I seriously love WordCamp Atlanta. It’s decided: I will go every year, forever. It’s one of the most supportive places for wherever you are in your WordPress journey. Whether newbie or professional, there is something for everyone. People are so willing to help, teach and learn—it’s a super nurturing environment. On top of all this, they make it so affordable! You pay $40 bucks to two days, they feed you (the food was great!) and they pay for parking. Oh yes—and I learned a ton! Here are my top takeaways:
1. People Love Freebies. WordCamp opened with Syed Balkhi, who did an awesome presentation about why free is wonderful. Agreed! That’s why there’s free info on my website when people sign up, and that’s why I encourage clients to do the same thing.
2. Above the fold is history. David Laietta reminded us that “above the fold” is no longer relevant. Not even a little. With so many different sized devices and entry points, there is no fold. Just because you place valuable content further down on the page doesn’t mean it will get lost. I adore the flexible medium of web—it’s always moving and changing.
3. Heroes in, sliders out. Again, this isn’t a new concept, but David Laietta also reminded us to kill the slider. They are getting even less friendly as devices get smaller! Instead of sliding with rotating content, just have one large area (a hero) that shares your message, tells who you are, and has a call to action. I also wrote about folds and sliders here.
4. Be device agnostic. I love the term, “device agnostic.” It means that we can’t be glued to any particular device. Your website can look like anything depending on where it’s being consumed. Design must be device neutral. The big picture is being device agnostic; the method is responsive design.
5. Motion as refinement. Sara Cannon is one of my favorite people. She talked about using motion as refinement, meaning that motion is a way to make your web design more interesting, give nuance and depth. Back in college, I remember a painting teacher who always said that “subtleties and nuance” were the way to create greater depth of experience. This feels like the web equivalent, and it’s something I want to do more of, such as using Navicon Transformicons.
6. Write awesome code. Cliff Seal made an impression when he said: “If you write code, then write awesome code.” We must learn the right ways, keep up, and do it the best we can. If not, we should hire someone who does.
7. Go geek. And now we venture to Nerd Land. Here are lots of techy tools and tips I’m excited about.
- Grunt + Bower. From Alan Crissey, these tools increase your productivity and make sites work faster.
- Prefixing. When you’re writing a function, you should name it something nobody would ever name it. Here’s a tutorial for best WordPress naming practices.
- Plugins to check out:
- WP Migrate Pro. A way to sync a WordPress database between your local, staging and production sites.
- Front-end Editor. Edit directly on your website’s front-end without ever getting taken to the back-end.
- IWP Client. A way to manage multiple clients’ WordPress sites, all from one place.
- WP Security. For added security. Don’t forget to turn on login lockdown.
See? I definitely got way more than $40 dollars worth. The awesome and inspiring WordCamp happens all over the country. See if one is happening near you—and sign up. It’s a no brainer.