WordCamp Atlanta 2015 Recap: Wow, that was fun.

wordcamp atlanta 2015

“I dreamed last night I was in a magical place. A happy, diverse and bustling community, all learning, connecting, sharing, laughing. There was no need for money or work; banquets of food and drink simply appeared. Hour by hour, we all grew in knowledge and empowerment… When I awoke, I had this weird suspicion that others might be remembering that same dream.”

Well, okay, that may be overly romanticizing things at WordCamp Atlanta. Basically, it was like having to go to school on the weekend, right?

Still, it was fun, wasn’t it?

Talented folks with all kinds of backgrounds, skill sets and approaches to their work, freely sharing their trade secrets with their business competitors. Love it.

Speaking of school, it’s interesting how the WP community, as well as the web community overall, has risen up to teach ourselves, and each other, instead of depending on traditional educational institutions. That’s changing somewhat, though, as teaching cursive writing as a communication skill is replaced by teaching coding and WordPress.

From a historical perspective, WordPress, the web, and computers themselves, have evolved at warp speed. What’s interesting is, that couldn’t have happened without the use of WordPress, the web, and computers as collaboration platforms. We read each other’s WordPress blogs to learn new ways to use WordPress. That is so cool.

And it’s not just the Open Source approach of WordPress and other platforms, which is amazing when you think about it. It’s the spirit of Open Source that lies at the heart of events like WordCamp.

The other phenomenal thing about WordPress and other blogging platforms is that anyone – anyone – can publish whatever they want to share or express, without having to convince some publishing corporation that it’s worthwhile. WP has been an important component of what’s been known as Web 2.0, as it’s helped enable the democratization of the web. Think about it. That. Is. Huge.

And we get to be a part of it. What fun.

It’s funny; we go to WordCamp and local meetups, not simply for the Continuing Education Units like in other professions, but because we want to. We learn from the speakers, we mix it up with other stuff we’ve learned, and we experiment. Then next year maybe we cook up some slides and get to stand up there to share our fresh insights with others.

And the cycle goes on.

For everyone who played a role at WordCamp Atlanta 2015, from organizers to attendees, from speakers to the folks who tidied up the bathrooms, thank you, thank you, thank you. We look forward to seeing you in 2016, for the next festive iteration of WP learning and sharing.

In the meantime, as our faces stay stuck to our computers screens for countless hours, building sites, trying new things, and working through our individual challenges, there’s a sense that we’re not alone. We’re a part of a supportive community. And for some reason, that kinda makes the whole thing more fun.

Check out the Atlanta-area WP meetups here. We look forward to seeing your face!

Getting to Know Steven Slack

Steven Slack is a freelance developer at S2 Web. He collaborates with companies, agencies and individuals to build custom WordPress themes and plugins. In 2014 he helped with Asheville NC’s first ever WordCamp and is playing a part in the 2015 Asheville WordCamp as well.

As of October 2014 he has been working in the Craftpeak office in downtown Asheville, a space which has allowed for the collaboration with a solid group of designers and developers. He also does development work with Big Bridge, a design agency based in Asheville as well.

Steven is fluent in Portuguese as well as any front-end language, can be seen biking or running through Pisgah National Forest, and enjoys the lovely company of his wife.

WCATL 2015 Session – Key in on your Value

You know your value … can you communicate it?

We developers love what we do. Every single project results in an improvement in our skills and knowledge. We know our capabilities and have the ability to serve up some clean efficient code for our clients. But if you are a freelance developer like me you need to be able to articulate the value of your skills.

To you and I, coding standards and doing things properly in WordPress matter. How do you explain that value to a potential client and communicate to them how your services will benefit their business? Can you express your expertise without sounding like a space robot?

This presentation will share stories and talk about selling value as a developer.

Getting to Know Nancy Thanki

Nancy takes photos, shoots film, designs stuff, and tries not to be too pretentious about it. Her very first client was a woman in her eighties running a spectacularly successful cancer non-profit program…who didn’t really use email, let alone anything else. Nancy trained her to set-up and maintain a WordPress site.

Throughout undergrad she gave regular talks to prospective students and parents on the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of college. Now as both a web designer and filmmaker, she has realized that she’s teaching very similar lessons to many of her clients, especially those that haven’t worked much with visual design, on how to avoid the pitfalls of “en vogue” to create products that can withstand the test of rising and falling fashions in typography, photography, film, and design.

WCATL 2015 Session – Best Practices: Building Accessible Websites in WordPress

There are over 20 million blind adults in the United States, approximately 10% of whom use screen readers to access the internet. Likewise, roughly 8% of men and 0.5% of women have some form of color blindness. Many government contracts are beginning to require websites to be accessible and many companies who are not legally required to build accessible websites are starting to do it regardless. What goes into making a website accessible? How can you determine whether or not your website is? This presentation will discuss both tools and techniques that can help you build accessible websites.

Getting to Know Cullie Burris

Cullie Burris is the Director of Internet Marketing at Southern Web, a web design & digital marketing firm in Atlanta, GA. Cullie is extremely passionate about all things web – most importantly, user experience & conversion rate optimization. He takes his campaigns very seriously but finds an immense amount of fun in finding unique solutions for his clients and setting them apart from their competition. Cullie began using WordPress in college and hasn’t looked back since.

Outside of working for Southern Web, Cullie enjoys coaching baseball, attending concerts and enjoying all the good eats in Atlanta.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook – or via the website.

WCATL 2015 Session – Get Yoast or You’re Toast

There are a lot of very valuable plugins in the repository, however there is one that is imperative to have: the Yoast SEO plugin.

I will do a walk through of the plugin to show best practices and explain how and why it is so imperative to have this plugin.