All Day Hey! Live

If you're interested in how I took the conference online, you might like the production write-up over here.

On 7th May 2020, we delivered All Day Hey! Live, an affordable live-streamed, full-day conference for designers & front-end developers. This event was a departure from our well-established All Day Hey! conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting meetups of all sizes. Moving to a live stream was a big move for me, delivering the conference in person is about more than just the brilliant speakers we ask to join us every year, but also bringing the community together to meet and share stories in person. That community is just as important as the knowledge that people take away with them on the day. I’m proud to say we delivered an exceptional conference that I feel closely matched the ethos of All Day Hey! delivered in person, and the feedback from attendees certainly echoed that.

All Day Hey! Live Conference

As we saw the events of the pandemic unfold, I had a few decisions to make, the first of which was to cancel the in-person event and automatically refund everyone’s money, no questions asked. Harry (who I run All Day Hey! with) and I put together a plan for how an online version of the conference could look. In my mind, we needed to retain that community aspect while still delivering the same world-class talks everyone expects. I also didn’t want the conference to feel like yet another video call with someone clumsily switching between slides on their desktop into a FaceTime camera. After a lot of research and some conversations with the production team who we run All Day Hey! with, I had a plan.

All Day Hey! Live Conference

I decided to stream the entire conference, as if it was taking place as usual, in real-time. We would pre-record the talks and ask the speakers to be available to answer questions along with their talk in Slack. All this was brought together into a single production and streamed live to an audience all over the world. This allowed us to broadcast the conference to double the audience we seat in Everyman for All Day Hey!, reaching 27 countries in total. These numbers were a huge success for us, and I’m so proud of the team for making it run so smoothly. The sheer volume of conversation happening in the chat alongside the event really brought a huge buzz to the day, and I felt like everyone was more connected as a result of it. On top of the chat, we brought social commentary into the live broadcast by highlighting attendee tweets as they were happening, making things feel even more united.

All Day Hey! Live Conference

Another huge thank you must go to the speakers and our fantastic MC Phil Hawksworth. Every speaker was more than understanding of the situation and threw themselves at the challenge of recording the talks ahead of the big day. The live chat aspect allowing them to answer audience questions as their talk took place gave that community feel, and everyone really got involved. I mean, how often do you get to ask world-class speakers questions as their talk is taking place! Phil (as always) did an incredible job of keeping the momentum of the conference as our MC for the day, and without him, the day just wouldn’t have felt the same.

In 2020 the team rose to the challenge of taking All Day Hey! online while somehow keeping that balance of being both firmly rooted in the community and also fielding world-class talks and speakers. They translated the experience brilliantly. With a thoughtful and thorough online implementation which somehow made everyone feel more connected than ever before. All Day Hey! makes speakers and attendees feel special and cared for. And it remains one of my favourite events as a result.

Phil Hawksworth, Developer Experience at Netlify speaking of All Day Hey! Live

Vitaly Friedman opened up the day with a talk on “Smart Interface Design Patterns”. In his talk, he covered technical and creative considerations to take into account when building responsive web components such as a music festival schedule, an election map or an airfare booking and check-in system.

All Day Hey! Live is a very friendly, intimate and lovely community event with people who genuinely care about their craft. Highly recommended!

Vitaly Friedman, Founder of Smashing Magazine speaking of All Day Hey! Live

Charlotte Dann was second to take the virtual stage with her talk “Pixels, IRL”. She wowed everyone with her approach to translating generative art into a physical space (as well as introducing everyone to incredible pen plotting machines).

All Day Hey! Live blew my socks off, a more spirited and engaging day than I thought possible for a digital event. I think every attendee, speaker, and organiser logged off reluctantly, with a buzzing brain and a warmed heart.

Charlotte Dann, Designer, Developer and Maker at Hexatope speaking of All Day Hey! Live

Eli Schutze Ramirez was third up with her talk “What Is the Deal With Internationalisation?”. Eli raised the point that while 51% of the world’s websites are in English, only 25% of users consuming those sites are English speakers. Internationalisation is as relevant as ever, and Eli did a great job of explaining how you can bring I18n to your own applications.

I’ve spoken at several conferences in the past few years, and this is one of the most well organised, well-communicated ones I’ve participated in. From the very first intro email all the way through to the end, everything was super clear, and clearly, all aspects had been thought about.

Eli Schutze, Web Engineer at Monzo speaking of All Day Hey! Live

After the break, we had three fantastic lightning talks, just like All Day Hey!. Kim Johannesen went into detail on accessibility with his talk “Accessible Buttons”, followed by Grace Zarczynska running through ways to be more productive in your editor with “Productivity: Ways to speed up your coding”. Klara Fleischmann closed the lightning talks with her first-ever talk, “It’s your journey, don’t be afraid to find your way”. Klara absolutely smashed this, telling the audience how important it is to carve your own path and how it’s OK to learn from past mistakes.

Simona Cotin set of us off on the final set of talks with “Serverless at the End of the Universe”. This was by far the most technical talk of the day, diving into serverless functions and how you can manage state between them, giving the audience plenty of practical tips to how you can build better production applications using serverless.

Finally, Asim Hussain closed the conference with “Principles of Green Application Architecture Design”, raising the important topic of the real cost of running our applications on cloud architecture. He lifted the lid on green apps, explaining what we can all do to contribute to a cleaner, greener future.

I really loved the care and attention put towards making sure we could give our best, offering us good microphones was a great help. I especially loved the pre-recorded format so I could interact with the attendees on Slack during my session, I answered a ton of questions and gave commentary during my session, I felt engaged with the audience.

Asim Hussain, Green Cloud Advocacy Lead at Microsoft speaking of All Day Hey! Live

All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference
All Day Hey! Live Conference

I want to thank the community for getting behind us on this journey. I’m so excited to do it again. While it won’t beat the in-person networking element, it was refreshing and empowering to be able to deliver during a time of such unease and uncertainty. On top that we’ve learnt some valuable lessons in making Hey! accessible to everyone, anywhere in the world, and we’ll be putting these live stream lessons to good use in the future.

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