WordPress – anyone who reads my articles or knows me will know that I love WordPress…. and I’m having the time of life at Wordcamp 2012 Sydney!  What a full on weekend it has turned out to be – and we’re only half way through it.  Yesterday was the first day of Wordcamp Sydney 2012 and I’ve come away with a raft of new info, that I now need to process.  I thought I would share some of the interesting tidbits that I took away from yesterday.

Brent Shepherd did a great Keynote on the Future of WordPress

Brents’ opening statement addressed that we couldn’t really predict the future – but we could use two things to extrapolate scenarios (my words, not his) – History and Statistics.  History repeats itself and statistics, well they’re statistics.

Here are some of the mind boggling stats that Brent shared:

  • 15% of all websites in the world run on WordPress
  • 22% of new domains in the US run on WordPress

Now that’s just huge and it keeps growing.

I think the stand out point for me in Brents talk – and there were a few to choose from was his prediction that WordPress will become a “content server”  and that publishing will be through a range of interfaces (mobile, desktop, speech to text) – we’re already seeing that movement today and it will be interesting to see where the journey takes us.

Morgan and I decided to follow the ‘tech track’ – we wanted to delve into the nitty gritty of WordPress and we weren’t disappointed – whilst all of the presentations were good and provided really useful information, I found myself most captivated by Joe Ortenzi’s “Inclusive Design Principles for WordPress” and Jordan Gilmans “Responsive Design Principles”.

Get more from WordPress at WordCamp Sydney July 21-22, 2012

WordPress “Takeaways” from Day 1

Inclusive Design Principles for WordPress

Joe spoke on the importance of making the websites we build “accessible” – something like 20% of visitors to our websites will have some form of disability and we can enhance their experience by implementing some “simple” design principles.

“accessibility is not discretionary – it is mandatory”

Take away points for me:

  • Add a “skip to content” link at the top of the page, so your visitors can get to the ‘guts’ of your information. Particularly useful if someone is using a screen reader that converts text to speech!
  • If an element is decorative (banner, logo etc) then use the ‘background’ style
  • If you’re using spacer elements ~ shame on you!
  • The ALT tag should be used to describe images — this can actually support your SEO efforts too if you do it properly

Joe gave me some real food for thought with our design and build process when we build out websites – I’ll certainly be looking into the what WordPress plugins are available to help with this.

Responsive Design and WordPress

Morgan and I have been discussing the trend of using mobile devices (and tablets) to view websites.  Since getting our smartphones, we’ve noticed how our own practices have changed and how many websites just don’t work on our tiny screens. One shocking fact was the statistic that eBay has $4bill in sales through mobile devices…. that’s just massive! Jordan shared the following golden nuggets

  • When designing for the web – think mobile first, then layout the rest of views
  • Use media queries to allow for a fluid layout
  • Plan / Sketch / Concept -> Reference points / prototype -> Code it -> TEST

There was a lot of depth in Jordan’s presentation – which was just great. Jordan also shared some fabulous WordPress resources:

  • WP Fluid Images – to automatically resize images depending on the width of the screen
  • Fitvids – resize videos automatically (definitely going to be looking at this one)
  • respond.js – changes the max / min width settings for CSS3 layouts
Oh yes – I haven’t mentioned that Jordan said you can have all these layouts on one website – controlled by the style sheet. How awesome is that!
One Site To Rule Them All
Other sessions for the day included:
  • Anthony Cole sharing his wisdom on WordPress Multisite
  • Tracey Kemp sharing the goodness on WordPress Custom Post Types and Taxonomies – she provided some awesome wordpress resources to check out on this too.
  • Jeff Waugh on Souping up WordPress to make it fly.  In fact Jeff’s talk covered the gamut of Server configs, coding and wordpress – highly enlightening
A totally worthwhile experience – and one that I’m glad I can share with my son, Morgan.
Today, we continue our journey into WordPress with some great topics on Themes, Plugins, Security and coding….
Checkout the twitter feed for #wcsyd and see what we’re sharing about WordPress.




About the Author Charly Dwyer

Charly has more than 30 years experience in the IT industry ranging from hands-on technical, to high-level business management, Charly has installed and configured computing equipment and has managed business contracts in excess of $25 million dollars.

As a result, Charly identifies the best way to integrate solutions and technologies for the most cost effective way to achieve a businesses outcome.

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