Hide on Mobile: A display: none; allegory

Once upon a time, a traveler entered a nondescript pizza palace. On each of the red-and-white clothed tables were squat shakers of parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper. The air smelled of garlic, oregano, and all the trappings of traditional East Coast pizzerias.

The traveler approached the counter, surveying the options available. Pepperoni sounded good. “Shopkeep! I’d like a pepperoni slice, if you will.”

A mustachioed man, wiping his hands on a stained, white apron, waddled out from the kitchen. His name tag read: Sal. “You want that to go?”
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WordPress: In crisis

One of the selling points for (the free software that is) WordPress is its user friendliness. Intuitive, accessible, open—all of these words are at the root of what WordPress is and why it is of such benefit to the publishing world. I largely agree with this.

That said, I know I am an insider (albeit peripherally) to the WordPress community, so need to remember that I am an unreliable narrator of WP’s story. I’ve taken a critical eye to WordPress before, and I’m inspired to do so again from the wonderful book “Design for Real Life” by Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Eric Meyer. Comprised of examples of developer choices in language and quirkiness that hurt people in real-life, the book’s thesis aims to shift design thinking toward creating technology that is less assumptive, less witty, and therefore, less alienating.

In choosing to examine WordPress—specifically its onboarding process—I’m not out to indict the product in any way. I know WP well, make my living from it, and honestly, when something powers 26% of the internet, there exists the most potential to influence the web dev industry through leading by example.

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Battery Status API: Empowering Device Batteries to Be In Charge of UX

Let me set the scene: you’re in an unfamiliar city and you’re on the move. Through a series of travel delays and general unpreparedness, you are about to be late to interview for your dream job. Frantically, you try to continue to make progress on foot while not knowing the actual address of the place. Your phone’s map app doesn’t recognize the business’s name, so you need to search for their address in your smartphone’s browser.
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Mobile vs. Desktop: Focus on What Matters

I love all the talk and web strategy around the mobile web. Web professionals are making deliberate efforts to ensure that websites and web services are lightweight, accessible, cunningly planned to be fast and immediate, and generally mobile ready / mobile first / mobile mobile.

Still, I find myself getting more and more riled when I hear conversations around designing and developing for the mobile web. People really seem to focus on what a mobile user wants when compared to a desktop user. It’s partly because I am a cardiganed, word-loving, old fusspot, but I truly feel that the term “mobile” is distracting us from delivering our best work. And by “us” I mean Americans, because we don’t call our cellphones “mobiles.” When someone from the US talks about the mobile web user, we call forth someone in motion, ranging around the world actively, and likely running into bears.

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Front-end Spectrum

Before officially becoming a project manager, I used to be a web developer. And while I did hack at PHP and other back-end stuff, I self-identified as a front-end developer. But even still, I was nowhere near as experienced as a lot of other people with the same job title. I understood LESS and Sass but never mastered it. I could work with jQuery but could never write my own JS without a starting point of reference. I knew that there were many aspects to the front-end role, but mostly just thought of myself as lacking. Continue reading →

The AUX of WP: Rethinking the WordPress Writing Experience

Before I was a web professional, before all the project management, front-end coding, and CMS rejiggering, I was an English major. My BA is in writing and, as such, I tend to approach most things I do from the stance of an author.

That being said, the Author User Experience (AUX) of WordPress has been on my mind for a while now. To me, regardless of use, WordPress is about sharing content: articles, images, audio, video. Specifically, WordPress is all about words. It’s right in the name and everything! Continue reading →