My Highlights from 2019 WordCamp NYC

I only made it to one day of WordCamp NYC 2019, but as usual I was glad that I went. And not just because the food at Convene was so good.

I made the rounds of several web hosts that I use/have used and asked them to reduce their carbon footprint.

I stopped at the Wordfence table where they walked me through why Wordfence Central is so helpful.

I met some experienced and interesting WordPress consultants.

Here are two sessions that I attended and found super useful.

UX for Everyone by Piccia Neir

Piccia Neri’s UX for Everyone workshop was a great articulation of why user-centric design is ultimately going to help you get the great website you’ve always wanted. Her full WordCamp presentation is here. Her example of a walking bridge that is beautiful but unusable was a fantastic metaphor for how it’s not enough for things to be attractive. Things have to be usable by the people for whom they are intended. Some of her points about UX design that we can’t stress enough:

  • Design isn’t just about the visual look of the site. Good design is based on the overall approach and the organizational strategy.
  • A user experience (UX) focus will not slow down your project. It can actually make the design process go faster by removing the time spent arguing about personal preferences of the stakeholders.
  • You can put the user needs ahead of the business needs when planning.
  • Don’t shy away from giving your website user choices.

How to Use Free Accessibility Testing Tools by Joseph LoPreste

Jospeh LoPreste of St. Pete Design led a great workshop on free accessibility testing tools, which covered not only the tools but the how and why of creating accessible websites.

His list of tools introduced me to some tools that I was familiar with, but also a brand new one to me: Google Lighthouse (a Chrome extension you can use via your browser inspector). His presentation is not posted anywhere that I know of, but his company has posted quite a bit of useful information about what accessibility is on their website.

A few highlights from his workshop:

  • At some point in your testing, disconnect your mouse and then try and navigate your site pages.
  • If you’re planning for accessibility reviews, allocate the time: he’s an experienced persona and he plans for 20 to 40 minutes per page.
  • They have a great list of manual checks for checking out sites. Here’s a graphic representation of it from the St. Pete Design website:

Whether you are newer to the WordPress world, or have been working in it for well over a decade as I have, when you have a chance to go to a WordCamp, put it on your calendar and go! They happen all over the world, all year round. It’s a great chance to connect with community, learn new skills and up your game.

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