Speaker Submissions for the Second Annual JavaScript for WordPress Conference Are Open

The 2nd Annual JavaScript for WordPress conference is scheduled for July 11 through 13 of 2019, and will include 3 FREE Days of workshops, talks and contribution all focused on JavaScript and WordPress. Workshops include learning how to use modern JavaScript development tools to write custom vanilla JavaScript in WordPress themes and plugins, as well as learning how to load and write React in WordPress plugins and themes. There’s a day of free talks separated into two tracks, and conference organizers have opened the speaker submissions. You can apply to speak and register for the conference on the conference page, as well as listen to past sessions. I was not able to attend this last year but will definitely catch up on past videos.
I would encourage every blind person in the strongest possible terms to read the most recent article by Chris Hofstader and download the data. I would especially encourage the blind people who has been contracted by any of these organizations to do things like build websites or write software to read through this data and then make decisions with regard to whether or not you’re going to work with these organizations and how you are going to price your services based on this data and not the sob stories or excuses provided by these organizations when they plead lack of budget coupled with great need for your services. It’s one thing to suspect they’re screwing you over with no proof. It’s a very different, and bigger, ball of wax to know that they are screwing you over, have proof of it, and then contrast that with the “have a large impact”, “make a difference”, “help the cause”, “we’ll send you referals” kind of language that is so often used when they pitch for things like websites or apps. I will not only be reading through this data myself, but also passing this on to any blind person who has been my student, formally or otherwise, when it comes to WordPress.
I suspect that, as a general rule, open source treats the open web the same way that corporate software companies like Apple or Microsoft treat open source: It’s existence and that there are people to take care of it for you while you do the flashy stuff is taken for granted. As a result of this and many other things we, (at least in the US), have a situation where Facebook and Twitter are treated as the web, and then we’re all subjected to displays of incompetence, stupidity, and grifting that will eventually end up defining any possible laws we end up with when it comes to web things. I’d make grifting a link, but I refuse to link to anything related to Diamond and Silk, or any of the completely willfully ignorant comments by Ben Schapiro on this topic. Plus, there’s just way too much material. Fellow hackers, I think it’s time for our typical hands-off approach to anything but our code to end. We have to get involved, because if we don’t, it’s just going to get stupider as we go along, until the stupid gets boring and/or ineffective and it becomes actual malice, assuming we aren’t already to the malice bit. I’m holding out hope we’re still in the stupid portion though because that means we still have time to get off our asses and get involved.
My URL Is is a podcast which features a new guest every two weeks to talk about how they got involved with the IndieWeb and what hopes, goals and aspirations they have for the community and for their website. The guests are a combination of those both new to the IndieWeb and those who have helped build it from the beginning. This episode features Greg McVerry who has been using the web as a teaching tool almost since its inception.

There are a couple of things which stood out to me in this episode. First, the discussion about online versus offline identities. The idea that online and offline are somehow separate is an idea that I think is pretty common, and if I understand Greg correctly, he’s basically saying that there really isn’t a difference between online and offline. I have to agree. In my experience, the separation between identities is usually maintained by people who are particularly rude or trollish to other humans, and then when called on it, come back with, “Oh, that’s just online” or “that’s just Twitter”. Still going with my understanding of what Greg is saying in this podcast, I have to agree. There’s no difference between the online and offline you. If you treat people with little respect online, there’s a good chance you’ll treat those same people with little respect offline as well, and I don’t think the arbitrary separation between online and offline should be allowed to remain.

The second thing I found interesting in this episode is that Greg’s son uses a screen reader to read CSS and other code documentation because he’s in the third grade and therefore reading that kind of documentation is still difficult. I think there are a few things to be gleaned from this. First is the reminder that not all people who use screen readers are blind. I’ve always understood this on an intellectual level but I don’t think I’ve ever run into a real-life non-blind human who also uses a screen reader, so I’m somewhat fascinated and I think I want to pick Greg’s son’s brain and/or watch him work with the screen reader so I can learn if there are any differences between how I use it and how he uses it. Also, out of pure curiosity, I’m interested in which screen reader he’s using.

I think it would be interesting to find out whether or not there might be some room for documentation, (for accessibility related topics and otherwise), that is geared toward a younger and possibly less technical audience. I’m aware of efforts which focus on educating high school students, but nothing for younger generations, and at the risk of coming across as one of those “code solves everything” people, I think we need to focus on groups younger than high school students as well. I have no idea how we solve this.

I’m also curious as to whether or not accessibility as a field could glean something from the generational approach Indieweb takes when it comes to onboarding new community members. This isn’t me trying to start an accessibility fight, or even necessarily criticize what’s come before, I’m just thinking out loud. We know that in order for designers and developers to bake accessibility in from the start of a project, they have to be trained at every level on the intricacies. I think it’s obvious that this is not happening, and I’m not sure the lack of knowledge on the part of designers and developers can solely be chalked up to laziness on their part. OK, I suppose that last is maybe slightly controversial. We also know that people who are not traditional designers and developers are building websites, and, barring the tools they use doing everything possible to output accessible markup and generally guide them through creating things which everyone can use, expecting that they are going to be trained on the intracacies of accessibility when designers and developers aren’t is, I would say, quixotic at best. I think Gutenberg, (the new WordPress editor), can play a role in at least this part of the problem, provided it gets its own house in order and is itself able to be used by everyone.

But anyway, back to the generational thing. The idea behind the indieweb generations is this:

Generations in the context of the IndieWeb refer to clusters of potential IndieWeb adopters in a series of waves that are expected to naturally adopt the IndieWeb for themselves and then help inform the next generation. Each generation is expected to lower barriers for adoption successively for the next generation.

(Full discussion of the “Generations” concept here, with links to other resources.) I see a parallel between this and things like the work that Microsoft is doing through its Microsoft Enable group. That’s not an exact match, because I don’t believe you should build webpages with Microsoft Word, for example, but I think it’s a pretty good template for doing things like making it easier for end-users to make things accessible, and I would like to see this mindset ported over to the web. The important part here though is that they’re also focusing on making it easier for people who use assistive technology to use their products, and I think that’s critical to all of this.

What I’m mostly thinking of though is making it easier for designers and developers to make the things they build accessible to everyone. The work Deque Systems began at this year’s WordCamp US is a really good example of this, and I’m excited to see how this plays out. I think the principle of “Manual until it hurts” also finds a home in the accessibility space, and I believe that ideally designers and developers would do all the accessibility things manually by learning HTML, CSS and the like until they completely understand the foundations of the web. I also know however that we aren’t living in an ideal world, and as much as those of us in the accessibility space scream until we’re blue in the face about learning foundational technologies deeply before learning the stuff that sits on top, this doesn’t seem to be scaling very well. I don’t know why that is and I don’t have a solution for the problem, but it seems to be where we are.

Anyway, that’s all the stuff that bounced around my brain while listening to the third episode of “My URL is”. If you’re interested, even mildly, in the idea of an open, independent web, I think you should check out the podcast.

Notes from: “Who’s Afraid Of ARIA?” at WordCamp US 2018

Rian Rietveld @ #WCUS:

Rian is demonstrating Voiceover and ARIA for the WordCamp audience.

She’s giving a very practical example of why semantics matter when it comes to the web.

Aria-live: Tells screen readers what’s changing on a page without refreshing the page.

aria-live allows dynamic changes to be announced by screen readers.

From earlier in the talk: First rule of ARIA: Don’t use ARIA. Use a native HTML 5 element first, then add ARIA *when necessary*.

Make sure when using aria-live that your announcement is not too verbose: For example: announce the number of search results, not every search result.

Overrule a link’s anchor text with aria-label. Beware: aria-label overrules a link’s anchor text completely. For screen reader users it’s as if the link text does not exist.

screen reader text class: Hide something from sighted users while announcing it to screen reader users.

Use screen reader text class with the span element.

Aria-describedby and aria-labeledby: aria-labeledby replaces label text, (see form elements), aria-describedby adds extra information to the label text.

Rian is able to turn VoiceOver on and off. This would never happen using Jaws. You can do it with NVDA though. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Make it work before you make it nice.

Slides for this talk, code with examples is here, and you can watch “Who’s Afraid of ARIA” with captions here.

Notes From: “Content Security Policies: List Your Trusted Sources And Prevent Attacks” at WordCamp US 2018

Miriam Schwab @ #WCUS:

Why is cryptomining from websites bad? Because it eats resources, plus governments shouldn’t be cryptomining.

Magic Cart: Going on for last three years, no one knows origination, attack ID’s third-party scripts on websites and then hacks scripts.

Magic Cart hacks scripts for the purpose of skimming credit card information.

Content security policies: white-list sources via browser header, if a source is not white-listed, it can’t be installed. Applies to trackers and other third-party web scripts like Google Analytics or Google Fonts.

Demonstrating code snippets which implement content security policies, will share slides later.

Includes log of violations of content security policies. I’m going to love looking at this code.

If you research content security policies online, not a lot of upp-to-date information, CSPs have been around since 2012.

W3C’s docs critiqued as being illegible, especially for those who speak English as a second language. Agree. Internationalization FTW!

Google is “do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do” with regard to its CSP docs V. what it does with its Google Analytics and other scripts.

Keeping up with what’s been added to pages manually is hard. Use Scrict Dynamic CSP instead. One policy across multiple pages.

Google has tools for CSPs: Strict Dynamic Test Bed, not sure of accessibility of tool will need to check later.

CSP can be added using meta tag or in theme’s functions.php file. Also .htaccess. Use these if you don’t want to work with browser headers. Probably can stick this in custom functionality plugin too.

CSP Mitigator from Google: Check http response headers, if no CSP present, will alert. If CSP present but there are problems with it, tool will offer suggestions.

There are also WordPress plugins for this, not recommended because some are out-f-date, but easy way to get started.

report-uri.com: Alternative to CSP Mitigater, useful if you have issues philosophical with Google.

Google’s resources making it possible for more people to implement CSPs.

Now demoing offline copy of White House website: No CSP, which means things can be injected client-side.

For the blind people playing at home, the injection to the Freedom scientific website changing the site tagline to “Too expensive products for the visually impaired” was a result of no content security policy being present on the site. Not from speaker, my own injection of another example.

I don’t think I’m too far off base to suggest that so many of the problems we face on the web could be avoided if the prototype mindset discussed in this article were limited to the prototype phase by developers and designers, and kept completely separate from the production process.
Read Prototypes and production by an author (adactio.com)
Don’t build prototypes with a production mindset. Don’t release prototype code into production.
This Is For Everyone is a talk I will definitely be revisiting, along with all the other talks given so far as part of this year’s Inclusive Design 24, because it’s jam-packed with information, including some very useful statistics. It’s a really good overview of accessibility at a high level, and is a great way to kick off a conference whose talks go into quite a bit of detail about how to make the web more accessible, complete with examples. Hint Indieweb folks, given your love of POSH, (plain old semantic HTML for the rest), you’re already on the right track to an accessible web, because semantic HTML is the foundation of everything accessible.

Thoughts On “Gutenberg and the WordPress of Tomorrow”


I’ve been waiting for this talk to go up on WordPress TV because I missed it when Morten first delivered it at WordCamp US. It’s no secret that I have a hate-hate relationship with WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get” editors for the web. Part of that is because I think if people are going to build websites, then they should learn foundational web technologies deeply. Part of that is also because literally every single one of these editors, when placed in a web context, has been completely inaccessible. I’m including page builders in this, because the problem they’re trying to solve is the “What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get” thing, but for people who aren’t developers. I started working with things on the web back in 1998. That’s a long time ago. Every single WYSIWYG editor and page builder I’ve encountered from that day to this has proven me right. Geocities page builder. Yahoo page builder. The website wizard that ships with Cpanel. Squarespace. Strikingly. Medium. Beaver Builder. Visual Composer. Wix, (except for that one time they borrowed code from the WordPress.com app). Every single one of these, along with every other similar thing I haven’t named, has been or is unuseable if you use assistive technology, or even just don’t use a mouse. When Gutenberg first came on the scene as a plugin in beta, I tested it twice, and was absolutely certain that it would be just like all the others. I kept hearing, “We’re going to make it accessible,” to which my response, (at least internally), was “Sure you are. Just like all the others who talked about how important accessibility is, only to leave it out when it came to the editor/page builder.” My initial tests cemented that response. I wasn’t alone when it came to being highly skeptical of Gutenberg and accessibility.

And then, things started changing. The Gutenberg developers were serious about making sure Gutenberg is accessible to everyone, with the best example so far being the demmo at this year’s State of the Word highlighting what I’ll refer to as color contrast guardrails. That’s not cosmetic accessibility. It’s not something like “we added some read-aloud kind of feature and a font resizer and: Magic! We haz accessibility now!” The Gutenberg experience still isn’t great when it comes to accessibility. There’s still a lot of work to be done. But Gutenberg is proving me wrong with regard to WYSIWYG editors, and I’ve never been more happy or more proud to be wrong in my life. This is actually happening. There’s actually going to be an accessible visual editor. People with disabilities are going to get to play on the same playground as everyone else is for once. We finally get to play in a world that everyone else has played in for the last twenty years, and this makes Gutenberg genuinely exciting. It’s vital though that Gutenberg is properly documented for screen reader users. First, WordPress has to establish trust with a group of people who have years or even decades of experience of being burned by these kinds of editors. That may not be fair to WordPress, but if WordPress is entering this space, it’s now in the position of having to clear away the baggage left behind by everyone else, and people who use screen readers have very long memmories when it comes to these sorts of things. Merely saying “Our thing is accessible” is not enough. I didn’t believe accessibility was going to be taken seriously, and that’s despite being a member of the WordPress Accessibility Team and having a bias in favor of WordPress for which I’m famous. Convincing anyone else that we mean it when we say this is useable by everyone regardless of whether or not assistive technology is involved is going to take work, and part of that work is going to be convincing people with disabilities to make that leap while trusting that what’s on the other side isn’t going to be the same old song and dance that’s gone on for the last twenty years. Second, the steps that everyone else has been gradually making over the last twenty years with regard to WYSIWYG editors and page builders are all going to be combined into one giant leap for people who use screen readers, because the workaround when you can’t use a visual editor is to rely on a text-based one, whether that’s copying and pasting from a text file or switching the TinyMCE editor to text mode in WordPress. People who use screen readers are now going to have to integrate all the visual concepts, along with the technical aspect of controlling them. We’ve been able to avoid doing that, unless we’re web developers, at which point we then start wrestling with CSS. But if you’re not a web developer and you’re focusing on using software like this, until Gutenberg, you’ve been able to almost completely avoid dealing with visuals, unless you’re doing something like choosing a theme or adding images to a post or page. Otherwise, it’s text whenever possible. Changing the status quo this much, without documentation to aid the transition for people who use screen readers, ensures that as a user group, we are not likely to make the leap, unless we have a pressing need to do so. As a whole, we’ll just switch to a different platform with less advanced editing, or, if we don’t already have websites, just not have a website at all and use Twitter or Facebook to create content on the web. Personally, I’m willing to make the leap, and help others do the same. I want everyone to participate in the WordPress of tomorrow, to continue to have the ability to choose whether or not to own their own data, ETC. But I have a vested interest in WordPress. I want everyone who wants to use WordPress to be able to keep up with the changes that are coming without having to make a choice to add content to their websites that’s based on “How much mental and emotional energy am I going to have to put into this?” That’s not going to be possible unless there is proper documentation to go along with the software.

Some Thoughts On “Managing Accessible Content on Thousands of Sites”

Jeremy Felt gave the below talk at this year’s WordCamp US, in which he details how just over a year ago, Washington State University received a complaint through the Office of Civil Rights that some of their web pages were not accessible, and what they’re doing to resolve the complaint. I have some thoughts that I’ll share after the video.

Download “Managing accessible content on thousands of sites” directly.
There are a few things that stood out for me in this talk. First, the transparency. I’m glad to see some universities detailing how they’re resolving OCR complaints, because it shows universities who are in the process of figuring out how to resolve complaints a path forward. The talk also demonstrates that, if a university with five million URLs to handle can get the process going, so can universities with smaller web footprints, and even K-12 schools with tiny budgets. Washington State has even made their tools and related documentation freely available. Free as in other universities can download them and use them without spending budget. I’m sure other universities have also made tools available, but this is a pretty extensive collection, and they’re not even all WordPress. So if a school isn’t using WordPress, there’s still something here they can use. Not that schools had any excuse before now to use to suport waiting to make their websites accessible, because the laws governing website accessibility for schools are not new, and there have been a metric ton of OCR complaints already. Now, not only do schools have no excuses, they even have free resources they can deploy so they don’t have to create them on their own. I’m going to be spreading this talk and the linked resources as far and wide as possible.

Gleanings From Mozilla Festival 2017 With Transcriptions Of Screenshotted Text

Conferences with social media hashtags are great, because those hashtags mean that you can still glean from them even if you can’t attend. It can also be overwhelming when there’s so much goodness happening on a conference hashtag that you want to share everything you find. There’s also the problem of all the great content being generated on one social network essentially being locked into that network as long as we’re only sharing it on that network. So I’ve decided to start sharing the cool stuff I find from various conferences as blog posts. That way everyone can take advantage of it whether they’re on a particular social network or not, and I can avoid filling up people’s timelines with reposts. I can also take the liberty of providing screenshotted text in text form so that everyone can read it.

Here are my gleanings from MozFest. MozFest was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 2010. Originally named “Drumbeat,” the festival convened a community of people dedicated to learning, freedom and the open Web. Each year MozFest centers around a particular theme, and this year’s is the health of the web as a whole, (spoiler alert: It’s not good), and how we as contributors to the web can improve it. Everyone is a contributor to the health of the web, not just the people who make the software that powers it or allows people to access it or allows people to easily create content for it. This year, MozFest consisted of nine floors of talks, workshops and exhibits. Once the speaker talks are available somewhere other than Facebook Live, I’ll share some of those as well, in separate posts.

All of the content I’m sharing is publicly available within the constraints of Twitter or Facebook. I’m sharing it in the order I read it. I’ve also transcribed any screenshots I’ve shared. I’ve shared directly from the social networks, so you have the opportunity to share on your own timelines if you want, without copying and pasting. Enjoy.

Meet this year’s Mozilla Festival speakers.

Only 20% of the world, primarily white folks, are
editing 80% of Wikipedia’s content—that’s kind of
telling. Together, we realised that most of our
collective understanding of the world is still being
written by a minority.


What we need are companies that are
not advertising platforms, to make
browsers — the basic tech of the net.

Mishi Choudhary

Have a security policy. You can think of it like the
things you are already doing to be digitally safe.
Maybe this is where it all begins.

Matt Mitchell

Digital inequality is just as bad
as any inequality.

–Alan Knott-Craig

To be digitally safe as an organisation, you need
to think of a checklist. It is a matter of time until
something happens… This checklist saves
people. If anything happens, you know what to

–Matt Mitchell

Making a healthy
Internet is not a spectator

–Mark Surman

More products include software inside them to be
updated over time, but practically the support to these
products ends a lot sooner than the companies are
willing to provide a warranty for the product—which is
probably insane.

–Ugo Vallauri

“I think all of us are feeling [an] urgency….You have
instability—I have been thinking about the need for
knowledge, the need for inclusion, the need for the
power and potential of the movement.

–Ryan Merkley

The Trump Administration thinks that letting some
telecom companies treating some content more
favourably than others is a good thing. Think about
how these companies treat it already. It could not be
any worse

–Ashley Black

You’ll now detox one of the browsers you use on your computer (you’ll clean up your mobile browsers
later, on Day 5). By the end of todays detox, you should be blocking a lot more information from trackers, and this in turn should make your browser less unique – since there’s less information to form a
The devil’s in the default “Privacy Settings”
No browser’s default privacy settings are actually private by default: most store cookies, as well as
your browsing history, webform entries and other information-which can then get shared.
But Chrome, Firefox and Safari all offer a special “Private” or “Incognito” browsing mode, set to
automatically delete your browsing history, cookies, temporary files and webform entries every
time you close the browser. Note: your bookmarks and downloads are not deleted.
Try it out:
1. Open your browser (Firefox, Chrome or Safari) and go to File -• New Private/incognito Window
(depending on the browser).
2. To set Private Browsing permanently in Firefox or Safari, go to:
Firefox: menu>Preferences>Privacy>settings for history

Note on this transcribed screenshot: The last bit of text at the end is too garbled for me to make out and correct, but the steps listed above are still useful. There will be an online version of the data detox kit coming soon, and as soon as that’s available I’ll link to that instead.


Designing For Inclusion With Media Queries

Inclusive Design 24 (ID24) is happening again on November 16, and I can hardly wait. If you’re not aware of what ID24 is, it’s twenty-four hours of free talks on accessibility and inclusive design. Each talk runs for about an hour, and the entire event lasts for twenty-four hours straight. I told myself I wasn’t going to stay up for twenty-four hours again at the end of the last event, but now that it’s happening again I’m seriously reconsidering that, because it’s so much fun and there’s so much stuff to learn and cool people to engage with using the #id24 hashtag on Twitter.

In anticipation of ID24 happening again, I thought I’d share my favorite web-related talks from past events. The one I’m sharing today is “Designing for Inclusion with Media Queries,” and it was given by Eric Bailey. Eric is a Boston-based user experience designer who helps create straightforward solutions that address a person’s practical, physical, cognitive, and emotional needs using accessible, performant, device-agnostic technology. You can find him on Twitter as @ericwbailey and you can read more about his work at ericwbailey.design.

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.

Following is the hashtag information you need to follow this weekend’s WordPress and accessibility events on social media. Even if you can’t attend the events in person, you can still learn a lot from what gets posted on social media under the various hashtags.

For those posting using the below hashtags, please remember to ensure that the content you post to social media is as accessible to everyone as possible. On with this week’s events.


Pods is a WordPress plugin that provides a user interface for building custom content types and custom fields into any WordPress install. PodsCamp, an even centered around learning how to use and develop with Pods, first began in 2014, and this year’s even takes place November 4 and 5 in Austin, TX. You can follow the event via social media using the PodsCamp hashtag.

Accessibility Camp Toronto

The goal of accessibility camps is to provide an open, informal space for conversation and networking around digital access and inclusion. Accessibility Camp Toronto takes place on November 5, has five tracks encompassing 25 talks. You can follow it on social media using the #a11yTO hashtag.


WordCamps are informal events put together by WordPress users where everyone can share ideas and network. There are several happening this weekend, as with most weekends. WordCamp Wilmington #WCWilmington takes place on November 5 and 6 in Wilmington, North Carolina. WordCamp Medellín #WCMde takes place on November 5 in Medellín, Antioquia
Colombia. WordCamp San Jose #WCCR takes place on November 5 and 6 in San José, San José Province
Costa Rica. WordCamp Omaha #WordCampOmaha takes place November 5 and 6 in Omaha, Nebraska. WordCamp Denver #WCDenver takes place November 5 and 6 in Denver, Colorado. WordCamp Santander #WCSantander takes place November 5 and 6 in Cantabria

Happy learning and networking, everyone.

Spoiler alert: It’s not that plugin you installed. It’s creating a positive user experience for the people who visit your site.

In this talk, Rebecca Gill looks at SEO, (search engine optimization), best practices and how to apply them to a WordPress-powered site or blog. She discusses what search engines like Google and Bing want and need from you in order to drive organically generated traffic to your site, which is the kind of traffic you need in order for your website to be successful.

Good SEO, like anything else associated with your website, isn’t something you get right in a day. It takes a lot of hard work, and it’s something that improves over time. No quick fixes like pay-per-click ads, (which Rebecca refers to as “digital cocaine), and no guarantees that you’ll snag the top spot on page one of Google’s search results. Winning at search engine optimization is about making users happy by solving their problems. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely not voodoo. If I didn’t know any better, I’d believe she was talking about improving the accessibility of your website instead of search engine optimization.

The slides for “What Really Matters in WordPress SEO are here, and you can watch the talk below.

This talk by Matt Vanderpol, given at this year’s WordCamp Sacramento, is an overview of how to incorporate Sass into your theme building practices. The talk will cover:

  • What is Sass and why should you use it
  • File organization, including WordPress-specific considerations
  • Sass best practices, including WordPress-specific considerations
  • Using a task runner (grunt/gulp) and development best practices
  • Thoughts and considerations for parent/child themes
  • Incorporating 3rd party libraries and frameworks
  • Exposing styles to WP Admin for better WYSIWYG display
  • Thoughts and considerations for development vs production CSS
  • Debugging CSS issues in the Sass
  • Mention of PostCSS and how it can complement Sass

Slides for this talk are also available in downloadable form from this link.

This talk by Luis Garcia at this year’s Accessibility Camp NYC, gives a very quick crash course on some accessibility tools that web developers can use to help make the websites and web applications they’re building more accessible. The slides for Luis Garcia’s Accessibility Camp NYC talk are here, and I would encourage you to follow along with them while you’re watching the talk.

Criteria used when choosing accessibility tools

By: Geoff StearnsCC BY 2.0

There are a few notable accessibility tools that are not discussed here. This talk focuses on tools that are free, (as in cost, not as in speech), easy to use, fairly robust, (they’ll give you actionable information on a fairly large set of possible issues), and that will allow you to do local analysis. This last criterion is crucial for developers, especially if you’re running a local development environment like Varying Vagrant Vagrants or Desktop Server.

Most of the tools discussed are not free software or open source. Very unfortunately, free software and open source haven’t eaten the accessibility world yet. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses though, and you’ll get the most out of this talk if you pick a tool you like, and stick to using that tool, as opposed to switching back and forth between tools. It’s also helpful when testing WordPress sites that you make a note of the markup that any of these tools is flagging, as well as the CSS. Since WordPress renders pages and posts based on templates, you’ll get a lot of duplicate errors that can be fixed by modifying an underlying function, or, in the case of CSS, a particular class that targets a template tag or shortcode you’ve created.

If you haven’t incorporated an accessibility tool into your workflow yet, you should

Accessibility tools aren’t the be-all-end-all for making websites and web applications accessible. There’s still manual work that needs to be done by everybody involved in the project. But accessibility tools will help you get on the right path towards making the things you build accessible to everyone, and they will save you some time and headache down the road if you apply the information they give you while you’re working on a project, instead of going back in after everything’s shipped and trying to add the accessibility later. That’s when accessibility becomes time-consuming and in some cases, very expensive. So save yourself the extra headache and expense, and start using an accessibility tool to help you integrate accessibility into your workflow

This talk by Trisha Salas, who is a member of the WordPress Accessibility Team, and currently works for Modern Tribe, helping them improve the accessibility of their WordPress products and services, is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to improve the accessibility of their WordPress plugins. Although it’s well-known in the WordPress space that themes can be improved with regard to accessibility, and that accessibility ready WordPress themes can improve the accessibility of the sites they’re used to build, WordPress plugins haven’t gotten as much accessibility love. The reasons for this are varied, and deserve a separate post of their own, but fortunately, this is starting to change.

If you haven’t tried to make your WordPress plugin accessible before, this can seem a daunting challenge. Trisha’s talk will give you some quick pointers that are easy to start implementing, as well as demonstrate how Modern Tribe is tackling the accessibility of their WordPress products.