The fireworks have already started here in Augusta, and I’ve been mulling over writing this for the last month, so it’s time to review 2015.

This year did not go anything like I planned in last year’s review, but I don’t see that as a bad thing.

There were several big goals I didn’t achieve, and will be transferring to 2016, but there were also a lot of things that happened unexpectedly which turned out to be great.

First, for the goals achieved.

I achieved my goal of co-hosting Office Hours, formerly Genesis Office Hours. This goes towards my goal of self-promotion generally and the goal of co-hosting that podcast in particular. I didn’t co-host the DradCast this year, but I’m transferring that one to this coming year. Goals achieved late are better than goals never achieved.

Slack accessibility hasn’t worked out so well, although there is a working solution for visually impaired people who want to contribute to WordPress and are using Instant Bird on Windows.

I haven’t contributed code to WordPress core yet, but still plan to do so, definitely in 2016. I did, however, contribute a little code to Utility Pro, the first premium accessible child theme for Genesis.

Now for the unexpected, as that’s what’s taken up most of this year.

In no particular order, I wrote a post for HeroPress, learned on a very personal level how generous the wordPress community can be, (for which I’m still deeply grateful and thankful), and I also learned, (thanks to the WPMorningCrew), that business and friends don’t necessarily have to be strictly separate. In other words, you can be friends with your colleagues, have fun with them, and still work with them. Those are lessons I’ll always take with me no matter where I end up.

I began working on a portfolio and listing projects, as well as collecting testimonials, and once I started on both those tasks, I found them easier to keep up with.

So what’s ahead for 2016? Firstly, over the last year, and with lots of thanks to the WordPress community, I’ve become a more confident person, which means I’m more comfortable sharing, whether that’s newly completed projects or code snippets or tutorials. I plan to continue working towards the goal of contributing code to wordPress itself, working on plugins and hopefully releasing some to the community for free, and of course, learning JavaScript deeply.

I’ve already been invited to speak at several WordPress events, so am planning to leave the shadows as it were and actually give talks instead of just being mentioned in other people’s talks. And of course writing more, both on and offline. I’d like to write some in-depth tutorials for this site, am participating in CopyBlogger’s cornerstone content challenge, and plan to be better at journaling, even if all of this comes down to writing ten minutes a day.

In regard to “passive” income sources like affiliate marketing, I plan to refocus on that. It’s tied to writing more content, and I didn’t give that as much attention as I wanted to this year, so I plan to do more towards incorporating affiliate marketing into my content this year.

I’ve picked up myself a copy of “Book Yourself Solid,” and one of my daily tasks will be working through the book and its associated workbook. I’m confident that putting in some work in the area of my business in general can only do good.

Finally, I plan to work on being less of a perfectionist, and being a lot less critical of myself. That doesn’t mean I’m settling for mediocre work, but it does mean that I don’t want to spend so much energy beating myself up whenever things go wrong. Failure when it occurs can be a learning opportunity along with successes.

So here’s to 2016, and I hope we all have a successful and prosperous one.

A few weeks ago, I put out an initial call for volunteers for 4.5. In the spirit of the much-commented @wonderboymusic 4.4 Wishlist post, I’d like to extend the call a bit more.

Source: WordPress › WordPress 4.5: What’s on your Wishlist? – Make WordPress Core

The first core chat for the WordPress 4.5 development cycle will be next Wednesday at 4PM Eastern. If there are things you’d like to see considered for 4.5, click the link above, log in with your username and password, and leave a comment. Everyone has a voice, and all of this is completely transparent, so if there’s something you’d like considered, speak up now.

10up, one of the bigger WordPress agencies, has released Flexbox support for IE8 and 9 that also happens to be GPL.

The support is included in flexbox.js, and can be used in any project regardless of whether or not it is built on top of WordPress. There’s a complete guide to Flexbox via CSS Tricks, and you can find the JavaScript on 10up’s GitHub.

If you’re forced to support older browsers, this script will allow you to create the same kind of layout you have for the newer, shinier ones.

Layout tables are probably one of the most hated web things within the accessibility community. They used to be all the rage before CSS became popular, and they were used inline among other HTML elements to control positioning.

As a result of their overuse, screen readers ignore them by default. Well, they mostly do.

VoiceOver, the built-in screen reader on the Mack, is apparently the exception. As long as a layout table has no borders, VoiceOver will ignore it as such and only give you the option to view data tables from its rotor. But if you add any kind of border, including transparent ones, that goes out the window and VoiceOver will report the existence of the table from the rotor. This is true regardless of whether or not the layout table has headers.

Layout tables are bad. Layout tables without headers are even worse. Layout tables with borders can have the added value of extra annoyance for VoiceOver users.

Friends don’t let friends use layout tables, so as a service to the WordPress community, here’s yet one more reason not to use them. See the link above for all kinds of CodePen goodness and screenshots.

I’ve been asked again and again over the years what the absolute basics of web accessibility are. And while I always thought that it is not so difficult to find resources about these basics, the recurrence of that question prompted me to finally write my own take on this topic.

Source: The web accessibility basics – Marco’s Accessibility Blog

This guide to accessibility basics is a very handy reference for anyone who’s interested in getting started with accessibility. Reading WCAG can seem daunting, (I don’t know of a single accessibility professional who truly enjoys the experience), and if you’re only reading WCAG and its associated documents, accessibility will appear to be harder than it actually is.

The takeaway from this guide is: Use native HTML elements where possible. Where it’s not possible, use Aria to compliment your custom elements and make sure to provide the semantic information that’s no longer implicitly provided, which is basically everything: Role, state, and property.

There are talks on WordPress.TV about all of this, but this guide along with several of the other posts at Marco’s blog can serve as a handy textual reference.