeweavers we live and breathe The Toyota Way philosophy. This talk will show you how we have used this philosophy, originally from the car manufacturing world, and how it has impacted every corner of our IT business from development to sales to client support. It doesn’t matter what field your business is in, The Toyota Way will help you improve and reach your goal.

Herding Cats in the Digital Age

Andrew McCombe

In this Information Age demands are increasing. Organising a busy work schedule and a home life is a skill in itself. Here’s how I manage it using software and a few special techniques.