Both Marti and my brother Trent live in Washington now so WordCamp Seattle is a perfect excuse to visit each year! It is a great event for networking, learning, and having a bit of fun. And since we focus on the WordPress platform, this event is right in our wheelhouse.
Before heading to the conference, I was able to visit Marti up in Bellingham, Washington. We had a great time eating poke bowls, checking out breweries, and taking a quick hike with a beautiful view (check out the cover photo).
After the fun, we headed down to Seattle for the conference. Here are the talks that I found most impactful for me this year.
Contributing To WordPress
It is something that has been on my mind for a while – actively contributing to WordPress. I’ve spoken at several WordCamps and helped out a bit in the WordPress forums. However, I’ve never put forth an organize
d effort to chipping in to the Five For The Future. It is a simple concept of contributing 5% of your teams time towards giving back to WordPress. It makes sense if we want WordPress to continue to dominate the website market.
Enter Andrea Middleton‘s keynote talk on contributing to WordPress. It carried a key theme of everyone being able to contribute in different ways. There are needs for writers, designers, developers, marketers, and so many roles.
I really need to take this idea and find a way for everyone on the CYBERsprout team to find a way to give back. While our office remodel is currently consuming all our free time, I could see this being a great New Year’s resolution for 2018!
I’ve always loved the emphasis of user experience over aesthetics. Breaking down what really matters on a site and what is just decoration.
Michelle Schulp‘s session focused on Atomic Design and how it breaks down design to atoms, molecules, organisms, templates, and pages. Thinking about how each of these tiers of components puts the design process in a new light. It forces you to evaluate the value and functionality of each piece on its own.
There is a big push for websites to become accessible to patrons with vision, hearing, and other perception issues. Aside from ADA compliance, why is this so important? According to Gian Wild, one out of five people have some sort of disability. That’s a big group to be leaving behind. Making your website more accessible to these potential clients will also make it easier for search engines to understand your content.
Luckily, WordPress and Genesis (the framework we use) are pretty accessible out of the box. There is still a lot of work to be done while building the website, but it helps to have a great starting point.
The WCAG 2.0 guidelines are used at this point to make sure text sizes, color contrast ratios, site structure, etc. keep the website compliant. It sounds easy, but there are a lot of little things that can trip up a design in terms of accessibility. Here are just a few Gian mentioned during her talk:
- Movement that can’t be stopped (e.g. sliders and carousels)
- Trapping a mobile user with zoom (e.g. map zoom) while scrolling
- Small spacing between buttons, especially where the actions are opposite
I want to also thank Gian for reviewing one of our designs for an upcoming project where level AA compliance is the goal. She gave me some great pointers on hover states, descriptive link text, and text overlaid on an image. It was a super helpful review on accessibility!