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Graphic Design and Web Design

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WordPress London October Meetup

by Elzette. 0 Comments

WordPress development for mobile#wplnd October 2012 Meetup was held at Google Campus in the heart of East London’s Tech City. The evening consisted of two talks.

Build a mobile theme to use with your existing WordPress site

The first talk was by Jack Barham, who worked throughout 2012 exclusively for Isobar Mobile, building mobile web apps for companies. He shared his mobile experience and knowledge he discovered working at Isobar Mobile. Having a vast collection of different mobile phones at his disposal to test with he developed his experience into a basic mobile template. The talk was about how to use this template and wrap it into a plug that can be dropped into a WordPress website. The presentation covered all the aspects of how he approach a mobile web build project, such as: Concepts, Wireframes, Prep your Current WP site for mobile, Design, Screen Resolutions, Development (Mobile CSS Reset, WP Code, Mobile jQuery, etc), Bug Testing.

View the presentation on Slideshare.

Getting started with WordPress web apps

The second talk was by Rachel McCollin, all the way from Birmingham. With her talk she focused and used the examples of her recently published book WordPress Mobile Web Development. The talk mainly focused on using WordPress to build web apps, starting off by discussing the difference between a web app and a responsive site. And how you can use your theme to create a web app from the same database as your main WordPress website.

Pub Time

As a freelance WordPress developer, going to the pub afterwards is another highlight of the evening. I always enjoy a bit of WordPress geek-off and bouncing off ideas with other WordPress lovers!


WordPress London September Meetup

by Elzette. 0 Comments

#wplnd September 2012 Meetup was held at Skillsmatter, and once again an enjoyable collaboration of WordPress freelancers, workers and users. The evening consisted of two talks.

Practical tips for Captioning YouTube Videos

Web developer and accessibility guru, Graham Armfield show how to incorporate captions in your YouTube video. Something which would help those with hearing impairments and those viewing the videos in noisy or office environments. The presentation was a thorough step by step of all the settings and different ways to incorporate the captions. He also showed other tools available to use for videos and captions.

View the full presentation podcast on the Skillsmatter website.

wonderflux-framework

Rapid WordPress theme development

The next talk was by Jonny Allbut, Head of Digital at Tanc Design. He is also the creator and lead developer on the Wonderflux theme framework, presents at various web development conferences and sits on the WPUK committee that coordinates the annual WordCamp in the UK.

He first start off with his typical ‘tool box’ and why. Followed by the different theme types available – WordPress theme frameworks, parent, child and starter themes. With his experience with Wonderflux, he shares how a framework can help you to build more flexible, sustainable custom themes. He also shared a few important lessons learned: Do things the WordPress way. Use the core filters, hooks and functions. Keep up with trunk development/Trac. Documentation.

View the full presentation podcast on the Skillsmatter website.

Ask the Experts

Turned out that there was a bit of time left for questions and answers from the attendees. I find this part exciting to hear different people’s view points and ideas about different issues. And also how eager people are to help.


#dConstruct 2012 Conference

by Elzette. 0 Comments

dConstruct 2012, held every first weekend in September in Brighton, had their 8th conference this year. It is presented by Clearleft, a user experience design consultancy based in Brighton, UK. This year was my first year to attend this conference. The theme of this year was ‘Playing with the Future’.

dConstruct 2012 Workshop/s

There were two workshops available to attend on Wednesday, 5 September 2012 and two Thursday, 6 September 2012.

Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS book coverI attended Jonathan Snook’s workshop, Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS, in short SMACSS (pronounced “smacks”). Jonathan came up with this new term and approach from his experience working with the team at Yahoo! Mail. By dividing your CSS into 5 sections: Base, Layout, Module, State and Theme you can write CSS in re-usable chunks of code. Also keeping in mind using classes for layout rather than ids will illuminate having to overwrite loads of CSS. Applying these approaches in the right way will result in smaller CSS file/s. He also motivate using child selectors and preprosessors. He prefers to rather add the class of the reusable CSS to an element in the HTML, than selecting HTML elements in a CSS file. There was also a talk about prototyping tools that can help with rapid development, especially on big projects.

Besides the free new SMACSS book, I definitely took a new approach to CSS with me.

sunset view in Brighton

Sunset from Terraces, Brighton (before party). Photo taken by me.

dConstruct 2012 Conference

To summarise the conference, it is what it says on the website’s home page:

dConstruct 2012 is a gathering of smart and entertaining people poking at the intersection of technology and culture.

The conference being moulded over the years to topics covering web technologies, design, culture and society, the theme ‘Playing with the Future’ just did that. With a collection of excellent speakers it is hard for me to say which one stood out.

Ben Hammersley started off the day with his talk The Flower, the Field, and the Stack. With all the beautiful things in the world and how the community in the world have taken code that was not too good looking twenty years ago and made it into something beautiful. In every layer we work in, from fiber optic cables, to binary, to unicode, to XML, HTML and CSS, to grids and design patterns… all of these thing in every level, we can find a beauty and elegance that has been hard fought for.

Jenn Lukas‘s vibrant talk, Cure for the Common Code, was about breaking down the barriers of web publishing by embracing the rise of code education. She teaches HTML and CSS for GirlDevelopIt. It was an inspirational talk of how we all would like to learn something new, but just need that little extra push on the backside. With GirlDevelopIt, she helped create an opportunity, for that push, for woman that would like to learn code.

Scott Jenson has always been evolved in mobile, realising how it is unlocking important things. His talk Beyond Mobile: Making Sense of a Post-PC World start off with a question, if we take new technology and explore it or do we turn around and apply it to what we did yesterday? He became aware of 3 trends. The first one he calls App Glut. Users become the bottle neck and managing the apps being made. The second trend – value must be bigger than pain and the equality that can be between value and pain. The third trend – smart devices tend to be on the simple side. It has applications that offload a significant amount functionality. Moving forward, how can these trends be applied to make apps that can work across all of our devices.

With Ariel Waldman‘s talk, The Hacker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I could feel her absolute passion and enthusiasm for science. Her talk was an interesting tour of our universe. From black holes and dark matter to exoplanets and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. She was showing examples of peoples creations that can get anyone excited to start making things.

Seb Lee-Delisle (laterally) lighten up the dome after lunch with his talk Pixels, Play and People. He brings people together with technology. Everyone received a glowstick at the beginning of the talk. The highlight of his talk was using a motion camera and everyone was able to make digital fireworks! By using the motion camera he also divided the crowd in a left side and right side to play a form of Astroids together!

Digital fireworks with Seb Lee-Delisle at dConstruct 2012

Digital fireworks with Seb Lee-Delisle at dConstruct 2012

Jason Scott, a computer historian, besides for his well known cat is also famous for archiving everything. He most certainly looked very comfortable on the stage with his talk The Save Button Ruined Everything: Backing Up Our Digital Heritage, a good recap of how we have been saving, how saving data has changed over the years and how we save things today. Thus, when MySpace go down and you are looking for your ‘stuff’, be sure to contact this guy…

Tom Armitage is a game designer at Hide & Seek. His work is inspired by the toys his dad made out of wood when he was a kid. He sees all his work as toys and decided to have a talk titled, Making Friends: On Toys and Toymaking. He has had quite a bit of fun with Twitter too. For example, he was auto generating descriptions of chocolate from chocolate boxes. He also created a Twitter account for Towerbrige, by taking the times of when the bridge opens and linking it to the internet via Twitter. It has become useful to cab drivers too.

James Burke, a science historian, an author and television presenter ended of the day with his speech titled, Admiral Shovel and the Toilet Roll. He looks at the past (there is no where else to look…), because the future don’t exist and the future is the past, just with a few extra bits attached… Through the whole talk, an interesting point that stood out was his view on Nano Technology. What Nano Technology is going to do socially and when. He points out there is a possibility, in 40 years that everyone would be able to have their own Nano factory your own shed/garage. And also talking about the possibilities of this and the effect this could have on the world.

Missed out on #dConstruct 2012 Conference? Be sure to catch up at huffduffer.com.


WordPress London Meetup #6

by Elzette. 0 Comments

WordPress London Meetup at the Telegraph

WordPress London Meetup is still a baby, with the first Meetup that took place 9 June 2011. Besides the success in attendance it also had a change in name. Starting out as London WordPress Meetup it is now officially WordPress London Meetup group. Clearly a much needed Meetup group for London locals, I am happy to have attended 3 of them so far. The 6th meetup took place Thursday, 20 October 2011—Publishing with WordPress, hosted by the Telegraph.

How the Telegraph use WordPress

First up was Paul Gibbs, core developer of BuddyPress and web developer at Daily Telegraph. That’s right, Telegraph Blogs is powered by WordPress and MyTelegraph is possibly the largest BuddyPress website in the UK. Paul shared some of the plugins they use for the respective websites.

Telegraph Blog plugins:

  • Yoast Breadcrumbs (more information at yoast.com)
  • WordPress SEO (also by Yoast, more information here)
  • Widget Logic (lets you control on which pages widgets appear)
  • Unfiltered HTML (gives blog Administrators and Editors the ability to post whatever HTML they want)
  • TMG Open Graph (based on the Open Graph plugin for adding additional metadata to webpages to identify them as “social objects”— modified further by the development team at the Telegraph)
  • Blackbird Pie (add embedded HTML representations of actual tweets in your blog posts)

MyTelegraph BuddyPress plugins:

  • BuddyPress (a social network in a box—more information at BuddyPress.org)
  • BuddyPress Groupblog (extends the group functionality by enabling each group to have a single blog associated with it)
  • SSO (single sign-on) Integration
  • WP Report Posts (puts a link to each posts and pages to report that particluar post or page)
  • Yoast Breadcrumbs (more information at yoast.com)
  • Sitewide Tags (creates a new blog on your server for all the posts on your site, much like http://wordpress.com/tags/)
  • Blackbird Pie (add embedded HTML representations of actual tweets in your blog posts)

WordPress and Web Accessibility: Why it’s Important

Graham Armfield was on for the second talk of the evening. His presentation covered some issues that disabled and elderly users experience with websites. He shared valuable techniques to improve accessibility and why it makes business sense.

Graham’s presentation, WordPress and Web Accessibility, can be viewed at SlideShare.

Upcoming WordPress London Meetups

Thursday, 17 November 2011: WordPress SEO and Custom Post Types

Wednesday, 7 December 2011: Christmas social!

 


#WordCampUK 2011 in Portsmouth

by Elzette. 0 Comments

#WordCampUK 2011 in Portsmouth

I attended my first WordCamp this year. It was also a first for me to Portsmouth! Below I talk about my personal running order. Read about more sessions at WordCamp UK 2011 Portsmouth here.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Kicking the day off early, Saturday 16 July 2011, registering took place from 9:30 and I received my official WordCampUK 2011 t-shirt. Tony Scott started off the day at 10:00 with an introduction that followed onto sharing stickers that leads to more pleasand introdutions! I topic that all WordPress fanatics love followed after that: How are you pushing your WordPress install to the limit? I am even more impressed now…

Legacy to Latest by Kieran O’Shea

Kieran’s talk was about how plug-ins have an influence when upgrading WordPress.
For example before upgrading, consider:

  1. Modified default themes
  2. Deprecated functions
  3. Phantom features (what is phantom features?)

Plugins can break an upgrade, or be broken by an upgrade, deprecated functions.
A solution is Custom Posts. Legacy plugins may over-use tables. Post framework makes code simpler. Migration then is simplified.
Visit Kieran O’Shea’s dedicated website for WordCamp UK 2011 Portsmouth. Where you can find loads off goodies, eg.
Slides: PDF of Presentation Deck
Code: Zip File of Code

WordPress and Mobile by Rachel McCollin

Rachel discussed 4 ways how you can turn your website into a mobile version.

  1. Mobile themes
  2. WordPress plugins
  3. Media Queries
  4. Bespoke mobile websites (or just make an app version)

Advanced SEO with WordPress by Nick Garner

Nick told a lovely SEO story of The White, black and illegal Hat in WordPress SEO. This story shared so much SEO information in a friendly way. Check out his presentation.
Some of his favourite plugins to use are:

  • wp-supercache plugin
  • yoost plugin
  • wordpress categorie radion buttons
  • seo-image plugin

WOW Plugins 2011 by Michael Kimb Jones

First few favourite plugins mentioned:

  • Yoost SEO plugins
  • Google XML Sitemaps (switch something off)
  • WP Super Chache (W3 Total Cache – best to use?)

E-Commerce:

  • WP e-Commerce
  • Jigoshop (New)
  • MarketPress (WP multi)

Other few mentioned randomly:

  • Jetpack (loads if functionality in one plugin – X6)
  • Members Only
  • WordPress Beta Tester
  • Widget Logic (conditional loads for Widgets) Dynamic Widgets
  • Extended Page List

Final list of 10:

  1. CMS Tree Page View (extremely handy if you have A LOT pages!)
  2. CollabPress (for project management)
  3. Contact Form 7
  4. Easy Table Creator
  5. Custom Post Type UI
  6. EG-Attachments (for external document files)
  7. Front end editor
  8. Regenerate Thumbnails
  9. Widgets on Pages (just check it out, it’s really cool)
  10. WordPress reset (good plugin for a test site)

After this it was the wrap of the day that lead to dinner and a lot of free drinks at the Dolphin. After this… what happens at WordCamp stays at WordCamp…

Sunday, 17 July 2011

After a well needed full English breakfast the second (and last) day of WordCamp started off with a quick introduction by Tony Scott again.

Ten Proven Steps to the Top of Google (SEO) by Mark Adams

Another SEO session with more handy tips..

  1. Keyword Research - with Panda update, quality of website very important
  2. Basics – Homepage links – SEO friendly URLs, keywords in page name and URL
  3. Page structure – one keyword per page, maybe 2, images – title tag, images – file name
  4. Copywriting – at least 250 words per page
  5. (missed this slide :-/)
  6. Blog – Important to talk about topic website is about, become expert in the topic (authoritive)
  7. Social media and online PR
  8. Link building – get links from sites with related topic
  9. (missed this slide :-/)
  10. Call to action

Some handy tools:

How to content manage everything by Robert O’Rourke

A few points taken….

Menus

Post types - register post type using available of arrays

  • things that are neither posts or pages
  • Forums – bbPress plugin
  • Properties
  • Events
  • Static bloks or ‘boilerplate’
  • Landing pages
  • Other applications

Themergency is a handy tool to easily create post types. After registering it appears in admin bar.
Use Metabox API to add/remove or reorder meta boxes:

add_meta_box();

Also visit http://codex.wordpress.org/Settings_API

Site doctors: Let the experts help you! by Jonny Allbut (Jonnya), Nick Garner

A Questions & Answers session with informative discussions and tips going around.
Sadly all good things do come to an end. Well sort of… I noticed emails with loads of ideas going around already for 2012. And if you can not wait till then, the WordPress community do spread their wings to numerous Meetups and other smaller conferences.


First London Blog Club Meetup #LondonBlogClub

by Elzette. 0 Comments

My original idea was to have a website to showcase my work. I soon realised that there was a necessity to incorporate a blog where I can write about design and other things I get up to. Since my blog is still ‘wet behind the ears’ (so am I when it comes to blogging) and I have signed up for Project 52, I thought meeting with other bloggers is a step in the right direction.

The London Bloggers Meetup Group first came to my attention. It is a rather big meetup group. I continued my search though, to find a brand new meetup group for bloggers in London: London Blog Club. Murray Newlands and Marko Saric (running successful blogs of their own) go to the London Bloggers Meetup Group. After the last event they decided to start their own meetup group.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010 was their new group’s first meetup at The Pitcher & Piano in Holborn. The Central Line train transported me from west to east quicker than I anticipated. I was officially the first attendee at the very first meetup of London Blog Club. Not long after me, more bloggers started to arrive and I enjoyed finding out what part of the bloggersphere they reside.

Where do I find myself in the bloggersphere?

Chatting to other bloggers about their blogs and blog goals (achieved and to achieve) opened up a discussion to myself about my own blog. My website originally was (as mentioned before) to showcase my work. The time then arrived to do a bit of the other. At school, writing and grammar was not one of my strong points. I looked for a bit of help from the book: On Writing Well by William Zinsser. It is (hopefully) helping me to not miss the message and waffle to many long sentences. And if I do, to revert to my core objective and what I am trying to say.

After the meetup when I went through my RSS feed I came across this article: You Got Design Right – Now ‘Write’ Design! – a blog post, from a writer to a designer (how great is that…). In the blog post Dave Thackeray explains his view point of the similarities between the design and writing processes. It made me feel more at ease with the future of my blog (and adamant now not to fail at Project 52).

The joy and reason for me for blogging is sharing my design experiences, other designs I like, event and travel experiences. I also have a few topics up for discussion. As time go by I am sure a few more will come to mind.

Back to London Blog Club Meetup

The first meetup already got my mind to start working. I would not be surprised to see a rapid growth of the London Blog Club. RSVPYes‘ for the next meetup Tuesday, 2 March 2010 and I will see you there!