This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining over 150 bloggers, business people, designers, and developers at the WordCamp Pittsburgh 2017 conference to learn and talk about WordPress.
I was excited to attend!
Last year, I was disappointed I couldn’t attend the inaugural WordCamp Pittsburgh 2016 so I made sure to mark my calendar for this year’s event.
Plus, it was the first time I’ve been back to Pittsburgh in over 20 years!
I had a great time at WordCamp, made new friends, and picked up some new tidbits about WordPress, customer service, and project management.
My Takeaways From WordCamp Pittsburgh
With three tracks, I found myself moving from room to room to attend sessions. My attitude at WordCamps is to diversify and not focus on one track.
I know I’ll always walk away from each session with a new piece of information, resource, or strategy to use in my WordPress projects.
WordCamp Pittsburgh didn’t disappoint. Here are my notes from the keynote and some of the sessions I attended.
Keynote: A Pot-Stirrer Amongst Chefs
What does Wilt Chamberlain have to do with WordPress? You might be surprised!
Kevin Hoffman’s story of Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962, a game that wasn’t televised, captured the attention of WordCamp attendees.
I assure you, you are at a WordPress conference, Hoffman said as he used Chamberlain’s story to describe himself and how it took seven years to become an active member of the WordPress community.
Hoffman spoke about the importance of community and how his first step to get involved was to join the Advanced WordPress Facebook group.
He reminded us that we can all contribute to WordPress, even without code, through design, documentation, and user interface.
Designing for Accessibility and Illiteracy
As a web developer at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Kimberly Norris needs to make sure the online experience of the museum’s website is accessible to a range of users.
In her presentation, Norris offered recommendations on how we can make content more accessible to different groups of users.
For people who are deaf or hard of hearing:
- Close caption videos and presentations
- Include transcripts
For people using screen readers:
- Include a Skip Navigation link
- Write good HTML code, using headings, links, and buttons
- Include alternative text for images
For people with low vision or tunnel vision, Norris recommended:
- Check for color contrast
- Use a color blind simulator
- Allow for variable font-size
For people with cognitive disabilities:
- Be aware of screen refresh rates, anything that flashes. Give thought to that animation you’re planning.
- Don’t have videos move too quickly, they can make people feel seasick
- Be aware of font variation/line and character spacing
- Give the user feedback and leave enough time for people to complete online forms
For people who are illiterate:
- For people with low reading levels, use filter instead of search
- Use icons as much as possible
- Use audio and video
- Adjust the reading level – know your audience
Systems & Processes for Creatives
By the packed room for Lauren Pittinger’s talk on systems and processes, you could tell WordPress creatives were looking for tips and strategies for improving their work processes.
Lauren shared excellent advice on how she manages her work projects.
- Processes give us a roadmap to complete a project. An outline that guides you.
- Having a standard process means less time reinventing the wheel
- Three phases for web project: discovery, design, development
- Each project starts with a questionnaire, part of the discovery phase. Start with asking about the organization, their audience, competitors (what services do they offer), whether brand guidelines are established. Also, ask what about their current website is or is not working.
- Pittinger recommends Slickplan for website planning, site crawls, content planning
- Technology brief: content types, templates, forms, sitemap search, user permissions
- Process is an outline, but it needs to be flexible. Not very project will fit your outline
- Get started on creating your own process. Write out the steps you already take. Or the steps you think you take.
- Keep it simple
- Review and refine your process, build on it
The Ultimate Seven Steps to Get on a Blogging Schedule
Christoph Trappe’s presentation was one of my favorite talks at WordCamp Pittsburgh.
He quickly drew me in with his stories of blogging and how he wrote two books on his smartphone. Amazing!
Though I regularly blog four times a week, when I started blogging, I had a hard time sticking to a schedule.
I’m always interested in hearing how other bloggers developed a strategy for blogging regularly.
- Make up your mind.
Commit and develop a strategy. Start sharing stories. Identify who you’re trying to reach. Who is your audience? Write down your goals.
- Determine your schedule.
Will you write weekly, twice a month, several times a week?
- Document your ideas.
Write down your ideas when you think of them. You’ll forget them if you don’t write them down. (Personally, I carry a small notebook around with me at all times. A tip I learned years ago in a conversation with Chris Brogan when I walked down Woodward with him at the 140Conf Conference.)
- Pick the right tools for your writing.
It could be Google Docs, WordPress on your laptop, the mobile WordPress app, or any other writing tool. Find the tool that works for you.
- Start writing!
Produce your content, whether it’s text, video, or podcasts.
- Start measuring.
The Jetpack plugin makes it easy to measure. You can also install Google Analytics for more information.
- Relentlessly distribute and research.
Direct all your social, paid campaigns, email to your website. You own your website. You don’t own Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Social Media Conversation
Check out some of the conversation on Twitter from the conference!
— tiffany (@tiffanyakuchta) September 9, 2017
— Dr Rev J Kirchartz (@JKirchartz) September 9, 2017
— A2 Hosting (@a2hosting) September 9, 2017
— Missfit (@rebelliousflaw) September 10, 2017
Conferences need a "buddy bench" like my kids have in elementary school. If you see someone sitting alone. Introduce yourself. 🙂 #wcpgh
— tiffany (@tiffanyakuchta) September 9, 2017
— Douglas Boldt (@DGBOLDT) September 10, 2017
— kim white (@MrsCRW) September 9, 2017
— Maura Teal (@mlteal) September 9, 2017
— Kevin Hoffman (@kevinwhoffman) September 9, 2017
— Lauren Pittenger (@laurenpittenger) September 9, 2017
I want to thank all of the organizers, volunteers, speakers & sponsors that made #WCPGH happen today. Pittsburgh has a great WP community!
— Matt Eversole (@Mjatersol) September 10, 2017
Kudos to the Organizers
Shoutout to the WordCamp Pittsburgh organizers who did an amazing job!