2016’s been a bit rough around here. Three close friends have died, two from cancer and one of them in a car accident. Two of those deaths happened recently, less than a month apart, and I’m still unpacking those. But there’s also been an amazing amount of awesome this year too, and I’ll detail that below.

2016 Achievements

I haz the props!

One of the goals I set for myself in review of 2015 was to contribute code to WordPress core. In March of 2016, I received my first WordPress props, and in April of 2016 I was recognized as part of the motley crew of contributors to WordPress 4.5, otherwise known as Coleman. This was a huge achievement for me because I’ve pretty much been a WordPress evangelist in both my personal and professional lives since 2005, and it was really awesome to earn a spot on the WordPress credits page.


DictationBridge, before it even had a name, began when Pranav Lal, Lucy Greco of UC Berkeley, and I started working together to discuss making a free addon for $750 just to bring a license current. I can’t be the only one in this situation, and I don’t believe anyone else should pay up to 68% of the retail price as a penalty.

In July of 2015, Chris Hofstader joined the team to take over the executive role on the effort. Together, Pranav, Chris, Lucy and I built out the amazing team of fourteen that’s bringing DB to the world.

In August and September of 2015, Pranav and Chris tried to negotiate a licensing deal with a group in Germany to use their code as the core of DictationBridge. The German group wished to maintain proprietary source code which was a deal breaker for DB, as we were committed from the start to the values of an open source project. Chris then called Mike Calvo and they negotiated an agreement that permitted Serotek to license the dictation code from its SystemAccess screen reader in a manner compatible with our philosophy that a blind or otherwise disabled person should never be forced to pay a penny more than anyone else to use the same technology. The agreement with Serotek made history as it’s the first time a vendor of proprietary closed source assistive technology software has agreed to open up its source in exchange for a very modest licensing fee.

The next bit of history we made happened when the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco made an official endorsement of and large monetary contribution to the DictationBridge campaign. Quoting Brian Bashin, CEO of the SF Lighthouse, “The Lighthouse believes it has a moral obligation to support the access needs of blind and visually-impaired people wherever they live.” During the discussions between the DB team and our friends at SF Lighthouse, one of the major goals we set was to ensure that a blind person in an emerging nation could buy a cheap laptop at a flea market and have full access to dictation features built into Windows, a goal we’ve never heard expressed by a large organization in the blindness space before. By collaborating with SF Lighthouse, the DictationBridge team built what we hope to be a long standing bridge between those of us in the free software community and at least one well established advocacy organization.
The nature of the DictationBridge team is also a first of its kind in the blindness business. The team is made up of people from two businesses (3 Mouse Technology and Serotek), a number of independent contributors and a coalition of activists in the blindness and technology world. The team has a number of members for whom dictation is a requirement and not a feature and we’ve some of the strongest engineering and management talent available in the world of accessibility. Assembling an ad hoc team like this one on which everyone works toward a common goal is unprecedented in this field.

Both of these achievements helped add some awesome to a year that I couldn’t be happier to see on its way out. I haven’t nailed down next year’s plans yet, but they will definitely include more contributions to WordPress, and, hopefully, more projects like DictationBridge. With DictationBridge, we’re fast approaching the first public beta. And there’s still plenty left to do. Free software hasn’t eaten the assistive technology world yet, and this is something that can’t happen soon enough.

For right now, those are the only goals I have for 2017. I’m still working through what I want to accomplish as far as my business is concerned, and more importantly, a plan of action for accomplishing it without killing myself in the process. So for now, I’ll say a hardy goodbye to 2016, and as far as 2017 is concerned, bring it on.

This one covers a rather long period of time, (see: the holidays), and there’s also a lot of heavy reading in it. Not all of these posts are technically recent, and I’ve made a point of including things that are a bit more out-of-the-way and that aren’t featured on the big sites like Smashing Magazine or CSSTricks. Not that I don’t like those sites. It’s just that I assume that most of us already have their content coming to us through their feeds or social profiles. And, like music, the best content isn’t the stuff that gets released for air play. It’s everything else on the album. Enjoy.


Why WordPress removed the underline button from the visual editor.

BobWP on WooCommerce Connect, a neat little plugin I haven’t yet had the chance to play with yet.

Pagely has a guide for the WordPress community on SSL, which is becoming rather more important now that Google’s seriously gunning for plain old http. Tim Nash has an even more in-depth guide to SSL that’s suitable regardless of whether or not you use WordPress, and has become my favorite to pass around.

There’s a cool little plugin that clones sites within a WordPress multisite network.

Carrie Dils with a pretty neat guide to using staging sites on WP Engine, which I’ve used for the last two years and still managed to learn from this guide. Maybe it helps when someone else writes it down. 🙂

You can, and therefore should, control the activation of your WooCommerce extensions so that you don’t confuse users of your plugin.

Web Development

Some pretty epic criticism of that “best-developers-are-always-hacking” tweet:

Joe, people are angry at this tweet. Can you guess why? Perhaps it’s the implication by you, as a CEO, that anyone not working over the holidays is not good enough?

A really enjoyable read about building a really fast website from the developer’s perspective. Lots of ego in here, but also lots of humor.

Improving site performance while using gifs gives a brief history of the file format, as well as the promised site performance tweeks.

Creating shapes with CSS, and then going further to create more advanced shapes.

Upload files to your raspberry pi from anywhere using a browser.

An introduction to local and session storage in JavaScript.

Web Accessibility

Dennis Lembree has a few things to say about parallax design, the issues it can cause for a slightly-larger-than-WordPress-sized market share of people, ending with a reading list of further resources on just about everything he covers in the short article that I would encourage everyone to read, especially designers.

Cristopher Broyles offers some insight on how data analytics can be used by businesses to improve their digital accessibility.

Some well-deserved praise for the W3C for leading the charge toward a fully inclusive web from the American Foundation for the Blind.

A tutorial on building accessible modal dialogs by Paul J. Adam on the Deque Systems blog. Definitely keep this in your toolbox.

Mailchimp has some quick tips for creating accessible email newsletters, and I for one hope that this means they’ll start working on the user interface they provide to create those newsletters so that it’s accessible too.

WooCommerce has a post about the importance of accessibility for online stores, which includes some tips and links to free tools you can use to get started with making your store more accessible, thus potentially gaining more customers.

Some very useful information on accessible emoji by Léonie Watson with a solution for displaying the contents of the aria-label attribute to users with vision by Adrian Roselli, who wanted to make sure the playing field was level and included people who don’t always understand what the emojis mean.

I’ve covered a lot in this week’s round-up, but if you think there’s something not included that should be, feel free to leave it in the comments below.

In an effort to ensure I can find things later, I’ve decided to begin compiling a weekly roundup of WordPress, web accessibility and web development posts. So, welcome to the first edition. For now these are in no particular order.

Tony Gines on designing user interfaces for my mother.

As designers and developers, it’s our responsibility to make our websites not only useable, but enjoyable enough to come back to again and again.

Patrick Roland on how to be a better human, as a wrap-up of this year’s WordCamp U.S.

Karl Groves on chasing the accessibility business case, which is the conclusion of a series of posts on the topic which is worth the read and is something I always come back to for review. The main takeaway from the post is that the best argument in favor of accessibility that any business can use comes down to one word: quality.

Yoav Weiss on contributing to Chromium and the web platform itself.

Firebug is going away.

Sixty Minutes takes some of the worst examples of disability rights lawyers and sets them up as the only examples, shutting down any meaningful meaningful community-specific discussion about what is and what is not ADA trolling in the process.

Adrian Roselli on how we reward the wrong things when judging the quality of websites

Faith Macanas provides some greate starting advice for WordPress site owners by laying out some questions you should ask before adding an eCommerce plugin to your site.

Nick Hams on the true cost of bargain basement WordPress themes. I couldn’t agree more.

There’s a lot to read for this edition, so I’ll end it here for now. Enjoy, happy reading, and come back next week for the best finds from the WordPress, web accessibility and web development worlds.

This year’s WordCamp U.S. took a very human-centered approach to what we do. Part of that approach is being honest about both the successes and the failures, and the best example of a talk on this subject was “Managing Your Iceberg” by Cory Miller of iThemes. I normally share these talks with the corresponding video, but this one was too good to wait for the video to appear on WordPress.TV. I’ll add that video and the slides once they’re available, but for now, here’s the transcript.

Anger, frustration. Every time I’ve shared every single time I’ve — I went through a

divorce, and remarried. They think my wife, today, was the wife they may have met

eight years ago. Because I’m really good at sharing just the top. What I want you to

see is right there. But you need to look at that list and it gives me heartburn

thinking about it a little bit. Insecurity, no matter what I’ve done, no matter what

I’ve achieved, no matter how many pats in the back I get, I get that, criticism, hate,

criticism, failure, fear. In the bio, you only heard the good stuff that my friend

shared about me. You didn’t hear the bad stuff. Money problems, burnout. That’s the

bottom of the iceberg. Now, the bottom of the iceberg that I want to point out is

depression. That’s the scary stuff. That’s the stuff that I realized having dealt

with depression, having learned a little bit more about depression, having talked to

people who struggled with it their entire lives, that’s the scary stuff that I don’t

mess around with because when you get to the very bottom of the iceberg, at the depths

is where you find depression, and even worse things, and I don’t mess around with

that, by the way.
So you probably think, Cory, why are you sharing all this stuff today. And it’s

because hey, I want you to know something. You read my bio, you hear these things,

and you go, maybe Cory’s got stuff figured out. And in reality, I don’t. I share

that because I’ve had some level of success, my definition of success, maybe not

yours. I’ve had some level of success, but that’s all I want you to see, because

that’s I want you to see and that’s all people want to talk about. But I share these

things because about five years ago, I got into a business group in Oklahoma City.

Guys that have been there, done that, built big companies, amazing men, some of the

best friends in my life and we met every month for three hours for the last five years

sharing the depth. This is an icebreaker, we go down to the depths. And every single

time we have met for the last five years, I repeat to myself over and over and over,

“I’m not alone.” And that’s a pretty good warm and fuzzy feeling to go, man, these

guys, who I think have everything put together perfectly, have been there and done it

are just like me. They have the same problems with different names attached to it.

So the message today I want to tell you if I don’t pour water on my laptop is…
[ Laughter ]
I didn’t tell you that this would be a polished speech, by the way but you’re not

alone. So here’s my story. So I shared this two years ago and I said this is the

first time publicly, people have heard some of these things. But my iceberg story I

want to share with you today is from about five years ago when this all kind of

started. So five years ago, the top of the iceberg looked like this. My lifelong

dream was to publish a commercial book. And in that year, my dear friend Lisa Wilson

said, would you like to co-author a WordPress for dummies book? And filled go about

investing, I would invest in For Dummies. So I got to check that off. Oh, my gosh, I

get to go to a book store and see my actual name on a book, a For Dummies book. Hit a

million sales. I don’t tell you that to brag. I got the statement at the end of the

year and I said, “We did it! We got the high score! We don’t get to take all that

money in my pocket but it was just a video game. I found this geeky way that, you

know, my kind of game as business, and we hit that, that was fun on my statement. We

might have been $2 over, but that was our product, that launched that year. That

changed my business, my life, lots of people’s lives have been helped by it. Huge

thing that we did that year. The second thing that we did as a geeky thing was an RV

trip, we got eight sweaty geeks and Lisa Wilson in an RV. She flew from Oklahoma

City, to Boulder, Colorado, for WordCamp Boulder. And bless her heart, she still

likes me, and we have fun. Every little inch you move the RV and maybe if she was

standing in the back, it made her a little sick when you did that. You don’t get that

joke? So we started speaking at WordCamp and that was the fun stuff. That was the

stuff that you would have saw if you were watching my life in 2013, 2010. That’s what

I would have catered and shared with you. Here’s what really happened in 2010.
So wife of seven years and filed for divorce the week after we came back from WordCamp

Denver. My team didn’t know. Most of my — what I would say my dearest friends

didn’t know. For six months before that happened, they didn’t know what was going on

in my life. No one that truly cared about me knew what I was going through because I

put myself into a self-exclusion, and pride, ego, whatever you want to call it,

embarrassment, shame. I didn’t tell anyone who was really going on in my life. And

so when people go, all of a sudden, “You’re filing for divorce?” What’s going on,

right? My team didn’t know for a while, and they did know and they got dragged along

by it. I slept in our office. We have Ikea furniture, you know? And I was like, “I

got no place to go because I’m too prideful to ask anybody to let me have their couch

but we’ve got couches at their office, but man, that thing creeks and I can’t sleep.”

So it was interesting. So I slept a couple of nights in the office. Here’s this

person that’s running a business and has had some success professionally. I was at

the height of my life professionally, and I was at the lowest in my life personally.

Absolutely miserable. I loved my job because I’ve had a different job, since I was

16, every two years I’ve had a different job. Until I got to iThemes, and I’ve been

there for two years until. But I said, I would rather go anywhere else but here. And

it was the first time that I didn’t want to go to work and it was the first time that

someone in my life, highly trained, licensed person said, “You are suffering from —

he called it low-grade depression.” And he offered to put me on medicine. And that

was a cold shower. So there’s my iceberg. So yesterday, one of my business

colleagues and friends asked me, Cory, on your blog, you write a lot about up and

downs and stuff like that. And so how’s everything going now? Up and down, up and

down, the iceberg didn’t change. I might not be dealing with the same things as 2010

and 2011. My iceberg today, if you go back to that screen that talks about

insecurity, and fear, and anger, and all that stuff, it’s still there. I’ve added

nuance to my iceberg and that’s my two lovely children. They provide some of the

highest highs, and I’ve never felt more of a failure than as a parent. The parents

just laughed.
[ Laughter ] Because you know how it is. Never in my life I thought, I’m going to

mess these kids up forever. I’m going to invest money just so they can get a lot of

counseling. Forget school. Is this resonating?
>> Yes.
>> Thank you for that feedback. So that’s my iceberg. so I started thinking: What

held me back then? And by the way, what still holds me back? There’s still tough

that I don’t share with anybody. Maybe one person, maybe two persons, maybe the

professionally licensed counselor that I pay that doesn’t see me at Thanksgiving and I

don’t have to say, “Could you pass the cranberries?” He may know, but there’s still

that I’m working on, man, I’m under construction forever. So I started thinking,

well, it’s ego. Healthy ego is good. You need to have health ego, and a sense of

self-worth and respect for yourself, right. Pride’s good is, right? I should be

proud of my team. I should be proud of my children when they do things, right? But

then there’s that negative side when it becomes a barrier to seeking help and that’s

what, back in 2010, when I started thinking about it, I go, it’s self-defense.

Somebody asked me the question and I go, you know, it’s really self-defense. I share

my story. Part of it — I’m going to be blatantly honest with you. I’m telling you

my story because I’m on the offense. I don’t tell you things because I’m on the

defense of it. I’ve got shame, pride, embarrassment, guilt, whatever those things.

These are the things that hold us back from actually living the true, human experience

at the max level. The things that in the way is my own self-defense mechanisms that I

put in front of me. It was four months of the worst time in my life and no one knew

until I go — I told somebody the other day when I was recounting the story, I just

wanted to go back to being a kid and I want to tell mom and dad that I’m hurting and

them to say I love you. But it took four months of isolation because I was so

prideful and I didn’t know that this marriage was going to the brink, it was

evaporating. I didn’t want to feel any kind of shame, or the guilt I was feeling — I

didn’t want people to bask in that guilt. That was the self-protective thing. I

didn’t want to feel embarrassed because other people see me naked and just raw, and

everything. And it’s a self-defense mechanism. I think there’s a part of that that

needs to stay there for me, self-defense and then there’s this other part that’s

saying, “You are not doing good and healthy things by locking this stuff up in the

key.” One of my dear friends and CEO, or COO, we were talking and he recount this

quote I’m probably going to butcher it: How do I deal with stuff? Through a lot of

unhealthy coping mechanisms. Yeah, I butchered that quote. But we find a lot of

very bad, unhealthy ways to cope and we lock ourselves up, and we suffer in silence.

Part of the reason why I shared this message with you is because I know I suffered in

silence and that many other — there’s a stigma about mental health and getting help

and counseling, sharing the fact that I deal with depression, I am manic depressive.

Whatever the DSM-5, or whatever, you go down the list, and it’s time that we embrace

the human experience, the iceberg, and allow people to truly live life free. And part

of that is loosening up the stuff that happens underneath the iceberg. So I’m going

to share a couple things with you real quick. It might sound random but as I’ve

reflected on what has helped me and what I cling to knowing I’ll continue Mimi DNA, my

habit, my genetics tell me — I’m going to hide stuff for the rest of my life, I’m not

going to share my iceberg stuff. That’s my first default thing, hide it, bury it,

share you my good face. Get my pockets real tight and give you a smile. But these

are the things that I need to share with you, that I cling to. I don’t do it

perfectly. But these are the things that save my life — continue to save my life.

The first is what I call my life-support team. Now there’s this co-dependency side

that you gotta be careful of. But the life support team was the people in my life

when I shared what was going on in my marriage, in my life, embraced me instead of

push me back in a way. It’s the people in your life that rush in when others rush

out. When they see a big fire, they’re not standing out going, “Look at that! That’s

funny. I’d love to see his misery.” It’s the people that would pick up the bucket

and run water on the flames, and I would run into a burning building to help somebody.

Those are the people that matter. So… before I tell you who they are this is their

job description for me. This is what they genuinely offer is they’re open, genuine,

loving, they’re WYSIWYG. Hey, I snuck in a tech thing for you. They’re what you see

is what you get. They’re not trying to do an facade. I’m an entrepreneur in Oklahoma

City. And one of the most talented people in my life. He moved from another state

and I said, you know what, this guy has known me for 15 minutes and says, I went

without a paycheck a couple of times this year. And I just step back and I go, “Dude,

thank you. Thank you for being WYSIWYG, thank you for being full spectrum of

iceberg.” You could have said dude, better than ever, let’s score this client over

here. I went without a paycheck. So it’s WYSIWYG. The question I ask myself is: If

everything got turned upside down, who would I need? My business goes down the drain,

if something horrific and tragic happens to my life, who am I going to need to come

in, rush in, embrace me and say, “It’s gonna be okay.” You’re going to put 1 foot in

front of the other and we’re going to see some light. I have a dear friend who’s

going through this right now. My experience I’ll share with him is left foot, right

foot, left foot, right foot. Baby steps, do you remember that Bill Murray story?

Baby steps to the bus? You gotta Google that — or YouTube that because you’ll laugh.

But city of in front of the other. I said you’re going to have to take it in, mourn,

grieve with it, get sick by it, and you’re going to have to vomit it out and take the

step the next day. So those kinds of people. If you’re married, dating, first

partner, spouse. That’s Lindsay. Everyone who knows my story says, “Where’s

Lindsay?” My first lady. I’m her first laddie. But my first lady is the one that

knows me, and knows my BS, and says, “Are you okay? Maybe you should call Kyle.”

That’s my counselor that we share. It stings because I’m prideful and it’s true. My

first lady, she loves me cares about me, and she’s my first support team. My

relationship with my wife is my number one priority in this world but besides my own

health and happiness, she’s my number one relationship. And second if you’re in

business, I realize the importance of a sidekick, I talked to you about Matt Daner,

he’s my sidekick, he shows up every day, just by showing me that I’m not alone we’re

going to get through some stuff. This past week I had to let go of a family member

who was a part of our team and that kind of sucks. And he was standing next to me the

whole time. Gotta have a sidekick. Iceberg friendships. That’s the WYSIWYG stuff.

Let’s get past the surface level stuff, how are you doing? Oh it’s great. Oh, 5%,

quarter over quarter stuff. The one that just says I’m not just going to give you

this, I’m going to give you the full picture. We’re going to walk together. That

group in Oklahoma City, some of my dearest friends in my life, we are iceberg friends.

I call them, they call me. Nothing held back. Here it is, the full gamut. Also

many of the dearest friendships that I’ve held in my life are from the WordPress

community, they’re here sitting here today. Those friends don’t just give me the top

stuff, they love and care for me genuinely and I love and care for them and I want to

give my time and not my treasure, they don’t need my money. But my time, and my love

and affection to them, share and laugh together. We’ve got this hashtag

#familybychoice. So I put on my calendar, I think the match-up for me, I need an

alert that says, “Call Kyle.” Not even if you’re dealing with iceberg, below-the-

surface stuff. I gotta call Kyle. We have physical check-ups in this country, in

this world. Hit 40 this year. And now I have to get new glasses and stuff and I’m

really cranky about it. But we have physical check-ups. We go to the doctor and get

blood pressure and all this stuff but we don’t check up with here and here, heart and

soul, mind, what goes on underneath the surface. So four times a year, his name is

Kyle and we talk, as many times as needed. So we’re WordPress people, right? So

we’ll publish, or we’ll open a WordPress admin. Journaling. I’ve been doing that. I

would just vomit it out, get it out. Then I could see it, and have perspective on it

and then I can go and share it with one of my iceberg friendships, one of my

friendship people. Journaling has been one of the most amazing ways to get what’s

going on inside of you outside of you, and just put it all on paper, get it that

poison out of you and look at it for a second and go, no, no, no. So now I understand

it, I’m going to share it with somebody else. Journaling. There’s three books that I

would recommend to people every is access, pixels, paper, six pillars of self-esteem.

Do you remember that character on Saturday Night Live, Stewart Small? That’s this

book in the back. But it’s an incredible book. One of the best parts of it, there’s

probably just about ten pages of affirmations. But what’s funny is, when you read it,

it’s like, wow it’s true, it feels like that Saturday Night Live Stewart Small thing.

But it’s so great. One of the first lines is: I am worthy. The first time I read

that, I am worthy, it was so hard to read it, let alone read it. The affirmations in

the back of that book are worth it. When I go back and look at it and say, I have

value in this world and I won’t allow others to project their value on me. Feeling

Good is the next one. If you’ve been battling with depression. I’m not a trained

licensed counselor at all but I’ll tell you that this book has made a difference. I’m

not a licensed, practitioner, but I’m simply a broken person, there’s a whole section

about cognitive bias and, you know, we have I’m looking at emails and saying, is the

server down because we’re not getting payments and stuff and I’m going, the sky’s

falling, the sky’s falling! And I get to work and they’re like, Cory, it’s okay.

We’re going to make sales today. The last thing was Bound by a Cloud. Here’s your

homework. Since I was vulnerable with you today, I’m going to ask you to do

something. I want to to take pixels or paper, I want you to write three things that

you’re grateful for. Part of the iceberg stuff is we brag, share the good stuff but

we neglect something and that’s gratefulness. So I want you to say, pixel or paper,

three things that you’re grateful for. And then I want you to be real about it and

then say: What is happening underneath that surface that’s affecting my life, the

people around me. It may not have to be depression or cancer; it could be, I’ve got

to make a change in a relationship. I’m worried about money. Whatever that thing is,

your thing, underneath the iceberg, be honest, put that somewhere, right? And last

is, I want you to go: Now, trusted people, people that are iceberg people, that are

genuine, they’re WYSIWYG, that love me just for me. They know my baggage anyway and

they don’t judge me by it. Who are those people who are going to rush in right now,

and maybe today, you came here and you need to make a phone call. You need to step

out of session, and go somewhere private and say, “I’m dealing with something

underneath the surface and I need to talk, and I need your help.” I would be willing

to bet that there’s one person that needs to do that today. Last is: Brothers and

sisters, you’re not alone. It’s the human experience. I hope that I’ve shared that

with you, at least from my life, opened that up. I’m going to go crash and get into a

ball and try and recharge after this but you’re not alone. Thanks.
[ Applause ]
So we got Q&A time if you want to ask Q&A, or you can just share something.
>> They can come up to the microphone right here.
>> Regardless if you guys go come up, I’ll be here until Sunday. I’ll probably be a

little worn out. But every time I share this, there’s always been somebody who

private messaged me and I go, that is my mandate to continue sharing the story.
>> I just want to thank you. I just want to thank you for your bravery and sharing

your story today and since you’ve been sharing online over the last year or so. It’s

a very brave thing to do and I’m sure it’s touching a lot of people. So thank you.
>> One thing that my family does in Thanksgiving is we go around the table and say

what we’re thankful for. And family cannot be one of them. It’s something else.

That’s the copout for everyone. We do something else. Second thing, your iceberg

support team that you mentioned. Actually, a friend of mine is going through a

divorce and he’s actually staying at my house right now, a friend of mine that I’ve

known for 30 years. So I’m his support team and when I went through a break-up a few

years ago, he was my support team. So thank you for sharing this, as well.
>> There’s a book by Sean Anchor. They did a study or test and they said, this group

of executives say that at the end of the day around the table, I always forget about

saying we need to sit at the table and be a family, connected and his thing was to say

go around the table and say three things that you’re thankful for. And the uptick,

it’s one of his — Happiness Advantage is an incredible book. It should have been on

my book list but it made me think of Thanksgiving.
>> But what I was thankful for was I was able to help out my friend. And he’s since

lost his job. I work from home which is kind of good and bad, with him there… but,

but for him he’s got a place to stay and actually my wife’s son has moved in, as well.

So we were thankful that we were able to help people out because we have the space

and the ability to help them out.
>> Part of why I do things like that is to remember. So it is talking — people come

up and they go, man, a lot of people need to hear that. And I go, you and I need to

hear that. I need a reminder. This is the part of me. Getting my pride on, and

everything is going good. And next thing something happens, and I’m going to back,

and it’s a great reminder. I appreciate you sharing.
>> Thank you.
>> One of the things, and I think I should have said this earlier and it’s in my notes

is that in this industry to tie this specifically to WordPress and stuff is there’s a

lot of remote workers now. And then your introverts, and you might be dealing with

something. And I feel like I hear a lot of stories of loneliness because there’s no

interaction and you hide yourselves behind a TV and you force yourselves to go find

this. By the way, there’s people sitting next to you that’s going through stuff,

don’t forget to introduce yourselves, break into a circle and say hi, I’m Cory from

Oklahoma City, who are you, that kind of stuff but I think this is especially

challenging and I’ve heard this from people because you’re behind a computer desk at

your home, office, or whatever, there’s self-exclusion. I think we were sharing —

talking with somebody, a publisher yesterday saying that it’s a challenge within our

industry of loneliness. We have a Slack channel and all that. There’s a webinar

going on, and in the Slack channel, they’re talking about baseball and this. And I

go, “I get it.” It’s water cooler. It’s social time. But still there’s this heat

thing that you have, this warmth when you meet another fellow human being. I’m sorry.

I’m ranting — or not ranting… whatever.
>> Hi, my name is Amanda. Thank you, Cory for your talk. I thought it was just so

moving and I loved that you both offered this talk and I loved that it was accepted

for this conference. It’s just not the kind of thing that you really hear at a tech

conference and I really love that our community is about so much more than that. But

I would like to add on the gratitude front that they’ve done studies now, I think it

was for heart attack victims or stroke, where if they had the folks do a gratitude

practice every day, that they had significantly better health returns for that. So it

not only makes you feel good, it literally helps your body so anyways, thank you.
>> Absolutely. It’s the hardest thing to do, though. I don’t want to wallow in my

misery but when you start going, “I woke up this morning, I’m thankful of my

heartbeats.” I get to see people that love all that stuff and it’s so good. Paul?
>> I wanted to join everybody else in saying thank you but I also wanted to remind

everybody that this next month is really bad for people who are alone. And going

through things. I know six years ago, my wife passed away and that first Christmas

was just unbearable being alone. So if you know somebody that’s alone, or if you see

somebody that’s being alone, especially this next month, it’s so important to reach

out and I still have trouble with that, but I’m better at saying what to do in

reaching out to people than letting people reach out to me so…
>> Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
>> But I just wanted to point that out, that this next month is really important.
>> Excellent reminder, thank you, Paul.
>> Hey, Cory. I wanted to ask you about the difference between confidence in the

moment versus confidence over time.
>> Confidence?
>> Yeah, confidence. So I’ve been working with WordPress for about ten years, and it

wasn’t until about three years ago that I actually made contact with anyone, like, in

the community.
>> Yeah.
>> Over the past few years, I joined some online groups, I spoke at a WordCamp for the

first time last year. I feel a lot better about — I feel confident in helping people

that I haven’t answered for you, technically with WordPress problems. I can speak to

you, we can talk, and talk to you online but I have a really hard time putting up a

record. I managed to get hired somehow with a portfolio because I don’t feel it’s

worth it to put out there permanently. But I was wondering if you had any advice

translating that, feeling that you know what you’re doing in the moment versus if it’s

worth it over time.
>> It’s called “that moment right there.” If you look around — I’m going to

estimate probably 150 people? That’s the moment you go back to. Okay, then you take

a next step, and you remember that this day, this moment that you stood in front of

150 people, your peers, your colleagues, and you shared those things, then you take

the next step and you remember that, and you rehearse in your mind and you don’t

rehearse the bad stuff, you rehearse the good stuff. You rehearse the fact that

whatever Friday, December 2nd, or whatever it is, I stood, a hard time as an

introvert, you know, you took time to share a story yesterday. But today, it starts

right now. You build on that, I think, about confidence. The more I’ve been human

and vulnerable, the more human I get back. Now not to everybody. But for most people

and then I know, that’s a test, right? But I think those two things is being willing

to be vulnerable when you’re ready in your situation, whatever it is, and then for me,

and this is me, I’m directly saying this. This is what I tried to do. And then the

second is: Moments like this.
>> Thank you.
>> You bet.
[ Applause ]
>> Hey, David.
>> Hello. I have a question. I think it’s important that you are vulnerable

sometimes and that you share what you’re going through with other people. Do you

think there’s ever a time that you could do that it might be negative for you to do

that. That maybe it’s not the best time for you to share?
>> Yes. I mean, yeah. I have partners in the room — they’ve actually heard this

before but I’ve got partners, strategic partners in the room, business colleagues. I

had to really weigh the cost benefit of saying I’m going to share some baggage with

them in front of that. And I think that’s a case-by-case personal decision. I can’t

tell you what that is. But I feel that there are things that I should not say, I just

shouldn’t say. It’s not going to be therapeutic. It’s not going to be helpful or

constructive, right? But when I was starting the talk, there were people who were

like I’m so sorry you went through that, I’m like, hold on, hold on, that’s been five

years since that happened. I’m not doing this to grieve I’m not doing this for

therapy. I’m doing this with the hope that this will be helpful for others. Poor

guy, you went through a lot of stuff, did you have to sleep on the couch or in the

office? That was pretty bad. I’ve dealt with that personally. With friendships,

with counselors, just my heart and soul, right? But you gotta use discernment, right,

and say, is it positive and helpful to share? I’m saying maybe more in this context

but, I mean, with another person, man, I just go with, if I’m hurting, the people that

love me most want to know that I’m hurting.
>> Thank you.
>> Yeah.
>> Hi, I’m Michael from Vermont. I wanted to just ask and kind of comment about,

like, what are the objective circumstances behind this? I think one is economic, I

mean, I think, like, we have this really competitive kind of system we live under, and

we’re kind of atomized. We’re social animals but we’re all kind of individuals and

it’s hypercompetitive and I think also, why is there such — on that level, why is

there some burnout in the kind of tech community where people have kind of lived these

lives where that, you know, they work 40 hours and then they do everything else

because somehow, the tech community seems to have — kind of demand that. And so,

what’s behind that, and how do we get past that?
>> Sorry, what do you think it is?
>> I mean, I think that’s — I’m a socialist. I’ll be straight up. I think part of

it is we don’t have — we don’t kind of share and support each other very much. I

mean, I think there’s a lot of, you see it a lot right now in this country, there’s a

politicized atmosphere. And frankly, everybody goes to their own individual house,

they have to worry about their own bills. We don’t have that much support. I think

coming to a conference like this, people want that, but it’s not our day to day

existence. There’s the imposter factor. And that’s why people are not showing up

because everybody’s shown the top of the iceberg kind of thing. And everybody

wonders: How do we get beyond where we’re tweeting what we’re doing, and we actually

have enjoyable lives.
>> You know, something that I want to say that I forgot to say, I want to say, hey,

2016, you’re drunk, go home!
[ Applause ]
So… that’s all I got.
[ Laughter ]
>> I think we got one more minute if someone has a brief question.
>> Cory, thank you very much for being vulnerable. I think you’re helping a lot of

people by what you’re doing, not just the people here, but people who are hearing your

talk and I’m sure I’m going to tell a lot of my friends to listen to what you’ve said.

I’m curious about friends who have helped you, was there any kind of faith or any

spiritual type of experience, as well, or was it strictly the friends that you have

>> That’s a whole talk with lots of alcohol. Suffice it to say that yeah, there’s

spiritual background, the Christian faith. I started in churches. A longer

conversation to have over drinks however, the answer to the question is, there was a

faith-based component to this, for sure. Someone walked past me earlier and they

said, “I just want you to know I’m praying for you.” And I was like, I’d want that.

Even if you don’t have my particular God or whatever, particular faith. But yeah,

there was a faith background. You bet.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you.

One of the most enjoyable parts of this year’s State of the Word address at WordCamp U.S. this weekend, for me at least, was the attention shown to inclusive design. That part hasn’t gotten a lot of coverage, but I think it’s important to highlight it. First, I’ll share Matt’s words on the subject, (thanks a metric ton, captioners, you guys are seriously awesome), and then, I’ll share a few thoughts. First, the quote. I’ve added links to the posts Matt references.

One of the other fun projects that I started this year is actually a blog called Design.blog. Who’s been to this so far or checked it out? I highly recommend you check it out. There’s been over 40 different folks who have contributed different essays writing about design and inclusion sometimes with or without tech. This is, I think, one of the areas. You might have noticed that this year’s programming at WordCamp US had some more of the human side, in addition to just the technical as before. I think a lot of our opportunities to grow over the coming year are on the human side and understanding the humanity of an open source project, and working together, and creating the code that’s going to touch humanity, as well. I’m going to call out two particular essays that I think you y’all should check out. First is from Kat Holmes. Inclusive design is for those who want to make the great products for greatest number of people. Inclusive design puts people in the center at the very start of the process. Exclusion happens when we solve problems using our own biases. Per story is amazing. She works at Microsoft. I believe she’s the head of Inclusive Design there. And actually wrote a story about playgrounds and playground designer and she talked about the how playground designers they started recognizing exclusion in the process and there’s so much that we have to learn there, and so please read this essay, check it out. The other one that I want to highlight is from Hajj Flemings, and I believe Hajj is in the audience here. Did I pronounce that right? Close enough, object. Some quotes from there Detroit’s future requires connecting the worlds of design, technology, and innovation is to neighborhoods. 53% of call businesses in Detroit operate without a website. 81% of people research a business online before making a purchase. Actually John had an amazing story that made me sort of wake up to some of my own learns about in this area, which is when you talked about that — there’s a lot of these businesses that aren’t even on Google Maps and I realized that in my life, I don’t realize that I’ve ever tried to go somewhere that wasn’t on Google Maps, Apple Maps? Absolutely. But I feel like Google Maps has everything. There’s entire swaths and communities and businesses that are not there. So WordPress, bringing the tools to bring them online is literally like the Christmas trees lighting up. Making them discoverable, and hopefully leading to them flourishing those businesses in the future. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re about hundred small business websites. Hundred websites for businesses that don’t have them yet.
>> Yeah, that’s the start and then we’re turning 100%…

MATT: I’m going to repeat that, that’s the start, and then we’re turning the hundred 100% of that, that’s amazing. Can we give him a round of applause? The urban revival in Detroit is very, very interesting. It’s 84% African-American and as a community, represents some of the biggest opportunities and some of the biggest challenges that we have across cities all over the world, actually. Some of those ways of being more accessible, and every WordPress release has become much more accessible, thanks to the hard work of the accessibility team that I highlighted last year and just want to give a continuing kudos to this year because they’ve been looking at the WCAG standards for every single release and the link there for when you look at the slides later basically shows the accessibility coding standards so if you’re a plugin developer or any sort of developer, you can learn this and check it out, and see how you can make your code available to more people. It’s interesting when you think about it that an interface, or an application that works well for someone with one arm also works well for a mother holding a baby. It works well for someone checking Twitter with one hand while typing with the other. As you make things more accessible, you’re addressing wider and wider audiences and bringing in more and more people, far beyond what you might have imagined when targeting a particular improvement, or thinking about it from an accessibility point of view.

I’m very happy to see inclusive design, (and by extension accessibility), get such a huge chunk of the State of the Word. I think this is more than any previous year, and I see this as a win for the WordPress Accessibility Team, WordPress itself, and of course for Morten Rand-Hendricksen, who has publicly advocated for a concerted effort by the WordPress community as a whole to work on accessibility for at least the past four years.

Speaking for myself, I think that WordPress is better for going in the direction of inclusive (or universal) design, instead of just accessibility. It’s not that I don’t think accessibility is important. It is. And as a person with disabilities, accessibility isn’t just an academic matter, it’s personal. But inclusion as a whole, that thing where everybody “gets to dance”, as it were, is also very important to me, and I think that if we focus on inclusion rather than just accessibility, we have an opportunity to get more done.

So yeah, it’s not accessibility is the WordPress way, it’s inclusion is the WordPress way. This isn’t mission accomplished for accessibility. There’s still a lot more work to do on that front. But I’m pleasantly surprised at how much effort the WordPress community as a whole, and Matt in particular, is putting into making sure that accessibility is a huge part of inclusion. It’s not big things you can turn into publicity wins. It’s the little things. For instance, in previous years, the graphics used during the State of the Word weren’t described. This year, they were, all throughout the presentation. That’s a win for accessibility as well as inclusion. I’m still waiting on Matt’s first photo with alternative text attached, but withJohn Maeda cracking the whip, I don’t think that’s going to be very far off.