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Our Top Takeaways from WordCamp US 2018

Ironistic sent 7 members of their team on a mission. A mission to tackle WordCamp US 2018 in Nashville, TN to learn all they could learn about the wonderful world of WordPress. Over this two-day conference, we attended sessions about Gutenberg, project management, diversity, plug-ins, and the future of WordPress. Let’s get into it!

Mobile is the Future

I found the “WordPress Leads the Charge in Mobile Web” to be incredibly insightful. While the information was not all that surprising, it was nice to discover some of the supporting statistics, especially in regards to consumer habits:

  • The majority (60%+) of people now rather shop on their phone than on a desktop. We are now in a mobile-first era.
  • 70% of people would prefer to do commerce in apps

SCOPE CHANGES = COST + TIME CHANGES

90% of project management is communication. After discussing changes, make sure to follow-up that call with an email outlining those changes. When a client requests additional elements or items that are outside of the scope of the original project, ask “Why?” frequently, and make sure that feature is critical to launching the site. These may also be resolved by a section or feature on the site already, so fully communicating the idea behind the request is helpful.

It can also be worth pushing these requests into a phase 2 of the project instead of delaying the site launch. Websites should evolve over time and grow, so it doesn’t make sense to delay the site launch for non-critical additions that are outside of the project scope.

Veronica pic update

Veronica Dunbar

Understanding the Roles

My biggest takeaway from the conference came from the “Thinking Like a Front-end Developer” session put on by Chris Coyier. In the session, Chris stressed the importance of understanding the roles of everyone on the team, the expectations you have of them, and how those two need to be in sync. For example, if every front-end developer you interview has the same base qualifications (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), on paper they might all be a great fit for the position. But, if your expectation is to also have a front-end developer that can make design recommendations, you want to look for a candidate that has that extra skill.

The Trolley Problem

From “Beyond the Trolley Problem” presented by, Molly Wright Steesnon: The trolley problem makes us think, even though it’s unsolvable. Technology in the real world is similar, however, we don’t have the ability not to choose. We, as the humans, need to tell machines what to do and how to function. Our biases often end up even in the algorithms we create. Ethics in technology is an interesting dilemma that we should never stop thinking about.

Plug it in, Plug it in

There was a lot to talk about with the latest release of WP 5.0 and Gutenberg. It was interesting to see how blocks will play a big role in shaping the future of development and how we can utilize components like shortcodes more effectively. There are a number of plugins and applications I discovered from various talks that I am interested in checking out:
  • Local: This app will be very helpful for creating quick wordpress sites on a local machine before setting up a dev site.
  • Google XWP: Google is developing an ecosystem for their apps to connect to WordPress. The biggest thing I found is having Google Analytics integrated into the backend of your site so you can see the page stats right on the page.
  • CookiePro: With all the requests coming in from clients to make sure their sites are GDPR compliant, this service helps analyze your site to make sure it complies with regulations.

If You Build It

WordPress is like legos! It’s agile and completely moldable to fit your needs. As a Digital Strategist and marketer, I never fully grasped the scope of what a CMS like WordPress can do. After attending WordCamp my biggest takeaway is that it is whatever you want it to be. If you build it in such a way that a user can easily navigate it and find whatever they’re looking for, it doesn’t have to have all of the bells and whistles, it can just be a great site that answers a question.

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Jon Gavejian

Bringing the Team Together

It became clear that having a strong understanding of your development team’s foundational skillset and expertise is critical to relaying build requirements and ensuring a project is handled quickly, efficiently, and correctly. Also presented were ideas that can be leveraged into team building/understanding exercises such as bringing PMs, DSs, and Sales into meetings with the development team to review designs (mock or real) and to see how each developer would break out the work (what elements they tackle first, how they would build these elements, how they refer to functionality etc). This understanding will help to create efficiencies in communication and workflow.


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