David A. KennedyInclusive Design, Open Source and Life.2020-01-29T17:25:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/David A. Kennedyme@davidakennedy.comSeven Amazing Digital Storytelling Websites2009-09-16T22:26:14-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/7-amazing-digital-storytelling-sites/<p>Stories. We love them.</p> <p>From the moment we join the fray here on Earth, we engage in storytelling. People once shared stories over fires. They once drew tales on cave walls. Now, we trade narratives on the Internet – in so many forms and fashions.</p> <p>If you like spinning a good yarn, or being pulled into one, the web represents a gold mine of possibilities. Explore and discover. Experts and creatives find ways for digital storytelling to evolve every day. Where do you want to take it?</p> <p>Here are seven of my favorite digital storytelling sites on the web. Take a look, and by all means, add yours in the comments section. Let’s get a nice list going!</p> <h2><a href="http://www.storycenter.org/index1.html">Center for Digital Storytelling</a></h2> <p>CDS is an international, non-profit training and research organization dedicated to forwarding digital storytelling. There are many great resources here, including a list of links and case studies.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.thedigitalnarrative.com/">The Digital Narrative</a></h2> <p>An amazing collection of all things digital story by Martin Jorgensen. Links lead to great content on examples, teaching digital storytelling, free online tools and more.</p> <h2><a href="http://interactivenarratives.org/">Interactive Narratives</a></h2> <p>One of the premier resources for interactive media storytelling, run by the Online News Association. This site is chock full of incredible work waiting to be devoured.</p> <h2><a href="http://10000words.net/">10,000 Words</a></h2> <p>A blog maintained by journalist Mark S. Luckie that concentrates on the intersection of technology and journalism. Written with real heart, and full of great advice, tools and tips.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.poynter.org/">Poynter</a></h2> <p>Poynter is an authority on journalism issues, and always has intriguing features on the news industry’s ongoing transformation to digital platforms.</p> <h2><a href="http://mediastorm.org/">MediaStorm</a></h2> <p>This multimedia production studio based in New York turns out some of the best multimedia storytelling around. It’s one of my favorite places to go for inspiration.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.knightdigitalmediacenter.org/news_blog/">News for Digital Journalists</a></h2> <p>A blog run by the Knight Digital Media Center, News for Digital Journalists is a great place to go for news, not just on journalism issues, but digital storytelling. The site also has tons of other useful resources for digital storytellers.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/2xU7rYxsTiM">Sergi Kabrera</a>.</em></p>Mark Luckie on Three Great Ways to Stand Out Online2009-09-17T15:45:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/3-great-ways-to-stand-out-online/<p>New blogs, photos and videos clog today’s web. The onslaught continues with no sign of slowing down, especially as individuals and companies embrace Web 2.0.</p> <p>So how do storytellers stand out among the masses?</p> <p>Three ways, according to <a href="http://www.getluckie.net/">Mark Luckie</a>, the journalist and blogger behind the successful blog <a href="http://10000words.net/">10,000 Words</a>.</p> <ul> <li>Don’t give up.</li> <li>Create content from the heart – about things that matter to you.</li> <li>Provide something unique.</li> </ul> <p>Luckie spoke via Skype yesterday with two classes in the <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/">Interactive Media Graduate Program at Elon University</a>. The two classes, led by <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michelle-ferrier/4/238/b18">Dr. Michelle Ferrier</a>, are called Interactive Writing and Design. Im part of the program, and in one of the classes. We are currently studying how to develop an online voice and digital identity, which is vital for professionals in any field.</p> <p>Luckie never imagined the potential growth of 10,000 Words when he started it more than two years ago. He just wanted a clearinghouse for information and inspiration on all things journalism and technology.</p> <p>When he began, “it was just me messing around,” he said. Luckie, who currently works as a Multimedia Producer for the <a href="http://centerforinvestigativereporting.org/">Center for Investigative Reporting</a> on its California Watch project, said he has succeeded largely because he has written from the heart. The posts that often garner the most attention are ones he writes off the cuff and quickly, instead of the ones that are more researched and massaged.</p> <p>The blogger credits word of mouth and <a href="http://twitter.com/10000Words">Twitter</a> for the increased popularity of his blog, which covers topics such as Flash, interactive maps, photos, video, audio and more.</p> <p>Luckie described many of the digital tools he uses to scour the Internet for information and inspiration, which go into his posts at 10,000 Words.</p> <p>He said he uses Twitter to connect with people and promote his blog.</p> <p>“You can’t find everything you want on the Internet,” he said. “You have to turn to people for inspiration.”</p> <p>Luckie also turns to tools like Google Reader to read blogs, Delicious to organize links of interest and Google Docs to save powerful documents he might use in the future.</p> <p>He said blogging requires patience. After he developed his unique voice for 10,000 Words, he went back to earlier posts and edited them to reflect his newfound voice. When asked about developing a voice – especially as a beginning blogger, he said, “You already have a voice. Don’t give up.”</p>Five Tips on Producing Award-Winning Multimedia Content2009-10-02T20:31:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/produce-award-winning-multimedia-content/<p>Michael Radutzky has presided over some of the biggest stories of our time.</p> <p>The Senior Producer for “60 Minutes” has worked on stories about Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh, the Duke Rape Case and President Barack Obama just to name a few.</p> <p>His work has earned him seven national Emmy awards and several other prestigious journalism awards. <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/advisoryboard.xhtml">His full biography can be seen here</a>.</p> <p>Radutzky, who serves on Elon University’s School of Communications Advisory Board, spoke with my Public Opinion in New Media class today. The class is part of the university’s <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/">new Master of Arts program in Interactive Media</a>.</p> <p>What follows is an abridged version of our 60-minute discussion. Everything is paraphrased, except where quoted. Even though Radutzky does not hold a technical position, his insights are perhaps more important than anything a designer, programmer or developer can ever tell you. That’s my opinion.</p> <p>I’ve boiled his insights down to five important takeaways that relate to multimedia. Note that none of his tips have to do with technology.</p> <h2>1. The story comes first. If the story falters, you have nothing.</h2> <p>Always craft stories with characters that people care about and make sure you answer a reader or viewer’s questions before they have them. That serves as the glue that holds a solid narrative together.</p> <h2>2. Provide unique content.</h2> <p>Radutzky used the example of “60 Minutes” staffers filing behind-the-scenes stories and commentary using Flip Video cameras. He said to remember that the interviewer is interesting too. People always love to peek behind closed doors, so to speak.</p> <h2>3. What’s the story really about?</h2> <p>Radutzky said “Every story has some kind of essential soul to it.” Every piece of content you produce should pass a kind of litmus test. If you can’t get to the heart of the story in 60 seconds or less, then maybe it’s not that interesting.</p> <h2>4. Follow your gut.</h2> <p>Always have your antenna out, on and attuned to what’s interesting. You always want to produce visually appealing, emotionally charged content that people can identify with. You can’t do that without trusting your instincts.</p> <h2>5. Segment the content.</h2> <p>Today, people crave short bursts of information. The opportunities to do long-from storytelling are becoming less prevalent. So segment your content into digestible bites, fit for different audiences.</p>The Most Important Non-Digital Tool for Any Creative2009-10-07T22:14:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/important-non-digital-tool-for-any-creative/<p>It’s easy for us to become immersed in the digital world.</p> <p>We have to be.</p> <p>From social bookmarking, social media, blogging, designing via different software and so much more, the majority of tools a professional uses in this realm have a digital aspect. However, what happens if the digital world ended tomorrow?</p> <p>If all the bytes, jpegs, tweets and so on ceased to exist – where could you still go to get your work done? What would be your number one source for inspiration?</p> <p><strong>The notebook.</strong></p> <p>Yep, this handy tool comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You can personalize it however you like too.</p> <p>Seriously, if you create in any way, shape or form, you should have one with you at all times. And I’ll be honest: I don’t. I have just realized I need to make it a reality.</p> <p>Some reasons notebooks rule:</p> <ul> <li>Their battery never dies.</li> <li>Putting pen to paper feels fantastic.</li> <li>Write, sketch, this thing is multidimensional.</li> <li>Crumpling up paper and throwing away your bad ideas is therapeutic.</li> <li>Ideas never escape you.</li> <li>You start developing a timeline of creativity. Learn how, what and where you’re most creative!</li> <li>If you put something in it every day – you’re productive.</li> </ul> <p>Being a writer, I have heard this advice over and over. I have done it at various points in my life, but lately I’ve realized I need to reacquaint myself with the habit of carrying paper around.</p> <p>I’m missing out on too many of my own ideas.</p> <p>I had one at my side all the time when I worked as a reporter and I didn’t realize just how handy it proved to be. Despite the fact digital technologies rule the world these days, ideas serve as the oil that lubricates technology and every other industry.</p> <p>We need them and you have them. So make sure you jot them down, will you?</p> <p>Ideas will become the currency of the new economy. Make sure you share the wealth. Carry your notebook.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/3ym6i13Y9LU">Mike Tinnion</a>.</em></p>What if Newspaper Home Pages were like iGoogle?2010-01-03T09:44:11-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-if-newspaper-home-pages-were-like-igoogle/<p>This year I almost entered the <a href="http://www.newschallenge.org/">Knight News Challenge</a>. I developed a first draft for an idea, but just didn’t have to time to fully flesh it out.</p> <p>I debated on whether I wanted to work on it more for next year, but decided it would be better to let it loose. And perhaps, someone will read it, and want to help grow it and develop it together.</p> <p>The idea would put the design of newspaper and television Web site home pages into the hands of the readers and viewers – similar to iGoogle. It lets them shape the story the publication tells them in a way.</p> <p>It has some strengths and weaknesses. Its strength is that it relies on user control. Its weaknesses are that I do not explain well enough its differences from tools like iGoogle. And, at least in the framework of the Knight News Challenge, it fails to provide enough benefit to a certain group of people.</p> <p>Read the proposal, and <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/about/">contact</a> me if you’re interested in developing it together.</p> <h2>2010 Knight News Challenge Almost-Entry</h2> <p><strong>Project Title</strong>: NewsHome</p> <p><strong>Requested amount from Knight News Challenge</strong>: $200,000</p> <p><strong>Expected amount of time to complete project</strong>: 1 year</p> <p><strong>Total cost of project including all sources of funding</strong>: $200,000</p> <p><strong>Describe your project</strong>: This project will put the design of newspaper and television Web site home pages into the hands of the readers and viewers. Using open-source blog software, most likely Movable Type, we will create a platform and community for website users to create their own home page. Users will move around blocks of information, such as articles, photos, multimedia and advertisements, just like widgets on the back end of a blog. They could choose as many or as few widgets of information as they like. Content will most likely come in via RSS feed from different sections of the paper. Users will be able to customize their own Web site experience every day if they’d like.</p> <p>Other elements of the software will be supported by a micro-community. Users will be able to see other home page designs other users have made, and vote for their favorite. Users will also be able to select from templates created by staff members and other users.</p> <p><strong>How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered to geographic communities?</strong> Newspaper, television station and other media Web sites are known to be cluttered, confusing and overwhelming to visitors and potential visitors. Let the audience solve that problem. This application will allow users a portion of control in how they receive and view the news in their community. News organization staff will also be able to see what users like in a home page/news website design. This could potentially inform future site design and user experience decisions.</p> <p><strong>How is your idea innovative?</strong> This solution to cluttered design harnesses a lot of existing technologies. Chief among these technologies are open-source blogging software and RSS feeds. It’s a mashup that aims to put users in control of how they view the news. The most innovative part of this is users will have some say in the way they get the news. This beginning stage of collaboration among the news organization and its reader, it’s hoped, will promote open the conversation between the two parties, leading to a more successful future partnership – full of worthwhile news and new ideas.</p> <p><strong>What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop this project?</strong> I have worked as a journalist at a community newspaper in Florida, and am currently pursuing my master’s degree in interactive media at Elon University. I have an understanding of how the news business works, thanks to my professional experience. My graduate studies have honed my skills in interactive design, usability and audience analytics. This combination is well suited for developing this kind of project.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/_Zua2hyvTBk">Roman Kraft</a>.</em></p>Create a Digital Story – A Flash Tutorial2010-01-04T09:04:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/create-a-digital-story-a-flash-tutorial/<p>Digital stories remain a mostly untapped resource in the classroom for students and teachers.</p> <p>They allow students the opportunity to create something meaningful that they’re invested in, sometimes more so than just a normal report or research paper. Through the stories they tell, students can employ critical thinking, conduct original research and contribute to a larger academic conversation.</p> <p>Despite all the positives digital stories bring to the classroom, educators face many challenges when using them. One of the chief concerns is getting both students and teachers acquainted with the process of creating a digital story.</p> <p>It’s why I designed a learning tool to help – <a href="http://testkitchen.davidakennedy.com/projects/pages/how-to-create-a-digital-story.html">How to Create a Digital Story</a>.</p> <p>The interactive tutorial runs through a 10-step story creation process. A blog post at <a href="http://home.techsoup.org/pages/default.aspx">Tech Soup</a> – <a href="http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/training/archives/page10096.cfm">Digital Storytelling: A Tutorial in 10 Easy Steps</a> – along with my own original research on digital stories inspired the idea.</p> <p>The text comes largely from <a href="http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/training/archives/page10096.cfm">Tech Soup’s post</a> with images, design elements and a bit of interactivity added by me. The Tech Soup post was published under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License</a> so I did the same to what I created.</p> <p>I hope teachers and students can use the tool to explore the power and potential of digital stories.</p> <p>If you’d like to read the research paper, simply click the “paper” icon in the presentation. It discusses the current state and future of digital storytelling in more detail.</p> <p>I’d like to thank all of the researchers who are cited in the bibliography for their research and insights. That goes double for the professionals who shared their time and spoke to me about digital storytelling.</p> <p>They are:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://digitalunion.osu.edu/about/staff/LivGjestvang.html">Liv Gjestvang</a> of <a href="http://www.osu.edu/">Ohio State University</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://www.storycenter.org/people.html#joe">Joe Lambert</a> of the <a href="http://www.storycenter.org/index1.html">Center for Digital Storytelling</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/coventrm/?PageTemplateID=138">Michael Coventry</a> of <a href="http://www.georgetown.edu/">Georgetown</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.jasonohler.com/index.cfm">Jason Ohler</a> of the <a href="http://www.alaska.edu/">University of Alaska</a>.</li> </ul> <p><em>See</em> <a href="http://testkitchen.davidakennedy.com/projects/pages/how-to-create-a-digital-story.html"><em>full-size version</em></a><em>.</em></p>Planning a Big Storytelling Project - Have an Eye on the Story2010-01-05T07:45:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/planning-a-big-storytelling-project/<p>Planning any large, group project can prove daunting.</p> <p>However, with some creative thinking and teamwork, group members can accomplish a lot of pre-planning before any boots hit the ground. That’s something I’m realizing with one big project I’m working on right now.</p> <h2>The Adventure</h2> <p>I’ll be creating a digital prospectus for an elementary school in London with 10 classmates of mine. The project is part of the curriculum in my <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/">Interactive Media Master’s program</a> at <a href="http://www.elon.edu/">Elon University</a>.</p> <p>My <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/imediaclass2009.xhtml">34 classmates and I</a> will embark on four separate projects for public good around the world. We leave for London, Costa Rica and Panama in the coming days.</p> <h2>The Challenge</h2> <p>As my group members and I have planned how to attack our project, we’ve faced a few challenges. One of the biggest has been how to organize our creative teams.</p> <p>We will develop a multimedia website for our client that tells its story. This will include photos, videos, text and more. To effectively gather the content we need, using all the technology available to us, we’ve split ourselves into three creative teams. Each team has three to four people.</p> <h2>The Solution</h2> <p>How could we divide our team’s talents and divvy up responsibilities without locking anyone into a role for good?</p> <p>We took each person’s talents into account, placing a strong videographer, photographer and interviewer in each group. Then we developed a varied roles within each group for the members to keep in mind as they were out collecting content.</p> <p>Obviously, we will have one person responsible for shooting video and one person responsible for shooting photos. The third role is the storyteller. When this person isn’t interviewing folks, he or she will be required to have an eye for what the videographer and photographer might be missing.</p> <p>Are they missing any shots or angles? Who are the most engaging subjects or characters? They are a producer, more or less.</p> <p>It’s not terribly innovative, but these roles will be interchangeable among group members, giving people the opportunity to try different tasks. And what could happen if we fail to have someone keeping their eye on the story?</p> <p>I shudder just thinking about it.</p> <p>To follow my journey in London, and the creative project my classmates and I produce, be sure to check this blog regularly. You can explore all the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/london-2010/">posts about London 2010 here</a>. Also, please follow me on <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twitter</a>.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="http://www.sxc.hu/photo/492774">et420</a>.</em></p>The Strategy for a Storytelling Project with Unknowns2010-01-06T10:57:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-strategy-for-a-storytelling-project-with-unknowns/<p><a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/imediaclass2009.xhtml">My classmates and I</a> at Elon University have been huddled together planning some very exciting projects for public good.</p> <p><a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/planning-a-big-storytelling-project/">My group heads to London tomorrow</a>. We’ve brainstormed and brainstormed and discovered that many of our decisions about our project will have to wait until we get on the ground.</p> <p>We will be creating a multimedia Web site for an elementary school in London – a digital prospectus, so to speak. We’d love to have more knowns than unknowns, but I think we’re learning that’s part of the excitement of this project.</p> <p>It’s very journalistic in nature, even though it will serve as more of a marketing piece for the school in London. And that means reacting to what’s happening (with as much planning as possible) rather than following a specific schedule.</p> <p>One of my classmates, and the Creative Director of our London project, <a href="http://twitter.com/ConorOniMedia">Conor Britain</a>, spelled out a great strategy for us yesterday.</p> <p>He said that we will plan to create a good project, but once we get in London, we will discover how to make it great.</p> <p>I like that approach – for any big storytelling project.</p> <p>You’ll never know all the details. So plan all that is possible and be ready to be flexible.</p> <p>To follow my journey in London, and the creative project my classmates and I produce, be sure to check this blog regularly. You can explore all the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/london-2010/">posts about London 2010 here</a>. Also, please follow me on <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twitter</a>.</p>Going with the Flow on a Storytelling Project2010-01-09T18:02:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/going-with-the-flow-on-a-storytelling-project/<p>Every project has its challenges.</p> <p>The winter term project I’m working on with my classmates at Elon University in London is no different. <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/going-with-the-flow-on-a-storytelling-project/">We knew that it would throw challenges our way</a>, but the project hasn’t even begun and we’ve faced a major one.</p> <p>It snowed in London a few days before we arrived and the school where we plan to shoot shut down for the week. It snowed again today, so we’re hoping the same thing doesn’t happen Monday.</p> <p>To combat the uncertainty we’ve brainstormed ideas for possible new story ideas and solutions if the snow falls and we have to change plans. And we will probably have to ramp that up because it’s supposed to snow again tomorrow. We’ve also already shot one standalone project for the piece though, so starting the process felt good.</p> <p>Ultimately, it’s about going with the flow.</p> <p>You can do the same thing, no matter what kind of storytelling project you’re working on.</p> <p>Go with this strategy:</p> <ul> <li>Create a plan and a back-up plan for your project.</li> <li>Go in knowing everything won’t work out.</li> <li>Be ready to adjust at any time.</li> </ul> <p>It’s a simple strategy, but one that can help you accomplish anything.</p> <p>To follow my journey in London, and the creative project my classmates and I produce, be sure to check this blog regularly. You can explore all the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/london-2010/">posts about London 2010 here</a>. Also, please follow me on <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twitter</a>.</p>Why Chaos Can Make a Storytelling Project Work2010-01-11T18:53:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-chaos-can-make-a-storytelling-project-work/<p>Sometimes chaos can be the best thing for a big project.</p> <p>My classmates and I discovered this today as we finished our first day on location at Barrow Hill Junior School in London. We gathered content today for a digital prospectus we will build the school as part of <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/">Elon University’s interactive media master’s program</a> project for public good.</p> <p>We arrived and received a warm welcome by the head teacher and staff at the school. We took a tour, brainstormed and attacked several different mini-projects.</p> <p>As the day went on, some chaos was unavoidable. We all had landed in a new place (the school) today and an entirely different country less than four days ago. We all had to get acquainted with everything.</p> <p>We did.</p> <p>And the first day’s chaos – the rushing around, the meeting new people, the action of finally shooting something on video after mostly planning and brainstorming – felt wonderful.</p> <p>We all have a hundreds of ideas flowing, and we can’t wait to see where the project takes us tomorrow.</p> <p>Like I said, sometimes, chaos in a project can be an amazing thing. Welcome it, because it can fuel you and your colleagues like nothing else.</p> <p>To follow my journey in London, and the creative project my classmates and I produce, be sure to check this blog regularly. You can explore all the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/london-2010/">posts about London 2010 here</a>. Also, please follow me on <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twitter</a>.</p>Can You Have Too Much Media in a Project?2010-01-17T21:21:16-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/too-much-media-in-a-project/<p>After a first day of <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-chaos-can-make-a-storytelling-project-work/">beneficial chaos</a>, my classmates and I dominated the second day of content gathering in London on one of <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/">Elon iMedia’s</a> project for public good.</p> <p>Our faculty adviser, Ray Johnson, called it “the most productive day by a group I’ve ever seen.”</p> <p>We’re back in the States now, and have an incredible amount of media to go through to create our final product – a digital prospectus for an elementary school in London.</p> <p>We kept up a solid momentum for the last three days of the project and collected thousands of photos and videos. Now we have to turn all this media into a story, and it makes me wonder – can you have too much media on a project?</p> <p>No. No way.</p> <p>Here’s why:</p> <ul> <li>A variety of media gives you choice and flexibility in storytelling.</li> <li>You probably won’t regret not getting a shot or piece of footage.</li> <li>You can give your client plenty of b-roll footage for future projects or as other sources of income.</li> <li>You have plenty of places to find inspiration and stories.</li> </ul> <p>Of course, a ton of media creates obstacles. You have more to comb through, it may be easy to lose focus of your final product and the sheer amount of material you have may eat up valuable time.</p> <p>Here’s the strategy we’re taking on our London project:</p> <ul> <li>We held a content and brainstorming meeting after two days to hash out exactly where the project was headed. We planned out our final product, so we knew exactly what we needed, but agreed we’d be flexible if we discovered any gems during the rest of the trip.</li> <li>We created a shot list for video and followed it.</li> <li>We created a log sheet for all media, so we know exactly what we have and how it might be organized.</li> </ul> <p>These three simple steps have helped guide us and keep the amount of media we have from overwhelming us. That lets us concentrate on the important part of the project – the story.</p> <p>To follow my journey in London, and the creative project my classmates and I produce, be sure to check this blog regularly. You can explore all the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/london-2010/">posts about London 2010 here</a>. Also, please follow me on <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twitter</a>.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/wYD_wfifJVs">Vincent Botta</a>.</em></p>Interactivity Defined2010-01-19T20:20:47-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/interactivity-defined/<p>Any time you tell a story online, especially when creating a Web site, building in interactivity will engage users in the site and the story it tells.</p> <p><a href="http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/importance-of-web-interactivity-tips-and-examples/">Hongkiat</a> had a great post recently <a href="http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/importance-of-web-interactivity-tips-and-examples/">defining interactivity and listing a few great examples</a>.</p> <p>Check it out and ask yourself how your next Web site can be more interactive.</p>How to Finish Your Storytelling Project2010-01-29T12:34:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/finish-your-storytelling-project/<p>If you’re like me, you have a bad habit.</p> <p>You get pumped about new projects only to see the excitement fade once you’re buried in the requirements. We’re creative storytellers. Sometimes the fuel just runs low…</p> <p>You see, I’m a journalist by trade, and having worked at a small, community newspaper, I thrive on more of the quick hit kind of projects. I’m also a distance runner, so I equate this to going out too fast in a race with not enough kick for the big sprint at the end.</p> <p>I’ve taken on a number of long-term, large projects recently, so I’m learning how to better sustain my creativity over time.</p> <p>Here are a few tips to keep your creativity running strong:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Plan</strong>. The more we plan, the better. Yes, you can over-plan, but I like the old Boy Scout motto: be prepared. Planning can help you spread out your project and attack it one creative spark at a time.</li> <li><strong>Feedback, anyone?</strong> We all need some second opinions. What you think works may not even come close. Find out, and hey, maybe that feedback will spur a new idea.</li> <li><strong>Take a walk</strong>. Famed creative soul Julia Cameron recommends this in her book, Letters to a Young Artist. I do it sometimes. It works for me by taking my mind off what I have to do and centering it on what I want to do. Try it.</li> <li><strong>Find a Believer</strong>. Everyone has that one person in their life that they trust. Lean on them when you have to. When you think all has gone dark, it most likely hasn’t. And they’ll tell you so.</li> <li><strong>Turn on Some Inspiration</strong>. Figure out what inspires you at a moment’s notice. Use it. Always. My go to tends to be music by <a href="http://7m3.com/">Seven Mary Three</a>. Yours can be music, art, people, theater, cartoons – whatever works.</li> </ul> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/ij5_qCBpIVY">Kolleen Gladden</a>.</em></p>My Three Favorite Viral Videos2010-01-30T12:04:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/my-three-favorite-viral-videos/<p>Videos have become a bigger part of the world wide web.</p> <p>According to a recent report by the <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/13--The-Audience-for-Online-VideoSharing-Sites-Shoots-Up/1-Overview/The-share-of-online-adults-who-watch-videos-on-videosharing-sites-has-nearly-doubled-since-2006.aspx?r=1">Pew Internet and American Life Project</a>, online adults who view videos on video-sharing websites has nearly doubled since 2006. The report also states that more Internet users rely on online video for their television and movie viewing.</p> <p>With stats like these increasing, especially on a yearly basis, videos with strong stories will become more important than ever.</p> <p>Here’s my top three viral videos.</p> <p>Keep in mind, these represent my absolute favorites. I’m not going by stats, categories or anything else like that. You might call this list the most memorable videos – to me.</p> <p>Enjoy!</p> <p>Randy Pausch gives his last lecture – “<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo">Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams</a>.”<br> This video is more than an hour long, well above the short viral video standard. Yet, it has more than 10 million views. Why? Superb content: a wonderful story and lesson combine for the perfect touch. Watch it. Now.</p> <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngzyhnkT_jY">J-Mac: A Hoop Dream</a>.<br> This video tells the take of Jason McElwain, an autistic teenager who captured the hearts and minds of millions when he went from basketball team manager to hoops hero in just under four minutes. What can I say? I’m a sucker for big dreams. There are several different videos of this story out there, but I like this one the best.</p> <p>There’s something funny about a <a href="http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1823766">Font Conference</a>.<br> If you’re a graphic designer or web designer, this video is for you. Wildly creative and full of characters, the world of fonts comes to life.</p> <p>I look at these and I can tell that I, at least, love videos with a story and characters.</p> <p>What are some of your favorites and why?</p>The Most Important Connection You'll Make2010-02-01T21:43:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/most-important-connection-youll-make/<p>Websites have become a more important aspect of multimedia storytelling than ever before.</p> <p>Fancy websites rule.</p> <p>Not just the ones with clean design, crisp copy and useful information. But the ones with buttons to push, videos to watch, games to play and places to leave comments. Who doesn’t want control these days?</p> <p>You’d be surprised. Perhaps the answer is your audience.</p> <p>Companies and individuals should embrace new media for the possibilities it offers, but they should also be mindful of the people who buy their products and services or consume their content.</p> <p>Do they want to watch the videos, play the Flash games, exchange with you via social media? The most likely answer is yes and no.</p> <p>Everyone is different. Know that and know your audience. They are the most important connection you’ ever make in the field of interactive media, and storytelling.</p> <p>We all use interactive media, so keep that in mind when designing your websites and projects. Also, bend to the will of your fans. They matter.</p> <p>Chances are, they want some control, but maybe not constant control. Do some research. Ask them. Maybe they love slideshows, but hate videos. Be willing to find out and enjoy getting to know them.</p> <p>Brian Clark over at Copyblogger has some <a href="http://www.copyblogger.com/are-you-truly-focused-on-your-audience/">great advice on listening to your audience</a>, if you even more information.</p> <p>In interactive media, it’s all about choice. We usually give our audience plenty of choices. They can click on some photos. Read some text. Listen to a podcast. Watch a video. Play a game. The list goes on.</p> <p>Don’t forget to give your audience a choice to be passive. Maybe they just want to soak it up and enjoy what you have to offer.</p> <p>Your audience isn’t just your audience. In today’s evolving World Wide Web, they are audience architects, building something special along with you. Don’t get too fancy on them.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/gcDwzUGuUoI">Ravide Ragusa</a>.</em></p>Why Every Story Needs a Revision2010-02-07T21:30:27-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-every-story-needs-a-revision/<p>We all create stories that need help. A lot of help. Major revision help.</p> <p>You might call it failing. But sometimes, if we’re smart about it, we can turn failure into success. Or use it as a teaching tool and momentum builder for the future.</p> <p>Completing a rough first draft of a story, whether it’s a storyboard for a promo video, copy for a retail site or a multimedia journalism piece, is not the end of the world.</p> <p>Why?</p> <p>Because with a good story, it’s all about creativity and change.</p> <h2>Embrace the Word Revise</h2> <p>No matter what kind of a piece you’re working on, you must go through revisions.</p> <p>When someone gives you feedback says they want to see this or that different in your story – don’t see it as a failure. See it as an opportunity.</p> <h2>A Chance to Grow</h2> <p>Each revision represents a chance for you to make yourself better. If you have to take a piece through six revisions, then you have a prime opportunity take the skills you’re using to the next level.</p> <p>Yes, clients and the people you trust to give you feedback may not always give you the type of criticism you want, but that happens to us all. Many people see this criticism as failure.</p> <p>Don’t.</p> <p>No matter how many storyboards, photo edits, text edits, design layouts, etc. you go through, expect and accept revisions.</p> <p>Once you do, your final story will become much more satisfying and failure will cease to exist. And in the end, not only will your story be better, but you will too.</p>Three Ways Social Media and Storytelling are Alike2010-02-12T12:04:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/social-media-and-storytelling-are-alike/<p>Stop tweeting and facebooking for a minute, will you? Yes, it’s popular and the love of many.</p> <p>So much so that comedian Conan O’Brien predicts that in the year 3000, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook will merge to create the ultimate time-wasting website <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bmk9CjEha8A">called YouTwitFace</a>.</p> <p>O’Brien may be joking, but social media is no joke.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://socialnomics.net/2009/08/11/statistics-show-social-media-is-bigger-than-you-think/">statistics compiled by online marketer and “Socialnomics” author Erik Qualman</a>, social media has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the web. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8">Watch a visualization of the statistics here</a>. Many other experts predict that the Internet of future will be much less cumbersome, becoming very portable, allowing people to communicate even easier than they do now.</p> <h2>So how does storytelling and social media relate?</h2> <ol> <li><strong>They both have the ultimate goal of connecting to an audience</strong>. Without establishing that connection, each becomes irrelevant and pointless.</li> <li><strong>Both offer the opportunity to follow characters</strong>. Admit it, we stick with stories or visit social media profiles because we enjoy seeing what the characters there do next.</li> <li><strong>Each have the power to inform, educate and encourage debate</strong>. All information sources have this in common.</li> </ol> <p>Stay tuned for the next post in this two-part series: <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-to-use-social-media-to-tell-your-story/">How to Use Social Media to Tell Your Story</a>.</p> <p><em>This post is the first part in a two-part series on social media and storytelling. Part two will cover <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-to-use-social-media-to-tell-your-story/">how businesses and individuals can use social media to tell their story</a>.</em></p>Can Multimedia Save Journalism?2010-02-13T17:48:39-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/can-multimedia-save-journalism/<p>In the late 1990s, when the Internet started catching on, many believed that traditional media, like print and broadcast media would make a transition to the online world.</p> <p>However, that has yet to fully happen. Newspapers continue to <a href="http://graphicdesignr.net/papercuts/">struggle with layoffs and closings</a>. Media leaders have tried and failed at monetizing the news in several different ways.</p> <p>Despite this, multimedia content has grown on news sites. More publishers, editors and news directors have started hiring web-related positions. Even if we could flip a switch, and make the transition to predominantly online news content, could more multimedia stories save journalism?</p> <p>Yes. Multimedia is part of the answer.</p> <p>But only part of it.</p> <p>The other two factors are money and varied approaches to both the content and the monetization of it.</p> <h2>Segmenting the Content</h2> <p>Robert McChesney, a well-known media critic and scholar <a href="http://www.thepoliticaleconomyofmedia.org/">whose book</a> I’m reading in one of my graduate classes, asserts that corporations have far too much influence over the media. The hunger for money, he says, effects journalism negatively.</p> <p>The players haven’t changed in the online world.</p> <p>The same companies that own newspaper and television stations own <a href="http://www.alexa.com/topsites">many of the most-visited sites</a>. If one of these online companies lacks a foothold in traditional media, it still trends toward being huge.</p> <p>The need for money, no matter whether a organization is non-profit or for-profit will never go away. News needs funding too.</p> <p>So how can multimedia attract funds?</p> <p>Segmented content.</p> <p>Multimedia lends itself to short bursts of stories, whether it is a photo gallery, video clip, podcast, interactive map or a text article. These pieces can make for perfect bonus content, in addition to certain levels of free content.</p> <p>The CBS news show 60 Minutes has leaned toward this approach, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/produce-award-winning-multimedia-content/">according to one of its senior producers</a>. Producing quality content will attract viewers and visitors, and may lead them to want to pay for certain additional or premium content.</p> <p>The next question becomes how to monetize that content.</p> <h2>Monetizing the Multimedia</h2> <p>When I worked for a community newspaper in Florida, I rarely heard from readers who said they read the paper, front to back. When they called to complain or offer praise, it was typically about one section they were passionate about.</p> <p>This is why I believe segmenting content, and pricing it by the piece and by section might work. However, I also believe that trying different solutions and being nimble about it will work best.</p> <p>For example, the New York Times will try a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/business/media/21times.html">metered approach in the future</a>, giving away some free content while charging for some after a certain level of views. This approach might gain traction, thanks to its flexibility and use of free content.</p> <p>Whether a news organization is for-profit or non-profit, it will always need some type of revenue stream, and multiple revenue streams work even better. Multimedia can drive the transition to more online news and more revenue streams, making news orgs less dependent on solely advertising.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/Im7lZjxeLhg">Ales Nesetril</a></em>.</p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about journalism’s recent struggles.</em></p>Do People Really Care About Journalism's Struggles?2010-02-21T16:40:55-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/do-people-care-about-journalisms-struggles/<p>Are they really seeing what has happened?</p> <p>“In a big news year, most media continued to see audiences shrink.”</p> <p>This according to <a href="http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2009/index.htm"><em>The State of the News Media 2009</em></a> report by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. Nothing new there.</p> <p>Wait. That can’t be right.</p> <p>Think about that statement. In 2009, the media covered some of the biggest stories in recent times. These include the near second coming of The Great Depression, two American-led wars overseas and the election of the first black president in history.</p> <p>What gives? People should be flocking the news. Their world has changed, is changing and continues to morph into something completely different and new.</p> <p>Do people really care about journalism’s struggles?</p> <p>Nope. That isn’t to say that they couldn’t or don’t want to care.</p> <p>But why don’t they?</p> <p>There are three major reasons:</p> <ol> <li> <p><strong>The structure of the media</strong>. Media critic and scholar Robert McChesney states in his book, <a href="http://www.thepoliticaleconomyofmedia.org/">The Political Economy of Media</a>, three major reasons for a lack of debate over media structure. One of them is the fact that corporate media have successfully promoted the idea that the status quo is the “only rational media structure for a democratic and freedom-loving society.” This holds true to some extent. People may think that with huge corporations controlling media organizations, there’s no chance for change.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>People like free</strong>. Much of the debate about journalism centers on monetary issues. Yes, the industry has shed countless jobs, but according to a <a href="http://inlandpress.org/articles/2009/07/07/knowledge/current_stories/doc4a53ce729fc97677262186.txt">recent study by the Inland Press Association, some newspapers have increased their operating profit over the last five years</a>.</p> </li> </ol> <p>According to an article about the report:</p> <p>Outgoing Inland Executive Director Ray Carlsen said the report compares the gains and losses at daily papers across the country. “It’s encouraging to note that newspaper profitability can still achieve a double-digit percentage of gross revenue,” Carlsen said. “It means that newspapers are still a good business when compared to the results of other industries.”</p> <p><a href="http://techcrunch.com/2009/07/07/small-newspapers-may-be-able-to-prolong-death-longer-than-large-counterparts/">Many newspapers have seen huge declines in profit, but continue to see profits of 12 percent to 15 percent</a>. Perhaps free news isn’t that bad? People like free, so if the news industry starts charging for everything, the prevailing attitude among people seems to be that the content can be found <em>somewhere</em> for <em>free</em>.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong>The choice for news grows everyday</strong>. People no longer need to rely on broadcast news or their major metro daily newspaper for news. They have Facebook, Twitter, blogs, independent Web sites and each other. Anyone can create content today, so the top-down function of old media has become extinct.</li> </ol> <p><strong>How do we make them care?</strong></p> <ul> <li>Provide unique content that isn’t watered down or found anywhere else. Make sure it tells a story.</li> <li>Give that content context. Why is it important to the audience? What does it mean?</li> <li>Segment the content into digestible bits that hit home for different members of the audience.</li> <li>Use multiple creative ways to distribute the content. Print. Online. Social media. Mobile media. Email lists. Employ them all.</li> <li>Engage in conversation with the audience. They matter more than anything else.</li> <li>When in doubt: The bottom line matters. The story matters more. What the audience thinks matters even more.</li> </ul> <p><em>Image by <a href="http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1210112">Ayla87</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about journalism’s recent struggles.</em></p>What You Can Learn About Web Design and Storytelling from eBay2010-02-22T08:55:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/learn-web-design-and-storytelling-from-ebay/<p>Every website tells a story.</p> <p>Even online auction sites. Take <a href="http://www.ebay.com/">eBay</a>, one of the original online auction sites, and perhaps the most popular. It engages users in several different ways to draw them into the site and tell story behind the products available there.</p> <p>It does this in six major ways:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Multiple forms of navigation</strong>: eBay has multiple ways for users of its site to dive into the content. Categories, the Buy or Sell landing pages, Daily Deals, Stores and more. This choice of navigation is imperative. No user is alike, so when building complex Web sites, one must cater to all those in the potential audience. In eBay’s case, that’s anyone willing to buy something online.</li> <li><strong>Clean, crisp headlines</strong>: “Free shipping on top picks” can certainly capture one’s attention, especially since free shipping promotions generally attract a lot of potential customers. However, they wouldn’t notice without the simple, clear copy and the color change that helps it stand out.</li> <li><strong>Photos</strong>: Let’s face it. We are a visual society. Crisp copy is great, but no one will ever look at it without some striking images. If you’re a customer, looking to buy something on eBay, browsing that Free Shipping module becomes an exercise in bouncing from photo to photo, not word to word. If you see a photo that interests you, you then connect the dots via the copy.</li> <li><strong>Call to Action</strong>: One sees three major calls to action on the page: Shop Now, Register and Sign In. One could argue four, since the ad for the Narcisco Rodriguez clothes has such a dark background that it stands out against the white background on the rest of the site. Without these, customers may never interact with a site.</li> <li><strong>Featured Content</strong>: And speaking of the Narcisco Rodriguez clothes ad, that’s featured content. They’re attempting to drive people to that particular product, and it works well, as mentioned, because of the color.</li> <li><strong>Neighborhoods</strong>: Let’s say you jump into the site via the traditional route of clicking one of the categories on the far left. I clicked <a href="http://video-games.shop.ebay.com/">video games</a>. Once there, you can click into Neighborhoods on the right of the page. I explored the <a href="http://neighborhoods.ebay.com/video-games">Video Games neighborhood</a>. Here’s where eBay is most interactive, especially for those who never intend to buy a product. These communities have conversations, product information and reviews. It’s a growing, ever-changing resource that can engage and attract traffic daily.</li> </ol> <p>Ebay’s Neighborhoods hold the most power in terms of interactive features. Tons of content lives there, much of it not created by eBay staff, which is great from a business standpoint.</p> <p>What’s the story here?</p> <p>We sell anything to everyone.</p> <p>Not very inspiring. That’s a dilemma for any retail site with a wide customer base.</p> <p>I wanted to see if anyone could do it better.</p> <p><a href="http://www.etsy.com/">Etsy</a> does.</p> <p>The site isn’t a traditional auction site, instead simply offering things for sale. However, Etsy has many similarities to eBay, including a major one: it empowers users to sell their products.</p> <p>With a quick glance of the site its better for a few reasons:</p> <ul> <li>The design is cleaner and more pleasing. The photos are more varied in composition, size and color. The colors are bold, but muted.</li> <li>Its featured content relies on unique illustrations for images (something no doubt important and endearing to its audience).</li> <li>It has a chance for customers to vote (interact) on something at the top of the page.</li> <li>It has a featured sellers story, to help engage customers with story.</li> <li>Plus, it has all those things that eBay does.</li> </ul> <p>The story here? We’re like you, and we happen to sell cool, unique stuff we bet you’ll like.</p> <p>Granted, each site caters to different needs and customers, but if they sold exactly the same products – which site would you buy from?</p> <p>The story is clear.</p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Interactive Media Management and Economics about the interactivity of online auction sites.</em></p>How to Use Social Media to Tell Your Story2010-02-23T10:15:05-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-to-use-social-media-to-tell-your-story/<p>The term social media has found its way into the buzzword dictionary of late.</p> <p>It seems everyone is talking about it.</p> <p>Google has even gotten into the game with its <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/09/if-google-wave-is-the-future-google-buzz-is-the-present/">new Buzz, an add-on to Gmail</a>.</p> <p>There are dozens of posts and blogs dedicated to social media out there, so I hesitate to launch into too much of a how-to here. <a href="http://www.mashable.com/">Mashable</a> is one of favorite blogs on the topic.</p> <p>But if you’re looking to tell your story, so to speak, through social media – here are three tips to make it easy. And guess what, these three tips tie closely into the first part of this series:</p> <h2>Your story must connect with its audience</h2> <p>That means knowing the users, visitors and customers you’re after. Look to similar sites and personalities in social media for tips and guidance. Listen before you start pushing out your story.</p> <p>Good stories connect because of tension. People follow it because they want to know what happens next. So keep them craving surprise, but make sure that surprise isn’t completely unexpected.</p> <p>Try contests. Mark Luckie of <a href="http://www.10000words.net/">10,000 Words</a> is doing this on <a href="http://twitter.com/10000words">Twitter</a> all week, giving away copies of his new book.</p> <p>Hold weekly question and answer sessions. Allow your followers to have some control over your story. Maybe they select the next new product color?</p> <p>These events offer expectations, but can yield something new. Be creative.</p> <h2>Create a character (or voice)</h2> <p>The Chicago Tribune <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/todd-andrlik/chicago-tribunes-social-m_b_118504.html">created an online persona for its social media accounts</a>, Colonel Tribune. You can too. Or simply engage in a creative way that is you being yourself or your company capturing its essence.</p> <p>If your company values creativity, make sure that principle gets reflected in your social media accounts. <a href="http://www.pictureframes.com/">Pictureframes.com</a>, a company that caters to artists, photographers and creators of all kinds, has done this well. Their <a href="http://twitter.com/pictureframes">Twitter</a> account and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pictureframes">Facebook</a> feed is full of great resources and thought-provoking posts. (Disclosure: I worked for them prior to going to grad school.)</p> <h2>Offer takeaways</h2> <p>No one likes to get to the end of a story and feel empty. Sure, you may not be able to do this in 140 characters, but make sure the content you’re linking to and/or posting has value. Your customers and followers will desert you if you fail in this regard.</p> <p>Often, this translates into not just talking about yourself or what you’re selling. We are only interesting when point to why other people, places and things hold our interest.</p> <p>So you see, social media represents just another way humankind does what we do best – tell stories.</p> <p><em>Image courtesy of <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/w99fOHFYTjc">Markus Spiske</a>.</em></p> <p><em>This post is the second part in a two-part series on social media and storytelling. Part one covered</em> <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-to-use-social-media-to-tell-your-story/"><em>three things social media and storytelling have in common</em></a><em>.</em></p>Does Google Help or Hurt Traditional Media?2010-02-28T21:10:05-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/does-google-help-or-hurt/<p>Few tech companies roll off the tongue as easy as Google these days.</p> <p>The two giant has earned their place in tech lore, thanks to visionary leaders, simple, but useful products and bold moves, among other factors. But does this behemoth of a company help or hurt traditional media?</p> <h2>No News Here</h2> <p>I suppose newspaper executives would argue yes – in a big way. After all, <a href="http://www.editorsweblog.org/analysis/2009/03/google_news_and_newspaper_publishers_all.php">Google News has aggregated much of their content, and as they might say, stolen potential revenue</a>.</p> <p>Google executives have countered that search helps enhance newspaper content, and that the company <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/07/technology/lashinsky_google.fortune/">has tried to help newspapers, but hasn’t found the perfect solution just yet</a>.</p> <p>Book publishers and authors have <a href="http://mashable.com/2008/10/28/google-book-search-agreement/">battled Google over its Books portal in the past</a>, and that fight continues today – <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/books/09google.html">centered on eBooks</a>. Much of the fight, like the battle with newspapers, has revolved around copyright issues.</p> <p>The movie and television industry have also faced Google head on over the content it aggregates for search. To that end, the search giant has yanked movie and television shows off its video portal, YouTube.</p> <p>And that plays into Google’s quest to better monetize YouTube, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/20/youtube-movie-rental-feat_n_430562.html">with the addition of movie rentals earlier this year</a>. However, will that be enough to quiet down the movie studios?</p> <p>No.</p> <h2>Always About Money</h2> <p>Because this isn’t about just copyright and content. It’s about money. Google has grown more and more <a href="http://news.cnet.com/Google-shares-rise-in-debut/2100-1024_3-5316026.html">since it went public in 2004</a>.</p> <p>After all, Google isn’t just a tech company – it’s in the advertising business. That’s how traditional media has always made its money. So there lies the conflict.</p> <p>And it’s a good conflict.</p> <p>Google has helped traditional media more than it has harmed it.</p> <p>In the book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Googled-End-World-As-Know/dp/1594202354">Googled</a> by Ken Auletta, Google co-founder Sergey Brin says that many of the company’s ideas may never see the light of day if they always went through proper channels before innovating. For example, asking newspaper publishers if it’s OK that Google aggregate their content.</p> <h2>But the Real Currency Is?</h2> <p>Such is the price of innovation on the web history’s fastest developing medium of information.</p> <p>Google will continue to push back on traditional media, effecting its content, the way it tells stories through news, movies, books and more and the way it makes money. That’s a good thing.</p> <p>Google operates with one currency in mind: information. It has the information of millions of web users via searches, emails, chats and much more.</p> <p>The products come free, but the cost comes forth in information.</p> <p>That information leads to products that are more personal and choice-heavy.</p> <p>Yes, consumers need to be wary of how their information is being used. And traditional media needs to be aware of just how much more personal a user’s experience is with Google products.</p> <p>A balance here could guide users to a continued improved experience and direct old media to something it has only reacted to, instead of created: innovation.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="http://www.sxc.hu/photo/640941">marganz</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about Google and the media issues surrounding the company.</em></p>Code and Design2010-03-02T22:53:10-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/code-and-design/<p>You like interactive media.</p> <p>Are you left brained or right brained?</p> <p>If you’re right brained, you’re creative and will most likely make a good designer.</p> <p>If you’re left brained, you’re analytical and will most likely make a great programmer.</p> <p>But what if you could do both tasks in the world of interactive media?</p> <p>There’s good <a href="http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/01/6-reasons-why-designers-should-code/">reasons</a> to, according to a post at <a href="http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/">Web Designer Depot</a>.</p> <p>I’ll add one more to the list: It’s fun to do both!</p>7 Free Tools for Creating Multimedia Websites2010-03-06T01:16:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/7-free-tools-for-creating-multimedia-websites/<p>We all like free. Love it even.</p> <p>And we value saving time much more, especially when building multimedia experiences. So here are a seven free tools that I’ve found indispensable:</p> <ol> <li><a href="http://kuler.adobe.com/">Kuler</a>: Adobe’s color selection tool makes experimenting and picking colors for projects fun and easy.</li> <li><a href="http://getfirebug.com/">Firebug</a>: Inspect and edit HTML in real time. Perfect for experimenting.</li> <li><a href="http://www.w3schools.com/">W3 Schools</a>: A site packed with great web development tutorials. Learning CSS was much easier with <a href="http://www.w3schools.com/css/" rel="noopener noreferrer">these</a> at my disposal.</li> <li><a href="http://www.kirupa.com/">Kirupa</a>: I just recently discovered this site, chock full of resources for all things Flash.</li> <li><a href="http://blog.twitter.com/2009/10/theres-list-for-that.html">Twitter Lists</a>: I am a big fan of Twitter Lists. Follow these two I made if you want insights from <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/creative">creative people</a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/internet-tech">interactive media professionals</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/">Smashing Magazine</a>: The thing I enjoy most about Smashing Mag is that it always leads me to new and exciting things on the web.</li> <li><a href="http://delicious.com/DavidAKennedy">My Delicious</a>: Want more links and resources from me. Check out my Delicious profile.</li> </ol> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/Im7lZjxeLhg">Ales Nesetril</a></em>.</p>Could a New Media Education Mean Better Communication Online?2010-03-06T23:00:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-media-education/<p>The common praise given to the Internet: anyone can express their voice to millions of potential users, readers and listeners.</p> <p>Many children and teenagers have embraced this.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults.aspx">recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project</a> says that as many as 73 percent of teens and 72 percent of young adults use social networking. That translates a huge number of people that are telling their stories online.</p> <h2>Your Story in Front of Millions</h2> <p>Millions of words and thoughts become digitized and available for anyone to read. But do teens and young adults realize the possible consequences of pumping out content.</p> <p>In his book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Future-Reputation-Gossip-Privacy-Internet/dp/0300124988">The Future of Reputation</a>, Daniel J. Solove recounts several stories about people who dealt with privacy issues after placing parts of their lives online. The book could serve as a wakeup call to anyone, not just teens and young adults.</p> <p>Take this example, for instance, <a href="http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/04/myspace-diatrib/">as reported by Wired in 2009</a>. A college student ranted on her MySpace page about how she hated her hometown. The high school principal in town forwarded her diatribe to the local newspaper.</p> <p>People read it and it caused an uproar. The family received death threats. The student’s daughter had to close down his business, one that he had run for 20 years.</p> <p>A California court ruled that the student could not claim an invasion of privacy after her words were published in the newspaper without her permission. Essentially, what she wrote on MySpace had become public record.</p> <h2>Lead with Common Sense</h2> <p>One has to think this should have been common sense. MySpace is a website that can be accessed by anyone in the world, and unless the student’s profile was set to private, viewed by anyone.</p> <p>I can’t help but think there’s a real need for a new media education for teens and young adults, and maybe even older adults who engage in blogging, social networking and other online activities.</p> <h2>So what are the most important areas worth teaching?</h2> <p><strong>How about writing</strong>. The popular Copyblogger blog takes on <a href="http://www.copyblogger.com/writing-for-social-media/">writing for social media from a marketing standpoint</a>, but anyone can apply some of the good writing and storytelling tips there.</p> <p><strong>And we can’t forget privacy</strong>. The non-profit organization, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a <a href="http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs18-cyb.htm">nice page about navigating the Internet safely</a>.</p> <p>These two areas seem to be the most important to me. If people write more clearly, there’s less of a chance of meaningless misunderstandings. And if they begin to understand how their privacy can be affected by the Internet, they’ll likely make fewer Internet-inspired mistakes.</p> <p>All this could be the start of clearer personal stories on the web.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/07dDz_PI05k">Randy Fath</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about the Internet and privacy issues.</em></p>The Print vs. New Media Debate2010-03-12T16:33:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/print-vs-new-media-debate/<p>Newspapers have dominated the news lately.</p> <p>And not for reporting the news, but for being the news. The industry continues to struggle amid declining ad revenues and dwindling audiences.</p> <p>Last week <a href="http://techcrunch.com/">Tech Crunch’s</a> <a href="http://techcrunch.com/author/tcerick/">Erick Schonfeld</a> posted an article about a conversation he had Marc Andreessen, the man who invented Mosaic, the first widely used web browser. In the post, <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/06/andreessen-media-burn-boats/">Andreessen advises media companies to “burn the boats</a>,” so to speak and abandon their print products.</p> <p>Embrace the web. Fully. Before it’s too late and other information competitors have the media industry beat.</p> <p>Today, Schonfeld wrote a follow-up post to his “Burn the Boats” article. In it, he <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/12/newsosaurs-extinction/">compared media companies and some journalists to dinosaurs happily munching on plants (advertising) instead of evolving</a>.</p> <p>The two posts have generated a lot of conversation. And for good reason. The debate here is a lively one, and worth reading for anyone interested in how technology will continue to shape newspapers, and the type of storytelling they practice.</p> <p>One commenter on the latest post said this:</p> <blockquote> <p>&quot;I looked around at the people I was sharing the train with.</p> <p>To a person- everyone that looked to be 40+ was either reading a book, talking on their cell or reading a newspaper/magazine (or sleeping).</p> <p>The under 40 crowd? Just like me – people were on their cells doing, I am assuming, exactly what I was doing: browsing the web, using facebook, whatever. The point is they WEREN’T reading newspapers.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>And there lies the real issue.</p> <p>Yes, this is a money issue, but also an audience issue.</p> <p>I would love to see old media take more chances. Burning the boat sounds so romantic. Fun, even. I’d bet it would spur innovation.</p> <p>However, until the majority of the audience on that train starts using digital tools to consume news, the media will continue to have to walk the line between burning the boat and just bailing out the water in the sinking ship.</p>My Favorite New Social Media Tool2010-03-16T23:00:48-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/favorite-new-social-media-tool/<p>When I first jumped into the social media realm, the amount of tools available to access the different networks overwhelmed me.</p> <p>It’s no secret that within the interactive media world, most of the software and tools we use have about a dozen ways to do each particular task. Social media browsers are no different.</p> <p>I’ve used only three extensively: <a href="http://www.twhirl.org/">Twhirl</a>, <a href="http://www.tweetdeck.com/">TweetDeck</a> and now <a href="http://hootsuite.com/">HootSuite</a>. I’ve tried several more.</p> <p>Hootsuite stands alone as my favorite. Here’s why:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Accessible online</strong>. You can get to Hootsuite from anywhere by going to the home page and logging in. Instantly, you can tap into your account and social networks. No software needed.</li> <li><strong>Multiple social networks</strong>. You can reach all your favorite social media accounts with ease. I access the big ones from Hootsuite: Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.</li> <li><strong>Tabbed Browsing</strong>. Some of the other social media browsers have this feature, but TweetDeck – my previous favorite – lacked it. I always disliked having to scroll over forever. You still may have to scroll in Hootsuite, depending on how many columns you use, but you can always resize your columns.</li> <li><strong>Stats anyone</strong>. Hootsuite grants access to a nice array of stats, just enough to gain an idea of how many folks are reading and clicking on your social media accounts.</li> <li><strong>Multiple control</strong>. If you’re engaging with social media communities for your job or company, Hootsuite makes it easy. Multiple people can control accounts, plus you can monitor keywords and more.</li> </ul> <p>To learn more about HootSuite, watch this <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXpYVTnyCjU">tutorial video</a>.</p>The Ultimate Blogging Resource List2010-03-18T08:02:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blogging-resource-list/<p>You can never have enough resources when it comes to blogging.</p> <p>I put this list together about three weeks ago for a presentation on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> vs. Blogger. The meat of the content was guided by this great post, comparing <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> and Blogger.</p> <p>However, I wanted to give people something more to guide their blogging adventures. That ignited this list of varied resources that I turn to every day when blogging.</p> <p>Some contain advice, some lead to tools and some help you produce content. Become aquatinted with them, use them and your blogging will improve in no time.</p> <h2>Blog Tips and Tricks</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.problogger.net/">http://www.problogger.net/</a> – This is the blogger’s bible. One of Technorati’s Top 100 blogs, this site is full of everything you’d want to know about blogging.</li> <li><a href="http://www.copyblogger.com/">http://www.copyblogger.com/</a> – A blog centered on writing and online marketing. Has a great set of resources, located in the left nav of the site.</li> <li><a href="http://www.problogdesign.com/">http://www.problogdesign.com/</a> – A blog all about design.</li> <li><a href="http://www.blogtogreat.com/">http://www.blogtogreat.com/</a> – Another tips and tricks blog that includes a lot about monetizing your blog.</li> <li><a href="http://www.bloggingtips.com/">http://www.bloggingtips.com/</a> – Because you can never have enough tips.</li> </ul> <h2>Sites to Help You Blog Better</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://technorati.com/">http://technorati.com/</a> – The most popular blog search engine. List your blog here!</li> <li><a href="http://www.feedburner.com/">http://www.feedburner.com/</a> – A site owned by Google, so it ties into your Google account. It allows you to burn a RSS feed of your blog, monitor it and implement various tools to maintain and optimize your blog.</li> <li><a href="http://www.seobook.com/">http://www.seobook.com/</a> – Run by SEO guru Aaron Wall – this site and blog is chock full of SEO knowledge.</li> <li><a href="http://www.seomoz.com/">http://www.seomoz.org/</a> – Another site and blog geared toward learning and keeping up with SEO. One of the most well respected SEO firms. Check out their <a href="http://www.seomoz.org/article/beginners-1-page">Beginner’s Guide to SEO</a>!</li> <li><a href="http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp">http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp</a> – Free photo website.</li> <li><a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/">http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/</a> – Another free photo site.</li> <li><a href="http://www.sxc.hu/">http://www.sxc.hu/</a> – More free photos – this one is a favorite.</li> <li><a href="http://blogsofnote.blogspot.com/">http://blogsofnote.blogspot.com/</a> – Google spotlights blogs that use Blogger. Always amazed at the creativity out there – this one is good for inspiration.</li> <li><a href="http://www.10000words.net/2009/09/99-greatest-blogs-you-arent-reading.html">http://www.10000words.net/2009/09/99-greatest-blogs-you-arent-reading.html</a> – A great list of blogs compiled by Mark Luckie. Many of them fall into the realm of interactive media. Check 'em out.</li> </ul>Why the iPad could Cripple the Internet and Newspapers2010-03-20T23:57:47-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/ipad-could-cripple-internet-and-newspapers/<p>Steve Jobs has been quoted as saying he <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/jan/28/can-apple-ipad-save-newspapers" title="Can the Apple iPad save newspapers?">believes in old media companies, and that democracy depends on a free and professional press</a>.</p> <p>That has put some hope in newspaper executives. After all, Jobs is the guy who reinvented the revenue model for the music industry.</p> <p>And with the iPad, it’s clear Jobs and company at Apple are up to something.</p> <h2>Hi, we’re closed</h2> <p>However, if the iPad takes off, and other competitors step forward, how many different platforms will newspapers, magazines and book publishers have to create content for? What the iPad and other tools like it could create is a system of closed systems.</p> <p>Scholar <a href="http://futureoftheinternet.org/" title="The Future of the Internet">Jonanthan Zittrain</a> speaks to this in his book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300124872?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=jonatzittr-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=030012487" title="The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It"><em>The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It</em></a>. The iPad is an example of a tethered device. “It’s the kind of device that requires special programming knowledge and approval of the device’s creator (Apple).</p> <p>He and I have nothing against things like the iPad, iPhone, Kindle and Tivo. They are great and have led to some exciting things.</p> <p>However, they could also lead to a more controlled computing system and less innovation, as he argues.</p> <h2>Balance, please</h2> <p>What’s the answer? Balance – something Zittrain also calls for in his book and in an <a href="http://www.charlierose.com/view/content/9081" title="Jonathan Zittrain on Charlie Rose">interview with Charlie Rose</a>.</p> <p>The Internet has existed as a system that anyone can jump into and play with, so to speak. If you want to create a website for your business, you can do that without knowing everything about how the Internet or computers work.</p> <p>An Internet dominated by iPad-like devices could wreck that. Developers would have to have more specialized programming knowledge, approval from device creators and other restrictions.</p> <p>So what should newspapers, magazines and other online storytellers do?</p> <ul> <li>Explore all possibilities, but maintain some distance and freedom. Don’t rely on just one solution for distributing content.</li> <li>Embrace both closed systems, like the iPad and open source platforms, like WordPress.</li> <li>Advocate for standards when it comes to devices like the iPad, iPhone and Kindle.</li> </ul> <p>There’s no perfect solution here, but doing these three things will help maintain that balance that Zittrain so smartly calls for as a solution.</p> <p>What else could newspaper, magazine and book publishers do to help their cause here?</p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about the future of the Internet.</em></p>Three Awesome Examples of Interactive Media Stories2010-04-01T10:31:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/three-awesome-examples-of-interactive-media-stories/<p>When it comes to creating interactive media experiences and websites, finding inspiration is paramount.</p> <p>Personally, I’m working on several big projects as I approach graduation from my graduate program, so I’m scouring the web, searching for stuff that causes pause, makes me think and want to explore.</p> <p>Here’s three examples I discovered recently and why they’ve inspired me.</p> <h2><a href="http://9elements.com/io/projects/html5/canvas/">100 Tweets</a> by <a href="http://9elements.com/en.html">9Elements</a></h2> <p>This site uses HTML5 and Javascript to display 100 tweets about HTML5 in a particle-like way. It has audio and plenty of animation, which make it pretty immersive and something you just want to click on.</p> <p>To learn more about the project, check out the <a href="http://9elements.com/io/?p=153">blog post</a> on it.</p> <h2><a href="http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_science/moon_anniversary/">In Retrospect: 40 Years Since the Race to the Moon</a></h2> <p>A Flash-based site created by the <a href="http://ap.org/">Associated Press</a> to highlight the 40th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. My favorite part here is the timeline. It’s created in a way that visually shows how much failure the space program had to endure to reach its goal. I also like the Apollo 11 animation because it shows how incredibly complex the craft was.</p> <h2><a href="http://roanoke.com/multimedia/wb/233658">Autism: Breaking Down the Barriers – A Weighty Diagnosis</a></h2> <p>This multimedia project by the Roanoke Times dives into the subject of children and autism. Focused on a family with twins, one who has autism and one that doesn’t, the project raises issues about autism, and why it’s difficult to deal with.</p> <p>The video does an excellent job of setting up the story and drawing the viewer in. As soon as I watched it I wanted to explore the rest of the media. The reporters combine powerful quotes, words and images extremely well.</p> <p>I found these links by browsing <a href="http://www.thefwa.com/">Favorite Website Awards</a> and <a href="http://interactivenarratives.org/">Interactive Narratives</a>.</p>A Few More Predictions for the iPad2010-04-02T12:33:44-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/predictions-for-the-ipad/<p>The <a href="http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=iPad&amp;btnG=Search+Blogs">blogosphere is lit up with talk of the iPad</a> a day before it comes out.</p> <p>Some believe it’s <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5508130/why-i-wont-buy-an-ipad-and-think-you-shouldnt-either">far from perfect</a> while others <a href="http://twitter.com/adellecharles/status/11487329856">anxiously await the iPad’s arrival</a>. Only time will tell how well the iPad sells, how easily people can use it and how they use it.</p> <h2>Respect the User</h2> <p>Some four years ago, I bought a Palm Pilot. I had just landed my first job as a journalist and desperately wanted something to keep up with all my new contacts.</p> <p>I think I used it four times. I ended up scribbling my contacts in my reporter’s notebook, and transferring them to a text document for easy electronic transporting.</p> <p>Why?</p> <p>It didn’t fit into my life. <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1898610,00.html">Palm failed in a way with its devices</a>.</p> <p>It was faster to just scribble the name when on location and in a rush. The text file proved easier to get to and navigate than my Palm device.</p> <h2>Is it just Hype?</h2> <p>I think the <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/">Apple iPad</a> could suffer the same fate.</p> <p>Here’s my thoughts on the iPad:</p> <ul> <li>It could end up being a nice around-the-house kind of computer, perfect for checking email or browsing the web.</li> <li>It could be too big for people to carry it with them everywhere.</li> <li>As Cory Doctorow pointed out, <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5508130/why-i-wont-buy-an-ipad-and-think-you-shouldnt-either">Apple has made a killing on closed off devices and applications</a>.</li> <li>However, the iPad might fall short of expectations because it doesn’t embrace the free/open-source mentality that’s gathering steam on the web.</li> <li>I <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2010/03/20/ipad-could-cripple-internet-and-newspapers/">don’t think it will save the news industry</a>. The news is no longer a commodity. Anyone can distribute news these days, so journalists still have to figure out how to make the news they gather more valuable than most.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Final Word</strong>: No technology is perfect, so the iPad won’t be the be-all, end-all some may think. It will have its fans and detractors. I’ll give it chance, but would have to try one extensively before ever buying one.</p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about the iPad and its release.</em></p>How Does an Engagement Editor Engage?2010-04-06T09:00:02-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-does-an-engagement-editor-engage/<p>Legacy media and other news organizations have begun to take social media more seriously, <a href="http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=4860">creating positions that focus on the medium</a>.</p> <p>However, few have set out to create a position as unique as the the <a href="http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/">Voice of San Diego</a>.</p> <p>Its new <a href="http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/clipboard/article_0dba4922-3c46-11df-a439-001cc4c002e0.html">Engagement Editor</a>, yet to be hired, has people talking. It’s part ombudsman, part new media guru.</p> <p>Journalists <a href="http://erikgable.com/2010/03/31/10-things-that-could-go-into-a-community-engagement-editors-job-description/">Erik Gable</a> and <a href="http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/yes-engagement-is-everyones-job-and-my-job/">Steve Buttry</a> wrote recent blog posts about the position and what it means. Mark Luckie over at 10,000 Words <a href="http://www.10000words.net/2010/04/what-exactly-is-social-media.html">created a nice list of what journalists with similar and current positions do with social media</a>.</p> <p>In his blog post, Gable asked what you would add to his list.</p> <p>Here’s what I would want to do that are similar to his ideas:</p> <ul> <li>Manage the organization’s flagship social media accounts, reader comments and other reader-submitted content.</li> <li>Monitor new technology and teach staff workshops on social media and other new tools that may improve engagement. Help staff determine the best tools to use for different projects.</li> <li>Hold regular workshops for readers and community organizations to encourage new and continued reader-submitted material. Identify the potential regular and occasional correspondents for the Web site.</li> <li>Serve as the point of contact for readers and be the steward for conversations about the <a href="http://voiceofsandiego.org/">voiceofsandiego.org</a> and its stories.</li> </ul> <p>And I’d also like to:</p> <ul> <li>Organize and lead discussion forums and live online chats on the site about important events and stories. These could also take the form of a broadcast on UStream or similar site. Bring together community leaders to participate in these discussions in order to promote debate about topics.</li> <li>Create a portal on the site that would help readers better follow the bigger, more complicated stories. Think of it like a giant blog with easily accessed backstory.</li> <li>Establish a more social portal for comments and discussion, through a tool like <a href="http://www.ning.com/">Ning</a> or <a href="http://buddypress.org/">BuddyPress</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Like Erik asks, what else would you add?</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/OKOOGO578eo">Anastasia Dulgier </a>.</em></p>A Quick Search Engine Marketing Analysis: Back On My Feet2010-04-07T14:18:55-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-quick-search-engine-marketing-analysis/<p>SEO has fast turned into one of the web’s buzz words.</p> <p>It may be a word tossed around easily, but more and more businesses are taking it seriously today, especially non-profits who can leverage it to put more people in front of its story and cause.</p> <p>If you run a small non-profit, paying attention to SEO can mean the difference between gaining donations and having empty coffers. I’ll take a look at one non-profit, <a href="http://www.backonmyfeet.org/">Back On My Feet</a>, and examine what they’ve done right and how they can improve in the search engine marketing arena. Hopefully, if you run a small business or non-profit, you can gather some knowledge from this quick case study.</p> <p>Back On My Feet, as stated on the organization’s site, “promotes the self-sufficiency of homeless populations by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.” I first learned of this great organization from a <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/30036783#30036783">story about it on NBC</a>.</p> <h2>What’s Done Right?</h2> <p>Search engine optimization and marketing should not focus on just things like meta tags, keywords and the like. So much of it is simply about doing the basic things and doing them well. Back On My Feet serves as a great example of this.</p> <p>Here’s why:</p> <ul> <li><strong>A clean, clear and professional design</strong>. This organization has had its site designed by professionals – <a href="http://www.o3world.com/">O3</a> – a web design firm located in Philadelphia. That translates – a site that’s likely to get linked to because it’s easy to navigate, fun to look at and conveys its message well. The site has a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank">PageRank</a> of five, which is solid.</li> <li><strong>Use of social media</strong>. From the footer section, it’s apparent that Back On My Feet uses different social media platforms to promote itself. This translates into <a href="http://search.twitter.com/search?q=backonmyfeet.org">links</a>, a valuable commodity in the world of SEO.</li> <li><strong>A clear, uncomplicated title tag</strong>. Title tags, or what appears in the top of a browser, just above the web address, are important. It is one of the first things a search engine spiders see. The organization uses “Welcome to Back On My Feet | Home” This translates into good SEO because it has the organization’s name in there, which spiders will then see and put emphasis on.</li> </ul> <h2>What Can Be Improved?</h2> <p>However, Back On My Feet can improve in some areas as well. These include:</p> <ul> <li><strong>The site may be professionally designed, but its code has a few errors</strong>, according to <a href="http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.backonmyfeet.org%2F&amp;charset=%28detect+automatically%29&amp;doctype=Inline&amp;group=0">W3C’s Code Validation Service</a>. Perfecting code can be tricky. It’s something I’m still working on here on my site, but it’s vital because it means search engines can process your site faster and they won’t be tripped up by a mistake in your code.</li> <li><strong>The site makes solid use of the title tag, but fails to take advantage of other meta tags like description and keywords</strong>. The site uses the same string of words for all these tags. That means they miss a big chance when it comes to trying out keywords that might bring traffic to their site, like “running charity” or “homeless charity” or other similar terms. The title tag and description could be written with more power and usefulness, both for SEO and general description. How about something in the title tag like: Back On My Feet | Helping the Homeless through Running. And the description tag could read: Back on My Feet promotes the self-sufficiency of homeless populations by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.</li> <li><strong>I first discovered this great organization through a news story</strong>. I’d love to see a news section, linking to recent articles or mentions. This might help circulate links about the organization.</li> <li><strong>Lastly, the organization actively uses social media and other web tools as a means of promotion and fun generation, but I’d like to see bigger social media icons on the home page</strong>. That might increase awareness of the platforms and encourage people to follow Back On My Feet.</li> </ul> <p>This is by no means a perfect analysis, but it’s a quick start guide and points attention to areas other non-profits can focus on when creating a web presence. If you’re looking for more great information on SEO resources, I recommend these two sites:</p> <ol> <li><a href="http://www.seobook.org/">The Non-Profits Guide to Search Engine Marketing</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://www.seomoz.org/articles">Search Engine Optimization Guides by SEOMoz</a>.</li> </ol> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Interactive Media Management about search engine marketing.</em></p>How the FCC/Comcast Decision Could Hurt Storytelling2010-04-11T14:49:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/fcc-comcast-decision-could-hurt-storytelling/<p>Last week, a federal appeals court declared that the Federal Communications Commission <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07net.html">lacked the authority to tell Comcast to not block certain uses of its Internet access services</a>.</p> <p>This strains the <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2010/03/fcc-outlines-plan-to-expand-internet-access/37286/">FCC’s plan to expand Internet access</a> across the country, but it says it will push forward. We’ve seen the answer to the problem of wide-ranging Internet access and who will pay for it isn’t an easy one. It’s not just about access to high-speed Internet, <a href="http://brookcorwin.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/will-the-internet-remain-an-all-you-can-download-buffet/">but demand and economics</a>.</p> <p>As the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07net.html">New York Times article</a> on the decision outlines, there’s positives and negatives to Internet service provider’s charging and not charging content creators for use of broadband cables. This would create “fast” and “slow” lanes on the Internet, and might limit certain types of content to users.</p> <p>Only time will tell what will happen, but if ISPs start restricting access to content providers and begin charging them to distribute content, net neutrality will take a big hit. And so might storytelling.</p> <ul> <li>Some users may not be able to afford access to high bandwidth type content like videos.</li> <li>Media companies may have to pass the extra surcharge in Internet fees to the consumer, which wouldn’t be a good thing for ailing legacy media companies.</li> <li>Smaller companies that provide new, innovative content may be strained with higher prices to distribute content, thus limiting creativity.</li> </ul> <p>With so much at stake for storytelling, this is an issue for any multimedia storyteller to watch.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/FQgI8AD-BSg">Finn Hackshaw</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about about network neutrality and the current debate surrounding it.</em></p>How Should You Go About Managing Creative People?2010-04-12T13:59:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/managing-creative-people/<p>Managing people almost always comes with new and unique challenges every day.</p> <p>Working with creative people, and managing them, can sometimes prove even tougher. Why? Well, because they’re usually wildly inventive, fiercely intelligent and passionate about their ideas. That translates into beautiful, yet at times difficult, work days for employees and managers at creative-driven businesses.</p> <p>In thinking about how to best manage creative storytellers and artistic people in general, I first dove into the blogosphere. It’s a great place to discover other’s personal experiences. I found one post that hit on excellent points, but stayed simple. It’s a set of management values I’d like to follow myself.</p> <p><a href="http://manuelsaez.com/">Manual Saez</a> lists these <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/manuel-saez/power-design/managing-creative-people-achieve-common-goal">five values that his company uses to help manage creative types</a>: <strong>humility, candor, optimism, ambition and responsibility</strong>. His blog post about managing creative individuals goes on to define why they’re important to his specific company.</p> <p>Manual Saez lists these five values that his company uses to help manage creative types: humility, candor, optimism, ambition and responsibility. His blog post about managing creative individuals goes on to define why they’re important to his specific company.</p> <p>However, I’d like to to add to that list and define why I think each added ingredient has value.</p> <p><strong>Collaboration</strong>: Creatives typically want to protect their creations, and feel deeply passionate about them. It’s understandable, but the great majority of professional creative work comes out of small or large teams of innovative people. So the ability to embrace teamwork is essential to success in any creative field.</p> <p><strong>Respect</strong>: A lack of respect can develop into a potent poison for any organization. Without respect, employees refuse to follow leaders or buy into any sort of change and the new ideas behind it. Respect must be embraced, even if ideas are not.</p> <p><strong>Win-Win Strategy</strong>: This addition is inspired by a classmate of mine, Paul Wagner. You can connect with him on <a href="http://twitter.com/prwagner">Twitter</a> and his <a href="http://paulrwagner.wordpress.com/">blog</a>. He gave a great guest lecture in class today about the evolution of cooperation. His said that an effective way to solve problems and increase cooperation was to adopt solutions that create benefits for both parties involved. So if you’re working with a client or co-worker and disagree, try to foster a solution that’s mutually beneficial.</p> <p>These eight guideposts can fuel a successful creative team any time, anywhere and on any project. They are the principles I plan on championing as I go forward in my professional career. Thanks to Manuel for the starting point and inspiration.</p> <p>What else would you add or how would your strategy be different?</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/_Wo1Oq38tVU">Ben Pattinson </a>.</em></p> <p><em>Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Interactive Media Management and Economics about about personal management styles.</em></p>10 Awesome Resources for Learning Web Standards2010-04-15T11:45:10-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/10-resources-for-learning-web-standards/<p>If you’re a new web designer, multimedia storyteller or interactive media professional, here’s a short list of resources that will help you learn more about web standards.</p> <p>The <a href="http://webstandardsgroup.org/">Web Standards Group</a> defines web standards as “(HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSLT etc.) and best practices (accessible sites using valid and semantically correct code).” Web standards are important when building websites because they can make your site function better, last longer and be accessible by many people across multiple platforms.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.happycog.com/publish/dwws/">Designing with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman</a></h2> <p>Authored by the Godfather of web standards, Jeffrey Zeldman, this book should be considered one of the more important guideposts in learning and embracing web standards.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.opera.com/company/education/curriculum/">Opera Web Standards Curriculum</a></h2> <p>Who doesn’t like free? Opera, the company who created one of the world’s popular web browsers, offers up a ton of free, online material relating to web standards.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.webstandards.org/">The Web Standards Project</a></h2> <p>This grassroots organization has worked with browser makers since 1998 to make the web more accessible for all.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.w3schools.com/">W3 Schools</a></h2> <p>A perfect spot to get free tutorials and examples on how to build and maintain web standard compliant websites.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.w3.org/">W3C</a></h2> <p>Founded by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web, this organization defines the web’s standards.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.alistapart.com/">A List Apart</a></h2> <p>An online magazine, dedicated to the exploration of the design and development of websites, with a focus on standards and best practices.</p> <h2><a href="http://validator.w3.org/">W3C Markup Validation Service</a></h2> <p>This online tool can help you validate the HTML code you write for the websites. There is also a CSS Validator.</p> <h2><a href="http://webstandardsgroup.org/">Web Standards Group</a></h2> <p>A group of web designers and developers interested in web standards.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.maxdesign.com.au/articles/checklist/">Web Standards Checklist</a></h2> <p>An old list, first published in 2004, but it’s still a great starting point for things to address when designing and building a site.</p> <h2><a href="http://www.alistapart.com/articles/grokwebstandards/">How to Grok Web Standards</a></h2> <p>An article that explains how graphic designers need to approach thinking about designing for the web.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/qjnAnF0jIGk">Markus Spiske</a>.</em></p>Five Online Tools You Should Use2010-05-20T07:58:06-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/5-online-tools-you-should-use/<p>Today is a big day. In 12 short hours, I’ll have walked across the stage at <a href="http://www.elon.edu/">Elon University</a> and received my master’s degree in interactive media with 35 talented and creative people.</p> <p>I’ve learned an incredible amount in the program. Just take a look at my <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/">multimedia portfolio</a>. I couldn’t create any of that media-rich web content before I entered the program.</p> <p>I’ve also tried out hundreds of online tools over the past 10 months of my graduate program. Here are my five favorite tools that are easy to use and give you the most traction in the interactive media world.</p> <ol> <li><a href="http://delicious.com/">Delicious</a>: This social bookmarking site isn’t a new one, but it has proved indispensable. I use it <a href="http://delicious.com/DavidAKennedy">every day</a>, whether glancing at it to find an old bookmark, making a new one or checking out a friend’s favorite sites.</li> <li><a href="http://reader.google.com/">Google Reader</a>: Again, the concept here isn’t new, but it this RSS reader has allowed me to put my hands on more new ideas in the past 10 months than 1,000 years in the classroom. I mean, hey, they’re <a href="http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/5_reasons_why_rss_readers_still_rock.php">pretty cool</a>. Even if you don’t use Google Reader, find one and give it a try.</li> <li><a href="http://posterous.com/">Posterous</a>: Half-blogging tool, half micro-blogging tool, this site is my new favorite. I just started a new <a href="http://davidakennedy.posterous.com/">learning journal</a> there, and am looking to start a collaborative blog with Elon iMedia classmate Steve Earley using Posterous in the future. The site is innovative, easy to use and fun. I wish it outputted valid XHTML though.</li> <li><a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/60/">Web Developer Add-on for Firefox</a> (and <a href="http://getfirebug.com/">Firebug</a>): This should really be number one. I’ve used it more than anything as I’ve created websites and other web-related projects. Quick, go find out how these tools help make writing web pages, validating them and more easier and faster.</li> <li>People: There’s one link for this, and it’s all <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/imediaclass2009.xhtml">my classmates in the inaugural interactive media master’s program at Elon University</a>. I’ve learned more from these people than any other tool. Good interactive media follows best practices in design and technical aspects, while pushing the edges of what’s possible. Groundbreaking interactive media does that, and connects with people. And you can’t connect with people if you can’t learn from them.</li> </ol> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/IClZBVw5W5A">Todd Quackenbush</a>.</em></p>Welcome to a Brand New Site2010-06-15T06:45:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/welcome-to-a-brand-new-site/<p>Things have been kind of quiet around here. Man, I hate it when blog posts start that way. However, there’s good reason for the silence…</p> <h2>New Look</h2> <p>You’ll notice a brand new site design! I just completed the final tweaks yesterday, and wanted to make the official announcement.</p> <p><a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a> powers the back-end, and I used <a href="http://themeshapes.com/shape/">Shape</a> by <a href="http://themeshaper.com/">Ian Stewart</a> as a starting point for the custom theme that you see. If you’re looking for a place to dive into WordPress, WordPress theming and more, check out Ian’s site, <a href="http://themeshaper.com/">Themeshaper</a> and its <a href="http://themeshaper.com/forums/">forums</a>. You can learn a lot by browsing around the site.</p> <p>Before the redesign, I used Ian’s <a href="http://themeshaper.com/thematic/">Thematic</a> to power my site. However, when I decided to create a new site, I wanted to learn more about WordPress theming from scratch, rather than starting with a WordPress theme framework. <a href="http://themeshapes.com/shape/">Shape</a>, this <a href="http://themeshaper.com/wordpress-themes-templates-tutorial/">tutorial</a> by Ian, and a few <a href="http://delicious.com/DavidAKennedy/Wordpress">other resources</a> helped me learn a ton.</p> <p>I hope you enjoy the new site as much I enjoyed creating it.</p> <h2>Story Practitioner Interview</h2> <p>A few weeks before I <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-net/Note.aspx?id=946080&amp;type=atom&amp;departments=IMD&amp;max=5">graduated with my master’s degree in interactive media</a>, Kathy Hansen of <a href="http://astoriedcareer.com/">A Storied Career</a> interviewed me via email for her series on Story Practitioners. Check out my <a href="http://astoriedcareer.com/david_kennedy_qa.html">interview</a>, and the rest of the <a href="http://astoriedcareer.com/story_practitioners.html">series</a> for some great insights into modern-day storytelling.</p>To Use WordPress, or to Not Use WordPress2010-06-18T08:09:08-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/to-use-wordpress-or-to-not-use-wordpress/<p>So you want to use <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a> to build a website, huh?</p> <p>Good choice, and you’ve come to the right place. This is the first part in a two-part series on using WordPress to build a website.</p> <h2>Why WordPress Works?</h2> <p>WordPress has continued to gain popularity as a CMS (Content Management System). Why?</p> <ul> <li>It’s free (You do have to pay for web hosting and a domain name, of course).</li> <li>It’s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source">open source</a> (meaning anyone can contribute to the project’s development).</li> <li>It’s easy to use, and relatively flexible when it comes to options for developing a website.</li> </ul> <p>Granted, other choices exist for content management systems, and you should research all of your options. <a href="http://drupal.org/">Drupal</a> and <a href="http://www.joomla.org/">Joomla</a> are two popular CMSs that web designers, web developers and companies seem to favor today.</p> <p>However, some top corporations, organizations and individuals have selected WordPress to meet their needs. Check out the <a href="http://wordpress.org/showcase/">WordPress showcase</a> to see some of the most inspiring and effective ways to use WordPress.</p> <h2>WordPress as a Better CMS</h2> <p>Also, the WordPress team has just <a href="http://wordpress.org/development/2010/06/thelonious/">released WordPress 3.0</a>. Developers built in several features that make this new version a more powerful content management system. These include:</p> <ul> <li>custom background support.</li> <li>custom menu support.</li> <li>custom content types.</li> <li>custom taxonomies (meaning ways to organize content)</li> </ul> <p>You can read about the <a href="http://digwp.com/2010/05/guide-new-features-wordpress-3/">new features in a great post</a> by Jeff Star at <a href="http://digwp.com/">Digging into WordPress</a>. And for a brief on the new features, you can watch the video above.</p> <h2>Important Questions for Using WordPress as a CMS</h2> <p>Once you get an idea of what WordPress can do, you’ll want to ask yourself some important questions:</p> <p><strong>Why do you want to use it?</strong></p> <p>Ask yourself that question. Just like any other tool, WordPress has its advantages and disadvantages. From my experience, WordPress works best if you are really into blogging, have a lot of content to manage or will be updating your site frequently.</p> <p><strong>What’s your design look like?</strong></p> <p>The first thing you need to do is decide how your site is going to be laid out. This will help you select which theme to use. My advice is to pick a theme that is exactly or as close as possible to your desired layout. This will determine how much modification you need to do.</p> <p>You can select between both <a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/">free</a> and <a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/commercial/">commercial</a> themes, available directly from the WordPress website.</p> <p>A note of caution, it’s always good practice to download themes from the theme directory itself, or from reputable theme developers. Lleland over at <a href="http://www.themelab.com/">ThemeLabs</a> says, “People searching for free themes in Google likely have a more ‘innocent’ mindset and probably don’t even realize the mistake they’re making when they use themes from these random sites.” He’s got some <a href="http://www.themelab.com/2009/12/08/stop-downloading-wordpress-themes-from-shady-sites/">good advice on the issue too</a>, so make sure to give it a read.</p> <p>Inevitably, you might say, “Dave, I found this premium theme, and it’s cool, but it costs money. What do you think?”</p> <p>I am generally against premium WordPress themes unless it’s <strong>EXACTLY</strong> what you need. Many fantastic theme developers have built beautiful and easy-to-use premium themes. So it’s a definite option, and one that could make your life easier. However, there are plenty of free options that can accomplish the same thing, so do your research.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Start with these two questions if you want to use WordPress to build your website. Begin browsing themes, and pick some favorites. Then, be sure to remember these two questions: why do I like this theme and does it allow me to do what I want with my site design-wise?</p> <p>The next part in the series will be a <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/31-resources-for-powering-a-website-with-wordpress/">gigantic resource list for using WordPress to build your website</a>.</p> <p><em>This is the first part of a two part series on Building Websites with WordPress. The</em> <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/31-resources-for-powering-a-website-with-wordpress/"><em>second installment</em></a> <em>covers resources you can use for building your site with WordPress.</em></p>The Most Important Ingredient to any Interactive Media Project2010-06-30T11:23:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-most-important-ingredient-to-any-interactive-media-project/<p>I once wanted nothing more than to fly.</p> <p>Not just fly though, but to go to space. I couldn’t help but have this dream. I grew up in Cocoa, close to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. I watched shuttle launches live. I saw Space Shuttle Discovery up close on a tour of the Space Center, thanks a family member who worked there.</p> <p>I was in love with the thought of it all, but as it turns out I had poor eye sight and wasn’t that solid in math or science. Not a good combination for want-to-be astronaut.</p> <p>But that’s all right. Everyone has their place in the world, and I can still live the dream through photos and video footage. Excellent documentaries on the space program, like <a href="http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/nasa/nasa.html">Discovery Channel’s When We Left Earth</a>, also allow myself and other want-to-be astronauts relive the story of space exploration. If you check out the website, it does a nice job of providing users with some interactive features. Users can explore a quiz, video clips, photos and audio messages chronicling the memories of people who watched the missions from Earth.</p> <p>As I watched one of the documentary episodes last night, a line by one of the astronauts reinforced one of the biggest ingredients to a successful interactive media project and its story. The episode told of the tale of one of the <a href="http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4029/Apollo_08a_Summary.htm">Apollo Eight mission</a>, and the first time America viewed the moon.</p> <p>After Astronaut <a href="http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/anders-wa.html">William Anders</a> took his famous photo, “<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthrise">Earthrise</a>,” he said:</p> <blockquote> <p>“It’s ironic. We went there to explore the moon and we rediscovered Earth.”</p> </blockquote> <p>That’s what you have to do with interactive media projects and stories. Never forget to take people where they can’t go. It lets them rediscover things, and live dreams they may not have a chance to live.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/yEauzeZU6xo">The New York Public Library</a>.</em></p>31 Resources for Powering a Website with WordPress2010-07-02T22:34:53-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/31-resources-for-powering-a-website-with-wordpress/<p>If you wish to use WordPress to power your website, you’re lucky. Thousands of people who love and support WordPress have filled the web with tons of resources. I’m going to share my favorites, and segment them by category. I hope they help you. If you have more to add, please do so in the comments.</p> <h2>Resources from WordPress</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://automattic.com/">Automattic</a> – The company behind WordPress, and started by WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg.</li> <li><a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> – The free blogging platform created by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.</li> <li><a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress.org</a> – The free blogging software, available for download and able to be run on a server, and power an entire site.</li> <li><a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page">WordPress Documentation</a> – The WordPress Codex has all the relevant details, tricks and tips on how to take advantage of WordPress’ full power.</li> <li><a href="http://wordpress.org/showcase/">WordPress Showcase</a> – See sites built by WordPress, and discover what it can really do.</li> <li><a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/">WordPress Theme Directory</a> – Download free themes for WordPress.</li> <li><a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/commercial/">Commercial Themes</a> – WordPress also has many premium themes for purchase. Download them here.</li> <li><a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/">Plugins</a> – WordPress can be extended by way of plugins. Browse and download those here.</li> </ul> <h2>WordPress Design</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/wordpress/design-inspiration/">Design galleries</a> – from the Vandelay Design Blog.</li> <li><a href="http://www.noupe.com/wordpress/60-unusual-wp-blog-designs.html">60 unusual WordPress designs</a> – from Noupe.</li> <li><a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/18/100-amazing-free-wordpress-themes-for-2009/">100 free WordPress themes</a> – from Smashing Magazine.</li> </ul> <h2>WordPress Development</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/27/wordpress-theme-development-frameworks/">WordPress development frameworks</a> – can help you get a jump on building a site with WordPress.</li> <li>Another guide to <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/eddiejohnston/wordpress-theme-frameworks-3385742">WordPress theme frameworks</a> – via a Slideshare presentation.</li> <li><a href="http://themeshaper.com/wordpress-themes-templates-tutorial/">How to create a WordPress theme</a> – the ultimate tutorial from Ian Stewart.</li> <li><a href="http://wpshout.com/wordpress-theme-design-basics/">Another WordPress theme tutorial</a> – from WP Shout.</li> <li><a href="http://www.idesignstudios.com/blog/web-design/wordpress-as-cms/">Use WordPress as a true CMS</a> – by Selene Bowlby.</li> <li><a href="http://www.noupe.com/wordpress/powerful-cms-using-wordpress.html">More than 100 techniques</a> for using WordPress as a CMS – from Noupe.</li> <li><a href="http://digwp.com/2010/03/wordpress-functions-php-template-custom-functions/">Fifteen essential functions</a> for use with WordPress – from Digging into WordPress.</li> <li><a href="http://themeshaper.com/how-to-protect-your-wordpress-theme-against-upgrades/">Protect your WordPress theme from upgrades</a> the smart way – from Ian Stewart.</li> <li><a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/15/wordpress-developers-toolbox/">WordPress developer’s toolbox</a> – from Smashing Magazine.</li> <li><a href="http://justintadlock.com/archives/2009/01/23/coding-the-wordpress-loop">How to properly code the WordPress loop</a> – from Justin Tadlock.</li> <li><a href="http://www.webdesignerwall.com/tutorials/wordpress-theme-hacks/">WordPress theme hacks</a> – from Web Designer Wall.</li> <li><a href="http://perishablepress.com/press/2009/12/01/stupid-wordpress-tricks/">A huge list of WordPress tricks</a> – by Perishable Press.</li> <li><a href="http://wphacks.com/huge-compilation-of-wordpress-code/">Even more WordPress code snippets</a> – from WordPress Hacks.</li> <li><a href="http://wpcandy.com/articles/easier-theme-development-with-the-sample-post-collection.html">WordPress sample content</a> – from WP Candy.</li> </ul> <h2>Blogs About WordPress</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://digwp.com/">Digging into WordPress</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wpbeginner.com/">WordPress Beginner</a></li> <li><a href="http://wpazo.com/">WPazo</a></li> <li><a href="http://wpcandy.com/">WordPress Candy</a></li> <li><a href="http://themeshaper.com/">Themeshaper</a></li> </ul> <p>There’s more here at this <a href="http://wellmedicated.com/observational/10-wordpress-blogs-you-should-be-reading/">nice list of 10</a> as well.</p> <p>And if you want more great links about WordPress, be sure to follow my <a href="http://delicious.com/DavidAKennedy">Delicious account</a> and this <a href="http://delicious.com/DavidAKennedy/Wordpress">tag</a>.</p> <p><em>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/OqtafYT5kTw">Ilya Pavlov</a>.</em></p> <p><em>This is the second part of a two part series on Building Websites with WordPress. The</em> <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2010/06/18/to-use-wordpress-or-to-not-use-wordpress/"><em>first installment</em></a> <em>covered the strategy needed when considering WordPress as a content management system or blogging platform for your website.</em></p>The Most Important Takeaway from the Fake BP PR Twitter Account?2010-07-13T19:08:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/takeaway-from-the-fake-bp-pr-twitter-account/<p>Sure, everyone has different answers to that question.</p> <p>My take? In social media, authenticity always wins out. You may be shaking your head here. After all, the fake <a href="http://twitter.com/BPglobalpr">BP PR account</a> is fake. Not very authentic, but it’s real in a different sense. It brims with honesty.</p> <p>Whomever tweets from BP Global PR (some reports have it as <a href="http://www.wallblog.co.uk/2010/05/28/man-behind-fake-bp-pr-twitter-account-is-outed-gets-book-deal/">Mike Monteiro</a>), they post the kind of messages and fuel the kind of dialogue that only existed in many people’s hearts and minds before the account existed. Whether you find the tweets humorous or not, the Twitter updates strike a nerve.</p> <p>They do that because even though the account portrays fictional people behind a real company, those fictional people speak from the heart. In your social media practices, remember that just because you’re sending messages out into the ethos, real people are listening. Give them what they want: something real.</p> <p><strong>Update (09/12/2010):</strong> <a href="http://www.theawl.com/">The Awl</a> has reported that the person behind the fake BP PR Twitter account is <a href="http://www.theawl.com/2010/09/josh-simpson-the-man-behind-bp-global-pr">comedian Josh Simpson</a>.</p>The Newspaper of the Future2010-07-17T21:49:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-newspaper-of-the-future/<p>I must admit this <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/16/ex-google-news-bing-engineers-set-out-to-build-newspaper-of-the-future/">app for Apollo News</a> looks neat, despite my hesitance to jump on the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-newspaper-of-the-future/blog/predictions-for-the-ipad/">iPad bandwagon</a> just yet.</p> <p>The app learns what kind of content you like and recommends similar content you might find interesting. Sounds like a search engine in a way, only more personal. Worth taking a look and pondering whether or not this could be the newspaper of the future.</p>Posterous vs. Tumblr: How to Decide in Three Steps2010-07-28T11:39:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/posterous-vs-tumblr-how-to-decide-in-three-steps/<p>Choosing a blogging platform is like going to a new restaurant: you want to try something new, but you don’t want to commit to something that won’t be that good, and end up with a bad taste in your mouth. Plus, the choices remain endless.</p> <p>I recently wrote a two part series on <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2010/06/18/to-use-wordpress-or-to-not-use-wordpress/">using WordPress for your website</a>, and am always interested in the evolution of blogging and publishing platforms. <a href="http://www.moniguzman.com/">Monica Guzman</a> <a href="http://twitter.com/moniguzman/status/18936712759">asked via Twitter how Posterous and Tumblr compared</a>. Also, my good friend, <a href="http://www.collcallahan.com/">Colleen Callahan</a>, had some questions about Tumblr the other day, so I thought I’d tackle this question in a post.</p> <h2>1. Create an Account on Both Platforms</h2> <p>I have some expertise in interactive media, so I certainly could take a better stance here and recommend one platform over the other, but that would be pointless. Why? Everyone is different.</p> <p>So don’t be afraid to sign up for an account on both <a href="http://posterous.com/">Posterous</a> and <a href="http://tumblr.com/">Tumblr</a> and experiment. You’ll probably know very quickly which one you prefer.</p> <h2>2. See Who’s There (in the Community)</h2> <p>Both Tumblr and Posterous have strong online communities of bloggers who blog there every day. Depending on who’s there, you may want to select one over the other. Sure, a blog or website can be read by everyone, but it’s often the people within a certain community who first become evangelists for your site.</p> <p>For example, my friend, Colleen, wants to start a site centered around music. I told her Tumblr might have the stronger community for that audience. I put my running blog there because I found more runners in that community than Posterous. I put my learning journal blog on Posterous because I found a lot of general-interest blogs already there.</p> <h2>3. Think About the Content You’ll Have and What That Will Mean for Using the Site</h2> <p>Many of the options and features for Posterous and Tumblr have striking similarities, but ultimately, it comes down to your content, how easy it is for you to get it out there and how easy it is for users to interact with it. Choose the platform best suited for this process.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>When I researched each of these platforms, I found this <a href="http://mashable.com/2009/06/29/posterous-vs-tumblr/">head to head comparison</a> by Mashable very handy. They like Posterous over Tumblr, by the way. I also wrote this article over at Fuel Your Writing on <a href="http://www.fuelyourwriting.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-four-major-blogging-platforms-for-writers/">four of the main blogging platforms</a>.</p> <p>As for me, I find it hard to pick a clear winner. I use each one for a different purpose, so it’s hard to compare. It all comes down to <strong>YOU</strong> in the end.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/hEC6zxdFF0M">Kate Townsend</a>.</em></p>When's the Last Time You Pumped Up Your Creativity?2010-07-30T23:45:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/whens-the-last-time-you-pumped-up-your-creativity/<p>Can you build up creativity, like a muscle?</p> <p>I watched a <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/29/po-bronson-creativit/">video interview</a> with one of my favorite authors, <a href="http://www.pobronson.com/">Po Bronson</a>, on TechCrunch yesterday. He talked about the nature of creativity, and <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.html">how creativity in America has declined</a>. In the interview, he speaks about how engaging in creative activities can help people become more creative. He also points to how being open to trying new experiences can aid creativity.</p> <p>All this made me think: how can storytellers constantly work on their creativity? I think the answer remains different for everyone. Here’s what I do:</p> <ul> <li>My storytelling involves a lot of writing, so I blog in several places.</li> <li>I keep an online learning journal, so to speak, where I post links and thoughts that I find interesting. I also try to post what new things I’m learning about there.</li> <li>I read as much as I can.</li> <li>I try out new technology. One of the latest social networking tools I’ve tried is <a href="http://cliqset.com/">Cliqset</a>.</li> <li>I run. This gets my mind wandering, and it sometimes fuels great ideas.</li> <li>I’ve tried to take on a few freelance projects, especially those involving web design. Designing sites means I have to come up with something out of nothing – an important task for improving creativity.</li> <li>Oh, and I like to scribble ideas and things in a <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/important-non-digital-tool-for-any-creative/">notebook</a>.</li> </ul> <p>So what’s your strategy for building your creative ways?</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/54VAb3f1z6w">Dragos Gontariu</a>.</em></p>Journalism Lives just Launched2010-08-03T18:17:09-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/journalism-lives-just-launched/<p>You may have noticed a <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/status/20175541986">recent update I sent out via Twitter</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://stephencearley.com/">Steve Earley</a> and I just launched a <a href="http://journalismlives.com/its-alive-journalism-lives">new blog focused on how interactivity is helping and can help the news industry</a>. Both Steve and I love blogging, have a deep passion for the future of the news and wanted to join the larger debate surrounding journalism’s ongoing evolution, so starting this blog just made sense. We were lucky to have <a href="http://www.backtype.com/page/journalismlives.com%2Fits-alive-journalism-lives/conversations">quite a few supporters already</a>.</p> <p>If you enjoy reading what I write here, I encourage you to check out <a href="http://journalismlives.com/">Journalism Lives</a>. Steve and I worked together really well during grad school at Elon, and have big plans and hopes for the site.</p> <p>I’ll also say this: even though Journalism Lives will focus on the news industry, I won’t stop writing about it in this space. I plan to continue exploring multimedia journalism and other types of storytelling with technology here. Journalism isn’t the only field facing a massive evolution, so the more we entertain problems and questions from anywhere and everywhere, the sooner we be able to craft innovative solutions and answers.</p> <p>That’s why I believe a blog like Journalism Lives can hold value for anyone interested in how people access online information. Our blog, like this one, is likely to draw inspiration from many different sources.</p> <p>I hope you check it out and thanks for reading.</p>Here's My Media Diet2010-08-07T14:16:06-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/heres-my-media-diet/<p>We know that media consumption habits have changed and evolved tremendously.</p> <p>But have you thought about yours lately? It’s an interesting thought, I think. <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/">The Atlantic Wire</a> has a cool series called <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/features/index/category/Media-Diet-18">Media Diet</a>, where staffers interview top thinkers about what they read.</p> <p>I stumbled across one of the stories, <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/features/view/feature/What-I-Read-Jay-Rosen-1735">what Jay Rosen reads</a>, via Twitter. It intrigued me, so I decided to write my own, What I Read. So here goes…</p> <h2>Social Media</h2> <p>I check <a href="http://twitter.com/">Twitter</a> when I hit the computer in the morning. First, I just check my normal stream for what I like to call accidental knowledge. The thing I love about Twitter is the fact people help me discover neat links and information I wouldn’t have otherwise. After that, I’ll check a few of my <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/lists">Twitter Lists</a>. The usual ones I check are <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/creative">Creative</a>, <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/internet-tech">Internet-Tech</a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/media">Media</a>.</p> <p>After that, it’s on to <a href="http://facebook.com/">Facebook</a> to see what my friends are talking about and what links they’re sharing. Most of the news I get from them falls into the category of what’s happening in their lives.</p> <h2>Feeds</h2> <p>Next, I check my feed reader. I use two: <a href="http://www.utsire.com/shrook/">Shrook</a> and <a href="http://google.com/reader">Google Reader</a>. I love Shrook’s beautiful interface for use on my Mac. I’ve used the <a href="http://www.shrook.com/">online version</a> as well, but don’t like it as much. All my feeds sit in Google Reader as well, just in case I need to access my feeds when I’m away from my computer.</p> <p>What I read there really varies. I check my regular news feeds first. These are <a href="http://npr.org/">NPR</a>. <a href="http://nytimes.com/">New York Times</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/">Washington Post</a>, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/">CNN</a>, <a href="http://www.slate.com/">Slate</a> and <a href="http://www.salon.com/">Salon</a>. After that, I attack feeds according to whatever mood I’m in or what kind of project I’m working on. I typically check a handful of the 200 some-odd feeds I follow. Some of the more regular ones I like to read are <a href="http://10000words.net/">10,000 Words</a>, <a href="http://www.chrisbrogan.com/">Chris Brogan</a>, <a href="http://www.niemanlab.org/">Nieman Lab</a>, <a href="http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45">Romenesko</a>, <a href="http://scripting.com/">Dave Winer</a>, <a href="http://sethgodin.typepad.com/">Seth Godin</a>, <a href="http://www.poynter.org/">Poynter</a>, <a href="http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/">Mental Floss</a>, <a href="http://www.neatorama.com/">Neatorama</a>, <a href="http://www.alistapart.com/">A List Apart</a>, <a href="http://mashable.com/">Mashable</a>, <a href="http://thenextweb.com/">The Next Web</a>, <a href="http://techcrunch.com/">Tech Crunch</a>, <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/">Smashing Magazine</a>, <a href="http://www.readwriteweb.com/">ReadWriteWeb</a>, <a href="http://www.problogger.net/">ProBlogger</a> and <a href="http://searchengineland.com/">Search Engine Land</a>.</p> <h2>News</h2> <p>On most days, I catch NPR on my local station, <a href="http://www.wfdd.org/home.php">WFDD</a> – out of <a href="http://www.wfu.edu/">Wake Forest University</a>. If I don’t, I try to listen online. I also check several news feeds via my feed reader. These include the <a href="http://nytimes.com/">New York Times</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/">Washington Post</a>, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/">CNN</a>, <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/">Sports Illustrated</a>, <a href="http://www.slate.com/">Slate</a> and <a href="http://www.salon.com/">Salon</a>. I also follow several news outlets on Twitter, and often hear of breaking news there. I subscribe to news alerts via email from the New York Times as well. Currently, I do not subscribe to any magazines or newspapers. I also don’t watch much, if any, television news.</p> <h2>Television and Online Video</h2> <p>I canceled cable a few months before I started graduate school, and haven’t looked back. I’m enjoying all the free time I have since I avoid programs I’m not really interested in much easier now. I do subscribe to <a href="http://www.netflix.com/">NetFlix</a>, and love all the documentaries there. Some recent ones I have watched include Tyson, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/truman/">Truman</a> and <a href="http://www.foodincmovie.com/">Food, Inc</a>. I’m also a frequent visitor to <a href="http://interactivenarratives.org/">Interactive Narratives</a> and <a href="http://mediastorm.org/">MediaStorm</a>, always looking for cool, multimedia stories. Lastly, I like to watch my share of <a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/">Jon Stewart clips</a>.</p> <h2>Books</h2> <p>I love to write, so therefore I read a lot. I recently read <a href="http://www.kenauletta.com/books.html">Googled</a>, and The <a href="http://futureoftheinternet.org/">Future of the Internet</a> (both for graduate school, among other titles). I also just finished <a href="http://www.amazon.com/What-Talk-About-When-Running/dp/0307269191">What I Talk About When I Talk About Running</a>. I’m currently reading <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Once-Runner-John-L-Parker/dp/0915297019">Once a Runner</a> and <a href="http://www.leechild.com/badluck.php">Bad Luck and Trouble</a>. My favorite authors are <a href="http://www.pobronson.com/">Po Bronson</a> and <a href="http://www.stuartpilkington.co.uk/paulauster/">Paul Auster</a>.</p> <h2>Fun Stuff</h2> <p>I watch some television series, thanks to <a href="http://www.netflix.com/">Netflix</a>. I just finished <a href="http://www.xfiles.com/">The X-Files</a> in its entirety. I’m also into <a href="http://www.amctv.com/originals/madmen/">Mad Men</a> and <a href="http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/man-vs-wild/">Man vs. Wild</a>. And you know what, I usually can’t make it a month without watching <a href="http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail.html">Strongbad answer some emails</a>. My friends fill in other odds and ends via links on Twitter and Facebook.</p> <p>That’s my media diet. What do you snack on?</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/oTjFWTHDRZQ">Tim Mossholder</a>.</em></p>To Like? That is the Facebook Question2010-08-20T14:08:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/to-like-that-is-the-facebook-question/<p>What’s the last thing you liked?</p> <p>Oh come on, you know what I’m talking about. On Facebook – what’s the last thing you liked? Maybe it was a sport, like <a href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kayaking/113479351995643">kayaking</a>, which does have its own Facebook Page, thanks Facebook <a href="http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=382978412130">launching Community Pages</a> earlier <a href="http://mashable.com/2010/04/01/facebook-community-pages/">this year</a>. But do you really like that? Or did you just opt into it when Facebook launched its new feature?</p> <p>That happened with me, and I went back later and deleted many of the movies and hobbies that were linked to those Community Pages. I didn’t think these lame community pages added any value to my Facebook profile. That got me thinking, “What makes us like a page?”</p> <p><a href="http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/">Web Strategist Jeremiah Owyang</a> has assembled an excellent presentation on <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/jeremiah_owyang/the-8-success-criteria-for-facebook-page-marketing">successful strategies for Facebook Page marketing</a>.</p> <p>Here’s what makes me like a Facebook Page:</p> <ol> <li>I’m involved or have been involved with the company or organization.</li> <li>I stand behind the company or organization’s products and/or mission.</li> <li>I enjoy the content I get from the page.</li> </ol> <p>What makes you like a page?</p>My Reasons for a Social Media Shuffle2010-09-03T08:27:48-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/my-reasons-for-a-social-media-shuffle/<p>I like to explore. I get excited about new places and things. I can’t help it.</p> <p>Sometimes it gets me in trouble. Like the first time I traveled to Washington, D.C. I parked in a parking garage, got excited about my new surroundings and failed to notice the address of the garage. Hours later, I couldn’t remember the exact location amid a handful of parking garages in the area. Silly directionally-challenged me.</p> <p>I recently let the same thing happen with social media. I got distracted. While studying interactive media in graduate school, I dove into all kinds of social media sites. Some I found more useful than others, so some profiles lingered untouched. I thought I needed to keep all of them alive and around. Silly directionally-challenged me.</p> <p>So I reevaluated the social media tools I used and the approach I took. Here’s what I did.</p> <h2>Less is More</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://stumbleupon.com/">StumbleUpon</a>: Gone. I enjoyed the spontaneity of this social discovery and bookmarking site, but to me, it overlapped some of what I found on Twitter and Delicious.</li> <li><a href="http://vimeo.com/">Vimeo</a>: Gone. I like Vimeo’s interface much more than <a href="http://youtube.com/">YouTube’s</a>, but I stuck with YouTube because I’ve been there longer.</li> <li><a href="http://www.google.com/buzz">Google Buzz</a>: Gone. I simply turned off my Buzz account, but did not delete. I’m curious to see what will happen with the <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20009159-265.html">much-rumored Google Me</a>, and how that will effect Buzz.</li> <li><a href="http://delicious.com/">Delicious</a>: Replaced. I joined <a href="http://diigo.com/user/davidakennedy">Diigo</a> because it has more options, like sticky notes and page captures.</li> <li><a href="http://flickr.com/">Flickr</a>: Replaced. Now, have a simple <a href="http://davidakennedy.wordpress.com/">photo blog</a> on <a href="http://posterous.com/">Posterous</a> in place of Flickr. Although I love Flickr, I never used it that much, and the blogging style fits me better.</li> <li>I also kept profiles on the current standbys: <a href="http://facebook.com/davidakennedy">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidakennedy">LinkedIn</a>.</li> </ul> <p>So now I’m a firm believer in less is more. I can focus more on the services I enjoy more, like <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/">Twitter</a>, and giving more attention to my <a href="http://www.gutcheckrunning.com/">running blog</a> on <a href="http://tumblr.com/">Tumblr</a>. However, I would say to each his own. You have to find the right combination that suits you and your interests.</p> <h2>Tips for Organization</h2> <p>My advice?</p> <ol> <li>Use the networks you actually enjoy and/or are important to your profession.</li> <li>Keep your main profiles to a minimum of three to five. Have another two or three that you experiment with.</li> <li>Constantly <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/30/if-you%E2%80%99ve-got-social-media-fatigue-ur-doin-it-wrong/">evaluate</a>. Are you using your profiles? Are you getting value? Are you giving value?</li> </ol> <p>I certainly still leave room for exploration. I’m trying the new <a href="http://digg.com/davidakennedy">Digg</a>, although I never used the older version much, and <a href="http://cliqset.com/davidakennedy">Cliqset</a> stands alone as one of my favorite, lesser-known social networks and tools. So I still explore, except now it’s easier to remember where I parked.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/Txrdoeh5ros"><br> Nick Karvounis</a>.</em></p>Three Ways to Always Learn in the Digital World2010-09-07T13:06:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/3-ways-to-always-learn-in-the-digital-world/<p>Yesterday, <a href="http://twitter.com/stephencearley">Steve Earley</a> and I crafted a post on <a href="http://journalismlives.com/">Journalism Lives</a> about the <a href="http://journalismlives.com/labor-day-survey-the-changing-face-of-journal">evolving nature of journalism jobs</a>. The Labor Day post has proved popular with plenty of people viewing it and retweeting it.</p> <p>We’re thrilled so many people have found it helpful and insightful. <a href="http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/">Steve Buttry</a>, the Director of Community Engagement at <a href="http://www.tbd.com/">TBD</a>, shared a few related posts on landing a digital journalism job in the comments. That and another comment by <a href="http://www.annatarkov.com/">Anna Tarkov</a> inspired this post.</p> <p>It jumps off of Buttry’s posts on <a href="http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/some-tips-on-landing-your-next-job-in-digital-journalism/">landing your next digital journalism job</a> and <a href="http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/thoughts-on-redirecting-and-rejuvenating-a-career/">redirecting and rejuvenating a career</a>. It’s my advice for making sure you’re always learning, and learning what you need to, to survive in the fast and furious digital world. You have to embrace your own story, and ensure it involves you always taking on the new and unknown.</p> <h2>It’s About Places, People and Projects</h2> <ol> <li><strong>Find places to teach yourself and learn</strong>. I love <a href="http://www.lynda.com/">Lynda.com</a>. I used it extensively in my grad program to learn things the professors couldn’t cover and/or didn’t know. I continue to use it and other tools to do the same thing now. Find communities that are passionate about what you want to or need to know. Listen and engage there.</li> <li><strong>Create a side project or two</strong> (to implement those things you’re learning). Buttry touches on this in a way, but I have learned so much from developing, writing for and maintaining Journalism Lives. In such a short time span too! What’s your passion? What can you make from scratch? Let the possibilities guide you more than the limitations.</li> <li><strong>Partner with good people</strong> (to learn more of what you want to know). I had the initial idea for Journalism Lives, but it certainly would not be what it is without Earley’s knowledge and passion. Thanks to him, the learning is always on. Find people you admire who know more than you, and work with them. You’ll have a lot to teach each other.</li> </ol> <p>This is just what works for me. How are you always learning?</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/gdL-UZfnD3I">Crissy Jarvis</a>.</em></p>Sometimes You Just Have to Run the Race2010-09-24T10:24:23-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/sometimes-you-just-have-to-run-the-race/<p>When I ran cross country in high school, my teammates and I would often walk the course before a big race.</p> <p>It made for good preparation. We could identify any trouble spots ahead of time, and it allowed us to plan how each particular course might affect our running style. I didn’t like doing it though. I appreciate preparation, but to me, walking the course took some of the fun out of the race. You knew once hundreds of other runners poured onto the course with you, those turns and bumps would be different. Most of your careful planning could prove useless rather quickly. Sometimes, you just have to embrace the unknown.</p> <h2>New Beginnings</h2> <p>I’ve done just that for the past few months and weeks. A year ago, I left my full-time job as a copywriter with a great company in one of the worst economies in decades to pursue a dream: I wanted to learn how to tell stories in a new way and I wanted to earn my master’s degree. I always thought I would pursue creative writing further, but I shifted focus once I found the perfect program. I graduated in May with my <a href="http://www.elon.edu/imedia">master’s degree in interactive media</a> from <a href="http://www.elon.edu/">Elon University</a>, and have been searching for a job ever since.</p> <p>A week ago, I loaded up a U-Haul truck, said goodbye to some dear friends in North Carolina and moved to Alexandria, Virginia, hoping to land a job in the Washington, D.C., area. That leap of faith worked. I accepted a job with <a href="http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2530">The Arc of the United States</a> as its new Online Marketing Specialist. The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. I’ll be managing the organization’s online presence to help further its mission. I’m thrilled to be working for the public good and helping the talented team there give a voice to those who may not otherwise be heard.</p> <p>I’m excited that my new career opportunity will build on the varied skill set I already have, and allow me to expand my knowledge into new media further in all sorts of ways. If you <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/">follow this blog</a> or my <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/">Twitter account</a>, don’t expect too much to change. I’m still interested in all the same things, especially telling stories with technology and creating online content. And I’m so happy that my own story has taken this turn toward something new and exciting. Sometimes, you have to embrace the unknown and run the race.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/3mmmfrZ3S80">Florian Glawogger</a>.</em></p>Managing Tasks, Web Projects and Remembering the Milk2010-10-06T23:33:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/managing-tasks-web-projects-and-remembering-the-milk/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/rtm-to-do-list-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=329" alt="Remember the Milk interface, showing to-do list on the left and a sidebar on the right." width="600" height="329"></figure> <p>I can’t remember the last time I forgot the milk, but I do remember the last time I neglected to attend to something on my to-do list.</p> <p>Enter the web tool, <a href="http://www.rememberthemilk.com/">Remember the Milk</a>, an online task management system. <a href="http://twitter.com/kevinloker">Kevin Loker</a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/Chronotope">Aram Zucker-Scharff,</a> two people I follow on Twitter, recommended the tool after I asked. I needed something that would help manage both small and large scale web projects. I looked at <a href="http://todoist.com/">Todoist</a>, <a href="http://mail.google.com/mail/help/tasks/">Google Tasks</a> and Tasks within Microsoft Outlook. Remember the Milk seemed to be the most user friendly and flexible. It also helped that friends recommended it.</p> <h2>How I’m Using It</h2> <p>I created different to-do lists that correspond with folders in my email. The email folders contain the action items that I need to make web updates, like copy, photos and other information. So far, this has created a streamlined approach that works for me. Keep in mind, I’m not sharing my lists with anyone, and I have it set up as more of an individual task manager tool.</p> <h2>What I Like</h2> <ul> <li>Its interface is simple and easy to use.</li> <li>The lists load quickly.</li> <li>The keyboard shortcuts make many things within the program faster.</li> <li>It’s free.</li> </ul> <h2>What About You?</h2> <p>How do you manage your task lists? Are there other free tools out there that enable collaboration, and are geared toward web projects?</p>Social Media: What's on the Menu?2010-10-31T14:29:09-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/social-media-whats-on-the-menu/<p>Social media for non-profits and small organizations can be daunting.</p> <p>How do you convince your co-workers it’s worth it? How do you approach creating content? What are some best practices for Facebook and Twitter?</p> <p>Casey Golden, Bethany Stevens and I tried to answer some of those questions today. Casey is the founder and managing partner of the <a href="http://www.smallact.com/">Small Act Network</a>, a creative agency specializing in social media and software for non-profits. Bethany is faculty member and policy analyst at the <a href="http://chhs.gsu.edu/cld/">Center for Leadership in Disability</a> at <a href="http://www.gsu.edu/">Georgia State University</a>.</p> <p>Our <a href="http://www.aucd.org/conference/detail/session_event.cfm?session_event_id=151&amp;showday=0">presentations</a> were a part of the <a href="http://www.aucd.org/conference/index.cfm/home2010">2010 Association of University Centers on Disabilities Annual Meeting and Conference</a>. Casey focused on a broad overview of social media, how it works and why it’s powerful. I centered my presentation on forming a process for creating social media content, and Bethany talked about Facebook and the best practices for that space.</p> <p>We had a great audience, and lots of participation. See my talking points by <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/talks/Social-Media-Whats-on-the-Menu.pptx">viewing the PowerPoint presentation here</a>. You might find some of the information helpful as you and/or your organization dives into social media.</p>Feedback Anyone?2010-11-18T00:22:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/website-feedback-anyone/<p>When I launched my website, I never did any sort of usability testing, user personas or focus groups. After all, why would I? This was just my personal/professional website.</p> <p>I did go through two previous incarnations before settling on this version, and I enlisted the help of several friends and colleagues along the way. I sought all kinds of feedback from them, from design to content and beyond. Obviously, the big goal of my site was to help me land a job. That worked as I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/sometimes-you-just-have-to-run-the-race/">landed one recently</a>.</p> <p>However, feedback is always good, and luckily a <a href="http://wepoforbreakfast.wordpress.com/">writing and editing class</a>, geared toward both print and online mediums decided to critique my portfolio site. Check out some of the <a href="http://wepoforbreakfast.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/sample-portfolios/#comments">comments</a>.</p> <p>I’m glad to see most of them have been positive, but even so, some impressions of my site have made me realize, “Oh that wasn’t my exact intention.” It goes to show you that every single step in web design, web development and content strategy carries so much importance, as each turn is an opportunity to make an impression.</p>New Year, New Goals2011-01-07T01:09:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-year-new-goals-2011/<p>Another year has rolled on by, and like many others, I keep thinking where I’ve been.</p> <p>With technology moving so quickly, bringing with it many new applications to try and fresh techniques to learn, I wanted to make some goals for the new year. Resolutions? You could call them that.</p> <ol> <li>Recode this site using WordPress’ 3.0’s custom post types and HTML 5, plus develop a mobile theme.</li> <li>Complete a project in Drupal, Joomla or another CMS.</li> <li>Blog more.</li> <li>Learn more PHP.</li> </ol> <p>Four simple goals, so we’ll see how they go throughout the year… What’s on your list?</p>Signal Austin Conversation with Matt Mullenweg2011-03-17T00:21:53-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/signal-austin-2011-matt-mullenweg/<p>There’s a <a href="http://battellemedia.com/archives/2011/03/signal_austin_conversation_matt_mullenweg.php">cool interview up with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg</a> over on John Battelle’s blog. I heard Matt during a Town Hall with WordPress D.C. last month, and had a blast hearing his perspective on the WordPress, the web and more.</p> <p>His comments about Twitter, Tumblr and social media are of particular interest here. I love this exchange:</p> <blockquote> <p>Battelle: I heard blogging was dead.<br><br> Matt: Yeah, me too— on a blog.</p> </blockquote> <p>Blogging still defines much of the web.</p>Extending WordPress Beyond2011-03-19T15:58:25-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/extending-wordpress-beyond/<p>Last night, I attended a <a href="http://www.meetup.com/wordpressdc/events/16888452/">great Meetup with the WordPress DC group</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://mitcho.com/">Mitcho Erlewine</a> gave a <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/mitcho/extend-wordpress-beyond">talk centered around smart WordPress development</a>. Even though I’m not a developer in the traditional sense, more of a content guy wanting to learn more about code – I found the talk extremely beneficial.</p> <p>It wasn’t so much a talk about code as a talk about the strategy of code. And everyone can learn from that.</p>Is the Future of the Web Social?2011-03-26T23:12:53-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/is-the-future-of-the-web-social/<p>Mitch Joel gave a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh0obyhZPM8">great talk at a TEDx event</a> recently that you should watch.</p> <p>In it, <a href="http://www.twistimage.com/blog/">Joel</a> talks about how the social web has the potential to make us even more social or less social, depending on how you look at it. At the center of all this sits one of the web’s biggest concerns: privacy.</p> <p>Which web do you want?</p>Creating Content: Finding It Around Every Corner2011-04-17T17:57:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/creating-content-finding-it-around-every-corner/<p>Creating content often becomes an afterthought when planning a website. People want bells and whistles. Interactivity. Innovation. Well, none of that happens without good, solid content.</p> <p>That was the framework for the <a href="http://wpdc.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/april-meetup-announcing-our-lightning-talks/">lightning talk I gave at last week’s WordPress DC Meetup</a>. If you power through the the <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/52971713/Creating-Content-Finding-It-Around-Every-Corner">quick slideshow</a> I put together below, you’ll see a lot of what I outline is very basic, but embracing the basics first can help you reach beyond the basics. So much about creating content for websites and interactive projects means following a well defined process. Sometimes, that process is one someone else created, something you created or a hybrid of the two. Whichever it is for you, embrace that process and trust it.</p> <p>You can <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/talks/Creating-Content-Finding-It-Around-Every-Corner.pptx">download the PowerPoint presentation slides here</a>.</p>DK WordPress Theme 3.02011-05-21T22:45:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dk-wordpress-theme-3-0/<p>A few months ago, I set a <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2011/01/07/new-year-new-goals-2011/">few goals</a>.</p> <p>One of them was to rebuild this site using WordPress’ 3.0’s custom post types and HTML 5, plus develop a mobile theme. Well, you’re looking at that site. Thanks for the awesome work of the Automattic theme team, I’ve got a new site, coded with HTML5 and mobile ready, with responsive design.</p> <h2>About the New Site</h2> <p>I created the site with <a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/duster">Duster</a> as a parent theme, harnessing many of WordPress’ most recent and powerful features. Duster comes HTML5 ready and includes CSS 3 responsive design media queries. It proved to be a great starting point. Other people that deserve credit for inspiration:</p> <ul> <li>Justin Tadlock for <a href="http://justintadlock.com/archives/2010/04/29/custom-post-types-in-wordpress">custom post type guidance</a></li> <li>Devin Price for <a href="http://wptheming.com/2010/07/portfolio-theme/">portfolio custom post type inspiration</a></li> <li><a href="http://sprungmarker.de/2010/wordpress-child-theme-for-twenty-ten-accessible-1-0/">Sylvia Egger</a> and <a href="http://slash25.com/2011/05/accessu-2011-accessibility-and-wordpress/">Patrick Ramsey</a> for WordPress accessibility tips</li> </ul> <p>The new site brings marked improvements over my <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2010/welcome-to-a-brand-new-site/">old site</a>. I used a child theme, took advantage of WordPress templates and used <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/projects/">custom post types and taxonomies</a>.</p> <p>I learned a ton, and hope to do a couple tutorials in the future.</p>Seven Things I Learned at Access U 20112011-05-22T15:36:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/7-things-learned-at-access-u-2011/<p>Last week, I was lucky enough to attend <a href="http://www.knowbility.org/v/accessu/">John Slatin Access U 2011</a>. It was my first foray into learning more about accessibility beyond regular web standards.</p> <p>It turned out to be one of the best professional experiences I’ve had. Here’s what I learned:</p> <ol> <li>Accessibility shouldn’t be an afterthought or addition to web design and development – it should be part of it.</li> <li>Accessibility isn’t that hard, but there are always compromises to be made when it comes to a project’s specs and its true needs.</li> <li>Sometimes, even if you show big companies how important and easy accessibility is, they still don’t get it.</li> <li>The <a href="http://testacademic.stedwards.edu/accessible_html/index.php">basics</a> will get you a long way.</li> <li>Even with a few <a href="http://slash25.com/2011/05/accessu-2011-accessibility-and-wordpress/">small tweaks, WordPress can be made more accessible</a>.</li> <li>There are a ton of myths floating around about javascript and accessibility. The big one that <strong>IS FALSE</strong>: if you want to be accessible, you can’t use javascript.</li> <li>You can be well on your way with accessibility testing thanks to a number of free testing tools.</li> </ol> <h2>Did You Attend?</h2> <p>If so, let’s collect the great resources that were shared at Access U. I started this <a href="https://pinboard.in/u:davidakennedy/t:AccessU">list of bookmarks on Pinboard</a> that anyone can add to, so fee free to add stuff there.</p>Five Reasons Nonprofits Should Use WordPress2011-05-23T13:30:18-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/5-reasons-nonprofits-should-use-wordpress/<p>Nonprofits have a lot of choices when it comes to content management systems.</p> <p>There’s <a href="http://www.blackbaud.com/products/internet/netcommunity.aspx">Blackbaud NetCommunity</a>, <a href="http://www.convio.com/our-products/cms.html">Convio</a>, (the first two are not open source) <a href="http://drupal.org/">Drupal</a>, <a href="http://www.joomla.org/">Joomla</a>, <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a> and more… It’s easy to become overwhelmed by those choices. Many of these systems have similarities, and often the right choice comes down to the individual needs of each specific nonprofit, and its technical capacity. All that aside, let’s take a look at why WordPress stands alone as <strong>THE</strong> open-source CMS choice for nonprofits:</p> <h2>The WordPress Difference</h2> <ol> <li>Easy: WordPress is easy to use, from both a user standpoint and a development standpoint. And hey, plenty of nonprofits have <a href="http://wordpress.org/showcase/tag/non-profit/">found success using WordPress</a>.</li> <li>Open-Source: WordPress is a true open-source project. It’s powered by thousands of people, and that leads to <a href="http://wpdevel.wordpress.com/version-3-2-project-schedule/">quick development cycles</a> and innovation.</li> <li>Flexible: Built with HTML, CSS, PHP and MySQL, WordPress grows with the web. And you can <a href="http://wordpress.org/showcase/">do just about anything</a> with it.</li> <li>Tips, Tutorials and Guidance Galore: WordPress, like any other CMS, can be intimidating when you first dive in. However, once you start cruising the interwebz, you notice plenty of <a href="http://wordpress.org/support/">support</a> and places to turn to <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2010/31-resources-for-powering-a-website-with-wordpress/">learn more about WordPress</a>.</li> <li>True Community: The more I slowly become a part of the WordPress community, the more I’m impressed by the feeling you get once you engage with the folks who are truly passionate about WordPress. That’s really what propels any project onto something bigger and better than most. It’s not just driven solely by profits or client needs, but by passion. Anyone working for a nonprofit can get behind that.</li> </ol> <p>What do you think about nonprofits using WordPress as a content management system? How does it compare to other open-source solutions? Let me know your thoughts.</p>A Creative Way to Use Delicious2011-05-25T11:00:25-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/creative-way-to-use-delicious/<p>Remember when people <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2374446,00.asp">doubted the future of Delicious</a>? Seems like just yesterday.</p> <p>But then, the <a href="http://blog.delicious.com/blog/2011/05/youtube-founders-acquire-delicious.html">founders of YouTube bought the popular bookmarking service</a> and its future seems more concrete. Many web-savvy, bookmarking-hungry users still employ <a href="http://www.delicious.com/">Delicious</a> as an online bookmarks manager. But there are other, creative uses too.</p> <p>Let’s say, you’re a small business, nonprofit or anyone who needs a way to catalog online links or media stories written about you. Enter Delicious. With Delicious, you can bookmarks links and catalog them by creating different tags, which can be read via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS">RSS</a>. You can then send those feeds (however many you’d like to) to a page on your website.</p> <h2>Getting Creative</h2> <p>Boom. Instant news/media center. It’s a simple, quick and effective way to collect those important mentions about your brand in one place. Plus, you can use the good ones as links for Twitter, Facebook, your blog and other social media platforms. Check out the <a href="http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2920">page we built</a> where I work – The Arc.</p> <p>For us, Delicious fills the gaps between tweet, save and archive. We know that <strong>everything</strong> will be cataloged somewhere, and we can be selective about what we share via social media, concentrating on the good stuff. Plus, with the export options that Delicious provides, you know that you’ll always have our bookmarks in one form or another.</p> <h2>And You?</h2> <p>What other ways have you used Delicious? Let me know.</p>Anyone Can Work with WordPress2011-05-26T09:00:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/anyone-can-work-with-wordpress/<p>Ian Stewart shows you how anyone can work with WordPress with this <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2011/05/24/powering-your-design-with-wordpress/">excellent tutorial on ThemeShaper</a>, the Automattic Theme Team’s blog.</p>Being Social Needs Real People2011-05-27T11:00:39-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/being-social-needs-real-people/<p>You need real people to put the <a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/media-lab/social-media/133431/new-york-times-tries-human-powered-tweeting-to-see-if-users-value-the-interaction/">social in social media</a>, so finds out the New York Times. That’s not surprising.</p>Why Facebook?2011-05-28T22:00:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-facebook/<p>Do you know <a href="http://www.briansolis.com/2011/05/please-like-us-on-facebook/">why you’re telling people to find you on Facebook</a>? Apparently, a lot of brands don’t. On <a href="http://briansolis.com/">BrianSolis.com</a>, Andrew Blakeley says think before you promote.</p>The Web Can Cost a Little Bit2011-06-02T21:03:08-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-web-can-cost-a-little-bit/<p>Free services litter the web. The web is built on “free” after all.</p> <p>Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and the like all give services away, supplementing it with advertising and account upgrades. That’s called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemium">freemium</a>. I use to be totally opposed to paying for things like that. Friends upgraded their <a href="http://flickr.com/">Flickr</a> accounts. Not me. I switched to <a href="http://posterous.com/">Posterous</a>.</p> <p>Lately, my thinking has shifted. I laid down the paltry amount of $25 a year for an upgraded account to <a href="http://www.rememberthemilk.com/">Remember the Milk</a>, an online task management app and site. The upgrade gave me the site’s sweet Andriod app. Just yesterday I paid $9 to open an account on <a href="http://pinboard.in/">Pinboard</a>, an online bookmarking service. Sure, Delicious is still viable, but I grew tired of it long ago. I tried Google Bookmarks, but missed RSS feeds and the public nature of bookmarking. Thanks to a <a href="http://andrewspittle.net/2011/05/27/remembrance-of-links-past/">post by Andrew Spittle</a>, I discovered Pinboard.</p> <p>I love both these services. Does that tell you that you get what you pay for? Probably not. I just think it means I, and others, are willing to pay a little extra for an efficient and beautiful experience in our web tools.</p>Accessibility is Not a Checklist2011-06-15T22:48:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-is-not-a-checklist/<p>I attended a recent talk on accessibility with Jimmy Chandler and really enjoyed his perspective – <a href="http://uxprinciples.com/?p=86">Accessibility is Not a Checklist</a>. Especially for someone learning more about accessibility.</p>WordPress Sitemap with Custom Post Types2011-06-21T20:35:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/sitemap-with-custom-post-types/<p>Sitemaps offer visitors a great overview of a site’s content, and WordPress allows you to create them with ease. <a href="http://yoast.com/">Joost de Vaulk</a> shows you how to make <a href="http://yoast.com/html-sitemap-wordpress/">one version of a sitemap</a>. However, it doesn’t include an option for custom post types, which have become more popular since WordPress 3.0 came out. Here’s how to make that happen, building on Joost’s example.</p> <h2>The Code</h2> <p>You’ll want to start out with Joost’s code because it works perfectly, and will give you just what you need for your posts and pages. Use this code for for your custom post type:</p> <p>You’ll see a few things happening here:</p> <pre class="language-php"><code class="language-php"><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>h2</span> <span class="token attr-name">id</span><span class="token attr-value"><span class="token punctuation">=</span><span class="token punctuation">"</span>my-post-type<span class="token punctuation">"</span></span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span>My Post Type<span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>h2</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>ul</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br><span class="token php language-php"><span class="token delimiter important">&lt;?php</span><br><span class="token variable">$terms</span> <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">get_terms</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token single-quoted-string string">'my_taxonomy'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'orderby=name'</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><span class="token keyword">foreach</span> <span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token variable">$terms</span> <span class="token keyword">as</span> <span class="token variable">$term</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span><br> <span class="token keyword">echo</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'&lt;li>&lt;h3>'</span> <span class="token punctuation">.</span> <span class="token variable">$term</span><span class="token operator">-</span><span class="token operator">></span><span class="token property">name</span> <span class="token punctuation">.</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'&lt;/h3>'</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br> <span class="token keyword">echo</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'&lt;ul>'</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br> <span class="token variable">$args</span> <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token keyword">array</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><br> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'post_type'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'my_post_type'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'posts_per_page'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token operator">-</span><span class="token number">1</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'tax_query'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token keyword">array</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><br> <span class="token keyword">array</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><br> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'taxonomy'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'my_taxonomy'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'field'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'slug'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'terms'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token variable">$term</span><span class="token operator">-</span><span class="token operator">></span><span class="token property">slug</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br> <span class="token variable">$new</span> <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token keyword">new</span> <span class="token class-name">WP_Query</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token variable">$args</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br> <span class="token keyword">while</span> <span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token variable">$new</span><span class="token operator">-</span><span class="token operator">></span><span class="token function">have_posts</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span><br> <span class="token variable">$new</span><span class="token operator">-</span><span class="token operator">></span><span class="token function">the_post</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br> <span class="token keyword">echo</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'&lt;li>&lt;a href="'</span> <span class="token punctuation">.</span> <span class="token function">get_permalink</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">.</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'">'</span> <span class="token punctuation">.</span> <span class="token function">get_the_title</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">.</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'&lt;/a>&lt;/li>'</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">}</span><br> <span class="token keyword">echo</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'&lt;/ul>'</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br> <span class="token keyword">echo</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'&lt;/li>'</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><span class="token punctuation">}</span><br><span class="token delimiter important">?></span></span></code></pre> <ul> <li>We’re setting up a basic unordered list, based on our custom <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Taxonomies">taxonomy</a> and listing posts in our custom <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_Types">post type</a> by title.</li> <li>In the second chunk of code, we’re using a new <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Class_Reference/WP_Query">WP Query</a> to query the posts for our custom post type and custom taxonomy.</li> </ul> <p>You’ll need to change the code in a few key places.</p> <pre class="language-php"><code class="language-php"><span class="token variable">$terms</span> <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">get_terms</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'my_taxonomy'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'orderby=name'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span></code></pre> <p>Change the above code the your custom taxonomy name.</p> <pre class="language-php"><code class="language-php"><span class="token single-quoted-string string">'post_type'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'my_post_type'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span></code></pre> <p>Change the above code the your custom post type name.</p> <pre class="language-php"><code class="language-php"><span class="token single-quoted-string string">'taxonomy'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'my_taxonomy'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span></code></pre> <p>Change the above code the your custom taxonomy name.</p> <h2>Wrapping It Up</h2> <p>That does it. Now, whenever you add posts to your post type and taxonomy, it gets automatically added to the sitemap. Nice! <a href="https://gist.github.com/davidakennedy/5992741">Follow the project on GitHub</a> or <a href="https://gist.github.com/davidakennedy/5992741/download">download the files from GitHub</a>. Huge thanks to Joost for a great code snippet! And thanks to <a href="http://joeleen.net/">Joeleen Kennedy</a> for helping me figure this one out.</p>A Complete Publishing System with WordPress2011-06-22T13:30:04-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/complete-cms-with-wordpress/<p>I have seen this tweeted and blogged about in a few places, so it’s worth a mention. The cool thing about the <a href="http://publisherblog.automattic.com/2011/06/20/bangor-daily-news-a-complete-publishing-system-on-wordpress/">Bangor Daily News’ new WordPress site</a> is that it integrates with Google Docs, making one complete content management system. I’d love to see a post in the future about how this works for them.</p>Six Things I've Learned and/or Relearned Since Grad School2011-07-02T11:10:02-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/since-grad-school/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/daveatfindsweb.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=400" alt="" width="600" height="400"><figcaption>David A. Kennedy at The Arc's FINDS Press Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.</figcaption></figure> <p>When I <a href="https://twitter.com/EloniMedia/status/71333465496358912">saw this tweet about the 2011 Elon iMedia class a few months ago</a>, it got me thinking. I couldn’t believe I graduated from <a href="http://www.elon.edu/imedia">Elon iMedia</a> grad program more than a year ago. I started asking myself question after question:</p> <ul> <li>What had I done since?</li> <li>What had I learned from it?</li> <li>How has it impacted me?</li> </ul> <h2>What I’ve Done</h2> <p>I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/sometimes-you-just-have-to-run-the-race/">landed a job</a> as the Online Communications Manager for <a href="http://www.thearc.org/">The Arc</a>, a national nonprofit that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It took some searching and more than a handful of interviews, but I was happy to find a role that lets me do a bit of everything: strategy, design, code, social media and more. Since then I have:</p> <ul> <li>launched a <a href="http://blog.thearc.org/">new blog</a>.</li> <li>led the organization’s <a href="http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2530">website through a rebranding effort</a>.</li> <li>launched a <a href="http://autismnow.org/">federally-funded grant project on autism</a>.</li> <li>grown the organization’s <a href="http://facebook.com/thearcus">Facebook fans</a> by 75 percent and its <a href="http://twitter.com/thearcus">Twitter followers</a> 60 percent.</li> </ul> <h2>What I’ve Learned</h2> <p>I can’t think of a week where I don’t learn something new. Sometimes you don’t learn anything new, but rediscover lessons from the past. My first year since iMedia has been a good mix. Here are the top nuggets:</p> <ol> <li>Listen. Always listen. It fuels the success of any project.</li> <li>It starts with content. No website can be truly great without it.</li> <li>Website statistics mean nothing, but the trends in them do.</li> <li>It doesn’t matter how popular you are in social media or how many pageviews you get if you do not know your message.</li> <li>Teamwork. Nothing else needs to be said.</li> <li>Shortcuts are dangerous. Standards are the road less traveled. Know them and follow them.</li> </ol> <p>The above may sound like common sense, but it never hurts to be reminded of where you’ve been.</p>WordPress Posts vs. Pages: When and Why?2011-07-04T13:00:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-posts-vs-pages/<p>When you start developing a WordPress site, you always have to answer a question. Will I put my content in via posts or pages?</p> <p>Most people opt for pages, but you shouldn’t overlook the power of cataloging your content with posts. Here are some guidelines that will help determine which option you should choose:</p> <h2>Go with Pages</h2> <ul> <li>If you’re creating a simple site with 30 pages or less.</li> <li>If you just need a “news” or “blog” section, combined with mostly static content.</li> <li>If you’re not planning on updating site content often.</li> <li>If you’re not concerned about connecting or categorizing content in some way.</li> </ul> <h2>Go with Posts</h2> <ul> <li>If you plan on updating content constantly.</li> <li>If you need multiple “buckets” or <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_Types">post types</a> to hold your content.</li> <li>If you need custom ways to categorize your post types with <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Taxonomies">taxonomies</a>.</li> <li>If you need to take advantage of some of WordPress’ other features, like <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Custom_Fields">Custom Fields</a> or <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_Formats">Post Formats</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>Options</h2> <p>Of course, you can always use a combination of the two, and most sites that rely on WordPress as a content management system do. The trick is knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each option, and thinking through how your site needs to work.</p>Scorching the Earth – for Orgs2011-07-06T09:11:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/scorching-the-earth-for-orgs/<p>I like change. Thankfully.</p> <p>In this profession, if you’re not learning at a rapid rate, you decay. So you need to befriend change faster than anything else. Otherwise you cease to grow, or worst, miss a chance for an opportunity to grow.</p> <p>That’s why I like Steve Rubel’s recent change of strategy in blogging. He calls it a <a href="http://www.steverubel.me/post/6070334427/why-i-adopted-a-scorched-earth-policy-dismantled-two">scorched earth policy</a>. Essentially, he blew up his two old blogs – one on <a href="http://posterous.com/">Posterous</a> and one on <a href="http://www.typepad.com/">Typepad</a> – in favor of his new <a href="http://steverubel.me/">Tumblr account</a>. Both old domains redirect to this new site.</p> <p>There, he posts a mix of long-form and short-form past, linking them naturally to his Twitter and Facebook accounts. He points to the future as one of the reasons for his move:</p> <blockquote> <p>I fundamentally believe that we are entering the next great era of the web — The Validation Era. In this age of too much content and not enough time, the public will increasingly need to hear things validated across four interconnected media clovers that are converging across four different screens — phones, tablets, PCs and TVs. To be successful, businesses and individuals will need to continually ensure their <a href="http://mashable.com/2011/05/14/steve-rubel-authority/">engagement spans the media cloverleaf</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p>The move makes sense for Rubel. He makes a living off advising clients on how to excel (and take risks) in the digital media world. How can he stand behind his words if he’s not living them?</p> <h2>But for Organizations?</h2> <p>But would this make sense for a nonprofit or corporation?</p> <p>For most: probably not, and Rubel says so in his post. But the whole strategy brings up a few interesting points worth mentioning:</p> <ol> <li>You shouldn’t put anything out there that you don’t want found or wouldn’t mind losing. No system is perfect. If it’s important, back it up. If it’s supplemental content, put your best stuff forward and let it ride.</li> <li>Have a unique strategy for each channel or “cloverleaf.” Make sure you’re taking advantage of the strengths of each channel or platform.</li> <li>Where’s your audience? Probably here and there. Listen to them. What do they need?</li> <li>Look at the data. What does it say? Maybe things are lagging. Perhaps a change this drastic is in order.</li> </ol> <p>So can it or something like it make sense for you or your organization? Maybe. That depends if you’re willing to scorch the earth in true fashion – you do that and just mind lead to fresh, new growth.</p> <p>That’s a change I can always get behind.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/PP8Escz15d8">Keith Hardy</a>.</em></p>Marc Andreessen on Why Coders Hate Dressing Up2011-07-11T20:56:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/andreessen-on-why-coders-hate-dressing-up/<blockquote> <p>“Believe it or not, this goes deep into the interior mentality of the engineer, which is very truth-oriented. When you’re dealing with machines or anything that you build, it either works or it doesn’t, no matter how good of a salesman you are. So engineers not only don’t care about the surface appearance, but they view attempts to kind of be fake on the surface as fundamentally dishonest.”<br> <cite>Marc Andreessen on why coders hate dressing up.</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>Read more about <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/magazine/marc-andreessen-on-the-dot-com-bubble.html?_r=2&amp;src=tptw">why coders hate dressing up and other stuff</a>.</p>Music, CDs, Spotify and Valuable Content2011-07-24T14:38:14-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/music-cds-spotify-and-valuable-content/<p>Recently, I wrote about how I believe myself and others would <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-web-can-cost-a-little-bit/">pay for beautiful, efficient services on the web</a>. I still think that’s true, and now I have a bit to add to the mix – inspired by the latest, hot online start-up, <a href="https://www.spotify.com/us/hello-america/">Spotify</a>.</p> <p>Yesterday, I purchased a premium account on Spotify. My wife and a good friend had raved about the service, and they both had premium accounts. I checked it out, loved it, signed up and promptly closed my free <a href="http://www.pandora.com/">Pandora</a> account. I did all this in about 24 hours. The whole process got me thinking:</p> <ul> <li>I still own a bunch of CDs, but have them all in digital format, and haven’t bought a physical CD in more than a decade.</li> <li>I have always bought my digital music through <a href="http://www.apple.com/itunes/">iTunes</a>, but haven’t regularly bought music there in probably five years.</li> <li>I listen to music all the time, and have maxed out my listening time on my free Pandora account almost every month.</li> </ul> <p>Why? What made me go for Spotify so quickly? Why not just buy more iTunes music? Or go with Pandora?</p> <p>The answer: valuable content. I never bought more iTunes music because even though I was getting the same product as a CD, I didn’t get something physical that translated into value. I just owned a bunch of files as zeros and ones. I wanted those linear notes, CD covers, etc. What I needed was that value.</p> <p>Spotify gives me that. For $10 a month, I get access to tons of music, some that I would buy, much that I would never discover without the service and I don’t have to worry about files, storage and more. I don’t get those linear notes and CD covers, but the mass of content (music) is just as, if not more valuable.</p> <p>Content is what myself and everyone else on the web really wants. How are you making your content valuable?</p>Thoughts on Google Plus2011-08-05T11:46:05-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/thoughts-on-google-plus/<p>Much has already been written on <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/introducing-google-project-real-life.html">Google Plus</a>. Here are a few of my favorites:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://mashable.com/2011/06/28/google-plus-review/">Mashable: Google Plus Review</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/first_night_with_google_plus_this_is_very_cool.php">ReadWriteWeb: First Night with Google Plus: This is Very Cool</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=137653562">NPR: Google Plus Thoughtful Answer to Faceook</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.bethkanter.org/np-google/">Beth Kanter: Are You Going To Adopt Google+ for Professional Learning/Networking? Why or Why Not?</a></li> </ul> <p>Right now, the tech community and other early adopters have raved about the new social network. So far, it’s received a <a href="http://www.quora.com/Why-did-Google-Buzz-fail">better reception than Google’s previous effort – Buzz</a>. But only time will tell whether or not Google Plus will become a success. Here’s what I think:</p> <h2>Positives</h2> <ul> <li>Combines the public nature of Twitter and the private nature of Facebook.</li> <li>Strong visually – akin to Tumblr.</li> <li>Strong integration with other Google tools, making it more valuable.</li> <li>Hangouts seem fun.</li> <li>Circles are intuitive, and the privacy controls represent a step forward compared to Facebook.</li> </ul> <h2>Things to Improve</h2> <ul> <li>It’s a lot like Facebook.</li> <li>No integration with other social networks. It seems clear that Google wants to strike out on its own.</li> <li>There’s no visible difference maker. What’s going to be <a href="http://www.briansolis.com/2011/08/study-will-you-abandon-facebook-in-favor-of-google/">the thing that pulls the masses away</a> from Facebook or Twitter?</li> <li>The mobile app has no way to reshare items.</li> </ul> <p>The one big thing I’m a fan of, and that I’ve seen some people do, is using Google Plus in different ways than Facebook or Twitter. What ways are you using it?</p>Defending the Web Generalist2011-08-09T23:15:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/defending-the-web-generalist/<p>The <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/07/26/defending-the-generalists-in-the-web-design-industry/">generalist in the web world</a> is more valuable than you think.</p>Steve Jobs Retires2011-08-25T23:30:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/steve-jobs-retires/<p>“It’s a sad day,” <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/kmwenzel">Kevin Wenzel</a> said.</p> <p>Kevin works with me at The Arc as a web producer. We’re always talking tech, and today he was referring to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/technology/jobs-stepping-down-as-chief-of-apple.html">Steve Jobs stepping down</a> as Apple’s Chief Executive Officer.</p> <p>It made me chuckle. Apple will keep <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/08/apple-roadmap/">chugging along</a>, right? It had to happen sooner or later, especially with Jobs’ health issues. But once I started thinking about things – Jobs shouldn’t be known just as the visionary behind all things “i” – he’s given us more.</p> <p><a href="http://ma.tt/2011/08/on-jobs/">Matt Mullenweg thinks so</a>. From an earlier essay, Matt points to Jobs’ willingness to step on the gas peddle, even when a product might not be ready.</p> <blockquote> <p>“If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.”<br> <cite>Matt Mullenweg</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>You have to always push and push hard. That’s a good lesson for anyone in the tech world to learn, and it’s a sad day when you forget it.</p>Disasters, Twitter and Social Media2011-08-26T23:30:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/disasters-twitter-and-social-media/<p>Sometimes the Earth has to truly shake to make you realize something simple.</p> <p>When the earthquake hit the East Coast Tuesday, I first thought construction workers outside my office building had fired up the jackhammer again. Not so. Once I felt the rumbling, I immediately turned to Twitter. The tweets flowed within seconds. It was a surreal experience. Why?</p> <p>It was the first big event that <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/status/106061784846303232">I participated in on Twitter</a>. I tweeted a few times, and then started reading, consuming… I noticed something:</p> <ul> <li>Twitter fed me real time information after the quake.</li> <li>Facebook let me talk about it with close friends and family, and communicate with them that I was okay.</li> <li>Google Plus let me surf a wider network with deeper analysis and threaded comments.</li> </ul> <p>I couldn’t get everything from one social media platform. That may not be earth shattering, but it’s worth thinking about.</p>Social Media: 25 Posts You Should Read2011-08-31T10:38:58-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/25-social-media-posts-you-should-read/<p>A <a href="http://www.blogworld.com/2011/08/11/25-social-media-posts-everyone-should-read/">collection of blog posts about social media</a> that everyone should read. I’m still working through them, but have enjoyed reading quite a few already.</p>Basetrack.org – A True Inspiration2011-09-01T18:34:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/basetrack-a-true-inspiration/<p>I’m always hunting for inspiration and looking to learn new stuff.</p> <p>Today, I found it. Check out this WordPress project – <a href="http://basetrack.org/">Basetrack.org</a>.</p> <p>It tells the stories of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and enables their families to keep up with them. It’s an ambitious project, and if you watch the video (or view this <a href="http://wordpress.tv/2011/08/31/teru-kuwayama-taking-wordpress-to-war-basetrack-org/">WordPress.tv post</a>, clearly has made a difference in the lives of the soldiers’ families.</p> <p>I love it because it’s WordPress, interactive AND tells powerful stories.</p> <p>Awesome stuff!</p>Steve Jobs on Content and Technology2011-09-01T21:39:26-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/steve-jobs-on-content-and-technology/<blockquote> <p>“One of the things I learned at Pixar is that the technology industries and the content industries do not understand each other. In Silicon Valley and most technology companies, I swear most people still think the creative process is a bunch of guys in their early 30s, sitting around on an old couch, drinking beer and thinking up jokes. That’s how television is made, they think. That’s how movies are made. And I’ve seen at Pixar that that couldn’t be further from the truth. The folks on the creative side work as hard as any technology folks I’ve ever seen in my life; they’re just as disciplined; the process is just as difficult and disciplined as an engineering process is. The contrapositive is true, too. People in Hollywood and the content industries think technology is something that you just write a check for and buy. They don’t understand the creative element of technology. They don’t understand that this stuff is created by people working extraordinarily hard, and with passion, just like the creative talent that they have. These are like ships passing in the night. One of the greatest achievements at Pixar was that we brought these two cultures together and got them working side by side.”<br> <cite>Steve Jobs from a <a href="http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/08/apple-liberal-arts/">Wired.com story: Without Jobs as CEO, Who Speaks for Arts at Apple</a></cite></p> </blockquote> <p>I originally <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/DavidAKennedy/statuses/108310317792112640">tweeted about this too</a>. Hat tip to <a href="http://felixsalmon.tumblr.com/post/9558033566/one-of-the-things-i-learned-at-pixar-is-that-the">Felix</a>. I liked it so much that I wanted to post it as well.</p>Accessibility: Why it Matters2011-09-18T10:24:10-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-why-it-matters/<p>Today, I’m giving a presentation at The Arc’s National Convention on accessibility. It’s called Accessibility: Why it Matters, and it’s adapted from <a href="http://webaim.org/intro/">WebAIM’s Introduction to Accessibility</a>.</p> <p>You can <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/talks/the-arc-accessibility-convention2011-presentation_.pptx">download the PowerPoint presentation here</a>.</p>Facebook Changes and Nonprofits2011-09-27T22:56:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/facebook-changes-and-nonprofits/<p>Here’s two of the best articles I’ve read about Facebook’s upcoming changes and nonprofits:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.edelmandigital.com/2011/09/26/facebook-emphasizes-the-personalization-mobilization-and-amplification-of-content/">Facebook Emphasizes the Personalization, Mobilization and Amplification of Content</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.bethkanter.org/fb-changes/">Facebook Changes for Organization Pages: Focus On Results</a></li> </ul> <p>Facebook has begun to build its next generation of the social web, among a highly competitive social media space – with Twitter, Google Plus, Diaspora and others innovating as well. The coming weeks and months will be interesting.</p>WordPress vs. Tumblr vs. Posterous2011-10-02T23:47:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-vs-tumblr-vs-posterous/<p>Anyone can launch a blog these days. Services like <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress</a>, <a href="http://tumblr.com/">Tumblr</a> and <a href="http://posterous.com/">Posterous</a> make it easy.</p> <p>The hard part comes when you have to decide which service to use. They’re all similar but different, and have strengths and weaknesses. So how do you decide? It’s tough, but should always come down to your individual needs. I’ve <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/posterous-vs-tumblr-how-to-decide-in-three-steps/">compared Tumblr and Posterous</a> before (one of my most popular posts), and thought it would be fun to compare all three blogging platforms. An important note: in this comparision, I’ll focus on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>, not the <a href="http://wordpress.org/">open source, downloadable software</a>.</p> <h2>Basic Information</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>: Run by <a href="http://automattic.com/">Automattic</a>, WordPress is one of the oldest, and most respected blogging platforms around.</li> <li><a href="http://tumblr.com/">Tumblr.com</a>: Run by Tumblr, Inc., Tumblr is a rising micro-blogging platform that’s popular among creatives and blogging newbies.</li> <li><a href="https://posterous.com/">Posterous.com</a>: Posterous, Inc., Posterous, often mentioned in the same articles as Tumblr, made its name thanks to friendly email features and new group site options.</li> </ul> <h2>Positives: WordPress</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Data portability</strong>: One of WordPress’ strengths – you can <a href="http://en.support.wordpress.com/find-a-setting/#importing-or-exporting-content">import and export from a variety of formats</a> with ease. You never have to worry about the question: “How can I get my content out”</li> <li><strong>Lots of themes</strong>: The thing I love the most about WordPress is the <a href="http://theme.wordpress.com/">variety of themes available</a>, including <a href="http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/sort/premium/">new premium ones</a>.</li> <li><strong>Flexibility for future growth</strong>: The software that powers any blog you begin on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> is the same software you can <a href="http://wordpress.org/download/">download at WordPress.org</a>. That means that if your site grows beyond the needs of a blog, requires advanced functionality that doesn’t exist in <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> or you just want more control – it’s all a download away, with the same user experience.</li> </ul> <h2>Negatives: WordPress</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Can the blogging giant keep up</strong>? With Tumblr and Posterous focusing on micro-blogging, mobile blogging, privacy and Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and Diaspora innovating in big ways, can a a &amp;“traditional” blogging platform like WordPress keep up with endless changes?</li> <li><strong>Mobile app</strong>: The mobile app for WordPress (I’ve used the Android one) isn’t as strong or as integrated with core functionality as both Tumblr and Posterous’ apps.</li> <li><strong>Upgrades cost money</strong>: Many, not all, but many of the <a href="http://en.wordpress.com/products/">features and functionality</a> that you’d find for free on Tumblr and Posterous cost money on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>. These include: your own domain, custom CSS, no ads, etc. If cost is a factor, this may be a deal-breaker.</li> </ul> <h2>Positives: Tumblr</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Strong niche communities</strong>: While WordPress and Posterous have vibrant communities, Tumblr has <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/spotlight/">great niche communities</a> for fashionistas, creatives, journalists and more.</li> <li><strong>Quick and easy</strong>: While WordPress has built a name around its simple user interface, I’ve heard many say that Tumblr’s approach (with fewer options, quick micro-blogging features and built-in social network) has won them over.</li> <li><strong>The up and comer</strong>: Over the past year, Tumblr has <a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/anthony-derosa/2011/09/08/david-karp-discusses-tumblrs-growing-pains/">risen to stardom amongst the tech/social media start-ups</a>. It may be able to ride the momentum on to more innovation.</li> </ul> <h2>Negatives: Tumblr</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Not for everybody</strong>: Even though Tumblr, <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> and Posterous share many of the same features, Tumblr has the stronger social network feel. Some might see it as just another social network, and wonder why they need another one, of if they have the time.</li> <li><strong>No way to export content</strong>: Tumblr offers no way to export your content, which could force users to lose content if they decide to leave Tumblr.</li> <li><strong>Specialized content</strong>: As mentioned in the first point, Tumblr is a social network and creative, multimedia-friendly, short bursts of content performs well there. This certainly can be seen as a positive, but it might not be for everyone.</li> </ul> <h2>Positives: Posterous</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Reinvented</strong>: Posterous <a href="http://blog.posterous.com/introducing-posterous-spaces-the-easiest-way">became Posterous Spaces recently</a>, turning the super-easy blogging platform into more of a social network, built for sharing content publicly or privately with flexibility over appearance and other features. Much of this can be accomplished using the other platforms, but Posterous has aimed for this to be its niche.</li> <li><strong>Group blogging/sites</strong>: I’ve used Posterous to some success as a group blog with <a href="http://journalismlives.com/">Journalism Lives</a>. It’s been fun, and Posterous as a platform excels at this.</li> <li><strong>Mobile publishing</strong>: All three platforms have strong mobile apps, but <a href="http://posterous.com/mobile">Posterous’ latest version</a> ties into its new features well, priming it to be the perfect place to share content on the go.</li> </ul> <h2>Negatives: Posterous</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Weaker Community</strong>: Posterous does not have as strong of a community as Tumblr or WordPress. It’s newer so that may change.</li> <li><strong>No way to export content</strong>: Posterous, like Tumblr, offers no way to export your content. Again, this should be seen by platforms as a basic feature to offer users ultimate flexibility.</li> <li><strong>Very much like Google Plus</strong>: The one thing that I noticed when I first checked out Posterous Spaces was how similar it was to Google Plus in overall goals… It will be interesting to see how Posterous and the two other platforms distinguish themselves among all of the competition in the social media space.</li> </ul> <h3>Final Thoughts</h3> <p>This was a fun post to write. Honestly, I had trouble coming up with three negatives for all of these platforms. They all have similarities, so ultimately it comes down to <strong>YOU</strong>. I’ve mentioned this before in my other post, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/posterous-vs-tumblr-how-to-decide-in-three-steps/">comparing Tumblr and Posterous</a>. You’ll get the most out of a platform if you’re comfortable with it and like/love using it. It’s why I ultimately started a <a href="http://davidakennedy.wordpress.com/">new, fun blog on WordPress.com</a> after trying with both Posterous and Tumblr to do the same thing. For me, the deciding factor was WordPress embracing the open source mentality. I always know that I will always have control of my data.</p> <p>For you, the decision may be different.</p>Social Networking and Competition2011-10-05T22:08:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/social-networking-and-competition/<p>There’s no better time to be involved in social media.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/introducing-google-project-real-life.html">Google Plus launched recently</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://mashable.com/2010/11/23/diaspora-invites/">Diaspora has handed out many invites lately</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://www.facebook.com/about/timeline">Facebook has followed the innovation of both Diaspora and Google Plus and started making substantial changes</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://mashable.com/2011/08/09/twitter-photo-sharing-all/">Twitter added images to its repertoire</a>.</li> </ul> <p>How will each platform differentiate itself? Who will win the battle for users?</p>Create an On Deck Circle for Social Media2011-10-13T23:23:17-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/social-media-on-deck-circle/<p><a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/social-networking-and-competition/">Social media has become the norm</a> for today’s web. With the recent launch of Google Plus, social media savvy users have another profile to nurture, meaning they need more content to share with the masses.</p> <p>Before a week ago, I had never used Google Reader’s social features, mainly the share feature. However, I started <a href="http://www.google.com/reader/shared/kennedy.david.alan?hl=en">publicly sharing items</a> on my smart phone during my commute on public transportation. I call it an on deck circle for social media.</p> <p>Here’s why:</p> <ul> <li><strong>It’s double-filtering</strong>: Once you share to Google Reader, you can decide whether or not to share the post to one or multiple other networks. Google Reader can be your almost-everything, and help you select the best of the best for each social network.</li> <li><strong>You could schedule some posts ahead of time</strong>: This might help you maintain a more active presence on your favorite networks.</li> <li><strong>Sure, you could just share directly to other networks</strong>: However, this approach will help keep your content focused, and mix up original links with resharing.</li> </ul> <p>It the last week or so, I’ve shared about three times as much as normal.</p> <p>In what ways are you trying to refine your social media sharing?</p> <p><em><strong>Update</strong>: It looks like <a href="http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2011/10/upcoming-changes-to-reader-new-look-new.html">this functionality will be going away soon</a>.</em></p>WordPress vs. Drupal – Matt and Dries Talk Open Source2011-10-16T14:52:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-vs-drupal/<p><a href="http://vimeo.com/30403839">Great discussion with Matt Mullenweg of WordPress and Dries Buytaert of Drupal</a>, talking WordPress, Drupal, open source and more. Definitely worth watching for the whole hour.</p>Social Media Profiles and Choices2011-11-20T17:44:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/social-media-profiles-and-choices/<p>The <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/social-networking-and-competition/">social media world has become more crowded</a> than ever. The battle for users has heated up as Facebook and Google roll out new feature after new feature. Watching this has made me wonder how many people will hit social media fatigue.</p> <p>Most people can only handle two or three profiles. As the landscape becomes more crowded and competitive, I like to think about the question of choice. Which social media platform would I choose if I had to pick just one?</p> <p>A few moths ago, I would have picked <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twitter</a>. It’s quick, has a nice user interface and has given me a lot of personal and professional value. Lately though, I’ve found more value in <a href="http://plus.google.com/u/0/116559233611854402184/">Google Plus</a>. The profiles have more options, you can still use hash tags and the conversations flow easier.</p> <p>Google Plus is my pick. What’s yours?</p>Dead Blogs, Blogging and Getting Better2011-11-28T18:59:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dead-blogs-blogging-and-getting-better/<p>Most techies have blogged much longer than I have. I didn’t start until early 2009, on a blog called Trust the Process Now, and I killed that blog a long time ago. Being a former journalist, I had the wrong view of blogging. I thought it would take away from my writing juice on my day job as a reporter, and I couldn’t imagine having enough to say.</p> <p>I was wrong. I wish I would have started blogging earlier in my career. But since that first blog, I’ve experimented to find the right mix between blogging, social media and providing value to readers and the web. I think I found it. Here’s what I’ve been doing:</p> <h2>The Current Blogging Lineup</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://davidakennedy.com/">davidakennedy.com</a> and <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/blog/">(e)INTERtain</a>: Since January 2010, this has served as my main online home and blog. I also post about <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/projects/">projects</a> I’ve worked on.</li> <li><a href="http://davidakennedy.net/">davidakennedy.net</a>: I started the current iteration of this blog in September 2011, turning it into a life and hobbies blog.</li> </ul> <p>Many of the posts that populate (e)INTERtain come from a blog I started in grad school at Elon located at <a href="http://davidakennedy.wordpress.com/">davidakennedy.wordpress.com</a>. <a href="http://davidakennedy.net/">DavidAKennedy.net</a> has gone through a few versions. It started as a learning journal, powered by Posterous, then a hobby blog powered by Tumblr before its current form – a combination of the two on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>.</p> <h2>Retired Blogs and Domains</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://journalismlives.com/">journalismlives.com</a> (still active): Steve Earley (my co-blogger) and I haven’t blogged here in awhile, but we’re not ready to abandon this project yet.</li> <li><a href="http://trusttheprocessnow.com/">trusttheprocessnow.com</a> (no longer own domain): My first blog, I wrote a lot about my philosophies in life, a la zen habits.</li> <li><a href="http://davidakennedy.wordpress.com/">davidakennedy.wordpress.com</a> (deleted): A <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> powered blog that I used as a learning tool in grad school. I imported many of the best posts to my current blog.</li> <li><a href="http://gutcheckrunning.com/">gutcheckrunning.com</a> (no longer own domain): I created this blog as a running journal, but when I didn’t keep a consistent running schedule, I killed it.</li> <li><a href="http://trusttheprocess.net/">trusttheprocess.net</a> (no longer own domain): This was a short-lived photo blog on Posterous. When I learned more about custom post types, I created my own section for photos on my self-hosted WordPress install.</li> <li><a href="http://davidakennedy.net/">davidakennedy.net</a> (on Tumblr): The site WRPG started on Tumblr and I had fun with it, but ultimately I liked how <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> gave me better flexibility over exporting content and more features. I do miss Tumblr’s better mobile blogging features. I also went with <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> so I would fiddle less with the inner-workings of the site and theme, something I do too much, taking time away from blogging.</li> </ul> <h3>Five Things I’ve Learned While Killing Five Blogs</h3> <p>I hate leaving blogs and domains behind, but I also believe in trying new things, experimenting and working hard to create value for readers and the web in general.</p> <ol> <li>Try platforms, but build on your writing. A platform, no matter how new and advanced its features are, or how vibrant its community is or becomes, you writing must be the focus.</li> <li>Start with your passions. They fuel your blogging better than anything.</li> <li>Don’t worry, just blog.</li> <li>Say something worth saying.</li> <li>Create value in some way, shape or form.</li> </ol> <p>This post was inspired by Om Malik’s <a href="http://gigaom.com/2011/11/26/10-years-gigaom/">My 10 years of blogging: Reflections, Lessons &amp; Some Stats Too</a>.</p> <p>I haven’t blogged as long as some of the pros, but I learning, moving forward… What about you? How have your blogs evolved over time, and what have you learned?</p>Blog Categories and Tags: How To and What For2011-12-04T15:00:54-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blog-categories-and-tags/<p>When people new to blogging start using categories and tags, it often turns into a everything for everyone type of situation. Beginning bloggers create a category for everything, and sometimes a conflicting tag to match. The end result is a blog that has a poor user experience, no clear way to navigate between posts and limited ways to grow.</p> <p>You need to think of categories and tags as a way for your readers/users to navigate your site.</p> <p>What’s are the best practices for this?</p> <h2>Categories</h2> <ol> <li><strong>Go broad</strong>. If you write about recipes on your blog, maybe you have Asian, Cajun, American, etc. as your categories. Think about this as a menu. It provides users a way to dig deeper into your content, your expertise.</li> <li><strong>Stick with it</strong>. It’s tempting to change your categories, and certainly you’ll need to make adjustments now and then, but try to keep most of the original structure in tact. It will help focus your blog more than anything.</li> <li><strong>Set Limits</strong>. Create a category structure that has a total of five, plus or minus two – a common best practice when it comes to menu structures and information architecture.</li> </ol> <h2>Tags</h2> <ol> <li><strong>Make it fit</strong>. Use your tags as a way to lead users even deeper into your categories and site. If we stick with the recipes example from above, your tags might be ingredients of dishes, pairing nicely with the types of cuisine that represent each category.</li> <li><strong>Limitless</strong>. Well, almost. I try to build rich, deep tagging systems by adding one to three tags to each post. Always use tags multiple times as you write new posts, so you don’t have a ton of orphaned tags.</li> <li><strong>Adjust when necessary</strong>. With tags, unlike categories, I’m never afraid of tweaking the tag names, connections and the like.</li> </ol> <p>How do you manage your categories and tags? What works best for you?</p>Web Governance and Change2011-12-13T23:01:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/web-governanace-and-change/<blockquote> <p>“Today, the critical skills of a web professional aren’t technical. They’re skills like advocacy, facilitation, diplomacy, pragmatism, and patience. Technical skills still matter, but they don’t differentiate us in the market anymore, and we can’t use them effectively without tackling organizational change. To be effective, we need to leave our comfort zones.”<br> <cite>A List Apart, <a href="http://www.alistapart.com/articles/web-governance-becoming-an-agent-of-change/">Web Governance: Becoming an Agent of Change</a>.</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>I find this true more and more each day. It’s both challenging and exhilarating.</p>What Would You Learn on a Crashing Plane?2011-12-14T19:53:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-would-you-learn-on-a-crashing-plane/<p><a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/ric_elias.html">This TED Talk</a>, given by one of the passengers on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549">Flight 1549, which crashed into the Hudson River in 2009</a>. His message is simple:</p> <ol> <li>Don’t waste time.</li> <li>Eliminate negative energy.</li> <li>Be the best parent you can.</li> </ol>Next Year, More Goals2012-01-02T10:00:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/next-year-more-goals/<p>I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-year-new-goals-2011/">set a few goals at the beginning of 2011</a>. I wanted to:</p> <blockquote> <ol> <li>Recode this site using WordPress’ 3.0’s custom post types and HTML5, plus develop a mobile theme.</li> <li>Complete a project in Drupal, Joomla or another CMS.</li> <li>Blog more.</li> <li>Learn more PHP.</li> </ol> </blockquote> <p>So how did I do? I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dk-wordpress-theme-3-0/">launched a new site in May</a>, right on par with what I wanted to create. I didn’t quite build a site in Drupal or Joomla, but <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/the-arc-new-brand/">re-skinned a site using Blackbaud NetCommunity</a>. Not bad. I wrote 42 posts this year, about 10 less than last year, even though it feels like I wrote more. I’m definitely more comfortable with PHP, thanks to a few WordPress projects.</p> <p>The new year has me thinking about what goals to set for this year.</p> <ol> <li>Blog more, and better (yep, going to have to improve over last year).</li> <li>Learn more about <a href="http://html5boilerplate.com/">HTML5 Boilerplate</a> (and possibly add or create a new theme for my site that integrates it).</li> <li>Launch an Elon iMedia Community website, based on <a href="http://buddypress.org/">BuddyPress</a> – something I’ve stated in 2011.</li> <li>Read more books on tech (first up is <a href="http://filamentgroup.com/dwpe/">Designing with Progressive Enhancement</a> then some of the books by <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Chip-Heath/e/B000APJJZC/">Chip and Dan Heath</a>).</li> <li>Become more proficient in project management (I know the basic principles, but want to grow my skills).</li> </ol>The Secret is There is No Social Media2012-01-03T10:00:38-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/there-is-no-social-media/<p>A great video by <a href="http://garyvaynerchuk.com/">Gary Vaynerchuk</a> on social media and the temptation to <a href="http://youtu.be/l8Ino97rEfM">view it as THE buzz word to describe all things Internet</a> these days. A definite must watch.</p>Five Takeaways from Reading Steve Jobs2012-01-04T10:00:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/five-takeaways-from-reading-steve-jobs/<p>I just finished reading <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson/dp/1451648537">Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson</a>.</p> <p>It’s an amazing read, and I enjoyed it immensely. Some techies may not appreciate it as much as they could because it isn’t technical. You won’t read about all the ins and outs of making the iPhone or iPad, but you will read about the big breakthroughs, obstacles and quirks of Steve Jobs. That was just what I wanted.</p> <p>I took away many things from the book and Steve Jobs’s life. Here’s a short list:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Be passionate</strong>. You can’t make any real difference with your work or life without believing in what you do. Jobs truly wanted to create great products. It showed in the results he and his team at Apple unleashed over the last three decades.</li> <li><strong>Mind the details that matter</strong>. Details make the difference. Paying attention to how a product looked on the inside, even though no one ever saw it, helped Jobs build products that looked like nothing else.</li> <li><strong>Be a jerk. Sometimes</strong>. Issaacson’s biography recounts many instances of Jobs being a jerk. Sometimes warranted, sometimes not. That persona can prove invaluable when you can’t get your idea or vision through to people any other way.</li> <li><strong>Focus</strong>. The thing that I marveled at more than anything in the book is how Jobs reinvented Apple’s product line after he came back in the late 1990s. It took a lot of guts and vision to say “This is what Apple is good at, and this is what we’ll do,” so to speak. So many companies and organizations fail at this.</li> <li><strong>What obstacles</strong>? Issaacson writes a lot about Jobs’s “<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_distortion_field">reality distortion field</a>.” Jobs certainly set unrealistic goals at times – almost always. However, it was that shooting for the impossible, and ignoring limitations that made him and his team at Apple do groundbreaking things, and make a “dent in the world.”</li> </ol> <p>Have you read the book? What did you learn. Let me know.</p> <p><em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson/dp/1451648537">Amazon.com</a>.</em></p>WordPress Plugin Created by 10-Year-Old2012-01-05T10:00:54-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-plugin-created-by-10-year-old/<p>I really need to write my first WordPress plugin. Jesse Friedman, a 10-year-old who recently attended a WordCamp, took away what he learned there and <a href="http://www.wptavern.com/plugin-created-by-a-10-year-old">created one</a>. Great inspiration, and good to see a young one getting involved in coding early.</p>Us as Media Channels2012-01-10T00:10:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/us-as-media-channels/<blockquote> <p>“Attention is a currency, and if we spend too much of other people’s attention on frivolous posts and shares, we risk losing that attention.”<br> <cite>Chris Brogan has a good read up about <a href="http://www.chrisbrogan.com/mediachannels/">us as media channels</a>.</cite></p> </blockquote>Help Stop SOPA and PIPA2012-01-11T00:25:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/stop-sopa-and-pipa/<p>Today, WordPress asked its community of 60 million users to <a href="http://wordpress.org/news/2012/01/help-stop-sopa-pipa/">act against the possible legislation of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act</a>. You can <a href="http://americancensorship.org/" title="Stop American Censorship">help too</a>. This is an important thing to do for anyone who makes a living on the web. As Jeffrey Zeldman of Happy Cog and A List Apart <a href="http://www.alistapart.com/articles/say-no-to-sopa/" title="Say No to SOPA">says</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>“(SOPA) [is] an ill-conceived lobbyist-driven piece of legislation that is technically impossible to enforce, cripplingly burdensome to support, and would, without hyperbole, destroy the internet as we know it.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Let’s not let ill-formed legislation, written by people who know nothing about technology, destroy the Internet. Actually, screw that. <a href="http://vimeo.com/31100268">This isn’t so much about technology as it’s about freedom</a>. Act now!</p>Sometimes WordPress Isn't the Right Choice2012-01-11T22:41:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/sometimes-wordpress-isnt-the-right-choice/<p>Wait, what? That’s sacrilegious for me to write a headline like that!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wptavern.com/some-orgnizations-and-wordpress-just-dont-mix">WordPress Tavern linked</a> to a post by Kevinjohn Gallagher about his <a href="http://kevinjohngallagher.com/2012/01/wordpress-has-left-the-building/">creative agency stopping the use of WordPress for clients</a>. Gallagher points out these weaknesses in WordPress:</p> <blockquote> <p>&quot;WordPress has either no, or severely limited:</p> <ol> <li>Document management</li> <li>Workflow management</li> <li>Digital asset management</li> <li>Link management</li> <li>User management</li> <li>ESI Caching / CDN ability.</li> <li>WYSIWYG editing</li> <li>Single Sign-on</li> <li>Multi-side Admin</li> <li>Publishing options</li> <li>Access Management</li> <li>Application</li> <li>Multi-lingual</li> <li>n-to-n content sharing</li> <li>Reporting&quot;</li> </ol> </blockquote> <p>As one of the commenters <a href="http://www.wptavern.com/some-orgnizations-and-wordpress-just-dont-mix#comment-17354">points out – there is no perfect CMS</a>. Each user’s needs differ vastly – especially enterprise clients. And as John James Jacoby says, <a href="http://www.wptavern.com/some-orgnizations-and-wordpress-just-dont-mix#comment-17386">Gallagher’s “they” are us</a>. We can change the course of WordPress in a number of ways to make it more like the perfect content management system. You just can’t say that about proprietary systems.</p> <p>Some of the proprietary systems do some of the things that Gallagher wants better, but none of them handles the user experience or ease of installation/updates better than WordPress. That’s something to remember. WordPress has nailed that pretty well, and can continue to build on it.</p> <p>What do you think? Is WordPress as weak as Gallagher makes it sound?</p> <p><em>Update: January 14, 2012</em>: I’m sharing this comment send by Kevinjohn Gallagher. It’s good because it points out some poor wording on my part:</p> <blockquote> <p>Hi David, just to clarify, (I know you didn’t say this, but I’ve had it e-mailed to me that I did based on your article) I never once said WordPress was weak.</p> <p>I love WordPress, and use it on my personal sites (not all blogs), and my small agency has used it as our go-to CMS for years. My staff no longer wanted to use it, and I acquiesced.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>“Some of the proprietary systems do some of the things that Gallagher wants better, but none of them handles the user experience or ease of installation/updates better than WordPress.”</p> <p>This was absolutely true about 18-12 months ago. I can think of think of at least 2 CMS solutions that do that right now. Though they are not accessible to everyone, the old adage of how good WordPress looks goes out the window when a sizeable percentage of your clients are what WordPress consideres “edge cases”.</p> <p>And I know you’ve not said it, but its been reported everywhere else so I’m adding it here, I have NEVER called for any of these features to be added to WordPress. I just said it didn’t have them.</p> <p>Anyway, thanks for your time.</p> <p>Kevinjohn</p> </blockquote>Social Media as Resistance2012-01-14T15:48:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/social-media-as-resistance/<p>We all know social media can suck time away.</p> <p>One of my favorite authors, <a href="http://stevenpressfield.com/">Steven Pressfield</a>, did an <a href="http://www.copyblogger.com/steven-pressfield-interview/">interview with CopyBlogger</a> recently, and talked about his life as a writer. One of the interesting things he said was that he refused to use social media himself because it got in the way. His publicist primarily monitors his social media channels. Does Pressfield have a point here?</p> <p>Absolutely. Do you adjust the use of social media if you’re working on a big project or goal?</p>Content Strategy and Responsive Design2012-01-19T21:00:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/content-strategy-and-responsive-design/<p>Brain Traffic has a great post about <a href="http://blog.braintraffic.com/2012/01/content-strategy-and-responsive-design/">content strategy as it relates to responsive design</a>.</p>One Month with the Kindle Fire2012-01-30T10:00:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/one-month-with-the-kindle-fire/<p>If you had asked my co-workers before the holiday season which tablet I might buy, they would have all put money on the Apple iPad. After all, I’m the only one in the office with the iMac, and I’ve brought up Steve Jobs at a few staff meetings.</p> <p>But I never considered an iPad. Two days after Christmas, I let go of my Apple bias and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Fire-Amazon-Tablet/dp/B0051VVOB2">bought a Kindle Fire</a>. Why? Several reasons:</p> <ul> <li>I already have a laptop, so I couldn’t justify spending $500 for another, no matter how beautiful and useful it turned out to be.</li> <li>The main reason I wanted a tablet was to read e-books, so I knew cheaper e-readers existed.</li> <li>I knew I would use my tablet for content consumption above all else.</li> </ul> <h2>First Impressions</h2> <p>The Kindle Fire does one thing well – help you browse and consume content. The other thing it does better – direct you to buying that content from Amazon.</p> <h3>Liking This…</h3> <ul> <li>Easy to set up, and get going with access to your Amazon content.</li> <li>Changing the appearance of type while reading books is nice.</li> <li>The size is perfect.</li> </ul> <h3>Not a Fan of…</h3> <ul> <li>Silk: It’s slow, very slow. I turned the acceleration off and it sped things up.</li> <li>App Store: Not even a Twitter or Facebook app, but glorified links to mobile sites. That’s ridiculous. Updates come to the Amazon App Store much slower than normal. Sometimes, it wants me to update an app, but won’t let me update the app – probably because the Amazon-approved version isn’t available.</li> <li>Navigating the perils of converting e-book files back and forth proved to be a learning experience. Luckily, there’s <a href="http://calibre-ebook.com/">Calibre</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>Final Thoughts</h3> <p>In the end, the Kindle Fire gives me what the iPad could not – a supercharged e-reader with a reasonable price tag. I can read and buy books all I want, and when I need to, check websites, blogs, etc. I’m excited to see how my <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/reading/">reading habit will change this year</a>. In the end through, if Apple made a $200 or even $250 iPad Lite, I would have bought it instead.</p>Open Source Goodness2012-02-02T23:50:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/open-source-goodness/<p>In the past two weeks I stumbled across three awesome open source projects that make creating interactive websites easier. They are:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/">Twitter Bootstrap</a>: a set of tools that’s simple and flexible HTML, CSS, and Javascript for popular user interface components and interactions.</li> <li><a href="http://argoproject.org/">Project Argo</a>: A collection of tools and best practices for building topic-focused sites in WordPress.</li> <li><a href="http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tools/freedive/">freeDive</a>: A tool that transforms Google Spreadsheets into searchable databases that can be embedded in websites.</li> </ul> <p>Check them out! I’m excited to start using them.</p>Writing Stories and Code2012-03-05T14:21:53-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/writing-stories-and-code/<p>When I first started writing, I wrote stories for my middle-school journalism class longhand at my desk and then typed them onto a computer, editing as I went. I loved the physical act of writing that much – feeling the ink and paper blend. Beside wanting to fly jets in the Air Force when I was about six, all I ever wanted to do was to write.</p> <p>So I wrote, working as a journalist, then copywriter. I loved bringing things to life with words, putting the pieces of stories together. When the journalism world evolved into something different with the rise of the web, I looked toward changing paths. I loved blogging, creating sites and building things… That’s where the coding comes in.</p> <p>I earned my master’s degree in interactive media, thinking I would go into strategy or social media. I do both of those things at my day job and have a blast with it. But the more I build sites – writing HTML, CSS and Javascript – the more I realize that bringing a site to life, putting the pieces of code together, is just like writing stories.</p> <p>Writing is art. And I’m learning that coding can be art too.</p> <p><em><strong>Note</strong>: This post first appeared on one of my discontinued blogs – WRPG. I salvaged this good post, and shared it here.</em></p>CSS Tricks CSS Almanac2012-03-20T20:15:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/css-almanac/<p>Excited to see the completed product here. So many CSS guides don’t look that good and aren’t easy to use: <a href="http://css-tricks.com/almanac/">CSS Tricks CSS Almanac</a>.</p>Twenty Twelve Theme Release2012-03-21T22:55:48-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/twenty-twelve-theme-release/<p>Kind of bummed about this, but excited to see the theme have more time to be developed: <a href="http://www.wptavern.com/twenty-twelve-to-be-released-with-wordpress-3-5">Twenty Twelve To Be Released With WordPress 3.5</a>.</p>You Don't Need a Native Mobile App2012-03-22T21:01:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/you-dont-need-a-native-mobile-app/<p>Most of the time you <a href="http://view.vzaar.com/942873/player">don’t need a native mobile app</a>.</p>Google Search Meeting2012-03-23T17:32:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/google-search-meeting/<p>This is totally for web dorks only, but it’s fascinating to see how <a href="http://youtu.be/JtRJXnXgE-A">Google is thinking about search</a>.</p>Apps vs. The Web2012-03-24T13:18:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/apps-vs-web/<blockquote> <p>“Apps are a great intermediate play, a way to scale up functionality of a primitive Web, but over time they get outcompeted for all but the most complex platforms by simpler and more standardized alternatives. What will get complex will be the ‘artificial immune systems’ on local machines. What will get increasingly transparent and standardized will be the limited number of open Web platforms and protocols that all the leading desktop and mobile hardware and their immune systems will agree to use. The rest of the apps and their code will reside in the long tail of vertical and niche uses.”<br> <cite>Futurist <strong>John Smart</strong>, founder of the Acceleration Studies Foundation in <a href="http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Future-of-Apps-and-Web/Overview.aspx">The Future of Apps and Web by the Pew Internet and American Life Project</a>.</cite></p> </blockquote>Accessibility Certification2012-03-29T09:29:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-certification/<p>This notion/direction is worth more thought, especially as the web continues to evolve and add new technology: <a href="http://webaim.org/blog/accessibility-certification/">Becoming Certified in Accessibility: The Devil is in the Details</a>.</p>The New Autism Numbers: Why They Matter2012-04-02T15:58:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-autism-numbers-why-they-matter/<p>Probably one of the best blog posts we’ve published at The Arc: <a href="http://blog.thearc.org/2012/04/02/the-new-autism-numbers-why-they-matter/">The New Autism Numbers: Why They Matter</a>.</p>Seth Godin on Blogging2012-04-06T09:24:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/godin-on-blogging/<blockquote> <p>Seth Godin didn’t become a brilliant blogger overnight. It took him years of relentlessly trying to master what he was passionate about. And you can do to!<br> <cite><em>Source: </em><a href="http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/04/05/10-lessons-seth-godin-can-teach-you-about-blogging/">QuickSprout.com</a>.</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>These are good blogging tips, and better writing tips.</p>Modernizr and Feature Detection2012-04-09T21:18:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/modernizr-feature-detection/<p>Nice tutorial on Modernizr and feature detection: <a href="http://html5doctor.com/using-modernizr-to-detect-html5-features-and-provide-fallbacks/">Use Modernizr to Detect HTML5 Features</a>.</p>The Battle for the Web2012-04-16T21:18:51-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/battle-for-the-web/<blockquote> <p>Over seven days The Guardian is taking stock of the new battlegrounds for the internet. From states stifling dissent to the new cyberwar front line, we look at the challenges facing the dream of an open internet.<br> <cite><em>Source: </em><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/series/battle-for-the-internet">The Guardian</a>.</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>Enjoying this series on the open internet by The Guardian.</p>Create Once Publish Selectively in Content Strategy2012-04-23T21:39:47-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/create-once-publish-selectively-in-content-strategy/<blockquote> <p>COPS would follow those same longview content preparations steps as COPE. In addition, COPS should:</p> <ul> <li>Take into account the appropriate-ness of the content for each channel and audience</li> <li>Add in the editorial and messaging considerations unique to each</li> <li>Use the content only if it meets stated objectives and goals via those channels</li> </ul> <p><cite>Source: <a href="http://www.content-ment.com/2012/03/dont-just-cope-call-cops-on-your.html">Content-ment</a>.</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>I really like this approach to content strategy.</p>The Why of WordPress Themes2012-06-12T10:30:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-why-of-wordpress-themes/<p><a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes">Child themes in WordPress</a> have extraordinary power.</p> <p>Much has been written about them, and <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2009/04/17/wordpress-child-theme-basics/">they’re easy to build</a>. The more I create and work with WordPress, the more I see a fine balance between the when and why to build a child theme and the when and why to build a custom theme.</p> <p>I draw the analogy of selecting your perfect car. Sometimes you just need a solid used car with decent mileage to get from point A to point B. Then, if you’re a car buff, need speed or towing power – you better shop for something custom, or build it yourself. Benefits and drawbacks exist no matter which path you take.</p> <p>Let’s take a look at when creating a child or custom theme is the right choice.</p> <h2>Driving with Kids is Fun</h2> <p>You might need a child theme when:</p> <ul> <li>you’ve fallen in love with a theme, but want to make a few simple customizations.</li> <li>an existing theme will fit the requirements – almost. So like the above case, a few tweaks will do, and a child theme will save you time.</li> <li>you like to work within a familiar framework, like a parent theme you’re used to or an actual <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Frameworks">WordPress framework</a>.</li> <li>you’re on a tight timeline, so writing an entire theme on your own just won’t due.</li> <li>adding a smidgeon of functionality will improve the theme, <a href="http://accessible.sprungmarker.de/">like accessibility</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>Can I Get Some Sweet Rims on This?</h2> <p>You might want to head to custom route when:</p> <ul> <li>you have plans for custom features, like many <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_Types">custom post types</a>, lots of meta boxes or other WordPress functionality that requires heavy modification of template files.</li> <li>you are persnickety about your code. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with having every line of code just they way you like it. Custom themes give you more flexibility for creating everything the way you like it.</li> <li>you have a project with fast-moving code. That can mean many, many things, but what I’m getting at is a project where you’re writing large chunks of custom code in a team project.</li> <li>you’re using new technology. Often times, finding a WordPress theme that employs the latest and greatest (just how you like it) can sometimes be difficult.</li> <li>you have a vanilla starter theme that you’re used to working with a lot. If that’s the case, it can be easier than starting with a child theme.</li> </ul> <p>So you can see that choosing one option over the other doesn’t mean you’re making a right or wrong decision. It just means you’re making the best choice for you – and how you like to ride/drive. 🙂</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/zXn-zUztOhU">Free To Use Sounds</a>.</em></p>What Do You Need in an Accessible WordPress Theme?2012-08-06T22:59:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-do-you-need-in-an-accessible-wordpress-theme/<p>I’ve wanted to create a WordPress theme for a long time. I just didn’t see how the one I created could be different from the <a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/">hundreds already available</a>.</p> <p>However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized an accessible WordPress theme could help a my theme stand out. Sylvia Egger has done great work with <a href="http://accessible.sprungmarker.de/">Accessible Twenty Ten Five</a> and <a href="http://green-beast.com/seabeast/">SeaBeast</a> was well known years ago. But why not add another to the mix?</p> <p>Yesterday, I <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/status/232211208755896322">tweeted that I was working on this</a> and asked the accessibility community what they wanted to see. I was happy to get a few retweets and responses.</p> <p><strong>What would you want to see? Let me know in the comments.</strong></p> <p>Here’s what I’m aiming for at this early stage:</p> <ul> <li>HTML5/CSS3 with a mix of progressive enhancement and graceful degradation.</li> <li>Responsive design</li> <li>Visible skip links</li> <li>Good color contrast (meeting WCAG AA)</li> <li>High contrast style switcher</li> <li>Will meet current WordPress coding standards</li> <li>Will be open source and free</li> </ul>New RSS Feed Address2012-09-01T18:52:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-rss-feed-address/<p>Hello awesome blog readers!</p> <p>Just a quick note to let you know I’ve changed my RSS feed address from <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/eINTERtain">http://feeds.feedburner.com/eINTERtain</a> to <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/feed">http://davidakennedy.com/feed</a>.</p> <p>I wanted my own URLs to be front and center. If you’re subscribed to my old feed, it will redirect for 30 days. The last 15 will include a note about the new address. Thanks for reading!</p>Beta USA Today Site Truly Different2012-09-24T21:45:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/beta-usa-today-site-truly-different/<p>The new <a href="http://beta.usatoday.com/">USA Today Beta website</a> marries a the content and navigation of a traditional news website with the look and feel of a bleeding-edge news app. Poynter has the <a href="http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/visual-voice/188575/usa-today-innovates-with-horizontal-experience-information-layers-on-new-website/">details of the new site</a> and an <a href="http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/visual-voice/188996/usa-today-new-web-design/">interview with its designers</a>.</p> <p>So far, according to one of the Poynter articles, USA Today staff has loved the new design:</p> <blockquote> <p>The client has been ecstatic. Their own feedback has been overwhelming. They knew they took a risk. I think they’re super relieved at what they’re seeing.</p> </blockquote> <p>It looks different, feels different and the ads don’t intrude on the reading experience. So far, I have a number of questions that will be interesting to watch play out:</p> <ol> <li>The site focuses on the desktop experience, leaving the mobile experience not to responsive design, but <a href="http://beta.usatoday.com/mobile-apps/">apps</a>. From a reading/user perspective – will this be the better approach long term? And does zeroing in on device experiences like this better for inovation?</li> <li>Why aren’t other news organizations (and other industries!) taking more bold chances with their web presence? (The web needs that.)</li> </ol>New Look, Same Feel2012-11-23T11:53:44-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-look-same-feel/<p>I like to tinker with my own site. I can’t help it. 🙂</p> <p>It has to be this way. I think a developer’s personal site should constantly evolve. It hasn’t been that long since <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dk-wordpress-theme-3-0/">my last site refresh</a>, however this time I rebuilt everything from the ground up.</p> <p>You’re looking at a new and improved site.</p> <h2>Experimentation</h2> <p>I experimented with a variety of different solutions beyond <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a> to see if anything would be a better fit. I looked at <a href="https://www.pyrocms.com/">PyroCMS</a>, <a href="http://octopress.org/">Octopress</a>, <a href="https://github.com/getpelican/pelican">Pelican</a> and <a href="http://statamic.com/">Statamic</a>. The whole <a href="https://gist.github.com/2254924">static site generator craze</a> has me intrigued. A few designers and developers I respect have made the switch, including <a href="http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/newblog-newcms">Mark Boulton</a> and <a href="http://daverupert.com/2012/11/brander-newer/">Dave Rupert</a>. Ultimately though, I stuck with what I love – WordPress. It just has so much flexibility and support that I can’t let that go. Plus, it’s just fun to develop with.</p> <h2>Features</h2> <p>I created the last version of my site as a child theme of <a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/duster">Duster</a>. <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-why-of-wordpress-themes/">Child themes are awesome</a>, but I wanted more power so I started with <a href="http://underscores.me/">Underscores</a> and went the custom route this time around.</p> <p>I kept all of my existing features, including my <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/">projects custom post type and taxonomies</a>. But this time I made a <a href="http://wpcandy.com/teaches/how-to-create-a-functionality-plugin/">functionality plugin</a> to store my post types and other custom theme functionality that needs to be carried over from theme to theme.</p> <p>New features include:</p> <ul> <li>mobile first design, using <a href="http://fluidbaselinegrid.com/">Fluid Baseline Grid</a> as a starting point. Older browsers get served <a href="https://github.com/scottjehl/Respond">Respond.js</a> to maintain the responsiveness.</li> <li>Tim Brown’s <a href="http://modularscale.com/scale/?px1=16&amp;px2=4&amp;ra1=1.5&amp;ra2=0">modular scale technique</a>. I deviated from a strict baseline grid.</li> <li>the web font <a href="https://typekit.com/fonts/franklin-gothic-urw">Franklin Gothic URW from Typekit</a>. I use Open Sans for my logo.</li> <li>icons from the icon font <a href="http://icomoon.io/">IcoMoon</a>.</li> <li>a footer background pattern from <a href="https://www.toptal.com/designers/subtlepatterns/light-sketch">Subtle Patterns</a>.</li> <li>a simple set of quotes that display in the footer randomly when a page loads. Right now, all of these are from Benjamin Franklin, because his quotes always make me stop and think, or smile. I’ll add more later.</li> </ul> <h3>Design</h3> <p>I wanted the design to reflect something new, but still feel familiar to anyone who has visited my site before. So I kept a black and white with blue color scheme and stuck with a traditional minimal two-column layout.</p> <h3>Accessibility</h3> <p>I’ve taken great care to make the site as accessible as possible. I have:</p> <ul> <li>included visible skip links.</li> <li>included invisible headings with all of the site’s navigation elements.</li> <li>implemented ARIA roles where appropriate.</li> <li>made sure the various color combinations pass both <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-contrast/accessible-color-palette.php?&amp;colors=ffffff,f4f4f4,525252,333333,141414,eef3fc,19468a,0d2345&amp;main=ffffff&amp;level=AA">WCAG 2 AA</a> and <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-contrast/accessible-color-palette.php?&amp;colors=ffffff,f4f4f4,525252,333333,141414,eef3fc,19468a,0d2345&amp;main=ffffff&amp;level=AAA">WCAG 2 AAA</a>.</li> <li>served up the default font size (16px) in browsers for most areas of the site. Font sizes are served in percentages and ems to maintain fluidity.</li> <li>used JavaScript responsively. It controls the responsiveness in older browsers, the keyboard navigation in photo galleries, the main navigation on small viewports and the fallback on web fonts on older browsers. I’ve also used <a href="http://modernizr.com/">Modernizr</a> for feature detection.</li> <li>plans to make the dropdown menus keyboard accessible.</li> </ul> <h3>Next</h3> <p>I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak things as I find bugs and ways to improve the site. After all, I did say I liked to tinker.</p>Joining the Cities Project2012-11-24T18:23:14-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/joining-the-cities-project/<p>A few months ago I announced I would <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-do-you-need-in-an-accessible-wordpress-theme/">create an accessible WordPress theme</a>. I was surprised by the interest it generated in the comments in the post and on Twitter. All of it excited me a lot!</p> <p>Since then I’ve made a bit of progress. I’ve gotten my base theme files in shape and ready – I’ll be starting with <a href="http://underscores.me/">Underscores</a> as my base. Shortly after that, <a href="http://accessiblejoe.com/">Joseph Karr O’Connor</a> contacted me about his newly created <a href="http://accessiblejoe.com/cities/">Cities project</a>. In short, a group of developers and designers will produce a collection of accessible WordPress themes.</p> <p>It didn’t take long for me to say yes and jump onto the project. It would have been fun to create something on my own, but to collaborate with part of the accessibility community, be a part of a larger project and produce something truly open source is exciting.</p> <p>We’re in the beginning stages of it all, assembling teams and deciding on the goals of the themes. Stay tuned for more as the project develops.</p> <p class="callout"> If you want to be a part of the project, <a href="mailto:me@davidakennedy.com">email me</a>, or <a href="http://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">contact me on Twitter</a>. I'm looking for a designer for my team. </p>Meet the Obama Campaign's Fundraising Platform2012-11-29T21:15:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/meet-the-obama-campaigns-fundraising-platform/<p>Front end developer Kyle Rush, who worked on the Obama campaign’s web team, blogged recently about its <a href="http://kylerush.net/blog/meet-the-obama-campaigns-250-million-fundraising-platform/">custom-built fundraising platform</a>. It’s a great read and has three big lessons:</p> <ol> <li>Speed kills when it comes to donation pages and load times.</li> <li>Build with flexibility in mind.</li> <li>Test, test, test.</li> </ol>Cities Made the Latest WebAxe Podcast2012-12-02T15:09:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/cities-made-the-latest-webaxe-podcast/<p>The Cities Project, the WordPress theming project I’m participating in, made the <a href="http://www.webaxe.org/podcast-96-wordpress-events/">latest episode of the WebAxe podcast</a>. Give it a listen and stay tuned here for more updates about Cities.</p>Progress in WordPress Accessibility2012-12-03T21:27:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/progress-in-wordpress-accessibility/<p>The WordPress community has made some great progress recently toward better accessibility.</p> <p>Graham Armfield has updated everyone on all the <a href="http://www.coolfields.co.uk/2012/11/wordpress-3-5-accessibility-update-november-2012/">recent work in core regarding accessibility tickets</a>. And the Community Summit generated <a href="http://make.wordpress.org/summit/2012/12/03/accessibility/">good discussion on potential future progress</a>.</p> <p>I’m so excited by all this – especially my part – helping out on the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/joining-the-cities-project/">Cities project to create accessible WordPress themes</a>. I’d say to anyone reading this who has any expertise in accessibility – think about how you can help. If we want WordPress to continue this progress toward better overall accessibility, we have to make it happen.</p>Be a Better FED in 20132012-12-22T11:09:36-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/be-a-better-fed-in-2013/<p>Smashing Magazine has a nice roundup of talks to <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/12/22/talks-to-help-you-become-a-better-front-end-engineer-in-2013/">help you become a better front end developer in 2013</a>.</p>Blogging Isn't Dead2013-01-08T22:29:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blogging-isnt-dead/<p><a href="http://venturebeat.com/2012/12/20/dylans-desk-social-networking/">Take control of your social networks</a> and blog. I guess blogging isn’t dead.</p>What's Next2013-01-13T16:00:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/whats-next/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/bye-dave-flyer.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=300&h=400" alt="" width="300" height="400"><figcaption>A hilarious flyer including Grumpy Cat and me in a red bucket, made with love by Amberley Romo and Kevin Wenzel.</figcaption></figure> <p>Friday was bittersweet. I finished up a <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/sometimes-you-just-have-to-run-the-race/">two-plus year tenure</a> at <a href="http://www.thearc.org/">The Arc</a>, having the chance to work with some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. Working there changed me in so many positive ways, I couldn’t even begin to list them all. So what’s next?</p> <p>I’ve accepted a position as an Interactive Designer at <a href="http://www.rockcreeksm.com/">Rock Creek Strategic Marketing</a> – building websites and applications for its clients. I worked in many areas of the online world at The Arc. Because of that I learned that I really love building sites and applications, and this new position gives me the opportunity to do more of that. I’m excited to meet my new colleagues, dive in and create some fantastic web experiences.</p> <p>Working at The Arc was an amazing experience, and I couldn’t have moved The Arc’s online communications in so many new directions without the team there. We <a href="http://blog.thearc.org/2011/03/01/the-arc-launches-a-new-brand-identity/">rebranded the organization</a>, launched a <a href="http://autismnow.org/">national autism information and resource center</a>, built new blogs with responsive designs, made huge progress on website accessibility and so much more. On my last day my co-workers threw me a great party, told their favorite “Dave” stories and brought plenty of brownies and beer (my favorite motivators! 🙂). I couldn’t have imagined a better ending to my time there.</p>A 2013 WordPress Default Theme Pitch2013-01-18T08:04:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-2013-wordpress-default-theme-pitch/<p>Aaron Jorbin writes about his <a href="http://aaron.jorb.in/blog/2013/01/what-i-want-to-see-in-the-twenty-thirteen-theme">goals for the Twenty Thirteen default WordPress theme</a>. He envisions an accessibility first approach, saying:</p> <blockquote> <p>Accessibility First would involve a few decisions to be made upfront:</p> <ul> <li>Color choices with high contrast in mind from the start. This is one area that Twenty Twelve barely missed.</li> <li>Color choices with multiple types of color deficiencies in mind since an estimated 10% of all males suffer from some form of color deficiency.</li> <li>Making up for browser deficiencies, specifically the <a href="https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=17450">skipnav focus bug in webkit</a></li> <li>Make sure that the design still looks beautiful when the font size is increased 200%</li> <li>Following the <a href="http://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/theme-accessibility-audit-draft-proposal/">Theme Accessibility Audit Draft Proposal</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>I love this approach, and taking Twenty Thirteen down this path would bring accessibility to the forefront not just in the WordPress community, but the web in general.</p>Learn More About Web Accessibility2013-02-07T20:49:27-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/learn-more-about-web-accessibility/<p>This <a href="https://twitter.com/i/lists/84355088">Twitter list that I’ve created on accessibility</a> is a good place to start learning more about web accessibility.</p>Number 342013-03-04T21:33:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-34/<p>I turned 34 on Saturday.</p> <p>That’s kind of crazy. I don’t feel any any older. I never do, but I do feel more balanced and focused. That’s refreshing. Maybe that’s what wisdom feels like?</p> <p>I realized that I never wrote a New Year’s post, something I’ve done each of the last <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/next-year-more-goals/">two</a> <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-year-new-goals-2011/">years</a>. Today seemed like a good time to catch up on self reflection, plus I always enjoy reading <a href="http://ma.tt/2013/01/twenty-nine/">Matt Mullenweg’s birthday posts</a>. So here goes…</p> <h2>Code City</h2> <p>Professionally, I’ve never felt so excited about what’s next than right now. I started the new year with a <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/whats-next/">new job</a>. I’m writing more code, working on two WordPress themes (to be released soon), contributing to the <a href="http://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/">Make WordPress Accessible group</a>, and diving deeper into the accessibility community.</p> <p>When I first jumped into the web field I was intimidated. It looked difficult to find a niche, a place where I could make a difference. After all, the web offers a lot of opportunities to make it better, but so many talented folks are already in those spaces doing amazing things. Where does someone new fit? It takes time as I discovered. Now, I feel like I finally found my fit in the WordPress and accessibility communities.</p> <h2>Gutcheck Time!</h2> <p>What I loved most about running cross country and track in high school was the mental challenge and the camaraderie among my teammates. During tough interval workouts, I used to yell, “What time is it? <strong>GUTCHECK</strong> time!” It turned into a rallying cry for our team.</p> <p>I tried to keep running after I graduated, but I never stuck with it because I missed the people. Last year I started CrossFit and have been doing it ever since.</p> <p>I love how CrossFit pushes you and your body in every way possible. A few weeks ago I did my first rope climb. Plus, when your fighting your way through a workout, you always have someone over your shoulder with words of encouragement – like that rallying cry I use to yell. It’s the new cross country and track for me.</p> <h3>This Year</h3> <p>I want to build on my progress:</p> <ul> <li>Release the two <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-do-you-need-in-an-accessible-wordpress-theme/">accessible WordPress themes</a> I’m working on.</li> <li>Finish the three goals on the whiteboard at my gym: 1. Complete my first rope climb. (Done!) 2. Deadlift 225 lbs. 3. Perform my first double-under.</li> <li>Write more on my blog.</li> <li>Keep <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/reading/">reading more</a>.</li> </ul> <p>That’s it. I’m trying to simplify my goals more than in years past. See you in my mid-thirties.</p>Idea Box: My First Open Source Project with the CFPB2013-03-31T16:05:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/idea-box/<p>A few weeks ago, the <a href="http://consumerfinance.gov/">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a> released <a href="https://github.com/cfpb/idea-box">Idea Box</a>. From the Github readme file:</p> <blockquote> <p>…a django app for collecting and surfacing ideas from users, in the vein of IdeaScale, IdeaX, and Django Voice. Idea-Box differs from these projects in its minimal, easily integrate-able interface. Idea-Box also takes a strong stance on transparency, such that ideas, votes, etc. are tied to specific users.</p> </blockquote> <p>I was lucky enough to be part of the team that built it. I’m excited to see where it goes and what the CFPB releases next as open source software.</p>Hello CrossFit, It's Been One Year2013-04-21T21:16:23-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/one-year-with-crossfit/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/dave-at-crossfit.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=300&h=600" alt="" width="300" height="600"><figcaption>Dave performs push presses during the 2013 CrossFit Games.</figcaption></figure> <p>I started <a href="http://www.crossfit.com/">CrossFit</a> one year ago. I can’t believe that much time has passed already, a sign that CrossFit has <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-34/">stuck and changed me in a big way</a>.</p> <p>It’s given me the perfect balance between strength and cardio. It’s provided a way to satisfy my urge to compete. It’s helped me pay better attention to my health. And it’s something my wife and I can do together.</p> <p>During the past year I’ve learned CrossFit isn’t so much about reps, sets or the amount of weight on the bar, but about finding your limit and pushing past it. After a recent workout, I mentioned to a coach that I felt like I wasn’t progressing enough.</p> <p>“That’s because your limit changes constantly,” he said.</p> <p>So far this year, I’ve already completed two of my three major goals: I did my first rope climb and I recorded a personal best in the deadlift, 235 pounds. I hope to keep pushing the limit forward in the next year and beyond.</p>New Paying for College Launched2013-05-11T21:05:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-paying-for-college/<p>Recently, the <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a> launched a new and improved <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/paying-for-college/">Paying for College</a>, including a better way for students to <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/paying-for-college/compare-financial-aid-and-college-cost/">compare their college costs</a>.</p> <p>I’m glad I got to be a part of the team that worked on it. Check it out!</p>So Long Gmail2013-05-13T21:49:04-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/so-long-gmail/<p>I ditched Gmail this weekend. Permanently.</p> <p>I had contemplated the move for a long time. One of my friends jokingly responded to my tweet about it with:</p> <blockquote> <p>“WHY DAVE WHY?”</p> </blockquote> <p>It does sound kind of crazy when you think about it, but here’s why:</p> <ul> <li>I’d read Marco Arment’s, <a href="http://www.marco.org/2011/04/05/let-us-pay-for-this-service-so-it-wont-go-down">Let us pay for this service so it won’t go down</a>, and was inspired to rethink how I managed my own data.</li> <li>I liked the idea that my email was mine. No matter what happens to my provider, I can take it with me, both in name and data.</li> <li>I wanted to make things simpler. No more multiple emails – just one for everything.</li> </ul> <p>I’m now with <a href="http://fastmail.fm/">FastMail</a>. Funny thing: I used FastMail as my email provider before I switched to Gmail in 2008. Since then, they’ve seen a lot of changes. Opera <a href="http://business.opera.com/press/releases/general/opera-acquires-fastmail.fm">bought FastMail in 2010</a> and recently <a href="http://blog.fastmail.fm/2012/10/30/new-interface-and-login-screens-rolled-out/">redesigned the interface</a>. Plus, now you can use your own domain.</p> <p>I’m pleased with the switch. Pushing the delete button on Gmail wasn’t that hard with a bit of planning. I:</p> <ul> <li>followed the <a href="https://www.fastmail.fm/help/business_migrate.html">import instructions</a> according to FastMail.</li> <li>set up new <a href="https://www.fastmail.fm/help/managing_email.html">filtering rules</a>.</li> <li>waited a few weeks to make sure I changed email addresses where I needed to and let everyone know of the change.</li> </ul> <p>It’s good to be in control.</p>Blogs Still Matter – When It's You2013-05-26T23:38:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blogs-still-matter-when-its-you/<p>I wanted to write professionally since I was 12. I’m glad I did that. Now I write code, and <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/writing-stories-and-code/">see a lot of similarities between the two</a>. Writers and coders create tremendous value when they craft stories through their work.</p> <p>That fuels my interest in the evolution of the news industry, blogging and creating on the web. We’re approaching a pivotal time on the web as social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr become media giants while new blogging platforms continue to pop up. Social media may open publishing to the masses, but the companies that run them sometimes send users scrambling when those companies get bought out or shut down.</p> <p>That interrupts the stories people create on these services. It’s difficult to keep anything going long term, but even harder when the platform you’ve selected changes dramatically in different ways, whether it’s ownership, features or discontinuation. When this news breaks, we tend to focus on the platform, the publishing experience or the economics, but those don’t really matter. The words and content matter more. Just create.</p> <p>Blogs (or whatever they get called in the future) still matter because they give people their own platform for creation. The platform doesn’t matter as much when it’s you, and not a service that has your content locked down.</p> <p>What does that mean? It means:</p> <ul> <li>you publish on your own domain.</li> <li>you freely control your content (you can export, import, use other technologies in an interoperable way).</li> <li>you’re not attached to specific features of a platform.</li> <li>you focus on creation, not the way you create.</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://allthingsd.com/20130520/yahoos-mayer-and-new-york-mayor-bloomberg-announces-new-office-in-times-square/">Yahoo bought Tumblr</a>, not for the technology, but the content and audience. Of course, the brand, domain and people who created it matter too. It will be interesting to watch and see if David Karp can keep <a href="http://www.marco.org/2013/05/20/one-person-product">Tumblr’s original vision</a> in tact as he moves forward with Yahoo. We haven’t figured out the perfect mix of proprietary and open source, independent versus funded yet, or even if there is one, but the <a href="http://ma.tt/2013/05/yahooblr/">evolution is happening</a>. Will Tumblr let its users continue to be themselves? We’ll see.</p> <p>There’s no shortage of new blogging platforms, like <a href="http://tryghost.org/">Ghost</a> and <a href="http://jekyllrb.com/">Jekyll</a>, or ones that offer a new take on extinct platforms, like <a href="https://posthaven.com/">Posthaven</a>. They’ll keep coming. But it doesn’t matter if you can post from email, reblog, see all those animated GIFs in a dashboard or “Like” a post. Just tell us your story.</p> <p>Just create, keep what you create close to your heart and publish it on something that empowers you and gives you control.</p>Dear WordPress2013-05-27T13:33:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dear-wordpress/<p>I remember when I thought bloggers were the enemy. I was crazy, but I used to be a journalist after all. You didn’t judge me.</p> <p>Instead you set me free. You introduced me to the web. You let me follow my dream of being a writer in the most harmonious way – I write code and write about it – teaching others in your community along the way.</p> <p>That wouldn’t be possible without you. You introduced me to web standards too. I love making themes to help you spread beauty and brevity of code across the world. Together, we’re working on making you more accessible too. You’re helping me learn how to be thoughtful and pragmatic in my approach to code. You’ve introduced me to many talented web workers who have pushed me be better at what I love doing.</p> <p>I know I try to get you to do too much sometimes, but it’s only because I want you to grow and introduce others to the power of open source. I know I’ve only just started to give back what you’ve given me, but I promise to continue doing that. When I look at other blogging platforms I know you might get jealous, but I keep coming back because I see so much potential in what we can accomplish together.</p> <p>I love your <a href="http://wordpress.org/about/philosophy/">philosophy</a>. You stand for the greater good in a world filled with proprietary software that leaves us with so little. You help people create, which is the best thing <em>anyone</em> can do, much less a piece of software. You have heart.</p> <p>Let’s keep doing this for years to come. I’ll keep crafting code and writing about it, and you keep shining a light along the way. We’ll get better together.</p> <p>Happy 10th birthday, WordPress!</p> <p>Love,<br> Dave</p> <p><em>Thanks for the <a href="http://ma.tt/2013/05/dear-wordpress/">inspiration, Matt</a></em>.</p>Moving to WordPress.com?2013-06-10T22:19:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/moving-to-wordpress-com/<p>There’s something I’ve been thinking about recently. Moving this site to the <a href="http://wordpress.com/">wordpress.com</a> platform.</p> <p>That sounds a bit crazy, yes? Especially for a web developer like myself. Of course, the <a href="http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/">differences abound</a> between <a href="http://wordpress.com/">wordpress.com</a> and hosting your own installation but moving still appeals to me. Why?</p> <ul> <li>I could focus on content more easily, instead of tweaking the site constantly. I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-look-same-feel/">do that</a> a lot.</li> <li>I’d get world-class hosting. That’s neat, and a step above my shared hosting! 🙂</li> <li>I’d join a big network of sites and bloggers. I’m liking the direction <a href="http://wordpress.com/">wordpress.com</a> is <a href="http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/responsive-wp-com/">headed design-wise</a> and I enjoy the <a href="http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/wordpress-reader/">new reader experience</a>.</li> <li>It would be fun to switch themes a lot! (see item no. one)</li> </ul> <p>But what are the drawbacks?</p> <ul> <li>I’d lose ultimate control. No more custom themes or playing around with JavaScript on my own site.</li> <li>I’d have to rearrange some content. My projects and photos are custom post types so those would have to become pages without custom taxonomies. Some URLs would break since I use a different permalink structure than the standard one.</li> <li>Achieving accessibility might be more difficult because it often relies on custom tweaks not possible on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">wordpress.com</a>.</li> <li>I’d have a ton of functionality at my fingertips that I wouldn’t use.</li> <li>Potential future employers and/or other web developers might wonder why I don’t use something more custom.</li> </ul> <p>All that said, I feel like it’s even. I first thought seriously about this when I read <a href="http://ryanimel.com/2012/07/05/i-moved-to-wordpress-dot-com/">Ryan Imel’s post about his switch</a>. It’s something I’m not ready to do, but could be in my future.</p> <p>What about you? Are you a web developer or tinkerer that’s made the switch. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment or message <a href="http://twitter.com/davidakennedy">me on Twitter</a>.</p>Introducing Accessible Zen: An Accessible WordPress Theme2013-06-30T22:13:47-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-an-accessible-wordpress-theme/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/accessible-zen-screenshot-0.png?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=450" alt="One column design, with white background, blue links and blue headers." width="600" height="450"></figure> <p>Accessibility is hard. It shouldn’t have to be.</p> <p>That’s why I’m proud to release <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, an accessible, minimalistic, readable and fully responsive <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a> theme. Inspired by Leo Babauta’s <a href="http://zenhabits.net/theme/">Zen Habits theme</a>, Accessible Zen puts the focus on your content and nothing else, plus it has plenty of WordPress goodness built right in.</p> <p class="callout"> Read more about <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">download the alpha version</a> or <a href="http://accessiblezen.davidakennedy.com/">view the demo</a>. </p> <h2>The Inspiration</h2> <p>I love reading Zen Habits, and admire how Leo has captured that <em>zen</em> feeling in the design of his site. It served as the inspiration for Accessible Zen, both in appearance and name.</p> <p>Being a former journalist, I also enjoy watching the evolution of media, the web and blogging. More and more of the bloggers I read daily have made a move toward simplicity. <a href="http://www.zeldman.com/">Jeffrey Zeldman</a>, <a href="http://mattgemmell.com/">Matt Gemmell</a>, <a href="http://chriscoyier.net/">Chris Coyier</a>, <a href="http://ma.tt/">Matt Mullenweg</a> and others have all unveiled more content-focused designs recently. Maintaining that movement of simplicity in Accessible Zen was important.</p> <p>And of course, I wanted to create the theme with accessibility in mind from the very beginning. I’ve carefully crafted the theme to adhere to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0, Level AA standards so any blogger can have a beautiful and accessible site.</p> <h3>An Alpha Release</h3> <p><strong>Just so you know…</strong> This is an Alpha release. That means it’s early in the game. I’m still developing the theme and I really don’t recommend that you run it on a production site — set up a test site just to play with it.</p> <p><em>I may change the theme significantly before its official release</em>.</p> <p>Once the theme hits a stable release, I’ll submit it to the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/">WordPress theme repository</a>.</p> <p>I’d love to hear what you think! You can submit feedback on the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/Accessible-Zen/issues">GitHub issues section</a>, or by emailing me at me (at) davidakennedy dot com.</p> <h3>Check It Out</h3> <p>I’m building another accessible theme as well with <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/joining-the-cities-project/">the Cities project</a>. Also, I plan to create a blog series on what I’ve learned throughout this process. Be sure to follow my blog to keep up with my accessible theming posts!</p> <p>I hope you enjoy the theme as much as I enjoy(ed) making it! Remember, accessibility is more about people than technology. Anyone can make the web more accessible. <a href="http://webaim.org/">Start learning how at WebAIM</a>.</p> <p class="callout"> Read more about <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">download the alpha version</a> or <a href="http://accessiblezen.davidakennedy.com/">view the demo</a>. </p>Combat Image Attachment Spam in WordPress2013-07-06T17:01:25-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/combat-image-attachment-spam-in-wordpress/<p>Spam comments got you down?</p> <p>Hey, don’t worry – it happens to every blogger. The <a href="http://akismet.com/">Akismet service</a> does wonders, helping combat comment spam in a big way, but there’s one specific use case where I’ve noticed it’s struggled lately: spam on WordPress image attachments.</p> <h2>The Problem</h2> <p>By that, I mean the comments specifically on image posts in WordPress.</p> <p>WordPress gives you the option to set comments open or closed on image attachments, and it <a href="http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/8177">doesn’t look like that will change</a>. That’s awesome, especially if you have a gallery and want to have users be able to comment on individual images. But you may not care about that, and rather have users comment on the post itself. I wanted to just have all comments and pings closed on all image attachments.</p> <h2>A Solution</h2> <p><a href="http://code.johnpbloch.com/">John P. Bloch</a> posted an excellent solution over on <a href="http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/15750/whats-the-easiest-way-to-close-comments-on-media-attachments">WordPress Answers</a>. That worked great for me. I dropped the code into my site’s functionality plugin, (it will also work in your <code>functions.php</code> file) and bam – comment spam reduced.</p> <p>But the last part of the code wasn’t updating the database values. See it here:</p> <pre class="language-php"><code class="language-php"><span class="token keyword">global</span> <span class="token variable">$wpdb</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><span class="token variable">$wpdb</span><span class="token operator">-</span><span class="token operator">></span><span class="token function">update</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token variable">$wpdb</span><span class="token operator">-</span><span class="token operator">&amp;</span>gt<span class="token punctuation">;</span>posts<span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token keyword">array</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'comment_status'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'closed'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token keyword">array</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'post_type'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span><span class="token punctuation">;</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'attachments'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'comment_status'</span> <span class="token operator">=</span><span class="token operator">></span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'open'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span></code></pre> <p>So instead, I ran two simple SQL queries to close comments and pings on image attachments.</p> <p>They are:</p> <pre class="language-php"><code class="language-php"><span class="token constant">UPDATE</span> wp_posts <span class="token constant">SET</span> ping_status <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">replace</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span>ping_status<span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'open'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'closed'</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token constant">WHERE</span> post_type <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'attachment'</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br><span class="token constant">UPDATE</span> wp_posts <span class="token constant">SET</span> comment_status <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">replace</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span>comment_status<span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'open'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'closed'</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token constant">WHERE</span> post_type <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token single-quoted-string string">'attachment'</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span></code></pre> <p>That’s worked for me so far. I wanted to share just in case it helps you solve a similar problem, and reduce your comment spam!</p>Hello Accessible Zen2013-07-22T20:18:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hello-accessible-zen/<p>I put a new coat of paint on my site this past weekend. If you follow me on Twitter, it may look familiar. It’s my <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen WordPress Theme</a>, something I’ve worked on a lot recently and have been <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/accessible-zen/">writing about on my blog</a>.</p> <p>I know. I know. It hasn’t been that long since <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-look-same-feel/">my last redesign</a>. But here’s the thing. I had to put this theme on my site. That’s how much I like it! 🙂 Plus, it’s a way for me to “eat my own dog food” as they say. If it’s good enough for the WordPress community I’m building it for, it’s good enough for me. It’s also helped me squash a few more bugs in the theme.</p> <h2>Some Specifics</h2> <p>I’m running a <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes">child theme</a> of Accessible Zen (to help accommodate my custom post types and taxonomies), along with a bleeding edge version of the theme. So things might look a tad different here than the <a href="http://accessiblezen.davidakennedy.com/">official demo</a>. I’ve added some good stuff for the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues?milestone=2&amp;state=open">0.1-alpha-3 release</a>.</p> <p>You might be wondering what will happen to my previous theme. I have big plans for it too so stay tuned.</p>Accessible Zen: Version 0.1-alpha-3 Available2013-07-30T22:19:06-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-version-0-1-alpha-3-available/<p>Today, I released the next version of Accessible Zen. It’s version 0.1-alpha-3.</p> <p>You can find out more on the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">Github repository</a>, but here are the basics:</p> <ul> <li>Various design tweaks including a lighter footer area and new fonts.</li> <li>Add better support for <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/25">taxonomy descriptions on archive pages</a>.</li> <li>Add <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/24">category and tag templates</a>.</li> <li>Add <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/23">custom taxonomy support for archive page titles</a>.</li> <li>Add <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/22">post type support for archive page titles</a>.</li> <li>Add <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/21">“show more posts option”</a> on Front Page Template.</li> <li>Make <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/20">functions more pluggable</a> and easier for child theme support.</li> </ul> <h2>Next</h2> <p>You can find out more about my next releases by checking out the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/milestones">set Github milestones</a>. I plan to focus on a design and code review next.</p> <p>Remember, I’m still in Alpha. That means it’s early in the game. I’m still developing the theme and I really don’t recommend that you run it on a production site — set up a test site just to play with it.</p> <p>I’d love to hear what you think! You can submit feedback on the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues">GitHub issues section</a>, or by emailing me at me (at) davidakennedy dot com.</p> <p class="callout"> Read more about <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">download the alpha version</a> or <a href="http://accessiblezen.davidakennedy.com/">view the demo</a>. </p>Quick Wins for Accessible WordPress Themes2013-08-13T08:02:09-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/quick-wins-for-accessible-wordpress-themes/<p>You may not know where to start when trying to create an accessible-ready WordPress theme. It’s easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of tackling accessibility, but it doesn’t have to be.</p> <p>You can knock out several quick tips along the way, which will help your theme be more accessible.</p> <h2>What is Web Accessibility?</h2> <p>First, what is web accessibility? Definitions vary. I like:</p> <blockquote> <p>The practice of making websites and applications usable by people of all abilities.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the tips.</p> <h2>1. Start with Accessibility in Mind</h2> <p>Accessibility spans all the disciplines:</p> <ul> <li>Project management</li> <li>User Experience</li> <li>Design</li> <li>Development</li> <li>Testing</li> </ul> <p>You have to start with it as an objective in order to reach it.</p> <h2>2. Find a Good Base</h2> <p>You don’t have do do it all. Look here for help when beginning a theme:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://underscores.me/">Starter theme: Underscores</a></li> <li><a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/twentythirteen">Default theme: Twenty Thirteen</a></li> <li><a href="https://github.com/RRWD/accessible-twenty-eleven-theme">Child theme: Accessible Twenty Eleven</a></li> <li><a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/blaskan">Custom theme: Blaskan</a></li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">Custom theme: Accessible Zen</a></li> </ul> <h2>3. Color Matters</h2> <p>High contrast helps everyone.</p> <ul> <li>Text and images of text have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1</li> <li>Large text (over 18 point or 14 point bold) has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1</li> </ul> <p>Choose wisely:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-contrast/index.php">Color Palette Accessibility Checker</a></li> <li><a href="http://0to255.com/">0 to 255</a></li> </ul> <h2>4. Sweat the Small Stuff</h2> <p>Because it can make a big difference.</p> <ul> <li>Be mindful of your reading order</li> <li>Skip nav links = awesome</li> <li>Keep the underline on links and define focus styles</li> <li>Relative units on fonts = also awesome</li> <li>Keep titles with 'Read more…&quot; links</li> </ul> <h2>5. Wait a Minute!</h2> <p>I know what you’re thinking. I didn’t really talk too much about WordPress themes. That’s true because accessibility is more about <strong>people</strong> than technology. When you’re building your themes, keep your users at the forefront, and know yourself and your team. That will help you more than anything.</p> <p><em>This blog post served as inspiration for a Lightning Talk at WordPress DC, called</em> <a href="http://www.meetup.com/wordpressdc/events/129111132/"><em>Quick Wins for Accessible WordPress Themes</em></a><em>. You can view the</em> <a href="http://davidakennedy.github.io/quick-wins-for-accessible-wordpress-themes/"><em>talk slides on GitHub</em></a>.</p>Why Accessibility Matters2013-08-16T23:56:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-accessibility-matters/<p>I recently gave a <a href="http://www.meetup.com/wordpressdc/events/129111132/">lightning talk at WordPress DC</a> on <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2013/08/13/quick-wins-for-accessible-wordpress-themes/">Quick Wins for Accessible WordPress Themes</a>. <a href="http://yurivictor.com/">Yuri Victor</a>, Director of User Experience at the Washington Post, stood in the back of the room and asked a handful of excellent questions of speakers. His question for me? To paraphrase:</p> <blockquote> <p>Most of us struggle to create great experiences for 90 percent of our users. Why should we care about this 10 percent that’s in the minority?</p> </blockquote> <p>My answer (again, paraphrasing):</p> <blockquote> <p>When you make good decisions about accessibility, they cascade down to all of your users, not just those with disabilities. An example would be when you use relative font sizes, it allows users with vision problems to easily adjust the font size of a site. Those relative font sizes also come in handy when resizing fonts for a site that is responsive so it can better adjust to different screen sizes.</p> </blockquote> <p>You can learn more about accessibility at <a href="http://webaim.org/"><acronym title="Web Accessibility in Mind">WebAIM</acronym></a>, <a href="http://a11yproject.com/">The Accessibility Project</a> or <a href="http://www.a11ybuzz.com/">Accessibility Buzz</a>.</p>The Story of Batman's Secret Creator2013-08-17T10:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-story-of-batmans-secret-creator/<p>Being a Batman fan, I find <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkDA3nhfMSQ">this story so interesting</a>.</p> <p>I wonder how many more creators, in the comic industry or not, have gone without their due credit?</p> <p>Via <a href="http://iandanielstewart.com/2013/08/12/the-story-of-batmans-secret-creator/">Ian Stewart</a>.</p>Hacking, Creating and Encouragement2013-08-24T15:22:18-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hacking-creating-encouragement/<p>I love <a href="https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6254572">this comment on the Hacker News post for a new blogging platform called Silvrback</a> by <a href="http://ma.tt/">Matt Mullenweg</a>, co-founder of <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a>. To me, it says: keep hacking, keep creating and follow your vision.</p>From Developer to Manager2013-08-26T20:16:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/developer-manager/<blockquote> <p>“…I knew then that I had to stop being a developer.”<br> <cite>Daniel Ryan</cite>, Web Developer and Consultant. Formerly Director of Front-end Development for @<a href="http://twitter.com/BarackObama/">BarackObama</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p>From the article on Medium called, <a href="https://medium.com/on-management/9a4e4fd8e402">Transitioning from Developer to Manager: Making the change from coder to coordinator</a>.</p>Accessibility is War and How to Win It2013-09-05T19:01:18-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-war-win/<p>My post on the Rock Creek Strategic Marketing blog about being an internal champion for accessibility in a large organization: <a href="http://rockcreeksm.com/blog/accessibility_is_war_and_how_to_win_it/">Accessibility is War and How to Win It</a>.</p>Accessible Zen: Version 0.1-alpha-4 Available2013-09-08T18:09:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-version-0-1-alpha-4-available/<p>Today, I released the next version of Accessible Zen. It’s version 0.1-alpha-4.</p> <p>You can find out more on the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">Github repository</a>, but here are the basics:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/4">Consistent CSS comments, form tweaks and other CSS clean up</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/16">Reorganize file structure and clean up template comments</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/17">No more <code>&lt;br&gt;</code> tags in the footer meta</a>.</li> <li>Use the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/27">HTML5 support from WordPress core for certain elements</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/29">Improve menus on mobile devices</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/30">Better line height on headings</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/31">Add compatibility file for WordPress 3.6</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/32">More support for RTL languages in the editor</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>Next</h2> <p>We’re careening toward the first, and likely, <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/milestones">only Beta release</a>. Right now, I plan to just add how-to documentation for the next release. I hope that the Beta turns into the first “official” release, but I may need to make adjustments or fix bugs. We’re a bit closer to having a new accessible-ready theme in the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/">Themes Directory</a>!</p> <p>Remember, I’m still in Alpha. That means it’s early in the game. I’m still developing the theme and I really don’t recommend that you run it on a production site — set up a test site just to play with it.</p> <p>I’d love to hear what you think! You can submit feedback on the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/Accessible-Zen/issues">GitHub issues section</a>, or by emailing me at me (at) davidakennedy dot com.</p> <p class="callout"> Read more about <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">download the alpha version</a> or <a href="http://accessiblezen.davidakennedy.com/">view the demo</a>. </p>What Really Happened to the News?2013-09-12T20:26:09-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-really-happened-to-the-news/<p><a href="http://www.niemanlab.org/riptide/">Riptide</a>, an oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology from 1980 to the present, looks amazing. I can’t wait to listen to more interviews.</p>Accessible Zen Reaches Beta2013-09-22T14:32:11-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-reaches-beta/<p>I’m really proud of how <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/tag/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen has evolved</a> in the last few months. Today it reaches another important milestone: it’s first beta release.</p> <p>The first beta release gets thorough documentation, which you can <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/blob/master/accessible-zen-documentation.txt">check out in the Github repository</a>.</p> <p>Here are the rest of the release details:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/33">Add documentation</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/36">Read More Posts link now more versatile</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Recent hotfixes include:</p> <ul> <li>A <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/35">better Read More Posts link</a>.</li> <li>Other small fixes.</li> </ul> <h2>What’s Next?</h2> <p>I wrote in the <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2013/09/08/accessible-zen-version-0-1-alpha-4-available/">last release</a> that I hoped this would be the first and only beta release. That’s still the goal. I plan to double check everything, making any needed fixes or additions and releasing soon. Any of those fixes and additions will be deployed to the master branch on Github. We’re getting so close!</p> <p>I’d love to hear what you think! You can submit feedback on the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/Accessible-Zen/issues">GitHub issues section</a>, or by emailing me at me (at) davidakennedy dot com.</p> <p>This is an Beta release. That means it’s close to finished, but not quite there yet. I’m still developing the theme and I really don’t recommend that you run it on a production site — set up a test site just to play with it.</p> <p class="callout"> Read more about <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">download the beta version</a> or <a href="http://accessiblezen.davidakennedy.com/">view the demo</a>. </p>Accessible Zen Hits 1.02013-10-03T22:27:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-hits-1-0/<p>I set out to <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2012/08/06/what-do-you-need-in-an-accessible-wordpress-theme/">create an accessible WordPress theme more than a year ago</a>. After starts, stops, designs revisions and <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/commits/master">140 commits to Github</a>, I’ve <a href="http://themes.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/14682">submitted Accessible Zen</a> to the WordPress Theme Repository.</p> <p><strong>Woo!</strong></p> <p>It’s not approved and in the repository yet, but it’s one step closer. Here are the details of the latest release:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/46">Version number bump</a> for submission to WordPress theme repository.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/45">Fix broken author bios</a>.</li> <li>Fix <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/41">broken comment styles</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/40">Fix typos</a> and firm up acknowledgements in files.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/43">Rename page templates</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/44">Adjust font size</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/38">Improve docs</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/42">Better print styles</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/39">Update Genericons</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>Now What?</h2> <p>The <a href="http://make.wordpress.org/themes/">WordPress Theme Review team</a> will look at the theme and provide any feedback needed to improve the theme. I’ll make those changes and release them as necessary. Plus, when the <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Review#Accessibility">accessibility-ready tag</a> is implemented on <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress.org</a>, I’ll apply that to the theme as well.</p> <p>And I have more accessible WordPress themes coming via the <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2012/11/24/joining-the-cities-project/">Cities project</a>. 🙂</p> <p>I’ve hit 1.0, but I still would love to hear what you think! You can submit feedback on the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/Accessible-Zen/issues">Github issues section</a>, or by emailing me at me (at) davidakennedy dot com.</p> <p class="callout"> Read more about <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen">download the latest version</a> or <a href="http://accessiblezen.davidakennedy.com/">view the demo</a>. </p>Accessibility Camp DC 2013 Talk2013-10-12T02:48:06-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-camp-dc-2013/<p>I’m giving a talk today at <a href="http://www.accessibilitycampdc.org/">Accessibility Camp DC</a>. It’s called, <a href="http://davidakennedy.github.io/lessons-from-building-an-accessible-wordpress-theme/">Lessons from Building an Accessible WordPress Theme: Or How to be Approach Accessible Theming Like a Ninja</a>.</p>Updates to Accessible Zen Since 1.02013-10-27T14:47:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/updates-to-accessible-zen-since-1-0/<p>Since <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2013/10/03/accessible-zen-hits-1-0/">Accessible Zen hit version 1.0</a>, a lot has happened. I’ve released <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/releases">three minor updates</a>, and added a child theme to the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen-theme-pack">Accessible Zen Theme Pack</a>.</p> <p>Version 1.0.3 of Accessible Zen should hit the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen">WordPress Theme Repository</a> in the coming days. The <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen#changelog">changelog</a> has all the details. The theme pack includes a child theme called Accessible Zen Dark. It features a light on <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-contrast/accessible-color-palette.php?&amp;colors=f5f5f5,222222,333333,444444,666666,59cdff,15b9ff,eca0a2&amp;main=222222&amp;level=AA">dark color scheme</a> that passes WCAG 2.0 standards.</p> <p>Happy blogging!</p>Need a Menu on Top in Accessible Zen?2013-11-09T19:50:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-top-menu/<p>A few weeks ago <a href="https://twitter.com/vavroom">Nicolas Steenhout</a>, a user of Accessible Zen, <a href="https://twitter.com/vavroom/status/395968011514814466">sent me a tweet</a> with a request I knew would come sooner or later.</p> <p>He wanted a menu area on top of Accessible Zen. So I built a child theme to accommodate! 🙂 It’s part of my <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen-theme-pack">Accessible Zen Theme Pack</a>, available on Github. It features a menu area in the header plus a keyboard-accessible features. Older browsers, like Internet Explorer 7 and 8, get the desktop layout because they do not support <a href="http://caniuse.com/#feat=css-mediaqueries">CSS 3 Media Queries</a>.</p> <p>I’d love to know what you think!</p> <p>Happy blogging!</p>Issue No. 3002013-11-29T00:07:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/issue-no-300/<h2>The Story of my First Open Source Contribution</h2> <p>Konstantin Obenland merged my <a href="https://github.com/Automattic/_s/pull/300">first open source code contribution</a> a few months ago. And despite some hiccups thanks to an overlooked setting in Github on my part, I got full credit and I’m now on the <a href="http://underscores.me/#contribute">contributors list for Underscores</a>, a popular WordPress starter theme. <strong>Yay</strong>!</p> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/underscores-pull-request-screenshot.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=329" alt="" width="600" height="329"><figcaption>A screenshot of my first open source code contribution on Github, issue number 300 for the Underscores WordPress theme.</figcaption></figure> <p>I’ve used WordPress for almost five years, so finally having a chance to write code that helps a WordPress project is exciting. I wanted to share the story of how I went from user to code contributor and what I’ve learned in the process.</p> <p>I <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2013/05/27/dear-wordpress/">started out as just a WordPress user</a> so I know the delta between user and code contributor well. But I believe anyone can learn to contribute code and reading stories like <a href="http://nacin.com/2010/11/16/one-year/">Andrew Nacin’s first commit to WordPress</a> or <a href="http://aaron.jorb.in/blog/2010/03/commit-the-story-of-writing-a-wordpress-patch/">Aaron Jorbin’s contribution</a> inspired me to write this.</p> <h3>Start Somewhere</h3> <p>If you want to contribute code, it’s hard to know where to start. Where can you fit in? How do you know what needs to be done? You have to start somewhere. <strong>Find a project you’re passionate about and use it</strong>. For me, that meant <a href="http://underscores.me/">Underscores</a>. In my first web development job at <a href="http://www.thearc.org/">The Arc</a>, I started building WordPress themes. I began using the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/toolbox">Toolbox theme</a>, but it soon evolved into Underscores. I built a few themes with Underscores so I became familiar with its code and its goals. I also used it as a starting point for all my custom themes. I grew to love it for both its strengths and weaknesses. Without some of this knowledge, I couldn’t add my own expertise in the form of code.</p> <h3>Listen and Learn</h3> <p>I started following Underscores on Github, getting a load of email notifications when issues and commits happened. It was overwhelming but also educational. By reading through a number of the Github issues, I learned about how the maintainers of Underscores approached adding new features, fixing bugs and handling pull requests. <strong>When jumping into a new project, you can’t contribute without knowing how others have contributed</strong>. This proved most important for Underscores because it doesn’t have any official documentation for contributing or a roadmap.</p> <h3>Find a Focus, be Patient</h3> <p>Once I started to become familiar with all things Underscores, I started to think about how I could contribute code. I’m an accessibility advocate so that made the most sense, but I remember telling <a href="http://aaron.jorb.in/">Aaron Jorbin</a> at a WordPress DC meetup that I wasn’t sure what could be done from an accessibility standpoint. That’s made more difficult since Underscores serves the community as a starter theme and lacks a real, polished front end. <strong>Sometimes, finding your focus takes takes time</strong>. However, once I saw <a href="http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/24766">Trac ticket 24766</a> I thought taking a similar approach in Underscores would be welcome. So I started writing code to remove the title attributes in Underscores.</p> <h3>Commit</h3> <p>Ripping out all of the title attributes turned out to be a big task. I touched <a href="https://github.com/Automattic/_s/pull/300/files">seven files</a> in total, and broke the changes down into three commits. However, I planned for it to be only two commits originally. I ran into the dreaded merge conflict after the first round of changes because so much time passed between working on the changes. I persevered though and cleaned things up and committed my code. I had to <a href="https://github.com/Automattic/_s/pull/300#issuecomment-23272821">wait awhile</a> before finding out whether my change would be accepted. <strong>When I say commit, I’m talking less about committed code, and more about making a plan and carrying it out. Be thoughtful, methodical and patient</strong>.</p> <h3>Keep Going</h3> <p>Seeing my name on the contributor’s list on the <a href="http://underscores.me/">Underscores website</a> felt like nothing else. As a writer, I published thousands of stories in newspapers and magazines. In doing so, receiving feedback from readers was rare. However, when you’re contributing code to an open source project you see feedback on multiple fronts. Project maintainers and fellow developers comment on your code. Sometimes they modify it to make it better. <strong>And as the project progresses, you can see if your code actually does what it was meant to do – add a feature or fix a bug. That’s the exciting part! Keep going</strong>.</p> <p>Since that first commit, I’ve made <a href="https://github.com/Automattic/_s/commit/3ae7a5e310922c1d563f758c3bf3d6a8af92d5b9">one more</a> to help with the skip link in Underscores. I’m sure it won’t be my last, and I know I’ll learn much more along the way.</p>Hello 20142014-01-04T00:06:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hello-2014/<p>I realized a few days ago after listening to the <a href="http://nonbreakingspace.tv/2013-year-end-spectacular-dave-rupert/">Non-Breaking Space Show’s Year End Spectacular</a> that I hadn’t posted about my new year’s goals in 2013. <em>Lazy</em>. I did in <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-year-new-goals-2011/">2011</a> and <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/next-year-more-goals/">2012</a>.</p> <h2>A Review</h2> <p>So let’s fix that this year. First, a quick review of 2013.</p> <ul> <li>I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/whats-next/">changed jobs</a>, leaving The Arc and starting at Rock Creek Strategic Marketing.</li> <li>I helped with many great projects while working with Rock Creek clients.</li> <li>I started contributing to the <a href="http://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/">WordPress Accessibility team</a>.</li> <li>I released an accessible WordPress theme, <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>.</li> <li>Spoke at the <a href="https://vip.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/wordpress-in-government-workshop/">WordPress in Government Workshop</a>, <a href="http://www.meetup.com/wordpressdc/events/129111132/">WordPress DC</a> and <a href="http://www.accessibilitycampdc.org/">Accessibility Camp DC</a>.</li> </ul> <p>On to the goals! I do best with goals when they’re few and focused. After all you can’t become proficient at something when you don’t work at it, and you can’t work at something if you lack the time.</p> <h2>Professional</h2> <ol> <li>Keep contributing to the WordPress Accessibility team. I’m excited about all the progress we’re making.</li> <li>Release Accessible Alexandria and Accessible D.C. The world needs more accessible websites.</li> <li>Start writing a book on accessibility. I’ve always wanted to write a book.</li> </ol> <h2>Personal</h2> <p>I’m still working on these. More on those later. 😀</p> <p>Now, let’s get to goal smashing!</p>The Changing Web2014-01-06T22:43:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-changing-web/<blockquote> <p>Fascinatingly, to me, anyway, while many of us prefer to concentrate on design, content, and experience, <strong>it continues to be necessary to remind our work comrades (or inform younguns) about web standards, accessibility, and progressive enhancement</strong>. When a site like Facebook stops functioning when a script forgets to load, that is a failure of education and understanding, and all of us have a stake in reaching out to our fellow developers to make sure that, in addition to the new fancy tricks they’ve mastered, they also learn the basics of web standards, without which our whole shared system implodes.</p> <p>This doesn’t mean “go be an HTML guru.” It does mean cherish the lessons of the recent past, and share them with those who missed them (or missed the point). Wisdom is not a job, but it is always an asset.</p> <p><cite>Jeffrey Zeldman</cite> <a href="http://www.zeldman.com/2014/01/06/its-2014-is-web-design-dead/">It’s 2014. Is Web Design Dead</a>?, a response to Jeff Croft’s <a href="http://jeffcroft.com/blog/2014/jan/03/web-standards-killed-the-html-star/">Web Standards Killed the HTML Star</a></p> </blockquote> <p>I love HTML and CSS. They’re as much art as they are science. That’s <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2012/03/05/writing-stories-and-code/">why I create with them</a>.</p> <p>If we view the average web worker’s skill stack as a cake <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/115247548/sizes/o/">(this kind of cake)</a>, at least two of those layers are HTML and CSS. You can make that third layer and icing out of whatever you’d like: design, UX, accessibility, etc. And guess what, you can change that or add layers. It’s the web! Fluidity and flexibility mean something around here, but you’ll always need those two layers of HTML and CSS. They form your base and will serve you well. The rest is up to you. Do your best to welcome change, in technology and yourself.</p>Accessible Zen Reaches 1.12014-01-13T21:49:44-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-reaches-1-1/<p>Version 1.1 of <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen">Accessible Zen</a> hit the WordPress theme directory today. <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen">Download it now</a>! 🙂</p> <p>I added one new feature, improved one area and fixed a number of bugs for this release.</p> <h2>The New Feature</h2> <p>I’ve added <a href="http://ottopress.com/2011/new-in-wordpress-3-3-more-useful-help-screens/">contextual help</a> to the Themes page in the WordPress Dashboard. It gives theme users a bit more information about the Accessible Zen inline with their experience.</p> <h2>The Big Addition</h2> <p>Accessible Zen now sports the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/tags/accessibility-ready">accessibility-ready tag</a>. Users can find themes that keep accessibility in mind from the start via that tag. They all follow <a href="http://make.wordpress.org/themes/guidelines/guidelines-accessibility/">specific accessibility guidelines</a> for themes in the directory. Accessible Zen has always followed these guidelines since its launch, and now has added the tag since it went live on <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress.org</a> a few weeks ago.</p> <h2>Customizer Improvements</h2> <p>I’ve set better default options for the few of Accessible Zen’s Customizer theme options, which should make for a better experience upon theme activation. <strong>Note: This may cause users to have to set their options again via the Customizer</strong>.</p> <p>You can read about all the updates below.</p> <h3>Changelog for 1.1</h3> <ul> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/54">Add contextual help to theme</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/53">Improve Customizer features and set better default options</a>. This may cause users to have to set their options again via the Customizer.</li> <li>Add appropriate theme tags for WordPress, version 3.8, including accessibility-ready.</li> <li>Remove bottom border on hover on site title.</li> <li>Add new screenshot according to WordPress, version 3.8 standards.</li> <li>Update Genericons to version 3.0.2.</li> <li>Move changelog to separate file.</li> </ul> <p class="callout"> <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen">Download Accessible Zen</a> or <a href="http://wordpress.org/support/view/theme-reviews/accessible-zen">write a theme review</a>. </p>What Should Twenty Fifteen Look Like?2014-02-02T13:02:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-should-twenty-fifteen-look-like/<p>Watching the Twenties, the WordPress default themes, evolve over the last few WordPress releases has been a blast.</p> <p>Konstantin Obenland wrote a <a href="http://konstantin.obenland.it/2013/12/19/twenty-fifteen/">post about what he’d like to see happen with the next default WordPress theme</a>, Twenty Fifteen:</p> <blockquote> <p>But most importantly: Let changes only be in <code>style.css</code>. That’s it! No additional functionality or bloat. If anything, we take unneeded code out. This doesn’t mean it can’t look good. It doesn’t mean it will be less awesome than its predecessors. CSS is a powerful tool, if in the right hands.</p> </blockquote> <p>Aaron Jorbin followed up with his <a href="http://aaron.jorb.in/blog/2013/12/the-twenty-fifteen-theme/">own ideas for Twenty Fifteen</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>I would like to propose that Twenty Fifteen be a single page app largely done in JavaScript. This will require the addition of the <a href="https://github.com/WP-API/WP-API">Rest API the WP API team is building</a>, but would enable us to demonstrate what is possible for a theme with almost no PHP. Imagine a theme where the only PHP is functions.php and index.php.</p> </blockquote> <p>The two conversations I’ve enjoyed seeing spring up around these posts are enabling WordPress Core to support more complex theme features, as read in the comments on Konstantin’s post, and developing a content-focused JavaScript app responsibly, as read in the comments on Aaron’s post.</p> <p>What would I like to see in Twenty Fifteen? The simplest architecture possible.</p> <p>What’s that mean? I’d love to see a theme with as few files possible. Most people don’t know that <a href="http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Development#Basic_Templates">WordPress only requires two theme files</a>. Most theme developers would struggle to make this happen, especially if they’re building a full-featured theme. Also, this approach nets little for the end user. However, it would force everyone to <a href="http://wordpress.org/about/philosophy/">make decisions</a>: theme authors and theme users. What do you <em>really</em> need?</p> <p>Imagine, a theme with less than 10 files. Critics of the WordPress theming process sometimes say its bloated or hard to grasp. What if we pare it down as much as possible?</p>Accessibility, Meet Facebook2014-02-09T12:41:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-meet-facebook/<p>An interesting read on some of the technical challenges that arise when <a href="https://code.facebook.com/posts/727262460626945/under-the-hood-facebook-accessibility/">Facebook and accessibility meet</a>.</p>WordCamp Lancaster 20142014-03-01T09:05:20-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordcamp-lancaster-2014/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/wclanc2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=625&h=700" alt="WordCamp Lancaster 2014 conference badge." width="625" height="700"></figure>WordCamp Lancaster 2014 Talk2014-03-01T17:32:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordcamp-lancaster-2014-talk/<p>Today, I attended and spoke at my first WordCamp – <a href="http://2014.lancasterpa.wordcamp.org/">WordCamp Lancaster</a>. You can check out the slides for the talk: <a href="http://davidakennedy.github.io/wclc2014/">Lessons from Building an Accessible WordPress Theme on Github</a>. Be on the lookout for a blog post about the talk some time in the near future.</p>Logged into WordPress; Saw This2014-04-16T20:59:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/logged-into-wordpress-saw-this/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/3-9-core-contributors.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=768&h=398" alt="" width="768" height="398"><figcaption>That's my name in the Core Contributors list for WordPress 3.9.</figcaption></figure> <p>I helped out with <a href="https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/27590">Ticket #27590</a>, helping fix a simple form field/label issue. It feels great to contribute to WordPress in a new way!</p>Where Automated Accessibility Testing Meets WordPress and Drupal2014-05-08T20:25:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/where-automated-accessibility-testing-meets-wordpress-and-drupal/<p>I was interviewed for a <a href="http://wptavern.com/wordpress-contributors-move-toward-automating-accessibility-testing">post on WP Tavern</a> about automated testing, accessibility and how the Drupal and WordPress Accessibility teams are collaborating.</p>Recent Accessible Zen Updates2014-06-22T00:51:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/recent-accessible-zen-updates/<p>In the past week or so, I’ve released two minor updates to <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>.</p> <p>Most of the changes are minor, but I added one major feature: support for HTML5 markup in WordPress galleries and captions. WordPress <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2014/03/04/html5-galleries-in-wordpress-3-9/">added this feature in a recent release</a>.</p> <p>The full changelog is below. Enjoy!</p> <p class="callout"> Grab the theme in the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen">official theme directory</a>. </p> <p><strong>June 20, 2014</strong></p> <p>Release: Version 1.1.2</p> <ul> <li>General code clean-up in some template tags.</li> </ul> <p><strong>June 17, 2014</strong></p> <p>Release: Version 1.1.1</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/56">Add author and updated microformats</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/55">Add HTML5 output for galleries and captions</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/57">Make tag list translatable</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/58">Fix unclosed h1 on certain templates</a>.</li> <li>Add more robust styles for menu abstraction on desktop.</li> <li>Add bottom margin for audio embeds.</li> <li>Add version 3.0.3 of Genericons.</li> <li>Improve stylesheet loading order.</li> </ul>Said This2014-06-28T02:03:20-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/said-this/<p>I said this about accessibility on Twitter this week. Are we spending our time on the right priorities?</p> <blockquote> <p>If web designers and developers put as much energy into accessibility as they do building “frameworks,” the Web would be a lot better off.</p> </blockquote> <p>– <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/status/479991228239736832">Direct link to tweet</a>.</p>Revitalized CSS Zen Garden2014-06-29T23:20:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/revitalized-css-zen-garden/<p>I love looking at and viewing source on some of the newer designs over at <a href="http://www.csszengarden.com/">CSS Zen Garden</a>. I especially enjoy the rectangle-inspired <a href="http://www.csszengarden.com/217/">Screen Filler</a> by Elliot Jay Stocks. I’m glad <a href="http://mezzoblue.com/archives/2013/05/07/10_years/">it’s back</a>.</p>WordPress as a User2014-07-05T10:00:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-as-a-user/<p>I use WordPress every day, but not like your average user.</p> <p>I build things with it. I write code for it. I test it. I try to push it to places it hasn’t been before. I rarely just log in, fire up a beautiful theme, download a plugin or two and start publishing. That’s sad.</p> <p>So with two recent ideas, I decided to do just that. No custom development. No stretching my own skills. I set a goal to create with just words and pictures. I now have two WordPress sites that I’m really enjoying.</p> <h2>Case One: Baby Blog</h2> <p>I launched a baby log for our daughter, Skye, who was born May 17th. My wife and I wanted control over the content we put online about our daughter and didn’t want it scattered across several social networks. So we started a simple, private WordPress blog. It includes:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Theme</strong>: <a href="http://carolinethemes.com/2012/07/12/pachyderm/">Pacyderm</a></li> <li><strong>Plugins</strong>: <a href="http://wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/">Akismet</a>, <a href="http://wordpress.org/plugins/carousel-without-jetpack/">Gallery Carousel Without JetPack</a>, <a href="http://wordpress.org/plugins/peters-login-redirect/">Peter’s Login Redirect</a>, <a href="http://wordpress.org/plugins/registration-honeypot/">Registration Honeypot</a>, <a href="http://wordpress.org/plugins/restricted-site-access/">Restricted Site Access</a>, <a href="http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-approve-user/">WP Approve User</a></li> </ul> <p>The theme brings a playfulness to the site that we love, plus it doesn’t hurt that we themed the nursery to be “baby animals.” 🙂 The combination of plugins allows us to administer a private WordPress site for just family and friends with open registration. That means people can register, but can’t access the site unless we approve them. Not to mention, all the content sits on servers we have access to at any time.</p> <p>We have more than 25 posts already <em>and</em> no HTML, CSS or JavaScript has been written in the process. Win!</p> <h2>Case Two: Code Journal</h2> <p>As I worked on a WordPress project a few days ago, I realized I wouldn’t need a feature I’d built any longer. No one would ever see it unless I saved it somehow. But how?</p> <p>A text file would probably work, but if I added a bunch of code snippets, it would become difficult to maintain. I could use something like <a href="http://simplenote.com/">Simplenote</a>, which I love, but it doesn’t deal with code well. I remembered I’d heard <a href="http://alexking.org/">Alex King</a> talk about <a href="http://crowdfavorite.com/capsule/">Capsule</a> on a recent podcast I’d listened to a few months ago. So I went through another famous, five-minute install. This time, I kept it even simpler:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Theme</strong>: <a href="http://crowdfavorite.com/capsule/">Capsule</a></li> <li><strong>Plugins</strong>: <a href="http://wordpress.org/plugins/restricted-site-access/">Restricted Site Access</a></li> </ul> <p>That’s it! I now have a super-custom, private code journal that I can add to at any time from anywhere. Easy! I’ve already saved all the code from that almost-lost feature. Future blog post on that coming!</p> <h3>What I Learned</h3> <p>Writing and publishing on these two sites has been a freeing experience. I need to create more; write more. Period.</p> <p>I’m not bogged down in making the theme or functionality perfect. My family has loved seeing all the photos of my daughter. And I’ll have those for years to come! I like that I now have a home for the bits and pieces of code that might be useful later, or helpful to someone else. I hope saving them makes me a better developer.</p> <p>It also made me realize, to some degree, how lightweight WordPress really is… You can’t do much in the way of a focused blog, like these two use cases without a few plugins. That’s interesting to me. People say WordPress is bloated, but maybe not? That doesn’t matter to me right now though. Because I’m just publishing…</p>Accessible Zen: Now in French2014-07-06T09:00:31-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-now-in-french/<p>Accessible Zen now comes packaged with a French translation, plus starter files in English to get new translations going easier. Thanks to <a href="http://briseg.com/">Brieuc Segalen</a> for contributing the translation!</p> <p>The changelog is below.</p> <p class="callout"> Grab the theme in the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen">official theme directory</a>. </p> <p><strong>July 1, 2014</strong></p> <p>Release: Version 1.1.3</p> <ul> <li>Add basic translation files.</li> <li>French translation by <a href="http://briseg.com/">Brieuc Segalen</a>.</li> </ul>Lessons from Building an Accessible WordPress Theme2014-07-08T10:00:47-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-wordpress-theme-lessons/<p><em>This post is a summary of a <a href="http://davidakennedy.github.io/wclc2014/">talk I gave at WordCamp Lancaster</a> in March, 2014.</em></p> <p>A phone call that lasted less than five minutes started my obsession with accessibility.</p> <h2>Dave, Meet Accessibility</h2> <p>During my first few weeks on the job at <a href="http://www.thearc.org/">The Arc</a> as Online Communication Manager, I spoke with one of our board members who told me he was having trouble using our newly redesigned website. He liked the new one much better than the old one, he said, but still struggled with a few key areas on the site. He rattled them off as I scribbled on a notepad.</p> <p>After we hung up the phone and I digested the conversation, I realized I only knew how to fix one of the handful of items that he listed off to me. He was blind and used a screen reader to navigate the web. I’d never used one, but knew I had to learn so I could build a better experience for not just him, but anyone who came to our sites. I followed <a href="http://www.zeldman.com/">Jeffrey Zeldman</a>, the father of web standards, and understood the very basics of accessibility, but didn’t really know how challenging and rewarding web accessibility could be. I dug in. (Need to know more about what accessibility is? <a href="http://webaim.org/intro/">Read WebAIM’s introduction</a>.)</p> <h2>WordPress + Accessibility</h2> <p>A few years later, I wanted to give back to the web and WordPress. I honed so much of my front end development and accessibility skills off of opening up WordPress themes to see how they worked. So it made sense to build my own theme and release it under the <a href="http://wordpress.org/about/license/">GPL, like WordPress</a>. How would I make my theme unique among the many already out there? I would bake accessibility in from the start, of course! And I would learn a lot along the way.</p> <h3>Accessible Zen</h3> <p>I released <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a> in the fall of 2013 as a simple, accessible WordPress theme modeled after the themes I’ve admired on <a href="http://zenhabits.net/">Zen Habits</a>, built especially for personal bloggers. It proved to be a ton of hard work, but worth it. Here’s what I learned during the process:</p> <h4>Keep Your Goal in Mind</h4> <p>I set out to build a simple, accessible WordPress theme, but it turns out that’s hard when the web world keeps changing and tossing out new ideas at you every day. A theme design could go in a trillion directions. The one way that kept me on track was just opening up <a href="http://zenhabits.net/">zenhabits.net</a> in a browser once a week to bask in its simplicity. It served as a visual reminder.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: If you love your goal, stick with it.</p> <h4>Good Accessibility is Undetectable</h4> <p>Why is accessibility hard? The answers to web accessibility challenges and problems aren’t always clear. So much of the right approach often depends on the context of the website or web application in question. Plus, you can’t really see accessibility, like a design or content – whether it’s done well or not. Accessible Zen is built on the back of <a href="http://underscores.me/">Underscores</a>. The underlying code isn’t much different and when I look at Accessible Zen, I can’t see what <em>makes</em> it accessible.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: Love your starter theme of choice and use it.</p> <h4>Small Details Make a Big Difference</h4> <p>In accessibility, details matter. When creating Accessible Zen, I focused a lot of attention on things like color contrast, skip nav links, default link styling and read more links. All these small things helped make the theme much more accessible.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: Small stuff needs love too.</p> <h4>Recognize What You’re Doing</h4> <p>You’re making something!</p> <p>I spent countless hours crafting the design and code for Accessible Zen. I wasn’t sure if anyone would like it, download it or use it. But shortly after I released one of the beta versions, I saw <a href="https://twitter.com/jack728/status/351753432673165313">this tweet from Shane Jackson</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Thank you. SO far, I’m loving this one!!!</p> </blockquote> <p>I could have stopped right there and the theme would have succeeded in my mind.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: Find someone who loves your work.</p> <p>Today, Accessible Zen has been downloaded a few thousand times and is used by my friends and even a company made of up of <a href="http://blindaccesstraining.com/">assistive technology professionals who are blind</a>. Not bad for something born out of a five-minute phone call.</p> <p>If you’re interested in making WordPress more accessible, <a href="http://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/join-us/">join the WordPress Accessibility team</a>.</p>How Node.js is Going to Replace JavaScript2014-07-10T10:00:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-nodejs-is-going-to-replace-javascript/<p>I read Jenn Schiffer’s post about <a href="https://medium.com/cool-code-pal/how-node-js-is-going-to-replace-javascript-cf72b588b1b">NodeJS “replacing JavaScript”</a> last week and loved it. It’s a lively commentary on the web industry’s penchant for going gaga for a new technology and losing sight of the great capabilities we already have available.</p>This Blog2014-07-12T10:00:38-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/this-blog/<p>I have a confession.</p> <p>Sometimes when I find a new blog I like, or even an old favorite, I like to read the first post. The very first post. Nothing points to the truth of something quicker than its beginning.</p> <p>I say all that to say that this blog never had a proper beginning. It just starts with a post about <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/7-amazing-digital-storytelling-sites/">digital storytelling resources</a>. It doesn’t give you any clues, lay any groundwork or provide any humor or suspense. You have no idea where I’m headed or what might make me get up in the morning. Shameful, really.</p> <p>So I’d like to give you a few of those in this post. Here’s goes…</p> <p>The trouble with starting something is that it’s usually a good idea to know what direction you want to go in when you begin. Not necessarily where you’re going, but a direction. I had no idea when I started this blog in 2009. I have a better sense now, of course, but I won’t say that these things will never change or evolve.</p> <h2>From Stories to the Story of Me</h2> <p>I use to write stories every day as a reporter. Telling a person’s story was a privilege. One that I never took lightly. I think that’s part of what made me so bad at telling my own. I always felt uncomfortable writing about things I knew, learned or did. And I put this pressure on myself that it all had to be worth reading by even the harshest of critics. I struggled to put into words that in 2009, I was a bit lost – my story was a rough draft.</p> <p>I came out of <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/">grad school at Elon</a>, starting this blog as a class assignment (you’ll still find some assignments here). Did I want to stay in the content realm, do design or dive into development? I didn’t know and my blog content reflected that. Now, I’m a front end web developer with a passion for accessibility who thinks <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/writing-stories-and-code/">writing code is a lot like writing stories</a>. I’m a new dad, a CrossFitter and addicted video gamer. And yes, I still like to write.</p> <p>So where does that leave us? Me, the writer and you, the reader?</p> <p>I’m getting better at telling my own story. I’ve <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dead-blogs-blogging-and-getting-better/">nuked a lot of blogs</a> over the years in doing so. Writing is a process, as they say. I feel more comfortable hearing my own words and not just my words setting the scene for someone else. I’ve realized lately that if I read this blog 30 years from now, I’d want to get a complete sense of who I am. Not just what I did at work or in the open source arena. These are my words and it’s also a privilege to publish them so I put as much of the story on the page as I can.</p> <p>I’m going to post on more of a variety of subjects, from professional to personal, but only if they add value. We’ll see how it goes, but I know one thing. This is only the beginning.</p>First Multi-file WordPress Core Patch2014-07-13T15:30:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/first-multi-file-wordpress-core-patch/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/28871-wordpress-core-patch.png?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=800&h=700" alt="" width="800" height="700"><figcaption>This screenshot shows my first multi-file patch to WordPress Core. I fixed visual links that had no text alternatives.</figcaption></figure> <p>In <a href="https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/28871">WordPress Trac ticket #28871</a>, I added my second code contribution to WordPress Core – a simple, but important fix.</p>Being a Dad2014-07-15T10:00:23-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/being-a-dad/<p>A few days ago, my daughter turned eight weeks old. So naturally, that qualifies me to write a post about being a dad.</p> <p>Most of what I’ve learned and experienced isn’t anything new to most dads, only new to me. But maybe you’ll find some of this helpful or humorous.</p> <p>What I know:</p> <ul> <li>The first two days and first six weeks are the toughest.</li> <li>My wife is amazing and I’m constantly in awe of what she did and what she continues to do.</li> <li>One cannot store up on sleep before the baby arrives. People say things like, “Get your sleep now.” It doesn’t apply.</li> </ul> <p>What surprised me:</p> <ul> <li>Caring for a baby isn’t that hard with a bit of patience, logic and love.</li> <li>Babies make loud noises in many ways.</li> <li>Just how fast she has grown. That shouldn’t surprise me!</li> </ul> <p>What I love:</p> <ul> <li>Rolling over in the morning and seeing her face.</li> <li>Having her fall asleep on me.</li> <li>The way she grunts when waking up.</li> <li>Also, sometimes I think she tries to get up from my lap, her bouncy seat or the bed. I have a feeling she has big plans.</li> </ul> <p>When I look at her face and she stares at me with those big eyes, I imagine her saving up all the things she’ll say to me in the future. I know I won’t have all the answers, but I hope to have a few. Being a dad is the most important thing I’ll do. I’m excited for what’s always new and just around the corner.</p>Weird Al Yankovic On Parody In the Age Of YouTube2014-07-17T10:00:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/weird-al-and-parody-in-youtube-age/<blockquote> <p>Actually, I don’t view it as a competition at all. I think it’s wonderful that there’s a level playing field now. Anybody can upload their videos to YouTube and you don’t have to get the blessing of some record executive somewhere to get your stuff heard. If your stuff is good, chances are people will hear it.<br> <cite>Weird Al’ Yankovic</cite> From a <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/07/12/329873481/weird-al-yankovic-on-parody-in-the-age-of-youtube">piece on NPR</a> about his latest album, parodies and the YouTube age.</p> </blockquote> <p>I’m always interested on how the web intersects with creativity and publishing. It seems to be a similar story in many industries.</p>TinyLetter and a Big Win2014-07-18T10:00:52-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/tinyletter-and-a-big-win/<p>Yesteday, I asked <a href="http://tinyletter.com/">TinyLetter</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/status/489831711203921920">improve the accessibility of its standard newsletter subscription sign-up forms</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>@tinyletter I’d love to signup, but your subscribe forms don’t have labels, making them inaccessible – <a href="http://t.co/hjyJyZKbkp">http://t.co/hjyJyZKbkp</a> Fix, please?</p> </blockquote> <p>The email newsletter service’s standard subscription sign-up form lacked a form label, having just a placeholder element. Labels are <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/forms/#labels">critical for form accessibility</a>. I’m toying with starting a newsletter and liked their service, but hesitated to sign up since I’m always concerned about accessibility.</p> <p>They listened, acted quickly and should be applauded. If you look at one of their standard form pages, <a href="http://tinyletter.com/intriguingthings">like this one</a>, you’ll find a label hidden off screen. It plays nicely with the placeholder and works perfectly with screen readers.</p> <p>More companies and organizations should take note. It’s easy to miss the simplest of accessibility requirements in the rush to release something or when balancing other priorities. I’ve done it too! But when you find straightforward issues, knock them out. You make improvements in accessibility by starting, and making one fix at a time.</p>Accessible Zen on ProfHacker2014-07-22T18:10:48-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-on-profhacker/<p>George Williams of the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker blog featured Accessible Zen and other accessible WordPress themes in a post called, <a href="http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/accessibility-ready-wordpress-themes/55683">“Accessibility Ready” WordPress Themes</a>.</p> <p>The post is from February but I didn’t run across it until today thanks to Twitter. It’s great to see accessibility in WordPress getting some attention outside of the usual WordPress circle.</p>Why the Web is Dead2014-07-26T01:00:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-the-web-is-dead/<p>Apps are <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrcAPan028Y">all about hype…</a> The single best talk about the open web I’ve listened to in awhile.</p>Living in a Developer's Utopia2014-08-02T14:37:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/living-in-a-developers-utopia/<p>Yes, working on the web can challenge even the most seasoned web worker these days. Developing for the web means juggling new technologies, changing best practices and the will to keep up with it all. Several have expressed similar opinions in recent blog posts.</p> <blockquote> <p>I think about how I used to fill my time with coding. So much coding. I was willing to dive <em>so deep</em> into a library or framework or technology to learn it.</p> <p>My tolerance for learning curves grows smaller every day. New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I’m less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity.<br> <cite>Ed Finkler</cite> <a href="https://the-pastry-box-project.net/ed-finkler/2014-july-6">The Developer’s Dystopian Future</a>.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>I feel the same way, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve lost almost all interest in being a web developer. The client-side app world is much more stable, favoring deep knowledge of infrequent changes over the constant barrage of new, not necessarily better but at least <em>different</em> technologies, libraries, frameworks, techniques, and methodologies that burden professional web development.<br> <cite>Marco Arment</cite> <a href="http://www.marco.org/2014/07/11/developers-dystopian-future">Responding to Ed’s piece</a>.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>I’m in an intriguing position on this subject, because <a href="http://mattgemmell.com/making-changes/">I’m not a developer anymore</a>. I haven’t launched Xcode since last December. Every time I’m out socially with software developers (which is often; I’ve made many good friends in that line of work, and I have no desire to lose them), at least one person asks me if I miss the job.</p> <p>My answer is always the same: not really. The actual truth of the matter, as ever, is more nuanced.<br> <cite>Matt Gemmell</cite> <a href="http://mattgemmell.com/confessions-of-an-ex-developer/">Confessions of an Ex-Developer</a>, in response to Ed’s piece and Marco’s piece.</p> </blockquote> <p>I think about it a bit differently. I like the Web’s uncertainty. I don’t mind that it splinters off into a million different directions, often with new ones every day. I work on the Web because of its universality.</p> <p>That universality leads to a lot of choices. That’s all. Learning something new, integrating it into your project and choosing what you think is a “stable” work environment is up to you. It’s your choice.</p> <p>Bastian Allgeier writes about that choice, one he made recently:</p> <blockquote> <p>Creativity is within you and all you need is a fast way to let it out. The more direct, the better.</p> <p>For a web developer the editor is the pen and the browser is a piece of paper.</p> <p>The longer I look at boilerplates, build tools, frameworks and ways to make my life as a developer easier, the more I long for the basics.</p> <p>In the last two months I moved away from SASS for all new projects, though I know how helpful it can be in many places. I moved away from inuit.css, which I really liked as a CSS toolkit and went back to better structure my own CSS. I ditched Angular for Kirby 2 and went for a very reduced and tiny combination of loosely coupled js components.<br> <cite>Bastian Allgeier</cite> <a href="http://bastianallgeier.com/notes/simplicity">Simplicity</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Having all this choice makes me feel like I’m living in a developer’s utopia.</p>Microsoft's First Web Page2014-08-09T14:49:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/microsofts-first-web-page/<p><a href="http://christianheilmann.com/">Christian Heilmann</a> on <a href="http://christianheilmann.com/2014/08/08/microsofts-first-web-page-and-what-it-can-teach-us/">Microsoft’s first web page and what it can teach us</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>And this, to me, is the most interesting part here: one of the first web sites created by a large corporation makes the most basic mistake in web design – starting with a fixed design created in a graphical tool and trying to create the <a href="https://developer.mozilla.org/docs/Web/HTML">HTML</a> to make it work. In other words: putting print on the web.</p> <p>The web was meant to be consumed on any device capable of HTTP and text display (or voice, or whatever you want to turn the incoming text into). Text browsers like Lynx were not uncommon back then. And here is Microsoft creating a web page that is a big image with no text alternative. Also interesting to mention is that the image is 767px × 513px big. Back then I had a computer capable of 640 × 480 pixels resolution and browsers didn’t scale pictures automatically. This means that I would have had quite horrible scrollbars.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/discover/1994/">View the page</a> or the <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/discover/1994/readme.html">readme explaining it</a>. It’s neat to read. Neater is what Christian points out later in his post:</p> <blockquote> <p>One thing, however, is very cool: this page is <strong>20 years old</strong>, the technology it is recreated in is the same age. Yet <strong>I can consume the page right now</strong> on the newest technology, in browsers Microsoft never dreamed of existing…</p> </blockquote>The Once and Future IndieWeb2014-08-14T17:04:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-once-and-future-indieweb/<p>Tantek Çelik on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNr0JNwsLy8">why we became fascinated with silos and what we can do to take the Web back</a>.</p> <p>Via <a href="http://adactio.com/links/7290/">Jeremy Keith</a>.</p>Effortless Style2014-08-16T22:17:39-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/effortless-style/<p>A cool talk by Heydon Pickering at CSS Day all about <a href="https://vimeo.com/101718785">styling markup without classes</a>. CSS is more powerful than you think.</p> <p>Another good catch by <a href="http://adactio.com/links/7294/">Jeremy Keith</a>.</p>The Internet's Original Sin2014-08-18T22:25:09-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-internets-original-sin/<blockquote> <p>It’s not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web.<br> <cite>From The Atlantic’s <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/08/advertising-is-the-internets-original-sin/376041/">The Internet’s Original Sin</a></cite>.</p> </blockquote>Constant, Intelligent Pressure2014-08-19T10:00:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/constant-intelligent-pressure/<p>Five years ago I started in <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/interactive_media/">Elon’s interactive media master’s program</a>.</p> <p>I’ve <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/since-grad-school/">learned a lot since then</a>. However, one quote has stuck with me more than anything else since then. <a href="http://kennethcalhoun.com/">Ken Calhoun</a>, one of my professors said it while giving us advice about problem-solving for our flyovers, short one-week trips where we would gather multimedia material to build web projects for nonprofits.</p> <p>I don’t remember the full quote, just this turn-of-phrase about how to approach problems:</p> <blockquote> <p>Just apply constant, intelligent pressure.</p> </blockquote> <p>That’s it.</p> <p>It has popped into my head over and over as I’ve worked to solve problems on the web and in life.</p>Speaking at Code(Her) 20142014-08-20T10:30:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/speaking-at-codeher-2014/<p>I’ll be speaking at <a href="http://codeherconference.com/">Code(Her) 2014</a> on September 13th about <em>Testing for Web Accessibility with Free Tools</em>. Check out the site for more information!</p>IndieWeb Member2014-08-21T11:00:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/indieweb-member/<p>I’ve tinkered with my site a lot over the past weekend to make it more IndieWeb-friendly.</p> <p>What does that mean? You can learn more about the <a href="http://indiewebcamp.com/">IndieWeb movement</a> on the site and read <a href="http://indiewebcamp.com/principles">about its principles</a>. Basically, you want:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Your content to be yours</strong></li> <li><strong>To be better connected to all services</strong></li> <li><strong>To control how things work</strong></li> </ul> <p>These are novel concepts only because we’ve grown use to social networks and tech giants running the web. It doesn’t have to be this way.</p> <p>I’ve tackled a number of things on the <a href="http://indiewebcamp.com/Getting_Started">Getting Started page</a> of IndieWeb Camp. I:</p> <ul> <li>Joined the IRC channel.</li> <li>Already had a personal domain and hosting. 🙂</li> <li>Set up web sign-in.</li> <li>Already had WordPress ready to go for content publishing. 🙂</li> <li>Installed a <a href="http://willnorris.com/2011/01/hum-personal-url-shortener-wordpress">link shortener plugin</a>.</li> <li>Started: Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere and automating it with <a href="https://ifttt.com/">IFTTT</a>.</li> <li>Already had a WordPress theme that supported basic Microformats.</li> <li>Ported some photos from a photo blog to my own site.</li> <li>Set up webmentions and semantic-linkbacks via the <a href="http://wordpress.org/plugins/indieweb/">IndieWeb plugin</a>. I’m pulling in mentions from Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus thanks to <a href="https://www.brid.gy/">Brid.gy</a>.</li> <li>Cleaned things up a bit by removing custom post types on the site, adding a new favicon and fixing a few bugs.</li> </ul> <p>The <a href="http://indiewebcamp.com/WordPress">WordPress page</a> was a great place to start.</p> <p>Doing this wasn’t that hard, especially after listening to a recent <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-once-and-future-indieweb/">talk on the IndieWeb by Tantek Çelik</a>. I don’t know yet if I’ll keep all this going as some of it may not suit my needs. This may just be an experiment, however, I do know one thing: I’m going to keep publishing on my own site.</p>Feature Misuse2014-08-25T10:30:23-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/feature-misuse/<p>Karl Groves in a <a href="http://www.karlgroves.com/2014/08/24/feature-misuse-feature-uselessness/">post about HTML5, Longdesc and accessibility</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>For nearly a dozen years now, I’ve been employed in a capacity which gives me a day-to-day glimpse of how professional web developers are using markup. I see HTML abuse on a daily basis. Bad HTML permeates the web due to ignorant developers and is exacerbated by shitty UI frameworks and terrible “tutorials” by popular bloggers. In my years as an accessibility consultant I’ve reviewed work on Fortune 100 websites and many of the Alexa top 1000. I’ve reviewed web-based applications of the largest software companies in the world. The abuse of markup is ubiquitous.</p> </blockquote> <p>You should read the whole thing.</p>The Personal Blog2014-08-28T10:00:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-personal-blog/<p>Fred Wilson on <a href="http://avc.com/2014/08/the-personal-blog/">the personal blog</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>There is something about the personal blog, <em>yourname.com</em>, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.</p> </blockquote>Joining Automattic2014-09-02T22:13:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/joining-automattic/<p>I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining the <a href="http://automattic.com/">Automattic</a> <a href="http://automattic.com/about/">family</a> soon as a Theme Wrangler.</p> <p>For those that don’t know, Automattic runs <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>, <a href="http://jetpack.me/">Jetpack</a>, <a href="http://simplenote.com/">Simplenote</a>, <a href="http://cloudup.com/">Cloudup</a> and other awesome web products. Woohoo! (I keep asking my wife if it really happened. She assures me it did.) 🙂 It’s hard to put into words what this means to me, but I’ll try. It’s my dream job, yes, but it goes beyond that.</p> <p>I’ve been lucky enough to work for and inside some organizations with fantastic missions. I don’t get excited unless I’m attacking big problems with a chance to drive change. From being a newspaper reporter, to working for a one of the <a href="http://www.thearc.org/">oldest disability organizations</a> in the United States to working with one of the United States government’s most watched and most admired <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/">“start-up” agencies</a>, a lot of my work has been for a “greater good.” At least I hope so. 🙂 At Automattic, I get to combine a lot of the passions I’ve developed along the way: publishing, WordPress, web standards and accessibility, and open source and the open web. All for a greater good: making the web a better place.</p> <p>But how can someone who builds and cares for WordPress themes do that? I wanted to be a Theme Wrangler because I believe that a good WordPress theme can open up a new world to those using it, and in turn, reveal something unique about the site’s owner to the world. A theme can become the centerpiece to someone’s story. That’s something I want to do for as many people as possible. I look forward to whatever form that takes, including helping themes evolve in new ways and bringing my accessibility experience to my every day work on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>.</p> <p>The best is yet to come.</p>Now is the Perfect Time2014-09-09T20:35:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-perfect-time/<p>I love this talk by <a href="https://www.davidberman.com/">David Berman</a> on the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blp83MOfilE">current state of making things accessible and how it can lead to breakthroughs</a>. Some quotes I like:</p> <blockquote> <p>It all starts off with designing for extremes. The key here is when we design for the extremes, everyone benefits. … We live in a time right now where it’s never been easier to make everything accessible to everyone.</p> </blockquote>Answer This2014-09-10T10:30:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/answer-this/<p>Web Accessibility Consultant Karl Groves asks <a href="http://www.karlgroves.com/2014/09/08/one-simple-question-and-a-follow-up/">One. Simple. Question. (and a follow-up)</a>.</p>A Workflow for Testing Web Accessibility with Free Tools2014-09-12T23:55:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-workflow-for-testing-web-accessibility-with-free-tools/<p>Learning how to test for web accessibility can be overwhelming, even for the most experienced web worker. However, if you approach the testing bit by bit throughout the creation of your project, it becomes more manageable.</p> <p>Plus, since you’ll be attacking accessibility from the beginning, you’re naturally planning for it. That means you have a much better opportunity to create a website or web application for everyone, rather than one that frustrates some users, causes matainence problems for you or your team and potentially puts you at risk legally.</p> <h2>Introduction</h2> <p>In this post, inspired by my talk at the <a href="http://codeherconference.com/">Code(Her) Conference</a>, I’ll lay out a simple workflow for testing your website or web application for accessibility with free tools while building it. The worflow isn’t a secret or anything groundbreaking. The W3C <a href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/preliminary">recommends much of it already</a>, but I add a step or two, talk about order and importance of each step.</p> <p>I’ve created a simple website – <a href="http://a11y.me/">a11y.me</a> that has all of the resources I mention here, plus many more. Use it, and feel free to suggest new tools by opening an <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/a11y.me">issue on Github</a>.</p> <p>Before we dive into a testing workflow, you should be familiar with the <a href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag">Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0</a>. These guide much of the workflow, especially the <a href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web/principles">broad principles that form the guidelines</a>. It might also be helpful to know <a href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web/Overview">how people with disabilities use the web</a>.</p> <p>Thinking about accessibility early on in your design process can pay off in a big way. WebAIM has a simple, informative <a href="http://webaim.org/resources/designers/">infographic geared toward designers</a>. It touches on many important principles of an accessible website or application.</p> <p>This workflow won’t cover everything you would need to do for a thorough accessibility audit, but it will expose you to some of the more important things to check for when it comes to web accessibility. Hopefully, once you develop a ryhthm, you can do all these checks in 30 minutes or less. However, ideally you’re doing a handful of them as you design or build new interfaces.</p> <h2>Automate, Automate, Automate</h2> <p>Let a few robots do some of the work for you. I like to start out using three automated tools that can help identify large trouble spots that you may need to focus on as you move forward in your project.</p> <p>First, I run the HTML and CSS of a page through the W3C validators.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://validator.w3.org/">HTML Validator</a></li> <li><a href="http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/">CSS Validator</a></li> </ul> <p>You’ll want to look for any obvious errors. Sometimes, malformed HTML and CSS can lead to accessibility issues. You may not be able to have perfectly validated code and that’s okay, but make sure any errors aren’t causing issues elsewhere.</p> <p>Next, I like to use two accessibility testing tools that can spot problems in your code. The first is an extension created by Google for Chrome called <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/accessibility-developer-t/fpkknkljclfencbdbgkenhalefipecmb?hl=en">Accessibility Developer Tools</a>. From the description:</p> <blockquote> <p>This extension will add an Accessibility audit, and an Accessibility sidebar pane in the Elements tab, to your Chrome Developer Tools.</p> <p>To use the audit: go to the Audits tab, select the Accessibility audit, and click Run. The audit results will appear as a list of rules which are violated by the page (if any), with one or more elements on the page shown as a result for each rule.</p> </blockquote> <p>This tool outputs text in the Audits tab of the Chrome Developer Tools. It’s fairly accurate and a great way to see potential accessibility barriers. You can use the results to take a deeper dive into problems later in your testing.</p> <p>Next on our automation tour, I like to use <a href="http://wave.webaim.org/">Wave</a>. The web version takes a URL, processes it and gives you all kinds of data on your site page or application. Much like the Accessibility Developer Tools for Chrome, this can help you get a broad picture of where your problems lie. Some find it more helpful because it includes visual icons and represents accessibility features like WAI-ARIA roles nicely.</p> <p>Careful though, the web version does <em>not</em> process JavaScript. If you need that, you can use Wave’s equally awesome <a href="http://wave.webaim.org/toolbar/">toolbar add-on for Firefox</a>.</p> <p>Next, we dive into some of these details. It’s important to mention that from here on out, the order in which you do these isn’t imprtant. I like to run the automated checks first for help with the big picture and run the page through a screen reader last to help conform things. However, the items in between can be moved around. Maybe you’re only performing one or two at a time while you work on a specific component. That works too!</p> <h2>We All Like Titles</h2> <p>Now that we have a good overview of what’s happening on our page, we can do one of the easiest checks of all. Look at the page title. You can find them in the <code>title</code> tag in the <code>head</code> element. They’re used by screen readers, search engines, browsers and other technology on the web. A good page title provides an overview of what the page is about and gives context to users.</p> <h2>ALT Rock</h2> <p>All images need an <code>alt</code> attribute so screen readers and other assistive technology can describe them. The Wave tool works perfectly for seeing which images have one, what it says and which ones lack it. Alternative text can vary widely from image to image on a site, all depending upon the context of the content around it. WebAIM’s <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/alttext/">alternative text</a> article explains everything well.</p> <h2>Heads Up</h2> <p>Making sure a page has headings is another easy thing to check. You can use the Wave tool for this. It allows you to see a page’s structure without page styles. At the mininium, a page should have at least one headings and it/they should be marked up like a heading. Example:<br> <code>&lt;h1&gt;My Heading&lt;/h1&gt;</code></p> <h2>Color Me Bad</h2> <p>Finding the perfect color combinations that are both accessible and harmonize with a design vision can be challenging. However, if you think about accessibility early, stay flexible and experiment, it can done. My three favorite colors tools all come out of the same place: <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/">North Carolina State University’s Accessibility Department</a>.</p> <ul> <li>For creating an accessible color palette, check out the <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-contrast/">Color Palette Accessibility Builder</a>. You can enter colors by their hex code values and determine if the color comibinations (background and foreground) meet WCAG guidelines.</li> <li>For pulling colors from an existing web page or application for analysis in the Color Palette Accessibility Builder, check out the <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-extractor/">Color Extractor</a>.</li> <li>For analyzing the color combinations on a full web page or parts of a web page, you’ll want to check out the <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-contrast-chrome/">Color Contrast Analyzer for Chrome</a>. It does two things that many other color analysis tools do not: You can check text over top of background images or gradients, analyze text in images.</li> </ul> <p>Each of these tools has unique strengths, depending on which part of the design process you’re in. Matthieu Faure created my other favorite color tool, called the <a href="http://contrast-finder.tanaguru.com/">Tanaguru Contrast-Finder</a>. With this tool, you can insert a hex value for a color, and if it does not meet WCAG standards, it will suggest other colors. Perfect when you need a bit of accessible inspiration!</p> <h2>Can You Make It Bigger?</h2> <p>For this next check, you don’t actually need any special tools. It’s always a good idea to increase the size of your text by at least one and half times to check if your text <em>can</em> be resized and whether or not your design breaks down.</p> <p>Some users need to change text size and other aspects of text display: font, space between lines, and more.</p> <p><a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/fonts/#font_size">WebAIM</a> says:</p> <blockquote> <p>For development purposes, it is best to use relative units (such as percents or ems) to specify font sizes rather than absolute units (such as pixels or points). This provides much flexibility in modifying the visual presentation using CSS. For accessibility, because modern browsers adequately resize text regardless of how the size has been defined, it is not vital that text sizes be defined in relative sizes.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is solid advice, but if you use relative font sizes, you’ll respect a user’s preferences and your adjustments will be easier within responsive design.</p> <h2>Look Ma, No Mouse</h2> <p>I love looking at a site or application’s keyboard navigability and visual focus. Often, it’s the one thing I do if I don’t have time to do any other testing. Like the last test, you don’t need any special tools.</p> <p>Test this in Chrome since you do not have to enable any special options for it to work. Simple open a web page and press the tab key. You should be moving forward through the page. Pressing the shift key plus tab moves you backward.</p> <h2>Label Me, Please</h2> <p>Lack of form labels represent one of the most common accessibility errors I see in my own accessibility testing. Fortunately, it’s one of the <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/forms/">easiest ones to fix</a>.</p> <p>The Wave Tool helps you spot missing or unassociated form labels quickly. Use the same methods for keyboard testing here and make sure you can reach each form label and button, and activate them.</p> <h2>Multimedia, Really</h2> <p>No special tools required here either!</p> <p>Look at your site or application to see if you’re using any kind of multimedia (audio or video) content. If you have it, does:</p> <ul> <li>it have controls that are keyboard accessible?</li> <li>it have transcripts or some sort?</li> <li>it contain captions?</li> </ul> <h2>Basics, Basics, Basics</h2> <p>This next check gives you a 50,000-foot view of your page or application. Grab one of the <a href="http://chrispederick.com/work/web-developer/">Developer Extensions</a> and get to destructing.</p> <p>You’ll want to turn off CSS, images and make the page as linear as possible. Look for any missing pieces of the page.</p> <h2>You Talking to Me</h2> <p>Lastly, I run the page or chunks of the page through a screen reader. I typically use VoiceOver, but other options exist. Using a screen reader is an aquired skill. Be patient. WebAIM has articles on <a href="http://webaim.org/articles/">evaluating web accessibility in many of the major screen readers</a>. Much like the “Structure” check, I look for missing pieces or items that deserve more attention.</p> <h3>And Onward</h3> <p>Hopefully, this helps you not only see a possible workflow, but a handful of tools to get it accomplished. Now, go make the web more accessible. And remember, ship code that’s closer to better than before than absolutely perfect.</p>The Enterprise2014-09-15T11:41:14-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-enterprise/<p>As someone who grew up on the “Space Coast,” the portion of the Florida peninsula that is home to the NASA space program, I love space shuttles. Ars Technica has a nice video story on the <a href="http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/09/a-closer-look-at-the-space-shuttle-that-never-got-to-space/">space shuttle <em>Enterprise</em> and its place in America’s history</a>.</p>Automatic Grand Meetup 20142014-09-15T22:20:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/automatic-grand-meetup-2014/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-14.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=625&h=700" alt="Automattic Grand Meetup 2014 badge" width="625" height="700"></figure>Icon Font Text Alternatives: Don't Forget Them2014-09-18T09:00:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/icon-font-text-alternatives/<p>In a world where we need to support screens of all sizes and resolutions and be as future-friendly as possible, many a designer and developer have turned to <a href="http://css-tricks.com/html-for-icon-font-usage/">icon fonts</a>.</p> <p>They’re awesome! And certainly come in handy, especially depending on what browsers you support and whether or not you can <a href="http://css-tricks.com/using-svg/">use SVGs</a>. It’s important to remember when using them, you need to <a href="http://filamentgroup.com/lab/bulletproof_icon_fonts.html">think about accessibility</a>.</p> <h2>The Problem</h2> <p>I see icon fonts without text alternatives all the time in my accessibility testing. If you’re using an icon font for a purpose beyond just decoration, and it conveys content, you need a text alternative.</p> <pre class="language-html"><code class="language-html"><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>ul</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br> <span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>li</span> <span class="token attr-name">class</span><span class="token attr-value"><span class="token punctuation">=</span><span class="token punctuation">"</span>icon-twitter<span class="token punctuation">"</span></span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br> <span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>a</span> <span class="token attr-name">href</span><span class="token attr-value"><span class="token punctuation">=</span><span class="token punctuation">"</span>http://twitter.com/myprofile<span class="token punctuation">"</span></span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>a</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br> <span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>li</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>ul</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span></code></pre> <p>Often, the <code>li</code> will have use <code>:before</code> and have some CSS attached to it displaying the icon font. Many designers and developers then rejoice as lovely icons look, well lovely, at any size on any screen.</p> <p><em><strong>But</strong></em>.</p> <p>This is a link. It has no link text. We’ve essentially done what’s equal to putting an image inside of a link without an alternative text attribute.</p> <ul> <li>The link uses only icon fonts inside the <code>&lt;a&gt;</code>, but icon fonts are not announced by screen readers.</li> <li>The <code>title</code> attribute may be intended for screen readers, but it’s not announced by default by screen readers either, and it’s really only useful for users with a mouse. See this post for <a href="http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2013/01/using-the-html-title-attribute-updated/">more info on the <code>title</code> attribute</a>.</li> <li>When a screen reader announces these links, it says: “Link”, which isn’t descriptive and doesn’t tell the user what the link does or where it goes.</li> </ul> <p><em><strong>Bummer. But wait!</strong></em></p> <h2>The Solution</h2> <p>We can fix this, and easily.</p> <ul> <li>Links should always have link text.</li> <li>Adding a <code>screen-reader-text</code> class that would be hidden off-screen, maintains the design of having the icon only, but provides a text alternative. Right now, the best method for hiding text via CSS is the <a href="https://developer.yahoo.com/blogs/ydn/clip-hidden-content-better-accessibility-53456.html">clip method</a>.</li> </ul> <p>The markup might look like this:</p> <pre class="language-html"><code class="language-html"><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>ul</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br> <span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>li</span> <span class="token attr-name">class</span><span class="token attr-value"><span class="token punctuation">=</span><span class="token punctuation">"</span>icon-twitter<span class="token punctuation">"</span></span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br> <span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>a</span> <span class="token attr-name">href</span><span class="token attr-value"><span class="token punctuation">=</span><span class="token punctuation">"</span>http://twitter.com/myprofile<span class="token punctuation">"</span></span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br> <span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>span</span> <span class="token attr-name">class</span><span class="token attr-value"><span class="token punctuation">=</span><span class="token punctuation">"</span>screen-reader-text<span class="token punctuation">"</span></span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span>Follow me on Twitter<span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>span</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br> <span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>a</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br> <span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>li</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span><br><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>ul</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span></code></pre> <p>Now, a screen reader user hears what that link is for and where it goes. It says: “Link: Follow me on Twitter.” They just might follow you on Twitter too!</p> <p>It’s easy to forget small, but important details like this, but also easy to fix.</p> <h3>Other Helpful Blog Posts</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://filamentgroup.com/lab/bulletproof_icon_fonts.html">Bulletproof Accessible Icon Fonts</a> (The way I outline above is just one way to use icon fonts responsibly. This post has more methods.)</li> <li><a href="http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2013/01/using-the-html-title-attribute-updated/">Using the HTML title Attribute</a> (It’s not as handy as you might think.)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Update</strong>: January 16, 2015 – Thanks to a <a href="https://twitter.com/ted_drake/status/556131982501883904">nudge from Ted Drake</a>, I clarify the best method for hiding text via CSS.</p>First Grand Meetup2014-09-24T23:45:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/first-grand-meetup/<p>I attended my first Grand Meetup at Automattic last week. I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/joining-automattic/">recently joined</a>, so the first day of the meetup was also my official first day at Automattic.</p> <p>I had a blast and met a lot of Automatticians, something that’s extra special in a remote company during the first week of work. 🙂 I loved working on projects with new teammates and listening to a variety of Flash talks by my new colleagues. Flash talk topics included professional wrestling, Yo-yo-ing, Data Centers, My Guitars and many more.</p> <p>I did make one rookie mistake though: I forgot my DSLR camera, a Canon 20D. So the gallery below is a few shots from my iPhone 5 camera.</p> <div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of the shops and restaurants inside Canyons Resort.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Trying to line up for the company photo.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Team 14 working late on a project.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Team 14 discussing technical stuff.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Team 14: Jeff Golenski, Velda Christensen, Enej Bajgoric, David Murphy and myself.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A visit to the Uinta Brewing Company.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>There's beer in those barrels.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A close up of a beer barrel.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>One of the processing areas for brewing.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>One of the Uinta Brewing Company signs.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Baba, a black lager, is one of the beers that Uinta makes. Displayed on a sign.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Baba, a black lager in cans, is one of the beers that Uinta makes.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2014-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Palettes of beer ready to be shipped.</figcaption></figure> </div>An Accessible Web2014-09-25T21:17:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/an-accessible-web/<p>I read this quote on a blog post the other day about <a href="http://accessiblog.fr/2014/08/how-an-accessible-web-would-change-your-life/#comment-39602/">what an accessible web means</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>An accessible web is using the sites I need instead of using the ones I can access.</p> </blockquote> <p>Love it.</p>John Oliver vs Miss America2014-09-28T13:35:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/john-oliver-vs-miss-america/<blockquote> <p>It’s 15 minutes that combines real investigative journalism, scathing satire, important social commentary, and, most importantly, compassion.</p> </blockquote> <p>Via <a href="http://boingboing.net/2014/09/27/john-oliver-vs-miss-america.html#more-334354">John Oliver vs Miss America</a>.</p>What I Make is Caring About Accessibility2014-09-28T15:03:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-i-make-is-caring-about-accessibility/<blockquote> <p>When you apply for XOXO, which is a conference for “independently produced technology and art,” you’re asked to describe what sort of things you make. What I put down is that I write about Accessibility on iOS. In all honesty, I didn’t think I would get in; for some reason, I thought what I make wasn’t big enough or important enough for such an esteemed festival. In short, I never expected to go.</p> <p>Turns out, I was selling myself very short. My application was accepted.</p> </blockquote> <p>Via <a href="http://sixcolors.com/post/2014/09/what-i-make-is-caring-about-accessibility/">Six Colors: What I make is caring about accessibility</a>.</p>Moved to WordPress.com2014-09-30T17:59:39-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/moved-to-wordpress-com/<p>Yesteday, I moved my this site to <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>.</p> <p>I talked about <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2013/06/10/moving-to-wordpress-com/">possibly doing that</a> awhile ago, but since I <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/09/02/joining-automattic/">joined Automattic</a> a few weeks ago, I decided to take the leap. Why? Because it’s important to use the thing you help make. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_your_own_dog_food">Dogfooding</a>, as it’s called. 🙂 I believe it will help me make <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> even better than before.</p> <p>I initially worried about making such a move. I really like to tinker with my site, and being on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> means I can’t create my own custom themes, mess with template files or install my own plugins. But maybe that means I’ll write more. I’ve picked up the pace recently so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next few months.</p> <p>Also, about the whole theme thing: I’m thrilled I get to create themes for <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> now and want to switch themes more often. Experiment in different ways with what <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> has to offer. Quick experiments are harder to do for any designer/developer on their own site when they can do <em>anything</em>. A few constraints here and there can push creativity. We’ll see how it goes!</p> <h2>Current Theme</h2> <p>I made a few simple CSS tweaks to <a href="http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/twentythirteen/">Twenty Thirteen</a> to make it even more accessibility-friendly, even though it already carries the accessibility-ready tag. Plus, some of them are just my personal preference. You can check them out on the Github repository, <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/twentythirteena11yplus">Twenty Thirteen A11y Plus</a>. The readme file has instructions on how to use the theme on both <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> and <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress.org</a>. Happy blogging!</p>Featured in WebAIM September 2014 Newsletter2014-10-01T10:00:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/featured-in-webaim-newsletter/<p>Very excited to see one of my latest posts, A Workflow for Testing Web Accessibility with Free Tools featured in the September 2014 WebAIM newsletter. The post was inspired by a recent talk I gave at the CodeHer Conference. It includes this quote from the piece:</p> <blockquote> <p>If you approach testing bit by bit throughout the creation of your project, it becomes more manageable.</p> </blockquote> <p>Check out the <a href="http://webaim.org/newsletter/2014/september">WebAIM: September 2014 Newsletter</a>.</p>WebAxe Podcast 100: Joe and Joseph on WordPress Accessibility2014-10-01T16:00:05-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/webaxe-100-wordpress-accessibility/<p>In this WebAxe podcast episode, Dennis Lembree speaks with Joe Dolson and Joseph O’Connor of the WordPress Accessibility team who share their knowledge of accessibility in WordPress and how they’ve been helping.</p> <p>Via <a href="http://www.webaxe.org/podcast-100-joe-joseph-wordpress-a11y/">WebAxe Podcast 100: Joe &amp; Joseph on WordPress Accessibility</a>.</p>Your Life Purpose2014-10-02T13:15:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/your-life-purpose/<p>I use to be obsessed with the question: What should I do with my life? Heck, I even <a href="http://www.amazon.com/What-Should-Do-My-Life-ebook/dp/B000FBFMKC/">read the book</a>. It’s still one of my favorites. What I didn’t realize was something Mark Manson points out:</p> <blockquote> <p>What most people don’t understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it.</p> </blockquote> <p>For awhile, I waited for the thing to find me. But I had to find it – by <em>doing</em>.</p> <p>Via <a href="http://markmanson.net/life-purpose">7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose</a>. Hat tip: <a href="https://twitter.com/feather/status/517499005400780800">Derek Featherstone</a>.</p>Zeldman’s Theme2014-10-04T23:22:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/zeldmans-theme/<blockquote> <p><a href="http://zeldman.com/">Zeldman.com</a> uses a theme I helped make for WordPress.<br><br> <cite>Lance Willett</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>So cool to see this. Hint: It’s <a href="https://wordpress.org/themes/twentyfourteen">Twenty Fourteen</a>.</p> <p>Via <a href="http://simpledream.net/2014/09/30/zeldmans-theme/">Zeldman’s Theme</a>.</p>Saturday Morning Cartoons are No More2014-10-05T21:37:36-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/goodbye-saturday-morning-cartoons/<p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/09/30/saturday-morning-cartoons-are-no-more/">Saturday morning cartoon are no more</a>. Personally, I’ll miss the chance to watch them in the traditional way, like I did, with my daughter.</p>Relaunching The Early Web2014-10-06T21:32:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/relaunching-the-early-web/<p>It’s fascinating to listen to the <a href="http://5by5.tv/webahead/85">stories and origins behind the beginnings of the Web</a>.</p>Accessible WordPress with Joe O’Connor2014-10-08T22:21:20-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-wordpress-on-a-web-for-everyone/<p>Joe O’Conner talks <a href="http://rosenfeldmedia.com/blogs/a-web-for-everyone/accessible-wordpress-with-joe-oconnor/">Accessible WordPress</a> with Whitney Quesenbery on the A Web for Everyone podcast.</p>The Tilde Club2014-10-10T14:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-tilde-club/<blockquote> <p>Servers may now be cheap but people are the same. Some sent me emails like “username zergblaster” and nothing else, because they have been taught that the web is a robot that dispenses things for their pleasure. These people are kind of useless, but it’s okay, maybe we’ll help them learn HTML. Many, many more people wrote me about how much they missed the old web, that sense of quiet and intimacy and patient thought—writing, coding, and learning as they went.</p> <p>This made sense to me, because I miss it too. The modern social web is a miracle of progress but also a status-driven guilt-spewing shit volcano. (Then again, without Twitter no one would know about tilde.club.) Back in the 1990s—this will sound insane—some of us paid a lot of money for our tilde accounts, like $30 or $40 a month or sometimes much more. <em>We paid to reach strangers with our weird ideas.</em> Whereas now, as everyone understands, brands pay to know users.</p> </blockquote> <p>Via <a href="https://medium.com/message/tilde-club-i-had-a-couple-drinks-and-woke-up-with-1-000-nerds-a8904f0a2ebf">I had a couple drinks and woke up with 1,000 nerds</a>. Hat tip: <a href="http://www.zeldman.com/2014/10/09/1000-nerds/">Zeldman</a>.</p>Oneforone: Who Would You Add?2014-10-14T10:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/oneforone/<p>Finding people who truly inspire you can be hard these days. Much less, <em>real</em> people who you might meet in your field that come from diverse backgrounds.</p> <p>That may get easier. 🙂</p> <p>Oneforone is a game where you pick an inspiring hotshot in your field to add to a list, but people can see who you’ve selected and the whole idea is to pick people from underrepresented groups. Created by <a href="https://twitter.com/Deanna">Deanna Zandt</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/melissapierce">Melissa Pierce</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/Rasiej">Andrew Rasiej</a>, the Tech Lady Mafia has a version of the game going for <a href="http://findingada.com/">Ada Lovelace Day</a> (hint: that’s today!).</p> <p>Who would you add? I <a href="https://github.com/techladymafia/oneforone/pull/15">added someone</a> who I worked with at The Arc that inspires me.</p> <p>You can add a name by <a href="https://github.com/techladymafia/oneforone">forking the repo</a> and editing the <code>names.yml</code> file, or by <a href="https://github.com/techladymafia/oneforone/issues">submitting an issue on the repo</a>.</p> <p>You can read <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/deannazandt/2012/07/09/a-challenge-to-digital-influencers-join-the-one4one-game/">more about the nexus of the game here</a>. I bet this list will be one to watch!</p>WebAIM to Release Chrome Extension of Wave2014-10-16T10:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wave-chrome-extension/<p>Recently, WebAIM <a href="http://webaim.org/blog/webaims-15th-bday/">announced it would release a Chrome extension version of Wave</a>, its popular web accessibility testing tool. Wave has a popular <a href="http://wave.webaim.org/toolbar/">Firefox add-on</a> and <a href="http://wave.webaim.org/">web version</a>, both tools that have always proved indispensable in my accessibility testing.</p> <p>Plus, WebAIM is also celebrating its 15th birthday! 🙂 I’m excited to see what happens with the Chrome extension, especially since Chrome is my primary development browser.</p>Accessibility-Ready Intergalactic and Bosco Hit WordPress.com2014-10-17T10:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/intergalactic-and-bosco/<p>The Theme Team has added two new accessibility-ready theme to the <a href="http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/features/accessibility-ready/">collection on WordPress.com</a>.</p> <p>The first is <a href="http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/intergalactic/">Intergalactic</a>, designed by Automattic’s <a href="http://choycedesign.com/">Mel Choyce</a> and the second is <a href="http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/bosco/">Bosco</a>, thanks to the work of <a href="http://fklein.info/">Fränk Klein</a>.</p>Reviewed Restricted Site Access for WordPress Plugin Review Day2014-10-18T11:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/restricted-site-access-plugin-review/<p>Yesterday was WordPress Plugin Review Day, so I got one review in before midnight – for <a href="https://wordpress.org/plugins/restricted-site-access/">Restricted Site Access</a>. 🙂</p> <p>It’s <a href="https://wordpress.org/support/topic/super-useful-super-simple-easy-to-configure">one of my favorite plugins</a> and one that I use on two sites currently and have used on a ton more sites over the years.</p>Why WordPress.com2014-10-19T23:05:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-wordpress-com/<p>Two weeks ago I <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/09/30/moved-to-wordpress-com/">moved this site to WordPress.com</a>. Sure, it means I might actually have a chance of blogging more because I don’t have to worry about any of the technical details of running my own WordPress install. But what else does it mean?</p> <p>In this post, I’ll dive into some of the other reasons I’m enjoying <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> in my first two weeks here. Full disclosure: I <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/09/02/joining-automattic/">work for Automattic</a>, the company behind <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>.</p> <h2>Simplified Content</h2> <p><a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> helped me simplify the overall structure of my site. Before I moved, I pared down my content in a big way. I consolidated two custom post types (projects and photo albums) and one other blog (a photo blog) into this site. Yes, I could have kept some of the custom post types, like <a href="http://en.support.wordpress.com/portfolios/">projects</a>, but I don’t need them for the amount of work I want to display.</p> <p>Many people who have to choose between <a href="http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/">WordPress.com and WordPress.org</a> think they need to be able to do anything and everything. But they don’t most of the time. That flexibility often comes with too much responsibility for them to handle or that they want to handle. Sometimes, this even includes web developers like me who just want to write a personal blog.</p> <h2>The Plugins I Need</h2> <p>When I self-hosted my site, it seemed I was always trying this new plugin or that popular plugin. At <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>, I have all I need and not much more. I don’t have to keep an eye out for what’s new and what the best plugin is that does “A” or “B” because someone else does that for me.</p> <h2>What Backups?</h2> <p>Similarly to plugins, I also don’t have to worry about backups. On my self-hosted site, I used VaultPress to back everything up. It was awesome, and thankfully, I never had to restore from a backup, but I still paid for it. <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> has me covered there.</p> <h2>Speed</h2> <p>I came from <a href="https://www.dreamhost.com/hosting/wordpress/">DreamPress</a>, another service I enjoyed immensely (I still have a hosting account with Dreamhost). However, when you use <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>, you know your site and the architecture behind it will be as fast as possible. A lot of people take this for granted when they sign up for a <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> account.</p> <h2>Easy Theme Switches</h2> <p>I build themes for <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> and that gets me excited each day so it makes sense I should try some out on my personal site. I plan to switch themes more often than I did when I self-hosted. That should be easier since I’m not building every single one and sometimes switching will be more about putting myself in our users’ shoes than anything else.</p> <h2>More Readers</h2> <p>When you write a blog, sometimes you feel like you’re on an island. I’ve only written mine since 2009, but the posts where you get comments or a stats spike are few and far between. Building an audience takes time, but with <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> I have a better shot at a bigger, more passionate audience. Things like <a href="http://en.support.wordpress.com/subscriptions-and-newsletters/">subscriptions</a>, <a href="http://en.support.wordpress.com/likes/">likes</a>, <a href="http://en.support.wordpress.com/sharing/">sharing</a> and more help with all that. We’ll see how it goes.</p> <h2>The Reader</h2> <p>I used <a href="https://feedbin.com/">Feedbin</a> for more than a year after Google Reader went away. I liked it a lot, but it wasn’t perfect. The <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> Reader isn’t either. I miss being able to group RSS subscriptions with tags, but I like its simplicity. It keeps me close to blogging and helps me discover great content – those are the important things. I’ve also been using it more on my iPhone 5s as a news source.</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>We’ll see how it goes once I get a few months behind me. Will I blog more? Will I have more visitors and comments? Will my topics be more varied?</p>SimCity Turns 252014-10-20T22:10:26-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/simcity-turns-25/<p>Last week, one of my favorite video games, SimCity, turned 25. In the interview, <a href="https://medium.com/re-form/simcity-that-i-used-to-know-d5d8c49e3e1d">SimCity That I Used to Know</a>, creator Will Wright shares insights about the game.</p>My Automattic Story: How I Got Here2014-10-22T10:30:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/my-automattic-story/<p>I <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/09/02/joining-automattic/">joined Automattic</a> recently as a Theminator. I made that job title up. It’s a perk. Like I’ve said, it’s a dream job and one that combines a lot of my professional and personal interests, but how did I get here?</p> <p>That, my friends, is a fun story. The particulars involve starting the trial, moving to a new city, having a baby and landing the job. All over the course of about five months. Of course, you know how it ended, but I’m hear to tell you that if you’re interested, it can end the same way for you. It takes nothing more than most worthy in life things in life do: a mixture of desire, hard work, planning, luck, faith, an awesome wife and sticktoitness (<a href="http://ma.tt/">Matt’s</a> word, not mine).</p> <h2>In the Beginning</h2> <p><a href="http://iandanielstewart.com/">Ian Stewart</a> emailed me on a Friday night. I remember because I was headed out the door to meet friends and see one off who was moving to New York. I shared the news that I would have a shot at my dream job with many of my friends that night. Oh, and Ian Stewart emailed me. Why is that significant? Because in late 2008, one of the first WordPress themes I opened to look at the CSS file was his <a href="http://thematictheme.com/">Thematic theme</a> (I don’t think he knows this; Hey Ian!). I started grad school at Elon University in late 2009 and cemented my interest in WordPress there, using it for projects, giving a workshop on it to classmates and developing two child themes for Thematic as my final project in the program.</p> <p>WordPress had me hooked. It made sense. I came into grad school as a copywriter and former journalist so I liked creating with words and telling stories. WordPress allowed me to do that, but<a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2012/03/05/writing-stories-and-code/"> with code</a>.</p> <p>I finished grad school, <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2010/09/24/sometimes-you-just-have-to-run-the-race/">joined The Arc</a> and began to dip into anything and everything web and accessibility-related. The more I worked on front end development and WordPress theming there, the more I liked it. Next, I joined <a href="http://rockcreeksm.com/">Rock Creek Strategic Marketing</a>, where I worked as a contractor for the <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a>. There, I did WordPress projects and dove even deeper into accessibility testing.</p> <h2>Hello Automattic</h2> <p>When I left The Arc, I confessed to my boss that working for the company behind <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> was something I wanted to do. I first learned about Automattic when <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2010/03/04/ian-stewart-joined-automattic/">Ian joined the company</a> while I was in grad school. Much of what I did to grow professionally, I did because I thought it would help me become an Automattician one day. I used WordPress as much as I could in my day job. I built and released my own <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">accessible-ready WordPress theme</a>, I started <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2013/11/29/issue-no-300/">contributing to Underscores</a>, I joined the WordPress Accessibility team and <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/04/16/logged-into-wordpress-saw-this/">began helping</a> where I could and <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/03/01/wordcamp-lancaster-2014-talk/">presented at my first WordCamp</a>. Don’t be afraid to find your path, but don’t be afraid to make it either.</p> <h2>I Finally Listened</h2> <p>A few months after I <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2013/10/03/accessible-zen-hits-1-0/">released Accessible Zen</a>, I decided to finally apply to Automattic. It took awhile. I had the thought of working for Automattic in the back of my mind since reading Ian’s post about joining the company, but <em>actually</em> applying took some gumption. Several people, including my wife, repeatedly encouraged me to take the leap. But doing so and possibly failing? That scared me.</p> <p>I visited the “<a href="http://automattic.com/work-with-us/theme-wrangler/">Theme Wrangler</a>” page so many times that I found an Easter egg. Visit enough times and a message appears telling you to “… apply already!” so I finally listened. You learn much more from risking failure than doing nothing at all. Sidenote: Guess who built that “apply already” feature? Ian did, as I learned a few days after being hired.</p> <h2>Don’t be Afraid of the Corners</h2> <p>I’m really glad I finally applied. About half way through my trial, after I had moved to a new city, finished my first trial project and watched my wife give birth to our daughter, I was exhausted, but energized. Brave, but scared. With those waring emotions whirling around, I knew I was doing the right thing. The experience of the trial would make me a better developer, no matter the outcome.</p> <p>When I first planned to go to grad school, I wanted to take a shot at writing fiction, and maybe a creative writing Master of Fine Arts program. After all, I was a practicing journalist – already a writer. I could hack it. I spent about three months working odd jobs and writing. Every word I wrote felt forced and nothing seemed right. But I didn’t know what was next or what the end goal would be if I wasn’t going to be a writer.</p> <p>A few weeks ago when my dad and step-mom visited to see my daughter, we chatted about my new job.</p> <p><strong>Step-mom</strong>: Do you miss writing?<br> <strong>Me</strong>: No.<br> <strong>Step-mom</strong>: Why?<br> <strong>Me</strong>: I create things every day, instead of using words, I use code.</p> <p>Life is full of corners. You can’t be afraid to go around a few and trust the process.</p> <h2>What About You?</h2> <p>We’re hiring. <a href="http://automattic.com/work-with-us/">Join the band</a>!</p> <p><em>Inspired by my <a href="https://wordpress.com/tag/a8cstory/">colleagues and their stories</a>.</em></p>An Open Letter to Apple Regarding Xcode's Accessibility2014-10-25T00:07:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/xcode-accessibility/<blockquote> <p>Allow blind programmers to make more apps to help blind Mac and iOS users. Let blind developers enjoy the app creation process just as much as sighted users do by making Xcode and Swift fun and easy tools for everyone, sighted or blind. Let VoiceOver users follow the same instructions as everyone else, instead of hunting through the internet for obscure lists of convoluted steps, or simply giving up in frustration.</p> </blockquote> <p>A developer who’s blind via <a href="http://www.applevis.com/comment/31596">An Open Letter to Apple Regarding Xcode’s Accessibility</a>.</p> <p>A great read from a pragmatic, passionate developer. His letter serves as a reminder that that people with disabilities just want to do the same things as everyone else, and accessibility can be tough, even for companies that are pretty good at it.</p>Good Coding Habits for Accessibility2014-10-26T23:16:20-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/good-coding-habits-for-accessibility/<p>WordPress Accessibility team member Joe Dolson wrote a post on <a href="https://www.joedolson.com/2014/10/good-coding-habits-accessibility/">Good Coding Habits for Accessibility</a>, based on a presentation he gave for WordCamp San Fransisco 2014.</p>Twenty Fifteening2014-10-28T22:00:36-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/twenty-fifteening/<p>I said when I moved my site over to <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>, I wanted to try more themes.</p> <p>Well, today I’m trying a new one: Twenty Fifteen. It’s not officially out yet, but it will be the new default theme for <a href="https://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a>. A few of my <a href="http://iandanielstewart.com/2014/10/17/using-the-twenty-fifteen-wordpress-theme-for-my-blog/">colleagues</a> and <a href="http://aaron.jorb.in/">friends</a> are trying it too. I’m really excited about it because it’s beautiful, <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/themes/handbook/guidelines/accessibility/">accessibility-ready</a> and the first default theme I’ve contributed to code-wise.</p>The New Rules for Blogging2014-10-29T13:00:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-rules-for-blogging/<p>Gina Trapani lays out the <a href="http://scribbling.net/2014/10/16/short-form-blogging/">new rules for blogging</a>. Hint: It’s easier than you think.</p>Blogging Every Day2014-10-30T11:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blogging-every-day/<p>I believe writers aren’t born, they’re made. Word by word.</p> <p>Lately, a few people I read/follow have <a href="http://om.co/2014/10/05/30-days-of-blogging/">taken 30-day blogging challenges</a>. It’s got me thinking: Could I blog for 30 days or more? I’m about to find out. During November, I’m going to try to blog every day.</p> <p>I think I can do it. I’ve blogged more recently, including 20 out of 30 days so far in October. I’m not going to do anything fancy: just use WordPress and Simplenote. Here are my rules:</p> <ol> <li>Posts must be to this blog.</li> <li>They can be scheduled ahead of time.</li> <li>They can take any format or length.</li> </ol> <p>We’ll see if I make myself a writer. 🙂</p>Testing for Web Accessibility in 60 Seconds2014-10-31T13:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/web-accessibility-in-60-seconds/<p>You want to make your website more accessible, but you don’t know where to start. If you have 60 seconds, I can help.</p> <p>Recently, I gave a presentation on <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/09/12/a-workflow-for-testing-web-accessibility-with-free-tools/">how to test for web accessibility with free tools</a>. That was the 30 minute version, but you can also get a broad overview of a site’s accessibility quickly. It won’t tell you everything you want to know, but it will give you a baseline. Use it as you develop your site or application.</p> <h2>Focus on the Basics</h2> <ol> <li>Install the <a href="http://wave.webaim.org/">Wave Toolbar or Chrome Extension</a>.</li> <li>Use Wave to check your page structure using its “Outline” feature. Do you have a <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/semanticstructure/">reasonable heading structure?</a></li> <li>Next, also using Wave, turn off CSS. Does your <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/screenreader/#linearization">linear source order</a> make sense?</li> <li>Again, with Wave, test for any errors. Your images should have <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/alttext/">alt attributes</a> (<a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/09/18/icon-font-text-alternatives/">icon fonts too</a>). Your clickable elements should be <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/keyboard/#problems">links or buttons</a> and your form elements <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/forms/#labels">should have labels</a>.</li> <li>Next, test for <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/keyboard/">keyboard accessibility</a> by tabbing through your page or application. Can you get to everything with just a keyboard. Visually, can you see where you are on the page?</li> </ol> <p>If you have any time left, start fixing bugs. 🙂 You’ll probably find some, and that’s okay. What you did doesn’t matter as much as what you do next.</p> <p><em>The information I shared here isn’t new. Terrill Thompson wrote about his own <a href="http://terrillthompson.com/blog/229/">10-second accessibility test</a>. Derek Featherstone penned a post about how to be a <a href="http://simplyaccessible.com/article/keyboard-superhero/">keyboard accessibility super hero</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/1778/">Pexels.com</a></em>.</p>HTML5 is Official2014-11-01T14:00:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/html5-is-official/<p>A few days ago, <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/28/w3c-declares-html5-standard-done/">HTML5 became official</a>, receiving Recommendation status from the World Wide Web Consortium, the organization’s terminology for a final, complete spec. It took 15 years between HTML 4.01 and HTML5.</p>Stop Breaking the Web2014-11-02T11:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/stop-breaking-the-web/<blockquote> <p>We are crushing the web. Dedicated client-side rendering sucks. Polyfills are used for all the wrong reasons. Those hideous-looking hash routers are bad and we should feel bad. We have been telling each other for years that progressive enhancement is great, and yet we’re doing very little about it!</p> </blockquote> <p>Via <a href="http://ponyfoo.com/articles/stop-breaking-the-web">Stop Breaking the Web</a>. Hat tip: <a href="https://twitter.com/adamdscott/status/528503595386548224">Adam Scott</a>.</p>Developer Fitness2014-11-03T11:00:53-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/developer-fitness/<p>When you take on a physical challenge, like a marathon, you have to train. You prepare your legs and mind to accomplish what you set out to do. You can’t just jump in cold and expect to do well.</p> <p>Yet, as web workers, we go to work each day and dive into many new challenges without much preparation. Yes, we’ve built this type of interface or hooked up to that kind of API, but on the web, while the principles stay the same the methods change. How do we keep up and make sure we’re ready to run the race?</p> <p>We have to keep our developer fitness level as high as we can. How? Well, I’ll list a handful of things that have worked for me and a few others I’d like to try soon.</p> <h2>Contribute to an Open Source Project</h2> <p>I help out the <a href="https://wordpress.org/themes/">WordPress</a> project in a few ways and love it. I’ve meet new friends and learned new things. Plus, I’ve had more practice in finding reasonable compromises to tough problems. Find a project that inspires you and get going.</p> <h2>Create Something Simple</h2> <p>I gave a talk about a workflow for testing for web accessibility with free tools at a conference recently. I wanted attendees to have access to the links and information I spoke about, so I created a <a href="http://a11y.me/">simple website</a> to house all the resources. It marked the first project I used Grunt, Sass and a few other newish front end development tools. The simplicity kept me focused on learning, not perfecting the project.</p> <h2>Build a Wall</h2> <p>When I landed a new job at <a href="http://automattic.com/">Automattic</a> recently, the company bought me a new work computer. I also needed a new personal machine since the one I had was more than six-years-old. So I bought a stock Apple 11-inch Macbook Air and refused to install any web development software on it. Except for <a href="https://imageoptim.com/">ImageOptim</a>, which I use to compress images before uploading them to my blog, you won’t find any dev tools. This has forced me to do more than just write code in my free time. I’m writing more here and reading more, things I wasn’t doing much of before the wall.</p> <h2>Branch Out</h2> <p>At a recent company meetup with Automattic, I watched many of my colleagues give flash talks. These four-minute presentations ranged from technical to silly to personal. Many of them gave me a glimpse of the hobbies my co-workers find interesting, many of which have nothing to do with technology. It made me realize that the main hobbies I have: open source projects and video games are a bit boring. So I want to try a new creative hobby to help stretch my developer fitness in new ways. Maybe the guitar – I once tried to learn to play.</p> <p>How do you keep your developer fitness up?</p> <p><em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/1219/">Pexels.com</a></em>.</p>Survive the Zombie Apocalypse with these Accessibility Resources2014-11-04T11:30:09-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/favorite-accessibility-resources/<p>So I gave this post an extreme title, but imagine this. Much of the Web goes down and for whatever reason, you can only access a handful of resources to help you create accessible websites. Which ones rise to the top?</p> <p>I created a <a href="http://a11y.me/">huge list of resources recently</a>, and Steve Faulkner at The Paciello Group <a href="http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2014/10/accessibility-testing-tools-updated/">posted his favorites</a>. But if I had to narrow down the list, here are the six resources I would use to “survive” and still create accessible sites.</p> <h2>My Favorite Accessibility Resources</h2> <ol> <li><strong><a href="http://webaim.org/">WebAIM.org</a></strong>: This site and the information there functions like an encyclopedia for important concepts in web accessibility. I use it every day and it’s often my first stop in a search.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://wave.webaim.org/">Wave</a></strong>: Created by the staff at WebAIM, Wave helps you evaluate the accessibility of web pages by showing you errors, color contrast details and additional accessibility information. The tool comes in a few different flavors, including a web version and browser plugins.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/">The Paciello Group Blog</a></strong>: Written by the staff at the Paciello Group, its blog contains some of the most thorough and current information on topics like HTML5, accessibility APIs and more.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://simplyaccessible.com/">The Simply Accessible Blog</a></strong>: Similar to The Paciello Group’s blog, Simply Accessible’s blog combines the latest information on topics along with demos and straight-forward opinions on tough-to-solve accessibility concerns.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrastanalyser/">The Color Contrast Analyzer</a></strong>: I use a few different color analysis tools, but if I had to pick one in the absence of the rest, this is it. Maintained by the staff at the Paciello Group, one of my favorite features allows you to test colors that have opacity.</li> <li><strong><a href="https://www.apple.com/accessibility/osx/voiceover/">Screen Reader</a></strong>: It doesn’t really matter which one, but I would want one. I would pick Voiceover, on a Mac, since it’s the one I’m most familiar with.</li> </ol> <p>Good luck avoiding those zombies and keeping the Web accessible!</p> <p><em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/1524/">Pexels.com</a></em>.</p>What’s Behind the Great Podcast Renaissance?2014-11-05T13:00:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/podcast-renaissance/<p>The <em>New York Magazine</em> has an interesting read on <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/10/whats-behind-the-great-podcast-renaissance.html">What’s Behind the Great Podcast Renaissance</a>?</p>Accessibility Tunnel Vision2014-11-06T13:00:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-tunnel-vision/<p>When I first jumped into web accessibility, I came away from problems or challenges frustrated. A lot. When I researched potential solutions, I often found more questions and opinions than answers. It happens frequently in the accessibility world. Why? I’ve heard <a href="http://accessiblejoe.com/">Joseph Karr O’Connor</a> joke about this. To paraphrase:</p> <blockquote> <p>If you get six accessibility experts in a room talking about a problem, you’ll have 14 different opinions on how to solve it.</p> </blockquote> <p>If you’re a web designer or developer trying to make the best decision for your users and project, I can see how that would be disappointing and confusing. If you’re trying to learn about accessibility so you can create with accessibility in mind, I understand why you might give up. Accessibility is hard, you’d think. Then you might move on and decide accessibility is beyond your reach.</p> <h2>How the Tunnel Vision Happens</h2> <p>We both need to face a reality. I say we because we because we both suffer from tunnel vision. In this scenario, I have the accessibility knowledge and you’re new to the arena and want to learn more. So how do we both get tunnel vision?</p> <p>I get so focused on helping you create the perfect, accessible solution that sometimes my recommendations carry a certain “do or die” tone. They may seem unreasonable when weighed against the best practices you use each day. Or worse, they may do more harm than good for the interface you’re creating. I just want you to embrace how empowering accessibility can be. Not just for you as a creator, but for <em>all</em> users of your project.</p> <p>You come into accessibility with an open mind. But deep down, you’re scared. You think accessibility will make your design ugly, blow your timeline and force you into skipping out on some cutting-edge features. You give it a try, and you fix one or two issues I find in my testing, but then you punt the rest until the next release. You’re just trying to build the best thing you can. You don’t want accessibility to get in the way of that.</p> <h2>See Accessibility for What It Is</h2> <p>Accessibility is a design constraint. Treat it like one. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but in the sense that a constraint forces us to push boundaries and think ahead. Approach accessibility like any other constraint in your process. For example: selecting colors that invoke a certain emotion for a brand or creating a layout that will prompt a specific action from users. These limitations represent problems you have to think about throughout your process to reach the best solution for your users. Accessibility is no different.</p> <p>I need to see accessibility for what it is too. That means, like everything else on the Web, I need to embrace its fluidity. It can’t be perfect, but it can improve incrementally with each release. Better than before is always better than perfect.</p> <p>Let’s get out of the tunnel together.</p> <p>_ Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/1036/">Pexels.com</a>_.</p>The Internet Arcade2014-11-07T13:00:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/internet-arcade/<p>You can now <a href="http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/4419">play classic and little-known arcade games in your browser</a> thanks to the <a href="http://jsmess.textfiles.com/">The JavaScript MESS project</a>. I’m looking forward to playing a few of these! 🙂</p>Inspiration Porn and the Objectification of Disability2014-11-08T15:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-objectification-of-disability/<p>Stella Young is a comedian, disability advocate and Editor of ABC’s Ramp Up website, the online space for news, discussion and opinion about disability in Australia. In this TEDx talk, she talks about <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxrS7-I_sMQ">how people with disabilities should be held to the same standard of achievement as everyone else</a>.</p> <p>Hat tip: <a href="https://twitter.com/jsutt">Jennifer Sutton</a>.</p>CSS is 202014-11-09T14:00:38-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/css-is-20/<p>I missed that CSS <a href="http://www.w3.org/People/howcome/p/cascade.html">turned 20</a> last month.</p> <p>It’s the thing that got me hooked on web development. Jeremy Keith has a nice post on it with additional links called <a href="https://adactio.com/journal/7653">Celebrating CSS</a>.</p>Screen Reader Tips for Web Designers and Developers2014-11-10T13:00:44-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/screen-reader-tips/<p>A few weeks ago, a talented designer/developer colleague of mine at Automattic asked me about starting to use a screen reader to test for accessibility. I cringed a little.</p> <p>Why? Because I remembered how daunting it was to learn how to use a screen reader. You turn it on, and you’re thrust into a new world. One that says things to you non-stop. 🙂 But in all seriousness, anyone can learn to use a screen reader for basic accessibility testing. You just need to recognize it has a learning curve, like anything else. Below, I share some tips I wish I knew when I started to integrate screen readers into my every day workflow.</p> <h2>Grab Your Flavor</h2> <p>WebAim has some fantastic information on screen readers and tutorials to help get you started.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://webaim.org/articles/jaws/">Using JAWS to Evaluate Web Accessibility</a></li> <li><a href="http://webaim.org/articles/nvda/">Using NVDA to Evaluate Web Accessibility</a></li> <li><a href="http://webaim.org/articles/voiceover/">Using VoiceOver to Evaluate Web Accessibility</a></li> <li><a href="http://webaim.org/articles/screenreader_testing/">Testing with Screen Readers: Questions and Answers</a></li> </ul> <p>This isn’t an exhaustive list if screen readers, just the ones WebAIM has tutorials on. I use VoiceOver because I do all my development on a Mac. But I occasionally hop over to a Widows machine with NVDA.</p> <h2>Have Patience</h2> <p>You won’t learn how to test effectively with a screen reader the first day. Or the first week. Or the first month. Be patient. Practice. I like to think of it like distance running – you have to build up your distance base first. Once you have the base you can start to go places, and faster.</p> <h2>Start Simple</h2> <p>One mistake I made in the beginning was jumping into complicated web pages. If you have sophisticated interactions happening on the page, it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening there and what’s happening in the screen reader. So start with a sample page you’ve created with basic HTML and various elements. Put the standbys in place like links, buttons, form fields and such. Now, you can get an idea of what a screen reader does with standard elements.</p> <p>You might be tempted to turn off your monitor, and you should do that at some point to try it. However, wait for awhile until you can handle the keyboard commands first. Then give it a shot.</p> <h2>Pick a Team</h2> <p>Like I mentioned, I use VoiceOver as my primary screen reader. You can use more than one, but if you’re new to screen readers, try to stick with one for awhile until you get comfortable. Screen readers are like programming languages: once you learn one, the rest come easier because the principles are the same.</p> <p>Even though you might become proficient in screen reader use, it’s not the same as using one every day. I’m no expert, just someone who knows how to use one to evaluate a web page from a technical perspective. When I work with more seasoned screen reader users, like on the WordPress Accessibility Team, I give actual users’ opinions more weight than mine. 🙂</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>If you have a half hour and want to watch a good demo, check out Victor Tsaran’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izrC4R7SsH4">An Introduction to Screen Readers</a>. It’s kind of like the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mother_of_All_Demos">Mother of All Demos</a> for screen readers.</p> <p>Good luck in your screen reading adventures!</p>TEDx Videos and Captions Make Life Delicious2014-11-11T11:30:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/tedx-videos-and-captions/<p>Haben Girma, a lawyer and disability rights advocate, gave a great talk at TEDx Baltimore about <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvoj-ku8zk0">disabilities and the power of access</a>. In it, she told the story of her college days and eating at the cafeteria. As a deaf-blind student, she had to push for the staff to send her the menus ahead of time so she could know what to eat. Her quote sums up how transforming access can be:</p> <blockquote> <p>When they remembered to send the menus, life was delicious.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Daily Beast has a <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/05/tedx-talks-have-a-disability-problem-but-this-incredible-young-woman-is-working-to-change-that.html">piece about her work</a>, including the drive to get TED and TEDx to caption more its videos.</p>Fatherhood, Family and Work2014-11-12T11:00:47-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/fatherhood-family-and-work/<p>I identify with a lot of the issues brought to light via the column <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/09/upshot/paternity-leave-the-rewards-and-the-remaining-stigma.html">Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma</a> in the New York Times blog The Upshot. Especially this thought from one of the dads in the piece:</p> <blockquote> <p>“I would say she does a ton more than me, just with breast-feeding alone,” Mr. Bedrick said of his wife.</p> </blockquote> <p>America’s culture surrounding parenting, family and work doesn’t seem to be involving fast enough to meet the needs of families.</p>Hobbies and Screens2014-11-13T09:35:11-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hobbies-and-screens/<p>I have published a blog post each day for the last two weeks. That combined with reading a post by a colleague about the <a href="http://annezazu.com/2014/11/06/presentism/">time we spend with technology</a>, made me realize my life has slid into imbalance.</p> <p>It’s controlled by screens and consumption.</p> <p>Publishing words each day has reaffirmed my love for creating. Building. Making. It doesn’t matter what you call it, I like it. Writing consistently, even when I think I may not have anything to say, has forced me to find my thinking on subjects. I plan to keep at it.</p> <p>However, it’s also made me notice that most of my creations happen in front of a computer screen, and as a result, I spend a lot of time in media consumption mode as well. I’m talking about things like scanning my feed reader, checking Twitter or browsing websites. It serves as fuel for what I create – things like WordPress themes, blog posts and open source contributions. However, I can’t help but think I can find a better balance between the digital world and the physical one.</p> <p>I need a new hobby.</p> <p>Outside of work, I play video games, write code for open source projects and pen blog posts. All those involve a screen. I use to do CrossFit regularly, but having a new, baby slowed that down. I’d love to find something that kept my creativity going, but lacks a screen.</p> <p>I’m thinking of getting back into running or trying to learn guitar, two hobbies I’ve experimented with in the past, My colleagues have helped inspire this as well. During <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/09/24/first-grand-meetup/">Automattic’s Grand Meetup</a>, I watched dozens of them deliver flash talks on all kinds of subjects that they find interesting. These ranged from yo-yos to spy plane history and so much more. My wife knits and I adore all the &amp;“real” creations she makes.</p> <p>Hopefully, I’ll find something that sticks soon.</p>Not Accessible2014-11-14T11:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/not-accessible/<p>We do this thing in the accessibility world where we call out a website, web application or whatever else as not accessible – and we do it uninvited. I’ve done it myself.</p> <p>We write a tweet, email, blog post or presentation about it, outlining the various issues and call attention to it. We mean well when we do this, thinking it will help the offending web team and organization, but it doesn’t. Instead, we make them a target and make them feel like they don’t know how to do their jobs. Worse, if they had any interest in accessibility or if they tried to implement their work in an accessible way, we risk losing them. No one wants to be your friend or play on your team if you’re mean to them.</p> <h2>See the Patterns; Be Positive</h2> <p>I don’t know about you, but I want more new friends and teammates in the accessibility world. I want more web designers and developers to be as excited about accessibility as I am. To do that we have to start the conversation a different way. It’s less about what isn’t accessible on each site and more about what patterns need improvement within the web community.</p> <p>If you see something that isn’t accessible, ask youself these questions:</p> <ul> <li>Have I seen this before on the web?</li> <li>What’s the context of this issue? Is the rest of the site or application just as bad? Is it better?</li> <li>If I had to talk to the person responsible for creating this issue in real life, what would I say to inspire improvement and continued conversation? In other words, a relationship.</li> </ul> <h2>Take Action that Benefits Everyone</h2> <p>After asking those questions, you could take these actions to help everyone, instead of calling attention to one person’s or team’s mistakes:</p> <ul> <li>Write a blog post about the pattern you’ve found, outlining the context of the issue, why it causes a problem and how to fix it in a pragmatic way.</li> <li>Contribute to an open source project, helping bolster its accessibility. Maybe you contribute code, file an issue or write accessibility documentation.</li> <li>Create a talk on the topic and present it to a local meetup group.</li> </ul> <p>We need to promote best practices and create accessible patterns for our web designer and developer teammates, not fix every mistake they make. Remember, we’re on the same team. We’re friends!</p> <p>When I first started learning web accessibility, and came across situations where an accessibility advocate called others out for being “not accessible,” it never helped me learn why something wasn’t accessible. Instead, it made me hope I never ended up in that situation. It motivated me, but from a position of doubt and fear. As someone new to the field, I thought about accessibility critically and had many questions. But I was too afraid to talk about that anywhere.</p> <p>Think about all those missed conversations I could have had with mentors, colleagues and other newcomers, all because I was afraid of getting it wrong. We have to do better. The current approach is not accessible.</p> <h3>Further Reading</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://christianheilmann.com/2013/01/27/drive-by-criticism-must-die/">Drive-by Criticism Must Die</a></li> </ul> <p>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/343/">Pexels.com</a>.</p>Chasing Relevancy at Any Cost2014-11-15T14:00:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/chasing-relevancy-at-any-cost/<p>David Carr has an excellent column on U2’s free iTunes album experiment called <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/business/media/for-bono-and-u2-apple-itunes-partnership-finally-hits-a-wrong-note.html">Chasing Relevancy at Any Cost, Even Free</a>.</p>All Technology is Assistive2014-11-16T12:30:54-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/all-technology-is-assistive/<p>Big Think has an interesting post on the topic of product design called, <a href="http://bigthink.com/disruptive-demographics/50-shades-of-beige-can-we-build-accessible-products-places-that-are-exciting-too-2">All Technology is Assistive: Why Product Designers Need to Embrace Accessibility</a>. It ask the question why assistive technology has to be in a separate category.</p> <p>Hat tip: <a href="http://www.lireo.com/">Deborah Edwards-Onoro</a>.</p>Accessibility in Your MVP2014-11-17T11:15:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-in-your-mvp/<p>As <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Bird">Larry Bird</a> honed his basketball skills as a young kid in rural Indiana, he practiced the simplest shot the most. He shot more than 100 free throws a day and now holds the ninth best free throw percentage in NBA history.</p> <p>He became a great (free throw) shooter because of rhythm, repetition and hard work. So what does this have to do with accessibility? The MVP I’m talking about here doesn’t stand for most valuable player, but minimum viable product. We do most things well because of the habits we form. Like Larry, we can form good accessibility habits during our design and development processes, no matter if we’re experimenting, prototyping or shipping to production.</p> <p>Joe Dolson of the WordPress Accessibility team has written a post on this called <a href="https://www.joedolson.com/2014/10/good-coding-habits-accessibility/">Good Coding Habits for Accessibility</a>. In his post Joe outlines a few basic things you can do to make accessibility easier which I’ll summarize:</p> <h2>Your Free Throws</h2> <ol> <li>Labels on all form fields.</li> <li>Alt attributes on images and text alternatives on icon fonts that are just icons.</li> <li>Keyboard accessibility: Make sure users can access all your controls. Links are links (they go to a resource) and buttons are buttons (they do a thing)</li> <li>Visible focus styles: If you use the tab key on your keyboard to navigate, can you see where you are on the page?</li> </ol> <p>When you’re building prototypes or early version of your product, these are your free throws. They look simple, but you still need to practice them. If the game is on the line, they could win it for you.</p> <p>Okay, sports analogies over. These steps fit accessibility into your minimum viable product because they require little effort and make your code quality better. Plus, if you pay attention to them now, you won’t have to worry about silly mistakes slipping into your production code. With enough rhythm, repetition and hard work, you’ll just do them automatically, and accessibility will become much easier.</p>Happy Birthday Skye2014-11-18T10:30:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/happy-birthday-skye/<p>My daughter, Skye, turned six-months-old yesterday! It feels like I held her for the first time in the hospital just yesterday.</p> <p>I love watching her grow in all the millions of ways she does each day. Notable recent milestones include having her first two teeth come in, discovering her toes and trying to stand even though she doesn’t have sitting or crawling down yet. 😀</p> <p>The best part of being a dad so far? Discovering she has shaped me way more than I have her at this point. I think I expected that but not to this degree.</p> <p>I can’t wait to see what she does next!</p>Just Renting2014-11-19T11:15:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/just-renting/<p>Aaron Gustafson on the IndieWeb and hosting in <a href="http://aaron-gustafson.com/notebook/2014/what-do-we-own/">What Do We Own?</a> with additional <a href="https://adactio.com/links/7854">thoughts by Jeremy Keith</a>.</p>Keep It Accessible and Responsive2014-11-20T13:30:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/keep-it-accessible-responsive/<p>Thanks to a few <a href="https://twitter.com/kingkool68/status/534386847888474113">tweets from Russell Heimlich</a>, I ran across Luke Wroblewski’s <a href="http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1616">notes on Jeremy Keith’s An Event Apart Chicago 2012 talk</a>. These lines have stayed with me:</p> <blockquote> <p>Responsive design isn’t about mobile or desktop design. It’s about the Web. The first Web pages ever were responsive from the start: they adapted to various screen sizes. They are also accessible by default. We do things to semantic Web pages to make them un-responsive and un-accessible. Instead of talking about making Web pages accessible and responsive. We need to talk about keeping Web pages accessible and responsive.</p> </blockquote>The Group That Rules the Web2014-11-21T14:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/rules-the-web/<p>Paul Ford describes the Web this way in <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/group-rules-web">The Group That Rules the Web</a>: “The Web, which used to be a place you went to get things, is now also a place to do things.”</p>Blogging Dreams2014-11-22T22:54:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blogging-dreams/<p>I’ve blogged for 26 straight days. It has reaffirmed my love for writing, and I’ve had fun watching what has happened as a result. I’m going to write more about this later, but one thing I realized a few days ago centers on impact.</p> <p>As a writer, you always want to make a difference with your words – be helpful. In the last month or so I’ve had a handful of people I really respect link to my posts or call attention to them on Twitter. One teacher even used one post in a college class.</p> <p>I’m writing every day and making an impact. Call me a writer. 🙂</p>Burnout in Free Software Communities2014-11-23T23:49:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/burnout-in-free-software-communities/<p>Siobhan McKeown has an excellent post on <a href="http://siobhanmckeown.com/burnout-in-free-software-communities/">Burnout in Free Software Communities</a>, with tips for how to avoid it. This tip is one that I’m trying to get better at myself:</p> <blockquote> <p>Think about the area in which you can have the most impact and focus on that doggedly. Tackling one problem will have greater impact on the project than trying to do a million things at once.</p> </blockquote> <p>Hat tip: <a href="https://www.joedolson.com/">Joe Dolson</a>.</p>Google's ReCaptcha2014-11-24T23:47:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/googles-recaptcha/<p>Google’s <a href="https://www.google.com/recaptcha/intro/index.html">ReCaptcha</a> looks promising. From the site:</p> <blockquote> <p>Every time our CAPTCHAs are solved, that human effort helps digitize text, annotate images, and build machine learning datasets. This in turn helps preserve books, improve maps, and solve hard AI problems.</p> </blockquote> <p>Often, solving the accessibility problem leads to innovation.</p>Welcome to A11y2014-11-25T23:56:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/welcome-to-a11y/<p>Dear Accessibility Newcomer,</p> <p>So you’ve gotten yourself into a project that requires accessibility. That big scary word comes along with the acronyms Section 508 or WCAG. You drop a few search terms into your favorite search engine thinking you can figure out this accessibility thing in an afternoon and have an answer before tomorrow morning. But in a world where we want clear guidance and battle-hardened code snippets at the end of a few keystrokes, you find nothing but conflicting opintions and technical specifications.</p> <p>You feel deterred. Maybe you’ll leave accessibility to the specialists. After all, users with disabilities and special needs seem like just a mystery. But we need you. If you want to design solutions and craft code that does not exist, we have challenges ready for you. And guess what? You can use JavaScript! If you want to make the web better for everyone, we have a place for you. Welcome to A11y.</p> <p>Oh, you may not know what a11y means. That stands for accessibility – 11 letters between the “a” and “y”. Get it? So why do we need you?</p> <h2>Expanding the Body of Knowledge</h2> <p>The accessibility community needs a body of knowledge that the Web community can rely on for correct information plus design and code samples that evolve along with the Web. <strong>We need your help knowing what makes sense, what questions you have and what solutions work best for the busy web worker</strong>.</p> <h2>Conflicting Opinions</h2> <p>In the accessibility world, we’re great at handing out different opinions on how to solve problems. We just want to help you see how empowering accessibility can become for not just you, but all the users of your site. <strong>You can help us stay pragmatic, test our assumptions and create better solutions to accessibility challenges</strong>.</p> <h2>A11y is Everywhere</h2> <p>Most of the time, web designers and developers try to corral web accessibility into one phase of a project. But that doesn’t work because accessibility effects everything. It can’t fit it into a simple list because it’s just as much part of the research process as it is design code and testing. <strong>You can help because we need people with skills and passions in all those areas so we make accessibility happen seamlessly</strong>.</p> <h2>Your Voice Matters</h2> <p>Read some of the popular accessibility email lists, blogs or Twitter, and you’ll see many of the same names. Many web workers involved in the accessibility community have been here for awhile. In addition to that veteran talent, we need to find and cultivate new voices. That’s you! Speak up and ask questions – we want to hear from you!</p> <h2>Going Faster into the Unknown</h2> <p>Much of the Web fails when it comes to accessibility. I’m not talking about advanced techniques, but basic foundations like keyboard accessibility. Trying to find cutting-edge examples of methods like using ARIA <em>well</em> to power a JavaScrript-based web application is even harder. We should not see this as a frustration, but opportunity. <strong>We need you to help us lay the groundwork for a more accessible Web</strong>. If you want to design what’s never been designed and write code that’s never been written, you’ve found the right niche.</p> <p>You’ve found a place where what you do can make the Web work everywhere for everyone. We look forward to getting to know you. Welcome to A11y.</p> <p>Yours in accessibility,<br> Dave</p>Featured in WebAIM November 2014 Newsletter2014-11-26T23:25:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/featured-in-webaim-newsletter-again/<p>WebAIM featured one of my latest posts in its <a href="http://webaim.org/newsletter/2014/november">November 2014 Newsletter</a>. Check it out or read the post, <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/11/06/accessibility-tunnel-vision/">Accessibility Tunnel Vision</a>.</p>Don't Console Me2014-11-27T19:02:11-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dont-console-me/<p>Steam’s big holiday sale <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2014/11/26/7295229/steam-black-friday-holiday-sale-valve-pc-deals">started yesterday</a>. Like most Steam sales, I still have games I bought from the last sale I haven’t played yet. 🙂 But that’s okay. I also have an XBox 360 I haven’t touched in awhile. That’s better than okay.</p> <p>I grew up as a hardcore console gamer, owning and/or playing almost every system since the Commodore 64. The Xbox 360 may be my last. Well, except for maybe a <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/6/3958162/valve-steam-box-cake">Steam Box</a>. No games on the consoles excite me. Nothing exist there that I can’t find on my gaming PC. I bought an Xbox 360 because of Gears of War. I don’t see that type of lure now.</p> <p>I purchased my gaming PC about 18 months ago and love it. Games are cheaper, more plentiful, and the platform comes with more flexibility. Now I just need a bigger hard drive or more hard drives to store more games. Part of me misses the types of memories I formed around consoles when I was a kid, but I think I’m just fine without them. Don’t console me.</p>Wake Up Excited2014-11-28T14:00:23-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wake-up-excited/<p>I really like this post by Brad Frost on the Pastry Box called <a href="https://the-pastry-box-project.net/brad-frost/2014-november-28">Wake Up Excited</a>. To me, it says everything is a process. Embrace that.</p>Batman: The Making of a Hero2014-11-29T19:36:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/batman-the-making-of-a-hero/<p>Geek Tyrant posted about a rare find on YoutTube, a behind the scenes <a href="http://geektyrant.com/news/batman-the-making-of-a-hero-tim-burton-batman-documentary">making-of documentary of the 1989 Batman movie</a>. It’s called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASQbMs5xtCQ">Batman: The Making of a Hero</a>.</p> <p>I was 10-years-old when I watched this movie in the theater with my dad. To this day, it still stands as one of the most enduring memories of my childhood and the first piece of media that really made me go, “Wow!” Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be Batman, anger issues and all. 🙂 I loved getting a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes material of the movie.</p>On the Accessibility of Web Components – Again2014-12-03T11:30:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/on-the-accessibility-of-web-components-again/<p>Bruce Lawson writes a post <a href="http://www.brucelawson.co.uk/2014/on-the-accessibility-of-web-components-again/">on the accessibility of web components, again</a>, going into the accessibility advantage and the messaging around the new technology.</p>Testing Google's ReCaptcha2014-12-05T11:30:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/testing-googles-recaptcha/<p>A few days, I linked to a new technology by <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/googles-recaptcha/">Google called ReCaptcha</a>. It shows a lot of promise, and the crew at Simply Accessible has <a href="http://simplyaccessible.com/article/googles-no-captcha/">confirmed a lot of that with a bit of testing</a>.</p>Founders at Work: Steve Wozniak2014-12-10T23:00:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/founders-at-work-steve-wozniak/<p>Give this <a href="http://www.foundersatwork.com/steve-wozniak.html">Founders at Work piece about Steve Wozniak</a> a read. It dives into some detail about the early days at Apple and more.</p>New Theme: Twenty Fifteen2014-12-11T22:18:26-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-theme-twenty-fifteen/<p>I helped a bit with Twenty Fifteen, my first code contributions to a default WordPress theme. I’m <a href="http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/twenty-fifteen">thrilled to see it launch</a>.</p>What I Learned Blogging 34 Straight Days2014-12-16T23:23:10-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blogging-34-straight-days/<p>I wrote a blog post every day during the month of November. Combine that with a handful of posts I wrote consecutively in October and I amassed a 34-day streak.</p> <p>Not bad! I’ve never blogged that much before in the history of this site. Here’s what I learned from doing it.</p> <h2>The Process</h2> <p>Most of my longer drafts started in Simplenote. When I fleshed them out, I moved them into WordPress and polished from there. I had one list going, full of ideas and worked off that. At one point, I was seven days ahead. I published a few posts at 11:56 p.m. It didn’t matter so much about the how or when, but the <em>it</em>.</p> <h2>Good for Processing</h2> <p>Writing every day forces you to think, process and find an end to things. It turns out I had several posts floating around in my head and writing during November helped me get them out. Without putting the words down, I’m not sure some of those posts would have been written.</p> <h2>Easier Than You Think But Still Hard</h2> <p>Once I found a rhythm, generating post ideas and writing them, whether short, long, detailed or simple became easier. Finding that rhythm meant being more free with my ideas and my notion of perfection. Sometimes publishing meant I may have not liked every last word. That also meant I hit my points of burnout. Some nights, I wished I didn’t have to write, especially if I had no idea what to write about. Other nights, I wondered if what I wrote would add value to someone’s day. But I wrote.</p> <h2>I Missed Writing</h2> <p>I wrote for a living once, and blogging for 30 days straight made me remember that and miss it. What I love most about writing is the process of it. Putting the words down, moving them, deleting them, replacing them. Shaping them. I enjoyed having a chance to do that again, and even have ideas for a few writing projects I’d like to work on in the future. I feel like I found my voice again.</p> <h2>The End, No</h2> <p>In the end, I wrote a lot about accessibility, one of my passions. I also mixed in many links about the open web, plus a few personal posts and some photos. I had a blast throughout the month. Because of the experience, I know I have more writing to do. 🙂</p>WordPress 4.1 “Dinah”2014-12-18T22:30:27-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-dinah/<p><a href="https://wordpress.org/news/2014/12/dinah/">WordPress 4.1</a>, dubbed “Dinah,” came out today. It features a new default theme, Twenty Fifteen, and many other cool features and improvements.</p> <p>I contributed a handful of patches to help with Twenty Fifteen’s accessibility, and its accessibility-ready tag. I’m excited to start seeing it on sites around the Web.</p>New Holiday Traditions2014-12-25T23:06:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-holiday-traditions/<p>Today, we started a few new traditions for the holidays as a family.</p> <ol> <li>We baked cookies as a new thing to do on Christmas day. We now have a batch of peanut butter and a batch of chocolate chocolate chip with a batch of sugar coming up in the next day or so. We also made homemade pumpkin pie as a bonus.</li> <li>We watched a <del>trilogy</del>. Okay, not really. We only made it through the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings:_The_Fellowship_of_the_Ring">first Lord of the Rings movie</a>. It turns out it’s hard to make it through a trilogy when you get up late, have to change diapers and chat with relatives most of the day. 🙂</li> </ol> <p>Hopefully, we can keep these traditions going no matter where we are on Christmas day. We may have to start the cookie baking earlier for future visits from Santa for the kiddo.</p> <div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Peanut butter cookies.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Chocolate chocolate chip cookies.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/holidays2014-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Pumpkin pie.</figcaption></figure> </div>My Habits for 20152015-01-03T20:57:55-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2015/<p>I confess, I’m not good at keeping resolutions. I’m good at making them though as I did in <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-year-new-goals-2011/">2011</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/next-year-more-goals/">2012</a> and <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hello-2014/">2014</a>.</p> <p>This year, I’m going to follow Leo Babauta’s advice and work on <a href="http://zenhabits.net/amazing-2015/">forming habits</a> instead of creating goals. I want to keep it simple – only two new habit-forming actions this year. One will be professional and one will be personal. First, let me talk a bit about how 2014 went.</p> <h2>Last Year</h2> <p>I wanted to:</p> <blockquote> <p>Keep contributing to the WordPress Accessibility team. I’m excited about all the progress we’re making.</p> </blockquote> <p>I did this, contributing my first <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/first-multi-file-wordpress-core-patch/">real patch toward the WordPress project</a>, plus a handful more. I also tested the Admin area for accessibility and started reviewing themes that have the accessibility-ready tag.</p> <blockquote> <p>Release Accessible Alexandria and Accessible D.C. The world needs more accessible websites.</p> </blockquote> <p>I failed here, but I ended up releasing two minor updates for Accessible Zen and contributing to <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-dinah/">Twenty Fifteen</a>, the new default theme for WordPress.</p> <blockquote> <p>Start writing a book on accessibility. I’ve always wanted to write a book.</p> </blockquote> <p>I failed here too, but I did start writing an outline. Also, I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blogging-34-straight-days/">blogged for 34 straight days</a> in November, and I believe I have some seeds for a book to grow from.</p> <p>In other news, I had a year I won’t soon forget. My wife and I had our first child – a daughter named Skye. I also <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/joining-automattic/">landed a dream job</a> at <a href="http://automattic.com/">Automattic</a>, working on WordPress themes for <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>.</p> <h2>This Year</h2> <p>I have two goals that I want to form habits around. First, I want to make more progress on that book about accessibility. To do that, I have to keep writing. <strong>So I want to average at least eight posts a month on my blog, with two of them being centered on accessibility in some way.</strong> I believe I’ll create some positive side effects with this too. So much of the Web and the conversation in accessibility centers on JavaScript, so I bet I can up my skills there.</p> <p>Second, I want to lay the foundation for a new hobby. One that doesn’t involve a computer screen. Thanks to a comment from a friend, I’m going to try cooking. Over the past six months, I’ve started making breakfast more for my family on weekends. I’ve made omelets mostly, so I want to try new recipes. <strong>I’ll aim to try one new recipe a month</strong>. It can be any meal, but it will probably be breakfast, since that’s my favorite meal of the day. 🙂</p> <p>Other habits I’d like to keep going:</p> <ul> <li>Keep contributing to my two favorite open source projects: <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a> and <a href="http://underscores.me/">Underscores</a>.</li> <li>Pick back up regular exercise since faltering some after Skye was born.</li> </ul> <p>Happy New Year and happy habit-making to you!</p> <p><em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/3867/">Pexels.com</a></em>.</p>Accessibility Problems are Quality Problems2015-01-04T15:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/you-dont-have-accessibility-problems-you-have-quality-problems/<p>Karl Groves on how <a href="http://www.karlgroves.com/2015/01/01/you-dont-have-accessibility-problems-you-have-quality-problems/">you don’t have accessibility problems, you have quality problems</a>.</p>Work and Following Your Passion2015-01-10T16:04:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/work-and-passion/<p>Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/photos/a.151342491542569.29994.116999698310182/865520353458109/">answers a fan question about whether following your passion is the right thing to do</a>.</p> <p>The question came out of this Ted Talk by Rowe called <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/mike_rowe_celebrates_dirty_jobs">Learning from Dirty Jobs</a>.</p> <p>Here’s the meat of his response to the fan:</p> <blockquote> <p>When I was 16, I wanted to follow in my grandfathers footsteps. I wanted to be a tradesman. I wanted to build things, and fix things, and make things with my own two hands. This was my passion, and I followed it for years. I took all the shop classes at school, and did all I could to absorb the knowledge and skill that came so easily to my granddad. Unfortunately, the handy gene skipped over me, and I became frustrated. But I remained determined to do whatever it took to become a tradesman.</p> <p>One day, I brought home a sconce from woodshop that looked like a paramecium, and after a heavy sigh, my grandfather told me the truth. He explained that my life would be a lot more satisfying and productive if I got myself a different kind of toolbox. This was almost certainly the best advice I’ve ever received, but at the time, it was crushing. It felt contradictory to everything I knew about persistence, and the importance of “staying the course.” It felt like quitting. But here’s the “dirty truth,” Stephen. “Staying the course” only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction. Because passion and persistence— while most often associated with success— are also essential ingredients of futility.</p> <p>That’s why I would never advise anyone to “follow their passion” until I understand who they are, what they want, and why they want it. Even then, I’d be cautious. Passion is too important to be without, but too fickle to be guided by. Which is why I’m more inclined to say, “Don’t Follow Your Passion, But Always Bring it With You.”</p> </blockquote> <p>I identify with this because when I left journalism, I wanted to write novels and briefly tried. After a few months, it just didn’t feel right. Eventually, I found a field that let me still create and tell stories, but with code instead of words. I brought my passion with me.</p>We Suck at HTTP2015-01-12T13:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/we-suck-at-http/<p>I enjoyed this post about how <a href="http://gadgetopia.com/post/9236?retitle">we suck at HTTP</a>. Ever since I started reading and learning more about the <a href="https://indiewebcamp.com/">IndieWeb</a> movement, the inner workings of the Web are really interesting.</p>WordPress Theme Pattern Library for Accessibility in Development2015-01-15T11:55:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-theme-pattern-library-for-accessibility-in-development/<p>If you’re a theme author, check out a new project started by the WordPress Accessibility team. It’s a <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/2015/01/15/wordpress-theme-pattern-library-for-accessibility/">theme pattern library for accessibility</a>. It aims to make accessibility easier to implement in themes. Check it out and comment on the post if you want to get involved.</p>Interactive WCAG 2.02015-01-17T01:30:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/interactive-wcag/<p>Created by Viget, <a href="http://vigetlabs.github.io/interactive-wcag/#responsibility=&amp;level=aa">Interactive WCAG 2.0</a> mashes up accessibility recommendations from the W3C and WebAIM.</p>The Meaning of Life2015-01-18T22:17:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/meaning-of-life/<p>Neil deGrasse Tyson answers the question, “<a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/01/watch-neil-degrasse-tyson-explain-the-meaning-of-life-to-a-curious-6-year-old/">What’s the meaning of life</a>?” Asked by a six-year-old boy, here’s the heart of his response:</p> <blockquote> <p>“You manufacture it for yourself and for others. So when I think of ‘meaning’ in life, I ask, ‘Did I learn something today that I didn’t know yesterday, bringing me a little closer to knowing all that can be known in the universe?’”</p> </blockquote>Saying Goodbye2015-01-23T20:51:11-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/saying-goodbye/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/nemo1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=338" alt="" width="600" height="338"><figcaption>Hi, I'm Nemo.</figcaption></figure> <p>Today, I had to say goodbye to my buddy, Nemo. I’ll miss his happy screeches and nose nuzzles. Thanks for being an awesome dog, buddy!</p>Up Your Theming Game by Reviewing Themes2015-01-29T14:08:38-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/up-your-theming-game-by-reviewing-themes/<p>Today, I published my first post on ThemeShaper about the benefits of reviewing WordPress themes. It’s called, <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2015/01/29/up-your-theming-game-by-reviewing-themes/">Up Your Theming Game by Reviewing Themes</a>.</p>TDiv in Hawaii 20152015-02-10T18:00:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/tdiv-in-hawaii-2015/<p>The Theme Division at Automattic met in Lihue, Hawaii last week for a meetup. I had a blast meeting and working with everyone in person. Here are a few shots I took while out and about.</p> <div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Hawaiian shoreline near Lihue in the afternoon.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Hawaiian shoreline at sunrise near Lihue.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Hawaiian shoreline near Lihue with the sun peeking through.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Hawaiian shoreline near Lihue with the sun shining during sunrise.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Hawaiian shoreline near Lihue with the sun shining during sunrise.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Hawaiian shoreline near Lihue with the sun shining during sunrise.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Hawaiian shoreline near Lihue at sunset.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Hawaiian shoreline near Lihue at sunset.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/tdiv-hawaii2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A random overlook with a canyon view near Lihue.</figcaption></figure> </div>Flipboard, React Canvas and Accessibility2015-02-12T22:39:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/flipboard-react-canvas-and-accessibility/<p>Two interesting reads: Faruk Ateş on <a href="http://farukat.es/journal/2015/02/708-how-flipboard-chose-form-over-function-their-web-version">how Flipboard chose form Over function for their web version</a>. Plus, Steve Faulkner weighs in with <a href="http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2015/02/flipboard-react-canvas-accessibility/">one approach that could make the content in the canvas available to all users</a>.</p>The 5:01 Mile2015-02-14T23:16:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/501-mile/<p>I never ran the fastest, but I had one goal: break five minutes in the mile. I failed. By two seconds.</p> <p>At the end of my freshman year, I ran a 5:29 mile, and cut that down to a personal-best 5:03 midway through my senior track campaign. Many family and friends came to my last race to cheer me on. They wanted to see me break the five-minute mark. As I passed my coach on the third lap, I could hear him yell, “DK, you have to do this, or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.” I started pushing hard, as I always did leading into the last lap.</p> <p>But I failed. I trained every day. Worked hard. Listened to my coach. And still failed. As I crossed the finish line and heard the time, it amost echoed in my ears, “5:01-1-1-1-1.” I peeled off the track, opened a chain-link fence gate to cross over into the spectator area and walked under the bleachers. Then I sobbed.</p> <p>This failure has stuck with me for 16-plus years. I can’t get another chance to remedy it. It taught me that failure is the best teacher. That each challenge represents a process. You attack that challenge, but you also have to trust it. Trust that you can pull what you need from it, no matter the outcome. “Trust the process.”</p> <p>That’s a tattoo I’ve had around my left ankle since 2010, something I carry with me each day.</p> <p><em>I wrote this because a lot of people ask me what my tattoo says and what it means. I thought it would make a good blog post</em>.</p>Surviving Progress2015-02-15T22:59:10-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/surviving-progress-documentary/<p>I’ve binge-watched a lot of documentaries lately. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surviving_Progress">Surviving Progress</a>, a film that explores the present-day impact of civilization on the world at large, turns out to be <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IAs3tMZneM">one of my favorites</a>. It’s available on Netflix and most online video services. Not to spoil it, but we need to be more ethical and consume less if we want to survive and thrive.</p>Google and Blogs: Uh Oh2015-02-16T20:32:09-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/google-and-blogs-uh-oh/<blockquote> <p>Everyone’s spending increasingly more consumption time dicking around in apps and snacking on bite-sized social content <em>instead of</em> browsing websites and searching Google.</p> <p>Publishers are relying more on social traffic not because Google’s squeezing them out, but because that’s where everyone went. The dominance of mobile usage, social networks, and YouTube, plus attention-competition from apps, are the real problems for web publishers and blog writers.</p> <p>The social and app revolutions haven’t been purely additive — much of the time people spend on those now has come at the expense of search, RSS, and bookmarks.</p> <p>Every hour we spend on Twitter or Facebook instead of reading and writing elsewhere is just making this worse — and I’m as guilty as anyone.</p> </blockquote> <p>Marco Arment in <a href="http://www.marco.org/2015/02/16/google-and-blogs-shit">Google and blogs: “Shit.”</a></p>Flipboard and the Mobile Web Dream2015-02-17T22:58:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/flipboard-and-the-mobile-web-dream/<p>Christian Heilmann writes about <a href="http://christianheilmann.com/2015/02/15/flipboard-and-the-mobile-web-dream/">Flipboard and the mobile web dream</a>, which continues the discussion on <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/flipboard-react-canvas-and-accessibility/">recent changes by Flipboard</a> that I posted about a few days ago.</p>Section 508 Update – Finally2015-02-18T21:45:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/section-508-update-finally/<p>Today, the United States Access Board finally and officially <a href="http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/news-release">proposed an update to Section 508</a>. Section 508 is one of the big <a href="http://webaim.org/articles/laws/usa/">accessibility laws in the United States</a>, and the update brings the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) into the rule, applying it to web-based content as well as to offline documents and software. This change has been in the works for awhile, and even though it’s not final yet, I’m excited to see it move forward.</p>Minimalist Living, Starting Now2015-02-19T22:46:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/minimalist-living-starting-now/<p>I started this year with <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2015/">simpler goals than in years past</a>. Watching a <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/surviving-progress-documentary/">documentary on the cost of human progress</a> a few days ago has made me want to simplify even more. So I’m taking some of the advice in <a href="http://zenhabits.net/simple-living-manifesto-72-ideas-to-simplify-your-life/">this post on Zen Habits about simple living</a>.</p> <p>I’ve already made a list of my most important four to five priorities in life, created a simple to-do list system with Reminders, and knocked off 50-plus blogs from my <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> Reader. Next up? My desk and workspace. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t take most of the weekend. 🙂</p>Accessibility Is (Not) Scary2015-02-20T10:58:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-is-not-scary/<p>I wrote a guest post on DigitalGov about <a href="http://www.digitalgov.gov/2015/02/20/accessibility-is-not-scary-2/">what accessibility is really about and how anyone can do it</a>. Give it a read.</p>Design is Valued. Now What?2015-02-22T22:18:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/design-is-valued-now-what/<p>Luke Wroblewski on <a href="http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1942">Design is Valued. Now What</a>?</p>Use the Same Technology Stephen Hawking Does2015-02-23T23:29:17-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/use-the-same-tech-stephen-hawking-does/<p>The technology used by the famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, is now <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/23/how-to-speak-with-facial-expressions.html">open source and free for all of us</a>.</p>Apple, Standards and the Open Web2015-02-24T22:28:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/apple-standards-and-the-open-web/<p><a href="http://www.w3.org/blog/news/archives/4430?pk_campaign=feed&amp;pk_kwd=pointer-events-is-a-w3c-recommendation">Pointer Events have become a W3C recommendation</a>, but it’s not all good news as Tim Kadlec points out in <a href="http://www.timkadlec.com/2015/02/apples-web/">Apple’s Web?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Apple simply does not play well with other vendors when it comes to standardization. The same sort of things we once criticized Microsoft for doing long ago, we give Apple a pass on today. They’re very content to play in their own little sandbox all too often.</p> </blockquote> <p>Has Apple become like the Microsoft of old?</p> <h2>Further Reading</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://blog.jquery.com/2015/02/24/getting-on-point/">Getting on Point – The jQuery Blog</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2015/02/pointer-events-advance-to-w3c-recommendation/">Pointer Events advance to W3C Recommendation – The Paciello Group</a></li> <li><a href="http://thewebahead.net/94">Rethinking Microsoft’s Browser with Rey Bango – The Web Ahead</a> (not about the issue specifically, but a good overview of Microsoft’s effort to embrace standards completely with its new browser.)</li> </ul>Improving Single Page App Accessibility2015-02-25T23:37:25-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/improving-single-page-app-accessibility-with-patrick-fox/<p><a href="https://twitter.com/patrickfox">Patrick Fox</a> gives a nice talk called here <a href="https://vimeo.com/117614181">Improving Single Page App Accessibility</a>, where he covers some of the finer points when JavaScript and modern web accessibility meet.</p>FCC Votes for Net Neutrality2015-02-26T21:03:53-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/fcc-votes-for-net-neutrality/<p>Today, the <a href="http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/fcc-votes-for-net-neutrality-a-ban-on-paid-fast-lanes-and-title-ii/">FCC voted for net neutrality</a>, among other things. It’s great news for a more open and equal Web. Also, check out this post about some of the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/10/why-obama-waited-so-long-to-take-a-stand-on-net-neutrality/">politics behind President Obama taking a stand on the issue</a>.</p>Taking Control of Your Computing Life2015-02-27T15:15:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/taking-control-of-your-computing-life/<p>I’m not saying goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft or anything like that, but journalist Dan Gillmor says he’s <a href="https://medium.com/backchannel/why-i-m-saying-goodbye-to-apple-google-and-microsoft-78af12071bd">putting more trust in communities than corporations</a>.</p> <p>He makes a compelling case, and it’s one I’ve given thought to before. Before I bought my latest 11-inch Macbook Air late last year, I looked at Linux laptops. I seriously considered one. But I’ll admit my fear of missing conveniences got me. I work on the Web, and even though the Macbook Air isn’t my primary machine, I still might need it. I can’t imagine doing my job as a front end developer without all the necessary tools. Maybe I’m wrong?</p> <p>But like Dan, I’m keeping my eye on that space, hoping solutions continue to evolve and make control as easy as the conveniences we crave.</p>Riding a Bicycle to an Accessibility Conference2015-03-01T22:46:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/riding-a-bicycle-to-an-accessibility-conference/<p>Marcy Sutton writes about <a href="https://the-pastry-box-project.net/marcy-sutton/2015-february-26">riding a bicycle to an accessibility conference</a>, finding her people and connecting deeper with one of her passions.</p>Number 362015-03-02T23:49:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-36/<p>Today, I turned 36. Older? Yep. Wiser? Maybe a little. Having more fun? Definitely.</p> <p>No year has changed me more than the last. I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/being-a-dad/">became a dad</a> to a wonderful daughter who surprises me every day. I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/my-automattic-story/">landed a dream job for Automattic</a>, working on projects I’m passionate about. I picked up CrossFit again after a brief hiatus, missing it more than I imagined. Everywhere I turn I see challenges worth tackling because they’ll make me a better person at the end of them.</p> <p>This year’s celebration ended up laid-back because both my wife and I are getting over being sick. I still managed a birthday shot of whiskey and a glass of celebratory champagne. I also watched my daughter stand up countless times – she’s about 10-months-old and learning how to do that quickly. That’s a good birthday if you ask me!</p> <p>This year’s big lesson? Don’t be afraid to go into the unknown toward what matters. We create the darkest parts of the unknown because of our own fears. The rest is either success or failure, two experiences always worth reaching.</p> <p>So far, I’m excited about the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2015/">habits I’m working on this year</a>. I’m writing more. Cooking more. Cooking, I know – it’s surprising. Plus, I’m contributing more to the WordPress community. Amid all this creating, I’m <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/minimalist-living-starting-now/">trying to simplify</a>. So far, I’ve ditched two-thirds of my old books, donated a bunch of old clothes and purged thousands of old emails I didn’t need. I’m looking forward to a year where I’m less tied down by the things that don’t matter.</p> <p>What all the big things that happened in the last year, it’s hard to imagine what’s next. No matter, I’ll be going forward, more inspired, and with a lighter load. Bottoms up.</p> <p>Related: <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-34/">Number 34</a>.</p>Privacy is at a Crossroads2015-03-03T22:36:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/privacy-is-at-a-crossroads/<p>DuckDuckGo Founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg writes that <a href="https://medium.com/@yegg/privacy-is-at-a-crossroads-choose-wisely-96bac0644ec1">Privacy is at a Crossroads – Choose Wisely</a>.</p>Accessibility Originates With UX: A BBC iPlayer Case Study2015-03-04T23:43:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/bbc-iplayer-case-study/<p>Henny Swan writes about how <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/02/23/bbc-iplayer-accessibility-case-study/">Accessibility Originates With UX</a> with a case study on the BBC iPlayer.</p>The Supreme Joy of Writing in the Open2015-03-05T13:30:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/joy-of-writing-in-the-open/<p>A former colleague at the CFPB, Greg Boone, points out the <a href="https://greg.harmsboone.org/2015/03/04/the-supreme-joy-of-writing-in-the-open/">The Supreme Joy of Writing in the Open</a>. He’s hacking in the open at <a href="https://18f.gsa.gov/">18F</a> with Jekyll and GitHub, and they have a <a href="https://18f.gsa.gov/2015/03/03/how-to-use-github-and-the-terminal-a-guide/">guide for contributing to their site</a>.</p>The Most Interesting Pitcher in Baseball2015-03-06T23:59:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/most-interesting-pitcher-in-baseball/<p>Meet the <a href="http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12420393/top-blue-jays-prospect-daniel-norris-lives-own-code">most interesting pitcher in baseball</a>, Daniel Norris.</p>AC/DC's Thunderstruck – Solo Acoustic Guitar Performance2015-03-07T13:53:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/thunderstruck-on-an-acoustic-guitar/<p>I don’t think AC/DC’s Thunderstruck could <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMPWfHqVj40">rock any more than this with an acoustic guitar alone</a>. So amazing. By Luca Stricagnoli. You can <a href="http://www.candyrat.com/artists/LucaStricagnoli/LucaStricagnoli/">buy his music at Candy Rat Records</a>.</p> <p>Hat tip: <a href="http://blog.michaelarestad.com/2015/03/04/luca-stricagnoli-thunderstruck-acdc/">Michael Arestad</a>.</p>Before his Time: Harry T. Moore2015-03-08T23:57:05-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/before-his-time-harry-t-moore/<p>This weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the marches from Selma to Montgomery. The White House has <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/civil-rights/selma">great information on the anniversary and why it’s important</a>. This includes <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvAIvauhQGQ">President Obama’s stirring speech</a>.</p> <p>When I think of civil rights heroes, I think of Harry T. Moore before anyone else. You’ve probably never heard of him, but he shaped a movement before one existed. Here’s an excerpt from a story I published about him in <a href="http://www.floridamagazine.com/"><em>Florida Monthly Magazine</em></a> in the early 2000s when I worked there as an intern and freelance writer:</p> <blockquote> <p>Harry Tyson Moore wrote his last letter of protest on December 2, 1951. He fought for 17 years to achieve equality between blacks and whites, becoming the most hated black man in Florida.</p> <p>In his letter, Moore demanded justice for four young black men accused of rape. He recommended Governor Fuller Warren not “whitewash” the then famous Groveland case, which ignited a period of racial violence in Florida that the Northern press dubbed the “Florida Terror.” A whirlwind of racial tension surrounded the case, which included alleged beatings, murder, a vigilante mob and two separate trials. He closed his letter saying, “We seek no special favors; but certainly we have a right to expect justice and equal protection of the laws even for the humblest Negro. Shall we be disappointed again?”</p> <p>Three weeks after Moore wrote his appeal to Governor Warren, he celebrated Christmas with his family in the tiny town of Mims, Florida. Moore, his wife Harriette, daughter Peaches and mother Rosa returned home from his brother in law’s house around 9 p.m. The couple’s other daughter, Evangeline, would arrive in the morning by train from Washington, D.C. They would then open the gifts under the tree.</p> <p>Before heading to bed the family shared a fruitcake to commemorate Harry and Harriette’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. It was a quiet celebration in the modest wood-frame home surrounded by an orange grove.</p> <p>However, at 10:20 p.m., with all asleep, the quiet ceased.</p> <p>A bomb exploded under Harry Moore’s house, directly beneath his bed. The blast burst with such power that he and his wife flew up to the ceiling. Harry died on the way to the hospital. Harriette passed one day after Harry’s funeral.</p> </blockquote> <p>He remains one of my heroes not just because he died for his beliefs, but because he knew he might, and yet marched forward undeterred. Would you have that kind of courage?</p> <h2>More on Harry T. Moore</h2> <ul> <li><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_T._Moore">Wikipedia page</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://harryharriettemoore.org/">The Harry T. &amp; Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex</a>. (Memorial Park)</li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Before-His-Time-Untold-Americas/dp/0684854538/">Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America’s First Civil Rights Martyr</a>. (Biography)</li> <li><a href="http://www.pbs.org/harrymoore/index.html">Freedom Never Dies: The Legacy of Harry T. Moore</a>. (Documentary)</li> </ul>GitHub and Open Source Licenses2015-03-09T23:49:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/github-and-open-source-licenses/<p>GitHub has <a href="https://github.com/blog/1964-open-source-license-usage-on-github-com">released some neat data on its network and the open source licenses</a> projects hosted there use. I’m surprised only about 20 percent of projects have a license at all. I would have guessed it would be higher.</p>Accessibility as a Framework2015-03-10T23:14:23-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-as-a-framework/<p>When I <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/status/479991228239736832">tweeted this</a> awhile back:</p> <blockquote> <p>If web designers and developers put as much energy into accessibility as they do building “frameworks,” the Web would be a lot better off.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/woodwardjd/status/479992364392792064">One response</a> really got my mind turning:</p> <blockquote> <p>Sounds like a11y could use a framework.</p> </blockquote> <p>I’ve chewed on that ever since. I <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/status/479993801252286464">responded with</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>It’s less about needing another framework and more about collaborating, infusing a11y into existing projects.</p> </blockquote> <p>If you’re a web designer or developer, I bet you’ve used a framework before. They exist everywhere, from style guides that help focus designs to front end frameworks that aid in building user interfaces. Programming languages have them too – from tried and true staples like PHP to the new JavaScript-based ones.</p> <p>We use frameworks because they give us a head start on our design or code while allowing us to employ battle-tested, repeatable patterns so we can create a higher quality product in less time.</p> <p>In my original response, I was on the right track, but I missed the point, really. The core of my response could have been:</p> <blockquote> <p>View accessibility as a framework. A mindset that helps you create software, web pages and applications that work for everyone.</p> </blockquote> <p>Infusing accessibility patterns and best practices into your project will get you to higher-quality products faster. It’s the framework that comes with the Web.</p>In Florida, Officials Ban the Term 'Climate Change'2015-03-11T22:19:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/in-florida-officials-ban-the-term-climate-change/<p>In my home state, <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article12983720.html">officials have systematically banned the term climate change and other similar phrases</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>The policy goes beyond semantics and has affected reports, educational efforts and public policy in a department with about 3,200 employees and $1.4 billion budget.</p> <p>“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”</p> <p>Kristina Trotta, another former DEP employee who worked in Miami, said her supervisor told her not to use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in a 2014 staff meeting. “We were told that we were not allowed to discuss anything that was not a true fact,” she said.</p> </blockquote> <p>For as much coastline as Florida has, it should be helping lead the way toward creative solutions, not holding back progress.</p>Building a Strong Foundation with Keyboard Accessibility2015-03-12T11:59:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/building-a-strong-foundation-with-keyboard-accessibility/<p>I wrote a post over on ThemeShaper that <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2015/03/12/keyboard-accessibility/">explains the ins and outs of keyboard accessibility</a>. Give it a read!</p>The Web's Grain2015-03-13T22:35:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-webs-grain/<p><a href="https://frankchimero.com/writing/the-webs-grain/">A view on designing for the web</a> by Frank Chimero.</p>Back to CrossFit2015-03-14T23:56:36-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/back-to-crossfit/<p>In January, I started back at CrossFit again – deadlifts and all.</p> <p>After a move and the birth of my daughter, my schedule got out of whack. I had to hunt for a new gym in a new neighborhood and adjust to a new schedule. But after a six-month layoff, it feels good to be chasing the reps again. Before I left, I had practices CrossFit for two-plus years.</p> <p>Since returning, my biggest goal has been to find a rhythm with the movements again. I’m only going to the gym two days a week, so I’m nowhere near my old personal bests, but I’ll get there. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more interested in the small details that make you perform better. So right now, outside of the gym, I’m focused on water intake, sleep and stretching. I hope improving there will carry over elsewhere.</p> <p>Last week, after about two months back, I finally started to feel comfortable doing squats again. We’ll see where it leads in the coming months.</p>An Oral History of Larry Bird's 60-Point Game2015-03-15T20:59:37-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/an-oral-history-of-larry-birds-60-point-game/<p>Chad Finn with an <a href="http://www.boston.com/sports/touching_all_the_bases/2015/03/it_was_like_living_in_a_video_game_an_oral_history_of_larry.html">An Oral History of Larry Bird’s 60-Point Game</a> against the Atlanta Hawks:</p> <blockquote> <p>People get caught up in points, but I can’t say it’s in the top 20 of my favorite games. I had games where I scored just 15 or 16 points, but I played excellent basketball in my mind, I did a little bit of everything. I didn’t rebound or pass much.<br> <cite>Larry Bird</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>Bird was my favorite player growing up because of his focus on the game, not the details that didn’t matter.</p>Cities: Skylines Tips and Tricks from Skye Storme2015-03-16T23:56:04-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/cities-skylines-tips-and-tricks-from-skye-storme/<p>I’ve played a ton of <a href="https://wikipedia.org/wiki/SimCity">Sim City</a> through its various iterations, and like many, I disliked the latest game in the series. I was excited to see newcomer to the city builder genre, Cities: Skylines, receive lots of positive press. I needed my city fix, and I’m enjoying it a lot so far! It stays true to a city builder’s roots, but adds its own flair in spots.</p> <p>For tips on the ins and ots of strategic, but fun city building in Skyline, I recommend watching Skye Storme’s YouTube channel. Check out his playlist, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbCLzFKeiWkPKe53RM24qh1vzhn9PBXuf">Cities: Skylines – Building Manhattan – Gameplay/Tips</a>, for everything you need to know about the intricacies of this new city builder.</p>A Skip Link Primer2015-03-17T23:36:54-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-skip-link-primer/<p>Jeremy Fields writes the article about skip links that I always wanted to write: <a href="http://viget.com/inspire/skip-link-primer">A Skip Link Primer</a>. Most web designers and developers don’t spend a lot of time on skip links, but they keep be as elegant of an interaction as anything else. I love finding ones that meld well with the site design and functionality.</p>Developers Should Design2015-03-18T21:41:58-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/developers-should-design/<p>Too often we hear the phrase, “Designers should write code.” True, even if it’s just basic HTML and/or CSS. But what about the flipped version of that argument? Developers should design.</p> <p>True as well. Even if that means a few ugly websites, web applications or projects. Here’s why.</p> <p>It pushes you outside your comfort zone. That’s obvious. Stretching your design skills when you’re use to living in a text editor also puts you on the opposite side of the equation you’re part of each day. Even if what you create isn’t pretty, you’ll develop better empathy and understanding for the designers you work with daily.</p> <p>Great projects – the ones filled with lovely design, delightful user experiences and clean code – spring to life from collaboration. That doesn’t happen without knowing both sides of the equation – design and development.</p> <p>I’ve recently challenged myself to design more, even though I don’t consider myself a designer. It’s frustrating sometimes. When I wrote for a living, I could feel my way through a very creative activity. Even if I didn’t know why a sentence or paragraph wasn’t right, I still knew it wasn’t right. With my own designs, I don’t always have that clarity. At times, what I want to create mocks me because it’s just out of reach. That’s where I see that collaboration coming into play. Asking a more skilled designer for feedback, no matter how scary, sets me on a more productive path faster.</p> <p>I may not be a designer, but I can be one for a few days here and there, and work with my colleagues to create something amazing. After all, a lot about “being” a designer means taking feedback and iterating. Developers do that with code too.</p> <p>So maybe you’re not a designer, but just iterating and becoming a better developer.</p> <p>Inspired by a <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2015/02/27/theme-design-for-devs/">post from Mel Choyce</a>.</p> <p>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/2091/">Pexels.com</a>.</p>Gulp JS File for WordPress Themes2015-03-19T21:58:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/gulp-js-file-for-wordpress-themes/<p>Fellow Theme Wrangler <a href="http://danielwrobert.com/">Dan Robert</a> introduced me to Gulp recently and I’ve run with it, using it on my latest WordPress theme projects. Dan got me going with most of the <a href="https://gist.github.com/davidakennedy/2f0989e896fce3a41951">code for my gulpfile.js</a>, but I’ve added a few other plugins. I love the automated linting the most. Gulp, for the win.</p> <pre class="language-js"><code class="language-js"><span class="token comment">// Include Gulp</span><br><span class="token keyword">var</span> gulp <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'gulp'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br><span class="token comment">// Include Plugins</span><br><span class="token keyword">var</span> sass <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'gulp-ruby-sass'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> autoprefixer <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'gulp-autoprefixer'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> csslint <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token string">'gulp-csslint'</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> cssbeautify <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token string">'gulp-cssbeautify'</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> imagemin <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'gulp-imagemin'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> jshint <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'gulp-jshint'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> notify <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'gulp-notify'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> cache <span class="token operator">=</span> <span class="token function">require</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'gulp-cache'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br><span class="token comment">// Tasks</span><br><span class="token comment">// Styles</span><br>gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">task</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'styles'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token keyword">function</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span><br> <span class="token keyword">return</span> <span class="token function">sass</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'sass/style.scss'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span> style<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token string">'expanded'</span> <span class="token punctuation">}</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token function">autoprefixer</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span> browsers<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token string">'last 2 versions'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> cascade<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token boolean">false</span> <span class="token punctuation">}</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">on</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'error'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token keyword">function</span> <span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token parameter">err</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span><br> console<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">error</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'Error!'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> err<span class="token punctuation">.</span>message <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">}</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token function">csslint</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span>csslint<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">reporter</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token function">cssbeautify</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">{</span><br> indent<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token string">' '</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span><br> autosemicolon<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token boolean">true</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">}</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">dest</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'./'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token function">notify</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span> message<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token string">'Styles task complete'</span> <span class="token punctuation">}</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><span class="token punctuation">}</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br><span class="token comment">// Scripts</span><br>gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">task</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'scripts'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token keyword">function</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span><br> <span class="token keyword">return</span> gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">src</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'js/dev/**/*.js'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token function">jshint</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'.jshintrc'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> jshint<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">reporter</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'default'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">dest</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'js'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token function">notify</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span> message<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token string">'Scripts task complete'</span> <span class="token punctuation">}</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><span class="token punctuation">}</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br><span class="token comment">// Images</span><br>gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">task</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'images'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token keyword">function</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span><br> <span class="token keyword">return</span> gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">src</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'img/dev/**/*'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token function">cache</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token function">imagemin</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span> optimizationLevel<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token number">3</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> progressive<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token boolean">true</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> interlaced<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token boolean">true</span> <span class="token punctuation">}</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">dest</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'img'</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><br> <span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">pipe</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token function">notify</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span> message<span class="token operator">:</span> <span class="token string">'Images task complete'</span> <span class="token punctuation">}</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><span class="token punctuation">}</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br><span class="token comment">// Watch files for changes</span><br>gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">task</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'watch'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token keyword">function</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span> <span class="token punctuation">{</span><br><br> <span class="token comment">// Watch .scss files</span><br> gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">watch</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'sass/style.scss'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token punctuation">[</span><span class="token string">'styles'</span><span class="token punctuation">]</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br> <span class="token comment">// Watch .js files</span><br> gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">watch</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'js/dev/**/*.js'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token punctuation">[</span><span class="token string">'scripts'</span><span class="token punctuation">]</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br> <span class="token comment">// Watch image files</span><br> gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">watch</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'img/dev/**/*'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token punctuation">[</span><span class="token string">'images'</span><span class="token punctuation">]</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><span class="token punctuation">}</span><span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span><br><br><span class="token comment">// Default Task</span><br>gulp<span class="token punctuation">.</span><span class="token function">task</span><span class="token punctuation">(</span> <span class="token string">'default'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token punctuation">[</span><span class="token string">'styles'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token string">'scripts'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token string">'images'</span><span class="token punctuation">,</span> <span class="token string">'watch'</span><span class="token punctuation">]</span> <span class="token punctuation">)</span><span class="token punctuation">;</span></code></pre>Accessibility APIs: A Key To Web Accessibility2015-03-20T20:43:58-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-apis-a-key-to-web-accessibility/<p>Léonie Watson &amp; Chaals McCathie Nevile write a neat post on <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/03/16/web-accessibility-with-accessibility-api/">accessibility APIs</a> that gives you a view of the magic behind a lot of assistive technology.</p>A Text Playlist2015-03-21T16:56:17-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-text-playlist/<p>I stumbled across a Frank Chimero post from 2010 <a href="http://frankchimero.com/blog/text-playlist/">called &amp;“Text Playlist”</a> recently. He says:</p> <blockquote> <p>… I keep what I perceive to be a more valuable, important morgue file: one made of the best writing on the web I come across. I take this list and revisit and reread it every 4 to 8 weeks. You could almost consider it a playlist of text: it’s very select (I artificially limit it to 10–15 articles), I typically read them all in one sitting, and the order and pacing is very purposeful.</p> </blockquote> <p>I love this idea, so I compiled my own. I have both books and web articles on my list, so I cheated a bit.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Before-His-Time-Untold-Americas/dp/0684854538/"><strong>Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America’s First Civil Rights Martyr</strong></a> (book): I came across Harry’s story when I <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2015/03/08/before-his-time-harry-t-moore/">wrote about him as a freelance writer</a>, and I’ve never forgotten him. His life and work remind me about focus, unwavering determination and courage.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Should-People-Answered-Ultimate-Question/dp/B007CFWFGI/"><strong>What Should I Do with My Life? The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question</strong></a> (book): I first read this book after college. It’s a reminder that we all have our own path, and we need to embrace that. Also, what ends up fulfilling us for “work” may surprise us.</p> <p><a href="http://transom.org/2014/jonathan-harris/"><strong>Navigating Stuckness</strong></a> (article): This piece by Jonathan Harris has stuck with me from the moment I read it for the first time, particularly this part:</p> <blockquote> <p>We have these brief lives, and our only real choice is how we will fill them. Your attention is precious. Don’t squander it. Don’t throw it away. Don’t let companies and products steal it from you. Don’t let advertisers trick you into lusting after things you don’t need. Don’t let the media convince you to covet the lives of celebrities. Own your attention — it’s all you really have.</p> <p>In the tradeoff between timeliness and timelessness, choose the latter. The zeitgeist rewards timeliness, but your soul rewards timelessness. Work on things that will last.</p> <p>Inside each of us is a little ten-year-old child, curious and pure, acting on impulse, not yet caring what other people think. Remember what you were doing at ten, and try to get back to doing that thing, incorporating everything you’ve learned along the way.</p> </blockquote> <p>As we get older, things become more complex. We seem to easily forget what really matters. Here, Jonathan reminds me to remind myself what really matters every now and then.</p> <p><a href="https://the-pastry-box-project.net/brad-frost/2014-november-28"><strong>Wake Up Excited</strong></a> (article): This post by Brad Frost helps me get excited when I think that I’ve exhausted all the turns and have nowhere else to go creatively. Nothing just happens, it’s all a process that you must work through. Just keep going.</p> <p>That’s my list, and obviously, I’m not going to read these, including the books, in one setting. I do hope to add articles and refine the list over time so that I can move the books to their own list. These four items come from thinking about the writing that has impacted me most over the past 10 years or so and putting it down in five minutes. I thought I would have a longer list, but there’s always time to add to it.</p>Zen and the Art of Wearable Markup2015-03-22T12:44:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/zen-and-the-art-of-wearable-markup/<p>In Zen and the Art of Wearable Markup, Jeffrey Zeldman reminds us to <a href="https://the-pastry-box-project.net/jeffrey-zeldman/2015-march-21">progressively enhance the experience</a>, focusing on capabilities rather than devices.</p>Accessible Theme Pattern Library Off and Running2015-03-23T22:37:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-theme-pattern-library-off-and-running/<p>We’ve made a lot of <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/2015/03/24/accessible-theme-pattern-library-update-for-march/">progress on the the Accessible Theme Pattern Library over the last month</a>. Check it out, and get involved. Now is the perfect time!</p>JavaScript Required; Didn’t Read.2015-03-24T23:10:54-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/javascript-required-didnt-read/<blockquote> <p>Pages that are empty without JS: dead to history (archive-org), unreliable for search results (despite any search engine claims of JS support, check it yourself), and thus ignorable. No need to waste time reading or responding.<br> <cite>Tantek Çelik</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>In <a href="http://tantek.com/2015/069/t1/js-dr-javascript-required-dead">js;dr = JavaScript required; Didn’t Read</a>.</p> <p>True. Progressive enhancement for the win.</p>The Facebook Reconing2015-03-25T23:52:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-facebook-reconing/<p>Ben Thompson writes about the tough spot publishers find themselves in <a href="http://stratechery.com/2015/facebook-reckoning/">The Facebook Reconing</a>. Dave Winer says <a href="http://scripting.com/2015/03/25/journalismMustCompete.html">journalism must compete</a>.</p>Is This Venue Accessible?2015-03-26T23:39:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/is-this-venue-accessible/<p><a href="https://twitter.com/SeanJGray">Sean Gray</a>, co-owner, Fan Death Records and Accidental Guest Records, has created a site called “<a href="http://itvaccessible.com/">Is This Venue Accessible?</a>” to track the accessibility of music venues. He’s been featured in <a href="http://pitchfork.com/thepitch/693-going-to-shows-when-you-have-a-disability/">Pitchfork</a>, <a href="http://thekojonnamdishow.org/shows/2015-03-19/the-local-music-scene-disability-rights">The Kojo Nnamdi Show</a>, <a href="http://noisey.vice.com/blog/is-this-venue-accessible-interview">Vice</a>, <a href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2015/01/a_disabled_musician_shines_a_light_on_the_accessiblity_of_new_yorks_venues.php">Village Voice</a> and more.</p> <p><a href="http://twitter.com/jsequential">Jake Reid</a> helped Sean build the site with <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>. I’m so excited to see Accessible Zen used for something like this.</p>Accessibility Answers: What Can I Do Now for Better Accessibility?2015-03-27T23:05:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-answers-what-can-i-do-now-for-better-accessibility/<p><em>When I give presentations on accessibility, I often get one or two questions I’ve fielded before. I’ve collected a handful for an ongoing series of posts with my answers. I hope it helps you understand accessibility better.</em></p> <p><strong>If I could do a few basic things in my projects right now, what should they be?</strong></p> <p>Start simple. Focus on ensuring users can navigate your site using the keyboard. Make sure you have <code>:focus</code> styles where appropriate, and that each style has a reasonable contrast.</p> <p>Further reading: <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2015/03/12/keyboard-accessibility/">Building a Strong Foundation with Keyboard Accessibility</a>.</p> <p>Next, make sure each control follows web standards. What do I mean by that? Items that behave like links, buttons and form fields should be just that: <code>&lt;a&gt;</code>, <code>&lt;button&gt;</code> or <code>&lt;input&gt;</code>. Don’t make your own interface elements from scratch. Use native elements, which come with accessibility features built in, and enhance from there.</p> <p>Further reading: <a href="http://www.karlgroves.com/2013/05/14/links-are-not-buttons-neither-are-divs-and-spans/">Links Are Not Buttons; Neither Are DIVs and SPANs</a>.</p> <p>Lastly, provide a <code>&lt;label&gt;</code> element for each form field in your code. Labels allow screen reader users to know what a field is meant to do or what that field needs in order to move on in an interface. Don’t make it harder.</p> <p>Further reading: <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/forms/controls">Accessible Form Controls</a> and <a href="http://www.webaxe.org/placeholder-attribute-is-not-a-label/">Placeholder Attribute is Not a Label</a>.</p> <p>Follow the series <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/tag/accessibility-answers/">Accessibility Answers</a>. Ask me a question via my <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/contact/">contact page</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twiter</a>.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/Gx_o9dbqf34t">rawpixel</a></em>.</p>Empathy Can Fix the Modern Newsroom2015-03-28T23:36:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/empathy-can-fix-the-modern-newsroom/<p>A great talk by <a href="http://www.yurivictor.com/">Yuri Victor</a> about how <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYOOCG1gAaM">empathy can fix the modern newsroom</a>. Hint: It looks a lot like agile development, and it can be applied anywhere.</p>Web Accessibility Tutorials from the W3C2015-03-29T21:07:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/web-accessibility-tutorials-from-the-w3c/<p>The W3C has started <a href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/">developing web accessibility tutorials</a> to help designers and developers understand accessibility better. It’s <a href="https://github.com/w3c/wai-tutorials">available on GitHub</a> if you want to contribute.</p>Theme, Don't be My Everything2015-03-30T22:06:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/theme-dont-be-my-everything/<p>Fellow Theme Wrangler Tammie Lister with an important message for themers: <a href="http://wordpress.tv/2015/03/13/tammie-lister-theme-dont-be-my-everything/">Theme, Don’t be My Everything</a>.</p>News for Betty + Accessibility Hackathon2015-03-31T23:22:05-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/news-for-betty-accessibility-hackathon/<p>Today, I participated in an <a href="http://18f.github.io/hackathons/a11yhack/">accessibility hackathon</a> run by <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp">White House Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, <a href="https://18f.gsa.gov/">18F</a>, the <a href="http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/index.html">National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research</a>, and <a href="http://dclegalhackers.org/">DC Legal Hackers</a>. The day was packed with demos, discussion and coding on all sorts of projects, ranging from solving the lack of alt attributes on Twitter images to a more efficient way to integrate Section 508 into the government procurement process.</p> <p>We didn’t solve everything in one day, but we had <a href="https://hackpad.com/Accessibility-Hackathon-a11yhack-FSW5lFX53LP#:h=Problem-Statements">lots of ideas</a>, worked together and did it in the open. I contributed to a new, in-progress web app called <a href="http://newsforbetty.com/">News for Betty</a>. It’s a news aggregator that takes the home pages of major news sources and cuts out the cruft, making it easier for people of all abilities get to the news faster. A fun project for a former journalist! You can <a href="https://github.com/tagawa/newsforbetty">check it out on Github</a>. A handful of my pull requests centered on improving its accessibility have <a href="https://github.com/tagawa/newsforbetty/graphs/contributors">already been merged</a>.</p> <p>It’s easy to jump into any problem thinking you need to bring a new solution. With a newer, but established project like News for Betty, the creators had already formed a solid base to an existing problem. Sometimes you just need to give something support, a nudge in a new direction or a different way of thinking, and maybe a few pull requests. 🙂</p> <p>This is especially true on the Web where thousands of worthy projects need more accessibility attention. What have you helped today?</p>A11y Wins Tumblr2015-04-01T19:53:36-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a11y-wins-tumblr/<p>Marcy Sutton has created a Tumblr blog to called <a href="http://a11ywins.tumblr.com/">A11y Wins</a> to curate awesome examples of accessible interfaces. Check it out and submit your favorite win.</p>Being Andre the Giant2015-04-02T23:09:37-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/being-andre-the-giant/<p>I grew up watching wresting, and Andre the Giant stood larger than life. Turns out he <a href="http://www.cbssports.com/general/feature/25122751/being-andre-the-giant">wanted to fit in like anyone else</a>.</p>Five Years of My Autistic Son Rocking His iPad2015-04-03T23:31:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/five-years-of-my-autistic-son-rocking-his-ipad/<p>One parent shares how an iPad and accessible apps have helped her son, who has autism, <a href="https://medium.com/@shannonrosa/five-years-of-my-autistic-son-rocking-his-ipad-7bb380d10f1c">grow and develop over five years</a>.</p>Atom Editor2015-04-04T23:58:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/atom-editor/<p>I switched from Sublime Text to <a href="https://atom.io/">Atom</a> for the past week, and may not go back. Granted, I don’t have a complex setup, so making the move proved easy. Plus, I love the open source, hackable nature of the project. I hope to write more on the switch later!</p>My Missing Reading Habit2015-04-05T23:40:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/my-missing-reading-habit/<p>Even though I didn’t put it on my <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2015/">list of habits this year</a>, I want to read more. I trimmed my list at the start of the year, but haven’t made any progress. No books completed yet.</p> <p>When I sit down to read, I stumble from Twitter link to Twitter link, from blog to blog. This counts as reading, of course, but doesn’t add up to something bigger and end with a grander destination like a book. I like reading Twitter accounts and personal blogs because their tied to real people. I don’t have to hold my attention on any one thing, like facts, a plot or a collection of characters, for too long. In reading books, I usually lose touch with these things because I lose my momentum thanks to large gaps between reading. Sometimes, it’s because I try to read multiple books, and sometimes I just get bored.</p> <p>How do I solve this and enable myself to read more books. Like my other <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/minimalist-living-starting-now/">explorations in minimalism</a>, I’m going to:</p> <ul> <li>read one book at a time.</li> <li>keep a running list.</li> <li>try to set aside an hour a day, divided into 30-minute slots for reading.</li> </ul> <p>We’ll see how it goes. I’ll try to post an update on this in the summer.</p>Responsive Web Design is Five2015-04-06T21:12:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/responsive-web-design-is-five/<p>Today, the idea of <a href="http://aneventapart.com/news/post/five-years-ago-today-responsive-web-designs-debut">responsive web design turns five</a>. An Event Apart posted about the anniversary of Ethan Marcotte’s <a href="http://aneventapart.com/news/post/ethan-marcotte-a-dao-of-flexibility-video">talk in Seattle in 2010 where he first proposed the idea</a>.</p> <p>I listened to the talk today, which I hadn’t heard before. I remember first reading the <a href="http://alistapart.com/article/responsive-web-design">canonical A List Apart article on the subject</a> at my job when I first jumped into web work. My first thought? “I have to make this happen on our site.” As the anniversary post points out:</p> <blockquote> <p>After that day, nothing in web design or development would ever be the same.</p> </blockquote>ReactJS for Stupid People2015-04-07T21:46:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/reactjs-for-stupid-people/<p>Andrew Ray writes a post about ReactJS <a href="http://blog.andrewray.me/reactjs-for-stupid-people/">filled with the things he wishes someone told him</a> before he started using it.</p>Accessibility Answers: How Do I Handle JavaScript and Accessibility2015-04-08T23:12:04-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-answers-how-do-i-handle-javascript-and-accessibility/<p><em>When I give presentations on accessibility, I often get one or two questions I’ve fielded before. I’ve collected a handful for an ongoing series of posts with my answers. I hope it helps you understand accessibility better.</em></p> <p><strong>How do I handle javascript and accessibility?</strong></p> <p>Like everything else. It’s that easy. You can follow the <a href="http://webaim.org/articles/pour/">same accessibility principles</a>, making your web pages or applications perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. JavaScript changes nothing in that regard. Accessibility and JavaScript get a bad reputation because of some misconceptions. First, most people who use screen readers <a href="http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey5/#javascript">typically have JavaScript enabled</a>, not the other way around. Also, all modern accessibility guidelines allow you to require JavaScript, so long as the scripted content works within the guidelines. WCAG 1.0 required interfaces to work properly without scripting enabled, but this isn’t the case anymore.</p> <p>Further reading: <a href="http://webaim.org/techniques/javascript/">Accessible JavaScript</a>.</p> <p>That said, you should keep these things in mind:</p> <ul> <li>Use semantic HTML as your base. Employ native controls that work well with all devices, like <code>&lt;a&gt;</code>, <code>&lt;button&gt;</code> or <code>&lt;input&gt;</code>.</li> <li>Follow progressive enhancement, and use JavaScript to aid in the functionality of your interfaces. Whenever possible, try to make your interfaces work at a basic level minus JavaScript. Think of it like that old, beat-up car that just never quits, no matter the conditions. We all appreciate cars like that.</li> <li>Use device dependent event handlers: <strong>onFocus</strong>, <strong>onBlur</strong>, <strong>onSubmit</strong>, <strong>onClick</strong>. These will work with a variety of devices and input methods.</li> <li>Implement <a href="https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Accessibility/ARIA">ARIA</a> where applicable to communicate context, like change of state, to assistive technology.</li> </ul> <p>Further reading: <a href="http://pauljadam.com/moderna11y/">Modern Web Accessibility with JavaScript &amp; WAI-ARIA</a>.</p> <p>Further reading: <a href="http://heydonworks.com/practical_aria_examples/">Practical ARIA Examples</a>.</p> <p>Further watching: <a href="http://marcysutton.com/talk/a-web-for-everybody-smashing-conf-whistler/">A Web for Everybody.</a></p> <p>Follow the series <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/tag/accessibility-answers/">Accessibility Answers</a>. Ask me a question via my <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/contact/">contact page</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twiter</a>.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/Gx_o9dbqf34t">rawpixel</a></em>.</p>Accessibility and Low-Powered Devices2015-04-09T22:25:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-and-low-powered-devices/<p>Brad Frost writes about the intersection of accessibility, performance and low-end devices in <a href="http://bradfrost.com/blog/post/accessibility-and-low-powered-devices/">Accessibility and Low-Powered Devices</a>.</p>From Community Generosity to a Full-Time Job2015-04-10T22:27:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/from-community-generosity-to-a-full-time-job/<p>One video game artist, Bryan Shannon found a new way to make a living in video games – using one of my favorite, new games:</p> <blockquote> <p>Right now, 233 members of the <em>Cities: Skylines</em> community are paying him to create new content for the game, to the tune of $735 per building created. He’s not working for a developer, and he’s not working for himself; instead, he’s working for a small subset of devoted <em>Cities: Skylines</em> players that want to share his work with the world.</p> </blockquote> <p>Check out <a href="http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/04/how-a-cities-skylines-modder-turned-community-generosity-into-a-full-time-job/">How a <em>Cities: Skylines</em> modder turned community generosity into a full-time job</a> for the full story. I haven’t tried out any of the modding portions of <em>Cities</em> yet, but I imagine I will once my city becomes larger. I could see modding as adding the final touches to a masterpiece or as a way to show your personal style.</p>The Setup, 20152015-04-11T18:14:37-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-setup-2015/<p>I knew <a href="http://usesthis.com/">The Setup</a> existed, but in the last few days I enjoyed pouring over a number of the interviews. I thought it would be fun to write my own, and update it every year or so to see how it changes.</p> <h2>Who are you, and what do you do?</h2> <p>Hey there! I’m David Kennedy (DK, for short), and I’m a Theminator for <a href="http://automattic.com/">Automattic</a>. I wrangle themes for <a href="https://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>, making them the best they can be and ensuring everyone can find a theme they love. I’m an accessibility evangelist who loves the open web and open source code. Before writing code, I use to write words as a journalist.</p> <h2>What hardware do you use?</h2> <p>I’m writing this on a 2014 11-inch Macbook Air. I also have a 2014 15-inch Macbook Pro for work, a iPad Air and a custom-built PC for gaming. I carry an iPhone 5 with me everywhere. I tend to keep computers for about fours to five years, so I’m glad I love the 11-inch Air.</p> <h2>And what software?</h2> <p>I’ve simplified a lot in the last six months or so. No matter what device I’m on, I have <a href="http://simplenote.com/">Simplenote</a> running to keep notes, lists and drafts of writing. I’ve also started to use Apple Reminders and Calendar a lot more. Coupled with Mail, everything just works.</p> <p>On my personal machine, iPad and iPhone I use Safari to browse the Web. I use LastPass to save my passwords and <a href="http://pinboard.in/">Pinboard</a> to save bookmarks. I don’t have much software on my personal machine beyond the stock applications. I do have <a href="http://atom.io/">Atom</a> and <a href="http://www.libreoffice.org/">Libre Office</a> for editing documents. I have <a href="http://skype.com/">Skype</a>, <a href="https://www.hipchat.com/">Hipchat</a> and <a href="https://www.codeux.com/textual/">Textual</a> for the occasional communications need. I blog using WordPress, specifically <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>. I’m currently on a 56-day writing streak.</p> <p>When working on front end development, I use a mix of all the big browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Chrome wins as my most-used. I like <a href="http://iterm2.com/">iTerm 2</a> for my command-line editing, <a href="https://www.virtualbox.org/">VirtualBox</a> for my local environments, Atom for my text editing and <a href="https://cyberduck.io/">Cyber Duck</a> for any FTP needs. At Automattic, we use <a href="http://slack.com/">Slack</a> for communication, and a smattering of Gmail. Among the browser extensions and add-ons I use for Chrome and Firefox on a regular basis, these I cannot live without: <a href="http://wave.webaim.org/">Wave</a>, <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/accessibility-developer-t/fpkknkljclfencbdbgkenhalefipecmb">Accessibility Developer Tools</a>, <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-extractor/">Color Extractor Bookmarklet</a>, <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-contrast-chrome/">Color Contrast Analyzer for Chrome</a>, <a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/firebug/">Firebug</a> and <a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/web-developer/">Web Developer</a>. I also dig these color tools: <a href="http://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/tools/color-contrast/">Color Palette Accessibility Checker</a>, <a href="http://contrast-finder.tanaguru.com/">Tanaguru Contrast-Finder</a> and <a href="http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrastanalyser">Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA)</a>. Yes, I am a color contrast nerd. I also use <a href="https://imageoptim.com/">ImageOptim</a> a lot. I usually do most of my web development in Chrome, most of my accessibility testing in Firefox and lots of screen reader testing in Safari and Voiceover.</p> <h2>What would be your dream setup?</h2> <p>I bought my 11-inch Macbook Air less than six months ago, but I seriously considered getting something with a flavor of Linux on it. The thought of having a more “free” machine entices me. I looked at a few machines, but <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2015/02/27/taking-control-of-your-computing-life/">couldn’t get over the hump</a> of not having everything tied together in one ecosystem via Apple. So I’d love an open machine that does that just as well. Oh, and less software. Why do I need all this? 🙂</p> <p>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/1936/">Pexels.com</a>.</p>The Long Web2015-04-12T13:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-long-web/<p>In <a href="https://vimeo.com/118146193">The Long Web</a>, Jeremy Keith talks about how with the Web, we’re building something greater than the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria">Library of Alexandria</a>. But to do that well, we need to pay attention to the things that matter, like HTML, progressive enhancement, performance and URL structure. His message is simple: build your sites for the long haul. Make them last. It’s something we don’t think about enough in the rush to create the next thing on the Web.</p>A Look Back at the Mother of All Demos2015-04-13T23:30:47-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-look-back-at-the-mother-of-all-demos/<p>Ars Technica <a href="http://arstechnica.com/the-multiverse/2015/04/from-the-vault-watching-and-re-watching-the-mother-of-all-demos/">looks back at the Mother of All Demos</a>, the first demo of the computer mouse, in a unique way.</p>Accessible Zen: Version 1.1.52015-04-14T19:52:29-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-version-1-1-5/<p>I just released an update to <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, the first one in almost a year! It’s been too long, something I hope doesn’t happen again. Release, release, release, as they say.</p> <p>Big thanks to Lutz Donnerhacke for the German translation added in this update. Speaking of translations, that’s why I took so long to release this version. I tried to wait for translators to update files, based on the recent changes. But translators do their work out of the goodness of their hearts (Thank you!), and they didn’t have the time to verify that the packaged translations work perfectly. So I just released. 🙂 If you speak French or German, you could help out Accessible Zen in a big way. Take the translation files for a spin and update them. Send them my way, and I’ll release an update. The changelog is below for 1.1.4 and 1.1.5.</p> <p class="callout"> Grab the theme in the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen">official theme directory</a>. </p> <p><strong>April 12, 2015</strong> Release: Version 1.1.5</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/61">Add missing translatable strings for Continue Reading area</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/commit/d07cca141e18a1d868d187b4cf762552b18132fd">Fix unclosed h1 tag in archive.php</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/62">Change some top level headings to h2</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/64">Update Genericons to 3.2</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/65">Update theme description and make it tighter</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/65">Update screenshot</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/63">Add bottom padding to post author comments for better spacing</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/68">Clean up Continue reading links</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/commit/e975d88004c1749801795b0ac4324766b2236298">Make theme have only one h1 per page for better accessibility</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/commit/8c247cb03cc0e2664cfc2e146fbb7b6eac89b674">Update translation files</a>.</li> <li>Clean up spacing in style.css.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/commit/77f6000a8f5f9442ab113d1a6593554a568c69e7">Update licensing information</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/commit/2ed76b0c3207156145aead251c820a7d68bb9860">Add latin extended character support in Google web fonts</a>.</li> <li>Adjust spacing around headings for better design See <a href="http://https//github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/commit/29a3c2966328339548ab9dc21a1857c3a3e4f61a">this commit</a> and <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/commit/56a965716c5b4b80176505427aec1d452fb9d5e5">this one</a>.</li> <li>Update tranlation files.</li> <li>Add German translation file by Lutz Donnerhacke.</li> <li>Add theme support for title tag. <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/core/2014/10/29/title-tags-in-4-1/">More information</a>.</li> </ul>Let WordPress Speak2015-04-15T21:51:17-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/let-wordpress-speak/<blockquote> <p>WordPress 4.2 is shipping with a useful new JavaScript method: wp.a11y.speak(). This is a utility to make it easy for WordPress core to create consistent methods for providing live updates for JavaScript events to users of screen readers – with the side benefit that developers of plug-ins and themes can also make use of it either on the front or back end.</p> </blockquote> <p>From <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/2015/04/15/let-wordpress-speak-new-in-wordpress-4-2/">Let WordPress Speak: New in WordPress 4.2</a> on Make WordPress Accessible.</p> <p>I’m excited about this upcoming feature in WordPress and its ability to make modern, snappy JavaScript-powerd pieces of WordPress a great experience for screen reader users.</p>Seven Things Every Designer Needs to Know about Accessibility2015-04-16T22:39:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/7-things-every-designer-needs-to-know-about-accessibility/<p>Jesse Hausler writes a some nice tips for designers who want to incorporate accessibility into their everyday work in <a href="https://medium.com/salesforce-ux/7-things-every-designer-needs-to-know-about-accessibility-64f105f0881b">7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about Accessibility</a>.</p>Hope for the Open Web2015-04-17T23:25:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hope-for-the-open-web/<blockquote> <p>I would much rather an imperfect open system to a perfect proprietary one.<br> <cite>Jeremy Keith in <a href="https://adactio.com/journal/8735">Hope</a>.</cite></p> </blockquote>Vanilla JavaScript Resources2015-04-18T23:57:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/vanilla-javascript-resources/<p>I challenged myself today to take some jQuery I used for an off-canvas slide-out menu and turn it into vanilla JavaScript.</p> <p>I still have some work to do, but am about half way there. Two resources that I found very useful:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://blog.adtile.me/2014/01/16/a-dive-into-plain-javascript/">A Dive Into Plain JavaScript</a></li> <li><a href="http://youmightnotneedjquery.com/">You Might Not Need jQuery</a></li> </ul>Accessibility is Not an Edge Case2015-04-19T14:25:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-is-not-an-edge-case/<p>Paul Boag says accessibility is not about designing for the few. It is <a href="https://boagworld.com/accessibility/accessibility-is-not-what-you-think/">designing for us all</a>.</p>Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Medium?2015-04-20T22:32:39-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-medium/<blockquote> <p>And when the publisher of a personal site writes for Medium, is she really giving up on her own site? Couldn’t she be simply hoping to reach new readers?</p> </blockquote> <p>Jeffrey Zeldman in <a href="http://www.zeldman.com/2015/04/20/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-medium/">Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Medium</a>?</p>Tips for Surviving Google’s “Mobilegeddon”2015-04-21T22:50:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/tips-for-surviving-googles-mobilegeddon/<p>Aaron Gustafson has four tips for <a href="http://www.aaron-gustafson.com/notebook/tips-for-surviving-googles-mobilegeddon/">getting through Google’s big algorithm change related to mobile sites</a>. Hopefully. you’re doing most of them already.</p>Inside Automattic's Remote Hiring Process2015-04-22T21:11:36-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/inside-automattics-remote-hiring-process/<p>Automattic’s Creative Director, Dave Martin, takes you <a href="http://davemart.in/2015/04/22/inside-automattics-remote-hiring-process/">inside the way Automattic’s hires its employees</a>. Some of it may surprise you.</p>Hey, Killer by Local H2015-04-23T22:59:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hey-killer-by-local-h/<p>Few bands conjure up fun for me like <a href="http://www.localh.com/">Local H</a>. I love their minimal approach to rock and the in-your-face style. Back when I first heard their music, it amazed me they were only a two-piece outfit. They still are, but they’ve <a href="http://www.localh.com/25-years-of-local-h.html">changed drummers over the years</a>.</p> <p>I got excited when I saw they released a new album recently, <a href="http://rd.io/x/Rl5GWuA-BFML/">Hey, Killer</a>. Turns out, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hey,_Killer">fans largely funded the album</a>. It’s not a conceptual release, like they’ve done in the past, but it’s still Local H being Local H. 🙂 Give it a listen!</p>Perfectionism and Blogging2015-04-24T22:57:04-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/perfectionism-and-blogging/<p>My colleague Kathryn Presner talks about <a href="http://presspublish.events/2015/04/13/perfectionism-and-blogging/">perfectionism and blogging</a> on Press Publish. Has perfectionism stopped you from blogging? It has me, but not lately.</p>Everyone Has JavaScript, Right?2015-04-25T23:39:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/everyone-has-javascript-right/<p>Because sometimes your JavaScript <a href="http://kryogenix.org/code/browser/everyonehasjs.html">just won’t work</a>. Be prepared.</p>Accessibility Answers: Which Accessibility Problems Do I Fix First?2015-04-26T23:25:18-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-answers-which-accessibility-problems-do-i-fix-first/<p><em>When I give presentations on accessibility, I often get one or two questions I’ve fielded before. I’ve collected a handful for an ongoing series of posts with my answers. I hope it helps you understand accessibility better.</em></p> <p><strong>Which accessibility problems do I fix first?</strong></p> <p>You’ve tested your site or application for accessibility and discovered you have a long list of problems. You have a set of priorities dictated by other forces, like a feature list, a revenue stream or company goals. How do you fit in accessibility? Maybe you should tack it on at the end? Focus on it in a separate sprint?</p> <p>You don’t have to do any of that, or alter your goals or priorities. Of course, you do have to slot accessibility into your workflow. That’s where you should start – wherever it fits into your workflow. In a perfect world, you want to be testing code for accessibility problems before it’s committed and pushed to production. You want to involve people with disabilities in your design thinking and testing. But one thing at a time here.</p> <p>Fix the problems you have in your design or code in the next swath of work you <em>already</em> plan on doing. Pick one area and focus on it. Fix it, and deploy those changes, even if you don’t fix all the problems. Repeat that process. Accessibility is a continuum, not just one step.</p> <p>That area of focus could be keyboard accessibility, adding missing labels or whatever your testing reveals. The problems you should fix first should be a small selection of ones you have in front of you. And that selection should be related to the work you’re doing already. Make it a little better one section at a time.</p> <p>Further reading: <a href="http://www.karlgroves.com/2015/01/01/you-dont-have-accessibility-problems-you-have-quality-problems/">You Don’t have Accessibility Problems, You have Quality Problems</a></p> <p>Follow the series <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/tag/accessibility-answers/">Accessibility Answers</a>. Ask me a question via my <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/contact/">contact page</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twiter</a>.</p> <p>_Image by <em><a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/Gx_o9dbqf34t">rawpixel</a></em>.</p>Art Direction and Creativity on the Web in 20152015-04-27T21:52:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/art-direction-and-creativity-on-the-web-in-2015/<p>Listen to Andrew Clarke, Jeffrey Zeldman and Dan Mall <a href="http://stuffandnonsense.co.uk/blog/about/unfinished-business-episode-105-seventeen-coats-of-bullshit">talk about art direction and creativity on the Web</a> in this episode of the Unfinished Business podcast. I loved this episode because of the great topics and how they intersect with the flexibility and unknown future of the Web.</p>Explaining Web Design2015-04-28T23:59:04-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/explaining-web-design/<p>Since transitioning away from journalism and writing to working on the Web some six-plus years ago, I’ve struggled explaining to my family what I do.</p> <p>Sure, there’s the go-to: <em>I make websites</em>. Or: <em>I help people publish online</em>. <em>I help people tell their stories on the Web</em>. That’s my favorite.</p> <p>When I explained to my mom what Automattic did when I joined, and the mission behind WordPress, she started to see why I shifted my lifelong ambition of writing words to writing code. But I never really shifted. I’m still making. Now, I’m making the Web, and it’s messy. It can’t be clearly defined on most days and damn, it’s so fluid.</p> <p>I guess I just make the Web with the rest of you. And I love it.</p>Websites as Art2015-04-29T22:41:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/websites-as-art/<p>I <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/explaining-web-design/">make the Web</a> with a lot of different people each day. We push pixels and stress over things like the experience and the performance, but most of that lives in the here and now. Websites evolve. Links break, designs change. Sites go offline.</p> <p>People can visit what I make now, but how long will it last? Most web design has a shelf-life. Does it make an impression? Will that last? Web design alone won’t last or make a strong impression. Pair that with people’s content, their blog posts, the stories and life’s work they share – that <em>will</em> last. Hopefully, whatever I’m doing gets out of the way of that.</p> <p>Because I just provide a frame and canvas for the artwork.</p>One Journalism Student on the Job She'll Never Have2015-04-30T20:05:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/one-journalism-student-on-the-job-shell-never-have/<p>Despite training for that job she’ll never have for a year, Jenny Surane <a href="https://jennysurane.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/the-job-that-ive-spent-the-last-year-learning-is-not-the-one-ill-have/">comes out of the experience</a> feeling empowered.</p> <p>Hat tip: <a href="http://om.co/2015/04/30/student-editor-explains-reality-of-todays-media/">Om Malik</a>.</p>The Tesla Powerwall2015-05-01T22:25:48-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-tesla-powerwall/<p>Elon Musk <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKORsrlN-2k">debuts the Tesla Powerwall</a>, a technology that could change the way we think of fuel. I’m excited about what this could mean for the planet. Plus, it’s awesome that Tesla will be open sourcing all the patents.</p>Apollo 11 Mission Patch2015-05-02T23:08:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/apollo-11-mission-patch/<p>Today, I watched <a href="http://pbsamerica.co.uk/rocket-men">Rocket Men</a>, a documentary about the United States’ journey to the moon. I’m a space history junkie, and I learned something new about the Apollo 11 mission patch.</p> <p>Of course, Apollo 11 was the mission where Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon. His famous words, “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” related to inspiration behind the <a href="http://history.nasa.gov/patches/Apollo/Apollo11.jpg">mission patch</a>. All the other mission patches included the names of the astronauts on the mission. Not this one. Why? Because it was for all mankind. How appropriate!</p> <p>Learn more about Apollo 11 on <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo11.html">NASA’s mission page</a>.</p>Accessibility Answers: How Do I Handle Alt Attributes2015-05-03T23:58:17-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-answers-how-do-i-handle-alt-attributes/<p><em>When I give presentations on accessibility, I often get one or two questions I’ve fielded before. I’ve collected a handful for an ongoing series of posts with my answers. I hope it helps you understand accessibility better.</em></p> <p><strong>How do I handle alt attributes?</strong></p> <p>Alt attributes can trip up even the most seasoned web worker. But do them right, and they make a huge difference to screen reader users.</p> <p>I like this table from an <a href="http://uxpamagazine.org/make-your-presentations-accessible/">article by Whitney Quesenbery</a>.</p> <table> <tr> <th scope="col"> <strong>If the image contains…</strong> </th> <th scope="col"> <strong>The alt text should…</strong> </th> </tr> <tr> <td> Text </td> <td> Repeat the text </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Visual information </td> <td> Explain it </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Sensory information </td> <td> Describe it </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Nothing new </td> <td> Keep it <em>very</em> short<br> (if you can’t make it “null”) </td> </tr> </table> <p>If you want more explanation, check out the <a href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/images/decision-tree/">W3C’s alt decision tree</a>.</p> <p>All images should have an alt attribute, even if it’s empty or null, like: <code>alt=&quot;&quot;</code> .</p> <p>Follow the series <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/accessibility-answers/">Accessibility Answers</a>. Ask me a question via my <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/contact/">contact page</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twiter</a>.</p> <p><em>Image by <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/Gx_o9dbqf34t">rawpixel</a></em>.</p>A One Page App in One Day!2015-05-04T23:51:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-one-page-app-in-one-day/<p>Jeremy Keith spent most of a day making a single page app, and he’s pretty <a href="https://adactio.com/journal/8862">pleased with the results</a>.</p>A Woman with Usher Syndrome Reviews Her Apple Watch2015-05-05T23:58:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-woman-with-usher-syndrome-reviews-her-apple-watch/<p>One woman with Usher Syndrome (she’s deaf and blind) <a href="http://www.mollywatt.com/blog/my-apple-watch-after-5-days">shares her thoughts on the new Apple watch</a>. It’s a great read – check it out.</p>Notes on Client-Rendered Accessibility2015-05-06T23:57:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/notes-on-client-rendered-accessibility/<p>Marcy Sutton shares some tips, tricks and pitfalls for the growing world of <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/05/06/client-rendered-accessibility/">client-rendered accessibility</a>.</p>How to Create Better, More Accessible WordPress Themes2015-05-07T22:06:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-to-create-better-more-accessible-wordpress-themes/<p>Sami Keijonen tells you exactly <a href="https://poststatus.com/how-to-create-accessible-wordpress-themes/">how to build an accessibility-ready WordPress theme</a>. I’ve wanted to write this post myself – I even have an outline for it with notes. Now, I don’t have to because Sami has put together such a detailed piece.</p>Theming with the REST API2015-05-08T10:30:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/theming-with-the-rest-api/<p>My colleague, Jack Lenox, writes about the future of WordPress theming in <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2015/05/07/theming-with-the-rest-api-meet-picard/">Theming with the REST API – Meet Picard</a>. Hint: Check out the article for a cool, new theme you can grab on GitHub.</p>The Days Are Long But the Decades Are Short2015-05-09T19:59:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-days-are-long-but-the-decades-are-short/<p>Sam Altman wrote down a few <a href="http://blog.samaltman.com/the-days-are-long-but-the-decades-are-short">life lessons</a> for his thirtieth birthday. They’re worth a read, especially if you’re like me and have questioned how you spend your time, and whether it truly creates the impact you want. I’ve done that a lot this year, and have begun to make some changes.</p> <p>Hat tip: <a href="http://ma.tt/2015/05/decades-are-short/">Matt Mullenweg</a>.</p>Where Home Is2015-05-10T23:59:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/where-home-is/<p>This week I’m visiting home— Florida, the place where I grew up. I haven’t lived here in eight years though, and have started to struggle calling it home. Why? Because my definition of home has begun to change.</p> <p>I see home as something less rooted in a place where memories happened or a place where family or friends helped you develop. Home happens where you are. It’s a place where you evolve. And perhaps it isn’t just a place either.</p> <p>Maybe’s it’s a goal, a close friend or family member or a spot on a map smaller than a city. It changes with you so long as you’re looking for a new place to find a new part of yourself. Like I said, home happens where you are, and for me, that hasn’t been Florida in a long time.</p>The Abundance of JavaScript Libraries2015-05-12T22:30:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-abundance-of-javascript-libraries/<blockquote> <p>Instead of actively trying to learn a new library, I try to observe the actual ideas and patterns behind them. So instead of concentrating on a specific implementation, I believe it’s more important to understand the implications of the underlying idea. Observing the adoption or rejection of an idea or a pattern is vital. The adoption of technology reaching critical mass, the “tipping point”, is getting faster and faster. As is the rejection of previously hot ideas.</p> </blockquote> <p>Joonas Pajunen in <a href="http://joonaspajunen.com/the-abundance-of-javascript-libraries">the abundance of JavaScript libraries</a>.</p>Blue Chips: The Orlando Magic's Lost Dynasty2015-05-13T11:30:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/blue-chips-the-orlando-magics-lost-dynasty/<p>I grew up watching the Orlando Magic of the 1990s. So this <a href="http://grantland.com/1990s-orlando-magic-oral-history/">history of the team</a> hits home because the myself and the rest of Central Florida had such high hopes for a team in an area void of professional sports.</p> <p>Hat tip: <a href="http://andrewspittle.com/2015/05/11/blue-chips/">Andrew Spittle</a>.</p>Be Kind2015-05-14T11:49:37-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/be-kind/<p>Andrew Bosworth shares a personal story from his career about how <a href="http://boz.com/articles/be-kind.html">being kind can increase your impact</a> in many ways. It’s a good reminder how the simplest approaches can make you better in ways didn’t imagine.</p>Choosing Performance2015-05-19T23:44:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/choosing-performance/<blockquote> <p>It’s not because of any sort of technical limitations. No, if a website is slow it’s because performance was not prioritized. It’s because when push came to shove, time and resources were spent on other features of a site and not on making sure that site loads quickly.</p> <p>This goes back to what many have been stating as of late: performance is a cultural problem.</p> </blockquote> <p>Tim Kadlec in <a href="http://timkadlec.com/2015/05/choosing-performance/">Choosing Performance</a> on why the Web is slow.</p>Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2015!2015-05-21T23:23:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/happy-global-accessibility-awareness-day-2015/<p>Today marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day, an event that started in 2011 and has grown ever since.</p> <p>If you want to know more, check out Marcy Sutton’s Accessibility Wins blog for a <a href="http://a11ywins.tumblr.com/post/119550846548/happy-global-accessibility-awareness-day">nice roundup of activities and resources</a>. Even better, get involved and start talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility. Today and any day is a great day to dive in!</p> <p>If I were you, I’d read one of the articles or learn about one of the resources on my <a href="http://a11y.me/">Accessibility and Me</a> page. Then start tackling accessibility little by little in your every day work.</p> <p>Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day!</p>This is Water2015-05-23T21:28:04-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/this-is-water/<p>I love a good dose of inspiration, and I found it today with David Foster Wallace’s <a href="http://qz.com/410057/10-years-later-david-foster-wallaces-commencement-address-at-kenyon-college-is-as-relevant-as-ever/">This is Water commencement speech</a>. I came across the link, thanks to it being the tenth anniversary of the speech. It’s well-known, but I had never read it. You can also <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYGaXzJGVAQ">listen to it on YouTube</a>.</p> <p>My favorite line?</p> <blockquote> <p>The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.</p> </blockquote>The True Cost of Progressive Enhancement2015-05-24T23:07:55-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-true-cost-of-progressive-enhancement/<p>I stumbled across this fantastic post today about the <a href="http://blog.easy-designs.net/archives/the-true-cost-of-progressive-enhancement/">cost of progressive enhancement</a> by Aaron Gustafson. Published in 2013, it’s as relevant as ever, especially considering the fast-paced world of the Web and the increasing reliance on JavaScript.</p>Modern-Day Philosopher: Brunello Cucinelli2015-05-25T20:18:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/modern-day-philosopher-brunello-cucinelli/<p>I finally got around to reading <a href="http://pi.co/brunello-cucinelli-2/">Om Malik’s interview with Brunello Cucinelli</a>. The fashion entrepreneur has plenty of advice about life, business, technology and more that really hit a nerve with me. I especially liked his thoughts around work and life balance. Give it a read!</p>The Ryanair Approach to Progressive Enhancement2015-05-26T22:32:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-ryanair-approach-to-progressive-enhancement/<blockquote> <p>Use progressive enhancement as a means to reward your users. Don’t expect them to do things for you just to use your product. If the tools you use means your users have to have a “modern” browser and load a lot of script you share your problems with them.</p> </blockquote> <p>Christian Heilmann in a post about how using <a href="http://christianheilmann.com/2015/05/24/the-ryanair-approach-to-progressive-enhancement/">progressive enhancement poorly</a> can become frustrating for users.</p>Browser Testing2015-05-27T23:02:51-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/browser-testing/<p>Smart words from Jeremy Keith on <a href="https://adactio.com/journal/8982">browser “support” and testing</a>. He says:</p> <blockquote> <p>So to put it in glib terms, I <em>support</em> every browser …but I <em>optimise</em> for none.</p> </blockquote>Web! What is it Good For?2015-05-30T23:47:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/web-what-is-it-good-for/<blockquote> <p>Y’see, what attracted me to the web—to the point where I have this blind spot—wasn’t the opportunity to make money. What attracted me to the web was its remarkable ability to allow anyone to share anything, not just for the here and now, but for the future too.</p> </blockquote> <p>Jeremy’s Keith in <a href="https://adactio.com/journal/9016">Web! What is it Good For</a>.</p>Skye is One2015-05-31T19:30:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/skye-is-one/<p>A few weeks ago, my daughter turned one. She’s just started walking, waving and beginning to show her personality. She surprises us each day in so many wonderful ways.</p> <p>When you have a child, you know they’ll change you. But you don’t really know. I know now because many of the little things I use to stress over, or that may have given me pause, do not any longer. Petty arguments, old grudges, material things, etc. I shrug them off more easily, thanks to Skye.</p> <p>You gain a clearer, tighter perspective as a parent. If you don’t, the lessons, values and practices you wish to impart on your child won’t have as much influence. I know I will be far from perfect, but I want to do the best I can.</p> <p>I heard a parent recently describe his job as a father as “…the most important work I do every day.” Of course! I knew that before, but after a year, I really know it. I see that work, feel it, and touch it every day. And soon, it will start talking! 🙂</p>This Web App Best Viewed By Someone Else2015-06-01T22:30:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/this-web-app-best-viewed-by-someone-else/<p>Eric Meyer talks about the universality of the Web in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r38al1w-h4k">This Web App Best Viewed By Someone Else</a>. This is a talk worth watching if you’re into the history of the Web, its future and making it truly ubiquitous.</p>The Web is Not Poor Man's Native2015-06-03T23:12:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-web-is-not-poor-mans-native/<p>A few days ago, I linked to an excellent post from Jeremy Keith where he talked about what <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/web-what-is-it-good-for/">attracted him to the Web</a>. Chris Wilson touches on similar subjects in <a href="http://cwilso.com/2015/05/29/the-web-is-not-poor-mans-native/">The Web is not Poor Man’s Native</a>, diving into some of the Web’s advantages and disadvantages in its current state.</p>A Manifesto for Accessible User Experience2015-06-05T13:05:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-manifesto-for-accessible-user-experience/<p>Sarah Horton, David Sloan and a host of other people in the accessibility community have created a <a href="https://medium.com/@accessibleux/rough-manifesto-for-accessible-user-experience-10a3ea34a3d6">manifesto for accessible user experience</a>. They call if rough, so it sounds like it will evolve in the future, but it’s a great read and worth watching develop.</p>You and the Future of WordPress Themes2015-06-08T16:47:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/you-and-the-future-of-wordpress-themes/<p>I have a confession.</p> <p>When I created <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>, I wanted it to be downloaded and used by thousands. I thought since it would be one of the first accessibility-ready WordPress themes in the directory, it had a chance to become something special.</p> <p>That turned out to be a selfish viewpoint though. Why? When you release open source code, you quickly learn that you alone have little control over what comes after the initial release. You never know how people will use your creation, and what will come of it as a result. I see it as a form of collaboration. It’s not about you and your ideas, but the community and its ideas.</p> <p>I got much more pleasure out of getting a <a href="https://twitter.com/jack728/status/351753432673165313">simple thank you for releasing the theme</a>, or seeing someone <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/is-this-venue-accessible/">use it for an amazing cause</a> than anything else. At those moments, the number of downloads don’t matter. Neither does what was used to build it or whether it employs the latest design trends. What matters most is that someone took something I made, and created something even better with it. Like I said, collaboration.</p> <p>That brings me to you and the future of themes. In a <a href="http://wptavern.com/wordpress-theme-review-team-is-cracking-down-on-violations-of-the-presentation-vs-functionality-guideline#comment-68775">recent comment on a WordPress Tavern post</a>, my colleague <a href="http://iandanielstewart.com/">Ian Stewart</a>, said:</p> <blockquote> <p>It often feels like there are missing pieces in the WordPress experience outside themes themselves. Much like I wish more people released design ideas for future default themes it’d be great to see more people push forward on ideas and solutions that could benefit every theme and every user.</p> </blockquote> <p>We often start building themes, plugins and side projects for ourselves and our own benefit. We forget that the real magic happens not because of how we create or why we create our projects, but in the simple act of sharing our ideas. Because then, someone else can take those ideas and build on them.</p> <p>So as we think about the future of themes, we, not just you play a very big part in it. It matters less about the twists and turns we take to get somewhere new and exciting, and more that we go around those corners together. Have you collaborated with anyone in the WordPress community lately?</p> <p><em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.pexels.com/photo/road-street-desert-industry-932/">Pexels.com</a></em>.</p>I Have No Idea What The Hell I'm Doing2015-06-09T21:33:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/i-have-no-idea-what-the-hell-im-doing/<p>Brad Frost talks about dealing with the uncertainty of the future on the Web as a designer or developer in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzZuvEL6Lss">I Have No Idea What The Hell I’m Doing</a>.</p> <p>If you need it, there’s a transcript on <a href="http://bradfrost.com/blog/post/i-have-no-idea-what-the-hell-i-am-doing/">Brad’s site</a>.</p>What is Code?2015-06-13T19:13:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-is-code/<p>You might hear the word code mentioned a lot, but do you know what it is? Paul Ford helps <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-paul-ford-what-is-code/">answer the question</a>.</p>Creating Your Minimum Viable Product2015-06-16T22:10:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/creating-your-minimum-viable-product/<blockquote> <p>Keep it small, keep it lean and keep it simple. The needs of the customer are often simpler than the solutions presented.</p> </blockquote> <p>Some wise words on <a href="http://matty.co.za/creating-minimum-viable-product/">creating your minimum viable product</a> by Matty Cohen. We often get wrapped up in the tools and techniques for the solution rather than focusing on the solution.</p>A Journey Into Web Accessibility2015-06-20T12:06:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-journey-into-web-accessibility/<blockquote> <p>I want to build more accessible sites, but when I’ve looked into it, I usually find myself lost in the details without any general context to connect all the dots. I’m not saying the general information isn’t out there, but rather that I didn’t know where to find it.</p> </blockquote> <p>Steven Bradley talks about the beginning of his <a href="http://www.vanseodesign.com/web-design/accessibility-journey/">journey into web accessibility</a> in a series on his blog. He’ll be chronicling his path in upcoming posts, and I’m excited to read his perspective. Many newcomers to to accessibility <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/welcome-to-a11y/">feel this way and they shouldn’t</a>. Welcome, Steven! Don’t worry about not knowing everything, not getting it all right or whether it’s perfect. Just treat accessibility for what it is – a design constraint. Constraints force us to push boundaries and think ahead, and accessibility is no different.</p>The First Librarian of Congress for the Internet Age2015-06-21T17:28:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-first-librarian-of-congress-for-the-internet-age/<p>I didn’t know that the Librarian of Congress holds a lifetime appointment, so the fact that this next one would be the <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/06/hiring-the-first-librarian-of-congress-for-the-internet-age/396038/?single_page=true">first after the birth of the Web</a> is very interesting.</p>Ten Years of Automattic2015-06-23T22:11:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/ten-years-of-automattic/<blockquote> <p>Our work is far from finished, and I hope there are hundreds of failures we learn from over the next 20 years. One of the things that makes me happiest is that I get to wake up every morning and work on the hard problem of making the web a better and more open place, and I do it alongside close to 400 talented people at Automattic and thousands in the broader community.</p> </blockquote> <p>In <a href="http://ma.tt/2015/06/ten-years-of-automattic/">Ten Years of Automattic</a>, Matt Mullenweg talks about the first decade of the company he founded to help make the Web a better place. I’m proud to be a small part of that journey, and can’t wait to see where we go next.</p>Responsive Design: Where Do We Go From Here?2015-06-25T23:21:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/responsive-design-where-do-we-go-from-here/<blockquote> <p>Accessibility is about providing good experiences for everyone, regardless of physical or mental abilities, gender, race, or language. It recognizes that we all have special needs—physical limitations, bandwidth limitations, device limitations—that may require us to experience the same interface in different ways.</p> </blockquote> <p>Aaron Gustafson talks about how accessibility, responsive design and progressive enhancement blend together in <a href="http://www.aaron-gustafson.com/notebook/where-do-we-go-from-here/">Where Do We Go From Here?</a></p>President Obama on Grace2015-06-28T13:43:16-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/president-obama-on-grace/<p>You should <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDXMoO9ABFE">watch President Barack Obama’s moving eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney</a>, one of the victims of deadly shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s truly moving, and may go down as one of Obama’s best oratorial moments.</p> <p>Two of my favorite reactions to it include <a href="http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/president-obama-took-me-to-church-today-1714260805">President Obama Took Me to Church Today</a> and <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/grace/397064/">Obama’s Grace</a>.</p>The Gruen Effect2015-06-29T21:21:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-gruen-effect/<blockquote> <p>Maybe this answers the age old question of <a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;q=why+do+all+responsive+sites+look+the+same&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8">“Why do all [responsive] sites look the same?”</a> You know the formula:</p> <ol> <li>Full bleed hero with call to action</li> <li>List of three or so features</li> <li>Email newsletter signup form</li> <li>Social media links in footer</li> </ol> <p>Maybe the Gruen Effect is secretly controlling Web Design.</p> </blockquote> <p>Dave Rupert talks about <a href="http://daverupert.com/2015/06/the-gruen-effect/">The Gruen Effect</a>, and how it might relate to web design. Victor Gruen invented the American shopping mall and discovered stores could lure customers with big, bright storefronts.</p>Imbalance, Innovation and Work-Life Balance2015-06-30T22:35:18-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/imbalance-innovation-and-work-life-balance/<blockquote> <p>“There is the psychological discomfort knowing you should be doing something else. And we presume that balance is a good thing. When something is out of balance you can get quite innovative in your attempts to resolve that fact.”</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://time.com/money/3938051/neil-degrasse-tyson-thinks-work-life-balance-is-overrated/">Neil deGrasse Tyson on work-life balance</a>.</p>Five Goofy Things Medium Did That Broke Accessibility2015-07-06T23:26:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/five-goofy-things-medium-did-that-broke-accessibility/<p>I love that the Medium Engineering team has written about <a href="https://medium.com/medium-eng/five-goofy-things-medium-did-that-break-accessibility-3bc804ae818d">some of its accessibility mishaps</a>. It’s even better that they’ve fixed them, learned from the experience and shared it with the rest of the Web community.</p> <p>If we want web accessibility to become easier, we all need to talk about it in a more open, honest way. Accessibility isn’t just failure or success. The accessibility of your site or application doesn’t have to be perfect, just a little better than before.</p>Google Plus and Web Performance2015-07-07T20:43:55-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/google-plus-and-web-performance/<blockquote> <p>What we actually found has the most impact and what has some of the most unsolved problems in web performance is size of CSS.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://responsivewebdesign.com/podcast/google-plus.html">The Responsive Web Design podcast featuring Google Plus</a> has a handful of interesting tidbits about responsive web design and performance. It’s definitely worth a listen or read if performance is on your mind.</p>Thinking About Web Accessibility Differently2015-07-13T14:53:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/thinking-about-web-accessibility-differently/<p><em>This is the first in a three-part series on <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/everyday-accessibility">everyday accessibility</a>.</em></p> <p>Accessibility is hard. It shouldn’t be.</p> <p>Most people can’t define it. When you point a UXer, designer, developer, project manager or stakeholder to official specs, like the <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/">Web Content Accessibility Guidelines</a> (WCAG), created by the <a href="http://www.w3.org/">World Wide Web Consortium</a>, or W3C or the United States’ <a href="http://www.section508.gov/summary-section508-standards">Section 508 standards</a>, they have a hard time understanding what those specs actually mean.</p> <p>This creates a negative mindset from the very beginning and blocks progress in a very real way. This has to stop. Accessibility isn’t just a legal mandate or list of requirements. It’s really about people. You.</p> <p>You already have what it takes to make the Web accessible. Yes, really. No matter how much you know about web accessibility, you can make the Web a better place for everyone. In today’s world of evolving web standards, emerging best practices and a growing number of connected digital devices, the most important part of the puzzle is you. You, the web user. You, the project manager. You, the user experience designer. You, the web designer. You, the web developer.</p> <h2>What Accessibility Really Means</h2> <p>Making something accessible means designing and building websites and web applications that work for the widest possible audience, no matter their ability or disability. The Web’s creators developed it to be used by anyone, recognizing that its true power stems from its universality. They built it to be that way without any special configuration. We’re the ones that usually muck it up. How do we not do that?</p> <h3>Be Aware</h3> <p>While the technical details matter, your awareness matters more. The web accessibility landscape is far from clear and the perfect answers won’t always exist. Embrace this uncertainty as fuel for moving forward.</p> <p>You need to:</p> <ul> <li><strong>design and develop without fear, uncertainty and doubt</strong>: It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that web accessibility will limit your creativity or your ability to build the next big thing. Don’t let that happen. Accessibility can be beautiful and help spur new approaches to old problems, especially when we keep doing what we know how to do. Move forward with confidence.</li> <li><strong>know what you don’t know</strong>: No one knows it all, and that’s okay. We’re better together when we’re honest with ourselves and those around us. Do your best to plan, design and code in the open so you and others can pinpoint accessibility obstacles early, learn more and find solutions to problems faster.</li> <li><strong>favor pragmatism over perfection</strong>: Focus on creating solutions to accessibility problems and not just on the problem itself. Aim to show each other the balance between pushing boundaries and following established principles. You may make compromises along the way, but don’t sacrifice your design vision. Accessibility is just another design constraint.</li> <li><strong>contribute to the accessibility body of knowledge</strong>: The Web flourishes most when its people, processes, tools and systems are open. Welcome that. Share your ideas, your barriers, your processes and your code – even when they may not fit neatly into a case study or showcase. Examples and experimentation inform progress.</li> </ul> <p>You can help make web accessibility a reality, and easier for everyone who creates on and uses the Web. You know what to do next.</p> <p><em>This is the first in a three-part series on <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/everyday-accessibility">everyday accessibility</a>.</em></p>Talking About Web Accessibility Differently2015-07-15T14:57:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/talking-about-web-accessibility-differently/<p><em>This is the second in a three-part series on <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/everyday-accessibility">everyday accessibility</a>.</em></p> <p>No one wants to talk about accessibility. At least not in an open, honest way.</p> <p>Search the Web for “web accessibility,” and you’ll find a mixture of introductory articles about the basics, standards documentation and various testing tools. You’ll rarely find people, corporations or organizations admitting accessibility issues and talking about how they fixed them. No one will learn the how and why of accessibility unless we talk about it together, and go beyond the standards and tools to everyday challenges.</p> <p>It doesn’t have to be this way. We can change the conversation by making it more akin to the way everything else works on the Web. It needs to be fluid and open. Why does that not happen in the first place? Because most conversations about accessibility end up in an awkward place. Often, people see accessibility differently. Some see it as a feature, a legal mandate or a moral obligation. So naturally conversations involve phrases like:</p> <ul> <li>Let’s focus on that in the next release.</li> <li>We need to do it to comply with the law.</li> <li>It’s the right thing to do.</li> </ul> <p>These phrases come from talking about accessibility the wrong way. People see that giant stack of requirements, no matter why they exist, as a yes or no problem that needs to be solved. It’s either victory or failure.</p> <p>If they feel like they’re succeeding at accessibility within a process, project or organization, no one talks about it because that’s what they’re supposed to do. If they’re failing, they don’t want to talk about it. No one wants to talk about failure, especially failure to meet a legal obligation or complete a reasonable moral obligation.</p> <p>Accessibility carries the same fluidity as the Web. Web accessibility is progress – forward or backward. See it as a continuum. The steps in the process from bad to better to excellent and vice versa don’t look all that different. But look at the beginning and end of the process, and you’ll see a transformation. The continuum always changes. You control what direction it goes.</p> <p>Our words can set expectations, deliver inspiration and provide a foundation for action. Let’s talk about accessibility in a way that isn’t so black and white and still. Instead, let’s talk about it as something always in motion, full of chances, twists and turns. The progress of where that all goes belongs to us.</p> <p><em>This is the second in a three-part series on <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/everyday-accessibility">everyday accessibility</a>.</em></p>Practicing Web Accessibility Differently2015-07-17T15:12:10-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/practicing-web-accessibility-differently/<p><em>This is the third in a three-part series on <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/everyday-accessibility">everyday accessibility</a>.</em></p> <p>We make tasks, obstacles and goals harder than they are because we fear the unknown. Accessibility is no different, but you can change that perception by shining light on the unknown each day. With what you ask? What you already know.</p> <p>Eighty percent of accessibility is the basics. The other 20 percent can prove difficult, but only if you let it. The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle">80–20 rule</a> also applies to accessibility in that if you focus on solving the top 20 percent of your issues, 80 percent of the related problems go away or become easier.</p> <p>You can begin to solve the hard problems, or the 20 percent, by focusing on the decisions, people and processes around accessibility. Then, it becomes something you can do.</p> <p>The impetus for most accessibility successes or failures falls into one or more of these three categories:</p> <ul> <li>Decisions</li> <li>People</li> <li>Details</li> </ul> <p>What do I mean by those?</p> <h2>Decisions</h2> <p>Decisions represent turning points or the foundation of your accessibility process. They’re usually strategy-related, and become points of no return. An example of a decision like this? Creating a separate, accessible website that’s different from your main website. It might seem like a good idea to isolate the challenge of accessibility into one website. But then you have two codebases, two sets of content and a myriad of “differences” to track and maintain. Not good.</p> <h2>People</h2> <p>People make accessibility happen, but what if they don’t know the how or the why? Many Web workers just haven’t experienced accessibility first hand. They don’t know much about it, much less how to implement it in their projects. Take this classic example of making a button within a Web application. Let’s say that button saves a state of work. A Web developer might do this:</p> <pre class="language-html"><code class="language-html"><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>a</span> <span class="token attr-name">href</span><span class="token attr-value"><span class="token punctuation">=</span><span class="token punctuation">"</span>#<span class="token punctuation">"</span></span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span>Button<span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>a</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span></code></pre> <p>That’s valid HTML, but in most cases, if not all, a real button would be better here:</p> <pre class="language-html"><code class="language-html"><span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;</span>button</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span>Real Button<span class="token tag"><span class="token tag"><span class="token punctuation">&lt;/</span>button</span><span class="token punctuation">></span></span></code></pre> <p>So what if the people carrying out your project just don’t know how to do it better?</p> <h2>Details</h2> <p>In accessibility, details matter. In any given project, at least a thousand exist. If you don’t keep constant, intelligent pressure on them, they can get lost and ruin your efforts. Color contrast serves as a good example. Ensuring proper color contrast requires minding details like brand, color palettes, contrast guidelines, regular testing and more.</p> <h2>Question Everything</h2> <p>You might be thinking that all three of these points intersect. You’re right. People make decisions and track details, after all. What do we do about that? Ask good questions.</p> <p>Don Norman, a well-known design and usability expert said:</p> <blockquote> <p>What makes something simple or complex? It’s not the number of dials or controls or how many features it has: It is whether the person using the device has a good conceptual model of how it operates.</p> </blockquote> <p>The truth in this extends beyond users. Often we, the people who design and build, don’t have a good conceptual model of how our project works. We’re too busy managing changing priorities, timelines and business requirements. We know that won’t change. But we can change how we look at those changes and the decisions, people and details within our work. That will help us solve the hard 20 percent of accessibility.</p> <p>At each turning point, you should ask yourself, “How is this going to work?” Start the conversation with yourself and others. There are no bad questions or answers. Only the ones that never get asked or voiced. Accessibility is something you can do every day.</p> <p><em>This is the third in a three-part series on <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/everyday-accessibility">everyday accessibility</a>. Much of the content for this post came from a guest post I wrote for Digital Gov called <a href="http://www.digitalgov.gov/2015/02/20/accessibility-is-not-scary-2/">Accessibility Is (Not) Scary</a>.</em></p>The Web We Have To Save2015-07-23T13:00:00-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-web-we-have-to-save/<blockquote> <p>I miss when people took time to be exposed to different opinions, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares.</p> <p>That’s the web I remember before jail. That’s the web we have to save.</p> </blockquote> <p>Hossein Derakhshan in <a href="https://medium.com/matter/the-web-we-have-to-save-2eb1fe15a426">The Web We Have to Save</a>. He gets to what I think is the heart of blogging – the personal nature of it. We’ve lost some of that amid all the cruft around blogging.</p>Teaching Accessibility2015-07-24T21:33:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/teaching-accessibility/<p>Check out <a href="http://teachingaccessibility.com/">Teaching Accessibility</a>, an effort between disability advocates, schools and the tech industry to make all technology more accessible from the start. Also, see the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/07/23/this-small-change-could-make-a-big-difference-for-accessible-technology/">article about it in the Washington Post</a>, and the push to let applicants know that having accessibility knowledge is “preferred” to land a job in the field.</p> <p>Cool to see the initiative launch on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> as well.</p>A Roundtable on Progressive Enhancement2015-07-25T22:33:55-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-roundtable-on-progressive-enhancement/<p>A week or so ago, I listened to a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDNKs_6ptss">great discussion about progressive enhancement</a> from the Edge Conference. It touches on a number of topics that have popped up in the JavaScript community lately, like baselines and isomorphic JavaScript, and is definitely worth a listen. Related: Jeremy Keith on <a href="https://adactio.com/journal/9206">establishing a baseline</a>.</p>Well Designed Interfaces Look Boring2015-07-26T23:59:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/well-designed-interfaces-look-boring/<blockquote> <p>Complex functions require complex interfaces; so how has interface design changed to accommodate?</p> <p>Well, in many ways, it’s gotten boring.</p> </blockquote> <p>Matthew Ström in <a href="https://medium.com/mission-log/well-designed-interfaces-look-boring-568faa4559e0">Well Designed Interfaces Look Boring</a>. He argues that design will lean that way in the future because it works, and it’s what users want. We’re seeing this in WordPress themes too. Users want less of an one-size-fits-all approach and more of a works-for-me design.</p>Theme History and WordPress2015-07-27T21:25:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/theme-history-and-wordpress/<p>You may have seen this pop up in a few places, but the WordPress project has put the <a href="http://archive.wordpress.org/interviews/">interviews for its Milestones: The Story of WordPress</a> book online. The book is <a href="https://github.com/WordPress/book">available on GitHub</a> and in progress. If you’re a themer, you can listen to the <a href="http://archive.wordpress.org/interviews/tag/themes.html">rich history behind everything themes</a>, from the creation of premium themes to Kubrick and more. Plus, all the usual WordPress history. 🙂</p>A Guide to Parenting2015-07-28T19:50:22-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-guide-to-parenting/<p>One of my fellow Automatticians announced today that he and his wife expect a baby in the coming months. I’m thrilled for him. They have an amazing journey ahead. Part of our conversation included my guide to parenting, in four easy steps!</p> <blockquote> <p>You will be entering a period where everyone you talk to, strangers included, will give you advice about being a parent. So I will give you mine. 🙂</p> <ol> <li>Accept that you know nothing, and be okay with that. Every day is a learning opportunity. Iterate.</li> <li>Talk to your wife; <strong>a lot</strong>; Constantly; Good communication really helped us get through all the unknowns and known unknowns. After you talk to her, thank her for what she’s doing – do that at least once a day.</li> <li>Have fun. Even when you get baby poop on you, it will be okay!</li> <li>If anyone tells you to save up on your sleep now, punch them in the face. It is not possible to “save” sleep.</li> </ol> </blockquote> <p>Maybe this will help you too!</p>Publishing Versus Performance: Our Struggle for the Soul of the Web2015-07-29T22:15:39-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/publishing-versus-performance-our-struggle-for-the-soul-of-the-web/<p>Jeffrey Zeldman talks about the <a href="http://www.zeldman.com/2015/07/29/publishing-versus-performance-our-struggle-for-the-soul-of-the-web/">struggle for the soul of the Web</a>, brought forth by the <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/20/9002721/the-mobile-web-sucks">The Mobile Web Sucks</a> on The Verge. It’s worth a read as is Jeremy Keith’s related <a href="https://adactio.com/journal/9312">On the Verge</a> piece. To strike a balance between wonderful content and performance, like most things worth doing, we need more cooperation, experimentation, failure and patience.</p>Featured in WebAIM July 2015 Newsletter2015-07-30T21:07:55-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/featured-in-webaim-newsletter-hat-trick/<p>WebAIM featured one of my latest posts in its <a href="http://webaim.org/newsletter/2015/july">July 2015 Newsletter</a>. Check it out or read the post, <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2015/07/17/practicing-web-accessibility-differently/">Practicing Web Accessibility Differently</a>. I’m excited to see it in front of a wider audience because it’s part of a series I wrote called <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/tag/everyday-accessibility/">Everyday Accessibility</a> that I’m really proud of.</p>The Story Behind .io2015-07-31T21:11:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-story-behind-io/<p>When you see trends pop up in the tech industry, it’s easy to forget the history around them or the implications of the choices we make with our buying power. The <a href="http://citizen-ex.com/stories/io">story behind .io</a> adds context to at least one of those trends.</p>Erase and Rewind: A Tale of Innovation and Patience2015-08-01T23:37:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/erase-and-rewind-a-tale-of-innovation-and-patience/<p>In his talk at Open Web Camp 2015 called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WB_ffvIRjQ">Erase and Rewind: A Tale of Innovation and Patience</a>, Christian Heilmann has a lot of great messages for web developers. It’s just too many to list here, so you should give the talk a listen.</p> <p>The big takeaway I got from it? The Web is the Web. Unique. It’s not native, or like anything else. It’s designed to work independent of hardware, software, ability or location. How can you not be excited by that? Sure, there’s a lot to fix, and make better, but that just means you’ll find many places to make a difference. Instead of worrying about tools first, think of the user. It doesn’t matter if your build process is simple and efficient if the user doesn’t see a benefit as well. We can make the Web better – together. One project at a time.</p>Take Back TV – I Hope2015-08-02T23:06:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/take-back-tv-i-hope/<p>I did what the slogan for <a href="https://www.sling.com/">Sling TV</a> says, and we’ll see if it pays off. I took back my TV.</p> <p>Sling TV is the first service of its kind, offering a small package of live TV in a streaming service on the internet. Sports included! For me, that clinched it, and I signed up today after my Amazon Fire Stick arrived. I now have access ESPN and ESPN 2 along with a host of other cable TV favorites without the annoying cord. But I’m wondering if it will be worth it, and if it will come with its own set of annoying caveats.</p> <p>I’m watching the Nationals play the Mets as I write this, which is cool because I haven’t watched live sports in my house since I last had cable in 2008. When I signed up for cable internet last, they tried to sell me on a package with cable included. I told them they were wasting their time, and the sales associate asked what would make me sign up. “Give me an a la carte sports package for five to $10 a month.”</p> <p>Sling almost meets that, except its base package comes in at $20. Combine that with my eight dollars a month for Netflix, and the $50 or so for my internet connection, it would probably be cheaper to go with a cable package. I also dropped Hulu to save a bit of money. But for me, I’m willing to pay a little more to ensure I’m not getting a ton of channels or features I’ll never use. I do worry that if I’m tempted to add more channels, or some other form of streaming entertainment, the price will defeat some of the convenience.</p> <p>I went with Sling because I wanted just the sports. Channels like the History Channel, AMC and the Food Network are bonuses. I don’t really need DVR capability or local channels. I hope that the combination of a splash of live sports and the binge-ability of Netflix make for all the entertainment options I need. I flirted with purchasing either MLB or NBA TV, but the unpredictable blackouts made it seem pointless.</p> <p>A few things I worry about with Sling beside the price maybe not being worth it in the long run? I wish I could pause live TV. You get spoiled with that ability on Netflix. I worry more about the connection quality though, especially with the new Fire Stick. The Sling app doesn’t come on Apple TV, which I already own. I experienced some constant buffering today, both when watching Netflix and ESPN off of the Fire Stick.</p> <p>We’ll see how it goes. I hope to write a bit more Sling in the future.</p>Flash is Dead2015-08-03T21:22:31-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/flash-is-dead/<p>Strong Bad tries to warn Homestar of impending doom of a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0nuQ5o2DYU">dying Flash</a>.</p> <p>This may be my favorite Homestar Runner yet.</p>Every Browser is the New IE (To Me)2015-08-04T22:49:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/every-browser-is-the-new-ie-to-me/<blockquote> <p>Maybe one day the Web will be perfect and complete and I will not need to reach for polyfills. However, if that happened I think I’d stop being interested the Web because it would then be a stagnant pond and not a surfable ocean.</p> </blockquote> <p>Dave Rupert in <a href="http://daverupert.com/2015/07/every-browser-is-the-new-ie-to-me/">Every Browser is the New IE (To Me)</a>. The mix of different features in browsers can get frustrating, but the challenge makes it fun. Most of the time. The Web is fluid, and I’m glad it’s moving forward.</p>As We May Link2015-08-05T22:15:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/as-we-may-link/<p>Jeremy Keith tells the story of hypertext and the power of the smallest HTML tag in <a href="https://themanual.org/read/issues/3/jeremy-keith/article">As We May Link</a>.</p>Writing is Failure2015-08-06T22:51:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/writing-is-failure/<blockquote> <p>I always consider the entire process about failure, and I think that’s the reason why more people don’t write.</p> </blockquote> <p>Ta-Nehisi Coates <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheAtlantic/videos/10153577188343487/">on writing</a>.</p>The Hamburger Wars2015-08-07T22:33:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-hamburger-wars/<p>The hamburger menu: is it useful or useless? My colleague, Erin Casali has <a href="http://intenseminimalism.com/2014/when-to-use-the-hamburger-menu/">some thoughts on when to use it</a>.</p>New Browser Features, Interoperability, Craft, and the Future of the Web2015-08-08T22:26:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-browser-features-interoperability-craft-and-the-future-of-the-web/<p>Aaron Gustafson wrote a post about the <a href="http://www.aaron-gustafson.com/notebook/ramblings-on-new-browser-features-interoperability-craft-and-the-future-of-the-web/">ongoing evolution of the Web</a> that you should read.</p> <p>It’s easy to see the Web as a unkempt, out-of-control beast. And it is in many ways, but that also gives it much beauty. Aaron reminds us of where we’ve been, what the Web can do, what we can do and where we can go together.</p>My Still Missing Reading Habit2015-08-09T23:46:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/my-still-missing-reading-habit/<p>A few months ago I posted about my <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/my-missing-reading-habit/">reading habit, or lack thereof</a>. Unfortunately, I haven’t made much of a dent in making reading more of a habit. So before the year ends, I’ll have to make a better effort to include reading in my day.</p> <p>One thing I realized once I started trying to read more is that I lost valuable reading time when I stopped commuting. I used to read for 40 minutes or so on the train, and now I work from home. So I’m going to try to start reading after breakfast to try and reclaim that time. We’ll see how it goes.</p>An Event Apart DC 2015: Day One2015-08-10T23:54:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/an-event-apart-dc-2015-day-one/<p>Today, I attended <a href="http://aneventapart.com/event/washington-dc-2015">An Event Apart DC 2015</a>, and loved how each talk touched on another, but yet little overlapped happened. I’m not one to write detailed posts about each talk because conferences help me expand my thinking, not show me exactly how to do something. They introduce me to topics, and point me in exciting directions. It’s still up to me to go in those directions though.</p> <p>So what were they for day one? These are just a few of the points that stayed with me.</p> <p>Jeffrey Zeldman encouraged us to get our ideas out there, newly formed or experimental. In code, sketch or blog post. Sarah Parmenter showed us data that the Web is more social than you think, but not like you think. Yesenia Perez-Cruz talked about how performance makes for good design. Jen Simmons brought us back to the world of funky magazine design layouts, and convinced us it much of it can be done with CSS — now. And Cassie McDaniel and Cameron Moll touched on the details of user experience and how they can serve as the connective tissue in your projects.</p> <p>None of this is new, per se. But it <em>is</em> new when stacked next to where we’ve been as an industry and where we need to go. Each speaker provided that as a backdrop or touch point, so what is old is new and amplified. I’m excited to process it all a bit more and think about how I can bring it to my everyday work.</p>An Event Apart DC 2015: Day Two2015-08-11T22:16:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/an-event-apart-dc-2015-day-two/<p>Day two of <a href="http://aneventapart.com/event/washington-dc-2015">An Event Apart DC 2015</a> kicked off with Brad Frost introducing us to a different way to create the pieces that make up the sites we build. As he went on, and speakers took the stage after him, I started to notice an overarching message forming from these separate presentations.</p> <p>We need to challenge our assumptions. Whether it was Aaron Gustafson teaching us that we can love forms instead of hate them, Derek Featherstone taking us outside of the device “box” we have lived in or Eric Meyer reminding us that not all users are the ideal user… You get the idea.</p> <p>We sometimes get caught up in the way we do things because of stale processes, tools we’ve used for too long or forgetting that the simplest approach to getting started works the best. Many of the presenters echoed ideas similar to this. I left the conference having that typical conference overload. So many new ideas floating around, I wasn’t sure where to start. But that’s my old assumption kicking in. It says I should master something before trying it in a project. But that’s not the right approach here. I just need to open the sketch pad or fire up a CodePen and start experimenting.</p>My Life in Typefaces2015-08-12T20:23:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/my-life-in-typefaces/<p>Matthew Carter, the creator of the Georgia and Verdana fonts, talks about <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/matthew_carter_my_life_in_typefaces">his life in typefaces</a>. I love his thoughts on constraints versus compromises:</p> <blockquote> <p>The question is, does a constraint force a compromise? By accepting a constraint, are you working to a lower standard? I don’t believe so, and I’ve always been encouraged by something that Charles Eames said. He said he was conscious of working within constraints, but not of making compromises. The distinction between a constraint and a compromise is obviously very subtle, but it’s very central to my attitude to work.</p> </blockquote>A11y Weekly2015-08-13T22:03:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a11y-weekly/<p>Today, I asked a simple question on Twitter about <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy/status/631911644369678336">starting an accessibility newsletter</a>.</p> <p>I received a few positive responses, so I’m going to try it. I’ve registered the domain, and signed up for a newsletter service. Now to create a sign-up page, and start writing some content. I’m calling it A11y Weekly.</p> <p>The idea didn’t come out of nowhere – it’s something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. Except today, the words of encouragement on Twitter gave me the nudge I needed.</p> <p>If you have any thoughts to share for the first issue, send me a note on Twitter, or via my <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/contact/">contact page</a>.</p>Remembering the Everyday Developer2015-08-14T23:07:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/remembering-the-everyday-developer/<p>I listened to this Web Ahead episode today about the <a href="http://thewebahead.net/104">everyday developer</a>, and it resonated with me. I imagine many developers would identify with it because it hits on the fact that the tool chain for building websites has become increasingly complex. It’s getting harder and harder to “get started” with the Web. Any developer can become overwhelmed by what to learn next. That said, many seasoned Web workers know two of the main messages that Jen Simmons and Rachel Andrew talk about to combat the feelings of overload:</p> <ol> <li>Tools are just tools, not the raw material – the building blocks.</li> <li>Know how to teach yourself new skills.</li> </ol> <p>Those are good messages to keep pinned to the top your text notes and read the next time you want to open that new shiny thing.</p>WordPress Core Contributor Streak2015-08-20T22:58:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-core-contributor-streak/<p>In case you missed it, <a href="https://wordpress.org/news/2015/08/billie/">WordPress 4.3 came out</a> a few days ago. I contributed in a few small ways to both the default themes and the Customizer. After the release, I realized something even cooler than contributing to 4.3. I’ve contributed to the last five WordPress releases! It all started with 3.9, <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2014/04/16/logged-into-wordpress-saw-this/">my first “props”</a> in WordPress.</p> <p>That’s a nice streak, and one I hope to keep going.</p>Meet Twenty Sixteen2015-08-25T11:20:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/meet-twenty-sixteen/<p>Today, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/karmatosed">Tammie Lister</a> <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/core/2015/08/25/introducing-twenty-sixteen/">introduced Twenty Sixteen</a>, the next default theme for WordPress, to the world. It’s designed by the <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/iamtakashi">Takashi Irie</a>, who also created Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen. In his own words:</p> <blockquote> <p>Twenty Sixteen is a modernised approach of an ever-popular layout — a horizontal masthead and an optional right sidebar that works well with both blogs and websites. It has custom color options that allow you to make your own Twenty Sixteen. The theme was designed on a harmonious fluid grid with a mobile first approach. This means it looks great on any device.</p> </blockquote> <p>If you want to get involved, make sure you’re following the <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/core/">Make WordPress Core blog</a>, and check out the meeting times for Twenty Sixteen.</p>Steal This Talk2015-08-26T15:44:37-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/steal-this-talk/<p>Chris Coyier posted a <a href="https://css-tricks.com/recent-conference-talks-worth-watching/">roundup of recent conference talks</a>, and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B69C0QvgOTk">Steal This Talk</a> by Wilson Miner turned out to be my favorite so far. He talks about how “stealing,” sharing and collaboration overlap and why we should all trust each other more and work together for far greater impact. It’s definitely worth a listen!</p>The Year of Accessibility in WordPress2015-08-27T22:08:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-year-of-accessibility-in-wordpress/<p>In <a href="http://werdswords.com/the-year-of-the-wordpress-accessibility-team/">The Year of the WordPress Accessibility Team</a>, Drew Jaynes pays a big compliment to the <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/">WordPress Accessibility Team</a> and many of its members. He says:</p> <blockquote> <p>I think as we progress in further asserting accessibility in WordPress as a priority, we’ll see even more new faces make appearances in future releases. It’s a testament to the quality of work coming out of this team that makes, for me, 2015 the year of accessibility in WordPress.</p> </blockquote> <p>Aaron Jorbin also <a href="http://aaron.jorb.in/blog/2015/08/the-year-of-the-wordpress-accessibility-team-werdswords/">highlighted Drew’s post</a> and said:</p> <blockquote> <p>Drew is completely on target here. The WordPress Accessibility team has been rocking it lately. It wasn’t long ago that the question of if the Accessibility team should exist was floating around. They were the only team without a product, but instead focused on things across many teams. Since then, the team has stepped up big time and really is making WordPress better for everyone.</p> </blockquote> <p>Drew led the release for 4.2 and Aaron is a Contributing Developer, longtime accessibility advocate and recently earned permanent commit access. I had a huge smile on my face when I read both of the posts because I know how far our team has come. We’re better organized, more focused and always ready to collaborate with the WordPress community. It’s showing!</p> <p>But we’re just part of the reason for the successes Drew and Aaron point out. The bigger impetus for our progress belongs to the community. Everyone. All of you! When I talk to people in the community, the conversation has been less about “What is accessibility?” and more about “How can we work together to make WordPress more accessible?”</p> <p>So thank you to everyone who took the time to think about, design for and implement accessibility in their workflow. We’re all making WordPress better for everyone, and I can’t wait to see what we do next!</p>Space Jam Forever2015-08-29T23:23:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/space-jam-forever/<p>Rolling Stone has the story of how a ragtag group of young coders skirted the studio and <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/sports/features/space-jam-forever-the-website-that-wouldnt-die-20150819">created a pop culture sensation that’s still standing two decades later</a>. Hint: <a href="http://www.warnerbros.com/archive/spacejam/movie/jam.htm">it’s this</a>.</p> <p>I loved reading this story, especially how they managed to get the site back online. Oh, and the early notes and ideas sketched on paper for the site are just awesome.</p>How Future-Safe are Your Ideas?2015-08-30T23:17:53-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-future-safe-are-your-ideas/<blockquote> <p>Will the Big Think piece you just posted to Medium be there in 2035? That may sound like it’s very far off in the future, and who could possibly care, but if there’s any value to your writing, you should care. Having good records is how knowledge builds. If we’re constantly starting over how can we pretend to be accomplishing anything other than self-promotion? Is that enough? Don’t we need more value in our thinking?</p> </blockquote> <p>Dave Winer asks some tough questions in <a href="http://scripting.com/2015/07/30/howFuturesafeAreYourIdeas.html">How future-safe are your ideas</a>?</p>A Brief History of Web Design2015-09-03T21:57:35-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-web-design/<p>Dave Shea, creator of CSS Zen Garden, gave a talk called <a href="https://vimeo.com/134934221">A Brief History of Web Design</a> that takes you through the time and space that is the first few decades of the web design.</p> <p>When I watched this talk, it made me excited for the future, and wishful that I had found the Web sooner. Even though I wasn’t one of the early bloggers, or even in web design in the early 2000s, I want that intense, personal exploration and sharing back.</p>The Slow Web2015-09-10T21:16:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-slow-web/<blockquote> <p>We become obsessed with tools and methods, very rarely looking at how these relate to the fundamental basics of web standards, accessibility and progressive enhancement. We obsess about a right way to do things as if there was one right way rather than looking at the goal; how things fit into the broader philosophy of what we do on the web and how what we write contributes to us being better at what we do.</p> </blockquote> <p>Cole Henley in the <a href="http://cole007.net/blog/152/the-slow-web">The Slow Web</a>, talking about the rhythm of the Web, and how and why we do what we do here.</p> <p>It’s a great read, and one that has me thinking more deeply about what I do each day.</p>WordCamp Baltimore 20152015-09-12T10:35:18-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordcamp-baltimore-2015/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/wcbalt2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=800" alt="WordCamp Baltimore 2015 conference badge." width="600" height="800"></figure>One Year at Automattic2015-09-15T23:54:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/one-year-at-automattic/<div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="440"><figcaption>Me making what my wife calls "Dave-face" while working on a project at a meetup.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="640"><figcaption>Members of Theam Team, enjoying shaved ice in Hawaii.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/one-year-at-automattic2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="640"><figcaption>Daniel Robert in I in a giant coffee cup in Hawaii. Is that not what you do in Hawaii?</figcaption></figure> </div> <p>Since I was 13, I wanted to be a writer. I became one, spending part of my career writing for newspapers, magazines, corporations and nonprofits. But then I found the Web and everything changed.</p> <p>One year ago today I joined a company called <a href="https://automattic.com/">Automattic</a>, with its mission to making the Web a better place. We make <a href="https://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>, and contribute to <a href="https://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a>, the software that helps power it and enables millions to publish with the same world-class software as big-name publishers like the New York Times, Wired and more. That’s a pretty cool gig for a former professional writer.</p> <p>At Automattic, I work on the Theme Team, trying to make themes on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> the best they can be. I love themes. I best expressed that in my application to Automattic:</p> <blockquote> <p>I want to be a Theme Wrangler because I believe that a good WordPress theme can open up a new world to those using it, and in turn, reveal something unique about the site’s owner to the world. A theme can become the centerpiece to someone’s story. That’s something I want to do for as many people as possible.</p> </blockquote> <p>During the last year, when not focusing on creating and reviewing themes for <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>, I’ve worked supporting our premium theme partners. I’ve had the most fun with that because of the sheer variety of tasks it demands. From triaging tickets to fixing bugs, reviewing code to launching themes, plus collaborating with premium themers to thinking about the big picture. It never gets old, and I’m excited about the future of premium themes on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>.</p> <p>But really, the great things about being at Automattic aren’t just building software used by millions or traveling to neat places to work with your colleagues. It’s the mission and the people behind it. Every day you work beside folks who not only care about making the Web a better place, but you too. Everyone is empowered to make a difference. To write their own story in a way. Again, not a bad place to be for a writer-type like me. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.</p>The Future Mundane2015-09-18T08:26:25-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-future-mundane/<p>Nick Foster, a creative director and industrial designer, recently gave a talk at dConstruct called <a href="https://vimeo.com/139358108">The Future Mundane</a>. You should watch it. He talks about a design approach where you need to think about designing for others besides your ideal user, designing for how your “thing” interacts with other things, and designing for how it might work when broken or misused. It’s great advice for the ever-expanding Web and all the devices that can access it.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://hellofosta.com/2015/09/15/the-future-mundane-at-dconstruct/">Nick’s blog post about the talk</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://www.core77.com/posts/25678/the-future-mundane-25678">A blog post, summarizing the talk</a>.</li> </ul>A11y Weekly Launched2015-09-22T09:22:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a11y-weekly-launched/<p>About a month ago, I started chipping away at a simple idea: <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a11y-weekly/">launching a weekly newsletter about accessibility</a>. I put it live quietly over the weekend. If you’re interested in getting to know and keeping up with the accessibility world, you should sign up.</p> <p>Just visit <a href="http://a11yweekly.com/">a11yweekly.com</a> and fill in your email. I’ll send out the first issue next week. I also have the <a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/a11yweekly.com">code available on Github</a>, if that’s your thing.</p> <p>I imagine the site and newsletter will evolve quite a bit over time, but more on that in future blog posts. If you have suggestions, send me a note via my <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/contact/">contact page</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidAKennedy">Twitter</a>, or to <a href="mailto:hello@a11yweekly.com">hello@a11yweekly.com</a>.</p>Remembering Alex King2015-09-28T22:28:54-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/remembering-alex-king/<p>Alex King <a href="https://poststatus.com/alex-king/">passed away last night</a> after a long battle with cancer, leaving behind a wife, a daughter and many, many friends in the WordPress community. You can read the <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=alexkingorg&amp;src=typd">community’s thoughts and reaction on Twitter</a>.</p> <p>I never met Alex, but I read his code and used his plugins. Because of him, I did things with my site I previously couldn’t have done and became a better developer along the way. I suspect a lot of people in the WordPress feel that way today.</p>Accessible Zen Featured on Hongkiat.com2015-10-08T22:02:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-featured-on-hongkiat-com/<p>Last week, Accessible Zen made a list of <a href="http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/accessibility-ready-wordpress-themes/">10 Best Accessibility-Ready WordPress Themes</a>. The post also talks a bit about what goes into an accessibility-ready theme, which is great. It’s always awesome to see accessibility talked about on a design and inspiration blog.</p>Automattic Grand Meetup 20152015-10-12T23:02:17-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/automattic-grand-meetup-2015/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=800" alt="Automattic Grand Meetup 2015 conference badge" width="600" height="800"></figure>Just Blog2015-10-16T10:21:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/just-blog/<p>Putting your work out into the world can intimidate even the most creative and confident of artists. You do that when you blog, but many fail to put it on the same scale as writing a novel or painting a landscape, for example. Why is it so hard to just blog? A number of reasons come to mind, and I’ve encountered most of them during my career as a writer and my hobby as a blogger. I wanted to share some advice to help make hitting the publish button easier.</p> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441260038675-7329ab4cc264.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="Jellyfish." width="1280" height="1080"></figure> <h2>Consume What Inspires You</h2> <p>We all have passions that make us glow from the inside out. Gravitate toward those, and consume them in whatever way possible. They can serve as fuel for your blogging. It can be anything from reading or taking photos to cooking or building classic cars. You get the idea. Don’t feel guilty about consuming because it’s part of the creative process.</p> <p>For me, in the past year, I’ve read a lot of blog posts about the open Web, accessibility, video games and parenting. That’s reflected in my content here.</p> <p>A writer’s quote about this that I love:</p> <blockquote> <p>“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”<br> <cite>– Samuel Johnson</cite></p> </blockquote> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="Man overlooking canyon." width="1280" height="1080"></figure> <h2>Blogging Helps You Process</h2> <p>Writing or blogging makes you a clear thinker. It gets you to the other side of hard problems, in any part of life. It’s a creative process, so you’ll naturally find new sparks that give way to new insights. In the last year of blogging, many of my shorter posts have helped me form better, more complete posts on the same subject in the future. Even though I may have considered the shorter posts incomplete, it moved my thinking forward in a way that wouldn’t have happened without hitting “Publish.”</p> <p>A writer’s thoughts on this topic:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Writers live twice.”<br> <cite>– Natalie Goldberg</cite></p> </blockquote> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/421174c4.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="Curvy road with fog." width="1280" height="1080"></figure> <h2>Start Over Now and Then</h2> <p>Life is one giant work-in-progress. Every day, you wake up and iterate on the day before. Creative activities are much the same. Embrace that. I’ve deleted blogs, combined blogs, reworked categories and tags and changed my permalink structure multiple times. Sometimes a fresh start gives you a new outlook.</p> <p>As a writer once said:</p> <blockquote> <p>“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”<br> <cite>– Philip Roth</cite></p> </blockquote> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/photo-1430763474775-bd6e332eb415.jpeg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="Blowfish" width="1280" height="1080"></figure> <h2>Be You</h2> <p>My favorite thing about the Internet is clicking a link and landing on someone’s personal site. Your blogs are extensions of you, let them be that. I stopped from hitting publish a lot because I felt the idea wasn’t full baked, someone else said it better, or no one cared. But in reality, when you are you, and you blog about your career, your life, your passions, amazing stuff happens. It becomes unique. It’s less about what you want people to see and more about what you see in the mirror. Unique. Real.</p> <p>One of my favorite thoughts on writing:</p> <blockquote> <p>“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”<br> <cite>– Allen Ginsberg</cite></p> </blockquote> <p>I hope this helps you hit “Publish” more often. Trust the process.</p> <p><em>Writing quotes from <a href="http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/72-of-the-best-quotes-about-writing">Reader’s Digest</a>. Images courtesy of <a href="https://unsplash.com/">Unsplash</a>.</em></p>The Holly Trail at Canyons Resort2015-10-17T16:55:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-holly-trail-at-canyons-resort/<div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Purple flowers on cliff overlooking Canyons Resort.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Holly Trail overlooking hills.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Holly Trail at Canyons Resort.</figcaption></figure> </div> <p>A few photos from my hike yesterday of the Holly Trail at the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah.</p>Park City, Utah2015-10-26T12:38:20-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/park-city-utah/<div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of mountains from the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Main street of Park City, Utah, showing several shops.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Main street of Park City, Utah, viewed from bridge.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Main street of Park City, Utah.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Banksy original graffiti on side of building in Park City, Utah.</figcaption></figure> </div> <p>A few photos from a walk around Park City, Utah.</p>A Bunch of Themers in One Photo2015-10-28T20:54:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/a-bunch-of-themers-in-one-photo/<div class="reel"> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=850&h=650" alt="Several WordPress themers with holding crazy props and wearing wild hats in a photo booth but they're also smiling." width="850" height="650"></figure> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=850&h=650" alt="Several WordPress themers with holding crazy props and wearing wild hats in a photo booth." width="850" height="650"></figure> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=850&h=650" alt="Several WordPress themers with holding crazy props and wearing wild hats in a photo booth." width="850" height="650"></figure> </div> <p>Okay, so there are a bunch of themers in three different photos, but you get the idea. These are from the 2015 Automattic Grand Meetup, celebrating Automattic’s 10th anniversary at a great party.</p>Twenty Sixteen: Under the Hood2015-10-29T23:37:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/twenty-sixteen-under-the-hood/<p>Many awesome people in the WordPress community have put a lot of work into Twenty Sixteen, the next default theme. Guess what? It’s <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/core/2015/10/23/under-the-hood-of-twenty-sixteen/">in beta now</a>, so time to take an extra long peek and see if you can break it.</p>Speaking at WordCamp US 20152015-10-30T15:28:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/speaking-at-wordcamp-us-2015/<p>I’m excited to share I’ll be <a href="https://2015.us.wordcamp.org/2015/10/30/introducing-the-wordcamp-us-speakers-part-3/">speaking at WordCamp US 2015</a>! I’m working on a talk called, Themes are for Users, all about the user experience around WordPress themes. I hope to see you there!</p> <p>This is my first “big” WordCamp as I never attended WordCamp San Francisco, so I’ll get to meet a lot of people in person for the first time. If we’ve interacted in the WordPress community over the years, please come say “Hello!” 🙂</p>Nine Learnings from Nine Years of Brain Pickings2015-11-01T18:28:03-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/nine-learnings-from-nine-years-of-brain-pickings/<p>I don’t read Brain Pickings often, but usually catch a post here and there, especially those centered on creative writing. I really enjoyed this <a href="https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/10/23/nine-years-of-brain-pickings/">recent post marking the blog’s ninth aniversary</a> and what its author Maria Popova has learned during that time.</p>Accessibility Weekly: One Month In2015-11-02T22:47:55-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-weekly-one-month-in/<p>More than a month ago, I launched <a href="http://a11yweekly.com/">Accessibility Weekly</a> with the hope of making the field of web accessibility easier to learn and follow. I’ve had a blast watching the list steadily grow and receiving a handful of emails and tweets with positive feedback.</p> <p>That said, I want to keep experimenting with Accessibility Weekly and hone in on one of the biggest reasons I started it in the first place. To give those new and/or interested in accessibility a way in.</p> <p>So if you’re a subscriber, expect some tweaks in format. The first thing I plan to do is expanding the “New to A11y” section, making it a short article or a series of links with a theme. Fear not though, I still plan to mix in valuable tips and links for veterans in the field.</p> <h2>Newslettering vs. Blogging</h2> <p>What’s it like writing a newsletter now that I have a few to my name? Like most writing: it’s hard. Hard most days, really hard other days. I’ve relied on a handful of evergreen posts from this blog to help fill the gap when I don’t have the energy to put something original together. I feel guilty about that, but I’d rather send something of value than something that’s too rough around the edges. Granted, I don’t have to put much original writing in Accessbility Weekly, but the curating of links takes time too. I see it as just as important as any original tip I share. I want to provide both knowledge and share other’s knowledge. As the newsletter goes forward, I see it as an extension of my writing here. One fuels the other to fuel the other, so to speak.</p> <h3>Send Feedback</h3> <p>If you have ideas or something you want to see in Accessibility Weekly, just let me know on Twitter or send me an email via my contact page.</p>Ensuring a High Performing Web for the Next Billion People2015-11-04T22:37:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/ensuring-a-high-performing-web-for-the-next-billion-people/<p>Bruce Lawson gave a keynote talk recently at Velocity Conference in Amsterdam called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6As5HEkG5E">Ensuring a High Performing Web for the Next Billion People</a> that you should watch. He’s written a <a href="http://www.brucelawson.co.uk/2015/ensuring-a-high-performing-web-for-the-next-billion-people/">blog post discussing the talk a bit</a> if you’d like more information.</p> <p>It’s fantastic because it touches on all the parts of the Web that we know have nearly limitless potential, but that we haven’t yet figured out how to do well consistently. These are things like performance, accessibility, progressive enhancement, embracing a multi-device world and more. We have much to do, so it’s hard not to be excited about bringing the Web to a truly global audience.</p>jQuery's Relevancy2015-11-15T12:59:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/jquerys-relevancy/<p>Lately, as I’ve built out the latest WordPress theme I’m working on, I’ve thought, “Do I really need to use jQuery for this?” I’ve had a hard time answering it.</p> <p>I finally read the blog post, <a href="http://developer.telerik.com/featured/jquerys-relevancy-there-and-back-again/">jQuery’s Relevancy – There and Back Again</a>, and it has helped me think about the question in a clearer context. Like most questions in web development, the answer is, “It depends.” Writing a few bits of functionality in vanilla JavaScript has helped me understand it better, and also see the need for jQuery in a lot of circumstances.</p> <p>That said, for my latest WordPress theme, the answer is still, &amp;“Maybe.” I still have to explore some functionality that may be better accomplished with the help of jQuery. Anyway, I recommend giving the post a read because if anything, it will help you think about some of the misconceptions and advantages of jQuery.</p>Theme Wranglers in Lisbon, 20152015-11-26T23:43:42-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/theme-wranglers-in-lisbon-2015/<div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A bridge in Lisbon.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Downtown Lisbon at night.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>Santa Justa Lift in Lisbon.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view from the Santa Justa Lift.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of the waterfront from the Santa Justa Lift.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of the Lisbon cityscape from the Santa Justa Lift.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A rainbow, seen from the Santa Justa Lift.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>An archway in Lisbon.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A monestary in Portugal.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Themers in front of a monastery.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A book store in Lisbon.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-lisbon2015-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view from the Surf Office in Lisbon at sunrise.</figcaption></figure> </div> <p>Last week, I met up with fellow Theme Wranglers, my team at Automattic, in Lisbon Portugal. We hacked on a cool, new project and talked a lot about themes. Here are a few shots from the trip.</p>WordCamp US 2015 + Community Summit2015-12-04T09:06:11-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordcamp-us-2015-community-summit/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/wcus2015-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=625&h=700" alt="WordCamp US 2015 and Community Summit conference badges" width="625" height="700"></figure>WordPress 4.4 and More2015-12-11T17:20:53-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-4-4-and-more/<p>The last few weeks have turned out to be a pretty amazing stretch for me professionally. I attended <a href="https://2015.us.wordcamp.org/">WordCamp U.S.</a>, my first “big” WordCamp, and gave a talk there called <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2015/12/04/themes-are-for-users/">Themes are for Users</a>. You can <a href="http://wordpress.tv/2015/12/09/david-kennedy-themes-are-for-users/">watch it on WordPress.tv</a>. I also got invited to the <a href="https://2015.us.wordcamp.org/community-summit/">Community Summit</a> and helped out at <a href="https://2015.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/">Contributor Day</a>. Plus, a few days ago, <a href="https://wordpress.org/news/2015/12/clifford/">WordPress 4.4</a> came out, which included a new default theme, <a href="https://wordpress.org/themes/twentysixteen/">Twenty Sixteen</a> that I helped build. It’s <a href="https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/new-theme-twenty-sixteen/">on WordPress.com too</a>.</p> <p>That doesn’t even count all the great people from the WordPress community I met in real life at WordCamp U.S., putting faces and voices behind the Gravatars. I can’t wait for the next year in WordPress.</p>20162015-12-31T16:36:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2016/<p>We’re at the dawn of a new year. I’ve always tried to take a critical look at the past year and look ahead to what’s next around this time, and this year is no different.</p> <h2>Last Year</h2> <p>I focused on habits in 2015, and had some decent success. I wanted to:</p> <ul> <li>average at least eight posts a month on my blog. Accomplished: I averaged 15 posts a month, with most of my blogging happening before the fall when I trailed off. I had an 86-day streak, and my most popular post was <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/thinking-about-web-accessibility-differently/">Thinking About Web Accessibility Differently</a>.</li> <li>try one new recipe a month. I only did this for January and February, so I’ll have to do better this year. I did cook more, just not as many new dishes as I had hoped.</li> <li>keep contributing to my two favorite open source projects: WordPress and Underscores. I did that, helping make Underscores more accessible, and contributing more to default themes for WordPress and reviewing themes for accessibility as part of the accessibility-ready tag.</li> <li>pick back up regular exercise. I did this, joining a new CrossFit gym in April and going about twice a week most weeks.</li> </ul> <h2>This Year</h2> <p>With last year’s focus on habits, I obviously want to keep the habits going, and continue work on the one that I didn’t do as well forming. Aside from that, I want to take a different approach to 2016. I’d like to focus on three habits and/or goals:</p> <ol> <li> <p>Schedule two hours a week of thinking time for myself. I read a post about this recently, and liked the idea of having time to just think through whatever challenges, strategies or ideas that came to mind. No other agenda. One hour will be for work and one hour will be personal. I’ll set this in <a href="http://habitlist.com/">Habit List</a> as a reminder for myself.</p> </li> <li> <p>Listen more. I realized as I do almost every year when I tried to come up with Christmas gift ideas for family and close friends that I struggled mightily. I let life get in the way of this, checking my phone constantly, and wasting time on other distractions. I want to know people better, and build a foundation for a more thoughtful life. One where I pick up on more of the simple, but essential joys of life. I believe that won’t happen unless I’m a better listener. I’m not sure how I’ll track this, but I plan to set a reminder in Habit List for every quarter and ask my wife, Joeleen, how I’m doing with this. She’s always honest with me, and will be the one person who will know if I’m doing better.</p> </li> <li> <p>Make progress on a book about accessibility. That’s hard to write because it’s scary to put out there. I’ve always had a goal of writing a book, and I think I now have a subject and idea where I can contribute something new and worthwhile to my field. I’ll count “progress” as almost anything, including something as simple as finishing an outline for the book. I’d also say I’m open to it being different than a traditional book because it’s more important to me that I author something than what the format might be.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Previous years: <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2015/">2015</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hello-2014/">2014</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/next-year-more-goals/">2012</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-year-new-goals-2011/">2011</a>.</p> <p>See you in the new year!</p>Conan O'Brien Interviews Jack White2016-01-04T10:05:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/conan-obrien-interviews-jack-white/<p>I listened to this <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJgY9FtDLbs">interview Conan O’Brien did with Jack White a few years ago</a>, and it touches on a number of interesting subjects. These include creativity, art, technology and digital manipulation. It’s great to listen to if you’re a modern-day digital creator.</p> <p>One of my favorite aspects that White hits on is deadlines. In the interview, he describes how he often won’t start writing songs until a day or two before he has studio time booked. That limitation helps him just work, and the work is creating. I love how that approach blends creativity with regular, every day work and craftsmanship.</p> <p>Hat tip: <a href="http://snook.ca/archives/personal/simplicity-and-comfort">Jonathan Snook</a>.</p>Learn More About Themes and User Experience2016-01-08T16:15:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/learn-more-about-themes-and-user-experience/<p>I wrote a post over on ThemeShaper, curating some of the Automattic Theme Team’s recent and best talks all about <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2016/01/08/themes-and-user-experience/">themes and user experience</a>. Check it out if you want to learn more about an often-overlooked skill in the theming world.</p>More Parenting Advice, Sorry2016-01-12T16:10:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/more-parenting-advice-sorry/<p>So I’ve <a href="http://davidakennedy.com/2015/07/28/a-guide-to-parenting/">handed out some parenting advice</a> before to one of my colleagues. Today, we chatted about him joining the ranks of fatherhood any day. I had more advice – even though I got annoyed when people constantly gave me advice when they found out I was going to be a dad soon. 🙂</p> <p>Advice for being a dad, or questions to ask yourself when your baby is doing something new:</p> <blockquote> <ol> <li>Is this a safety issue?</li> <li>Will this end in forming bad habits?</li> </ol> <p>If no on both, try to talk to them about what’s happening and teach them something new.</p> <p>If yes, correct the issue (or clean up the mess) as best as you can.</p> <p>Then, always end by making a funny face or weird noise to go for laughs and smiles.</p> </blockquote> <p>This has worked well for me so far.</p>Don't Use Slack? (Or Why Aren't We Better at Accessibility?)2016-01-15T10:32:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dont-use-slack-or-why-arent-we-better-at-accessibility/<p>In <a href="https://medium.com/hacker-daily/don-t-use-slack-8e70452f3eed">Don’t Use Slack</a>, Christian Heilmann raises some critical questions about why accessibility doesn’t happen more in modern-day apps and startups, highlighting some issues he observed when a former colleague who’s blind needed to use Slack. He also touched on why Slack is a fantastic tool, and has some on-point conclusions about the nature of open source and proprietary development, and the advantages of each:</p> <blockquote> <p>… [O]pen and accessible doesn’t beat usable and intelligent.</p> </blockquote> <p>Agreed.</p> <p>Diving deeper into the real problem, <em>Hint –</em> it’s not that Slack’s app has some accessibility issues:</p> <blockquote> <p>As the people who love open, free, available and accessible we have to ask ourselves a few questions: why is it much easier to create an inaccessible interface than an accessible one? How come this is the status quo? How come that in 2016 we still have to keep repeating basic things like semantic HTML, alternative text and not having low contrast interfaces? When did this not become a simple delivery step in any project description? It has been 20 years and we still complain more than we guide.</p> </blockquote> <p>Heilmann says that we (Slack’s users) should just talk to them. Communicate. It makes sense. Accessibility is hard because it’s everywhere when you think about a web product’s lifecycle: planning, research, user experience, design, code, delivery, maintenance, etc. Everyone has to be involved, and everyone shouldn’t be afraid to talk about accessibility. It’s a people problem above all else, and most people don’t realize they <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/tag/everyday-accessibility/">already have the skills to make what they work on accessible</a>.</p>Why I Love Working with the Web2016-01-22T00:15:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-i-love-working-with-the-web/<p>Remy Sharp has a nice post on his blog about his <a href="https://remysharp.com/2016/01/20/why-i-love-working-with-the-web">love for working on the Web</a>. It’s worth a read, and maybe even a response on your own site.</p> <p>He refers to Douglas Crockford’s famous quote:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Web is the most hostile software engineering environment imaginable.</p> </blockquote> <p>And says:</p> <blockquote> <p>This hostile environment is what gets me excited. That challenge of getting my page to render everywhere. Getting the code just right so that it progressively enhances so that everyone can view the page.</p> </blockquote> <p>That is also what excites me about working on the Web. Our work here, in this medium, is ephemeral. It will carry little meaning decades from now, at least at the technical level. Better, more advanced work will eclipse it. That’s okay. My work on the Web – our work – will last because it’s open. People will learn from it, and carry that knowledge forward into their own endeavors, whether they work on the Web or not.</p> <p>The Web represents this giant book that we’re all writing and learning from. Who wouldn’t get excited about that?</p>Meet Components2016-02-09T22:46:54-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/meet-components/<p>Today, Automattic’s Theme Team <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2016/02/09/introducing-components/">launched Components</a>, a toolbox for taking your WordPress themes where you want them to go, faster. I’m really excited to work on Components because I believe it pushes theme development toward becoming more centered on who really uses themes – people.</p> <p>With Components, a theme developer gets a everything they need to create something focused on a particular use case. The people who use those themes hopefully get more themes that just work, with minimal setup, less options and no meaningless buzz words. We have big ideas for Components, and this represents just the beginning. If you look closely at any part of the project, you’ll likely find unfinished work and rough edges. As we prepared to release the project, I reread Matt’s post called <a href="https://ma.tt/2010/11/one-point-oh/">1.0 Is the Loneliest Number</a>, all about shipping your work. Matt says:</p> <blockquote> <p>… if you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.</p> </blockquote> <p>I’m embarrassed, but more excited than anything because we finally have this idea out there, and can keep iterating on it to make it better. 🙂 That means better themes for everyone.</p> <p>If you’re interested in Components, be sure to <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2016/02/09/introducing-components/">check out the post</a>, and the Github repositories.</p>Speaking at WordPress D.C. on Themes and UX2016-02-11T16:30:26-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-dc-talk-on-themes-and-ux/<p>On Tuesday, I’ll be <a href="http://www.meetup.com/wordpressdc/events/228263492/">speaking at WordPress DC</a>, giving an encore of my WordCamp U.S. talk – <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/themes-are-for-users/">Themes are for Users</a>. You should come out if you’re in the area and want to learn more about WordPress and mingle with the local WordPress community. Plus, as a new wrinkle to my talk, I’ll dive into <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/meet-components/">Components</a>, a new project from the theme team at Automattic. Hope to see you there!</p>A Collection of WordPress Theme Review Tips2016-02-15T11:00:20-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordpress-theme-review-tips/<p>Seeing a <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/themes/2016/02/12/share-your-best-review-tips/">call for theme review tips on the Make WordPress Themes site</a> inspired me to share my own workflow. Hopefully, it helps some of you who may want to become theme reviewers or hone your craft.</p> <p>A team of volunteers checks all the WordPress themes that end up in the <a href="https://wordpress.org/themes/">WordPress.org theme directory</a>. They ensure that the themes meet a set of <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/themes/handbook/review/required/">standard requirements</a> so people get a consistent experience when using a theme from the directory. You can <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/themes/handbook/get-involved/become-a-reviewer/">become a reviewer too</a>!</p> <h2>First, A Quick Peek</h2> <p>Before I even begin reviewing a theme, I like to scan it quickly to get an idea of what it’s like, and where I might find issues. This takes about five minutes, and I follow these steps:</p> <ul> <li>Look at the file structure: What do you see? Is it a custom theme or child theme? What frameworks or libraries are used? Is the theme set up in a standard way, like a Core theme.</li> <li>Check out the <code>functions.php</code> file. Does anything make you pause and wonder why it’s done like that?</li> <li>Load the major pages in a browser to see if you notice anything out of the ordinary or broken. Major pages include: home, archive, page and single post. Also, check out the Customizer to see what the options and theme setup might be like.</li> </ul> <p>Doing that gives me a broad overview of the theme, and helps pinpoint any areas I may need to pay extra attention to when reviewing. Next, I can begin my full review.</p> <h2>Next, A Full Review Workflow</h2> <ul> <li>Look at the code first, going file by file. I like to start with the <code>functions.php</code> file first, since it’s the brain of a theme. Then, I’ll look at other include files to get a sense of what <em>should</em> happen on the front end. Then I look at the template files to see the HTML. Lastly, I’ll check out the JavaScript and CSS files to see how they add to the theme.</li> <li>I like to check for code related issues first, such as function names, escaping and translations, etc. Then I look at details, like documentation, screenshot and the stylesheet header.</li> <li>Lastly, I’ll take the theme for a spin, testing the front end and theme options making sure they work properly.</li> </ul> <h2>Finally, A Few Tips and Tricks</h2> <p>I’m always tweaking my review process because I never think it’s efficient enough. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve used lately:</p> <ul> <li>I have <a href="https://gist.github.com/davidakennedy/fad90f6540348a782415">templates for replying to reviews</a>. I’ve put them on Github in case you want to steal them.</li> <li>I always have the current requirements open in a browser tab to cross reference during the review, just in case something has changed recently</li> <li>I run the <a href="https://wordpress.org/plugins/theme-check/">Theme Check plugin</a> on a theme before anything else in a full review to get clues where I may need to focus my attention.</li> <li>My standard setup uses <a href="https://github.com/Varying-Vagrant-Vagrants/VVV">WordPress VVV</a> with all of the theme-related plugins recommended in the <a href="https://wordpress.org/plugins/developer/">Developer plugin</a>.</li> <li>I primarily use Chrome to test themes. I will use just Firefox to test keyboard accessibility because it has no default <code>:focus</code> styles, and Safari to test with Voiceover on because the two are well integrated.</li> <li>Spotting possible escaping issues always proves challenging. I like to use <a href="https://github.com/squizlabs/PHP_CodeSniffer">PHP Codesniffer</a> with the <a href="https://github.com/WordPress-Coding-Standards/WordPress-Coding-Standards">WordPress sniffs</a> to check for escaping issues. Running this command just executes the escaping “sniff”: <code>phpcs --standard=WordPress-Extra --sniffs=WordPress.XSS.EscapeOutput /path/to/code/</code> It won’t be perfect all the time, but it will save you time.</li> <li>I like to use regular expressions in <a href="https://atom.io/">Atom</a> to search for various things like function names, text domains, and more.</li> </ul> <p>Now, go become a more prolific reviewer, and don’t forget to share your own tips!</p>Number 372016-03-03T22:35:41-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-37/<p>Yesterday, I turned 37, and got carded at dinner by my waitress. To be honest, she was likely carding my wife, and asking for mine to be polite. It’s okay – I’ll take it. I had tacos and beer, so it was really just a bonus.</p> <p>Well, I’m officially in my <em>late</em> thirties. While that scares me a bit, I can honestly say that being older means I just worry less about things that don’t matter. In the last year, I’ve tried to focus on the small details that go a long way.</p> <p>I started using Habit List to track non-digital habits I wanted to strengthen, like reading, playing with my daughter and writing. I blogged a lot more too, <a href="https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/the-new-wordpress-dot-com/">dogfooding my company’s new product</a>. I’ve continued to contribute to WordPress, going to this year’s Community Summit, and presenting at WordCamp U.S. But the biggest undertaking of the year has been looking for a new place to live. More on that later.</p> <p>In the next year, I’m aiming to continue to focus on the small details and keep <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2016/">building on the habits I’ve formed</a>. I’m also looking forward to moving, and jettisoning some of the things I don’t need anymore.</p> <p>I experienced less gigantic life changes this year, but I started processes that will mean gigantic changes in the end.</p> <p>Related: <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-36/">Number 36</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-34/">Number 34</a>.</p>Theme Team in Vancouver, 20162016-03-14T20:52:33-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/theme-team-in-vancouver-2016/<div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The Theme Team in a frame, in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A view of people walking across the Capitano Suspension Bridge.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A view from from the bridge, showing a Capilano River, in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view from from the bridge, showing a Capilano River, in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of the Capilano River in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view from one of the platforms in Treetops Adventures, showing a walkway to another platform, in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A view from one of the platforms in Treetops Adventures, showing a walkway below, in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A view from one of the platforms in Treetops Adventures in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of people walking across the Cliff Walk in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A view of the Capilano River in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>Several themer's feet on a platform, looking down into the Capilano River in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Several themers on a platform overlooking the Capilano River, in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of the harbor in Stanley Park, in Vancouver.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-vancouver2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of the harbor in Stanley Park, in Vancouver.</figcaption></figure> </div> <p>Last week, the Theme Team, my team at Automattic, spent the week in Vancouver. We worked on a <a href="https://github.com/Automattic/theme-components">cool project</a>, hung out and checked out <a href="https://www.capbridge.com/">some sights</a>.</p>ThemeShaper v. 20162016-03-31T09:16:30-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/themeshaper-v2016/<p>Yesterday, my colleagues and I on the Theme Team at Automattic <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2016/03/30/themeshaper2016/">redesigned our blog</a>, ThemeShaper. I say yesterday because we really did it in about a day. The project was part of a hack day at Automattic. We hold a few each year, and they allow us to work on projects that we normally don’t have time for, need attention or experiment with something risky.</p> <p>I’m really happy with how it came out. Fellow Automatticians <a href="http://kpresner.com/">Kathryn Presner</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/laurelfulford">Laurel Fulford</a> helped make the idea a reality. The thing that excites me the most about the new look is that it’s so flexible. We have plenty of space to iterate and add creative flourishes over time. Wow, hack days are fun!</p>Display a Featured, Featured Image in WordPress2016-04-01T17:15:24-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/display-a-featured-featured-image-in-wordpress/<p>Okay, that’s a slightly silly title, but it makes sense once you know what I’m talking about. I wrote a tutorial over on ThemeShaper on <a href="http://themeshaper.com/2016/04/01/show-the-latest-featured-image-from-featured-content/">how to display the featured image from the latest post in a collection of featured content</a>. Featured, featured! Give it a read!</p>Accessible Zen: Version 1.22016-05-05T00:29:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessible-zen-version-1-2/<p>I just released version 1.2 of <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/projects/accessible-zen/">Accessible Zen</a>. It’s the first update in a year, and features some bug fixes and improvements. The biggest improvement includes the use of <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress.org</a> language packs.</p> <p class="callout"> Grab the theme in the <a href="http://wordpress.org/themes/accessible-zen">official theme directory</a>. </p> <p>For full details, see the changelog below:</p> <p><strong>May 5, 2016</strong> Release: Version 1.2</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/70">Remove support for <code>wp_title</code> for rendering title tag and fix bug in theme</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/71">Make theme compatible with WordPress.org language packs</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/71">Fix some wrong text domains</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/71">Make package information consistent across all files</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/71">Make some spaces vs. tabs issues consistent</a>.</li> <li>Remove unneeded backward compatibility call in <code>functions.php</code> file.</li> <li>Update screenshot to be retina ready.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/72">Escape all output, including translations</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/73">Make widget markup more accessible</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/74">Make blog link radio button consistent</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/75">Fix Genericons position</a>.</li> <li>Update new demo link in documentation.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/76">Provide a label to differentiate multiple navigation landmarks</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/77">Add post title to edit link</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://github.com/davidakennedy/accessible-zen/issues/78">Prefix post format functions</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Happy blogging!</p>Finding Home2016-05-09T11:50:17-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/finding-home/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/finding-home2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=800&h=600" alt="Thanks, David. Stay in touch. –Philip" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A note on the back of my last paycheck, handwritten by my former boss, from the grocery store I worked at in Asheville, N.C. We moved from there to Greensboro for the first time in 2008. I found the note this week while packing.</figcaption></figure> <p>I’m lucky. I work for a company that allows me to work from anywhere. Knowing that, it almost seems counterintuitive to want to tie yourself down to any one place. Why settle for home being one place when it could be different whenever you wanted? And if you could live anywhere, where would it be?</p> <p>I found myself trying to answer those questions over the past year. We’ll load a truck in just a few days, but it doesn’t feel that soon. I didn’t expect the answers I found, but I know they feel right, so I’ll be saying goodbye to the Washington, D.C. area and heading back to Greensboro, North Carolina.</p> <p>I lived in North Carolina for almost three years from 2007 to 2010 while finding my way to my current career and attending graduate school at Elon University. I left looking to land a job, and did that, working in downtown Washington D.C. for a national nonprofit and later a government agency. It turned out to be a chance of a lifetime because I got to help out with some amazing projects. The Washington, D.C. area turned out to be where I made myself professionally.</p> <p>It was here where I learned WordPress deeply and got hooked on its community of passionate, friendly people. I met many of them at the regular <a href="http://www.meetup.com/wordpressdc/">WordPress D.C. meetup</a>. I also dove into the world of accessibility thanks to working for a disability organization and in the government, places where accessibility is paramount. I leave a better person and web developer than when I arrived.</p> <p>In the almost-six years here, my wife and I also had a daughter who’s become the center of our lives. She surprises us each day with how she learns and grows. As a result, she pushes us to learn and grow in new ways too. I’m excited more and more each day with what she does and where it takes all of us.</p> <p>This area never felt permanent or like home. We came here, both my wife and I, to better our careers. Now that we’ve done that, and our lives have evolved, we wanted a change. I confess I never imagined moving back to North Carolina. We looked at Florida (where I’m from), Pittsburgh and a few other spots. Turns out Greensboro just felt right. It’s a place we know, because we lived close by before and always visited. It has a lot of the benefits of a big city, but few of the hassles. It’s central to the mountains and the beach, perfect for quick trips and vacations. The cost of living is reasonable and the weather is terrific. Plus, we already have friends there, and it’s an easy trip to get to many family members.</p> <p>That doesn’t mean leaving the D.C. area will be easy. We’re leaving behind some great connections and friends, but are excited for new beginnings in Greensboro. I can’t wait to start this part of our lives!</p>Being a Developer After 402016-05-11T09:46:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/being-a-developer-after-40/<p>Adrian Kosmaczewski has written a thoughtful post called, <a href="https://medium.freecodecamp.com/being-a-developer-after-40-3c5dd112210c#.5p6p3nwr7">Being a Developer After 40</a>, that you should read. He’s filled it with great advice and reading material, laying out a plan for anyone to become a better developer. I love that most about this piece, that it’s not about being good after a certain age, but getting good before then so you can thrive at any time in your career.</p>Goodbye Thematic2016-05-19T22:02:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/goodbye-thematic/<blockquote> <p>It’s bittersweet and slightly nostalgic to see the theme come to an end. When I launched the Tavern in 2009, I regularly linked to tutorials and articles published by [Ian] Stewart. I’m almost certain Thematic and its creator helped out a number of budding theme developers between 2008-2011.<br> <cite>– Jeff Chandler</cite><br> In <a href="http://wptavern.com/after-eight-years-thematic-themes-lead-developers-discontinue-the-project">After Eight Years, Thematic Theme’s Lead Developers Discontinue the Project</a></p> </blockquote> <p>I feel the same way. When I first started hacking on WordPress themes, I started with Thematic. My final project in graduate school ended up being two child themes, built with Thematic. It introduced me to a lot of theming concepts and best practices. I’m glad it will live on in a fork. So long Thematic – thanks for all those hooks and filters!</p>Why Suburbia Sucks2016-05-21T14:59:19-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/why-suburbia-sucks/<p>As someone who moved to a new city and wants to find a house in a walkable neighborhood, I know how difficult that can be. This post explains why that is and <a href="https://likewise.am/2016/05/08/why-suburbia-sucks/">why the suburbs suck</a>. It’s a great read on the differences between European and American cities when it comes to urban planning.</p>Themers, Themes and the Content Creation in WordPress2016-06-07T13:48:40-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/themers-themes-and-the-content-creation-in-wordpress/<p>My colleague, Michael Arestad, wrote an excellent post awhile back called, <a href="http://blog.michaelarestad.com/2016/01/06/the-shape-of-wordpress-shapes-the-web/">The shape of WordPress shapes the web</a>. In it, he poses the questions:</p> <blockquote> <p>Should the design of content creation in WordPress expand past blogging?</p> <p>If so, what would the creation of content look like? Would the shape of the editor be determined by the theme? Would it be something more flexible involving direct manipulation? Could it be a mix of both?</p> </blockquote> <p>Those are tough questions, but fun ones to think about, especially without the limits of the current content creation process. Some of what I envision for a better experience there already exists – in bits and pieces in different content management systems and platforms. Some of the reasons WordPress lacks a more optimal content creation process doesn’t have to do with <em>just</em> user experience, design or code, but also some of its contributors. I’m talking about themers – myself included.</p> <p>From my vantage point, themes cause some of the biggest frustrations for the people who use WordPress every day. As we all know, born as blogging software, WordPress has evolved into a full-fledged content management system and its contributors have it looking more and more like an application platform every day. With that fluidness comes freedom. WordPress can do a lot. Sure, the post screen available at <code>post-new.php</code> has its limits, but that hasn’t stopped anyone yet. Meta boxes, custom fields, widgets, special classes, page builders and more have all tried to make the process better. But nothing has stuck, and everything has felt like a patch instead of a cohesive experience. And worse, open up any WordPress site that extends beyond a blog and you’re likely to find them all handling content in slightly different ways. Everyone loses here. The people who use WordPress, and those who make it and build tools from it.</p> <p>I certainly don’t think the perfect content creation process exist for all the types of content that goes into WordPress. And I don’t think pulling in ideas and concepts from other sources is the whole answer. If the design of content creation in WordPress expands past blogging, it will take experimentation, user testing and a lot of collaboration to find something that works. So how do we get there? We have to start – together.</p> <p>I know that we as themers can do a better job of bringing consistency to the themes we build, both individually and as a community. We’re doing a better job than we once did, reducing theme options, sticking mostly to the Customizer, keeping content types in plugins, etc. but more work remains. We’re all creating themes in our own worlds, but something better lies ahead. We need to sketch, design, build and create <em>outside</em> of themes, and <em>with</em> each other. WordPress Core needs you. Maybe you start <a href="https://core.trac.wordpress.org/component/Themes">working through some tickets</a>. Or revive a <a href="https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-content-blocks/">stalled feature plugin</a> that’s needed. The opportunities exist everywhere, and content creation doesn’t get better without themers.</p>App Overload2016-06-24T09:13:15-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/app-overload/<p>I’ve hit app overload.</p> <p>I realized this when I glanced at my phone recently. I saw quite a few apps I hardly used. Turns out, <a href="http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/smartphones-so-many-apps--so-much-time.html">people have a limit</a>. Users are spending more time on mobile apps each year, but the number of mobile apps actually used each month hasn’t changed much over the last few years. I experienced the next level of this at a recent tech event, where I tried out a few app prototypes. I’m normally excited to try out new apps and talk to designers and developers about how they’re made, but here my interest waned.</p> <p>Then this week I listened to a talk by Christian Heilmann called, <a href="https://www.christianheilmann.com/2016/06/20/my-closing-keynote-at-awwwards-nyc-2016-a-new-hope-the-web-strikes-back/">A New Hope: The Web Strikes Back</a>. In it, he dives into how the Web is catching up to apps and their abilities. It reminded me why I love working on the Web – it’s ubiquitous and open. All you need to get it is a browser, and you’re not at the mercy of anyone. Beautiful.</p> <p>Inspired by wanting to <em>use</em> the Web more, I’ve decided to delete a lot of apps from my computers and devices. I want to only keep the ones I use at least once a week or need in certain situations (like traveling). The ones I delete, I’ll try to use its Web version – I’m looking at you Facebook. We’ll see how it goes! Delete, delete, delete.</p>What to Consider When the Platforms Show Up with Money2016-06-25T20:27:02-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-to-consider-when-the-platforms-show-up-with-money/<p>My colleague, Mark Armstrong, has written an excellent post about how social networks can’t replace your own domain and website, no matter what they offer.</p> <blockquote> <p>… I think it’s a stretch to suggest a proprietary social network can or should replace one’s website.</p> </blockquote> <p>Give <a href="https://markarms.com/2016/06/23/what-to-consider-when-the-platforms-show-up-with-money/">What to Consider When the Platforms Show Up with Money</a> a read.</p>Progressive Enhancement is2016-06-26T20:42:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/progressive-enhancement-is/<p>Everyone has a definition for progressive enhancement these days, and many often misunderstand the concept. I like Scott Jehl’s <a href="https://twitter.com/scottjehl/status/745278900826214401">thoughts on the principle</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Progressive Enhancement is less “but what if JavaScript is disabled?”, more “can our core services be more tolerant of everyday conditions”</p> </blockquote> <p>When you look at it that way, progressive enhancement becomes synonymous with quality. Why wouldn’t you want to build sites and applications this way? In a way that gives people a quality experience no matter what.</p>Pulse2016-06-27T23:58:32-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/pulse/<p>Two weeks ago I listened to Norman Casiano, a victim of the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/nytimes/videos/10150827346724999/">tell his story</a>. I still hear the fear and force in his voice. You can’t listen to him and not think that something has to be done about not just gun control, but the lack of equality and empathy in America. That change starts with listening. To each other.</p> <p>This shooting shook me more than others. Maybe because it happened in my home state. Maybe I’m scared of the world that my daughter is growing up in. Maybe I’ve hit my limit of inaction. I keep thinking of one of my favorite quotes from one of my heros, <a href="http://www.harryharriettemoore.org/">Harry T. Moore</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Freedom never descends upon a people. It is always bought with a price.”</p> </blockquote>Empathy and Acceptance in Design and Community2016-06-30T21:40:37-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/empathy-and-acceptance-in-design-and-community/<p>Morten Rand-Hendriksen gave an excellent talk at WordCamp Europe 2016 about the role of empathy in the web field. It’s called <a href="http://wordpress.tv/2016/06/29/morten-rand-hendriksen-empathy-and-acceptance-in-design-and-community/">Empathy and Acceptance in Design and Community</a>, and you should give it a listen. I didn’t catch it in person, but it’s one of the best talks I’ve heard in awhile. I believe practicing empathy in our work <em>could</em> have the same impact on the Web as responsive design. It could be transformative.</p>Hypertext2016-07-01T22:46:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hypertext/<p>Jeremy Keith gave a talk recently on <a href="https://vimeo.com/172794545">hypertext</a> that covers the history of the Internet and the Web. It’s a fascinating look at the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s largest system of knowledge.</p>Less Apps, One Week In2016-07-02T13:43:16-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/less-apps-one-week-in/<p>A week ago, I came to the realization that I’d hit <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/app-overload/">app overload</a>. So I took action.</p> <p>I deleted a number of apps from both my iPhone and iPad, my two primary iOS devices. The hitlist included Facebook, Twitter, MeetUp, Google Plus, Tumblr and more. In the last week, I’ve used only the web versions of Facebook and Twitter on those devices. It has felt both freeing and only slightly restrictive. To be honest, I don’t <em>think</em> I’m going back to the native apps.</p> <p>I think I only had notifications enabled on Facebook and Twitter, and I probably used those two the most out of the deleted bunch. That said, just glancing at my home screen feels much less stressful. Every app there has provides more value than novelty. When I pop open my phone, I’m much less likely to get sucked into mindlessly browsing content, which is amazing. I now have small chunks of time for more important things.</p> <p>It’s not that I think Facebook or Twitter don’t provide value. They do. They connect me with both real-life friends and online friends in a way I can’t achieve on my own. It’s more that I want to nuture and engage with those connections on my time, rather than know the second someone leaves a comment or like.</p> <p>This new experiment has its faults though. My friends in town have a Facebook group that we use to coordinate events and fun stuff. A friend posted late one afternoon that he’d like to go to the movies that night. It balooned into a quick, last-minute event that I missed because I saw it too late. That likely wouldn’t have happened had I had the app, enabled with notifications.</p> <p>But I still think a missing the occasional news or event is better than missing out on some of life’s little pleasures. I plan to keep this up, and see how it goes in the future. Maybe it will stick, and maybe it won’t.</p>How to Learn Technical Things2016-07-09T14:51:13-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/how-to-learn-technical-things/<blockquote> <p>The people that know the concept you are learning went through the same process that you are going through — often multiple times — to get where they are today.</p> <p>The actual mechanics of learning are the same for everyone: you poke around, you push the edges of what you know, you make mistakes, you do dumb things, you struggle to understand, you apply it to problems you are interested in, and knowledge grows over time.</p> <p><cite>Jamison Dance in</cite><br> In <a href="http://jamison.dance/07-04-2016/how-to-learn-technical-things/">How to Learn Technical Things</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Jamison Dance has some great points in his article on learning. He goes onto describe the techniques of a skilled learner. It’s a process of making mistakes, asking questions, getting rapid feedback, being uncomfortable, comparing what you know and continuing to learn. As we’re <em>trying</em> to learn, we often forget that learning doesn’t just happen at all once but over time. And during each step, learning happens… Give yourself credit for that too!</p>Just Build Websites2016-07-20T23:03:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/just-build-websites/<p>I really like the idea behind Melanie Richards’ <a href="https://github.com/melanierichards/just-build-websites">Just Build Websites</a> repository. It’s full of doable, neat and fun ideas you can use to stretch your knowledge and learn something new. She <a href="http://melanie-richards.com/blog/just-build-websites/">writes about it</a> on her website. You now have no excuse for not having a good idea for a side project. 🙂</p>One Way to Learn JavaScript Deeply2016-07-23T22:18:39-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/learn-javascript-deeply/<p>At WordCamp U.S. 2015, Matt Mullenweg <a href="http://wordpress.tv/2015/12/07/matt-mullenweg-state-of-the-word-2015/">set a goal for everyone in the community</a>: Learn JavaScript deeply. But how does one do that?</p> <p>In this post, I’ll share what’s worked for me in the past six months or so as I’ve dove deeper into JavaScript.</p> <h2>How Do You Learn?</h2> <p>These days, you can go in many directions. From books and blog post tutorials to courses and bootcamps, you have many ways to learn something new. There’s no one right way for everyone. You have to experiment to figure out which method works best for you. Once you figure out which method works, stick with it, and don’t be afraid to mix and match as you go.</p> <p>For me, working through courses on Code School and reading in-depth blog posts has stuck best. Blog posts have helped the most since I can consider about how the concepts might surface in my own projects.</p> <p>And speaking of projects, let’s talk about those. After all, you can’t just read and listen to concepts if you want to truly learn something. Here are five things I recommend that have helped me further my skills with JavaScript:</p> <h2>Just Dive In</h2> <p><strong>Just build</strong>. At every opportunity I’ve had, I’ve tried to build with vanilla JavaScript if it made sense to do so. Whether that’s fixing bugs in themes on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> or taking on new work, I’ve looked for ways to touch JavaScript.</p> <p><strong>Find a mentor</strong>. If you really want to learn, you need a teacher. Someone that can take your questions, hear your frustrations and be there to push you. For me, that’s been my colleague at Automattic, <a href="https://twitter.com/mendezcode">Ernesto Mendez</a>. He’s found a way to teach me something almost every day and challenged me in a way I couldn’t have done myself.</p> <p><strong>Start small</strong>. You might be tempted to jump into a big project when going deeper into a topic. I wanted to experiment with building a JavaScript-powered WordPress theme. But the more I researched and looked into it, the more complex it became. That’s not to say building something like that isn’t beneficial, but keeping what you’re working on manageable means you can control the complexity and get to the “Aha” moments faster.</p> <p><strong>Redo a project or code snippet you know</strong>. The best way to learn something new is to focus on it. You can do this by rewriting jQuery plugins and bits of code in vanilla JavaScript. I’ve done it with a JavaScript file on this site, and several other recent projects. It has forced me to see parts of JavaScript I’m unfamiliar with, and as a result, I’ve picked a lot of new knowledge.</p> <p><strong>Work on something consistently</strong>. Benjamin Franklin famously woke early to read and write. He set goals and measured them, always experimenting and dedicating time to those tasks every day. I’ve tried to do the same, finding projects and tinkering a little each day. It’s helped me progress steadily. I break the work up into two periods, one at the beginning, and one at the end of each day. Sometimes, that means I feel like I don’t get very far. Otherwise, the short amounts of time on tasks give me bursts of energy and excitement. It’s a balance.</p> <p>I hope this helps you take on JavaScript sooner rather than later. WordPress needs you.</p>Now2016-07-28T22:45:58-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/now/<p>I stumbled across a cool project about <a href="http://nownownow.com/">now pages</a>, thanks to cheking out <a href="http://melanie-richards.com/now/">Melanie Richards’ site</a>. You focus the content around one conversation starter:</p> <blockquote> <p>Think of what you’d tell a friend you hadn’t seen in a year.</p> </blockquote> <p>I dig the idea so I made <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/now/">my own</a>, converting an old reading list page that I hardly used.</p> <p>I’m aiming to check on it once a month and update it as necessary. It fits in nicely with the <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/minimalist-living-starting-now/">minimalist living</a> I’ve strived for in the last year or so.</p>Hidden Expectations2016-08-02T23:20:07-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hidden-expectations/<blockquote> <p>Over the years I’ve come to realize that most difficult part of making websites isn’t the code, it’s the “hidden expectations”, the unseen aspects I didn’t know were my responsibility when I started: Accessibility, Security, Performance, and Empathy.<br> <cite>Dave Rupert</cite><br> In <a href="http://daverupert.com/2016/08/hidden-expectations/">Hidden Expectations</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Dave Rupert writes about the responsibilities that come with building websites – the ones that often matter more than you know.</p>What is React?2016-08-25T17:07:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-is-react/<blockquote> <p>What I want to know is: what should I be taking away from React into my own continued evolution as a web developer?<br> <cite>Remy Sharp</cite><br> In <a href="https://remysharp.com/2016/08/15/what-is-react">What is React</a>?</p> </blockquote> <p>I really like this thinking. Frameworks and techniques on the Web are ephemeral, so the <em>what</em> doesn’t matter as much as <em>how</em> or <em>why</em>.</p>Introducing Theme User Experience Requirements2016-08-30T17:13:45-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/introducing-theme-user-experience-requirements/<p>At Automattic this year, we’ve focused heavily on improving people’s experience using themes on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a>. It’s one reason we introduced the <a href="https://themeshaper.com/2016/08/30/theme-user-experience-requirements/">TUX List</a>, a set of theme user experience requirements. Putting these best practices into your themes on <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress.org</a> and elsewhere means anyone using them will have an easier time getting to what they really want to do: publish their site. Not fiddle with theme setup and options. Making themes easier is a job for everyone, so let’s keep working at it!</p>What We Look for in Themes for WordPress.com2016-09-02T10:55:37-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-we-look-for-in-themes/<p>It’s the most common question we get over at Automattic’s Theme Team: What We Look for in Themes? I put together a post on ThemeShaper to answer it and share what <a href="https://themeshaper.com/2016/09/01/what-we-look-for-in-themes/">we look for in any theme on WordPress.com</a>.</p>Hello Twenty Seventeen2016-09-10T20:13:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hello-twenty-seventeen/<p>After years of contributing to WordPress and its default themes, I get to help lead one – <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/core/2016/09/09/say-hello-to-twenty-seventeen-%F0%9F%91%8B%F0%9F%8F%BD/">Twenty Seventeen</a>! To say I’m excited and honored would be <em>the</em> understatement of both 2016 and 2017. 🙂</p> <p>I’m looking forward to bringing a new theme to WordPress, and with the help of the WordPress community, making it the best it can be. I’ll be working with <a href="https://choycedesign.com/">Mel Choyce</a>, who designed Twenty Seventeen, and <a href="http://www.laurelfulford.com/">Laurel Fulford</a>, who will help me give the theme life. Sure, Mel has designed some of the most beautiful themes out there and Laurel can code up anything, but that’s not what has me the most excited.</p> <p>What I love most about open source, and the WordPress community, is the people. All artful creations carry inspiration from other sources, and I believe you can’t create anything worthwhile alone. That’s why Twenty Seventeen <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/core/2016/09/09/twenty-seventeen-kickoff-meeting-notes/">needs all the help it can get</a> from as many people as possible.</p> <p>If you’ve ever wanted to find a way to contribute WordPress, to take part in something that millions of people will touch every day, now is the time. Drop a comment on this post if you <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/core/2016/09/09/twenty-seventeen-kickoff-meeting-notes/">want to help</a>. Let’s do this!</p>We're the Only Plane in the Sky2016-09-11T19:51:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/only-plane-in-the-sky/<p>I love oral histories, and this is one that’s been <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/were-the-only-plane-in-the-sky-214230">largely untold about one of the most defining days in U.S. history</a>.</p> <p>If you’re an American, you remember how confusing, sad and scary that day was when you read it. But you also remember ordinary people did extraordinary things.</p> <p>Thank you to all those who serve, from the armed forces to the first responders.</p> <p>Have empathy today. Tell people you love them. Be nice to one another, even if you disagree with their politics, and especially if you’re unfamiliar with their background or where they’re from.</p>Automattic Grand Meetup 20162016-09-14T21:41:16-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/automattic-grand-meetup-2016/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=650&h=850" alt="Automattic Grand Meetup 2016 conference badge" width="650" height="850"></figure>Skywalk Trail on Rainbow Mountain2016-09-22T17:57:36-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/skywalk-trail-on-rainbow-mountain/<div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A lookout, overlooking a lake, on Skywalk Trail.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Standing on a bridge on Skywalk Trail.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=600" alt="" width="600" height="800"><figcaption>A waterfall, near a lookout on Skywalk Trail.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=600" alt="" width="600" height="800"><figcaption>A waterfall, near a lookout on Skywalk Trail.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of trees high up, near a lookout on Skywalk Trail.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of Rainbow Mountain.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of Rainbow Mountain, from a field.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A big group of Automattician's eating lunch near the bottom of Rainbow Mountain.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>One of the glacier lakes at Rainbow Mountain.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view out into the valley, standing near one of the glacier lakes at Rainbow Mountain.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Me and a glacier – selfie style.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of the glacier lake, from standing in front of the glacier itself.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A glacier on Rainbow Mountain.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A mix of debris from the glacier and a view of trees and grass.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=600" alt="" width="600" height="800"><figcaption>Me in front of the glacier.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>From left to right, Stu West, Jonah Braun, Xiao Yu and myself on the glacier beach.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Walking on the glacier beach.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A small stream on the trail to Rainbow Mountain.</figcaption></figure> </div> <p>This past week, while at Automattic’s annual Grand Meetup, I completed the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. Myself and a small group of Automattician’s hiked up <a href="http://localwhistler.com/news/2015/08/17/skywalk-trail/">Skywalk Trail on Rainbow Mountain</a> – a challenging hike full of amazing views. It’s near Whistler, British Columbia in Canada.</p> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-20.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=718" alt="A screenshot of Fitbit, showing 34,033 steps." width="600" height="718"></figure> <p>I say difficult because about an hour into the hike, I wasn’t sure I would make it. I huffed and puffed up a few steep hills and had to take a lot of short breaks. But I pushed through and enjoyed the best payoff – the views (see the photos!). I felt it the next few days with sore calves and quads.</p> <p>A big thanks to <a href="https://crazyrunningguy.com/">Joe Boydston</a> for organizing the hike, <a href="https://stuwest.org/">Stu West</a> for hiking back down with me, and the rest of the group for being such great company.</p>Themers in a Photo – Grand Meetup, 2016 Edition2016-09-22T18:05:31-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/themers-in-a-photo-grand-meetup-2016/<div class="reel"> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-21.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=800&h=538" alt="Many themers posting in a photo both, holding signs, silly props and wearing funny masks and faces." width="800" height="538"></figure> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-22.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=800&h=538" alt="Many themers posting in a photo both, holding signs, silly props and wearing funny masks and faces." width="800" height="538"></figure> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2016-23.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=800&h=538" alt="Many themers posting in a photo both, holding signs, silly props and wearing funny masks and faces." width="800" height="538"></figure> </div> <p>This past week, Automattic held its annual Grand Meetup, where the entire company gets together to talk about the past year, plan ahead for the next one and work on a few cool things…</p> <p>Oh, and we throw a party at the end with a photo booth. As you can see, my team, the Theme Team, knows how to take a good photo. 🙂 I’m lucky to work with such a great group of people. They’re more than coworkers – they’re friends. People who inspire me, push me, teach me, make me laugh and probably overuse the 💩 emoji. Nobody’s perfect.</p>Twenty Seventeen in Trunk2016-10-20T11:24:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/twenty-seventeen-in-trunk/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/twentyseventeen-commit.png?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=800&h=328" alt="Screenshot showing the initial commit of Twenty Seventeen." width="800" height="328"></figure> <p>Last night, I made my <a href="https://core.trac.wordpress.org/changeset/38833/">first commit to WordPress</a>!</p> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/helenhousandi/status/788957937054130176">It’s exciting</a>!</p> <p>Twenty Seventeen, the next default theme for WordPress, is now in trunk – the latest development version of WordPress. It’s been a busy week after a flurry of work from an amazing 59 contributors so far on the theme. **59! **As one of the leads for the theme, that’s a number that I’m most proud of, and want to see grow.</p> <p>You can read more about Twenty Seventeen in its <a href="https://make.wordpress.org/core/2016/10/18/twenty-seventeen-merge-proposal-for-4-7/">merge proposal</a> on the Make WordPress Core blog. Please continue to test the theme so it can be its best when it ships to the world. And thank you to all the contributors so far! This wouldn’t happen without you.</p>Behind the Scenes of WordPress.com Themes with David Kennedy2016-10-21T09:21:09-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/behind-the-scenes-of-wordpresscom-themes-with-david-kennedy/<p>Sami Keijonen authored a great guest post about what I do at Automattic working on <a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a> and its themes, plus some of my involvement in WordPress Core. Check out <a href="https://wptavern.com/behind-the-scenes-of-wordpress-com-themes-with-david-kennedy">Behind the Scenes of WordPress.com Themes with David Kennedy</a>.</p>Chasing Tools2016-10-22T12:56:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/chasing-tools/<blockquote> <p>Mostly, I think the evolution is healthy. We should be iterating and improving on what we know. And each build tool does things a little differently and different people will find one or the other fits their workflow a bit better. The problem is if we blindly race after the next great thing without stopping to consider the underlying problem that actually needs solving.</p> </blockquote> <p>Tim Kadlec explains the web industry’s <a href="https://timkadlec.com/2016/10/chasing-tools/">obsession with tools</a> perfectly.</p>JavaScript Community: The Good Parts2016-10-23T12:43:37-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/javascript-community-the-good-parts/<p>Brenna O’Brien gave a great talk recently called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ypYniQa7_o">JavaScript Community: The Good Parts</a>. I love how much of it focuses on the practical things people can do to fuel a community and technology.</p>WordCamp US 20162016-12-02T10:01:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordcamp-us-2016/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/wcus2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=625&h=700" alt="WordCamp US 2016 conference badge." width="625" height="700"></figure>Dear Twenty Seventeen Contributors2016-12-07T11:48:05-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dear-twenty-seventeen-contributors/<p>We shipped! <a href="https://wordpress.org/news/2016/12/vaughan/">Twenty Seventeen, along with WordPress 4.7</a>, hit the Web yesterday. We shipped not just any default theme, but one that gives users a home page like no other default theme. We made something amazing that literally millions of people will use and learn from.</p> <p>At times, I’d go to bed worried about how to tackle a problem, but then I’d wake up and you all had it solved. Every day, you taught me something new and demanded my best. I can’t thank you enough.</p> <p>It was an honor to work on Twenty Seventeen with you. I’m proud of it, and can’t wait to see what people do with it. Let’s keep improving WordPress, themes and customization together – there’s much more work to be done.</p> <p>Thank you to from the bottom of my heart to the 102 contributors who helped get Twenty Seventeen created and launched:</p> <p><a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/aaroncampbell">aaroncampbell</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/acmethemes">acmethemes</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/adammacias">adammacias</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/afercia">afercia</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/ahortin">ahortin</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/akshayvinchurkar">akshayvinchurkar</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/alex27">alex27</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/allancole">allancole</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/anilbasnet">anilbasnet</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/b-07">b-07</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/binarymoon">binarymoon</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/bradyvercher">bradyvercher</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/brainstormforce">brainstormforce</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/caspie">caspie</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/celloexpressions">celloexpressions</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/claudiosanches">claudiosanches</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/clorith">clorith</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/davidmosterd">davidmosterd</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/delawski">delawski</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/dimadin">dimadin</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/dineshc">dineshc</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/doughamlin">doughamlin</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/electricfeet">electricfeet</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/enodekciw">enodekciw</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/fencer04">fencer04</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/for">for</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/grapplerulrich">grapplerulrich</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/hardeepasrani">hardeepasrani</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/helen">helen</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/hiddenpearls">hiddenpearls</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/idealien">idealien</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/imnok">imnok</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/implenton">implenton</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/implenton">implenton</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/initial">initial</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/iv">iv</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/joefusco">joefusco</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/joemcgill">joemcgill</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/johnpgreen">johnpgreen</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/jordesign">jordesign</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/joshcummingsdesign">joshcummingsdesign</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/joyously">joyously</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/juanfra">juanfra</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/karmatosed">karmatosed</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/laurelfulford">laurelfulford</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/leobaiano">leobaiano</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/littlebigthing">littlebigthing</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/lukecavanagh">lukecavanagh</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/mageshp">mageshp</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/mahesh901122">mahesh901122</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/manishsongirkar36">manishsongirkar36</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/mapk">mapk</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/mattwiebe">mattwiebe</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/mbelchev">mbelchev</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/melchoyce">melchoyce</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/metodiew">metodiew</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/mor10">mor10</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/mrahmadawais">mrahmadawais</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/netweb">netweb</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/nikschavan">nikschavan</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/nnaimov">nnaimov</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/noplanman">noplanman</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/nukaga">nukaga</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/ocean90">ocean90</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/odysseygate">odysseygate</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/patch">patch</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/patilvikasj">patilvikasj</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/peterwilsoncc">peterwilsoncc</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/pratikchaskar">pratikchaskar</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/pressionate">pressionate</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/presskopp">presskopp</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/rabmalin">rabmalin</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/ranh">ranh</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/rianrietveld">rianrietveld</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/ryelle">ryelle</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/sami">sami</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/samikeijonen">samikeijonen</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/sandesh055">sandesh055</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/sgr33n">sgr33n</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/sirbrillig">sirbrillig</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/sixhours">sixhours</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/smyoon315">smyoon315</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/snacking">snacking</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/soean">soean</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/sstoqnov">sstoqnov</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/swapnild">swapnild</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/swisspidy">swisspidy</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/swissspidy">swissspidy</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/taggon">taggon</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/tg29359">tg29359</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/themeshaper">themeshaper</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/transl8or">transl8or</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/tsl143">tsl143</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/tywayne">tywayne</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/valeriutihai">valeriutihai</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/voldemortensen">voldemortensen</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/vrundakansara">vrundakansara</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/westonruter">westonruter</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/williampatton">williampatton</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/yoavf">yoavf</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/yogasukma">yogasukma</a>, <a href="https://profiles.wordpress.org/zodiac1978">zodiac1978</a>.</p> <p>Love,<br> DK</p>Signs You May be a Designer2016-12-14T21:02:44-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/signs-you-may-be-a-designer/<p>Heydon Pickering points out that a lot more web workers <a href="http://www.heydonworks.com/article/signs-you-may-be-a-designer-not-just-a-coder">think and work like designers</a> than give themselves credit for doing so. I, for one, fall in that category so this post really resonated with me.</p>20172016-12-31T23:44:54-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2017/<p>A new year starts tomorrow so I’m thinking about where I’ve been and what’s ahead.</p> <p>Like the last few years, I’m focusing on personal focuses rather than work ones. But this year has turned out amazing at work, getting <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/twenty-seventeen-in-trunk/">commit access for themes for WordPress</a> and helping <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dear-twenty-seventeen-contributors/">release Twenty Seventeen</a>. Plus, lots of work on <a href="https://themeshaper.com/2016/02/09/introducing-components/">Components</a>, a new project from the Automattic Theme Team.</p> <h2>Last Year</h2> <p>I had three main goals last year:</p> <p><strong>Schedule two hours a week of thinking time for myself</strong>. I kept up with this for most of the year. According to <a href="http://habitlist.com/">Habit List</a>, I completed both 95 percent of the time, on average. Usually, I thought through things after my morning coffee or before bed. The habit has made me more mindful of my reactions and my mistakes throughout the week, meaning I’m more apt to course correct when necessary.</p> <p><strong>Listen more</strong>. I don’t think I made the type of progress I wanted to on this one. Some things helped here, like the month or so I spent without Facebook and Twitter on my phone or the general simplifying I’ve done in my life. But I think I could still be more present in conversations and life. It’s subjective, but I’m trying to be honest with myself. Hopefully, the awareness leads to further incremental improvement.</p> <p><strong>Make progress on a book about accessibility</strong>. I didn’t make progress here either. However, I did keep an accessibility newsletter going on and off throughout the year. I started that as a way to get writing more about the topic and it worked. I also received good feedback on the newsletter when it was active so I have a base to keep building on for the future.</p> <h2>Next Year</h2> <p>I wouldn’t call these resolutions or goals, but focuses. Because I don’t want to make a giant goal that I struggle to break down into actionable steps as in the past. Instead, I want to focus on my personal passions and let them help lead me to a better place.</p> <p><strong>Writing</strong>: I’ve always loved writing, and I always feel more productive with my web development work when I write more. So I want to focus on it this year. That means returning more to my blog, where I wrote for 80-plus days in 2015. It also means relaunching <a href="http://a11yweekly.com/">Accessibility Weekly</a> and keeping it going strong with original writing and curation.</p> <p><strong>Experiments</strong>: I moved twice this year, so I naturally simplified my life, jettisoning a lot of needless stuff. I’ve started to embrace minimalism and productivity, looking for ways I can do more with less. In reading a few new blogs and listening to some new podcasts, I like the idea of doing small experiments in life to make yourself uncomfortable. Just last week, I kicked regular coffee. It’s freeing to try something different to alter your perspective. In 2017, I want to try as many experiments as I can, especially a <a href="http://www.theminimalists.com/game/">30-day minimalist challenge</a> and starting a bodyweight-only exercise program.</p> <p>See you in the new year!</p> <p>Previous years: <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2016/">2016</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2015/">2015</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/hello-2014/">2014</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/next-year-more-goals/">2012</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/new-year-new-goals-2011/">2011</a>.</p>The Power of the Web2017-01-06T21:35:47-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-power-of-the-web/<p>The Web has never been a place of purity. Yet people often want to turn it into that.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.viget.com/articles/the-case-against-progressive-enhancements-flimsy-moral-foundation">The Case Against Progressive Enhancement’s Flimsy Moral Foundation</a>, Josh Korr lays out his case that progressive enhancement has a giant flaw. “Progressive enhancement is a philosophical, moral argument disguised as a practical approach to web development,” he says. He goes onto to poke holes in the moral case for progressive enhancement, saying that those advocating for progressive enhancement are: “Pushing an incoherent moral philosophy in the guise of a practical discussion, and kinda being a jerk about it.”</p> <p>Korr has also wrote a <a href="https://www.viget.com/articles/further-thoughts-about-the-progressive-enhancement-discussion">follow-up post</a>, clarifying his tone snd points. He says:</p> <p>&quot;The purpose of my post was not to assess progressive enhancement as an approach to web development. (Hence my not-a-dev-disclaimer.) And yes, PE is undeniably a practical approach to web development.</p> <p>The purpose was to offer an explanation for the PE discussion’s dynamic: how it’s highly combustible and seems to go around in frustrating circles.&quot;</p> <p>I can understand why Korr makes his main point. The discussion around some topics in the web world do go in circles, and get contentious. This happens in the accessibility community too.</p> <p>Progressive enhancement, like most principles on the Web doesn’t have an always-optimal approach. To succeed with it depends on your users and your project. A site can have okay accessibility and still deliver a passable experience to users with disabilities. A project can do a decent job with performance, and still be production ready. The Web is messy. It moves fast and slow. Think of how fast responsive design took hold. Now, remember what a monumental change happened when images hit the Web in Mosaic. But we’re still trying to figure out to best deliver those images responsibly today. The Web is a fragile environment. The entire thing relies on connections, which can be broken, interrupted or suboptimal. Progressive enhancement just helps you think critically about how to handle the variables. That way, your users don’t have to worry about them.</p> <p>The power of the Web lies in its millions of different connections. All powered by people somewhere in the world. That provides all the fuel needed for a difference of opinion now and then. The circular conversations don’t matter as much as the acknowledgment that many paths to success exist when we hear each other out. We just need to stay open to new ideas and not get too caught up in semantics.</p>Contributing to Twenty Seventeen2017-01-13T10:01:11-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/contributing-to-twenty-seventeen/<p>Sami Keijonen <a href="https://poststatus.com/contributing-to-twenty-seventeen-theme/">shared his experience</a> as a first-time contributor to WordPress default themes on Post Status. It’s an excellent read, especially if you’re interested in getting involved in WordPress Core or default themes.</p> <p>Twenty Seventeen wouldn’t be the same without Sami’s work. His experience provides a good example of how to watch an open source community, learn from it, find a niche within it and attack when you see a way to give back. My favorite advice is this:</p> <blockquote> <p>Once you start contributing, you shouldn’t just disappear with no explanation. If you’re running low on time or have other obligations, it’s totally understandable, but be sure to politely inform others you can’t continue anymore, so they can pick up where you left off.</p> </blockquote>What Comes Next is the Future2017-01-14T12:52:46-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/what-comes-next-is-the-future/<p>If you’re into the Web, I suggest you watch <a href="https://vimeo.com/177267839">What Comes Next is the Future</a>. The documentary dives deep into the history of the Web, and where it’s headed.</p>Theme Team in Barcelona, 20162017-01-15T18:37:58-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/theme-team-in-barcelona-2016/<p>So I’m posting these photos late. 🙂 Last November the Theme Team, my team at Automattic, spent the week in Barcelona. We worked on <a href="http://components.underscores.me/">Components</a> and saw a few sites: La Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell.</p> <div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-1.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="840"><figcaption>La Sagrada Familia from the street</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="840"><figcaption>A blue door on La Sagrada Familia</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="840"><figcaption>A stained glass window of blue and red in La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="840"><figcaption>A stained glass window of orange in La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A stained glass window of blue in La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="840"><figcaption>A view of the ceiling in La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="840"><figcaption>Columns in La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of Barcelona from atop La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of Barcelona from atop La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of a park from atop La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view of Barcelona from atop La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A long set of stairs in La Sagrada Familia.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-13.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A view of La Sagrada Familia from the street.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-14.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A building in Parc Güell.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-15.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A building in Parc Güell.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-16.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A view from Parc Güell, looking toward the ocean.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-17.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>A few theme wranglers in Parc Güell.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-18.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>Columns in Parc Güell.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-barcelona2016-19.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A view of architecture in Parc Güell.</figcaption></figure> </div>Experiment: I Quit Coffee2017-01-18T21:17:04-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/i-quit-coffee/<p>Okay, so that’s not entirely true. I just drink decaf now.</p> <p>I wrote recently about <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/2017/">wanting to experiment more</a> in 2017, and this turned into the first one. I started this late last year, and have stuck to it so far.</p> <p>I had help. My wife, Joeleen, quit regular coffee when she found out she was pregnant with our daughter. I wanted to follow her, but never had the guts to take the leap. Two-plus years later, I hated how I felt when I missed getting my regular coffee. I got headaches, and felt horrible – all expected when you’re hooked on caffeine.</p> <p>I’ve been on decaf for a month now, tapering off slowly by mixing decaf with my regular blend when grinding beans each morning. I don’t miss it because I still get that ritual of drinking coffee. Plus, I’m drinking less coffee, and trying out tea occasionally too.</p> <p>This isn’t the biggest or most ground-breaking personal experiment. But it has given me the freedom to try other beverages, and feel better if I miss my morning cup of joe. I’m hoping to stick with it.</p>Is Accessibility Hard?2017-01-25T12:53:34-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/is-accessibility-hard/<p>Well, no. And yes. Let me explain.</p> <p>Every now and then, I see something <a href="https://twitter.com/keithjgrant/status/770235252216328192">like this</a> from someone in the web community:</p> <blockquote> <p>But I’m just gonna be honest here… for most developers, coding for #a11y (especially screen readers) is might as well be voodoo</p> </blockquote> <p>I get it. I still remember the first time I turned on a screen reader. What a foreign experience! I felt so lost. But remember, when users visit a site that isn’t as accessible as they need it to be, that’s how they feel too. I’m not trying to guilt you into accessibility, but show you that we can all have similar experiences that fuel empathy.</p> <p>The entire Web can feel like voodoo at times. A blur of fast-paced, “what should I learn next?” – “oh no, I feel so left behind” – “I don’t know this all that well” pile of voodoo. Accessibility is no different than learning anything else. Like responsive design, Sass, React or whatever comes next. You <em>can</em> learn accessibility. That’s the “no” part of my answer to “Is accessibility hard?”</p> <p>So what’s the “yes” part? Accessibility is hard because you have to take that first step. You have to be willing to try. Feel lost. Make mistakes. And of course, like anything else, the deeper you go – the more complex it all becomes. But then you remember, you know a little voodoo, and you’ve got this.</p>Jan. 20, 20172017-02-01T23:49:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/jan-20-2017/<p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2017/01/20/510746700/donald-trump-sworn-in-as-the-45th-president-of-the-united-states">So this happened</a>. Plus, a lot more since, of course.</p> <p>I’ve gone through my own set of feelings after Donald Trump’s election. Sadness. Anger. Fear. Apathy. But right now, I’m somewhere between resilience and hope.</p> <p>Why, you ask? History tells me that we, as a country, have overcome many extraordinary challenges. Having electoral power shift from one end of the spectrum to the other from time to time can be a good thing. And I do believe that people possess more good in them than bad. Somewhere in there exists a path to find common ground.</p> <p>I’m not going to lie, I have my reservations. Many of them. I don’t believe anything Trump says. He hasn’t given me a reason to do so. His rhetoric carries much hate and falsities. His actions back this up. I want my daughter to grow up in a world where climate change is real and addressed. Where basic healthcare is a right. Where people look at her for her ideas and contributions, not her body. Where, no matter her sexual orientation, she’s treated with dignity and respect. He doesn’t support any of those values.</p> <p>All that said, I realize that being white and a man, I’m not in real danger of losing any of my own rights. All the more reason for me do more of what needs to be done in a world where Trump commands the highest office in the land. Engage with people. Listen to them. Take action. Show empathy.</p> <p>That last piece may be the most important. I believe it’s what many Americans have forgotten. Regardless of your political leanings, showing empathy matters. Its nature requires displaying respect for others and acknowledging differences. Those differences give our democracy strength. The thing that fuels my resilience and hope hasn’t changed because of the election. I still want to help accomplish the same ideals for all of us. Now, I just need to be more vigilant and work harder to help get there.</p>The Story of One New Bathroom Fan2017-02-16T10:19:43-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-story-of-one-new-bathroom-fan/<p>Okay, I get it. A blog post about a bathroom fan lacks the excitement you might be looking for in your reading on the web. But I promise the story of how this bathroom fan ended up looking just right has a few twists and turns.</p> <p>It started one Sunday afternoon while I was on vacation. After some research, I decided I wanted to tackle replacing the semi-functional fan in our master bathroom. I say semi-functional because it worked, but didn’t do a good job of lifting the moisture out of the room.</p> <p>I tracked down a <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/p/NuTone-70-CFM-Ceiling-Exhaust-Fan-with-Light-769RL/100140619">fan at Home Depot</a> made by the same vender as the current mode. It also fit perfectly in my current hole, about a nine inch by nine inch space. So far so good.</p> <p>I started to take the old one out, and began running into problems as soon as I pulled out the old motor, unhooked the electrical wiring and had nothing left but the metal housing. I couldn’t get the thing out no matter how hard I tried. I didn’t see any screws either. So I did what anyone else would do. I started bending the heck out of the housing, to try and see what I was dealing with behind it. After fighting with it for about an hour, I gave up for the day.</p> <p>The next day, I came at it with a fresh perspective. After bending the metal housing up more, I could see the problem. It was nailed to the joists in multiple spots, instead of screwed. That posed a problem because I couldn’t get anything in the space with enough leverage to pry out the nails. Plus, one corner of the housing sat between two joists, fastened with a nail. That made it near impossible to get this thing out.</p> <p>After yet more research, and a chat with my dad, I decided to saw it out. To Lowes I went in search for a hacksaw small enough to fit in the space and cut through metal and nails. I found one and a few hours later I had the housing out. Success!</p> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/bathroom-fan-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=850&h=650" alt="" width="850" height="650"><figcaption>The old fan, broken in pieces and bent up.</figcaption></figure> <p>You might think I was close to done. You’d be wrong. Once I examined the duct work in the ceiling, I discovered it was three inches in diameter, not the four inches in diameter needed for the new fan. That meant I had to buy an adapter or “reducer” to make the everything fit. I did. Twice. First a plastic one, then a metal one. The plastic one proved impossible to make fit. The metal one fit, after I learned how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf7JwmWpBA8">crimp it</a>. However, it wouldn’t stay once I tried to attach the fan to it.</p> <p>At this point I nearly gave up. I’d fought with trying to install this new fan for the better part of a week. I called it quits for almost another full week as I debated my next move. My wife showed incredible patience while we had a giant hole in the ceiling, used flashlights to find stuff and dealt with my indecision. She kept encouraging me though, saying I could finish it.</p> <p>I believed her. And decided to replace the existing duct work for an easier fit, thanks to more advice from my dad and family. The old stuff turned out to be flume pipe, not flexible and not great for connecting to the fan. I had the old duct work out and the new stuff in in less than an hour. I finished that same day! Better yet, it worked perfectly!</p> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/bathroom-fan-2.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=600&h=800" alt="" width="600" height="800"><figcaption>The new fan – installed and working!</figcaption></figure> <p>Now, I’m plotting my next home improvement project with more experience and confidence.</p>Number 382017-03-19T12:55:01-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-38/<p>I missed my annual birthday post – I must be getting old. 🙂</p> <p>I had a great birthday – a fun taco and beer dinner at <a href="http://www.eatatcrafted.com/crafted-taco/">Crafted: The Art of the Taco</a>. For the record, it was March 2nd.</p> <p>I spent most of the last year looking at houses. No lie! We bought one in Greensboro, and have been improving it ever since. I’m excited to make it our own, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-story-of-one-new-bathroom-fan/">little by little</a>. I do wish I could start over on the bathrooms from scratch though. But like I said, little by little.</p> <p>At work, I’ve been tackling leadership roles more, being in that role with <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/dear-twenty-seventeen-contributors/">Twenty Seventeen</a> and Components. I’m enjoying stretching myself there.</p> <p>Beyond that, I’m writing and reading more, two habits I think will help me grow more than anything else. I’ve also started getting deeper into minimalism, questioning my purchase decisions with thoughtfulness and looking to live more with less.</p> <p>I also began a simple bodyweight workout regimen for ten to fifteen minutes, five days a week. I’ve been at it for more than two months, so it feels good to have it sticking as a habit. I’m feeling better physically, and enjoying the fact that everything I’m doing can be done without a trip to the gym or lots of equipment.</p> <p>I’m looking forward to a more focused year. We’ll see how it goes!</p> <p>Related: <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-37/">Number 37</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-36/">Number 36</a>, <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/number-34/">Number 34</a>.</p>Thoughts on Frontend Design2017-03-28T22:53:57-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/thoughts-on-frontend-design/<p>I’ve often said to colleagues that at times I don’t feel like I’m a designer or developer. Most of the time, I feel like I’m right in the middle.</p> <blockquote> <p>I personally think that people who are skilled at frontend design are in a great position to help bridge the divide between the design and development worlds. They are <a href="http://bradfrost.com/blog/post/job-title-its-complicated/">mortar</a> that help hold the bricks in place.</p> </blockquote> <p>Brad Frost recently shared <a href="http://bradfrost.com/blog/post/frontend-design/">thoughts on fronted design</a>, and a front end developer’s role in the design process. It resonated with me in a lot of ways, Besides identifying with the being in the middle of design and development, he points out everyone falls somewhere different in the spectrum. That’s the great thing about being a front ender – there’s so much interesting stuff to do and many ways to find it.</p>Themers as Shipbuilders2017-03-30T21:32:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/themers-as-shipbuilders/<p>Working with WordPress themes can often be misunderstood. How could you build sites without knowing the content? I love building themes because I believe that a good WordPress theme can open up a new world to those using it. In turn, also reveal something unique about the site’s owner to the world. I read a quote from <a href="https://thecreativeindependent.com/people/henry-rollins-on-defining-success/">Henry Rollins on creativity, success and failure</a> that reminded me of how I feel about themes, especially when I finish one:</p> <blockquote> <p>I’m a shipbuilder. I don’t want to sail in them. I want you to sail in them. I’m just happy that they leave the harbor so I can have an empty workplace.</p> </blockquote> <p>I feel the same way when I launch a theme. I’m more excited to start the next one than continue work on something from the past.</p>Twenty Seventeen on WordPress.com2017-04-14T21:47:08-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/twenty-seventeen-on-wordpress-com/<p>My favorite default WordPress theme <a href="https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/twenty-seventeen/">finally hit WordPress.com</a> this week. It’s the last major step for the theme, and I’m looking forward to seeing what more users do with it.</p>Theme Team in Montréal, 20172017-05-13T21:06:49-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/theme-team-in-montreal-2017/<p>This past week, my team at Automattic – the Theme Team, met in Montréal for a week of work, planning for the future and team bonding. We worked hard, had fun and charted a path for the future of the team.</p> <p>Sadly, I didn’t take as many photos as I normally do. My phone started acting up. It turns out, its battery went bad. The entire phone became swollen and mostly inoperable. 🙁 But I did take a few.</p> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=850&h=650" alt="" width="850" height="650"><figcaption>Real poutine (fries, gravy, cheese curds and bacon).</figcaption></figure> <p>I’m excited to get the projects we worked on launched soon. I’m more excited for the future of our team. It comes with some changes, but I think those will work out in the end.</p> <div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-2.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="A collection of ceramics (mugs, cupcakes, robots and more)." width="640" height="840"><figcaption>We all painted something!</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="Ceramic robot" width="640" height="840"><figcaption>I painted a robot!</figcaption></figure> </div> <p>We went to a few activities as a team, including a spoken story event, painting ceramics and more. As much as I love my work, I love my team even more.</p> <div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="The Theme Team, plus Ian Stewart." width="800" height="600"></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-5.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="The Theme Team, backs turned in front of a fountain." width="800" height="600"></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/theam-montreal2017-6.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="The Theme Team" width="800" height="600"></figure> </div>The Future of Accessibility Weekly2017-06-06T13:32:14-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-future-of-accessibility-weekly/<p>After the new year, I started <a href="http://a11yweekly.com/">Accessibility Weekly</a> back up.</p> <p>It feels good to be writing and curating again. Since starting back up on January 10, I’ve only missed one issue due to travel.</p> <p>Keeping a newsletter going on a regular basis turned out harder than I thought. It takes time to convert the excitement of a new project into an everyday reflex. I’ve hit that point though, and am thinking about the future of the newsletter.</p> <p>Right now, Accessibility Weekly has 872 subscribers, a 56 percent open rate and a 22 percent click-through rate. It’s not bad, but the subscriber base remains small. They seem engaged though, and I’ve received good feedback thus far.</p> <p>I’m thinking about a few goals for the rest of the year:</p> <p><strong>Think through changes in format, if necessary</strong>. Lately, I haven’t included many news links because those have been harder to come by. Plus, I’m more interested in resources, tools and tutorial links. They center on teaching and learning, which is one of the reasons why I started this in the first place.</p> <p><strong>Explore advertising and revenue possibilities</strong>. I’m not looking to make money from the newsletter. I would like to cover costs though. Especially when I eventually will need to start paying for Mailchimp once I hit a certain number of subscribers. I don’t really want to traditional ads, so I’m thinking either:</p> <ol> <li>Monthly sponsorships. Just one featured sponsor section in the newsletter, running monthly.</li> <li><a href="https://www.patreon.com/">Patreon</a>. Since I don’t need a ton of money to cover the costs of Mailchimp and any other miscellaneous expenses, a donation platform might work.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Setting up a site to catalog the resources</strong>. I thought about publishing the resources on a site initially, and integrating with Mailchimp’s automated RSS publishing feature. I decided not to do it because it wasn’t the minimum viable product. I wanted a way to let people into the world of accessibility and educate. A newsletter did all that. Plus, sites like <a href="http://webaim.org/">WebAIM</a>, <a href="http://a11yproject.com/">A11y Project</a> and <a href="http://www.a11ybuzz.com/">A11y Buzz</a> do a good job of educating via a site. But lately, I wish I had a more reliable way to know exactly what I’ve featured before without searching individually through issues. I’m undecided here.</p> <p><strong>Running a survey</strong>. I’d like to know more about what my readers want. So I’m considering a short survey to help answer the above questions.</p> <p>I’ve loved watching the newsletter grow organically. I get a rush when I see people subscribing with domain names I recognize, like IBM, Google, Microsoft and others. And It’s always thrilling when people <a href="https://twitter.com/philip_arthur/status/702000426472701953">you</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/SaraSoueidan/status/768032420478218240">admire</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/sarahebourne/status/872102944560361473">recommend</a> your work. Mostly, I’m looking forward into making this thing a continued go-to resource for diving into accessibility!</p>WordCamp Europe 2017 + Community Summit2017-06-15T13:12:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/wordcamp-europe-2017-community-summit/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/wceu2017-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=800&h=600" alt="WordCamp Europe 2017 and Community Summit conference badges." width="800" height="600"></figure>The Future of Underscores2017-06-28T17:03:56-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-future-of-underscores/<p>A few days ago, I published a post on ThemeShaper <a href="https://themeshaper.com/2017/06/26/the-future-of-underscores-and-a-new-committer/">about the future of Underscores</a>. I loved seeing <a href="https://wptavern.com/automattic-to-renew-efforts-on-underscores-retire-components-starter-theme-generator">coverage on WP Tavern about it</a>, and even better, I <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YZIXxSBIlo">went on the WordPress Weekly podcast</a> to talk about it, and the future of theming.</p> <p><strong>Related</strong>: Underscores was my first <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/issue-no-300/">open source code contribution</a>, so I’m as excited as anyone to see it continue to be something the WordPress community relies on. 🙂</p> <p><strong>Update</strong>: I wrote some more about <a href="https://a8cdesignflow.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/how-to-know-when-to-walk-away-from-a-project/">retiring products, specifically Components</a>.</p>Focusing on What Matters2017-07-14T10:15:59-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/focusing-on-what-matters/<p>Tim Kadlec gave a powerful, recent talk called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61MuwOtZBOE">Focusing on What Matters</a> that you should watch. It touches on the three areas of the Web that we web workers often overlook or neglect: accessibility, performance and security. Yet, those end up being the factors that have the most impact on the people using our products and services. We have the ability to unlock the Web for everyone – if we focus on the right things.</p>Running, Again – Maybe2017-07-15T21:22:12-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/running-again-maybe/<p>I used to <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/501-mile/">be a runner</a>.</p> <p>That was in high school – a long time ago. I tried many times to start running again, but it never stuck. I realized in college that what I missed most about running was the team I ran with. I couldn’t replicate that though, despite running in groups and trying different programs. Lately though, I’m back at it, and feeling more enthused about running than I have in years. My secret? Low expectations!</p> <p>That sounds lame, but here’s what I mean. In the past, I’ve had my eye what’s next in my running program, not what I’m doing now. So if I was running during my first week, I was thinking about next week, where I should be and how I should get there. Instead of just enjoying a run or two. Now, I’m focused on how I feel, my form and getting to know running again.</p> <p>Granted, Ive only been running for a week, mixed in with the bodyweight strength training program I’ve done since the beginning of the year. But it feels fun again for the first time in a long time. Two things that have helped are the book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Running-Health-Happiness-Beginners-Pain-Free-ebook/dp/B014ECP932/">Running for Health and Happiness</a> by Jason Fitzgerald, and his companion blog <a href="http://strengthrunning.com/">Strength Running</a>. The advice has been simple and practical – just what I need.</p> <p>I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop in the next few weeks when I have my running shoes on.</p>The Next Chapter for Themes2017-08-01T10:15:21-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/the-next-chapter-for-themes/<p>I wrote a post over on ThemeShaper all about <a href="https://themeshaper.com/2017/07/28/the-next-chapter-for-themes/">what’s next for themes</a>. This paragraph sums it up well:</p> <blockquote> <p>Customers want their sites to look just right. They don’t want to learn a theme. So when the new age of themes begins, <em>promise me you’ll focus on what they want</em>. You won’t get distracted by the many different ways to extend this new editor or become mired in all the ways to prevent the abuse of customizing it.</p> </blockquote>Quitting the Internet2017-08-04T00:17:44-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/quitting-the-internet/<p>Comedian Aziz Ansari on <a href="http://www.gq.com/story/aziz-ansari-gq-style-cover-story/">quitting the Internet</a>, deleting a number of apps like email, Twitter and Instagram from his devices:</p> <blockquote> <p>… Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on <em>The New York Times</em> to see if there’s a new thing, it’s not even about the content. It’s just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don’t care anymore. When I first took the browser off my phone, I’m like, <em>[gasp] How am I gonna look stuff up?</em> But most of the shit you look up, it’s not stuff you need to know. All those websites you read while you’re in a cab, you don’t need to look at any of that stuff. It’s better to just sit and be in your own head for a minute. I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half, checking to see if there’s a new thing. And read a book instead. I’ve been doing it for a couple months, and it’s worked. I’m reading, like, three books right now. I’m putting something in my mind. It feels so much better than just reading the Internet and not remembering anything.</p> </blockquote> <p>I keep thinking about these words because I identify with them a lot. Ironically, I read them after clicking a link on Twitter, but I have been <a href="https://twitter.com/davidakennedy/status/890600382358892544">trying to cut back recently</a>. Yes, that’s a link to me saying that on Twitter. I recognize this isn’t looking good for me right now, but progress happens one step at a time.</p> <p>I’ve noticed as I’ve cut back more, my appetite for more purposeful reading has increased and my creative energy has felt freer. “Being in your own head” more has a way of making that happen. I started to walk and <a href="https://davidakennedy.com/blog/running-again-maybe/">run</a> more recently — I think as a way to literally walk and run away from the screens. I crave that space. I’m going to keep heading in that direction, small step after small step. Purposeful seems much better than aimless.</p>Automattic Grand Meetup 20172017-09-12T11:26:50-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/automattic-grand-meetup-2017/<figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-1.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=650&h=850" alt="Automattic Grand Meetup conference badge with avatar and mountains in background." width="650" height="850"></figure>Accessibility Weekly Featured in WebAIM August 2017 Newsletter2017-09-23T12:10:17-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/accessibility-weekly-featured-in-webaim-august-2017-newsletter/<p>This will sound a bit meta, but my newsletter, <a href="http://a11yweekly.com/">Accessibility Weekly</a>, was featured recently in another newsletter I always enjoy: <a href="https://webaim.org/newsletter/2017/august">WebAIM’s monthly one</a>. It resulted in an uptick in subscribers, and a few donations. I’m excited to see it continue to grow!</p>Themers in a Photo – Grand Meetup, 2017 Edition2017-09-27T21:46:48-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/themers-in-a-photo-grand-meetup-2017-edition/<p>A few weeks ago, Automattic held its annual Grand Meetup. That’s where the company I work for gathers together in one place for a week to strategize, work and bond. Every year, we throw a party at the end of the week, complete with a photo booth. Piling into the photo booth (or in this case, photo area) has turned into one of my favorite things.</p> <p><img src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-2.gif" alt="Many themers posting in a photo both, holding signs, silly props and wearing funny masks and faces."></p> <p>Of course, we also took a serious one.</p> <figure><img class="intrinsic" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-3.jpg?nf_resize=smartcrop&w=800&h=512" alt="Group photo of the Automatic Theme Team." width="800" height="512"></figure> <p>Between all the work, I had a bit of fun too. A few nice hikes, plus a ride up a mountain in a gondola. We saw a bear! Although, I didn’t snap a great picture of it. One of these days I’m just going to move to the mountains because I love it so much. 🙂</p> <div class="reel"> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-4.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>The fog sets in on the mountain, on one of the peaks.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-7.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>A few themers on a podium.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-8.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>An overlook near Brandywine Falls.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-9.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Daisy Lake.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-10.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Brandywine Falls.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-11.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640" alt="" width="640" height="800"><figcaption>Daisy Lake.</figcaption></figure> <figure><img srcset="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=320 320w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=480 480w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=640 640w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800 800w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=960 960w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1120 1120w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1280 1280w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1440 1440w, https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=1600 1600w" sizes="100vw" src="https://davidakennedy.com/assets/img/uploads/grandmeetup2017-12.jpg?nf_resize=fit&w=800" alt="" width="800" height="600"><figcaption>Brandywine Falls.</figcaption></figure> </div> <p>Here’s to another great year at Automattic, surrounded by awesome colleagues with a worthwhile mission!</p>Staying Positive When Your Product Causes Pain2017-10-25T13:13:28-00:00https://davidakennedy.com/blog/staying-positive-when-your-product-causes-pain/<p>I make and think about <a href="https://wordpress.com/themes">WordPress themes</a> all day with the <a href="https://themeshaper.com/">WordPress.com Theme Team</a>. They control the appearance of a WordPres