Saturday Sessions

Advanced Permalinks in WordPress

Presented by Pete Nelson in Development, Track 4: Rm 50B.

This talk will dive deep into the hooks and filters for creating custom permalinks, custom rewrite rules and tags, and bending the main query to your will.

Analyze, Plan, Execute

Presented by Ryan Erwin in Content & Marketing, Track 2: Forum.

How to fully audit your WordPress site from a useability, searchability, and profitability standpoint. I will explain how I conduct and present an audit.Then using that, I will bridge the gap on how you can help educate and ultimately sell current and potential clients. They can walk away with an executable plan, but more often than not, you have built such a trust through education, that you can often be tasked with executing that plan.

Be a Google Analytics Master – Advanced Google Analytics

Presented by Chris Edwards in Content & Marketing, Track 1: Auditorium.

Learn how to go beyond just dropping Google Analytics code onto your website. This talk will dive into the depths of Google Analytics, and show you how to setup Goals, eCommerce, segmentation reports, custom dashboards, advanced filters, referral spam filters and segments, virtual page views, Gravity Forms AJAX funnel tracking, and much more. You will also learn about the difference between Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Kiss Metrics and when you should use these other tools.

Be Yoda Not Luke: A Content Strategy that Wins – for businesses and bloggers alike

Presented by Chris Lema in Content & Marketing, Track 1: Auditorium.

Whether you’re a blogger or a business owner, people tell you to blog. But what do you blog about? Come hear about a content strategy that will work for you, regardless of who you are.

Beyond The Loop

Presented by Reid Peifer in Design & UI, Track 1: Auditorium.

How can we push WordPress beyond the standard implementations that we see everyday? How can we design and construct projects that use WordPress in different ways? Why do we need APIs and Customizers and Meta and Page Builders and all this other stuff?

I want to build crazy, interesting, bizarre, awe inspiring things and I want to do it on WordPress. From modular content, to application design, to loops & longform that will flummox your Photoshop and baffle your Bower with their unbridled awesomeness, lets look at how we can push what WordPress is capable of and how WP can evolve to enable us to keep pushing forward.

Build Something Today

Presented by Andrew Norcross in Development, Track 3: Rm 180.

We are currently in a golden age of web development education. Between traditional college degree tracks, bootcamp-style programs, and online schools, there are tools for developers at any stage to learn new skills or build on their existing skill set. But all of the educational tools in the world can’t do the most important part: building something.

Custom Post Types for Non-developers

Presented by Tyler Golberg in Content & Marketing, Track 3: Rm 180.

Unleash the full power of the WordPress content management system with custom post types. The best part? You don’t need to be a developer to utilize this awesome feature. We’ll cover why, when, and how to use custom post types. To top it off, we’ll set up a custom taxonomy to help organize your data even further.

Defining a Clear Path

Presented by Travis Totz in Design & UI, Track 1: Auditorium.

What are you setting out to create? In this session we’ll talk about defining your goals with design, how to set a clear path for yourself, and the benefits of doing so. We’ll discuss the most important questions to ask yourself during the design process, and how to have a greater impact; one that aligns with the goals and tackles the challenges that you may face in your design process.

Designers != pixel pushers

Presented by tracy apps in Design & UI, Track 3: Rm 180.

Designing for interactive media is much more than pushing pixels into place. To truly design a great user experience (UX), designers have to think about all aspects of the product–everything from the colors and design to the wording/written tone, to the structure and layout of information, and even how long the page takes to load after pushing that button. Because of technology’s ever growing complexity, the designer’s job has grown beyond just a single focus. While this can seem overwhelming at first, I believe it is the most exciting time to be a designer! I’ll share some of my tips for holistic designing, but also looking at strategy and a little development. So whatever your level or focus, you might learn a thing or three.

Designing for Intention: Getting Users to Do What You Want

Presented by James Archer in Design & UI, Track 3: Rm 180.

Whether you want them to register, buy now, download, add to cart, donate, bookmark, play, or overthrow the government, there are design techniques that will help you encourage users to take action. Learn how the experts shape user behavior through design.

Do you really need OOP?

Presented by Aaron Holbrook in Development, Track 3: Rm 180.

Before throwing down all those classes that aren’t adding anything, ask yourself if you really need Object Oriented Programming (OOP).

In most cases, Classes were a way to add namespacing and encapsulate code prior to PHP 5.3.

Unfortunately, this has led to a ‘learn-by-example’ where most everyone still uses classes, and they aren’t quite sure why.

Really re-examine the architecture of your code and see if it could stand to be de-‘class’-ified.

Stripping away classes and just using functions allows for code that reduces side effects and is easier to follow.

In this talk Aaron will cover ways to break free from this recurring paradigm of class based coding. Write code that reduces side effects and is easier to follow!

From Junior to Senior: Why we Teach

Presented by Amy Gebhardt in Community, Track 2: Forum.

We’ve all been there. We get our coffee. We set up the perfect playlist. We adjust our monitors, put our headphones in, and now we’re ready for total, 100% focus. Minutes later, a colleague wanders over and asks us a basic question about CSS positioning. Our concentration is broken and our patience is tested – but we pause, answer their question, and slowly attempt to get back to work.

That uninterrupted focus is key to our coding productivity, yet we have all these junior developers who need consistent guidance wandering around hindering our efficiency.

In this talk, we’ll discuss the reasons why you should embrace the junior dev hire and chat about some practical tips for managing your focus with your teaching.

Giving and Getting in the Open Source Community

Presented by Topher DeRosia in Community, Track 2: Forum.

Why giving back to open source is good for everyone involved, and what you can expect to get back.

Good, Fast, and Cheap: How Modular Design Improves Our Projects

Presented by Jeremy Ward in Design & UI, Track 2: Forum.

Atomic design. Web Components. BEM. There has been much discussion in recent years about approaching web design with a modular mindset. Today, we might incorporate this thinking into our process, but designers still craft numerous unique elements that can bloat budgets and extend timelines, and developers continue to reinvent the wheel. In this talk, I will present methods for designing modularly, how teams can adopt this approach, why we should encourage module re-use within and between projects.

Have Empathy when Teaching

Presented by Joe Casabona in Community, Track 2: Forum.

Teaching anything that comes second nature to us can be a difficult task. While we talk about something we know very well, it’s completely unfamiliar to someone seeing it for the first time. In this talk I’ll go over some of my tried and true methods for introducing and training people on WordPress.

Let’s Talk ElasticSearch

Presented by Aaron Holbrook in Development, Track 4: Rm 50B.

Learn some stuff about ElasticSearch!

Never Launch without Training

Presented by Becky Davis in Business & Support, Track 2: Forum.

As developers, designers and project managers we often get caught up in how cool WordPress is and all the fun things it can do. But we sometimes forget why it’s so popular; Content Management. Without training, new site-owners have no idea how to control their own site. I’m not talking about that hour lesson after launch, I’m talking about involving the client during development, having them add their own content and actually learn how their site works! I’ve built my whole business around this premise and I’ll show you ways and methods that empower the user and give them great customer satisfaction.

Offer the best darn support

Presented by T-Rave in Business & Support, Track 2: Forum.

Learn how to support your customers and clients which will increase your sales and make you a rockstar! This will cover providing support via various channels. e.g. email, social channels, forums

Programmers Can UX Too: Avoiding the Programmer’s User Interface

Presented by Eryn O’Neil in Design & UI, Track 1: Auditorium.

Programmers have a bad reputation when it comes to UX, but it’s time to set the record straight: It isn’t because we don’t care! It’s because we fall in the trap of thinking we can design a user interface and write it at the same time when, the truth is, these processes require different kinds of thinking. But learning how to unlock that part of your brain is worth it—and you’ll be surprised at what you already know. From one developer to another, this talk will discuss why you should think critically about the interfaces you write and give you some strategies you can start applying right away, whether you’re implementing on your own or working with a UX professional.

Scaling websites with WordPress examples: lessons from the movies

Presented by Matt Perry in Development, Track 4: Rm 50B.

“If you want to know how to scale your website to thousands or millions of users, there are some simple lessons you must learn…from the movies! Here are but a few examples:

Star Wars: it’s great to use a reverse proxy (deflector shield) but make sure it doesn’t have an obvious flaw (like, say a poorly guarded generator on a nearby moon.) We’ll go over the benefits and tricks of “deflector shields” on the web.

Lord of the Rings, Return of the King: don’t just guard the front end (of Mordor, or your website) and let the trouble slip in from the back (through non-performant queries or perhaps a sneaky Hobbit.) Fixing query problems is hard but important work. Luckily there are many tools and techniques that can help.

The Matrix: Agent Smith demonstrates the power of horizontal scaling. So should your website. What are some guidelines for writing code that can run in a multi-server environment?

…and that’s just a preview!

Throughout, we’ll use examples from WordPress and film. In the process we’ll take a tour of the expanding universe of amazing tools you can use to scale your site. Everyone should care about scaling — and it shouldn’t be boring dammit!

Secret to becoming a great Project Manager

Presented by James Tryon in Business & Support, Track 4: Rm 50B.

TLDR; -  Understand the skills needed to become a great Cross-Disciplinary team leader & run successful client projects.

This talk will cover: What is the true role of the Project Manager (PM)? What does a typical week looks like in the life of a PM?  

We’ll discuss a short list of skills any Project Manager should have, and we’ll look at ways to grow your skill set. We will also cover how Project Mangers can really empower their teams & set them up for success.

By the end of this talk, you’ll know what it takes to go from a project co-organizer to becoming a true Project Manager.

Step 1: Build Website. Step 2: ??????. Step 3: PROFIT!!

Presented by Eric Sherred in Content & Marketing, Track 4: Rm 50B.

You have your brand new website…now what? I will walk you through the dos and don’ts of getting people to actually look at your stuff. This is the basics behind digital marketing, growth hacking, and digital wizardry.

Stronger Than Fear: Mental Health in the Developer Community

Presented by Edward Finkler in Community, Track 1: Auditorium.

Mental disorders are the largest contributor to disease burden in North America, but the developer community and those who employ us are afraid to face the problem head-on. In this talk, we’ll examine the state of mental health awareness in the developer workplace, why most developers feel it isn’t safe to talk about mental health, and what we can do to change the culture and save lives. Attendees will leave with 5 things they can do to make their workplace safer for those dealing with mental health disorders.

The Path To Conversion: Storytelling Through Theme Design

Presented by Jennifer Bourn in Design & UI, Track 4: Rm 50B.

Most discussions and talks on WordPress theming are focused on development, but to write the code for and develop a WordPress theme, you first need design.

Web design plays a critical role in setting the tone of a website, focusing visitors’ attention, and guiding them through the site to a conversion with as little friction as possible. It also is responsible for shaping brand perception, audience emotion, and telling a story that not only produces results but resonates with clients and customers.

At it’s core, design is the visualization of the why.

In this presentation we’ll cover:

  • Understanding the brand story and site visitor journey
  • Conversion path planning and creating a natural website flow
  • Purpose driven theme design focused on asking why
  • Long-term design thinking focused on asking how

The small business guide to content strategy

Presented by Jen Jamar in Content & Marketing, Track 3: Rm 180.

Content marketing is awesome. It’s even more awesome (and effective!) when your business has a solid plan in place to guide your content creation efforts.

Thoughtful content strategy helps you understand why content marketing is important to your business, how content creation & promotion can help you meet your goals, and how to measure your results to see what’s working well and what still needs to be fine-tuned. This session will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a basic content strategy plan for your WordPress website.

Where do I go from here?

Presented by Justin Foell in Intro, Track 1: Auditorium.

So many WordCamp talks can be “way over my head” – and that’s not a good thing. I’m hoping to help bridge the gap by outlining the paths you can take to get where you need to go.

For those that have “heard it all before” – I’ll highlight some things that you may be missing, and encourage everyone to create a better community.

We’ll go over some general learning resources as well as specific talks given at WordCamp Minneapolis 2016 that may help you on whatever path you choose to take.

Why your site is slow

Presented by Steve Persch in Development, Track 3: Rm 180.

Speed is one feature many clients assume they will get but do not always ask for. In fact, you are more likely to hear your clients ask for features or functionality that will make the site slower. As the person or team developing the site you must often protect the speed of the site. This session will look at key areas in a site architecture where speed may suffer and how to structure your project to ensure they stay fast. Specifically:

  • Setting and tracking performance budgets so that everyone can see how speed is changing over the life of a project.
  • Analyzing the benefits of third-party integrations and ads that can kill front-end performance.
    CSS and JS organizations and minification strategies that your team will use.
  • Identifying which places in a system can be cached aggressively.
  • Debugging problem code and queries.

WordPress at Scale

Presented by Drew Gorton in Development, Track 4: Rm 50B.

A single WordPress can push hundreds of millions of pageviews a month; it can serve tens of thousands of concurrent logged-in users; and it can be lightning-fast the whole time. It is known. The question is not whether WordPress itself can scale, but whether or not your implementation is ready.

Topics covered will include:

  • Page Caching
  • Object Caching
  • Query Performance
  • Algorithm Performance
  • Searching for Scale
  • A Real-World Scalable Architecture
  • Elastic Architecture
  • Development and Workflow

Sunday Sessions

Bicycle Freelancing

Presented by Shawn Pfunder in Lightning Talk.

You did it. You took the leap. You’ve been working on your own. You’ve got a client that’s not related to you. Well done, you little rockstar, you.

You, my friend, are a Freelancer—-Capital F.

Now what’s next? How do you find the next gig? How do you market yourself without getting used-car salesmen stink on your skin? How do you make sure you’ll always have the skills you need to keep up? I’ll tell you how: run your business like a bike shop. Create community, hold group rides (so to speak), and establish yourself as an expert.

There’s some serious business juju happening at bicycle shops all around the world. Tap into it.

Code Reviews: That’s a Great Idea!

Presented by Amy Gebhardt in Development, Track 3: Rm 180.

We all know that code reviews are beneficial. We’ve been told time and time again that they should be part of our development process. But – like most best practices – a practical implementation is challenging (and time consuming). Your team is convinced they are a great idea. You’ll have an opportunity to squash bugs in the least costly of development times, learn new things from your talented teammates, and build a stronger foundation of trust. Awesome. Everyone is on board. But now what? What tools are out there? What are you actually looking for? How often should the reviews happen? In this talk, you’ll get a practical guide to making code reviews effective. Whether you’re the reviewer or reviewee: there are ways to make sure this really is a great idea.

Creating a Blogging Schedule Using The 20/30 Rule

Presented by Jarrett Gucci in Content & Marketing, Track 1: Auditorium.

Ever thought about creating a Blogging Schedule to really take your blog to the next level? If you have, you maybe asked yourself “How many post per week or month should I write?”. This is a tricky question and I want to help answer it with a method I developed called the 20/30 Rule. We will come back to that in a moment. First, I would like you to imagine having an engaged audience that loves to read every new article you publish.

It has been proven that the best way to become an expert in your field is to write. So, what is holding you back? I bet the first thing is time and a close second for some is what to write about. For the purpose of this talk, you are going to be helped with the time portion of your blogging fear.

Improvisation: How to Unleash Creative Ideas and Build Stronger Teams

Presented by Jim Barrett in Business & Support, Track 2: Forum.

Improv has been described as “The art of not knowing what you are going to say or do and being OK with that.” Life and business don’t offer a script to follow and improvisation develops skills such as solving problems with no clear solution in sight. Truly innovative or disruptive ideas don’t come easy. Improv can help you generate ideas and work “without a net.” It is frightening for two people to walk on stage without any idea of what is going to happen and create something on the spot. But starting a business or launching a new product is exactly the same.

Improvisation can help you to generate more ideas, more creative ideas, silence your inner critic, think on your feet, trust your instincts and learn how to build trust with your team members.  This workshop will introduce you to how improvisers develop their skills and spark creativity.

This is not a lecture; you won’t be sitting there taking notes. We’ll push the furniture out of the way and get you on your feet. Come prepared to join in improv exercises all the while not knowing what will happen next.

Intentional Design

Presented by Erica Schaaf in Design & UI, Track 2: Forum.

How to use design principles to fully engage the user experience and drive online business for the client.

JavaScript <3 WordPress

Presented by Solomon Scott in JavaScript, Track 3: Rm 180.

Matt Mullenweg challenged the WordPress community to learn JavaScript deeply. So, where do you start? It begins with maintainable, readable and reusable JavaScript. Learn some of the most commonly used design patterns that will help you become a better developer and help you to navigate the growing JavaScript environment.

Attendees will walk away with a basic knowledge of the most common design patterns and be able to recognize when to use them.

This talk is for designers and developers with a basic knowledge of JavaScript.

Making WordPress even more AWSome

Presented by Travis Hoglund in Development, Track 2: Forum.

WordPress is an awesome platform. AWS (Amazon Web Services) is an awesome platform. Let’s combine the two and make WordPress even more AWSome! This talk will cover setting up WordPress with Elastic Beanstalk (using GIT) to deploy, using S3, setting up an RDS database that works with WP, and using load balancers to control traffic spikes.

Maximize Media

Presented by David Skarjune in Content & Marketing, Track 1: Auditorium.

Are you a visual artist, designer, or photographer with a burgeoning portfolio on your website? Do you use free images for your blog? Does your company use multichannel marketing with WordPress as the web channel in the mix? All of these cases could benefit from some strategy to juggle and deploy all of the eyeball-grabbing media going into your WordPress website.

WordPress provides an easy one-size-fits-all solution, but to maximize media usage you’ll want more capabilities to catalog, sort, search, track, and add media. Let’s consider what WordPress provides out of the box (or doesn’t), what questions to ask about your media usage and workflow, and how to evaluate solutions from practices to plugins to third-party services, including digital asset management (DAM).

More Than Words: The Power of Type

Presented by Mykl Roventine in Design & UI, Track 1: Auditorium.

Before the mind reads your message, it has already gathered information based on the visual clues from your type alone. Type is an extremely powerful design element that can literally transform the way people perceive your content. Type influences perceptions, emotions, and feelings of trust in the messages you are sending.

Harnessing this power goes beyond simply selecting a typeface. It requires an understanding of typographic elements, theory, history, pairing, and application. Websites are just a jumping off point for applying these lessons. By the end of this session, you will be able to use type thoughtfully to communicate more clearly, visually differentiate yourself, and even control the way your message is received.

One step at a time: creating incremental value that lasts a lifetime

Presented by Mendel Kurland in Business & Support, Track 1: Auditorium.

It’s difficult to imagine competing against people who are already “doing everything right.” Most extraordinary companies and entrepreneurs follow a similar path to create their success over time. In this session, learn how to pave the path to success with an iterative, intentional and habit-based approach to business.

The Other User’s Experience

Presented by Caro Griffin in Design & UI, Track 1: Auditorium, Track 2: Forum.

Your new site looks great! It’s super usable! But is your client going to be as happy with the back-end as they are with the front-end? We’ll discuss why it’s important to not overlook your client’s experience when building a WordPress site and how a few simple customizations can lead to a happier client, more referrals, and less maintenance for you. Attendees will walk away with specific steps they can take to improve the WordPress Admin for their client. A few involve snippets of code, but the majority won’t!

Web Accessibility with JavaScript

Presented by Joe Dolson in JavaScript, Track 3: Rm 180.

JavaScript is a powerful language for creating rich user experiences. It’s sometimes gotten a bad rap for accessibility and the experience provided for users with disabilities – but that’s not a fundamental problem with JavaScript; it’s a problem with implementation. JavaScript is an important tool in creating better, more accessible experiences for all your web site’s users.

Why Email Newsletters Help Bloggers Build Influence

Presented by Aaron Rosell in Lightning Talk.

You’re already blogging. do you really need a newsletter? In this Lightning Talk, you’ll hear compelling rapid-fired reasons to add email to your content marketing repertoire. Learn how email marketing can drive more blog traffic, build trust with your readership, and inspire new blog topics. We’ll talk about content ideas, RSS-to-email, email stats, and more.

Why You Should Embrace Failure

Presented by Cate DeRosia in Lightning Talk.

It is so easy to let failure beat us down. We look around us and think no one’s made the mistakes we have. However, it’s a lie. I’m not sure I’ve met anyone who’s succeeded that hasn’t also failed. What they haven’t done is let their failure stop them. My talk will demonstrate how the right perspective can turn failure into a building block for the future.

WordPress + React: A Match Made in Heaven

Presented by Josh Broton in JavaScript, Track 3: Rm 180.

Thanks to the WP REST API, WordPress has grown from being a capable CMS to a solid app platform. With front-end MVC frameworks like React and Angular, developers are able to build blazingly fast front-ends that consume content from WordPress in far more unique ways than ever before. In this talk, we’ll talk about the why, and a little bit of the how, to start using React with WordPress.