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Reflections from WordCamp Austin 2014

Austin WordCamp Group Photo 2iThemes had a fun, jam-packed weekend at WordCamp Austin! We had five team members in attendance, including: Ty Carlson, Gerroald Baron, Ashley Hurney, Elise Alley (presenter) and Chris Wiegman (presenter, volunteer and organizer). There are so many things to highlight and we wanted to share some of our favorite presentations as a recap of the weekend.

Elise speaking at WCATXFrom Elise: All the sessions we attended were so great it’s hard to pick just one.  I enjoyed Chris Wiegman’s session on WordPress Security; it’s always great to be reminded of things we sometimes take for granted.  The session I probably got the most out of, though, was A Blind Eye on WordPress.  We talk a lot about accessibility in the tech community, but we almost always talk about accessibility in reference to the end user.  We all too often forget that people with disabilities are just as capable of creating as well as using.  This session was a great reminder and an interesting look at accessibility from a different perspective.

From Gerroald: I really enjoyed Chris Lema’s talk on the Impostor Syndrome. He  got deep into our individual inner dialogue and how it plays a huge role in how we speak to people. He gave several examples of insecurities (traits of the Impostor Syndrome) but my favorite one was when someone says good job on a project and your response is “Well we have a great team.” It’s absolutely important to give credit where credit is due. But accepting a compliment, instead of deflecting it, is a hard thing for some people. Learning to accept a compliment is a skill we need to learn.

From Ty: My favorite session was by Amanda Krauss, titled “Plays Well With Others: Using WordPress With Other Frameworks”. She works for an online news outlet in Austin and shared how they recently discussed using WordPress to allow their journalists to use the well designed WordPress Dashboard to manage content, but only using that WordPress install as a source of data (a JSON API) to be consumed by other systems. This was interesting to hear, as it is essentially what we are doing with iThemes Sync – consuming data provided from WordPress sites for use in a separate application. It excited me to think about the different ways we could be using WordPress as a source of data rather than the end application.

From Ashley: The most impactful session I attended was “A Blind Eye on WordPress” from Jeanine Kay Lineback. Jeanine is a blind WordPress Administrator for Knowbility. She provided excellent insight as to what it’s like to be working in WordPress from her perspective. I learned a lot about the screen readers and how they read the code as opposed to reading the actual screen. The more she talked, and shared  ways to make WordPress better for all individuals, she really inspired me to be more aware of the problems she encounters. I appreciated her honesty and optimism most of all.

Chris W at WCATX

From Chris: While I didn’t get to attend any sessions the community and networking proved to be incredible. From discussing security to code and just about everything else WordPress I met some awesome people who taught me again about how great the WordPress community is.

We had a great weekend, met a lot of awesome people, and can’t wait for next year!




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