Democratising Democracy: Lessons from using WordPress for civic engagement

Presented by Leah Lockhart in Track 1, Track 2.

The WordPress community has core tenets that naturally mean some of its members want to create tools and platforms for civic good. With WordPress powering nearly 30% of the web, the potential its community has to impact democratic engagement is enormous.

But how much do these members understand the dynamic between citizens and their public bodies in order to build things that are useful and used? How aware are they of the ways in which our institutions work and their cultures in order to be able to affect real change?

I’d like to talk about my decade (and a bit!) working with government, local government, civil society and citizens in Scotland first as a digital engagement agitator and now as a digital engagement specialist.

Using the headlines under WordPress’s philosophy, I want to share stories and give advice about approaching creating civic tech in a way that mirrors the language and ethos of the WordPress community.

The hope is that I can give people some information that means they take a more considered approach to civic tech as opposed to thinking everything can be fixed with an app or a website.

This will not be a technical talk.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers, Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Intermediate

Making popular WordPress plugins more accessible

Presented by Claire Brotherton in Track 1.

I’ll talk about some well-known WordPress plugins and show the accessibility issues that arise when using them. Then I’ll discuss what can be done to make their front-end output more accessible. That might involve:
– asking the developer to make the next plugin version more accessible
– adding another plugin to remedy the problems
– modifying the plugin code yourself
– finding or building a more accessible plugin

Some of the plugins I’ll talk about are:
– Contact Form 7
– Gravity Forms
– Simple Share Buttons Adder
– Revolution Slider

Indended audience types: Developers, Community

Intended audience expertise: Intermediate

Designing for Accessibility

Presented by Graham Armfield in Track 1.

The accessibility of a website is significantly affected by the underlying HTML, CSS and javascript that developers use to create it. But it is also possible to impact upon the accessibility of a site at the design stage – both the visual design, and the interactive design or UX. And it’s not just about colour schemes either.

In this presentation I will outline a few key points to keep in mind when you are designing your next beautiful website or theme. I will illustrate the points with some good (and bad) examples.

Good design and web accessibility can go hand in hand – come and find out how.

I have previously presented this talk at WordCamp London 2017 and WordCamp Bristol 2017, and a couple of WP meetup groups.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Supercharging your WordPress site’s speed

Presented by Kathir Sid Vel in Track 1.

My talk / presentation will be a exploratory walkthrough of setting up a demo WordPress site and optimising the website’s speed.

Various optimisation techniques will be covered in the talk:
1) Image optimisation
2) Plugin(s) and code performance
3) Minification and combining scripts and styles
4) Caching – database and pages
5) Content Delivery Networks
6) CloudFlare – Minification, Polish, Mirage and Railgun
7) Google PageSpeed module for Apache

I will have set up a few different versions of the test website on a series of subdomains. Each version will contain the optimisations that I experiment. Each subdomain will be tested using Google PageSpeed and GTMetrix. Screen shots will be shown through slides. Test result links will be added to the slides.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers, Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Intermediate

A deep understanding of WordPress actions and filters

Presented by Mark Wilkinson in Track 2.

WordPress is known for its extensibility – the ability to change the behaviour of the software without breaking the core code. This is added through plugins and themes.

Understanding how to extend WordPress is essential if you want to develop solutions using WordPress. This talk will teach you how actions and filters work, with some practical and theoretical examples to illustrate their functionality.

Attendees should hopefully come away from this talk with a greater understanding on how actions and filters, or hooks as they are collectively known, can unlock the door to building greater things with WordPress, and as I worked out being able to say “Wow, you can do (almost) anything with WordPress!”.

Indended audience types: Developers

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Closing keynote: Are Twitter threads killing blogs?

Presented by Franz Vitulli in Track 1, Track 2.

Whilst Twitter and Instagram are services mainly known for sharing respectively short messages and photos, people today seem to be quite inclined to use them for long-form content as well, oftentimes opting for Twitter threads and Instagram long captions instead of blog posts.

In this talk I’m going to analyse the how’s, why’s and wherefores of this phenomenon, and I’ll share insights on how blogs and social media can complement each other.

This session is aimed at content creators—marketers, journalists, authors, editors—as well as any individual who’s passionate about social media, quality content and storytelling.

Indended audience types: Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Using Facebook Ads to get more eyes on your content

Presented by Gavin Bell in Track 2.

Facebook advertising is hands down one of our biggest business opportunities. But the majority of us aren’t using them effectively (if at all!). Once you know how to make Facebook work for you – you can drive thousands of people to your content for very little spend.

In this session I’ll show you some of the best ways to make the most of Facebook ads.

Indended audience types: Business

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Don’t be scared! Practical WordPress security tips

Presented by Tim Nash in Track 2.

So we have all been to the scary WordPress security talk where Tim or someone else frightens you to death, but it’s not too dire: in those talks there is a theme beyond despair and that’s every little helps.

So this talk is low on scary tales and high on simple practical tips to improve your site’s security. On their own they might not be the silver bullet, but they all add up.

Tim will guide you through steps that anyone of any ability level can implement to improve their site security.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers, Business

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Closing keynote: Blogging as therapy: a personal journey

Presented by Rachel Martin in Track 1, Track 2.

On September 4th 2010 my life changed forever with the start of the Canterbury earthquake sequence. I started blogging as a way to deal with anxiety and the stress of aftershocks. Blogging was my therapy. This is my story.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers, Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Get a 5,000 hour head-start on your projects

Presented by Mark Smallman in Track 1.

In this talk, I will show how I combined wanting to know how WordPress themes were built – and how the process has resulted in me building myself a ‘starter theme’ that I use on 95% of all my custom theme builds.

I have been using the same base theme since 2013, with constant updates and testing, and it has proven itself to speed up development time dramatically.

Along the way I have learnt a lot about what works, and what doesn’t work in themes.

Intended audience: would be those that build custom themes for client sites, and also those that want to learn more about what goes into building a theme.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers

Intended audience expertise: Intermediate

The Unbearable Likeness of Design

Presented by Sarah Semark in Track 2.

Why do so many websites look the same? As our tools have improved and we’ve been able to do more with the web, there’s been a growing trend toward websites that look exactly alike. Join me on a magical ride through the history of web design (watch out for animated gifs and midi files!) in order to figure out how we got here—and where we can go next.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers, Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Boilerplating WordPress

Presented by Dave Green in Track 1.

The process of developing a bespoke WordPress website from scratch is a lengthily one. When you’re repeating it on a regular basis for your clients, it soon becomes necessary to “boilerplate” certain aspects of this process to save time, reduce repetition and increase profitability!

In this talk I’ll share my experience of building Kapow!, the bespoke WordPress development boilerplate that I’ve been working on at Make Do for the past few years.

I’ll cover some of the important things you need to bear in mind when creating your own development boilerplate, highlight some of the decisions and challenges you’ll face as well as share some of the lessons that I’ve learned along the way.

Indended audience types: Developers

Intended audience expertise: Intermediate

Don’t lose your steam! How to deal with unhappy customers

Presented by Stef Mattana in Track 2.

No matter if your product, business plans or plugin is functional and well crafted: there comes a time where a user or client knocks at your door, and they aren’t happy at all with you.

Supporting users is not an easy job, not to mention when they’re angry or upset, and this can affect your emotional and professional balance. In this talk I’m going to share some useful tips and tricks I deploy when dealing with upset customers, to turn them into a potential happy users. I’ll also share my advice on how to maintain an assertive and positive attitude when things go south.

This talk aims to all the people who can possibly interact with users and are looking to fine-tune their customer support skills.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers, Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Intermediate

Using a REST API for Absolute Beginners

Presented by Tom Nowell in Track 1.

For those who have never used the REST API but know basic PHP, this talk will cover how to make a basic endpoint, how to use it on the frontend, and how to convert AJAX calls.

Indended audience types: Developers

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Opening keynote: Using WordPress to create social change

Presented by Bridget Hamilton in Track 1, Track 2.

The Verbal Remedy website has WordPress at its heart. With up to 50 blog post submissions per month on everything from feminism to sexual health, we need a theme that gives our words the impact they deserve and a dashboard that means we can create posts effectively as a remote editorial team.

As Verbal Remedy’s founder I’ve watched the platform grow over the past four years from a tiny Tumblr site to a fully integrated WordPress creation with a strong presence in the North East of England. I’d love to be able to share what I’ve learnt along the way.

I’ll talk about:
– Why we chose WordPress for our website
– How starting a blog can create social change
– How to handle tough issues when blogging
– How your blog can create a buzz offline, too

Intended audience types: Community

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

How to Survive as a New WordPress Service Provider: 7 Lessons from the field

Presented by CJ Andrew in Track 1.

WordPress has allowed many of us an opportunity to turn our interests and hobbies into a service. The relatively low barrier to entry offers great benefit for service providers, but it also comes with challenges that may not be obvious in the beginning.

For example: how does a new WordPress service provider survive and thrive in the face of increasing competition?

This talk offers a perspective and an approach uniquely tailored to independent practitioners. It is based on lessons learned in the field over the past 3 years, and will focus on the soft-skills, strategies, and mind-set, which a new WordPress service provider might wish to adopt in order to ensure longevity, stability, and satisfaction in their role.

Topical areas specific to WordPress service delivery, such as technical competency, pricing, project co-ordination, and more will be covered; all from the viewpoint of an independent WordPress practitioner.

Indended audience types: Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

To Infinity and Beyond – Making WordPress Fly with JetPack

Presented by Kayleigh Thorpe in Track 2.

In this talk I will be showing the various features of the Jetpack plugin, from its built in analytics, to form and portfolio building, and how you can use the Jetpack plugin to improve your site’s visibility. I will use real examples from my own site to show how much you can do with this one plugin.

Intended audience types: Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Intermediate

Creating Multilingual WordPress Communities: WPML case study

Presented by Andrés Cifuentes in Track 1.

Frequently, we see ourselves limited to translate sites when we talk about Multilingual. However, the Multilingual World is much wider than that: you can also build Multilingual communities.

In this talk I will give a case of study of a Multilingual community which aims to create a multilingual database of interviews with historical and eye witnesses, the Open History Project. This is all created with a growing and multilingual community. I will also talk about other Multilingual communities as GlotPress and, of course, Polyglots.

Indended audience types: Developers, Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Agile development for the self employed

Presented by Daniel Casserly in Track 1.

As a self-employed website designer often we work on our own with direct contact with our clients. This gives us a great opportunity to use the principles of agile development to make sure that we are able to offer the customer exactly what they want without succumbing to feature creep.

WordPress offers ways of making this easier with it’s easy setup and stacks of community – we can get a MVP out to clients quicker than ever and then iteratively develop the final website with feedback from the client.

This talk discusses how we can do this, what pitfalls there might be and why agile is not just for large powerhouse companies but also for the self-employed.

Intended audience types: Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Intermediate

Hands-on WooCommerce Woorkshop

Presented by Luminus Olumide Alabi, CJ Andrew in Track 2.

Want to do WooCommerce the right way?

CJ Andrew and Luminus Alabi will run a 90 minute WOOrkshop class with a walkthrough demo lab included.

We think this collaborative format will provide attendees with a cohesive experience, while offering them plenty of actionable takeaways. All the more reason why we’re both excited to be delivering this workshop class.

Bring your laptop and a notebook!

How to maximize productivity while working remotely

Presented by Kat Christofer in Track 2.

Topic description: Whether you’re nomadic and remote full time, working from home or occasionally from a coffee shop, I’ll show you 7 ways to hack your life to accomplish more. Bonus tips for staying productive on the road.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers, Business, Community

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Progressive Enhancement – More than just ‘it works without JavaScript’

Presented by Ben Usher Smith in Track 2.

A look at Progressive Enhancement and what it means, what it doesn’t mean, why it’s more important than ever, and how to get buy in from your clients, colleagues and team.

We’ll review how initial research and discovery can help you identify a site’s core content and functionality and how in turn you can then use progressive enhancement as a development approach.

We’ll look at the mistakes I’ve made and how you can avoid them, as well as how you can add value and improve your sites through peer review.

We’ll also discuss why one seemingly innocuous statement – ‘browser software may ignore this tag’ – was fundamental in making the web what it is today.

Indended audience types: Designers, Developers, Business

Intended audience expertise: Beginner

Lightning talks

Presented by Lightning talk speakers in Track 1.

Lightning talks are 10 minute talks on a topic of your choosing which is relevant to the conference audience.

How does it work? You sign up by putting your name on a big sheet of paper. The organising team will pick three talks to be delivered in the afternoon.

Lightning talks can be rehearsed and delivered with slides, or they can be freestyle and spontaneous.

Give it a try!