WordPress Planet

March 20, 2023

Akismet: Version 5.1 of the Akismet WordPress Plugin is Now Available

Version 5.1 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available. This update contains the following improvements:

  • We removed some unnecessary limit notices from /wp-admin/ pages.
  • We’re now using post taxonomies to improve spam detection.
  • In order to avoid inadvertent exposure, API keys are no longer used in the stats iframe URLs.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

by Christopher Finke at March 20, 2023 07:37 PM under Releases

WPTavern: CloudFest Hackathon 2023 Kickstarts Innovative WordPress Projects: VS Code Extension for In-Browser Development, WapuuGotchi Gamification Plugin, and More

More than 6,000 people are attending CloudFest in Europa-Park, Germany, this week. A strong contingent of WordPress developers and contributors are among them. During the Hackathon portion of the event, web professionals gather for a friendly competition, tackling problems for existing not-for-profit, OSS projects, creating solutions with a concentrated effort at a quicker pace than remote collaboration usually allows.

Several WordPress-related projects have been put into action at the Hackathon, including the following:

Automattic engineer Daniel Bachhuber published a preview of the in-browser WordPress development environment enabled by an experimental VS Code extension that uses WebAssembly to run WordPress entirely in the browser.

“Forget spending hours setting up a local development environment at your next Contributor Day,” Bachhuber said. “Simply install the WordPress Playground VS Code extension, run ‘Launch WordPress Playground’ from the command launcher, and you’ll have a fully mostly functional WordPress installation right inside your editor.”

Bachhuber emphasized that the extension was built for demonstration purposes but is available on GitHub for anyone who wants to contribute or report bugs. A more in-depth tour of the extension is available on Automattic’s developer blog.

In addition to the VS code previewer for WordPress plugins, the Hackathon team working with WordPress Playground is also experimenting with using the block editor in the browser and working with the Terminal and PHP, wp-cli, and PHPUnit – all in the browser.

The WapuuGotchi project, which aims to gamify WordPress with a customizable Wapuu, notifications, and rewards, has its own Twitter account and website where those interested can follow along with their progress.

image credit: WapuuGotchi Hackathon Wrap-Up

“The audience was captivated as we demonstrated the customizable Wapuu assistant, which can be tailored to suit individual preferences by selecting unique outfits and accessories,” WapuuGotchi design contributor Dennis Hipp said.

“We also highlighted WapuuGotchi’s backend interaction capabilities, showing how it can guide users through updates, provide helpful tips, and offer reminders for important tasks. The presentation concluded with an invitation for Plugin authors to collaborate with us and integrate their Plugins into the WapuuGotchi ecosystem.”

The Wappspector project, which aims to create a CLI utility to analyze the file structure of a web hosting server and identify the frameworks and CMS used in the websites hosted on it, made significant progress during the Hackathon. The app added seven more CMS identifiers and will soon be ready for testing on control panels. The app focuses on CMS and e-commerce applications but will also have an extendable mechanism allowing hosting providers to customize it to suit their needs.

CloudFest 2023 added a new WordPress Day, dedicated to helping internet infrastructure professionals learn more about WordPress’s footprint and ecosystem, and hear from some of the top WordPress plugin developers and security experts. The event was held earlier today on March 20, and featured 12 sessions on WordPress.

by Sarah Gooding at March 20, 2023 06:59 PM under News

March 18, 2023

Gutenberg Times: OpenAI Block, WooCommerce 7.5, Patterns and Flexible Table Block —Weekend Edition #247


Containers are on my mind. In one of those, our household will be shipped next week. 🚚 We will be AirBnB-ing for a few weeks. Exciting times.

I need to sort through some paperwork and create the inventory for the insurance. Sorry for the short intro, today.

Wish me luck!

Yours, 💕

Josepha Haden Chomphosy joined DocPop on the Torque Social Hour. They discussed WordPress 20-year Anniversary celebration, WordPress 6.2 – Phase 2 to Phase 3. Torque Social Hour: Preparing for WP20 Celebrations. In this episode, Haden Chomphosy told us about the upcoming plans for WordPress’s 20th Anniversary. They also talked about WP version 6.2, the recent acquisition of the ActivityPub plugin for WordPress, and Plugin Madness 2023.

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

It’s release candidate week in WordPress land: WordPress 6.2 RC 2 was released on March 14, 2023, and Gutenberg 15.4 RC 1 is also available for testing.

WordPress 6.2 comes with a browse mode of the Site Editor. This includes a black left menu bar that blends in and out depending on if you are editing a template or browsing the menu. Until RC 2, “Navigation” was one of the menu items on the left admin menu, it was, however, pulled before this week’s RC 2. Anne McCarthy summarized the discussion around this issue in their post: FYI: Navigation section of new Site Editor experienced removed for 6.2 RC 2 and shared also the list of issues this feature has. Each one a minor item in the sum it wasn’t up to the quality contributors aimed for.

🎙️ New episode: Gutenberg Changelog #80 – WordPress 6.2 Preview, Gutenberg 15.2 and 15.3 with Birgit Pauli-Haack and special guest Rich Tabor

WPEngine’s one-day virtual developer conference DE{CODE} will take place next week March 21 through 23rd, 2023. DE{CODE} will be broadcast in three global time zones and anticipates over 5,000 attendees in its fourth year, launching in 2020. Matt Mullenweg and Matias Ventura will discuss the future of WordPress and the rapid innovations in the block editor relied upon by millions of WordPress developers worldwide. It’s also part of the 20-year anniversary celebration of WordPress . Have a look at the schedule of all the great sessions at DE{CODE} 2023

Anne McCarthy was a guest of Rob Cairns for the latest episode. They talk All about 6.2 on Stunning Digital Marketing podcast. Highlights of the show:

  • What is coming in WordPress 6.2 .
  •  The coolest features in WordPress 6.2
  •  When are we going to update the WordPress Admin Dashboard?
  •  When are we going to fix the Media Library?

Plugins, Themes, and Tools for #nocode site builders and owners

Jamie Marsland, shows off the Side Editor and Block Themes again via YouTube. He uses both to rebuild Austin Kleon’s website, using the newest WordPress version.
Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of a trilogy of illustrated books about creativity in the digital age: Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work!, and Keep Going.

WooCommerce 7.5 has been released, and the post highlights that Woo Blocks are ready for the new feature of the StyleBook coming in WordPress 6.2, Blocks have been rewritten, so users can use the core design tools for changing the look and feel, the block can be easier styled by block themes, and new blocks to manage the store can now be found in the inserter of the block editor.

Sarah Gooding of WPTavern has more details: WooCommerce 7.5.0 Introduces 3 New Blocks, Expands Support for Global Styles

Learn.WordPress Tutorial: Displaying testimonials on your website with Wes Theron. This tutorial will look at adding a testimonial pattern and installing a new block from the Block Directory to your site.

Aki Hamano, a Gutenberg contributor from Japan, released a new version of his Flexible Table Block plugin, with the main changes

  • Tested on WordPress6.2
  • Redesigned global settings modal
  • apply stripe color to tbody only
  • Preserve rowspan/colspan when converting to/from core table blocks

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Mike McAlister acclaims: Patterns are gonna be a game changer for WordPress, and he tells you why, after a recap of the genesis of Block Patterns: ” instead of designing a page from scratch, WordPress creators can now lean on patterns to quickly prototype or design their full website in the new WordPress Site Editor with little or no code involved.” McAlister also has concrete vision on how patterns could be a bit more intelligent:

  • Go global: change once, update to all places where patterns were added.
  • Pattern locking features
  • Light/dark version of the same pattern.

If that topic interests you more, Justin Tadlock wrote a post on the Developer Blog, introducing Creating Themes from a Pattern-first mindset

Ganesh Dahal wrote on CSS Tricks on Managing Fonts in WordPress Block Themes. “Block themes can indeed use Google Fonts, but the process for registering them is way different from what you might have done before in classic themes.” he explained.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2022” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test, and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here

On the WordPress Developer Blog, Daisy Olsen takes you along when she shows you Block theme templates: the easy way to build an elegant grid of posts. “WordPress block themes let you lay out your home page in countless ways, with endless flexibility. To get you started and show you just a few of the possibilities, this tutorial will help you build a magazine-style home page that shows several recent posts and then a traditional post list for inner pages.“Olsen summarized. Olsen also live-streams regularly on Twitch: Next event: Friday, March 31, 2023 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM Topic: Block Themes and WordPress: Exploring WordPress 6.2

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

In his latest recording, Ryan Welcher wrapped up building an OpenAI block for WordPress. In a previous edition, Welcher built an OpenAI integrated block that can generate images for use in our content. In this show, he turned it into a plugin that is part of the editor interface and inserted image blocks automatically after uploading the selected image.

If you missed the earlier parts of this series, they are also available on YouTube

Using the WordPress REST API is how block editor development interacts with data. Jonathan Bossenger created a series of Workshops on how to use the API.

I also highly recommend watching K. Adam White‘s talk at WordCamp Asia on Getting the most out of the REST API. During the talk, White renamed it to “Getting the most out of WordPress when you’re writing Block Editor code”. (Recording) (Slidedeck)

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s master branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

Questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Don’t hesitate to send them via email or send me a message on WordPress Slack or Twitter @bph.

For questions to be answered on the Gutenberg Changelog, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com

Featured Image: “Container” by Izabela Reimers is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at March 18, 2023 05:33 AM under Weekend Edition

March 17, 2023

WPTavern: WordPress Launches Wapuu Coloring Giveaway to Celebrate Upcoming 20th Anniversary

Wapuu lovers who are looking for a relaxing weekend activity will want to check out WordPress’ recently launched Wapuu Coloring Giveaway. The challenge is to style your own 20th anniversary party Wapuu using crayons, markers, colored pencils, pastels, or even digital drawing tools.

Three random entries will be selected (which is why it’s called a giveaway and not a contest) to receive limited edition swag:

You have a chance to win one of three WP20 Swag Kits, complete with a variety of unique anniversary goods. From lapel pins to stickers, and some surprise mystery items, they’ll be a memorable collection for this milestone moment in WordPress history. 

Participants will need to download the Wapuu coloring set, which comes in different file types (.pdf, .png, .svg, and .ai). Finished wapuu coloring creations can be shared on Twitter using the #WapuuWP20 hashtag to enter the giveaway. So far there are just a handful of party wapuus that have been submitted via Twitter, but email is another option if you want to send it privately or don’t have a Twitter account.

Entrants must be 18 years old to win, but the coloring page is fun for kids even if they won’t have the chance to win swag. WordPress will celebrate its 20th anniversary on May 27, but the deadline to submit wapuu creations is April 17, 2023, at 03:59 UTC. Winners will be contacted via Twitter or email.

by Sarah Gooding at March 17, 2023 09:54 PM under News

WordCamp Central: WordCamp Buffalo 2023

WordCamp Buffalo 2023 logo. Design by Ben Dunkle.

Buffalo again will host the region’s WordCamp for bloggers and web designers and developers of all skill levels. Novices are very welcome. WordCamp Buffalo will be held Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Registration opens at 8:00am. Sessions begin at 9 a.m. and continue through 5 p.m. This year’s WordCamp will be held at Ken-Ton Elmwood Commons, 3200 Elmwood Ave Suite 110, Kenmore, NY 14217. Tickets are required in advance.

The $25 ticket cost covers WordCamp Buffalo swag, morning coffee, lunch, and the evenings’s after-party food. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring their laptops or tablets. Ticket purchase and program details are available at buffalo.wordcamp.org/2023. The capacity for this event is about 120 people, so getting tickets early is advised.

WordCamps are held worldwide, locally run and purposely at a low cost for accessibility to all. WordCamp Buffalo is dedicated to WordPress, blogging and web facility. WordCamps are sponsored by WordPress, the open-source, free, not-for-profit platform for individuals, groups and businesses to build their own blogs and websites. WordPress.org began in 2003. Its administrators call it the “largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.”

Similar to previous years, Buffalo’s 2023 WordCamp will divide its workshops along two tracks, with sessions for every ability and level of use.

Speakers will include WordPress users from Buffalo, Rochester, and beyond, with experience ranging from user/blogger to advanced developer.

by Michelle Frechette at March 17, 2023 02:30 PM under Uncategorized

WordCamp Central: WordCamp Entebbe 2023: An Amazing Recap

WordCamp Entebbe, a two-day event that took place on the 10th and 11th of March, 2023, was a resounding success and was attended by over 200 people. The event, which was focused on the WordPress content management system, drew attendees from across Uganda and beyond. However, what made this event stand out was its commitment to gender diversity in the tech industry.

The organizers of WordCamp Entebbe made a concerted effort to ensure that women were well-represented at the event. The gender diversity program featured female speakers and student attendees. This program was designed to inspire more women to pursue careers in technology, and it proved to be a huge success.

A person stands on a stage with a microphone. The group poses for a photo.Students pose for a group photo with the lead organiser Arthur Kasirye The group poses for a photo.Students arriving at the WordCamp

Over the course of the two-day event, attendees had the opportunity to attend a wide range of sessions, workshops, and presentations. Many of these were led by female speakers who shared their experiences and expertise with the audience. 

The topics covered ranged from beginner-level introductions to WordPress to more advanced topics such as website optimization, content creation, and web security.

One of the most inspiring sessions of the event was a panel discussion on women in tech. This session featured female leaders in the Ugandan tech industry who shared their experiences and insights with the audience. The panelists talked about the challenges they had faced as women in a male-dominated industry and offered advice on how to overcome those challenges.

A group is sitting in chairs.Women Panel at the Wordcamp The group poses for a photo.

Another highlight of WordCamp Entebbe was the student program. This program provided an opportunity for students to attend the event and learn more about WordPress and the tech industry in general. The students were able to attend workshops and presentations, network with professionals in the industry, and gain valuable insights into the world of tech as well as introduced to the new study curriculum of the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) a Ugandan quality assurance directorate offering nationally, regionally and internationally recognized quality assurance services for the Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) were students can use WordPress in their final year projects and graded on a national level.

A group is observing a laptop.Students learning to install WordPress website

This year’s WordCamp was led by Kasirye Arthur the leader of the WordPress Community in Entebbe who is also a community lead for Woocommerce and Elementor

Overall, WordCamp Entebbe was a hugely successful event that demonstrated the power of gender diversity in the tech industry. 

By creating a program that was focused on empowering women in Tech, the organizers of this event helped to inspire a new generation of female technologists. It is our hope that more events like WordCamp Entebbe will be organized even in schools so that we can continue to build a more diverse and inclusive tech industry. 

The group poses for a photo.WordCamp Entebbe organising Team

by Kasirye Arthur at March 17, 2023 09:30 AM under Wordcamp Entebbe

WPTavern: Equalize Digital Raises Pre-Seed Funding for Expanding Accessibility Checker Plugin Development

Equalize Digital, a WordPress accessibility products and consulting company, has received an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding from Emilia Capital, the investment company owned by Joost de Valk and Marieke van de Rakt. The investment will be used to accelerate the growth of Equalize Digital’s Accessibility Checker plugin, a tool for auditing websites for WCAG, ADA, and Section 508 accessibility errors.

Emilia Capital now owns part of the company, although its owners were not given seats on the board. Equalize Digital founder and CEO Amber Hinds said they will be serving as advisors and playing a role in strategic planning, especially around marketing and plugin development.

The Accessibility Checker plugin currently has approximately 2,000 active installs, according to WordPress.org stats, and the commercial upgrades make up a small percentage of Equalize Digital’s current revenue.

“We built the initial MVP in 2020 with an SBA loan and since then the plugin has been bootstrapped by profits from the service side of our business,” Hinds said. “My partner Steve and I have been splitting our time between client work and working on the plugin.

“We decided to bring on an investor because our ultimate goal is for the product to make up a significant portion of our revenue. It’s challenging to rapidly grow a product that isn’t yet self-sustaining, hence seeking investors. The funds will allow us to have full-time team members building new features, and also further invest in marketing, education, and sales than was possible while we were bootstrapping.”

Hinds said the features her team is targeting are aimed at making the plugin a more competitive accessibility auditing tool when compared with other existing SaaS solutions.

“Our focus right now is making our reports easier to understand by less technical users,” Hinds said. “The next major release with be a feature that allows people to click a button and highlight elements on the front end of the website, which will make it easier to find the element flagging the issue without having to interpret a code snippet.

“Other features that we have on the road map include scanning and reporting on archive pages for posts and taxonomies, improved scanning of non-English sites, and the ability for accessibility testers to log issues found during manual accessibility audits.”

Hinds said she was encouraged by the findings in the recent Admin Bar survey of WordPress professionals, which showed that 76.9% report they are striving for best practices when it comes to website accessibility, a significant increase from the previous year. With the new investment, Equalize Digital will be able to do more marketing to increase awareness and adoption of its tools.

“Ultimately I would like to see accessibility being considered during website builds in the same way that SEO is, and we’re hoping that our plugin will central to that,” Hinds said. “It’s why the free version of our plugin is much more full-featured than similar plugins. Other accessibility tools are prohibitively expensive for small businesses and bloggers. We’re aiming to build a tool that makes accessibility testing available to everyone.”

by Sarah Gooding at March 17, 2023 03:33 AM under accessibility

March 16, 2023

WPTavern: Local 6.7.0 Adds Long-Requested Site Grouping Feature

WP Engine’s Local development app has released version 6.7.0 with Site Grouping, a highly requested feature that will greatly improve users’ workflows. It allows users to create custom groups in the sidebar of the Local dashboard page for better organization of their sites.

Local users have been asking for this feature since 2017, as many are managing dozens of WordPress sites. In June 2022, the Local development team began designing and then building the feature a couple months later, incorporating feedback from user interviews and usability testing.

In the new Site Grouping feature, sites can be easily dragged between groups and groups can be reordered up or down, as illustrated in the release notes.

Local 6.7.0 release notes

Another handy feature released with Site Grouping is the ability to start, stop, restart, or delete all the sites in a group from the context menu (the three dots to the right of the group name). Sites can also be sorted by how recently they were used via the clock icon at the top of the groups sidebar.

To get users started, all their Starred sites have been placed in a new Starred group at the top of the sidebar. Full documentation for using the new Site Grouping feature is available in Local’s help resources.

WP Migrate, formerly known as WP Migrate DB and recently acquired by WP Engine, introduced full-site exports and imports to Local in January 2023. Local version 6.7.0 improves imports from WP Migrate so that they auto-select the PHP, web server, and database version closest to the production environment if Local offers the same major/minor version.

This release also includes several bug fixes with Local importing or pulling to an existing site, where the site’s existing settings or environment were not applied. If you experienced this bug, make sure to update to the latest 6.7.0 release before attempting more imports.

by Sarah Gooding at March 16, 2023 05:27 PM under local

Post Status: WordPress 6.2 RC2 • Plugin Review Team Retirement News • WP20 Giveaway

This Week at WordPress.org (March 13, 2023)

Discover WordPress 6.2's new features, accessibility enhancements, and developer updates. Contribute to the community by joining the Contributor Working Group. Explore new block theme template. Engage in discussions on mentorship programs. Celebrate WP20 and participate in the Wapuu Coloring Giveaway.





WordPress 6.2


Developer Blog
















Online Workshops

Lesson Plans


Thanks for reading our WP dot .org roundup! Each week we are highlighting the news and discussions coming from the good folks making WordPress possible. If you or your company create products or services that use WordPress, you need to be engaged with them and their work. Be sure to share this resource with your product and project managers.

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This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by Courtney Robertson at March 16, 2023 05:01 PM under WordPress.org

March 15, 2023

Post Status: Post Status Live – The Right Approach to WordPress Accessibility

If you’re a leader, a developer, or a designer about to start a major website project, this webinar will help you navigate the important topic of accessibility. Cory Miller is joined by the team at Modern TribeChris Kindred, Director of Backend Development, Sarah Gless, Creative Director, and Mike Klanac, Director of Business Development, to discuss why accessibility is imperative and how to integrate it into each aspect of development and implementation.

Estimated reading time: 73 minutes


The talented team from Modern Tribe joined Cory Miller for this critical discussion about accessibility in WordPress. They highlight accessibility as a non-negotiable aspect of web development and provide guidance for leaders, developers, and designers to ensure your websites are accessible to all people.

Top Takeaways:

  • Why Value Accessibility? Accessibility ensures all people have access to the things we create. It can’t be an afterthought or something for the web dev team to figure out. It must drive the entire creative process and serve as an anchor to ground our teams and our work.
  • Requirement vs. Challenge. Most creative projects work within a set of requirements. These don’t prohibit the creative process. Instead, they challenge us to enhance the things we build and make them better than we might have without thinking through and within these constraints.
  • It’s All Around Us. We think of accessibility as a new idea, but in so many spaces, it’s the norm. We have curb cutouts and braille signage. We see this every day, so tech is catching up.
  • Improving Usability. Developing through the lens of accessibility means delivering experiences that solve people’s problems and help them with tasks.
  • It Takes Tools. The creative and engineering are just rails. Utilizing tools to ensure accessibility when publishing and setting up processes and guidelines will equip you to flex as requirements change. It’s necessary for your organization to resource accessibility for it to be done effectively.

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

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Browse our archives, and don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes, Google Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, Simplecast, or RSS. 🎧


Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Everybody welcome back to another Post Status Live. This is where we
do, uh, webinars and interviews with our awesome members at Post Status. And today we've
got a great talented team from Modern Tribe.
I'm gonna let them unpack a little bit more about what Modern Tribe does and what they do at
Modern Tribe. But today, our topic is gonna be the right approach to WordPress accessibility.
This kinda, this really came to the forefront for us and why I sought these experts out because
accessibility is a non-negotiable for the web.
Um, and they're gonna talk more about their passion, their experiences, their expertise around
that. But I will just say this is a topic that we need to be talking about more, and we're
specifically doing this webinar, and I've asked them to come on and share. Particular areas and
work inaccessibility with WordPress.
But if you're a leader, you're a developer, you're a designer, um, starting to embark on a, on a
website project and want rightly so, to [00:01:00] make sure your website is accessible to all
people. This is, this is the extended webinar for you. We're gonna talk, we're gonna talk about a
lot. We're gonna talk about how does a c-suite or leadership team properly resource and lead,
uh, in the accessibility projects for your organization, all the way down to the developers,
designers, the people that use the website every single day to make sure you're doing your best
for those, trying to access your website.
So, I wanna introduce these te these, uh, this team today, but I'm gonna let you do that. So,
Mike, could you start us off and share, um, a little bit about what you do with, with, uh, uh, your
work at Modern Tribe and, uh, your interest in this whole topic of accessibility?
Mike Klanac: Yeah, thanks Corey. Um, my name is Mike Klan.
I am the Director of Business Development at Modern Tribe. Um, that's essentially a sales role
here. [00:02:00] Um, and, uh, I'm really excited to talk more about accessibility. Um, I, you know,
to be transparent, I was actually a little nervous at first, uh, because of my role as essentially a
sales role. And, um, this is such an important topic and, and Corey in like preparing for this, you
said something that, that resonated with me, which is, , you know, if this is important, um, don't
feel bad about being an advocate for it and talking about it.
Um, so, uh, that helped build my confidence. So I'm excited to be here to talk more especially
about, uh, accessibility as it relates to leadership and as it relates to a core value that stretches
across all components of your business. Uh, so, um, yeah, I think continue on with introductions
and maybe I could circle back and, and tell you a little bit more about, uh, tribe and how long
we've been around.
Cory Miller: Yeah. We'll, we'll come back to you, but I think you, you know, one compelling
reason you're here too is because you do talk to people that are making decisions, [00:03:00]
but not necessarily always the people doing the work too. And it's a collaborative approach. And
I know your heart, you're super, super humble, but very experienced.
Mm-hmm. , um, professional. So I'm really glad to have you on here and you're gonna talk first
as we, after we do introductions about the whole leadership angle for all of this. Um, Chris and
Sarah. Yeah,
Chris Kindred: thanks. Um, my name's Chris Kendrick. I am, uh, director of backend, um,
engineering here at Modern Tribe. Um, I, accessibility's always been a passion of mine, um, and
it's been, uh, really great to come on board at somewhere like Modern Tribe, where they take
flexibility so seriously.
So, uh, that's always been a, a great thing for, for me, um, moving forward. So,
Sarah Gless: Hi, I'm Sarah Glass. Oh, sorry.
Cory Miller: Yeah, yeah. Sorry. Go ahead Sarah. Yeah, thanks Chris.
Sarah Gless: Yeah, thank you for having us. Um, I'm Sarah Glass. I'm the creative Director at
Modern [00:04:00] Tribe. Ultimately, that means I'm in service to both our clients, making sure
that we're shipping incredibly beautiful and, and and engaging work, um, as well as our design

team, ensuring that, you know, they're fulfilled in and the work that they're doing, and we're
continuously developing and pushing the work forward.
Um, I'm super passionate about accessibility too. You know, I think that, as you know, coming
from a design background, um, ultimately I wanna communicate effectively with, with, with
people. And, um, if, if you cut off people in those lanes of communication, um, how good is that
design? So I, I truly believe that good design is accessible design.
Um, super excited to, to be here and, and chat more about.
Cory Miller: I can't wait to dig in with all three of you because what you just said, Sarah, is good
access, good accessibility is good design. And I think there's probably a lot of designers out
there that just kind of like, oh, okay, we can do this. So I'm looking forward to talking more about
that, particularly, um, I'm gonna hype 'em up,
[00:05:00] Yeah, absolutely. This can be, you know, that's another message in all this, this can
be done. There is an approach, a good approach to it, and it is possible, and I think that's a
really great message. Um, so Mike, before we kind of get into the actual topics, could you tell us
a little bit more about Modern Tribe as an agency?
Mike Klanac: Sure, sure. I'll give you the short version. So, um, Modern Tribe, we like to call
ourselves a full service digital design and development agency. Um, we've been around for
about 15 years now, uh, and recently joined the liquid web family of brands. Um, I think like one
of the way, another way we describe ourselves is we say we connect to the touchpoints of your
digital ecosystem.
Um, and when I say that, I think what's important to note is kind of that WordPress is often. the
center, it's the hub, the WordPress TMS is the hub of that ecosystem. So we lean on, on
WordPress heavily. [00:06:00] Um, and our, our business, I mean, it sort of breaks down into
four key categories. There's strategy, there's content, there's design, there's engineering, um,
and that's sort of who we are.
Um, accessibility of the topic at hand today, uh, as you'll see it, it sort of permeates all of those
areas and it's sort of core to who we are, um, as an organization. So, um, yeah, we're, we're
press agency.
Cory Miller: And I know you all work with some name brand organizations. Maybe you can't all
talk about it, but I'm aware enough to know that you all have worked with some of the biggest
brands that are household names, helping them specifically, not just with their web, but also that
this important part, accessibility.
And some of these, uh, organizations, Mike, particularly I know from talking with you all
background about this, is if you take federal funding in any way, particularly in the United States,
it, it's not even a conversation about is it, is [00:07:00] it a thing we should do? It's like, no, you
do it. And I think that amps us up even more.
Um, thankfully, government non-profits have led the way with accessibility, but this is something
we'll talk more about. Everybody should be doing this. Um, this is this, we're in 2023 now today.
And it, this is just a part and I'm, that's why, another reason I'm glad, but you all work with these
organizations where you're like, there's a lot of scrutiny on these organizations you work with.
That means that that's a good thing in a way because they have to make sure, like Sarah was
saying, that this website is successful for anyone that wants to, to access it. So, uh, I think that's
pretty critical and also demonstrates why I asked Modern Tribe and U three to come on to talk
about this today.
So, okay, here's the layout. We're gonna talk about leadership. Now for those of you watching
and listening, um, we're gonna each, each of the experts, I've asked to talk about a specific area
related to their expertise, but you're gonna hear from them. I've told them, I said, [00:08:00] I
don't want you to stay silent.
Mike's part part, I want you to contribute too, because. As we've talked and prepared for this, it's
helped me understand this is a holistic process that everybody in the organization needs to
embrace. And so, again, I'll, I'll just say to y'all, please, if Mike's talking, share something from
your perspective about this, uh, please do that.
Cause I think this is gonna help people. Our intention here is you're trying to do right and good
by this for your website project. So I want you all to like, help them really understand these are
the things we work with clients about. These are the problems we see, these are the challenges
we see and here's our thoughts.

Because you, you are experts in this and you see things that I think could make those trying to
cross this threshold, um, truly be prepared for and make really good decisions that helps
everybody involved, even if they don't choose modern tribe as the agency. So again, I think
that's right on important.
Okay, so let's just start right here, because [00:09:00] oftentimes, as I understand this, both
leading my own organizations, listening to you all and other agency members that post status, I
go, um, this type of decision needs to start at the, you know, the top of the hierarchy here. If the
leaders aren't on board or don't fully understand it, this is gonna be a problem.
So, I hope those leaders listening, this is your time to take notes because Mike, I, I want you to
kind of, what do you think of when you're saying, okay, I am, let's say a c e O of an organization
or in the C-suite or leadership team. I need to start helping think through this, you know,
accessibility for what we do on the web.
What stands out to you when we talked about leadership and WordPress accessibility.
Mike Klanac: Yeah, I'm, I'm so glad we get to talk about it from this perspective, because so
often accessibility can get pretty dense and technical right away. Um, but in today's modern
world, uh, it it's more than that. And it's something that permeates all aspects of your business if
you [00:10:00] want it to be successful.
And therefore, it often has to start with leadership, um, realizing why it's, IM important. Um, it's,
it's gotta be built as a core consideration, um, to all of those various layers. Uh, and the best
organizations, the really effective organizations that care and are considerate of their users
make this a, a core value.
It's, it literally becomes, um, part of the culture. Top to bottom. Um, so I think one of the ways to
build that understanding is to really think about like, why you're doing this. And we hit on the
legal implications initially, and I think that's where a lot of people first start thinking about this for
some reason.
But you kind of need to back up and really remember that one of the first reasons this is
important is, is just morally, it's, it's morally important. It's a part of digital inclusivity. We are
creating tools that serve [00:11:00] users, that serve people, and therefore we need to care for
them. We need to think about how they use it.
And that applies to all of the users. It's an increasingly competitive world. We don't have the
luxury of, um, excluding people because it's not convenient to, um, build tools that serve them
effectively. So I think like we really need to ground ourselves in the moral component of this first,
which is it's the right thing to do.
It's just the right thing to do, therefore needs to be a leadership initiative. It needs to be brought
in, carried through to all components, all layers of your business. Okay. So that's like the first
thing that I would probably tell a leader in this space is that make it a part of all of your thinking.
Cory Miller: I mean, you know, I, we were talking about a client used to consult with before we
started recording and I was like, you could tell there the client one did the traditional thing, print
off your core values, put it on all the doors, and you're like, cool. Yeah. But what are your real
core values? [00:12:00] And it seems to me, as you talk about one, there is a business reason
to do this, very legitimate that it's gonna get a lot of people's attention.
But I think what you were, you're saying is like it should reflect a value that you might not have
on the door, but like we care. Yes, we care about the whole population and being able to get to
the things that we offer. And if we don't, it it, I mean that rings really true when you say that
business, there's a legitimate business reason and that should hopefully check most boxes.
But I think the other thing is that you should actually just care. Yeah. We've all probably been
touched in some way with someone that has, uh, uh, uh, something that doesn't allow them to
see, read, hear, whatever that is, um, that we need to be thinking about that. Just because we
don't have that particular issue doesn't mean there's a pretty significant one is a significant
enough to me.
But I mean this, we're talking about in this accessibility [00:13:00] conversation quite a bit of the
population that most organizations have flatly not even thought about till today.
Mike Klanac: Exactly. Yeah, I think it just sends the right message. You know, when you're the
type of organization that takes the time to be deliberate and considerate of all of your users,
there's probably an understanding that that carries through to your product.

If you're selling something, um, you, your service, your, your organization as a whole. So, um,
it's just the right thing to do. And I think, I think we should just start there as it's, it's morally right.
And as you hit on, um, and to segue a little bit, there are legitimate business reasons. So, um,
making sure that your, your site is fully accessible, has this effect of improving the quality, the
experience for your users.
And that sort of in some ways overlays these other topics that we often talk about as like key
performance indicators for businesses. [00:14:00] Things like search engine optimization, um,
core web vitals. Um, these are adjacent to each other. So it it's about creating an experience
that is a user experience that's quality for everyone, and therefore your, your business will feel
that it'll have an impact.
Um, so not only is it the right thing to do, morally a highly accessible site that's gonna benefit
your, your clicks, your conversions, and all those things that we've spent so much time thinking
about, um, and that we're starting to, to kind of like land a couple of really important reasons. It's
like, you know, it's what's good as a person, it's what's good for business.
Um, it th those alone are, are enough reason, right, to really think long and hard about this. Um,
But there's this final one too, which is the one we kind of backed into this from, which was,
there's some legal requirements here. I I, I pulled a stat, and I think everyone's aware of this,
but, [00:15:00] um, 2,800 accessibility lawsuits in 2021.
Um, that's, that's like, it's a big deal. And those lawsuits, um, are meaningful and there's a place
for them. Um, but more important than the litigation itself is you just have an opportunity to get
ahead of this if you do things right, and that can get confusing. Um, I, sorry, you're gonna jump
in. I'll take a beat.
Cory Miller: Yeah, no, I, I think, um, I'm curious to hear what Chris and Sarah think too,
because it's like, you know, we've all been to those situations, uh, where you're like, the
organization talks a really good talk. Yeah. You know, and we've got plenty of those in our
society globally today. But you know, the ones that talk.
And you know that ones that just act on that value. And I think this shines pretty clearly whether
you go to a website, you see the accessibility blue circle or whatever this is. And I think
[00:16:00] this is an opportunity. I'm curious what Chris and Sarah think too from just an
organization standpoint of like when you see someone taking it to this degree, not because they
necessarily have to, a lot of these have to, but, and there's a probably legitimate reason why
there's regulations and laws and different things in these lawsuits is because like, okay, if you're
not gonna do the right thing, the, the world society will kind of push you in that regard.
But I think, I'm curious what you think Chris and Sarah is like, this is a way to get out front and
lead act on those values. You can't just say you care, but if you care enough to make sure your
website is A to B, everybody can can access that and and consume the information and
whatever you're trying to offer in the world, that's an opportunity for leadership to me.
So Sarah, Chris, what do you think? . I, yeah,
Chris Kindred: I, uh, okay. Uh, I, I think there's a huge opportunity there. One of the things we
tend to hear is, well, that's not the kind of person we're marketing to. And [00:17:00] you know,
there's, there's so much more than that going on with accessibility. It's, you know, you may not
be marketing to 'em right now, but who knows what's going to happen in the future.
They, they, uh, or, or, um, friends that they have that, that kind of thing, they can help, um, push
along whatever product you're pushing. And in those cases, so, you know, you've got, um,
you've got companies that come at it from that angle and, and there's a little bit of education that
we have to do to help kind of get 'em over that hump of this.
This is, this is a moral thing as well, . It's, it's not who you're marketing to. It is that you are
marketing to everybody. Everyone's going to see it, and it's important that everybody be able to
see it.
Sarah Gless: Yeah, and I think that, like, going back to Mike's original point, like it takes the
organization to do that.
It cannot be on the shoulders of like your web team. Um, yes, they are like [00:18:00] hands-on
producing and shipping that thing. Um, but that thing should be symbolic of like a much larger,
um, um, effort around accessibility. Um, and, and your kind of example around, you know,
posting your, your core values as a, as a company on the wall, um, and accessibility or
inclusivity being on that, um, kind of made me start to think like, what's like a real example of, of

Um, you know, like I, I. And transferring that responsibility, not transferring, but sharing that
responsibility across the organization means you have to figure out, like, how can each
department take part in that? Um, how can we better collaborate on that mission? Um, I think,
you know, I've spent a lot of times on and, and working with like brand and marketing teams,
great opportunity for, for, for people to get involved in accessibility that may not be, um, on the
line to like ship that, that website necessarily.
Um, for example, we mentioned, you know, calling out your brand [00:19:00] values. Maybe
you've got, you know, being inclusive as, as, as a brand value. Well back that up with like, you
know, shipping accessible designs on the marketing side. So like, if you're working on a brand
book, um, A big part of that is establishing a color palette.
Um, and that color palette has implications across so much of your collateral across the
organization, including that website. Now, oftentimes what happens on like design, um, is that
we're handed a brand book with colors we can't use, and now we're having to rework that
because accessibility was never consideration going into that.
Um, so that's like a, a various, you know, tech like tactile example of, of how one little shift, you
know, like, and if your team doesn't have the specialties to do that, that's okay. Like lean on a
team of experts to help and collaborate on that. So bring in the web team into, you know, that
brand conversation and when you're developing that color palette or, or whatever the thing is,
um, to get their [00:20:00] expertise and, and, and make sure that we're living up to that kind of,
you know, core tenant of being inclusive and accessible.
And also, um, Beyond just being like the right thing to do. Like, you know, if you do work ahead,
the more you work ahead on accessibility, the more money you'll save down the road, um,
because you don't have to rework as much. So, um, definitely another, you know, kind of
business, um, opportunity.
Cory Miller: And I, I think, thanks for that.
Oh, Chris, go ahead.
Chris Kindred: Well, that, that just made me start thinking, um, one of the things is accessibility
doesn't just stop with your digital things. Um, I, there's, there's a billboard I drive past or used to
drive past all the time, and I could barely read it because it was blue on blue and it just didn't,
didn't work well for, for me as I was driving a car 60 miles an hour past it.
I, I, if you're going. Put that your, uh, that accessibility and, [00:21:00] and being inclusive as
part of your core values that trickles into your billboard, that trickles into the entryway to your
business, that that trickles into so many other things in order to prove it.
Sarah Gless: It's a mind shift, isn't it? Like when you, when you Yeah, when and, but it, but
once you start doing and getting the practice of that and resource for it, that's a critical part of
this, right?
Um, you, it will become a habit. And, and that's a good habit to have.
Cory Miller: And I keep shaping this mike in my mind as it's a, it's a problem, but if we can do it,
you just said Sarah and shift her mind, we go, this is an opportunity to show people we care. We
don't have to put the word on there. If we do certain things like this, just like we've mentioned,
diversity, equity, inclusion, huge topic and rightly.
This is going, if we truly want to act on that, we need to think about that person who might be
blind and trying to ex, like you were talking about, you know, the color palettes and things. It's to
that thought. [00:22:00] But Mike, it seems like too, I think Chris and Boer helped me today.
Like, let's add another reason here.
This is a team Mork, Hey, we care. So we're doing this accessibility project and, and other
initiatives in the business side of things that they can do to say, we're not just gonna say it, we're
gonna do it. I mean, this seems like when you go to your team, like Sarah was saying, and
you're like, Hey, leadership has bought in on this and understands it.
Now we go to the team, we want, hey, we want everyone as best we can to do, to, to be able to
access things.
Mike Klanac: It's a, it's a foundational, um, shift in how you think about it. So a small example
would be we used to, um, ask, do you need your site to be accessible? And now we just
assume we're gonna build accessible sites.
And we used to take a pass at estimating a project and then sort of like do some additional math
to calculate accessibility. Now we assume accessibility is a part of every estimate that [00:23:00]

you're doing. Every line item of the feature level estimate incorporates accessibility thinking.
Um, and that's, and that's, that changes the approach.
It, it's, it starts at the beginning. It carries through all the way to the end. And I, I think I would be
remiss not to mention one other topic on leadership that this conversation is sort of remind me
of, which is that these standards we're talking accessibility is sort of this like, like just just this
open-ended term, but it, it means probably slightly different things.
And from a leadership standpoint, I think one other thing you need to really consider is what
standard are you, in some cases mandated to hit? And just understanding that is part of the
leadership obligation because you are the person that may often understand where you're doing
business, what your jurisdictions are, um, what, what laws you're bound to.
And if you're as an international organization, we, we work with groups in Europe, we work with
groups [00:24:00] in California. We, we work with groups that have different sets of
requirements and different guidelines. So I think an important note for anyone who's, who's
gonna try to build this philosophy into their organization as they should, uh, is to, to like really
fundamentally set some clear guidelines to your team and say that based on where we do
business and where we're approaching it, the way we're approaching it, we're gonna try to hit,
you know, stay tuned to section 5 0 8.
Um, And, and the, the outlines set in WIC AG two one, aa. Like we, there needs to be some
basis for what you're aiming towards. Uh, it doesn't, doesn't mean that, um, you can't go past
that. Um, but uh, you probably need to have that guiding light.
Cory Miller: Uh, and I think there's a relief for me talking to you all on this too, because when I
know for instance, this is a value, right?
That we want to, that I love you, you said, uh, just it's assumed. You know, [00:25:00] we're in
2023 having this conversation. It doesn't matter what's been in the past today, this is just an
assumption that mind shift shift, um, but that it occurs to me, you know, as a leader and then
we've all kind of talked this and know this, we can't know every single thing.
Like you're talking about these specific legislation, policies, regulations out there. You can't
possibly. So, but I wanna say there's hope. That's why we're having this conversation. That's
why there's great experts in WordPress overall. Try being one of them that, um, can help
navigate some of those. Like it doesn't need to be the, the thing that you keep up with at the
That's why you hire people like you all to even mention some of these things. Like I've been in
tech a long time and I learned something when I'm talking about when to you all about these
things that I hadn't considered. And I think that's a maybe a sense. Is like, there's a little bit of
relief you can say like you want to do the right thing.
That's why you go seek out experts that do. That's why I've enjoyed preparation about this. I've
learned [00:26:00] a ton that I wouldn't even considered . Like Sarah, you were talking about the
brand and I go more design Chris than tech sometimes, cuz I don't know what I'm talking about
with tech all the time. But I go take this thought and go to your brand values.
We have oranges ours, but I have no idea how that expresses itself necessarily. Right. Uh, on
the web for someone that's hurt and that's a holistic thinking. We're thinking like we, we've hit
this do do good and it's got a pretty dang good benefit because it's like absolutely. You can
actually reflect and show what you're doing.
Sarah Gless: Absolutely. Um, yeah. And you mentioned like. Kind of like leaning on on experts.
And that ki kind of got me thinking, like, I think there's this expectation. Um, I know design
designers put this expectation on them to, to, um, sometimes to, to be able to like have
expertise in this. And like we absolutely have to have, you know, baseline knowledge and, and
skills that apply to [00:27:00] our work to meet accessibility.
But, um, you know, as an organization, if you're in a marketing team, um, for example, and
you're like, do I, do I need to know everything about accessibility? No. And there's no, I mean,
accessibility is a, you know, a full team of effort. Um, yeah. Um, at Modern Tribe, we've got a full
dedicated QA team that is testing rigorously everything we design and build.
Um, so, so no. But can you get to a place where you've got like a good baseline knowledge of
accessibility and or also like resources that you know you can turn to, whether it be, um, your
own team internally that's focused on accessibility, your leadership has resource for awesome.

Or, um, if you can work with consultants or agencies like us or, or what whoever, um, get that,
that resource embedded in your team so you can turn to them, um, for their expertise.
Because [00:28:00] accessibility is like this ever-changing thing that will continue to grow. Um,
and, and I just wanna, like, I think that's something like in my own past, I put that pressure on
myself and, um mm-hmm. , it's a lot of pressure and it can, can kind of, um, um, get you away
from other, you know, priorities within your role.
So acknowledge that you do not have to, um, necessarily be experts, inaccessibility, but you do
have like a moral and business responsibility. To care about it and get help when you need it.
Um, um, so yeah,
Cory Miller: I think, I think that's, that, that's a great point. Um, in, in all this. Um, and now we're
gonna shift to you in just a moment to talk specifically about design, Sarah.
But Mike, before we do that, I just wanna make sure, I think we've hit really big pillars here. Um,
moral business requirements, , it can be, there's an opportunity here to lead and show that you
truly care. Um, anything else you think about when you're, when you're thinking about leaders
[00:29:00] making these decisions, wanting to give those resources to design and team and
things like that, anything else that we missed that you wanna share?
Mike Klanac: Just to like summarize, it's a tremendous opportunity. It went from being, uh, a
challenge, a problem to No, this is just an opportunity to better serve our, our audience. Um, and
that's how I would be thinking about it.
Cory Miller: Yeah, what a great mind shift and what a great takeaway we have more. So if
you're a leader in an, an organization making these decisions, stay on because there's more,
because this is a, we're we're evolving and growing this concept, like we've been saying as a
mind shift, shift change over.
What a great, great way to sum up that, Mike. Thank you. Okay, so Sarah, now let's just talk
creative and design, because a part of this, I'll just say this, I was like, okay, I can get the
decision. Like I can really embody that and go, it's, it'll take time, it will take effort, it will take
money. But as we're talking, I go, [00:30:00] gosh, I've been in the seat too, where you're a
marketing person or you're trying to ship the work into, through the website and there's
decisions and things that you need to be thinking about that.
So as we talk about in this role, creative and design, what, what things stick out to you as we
approach the accessibility topic?
Sarah Gless: Yeah, absolutely. Well, um, I think just acknowledging that it is a requirement. Um,
I think that there's this kind of stigma that accessible design, um, pro, you know, prohibits
creativity, um, in a way that, you know, accessibly designed websites.
Are ugly , for lack of a better term. Um, and I think that that stems from, you know, a history of,
of hearing about lawsuits and, and, and building requirements around certain sectors. Um,
particularly like the government. Um, and websites for governments or government, um,
institutions are, are, are typically not known for, [00:31:00] um, their design.
There are a few, of course . Um, so it's, it, you know, accessibility, I think in the design world has
a, a, a reputation that it's gonna restrict me. Um, and I don't like to think about that like that. I, I, I
want, you know, our design team, we, we sh we, we have a mindset that it's just an a
requirement and any creative brief you get, um, I'm sorry, but it's gonna have requirements on it.
Um, and so if you think about that and shift your mind into thinking that way, it truly does
become a creative opportunity, um, and a creative challenge. And, um, I think designers and
creatives. Tend to work very well if you give them some structure, but then opportunities to
innovate and there's tons of opportunities to do that with accessibility.
Um, I think of like a past project we worked on for, um, oh, very well known, uh, Ivy League, uh,
school, um, that, you know, we designed a, a navigation, it was very robust, it [00:32:00] was
very, um, uh, boundary pushing, I'll say on the design side. And at first blush, it did not look like
it was going to meet accessibility.
Um, we worked and collaborated with our QA team, our engineering team, um, and within those
boundaries of accessibility and or those requirements, um, and looking at this thing that we
really wanted to like put live into the world, we figured it out. Um, and we shipped a very
accessible, um, site and navigation that ended up winning a design award like.
You can do it. It's totally possible. Does it take more resources and time? Yes, but it's like po you
know? Yes. Um, there's, there's no way around that, but yes. Um, but you, it, it's, it, it truly can

actually lead to like innovative ideas because, um, even within those requirements, there's,
there's bars to push and like, uh, [00:33:00] uh, figure out how to, to, um, uh, make this work.
Cory Miller: So, yeah, I think what you're saying, so I fancy myself sometimes justified or not as
a creative, and what I hear when you say that is, I know there's a bunch of people, when you
said the first part feels like it could prohibit, they're probably like, yeah, it feels that way. But then
you spun it around and you said, this is an opportunity here.
I I, when I fancy myself as a creative, I go, constraints are actually really good in a lot of cases.
And so if, if it's a challenge, Hey, you've give, you're given these tools. Take it and be creative.
Like that's what I got from that example you just gave is like, we looked at it potentially as an
obstacle, but we turned it into an opportunity to be really creative and make it work.
And I think that's part of like, I'll get a little fur here and say artistic, like when you say you're
creative, it means like, don't look at these as problems. [00:34:00] Look at 'em as opportunities.
You know, that's the thing we got with leadership. It seems like. That's what I just, I wrote it
down. I was like, we're talking about how this challenge can be viewed as an opportunity and for
creatives, having worked with some creatives, I'm like, Hey, see what you can do.
Yeah. The best things. See what you, yeah.
See what you can get away with. , ,
Sarah Gless: no, little rebellious ,
Mike Klanac: as a definite not creative. I, I really think this is an interesting part of the
conversation and somewhere out there, well, this is the part that I can add, I can add that there's
an article about like Jack White and the White Stripes.
There's this like idea of threes where they stay within three colors, three instruments, and that
that parameter within that, they try to push innovation as much as possible, and clearly they've
been successful with it, so.
Sarah Gless: Absolutely. That's awesome. I, and you know, like, oh, go ahead Chris.
Chris Kindred: I, I feel like there's another aspect specifically to the, the, um, menu that you're,
that you're talking about there [00:35:00] as a technical team.
When we look at a menu that came in like that, we're, we're looking at it going, now there's the,
this is gonna be difficult, .
And the, the amazing part is though, . It just takes some communication. It takes the team
working together to figure out, okay, here's where we can push a boundary. We, we, great point.
We know how to handle this piece. And we get that developed. We, we work with, you know,
our, our, our front end team does an amazing job at staying up to date with things like WIC ag
and, and we can really lean on them in, in some of these cases to say, okay, here's how you can
accomplish this in an accessible way.
And then with com, with good communication between design and, and our, our engineering
team, we can, we can keep pushing those boundaries. Uh, you, you mentioned that it costs
more, it does cost more to be innovative [00:36:00] like that. That's just part of being on the front
end of the curve. Right? If, if you are trying to push boundaries, it's going to cost more.
but accessibility doesn't have to cost more either. The innovation piece of it is what's costing
more. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, if, if you're, if you're wanting to, to do a big award-winning nav,
heck yeah, let's do it. Let's jump in, let's, let's do it together. Uh, but it doesn't have to be that
way to be accessible either, right?
Mm-hmm. . So, yeah.
Sarah Gless: Yeah. That multidisciplinary kind of approach is so critical. Um, I think it requires
both specialization and, uh, willingness, like multidisciplinary collaboration across teams to, to
do it. Right.
Cory Miller: Well, and we talked a lot about boundaries, pushing boundaries, and it seems to
me too, it's like there's probably some mental boundaries we put ourselves in if we think about it
as just, oh, this is a [00:37:00] problem and I don't want to do it.
But I think what I hear from you too, Sarah, is like, Well, this, the, the regulations, the policies,
the things that govern this have actually created your canvas. You know, if we look at it like that
and we go Exactly. And then I love the challenge actually, like Chris going like, well, what can
cools, like even cross teams, we got a challenge, but let's look at it as this opportunity to do
something really cool.

Like when you said the awards and stuff, like love that you're like, do such a good job with this
challenge. They, you could actually win hearts and awards, you know? Exactly. And I think that's
for creative people, I think that's gotta be a stoking fire of like motivation. Oh, absolutely. An
Sarah Gless: Yeah.
So that, like, nav wins an award ranks high on accessible websites in higher ed. Like what? I
mean, that's just a perfect pair
Cory Miller: and that person out there trying to look, trying to do see here whatever to that
[00:38:00] information. They've, they've had these experts. Giving their creative talent to do it.
So there's that other part of like, somebody got to make sure they didn't miss that part of the
website or whatever was happening in the project.
So exactly like, how many wins do we need? People, , , you know, like, and Chris, you're gonna
get your chance to talk tech too. Um, but I really, I really love this, like the words I hear from you,
Sarah, particularly as designer, you know, artistic and creative. You go, you said, doesn't have
to restrict, doesn't have to pro prohibit anything, can actually blossom and grow your creativity.
If you, if you look again, we're talking about mind shifts and we say, Hey, this is just the canvas I
get to create on. I love that. So what else comes to your mind when we talk, when you're talking
to creative teams and people really trying to make sure the experience is great? What are the
things that pop up to you as you've worked with clients and, and the teams?
Sarah Gless: Yeah. Yeah. I, I think, uh, I mentioned this a little bit earlier, [00:39:00] but just.
Taking the, knowing that you don't have to be an expert at this thing. Like, and really, again, I
can't hit home enough, like collaborating and, and building kind of an extension of your team to
support accessibility is so critical. Um, and putting resources towards that.
Um, whether that's in-house or, or with an agency. Um, you know, I look at our own design team
as a great example. Like we, we definitely stay up on knowledge as it affects, you know, the, the
work that we're working on. Um, but even our team who is talking about accessibility all the
time, We still ha have experts specifically dedicated to accessibility within our organization, our
QA team, who we can collaborate and lean on to ensure that the work that we are designing
and putting out into the world is tru truly accessible.
And so I, I just wanna really hit home like if you, if [00:40:00] you, um, are feeling maybe a little
overwhelmed, like, how do, how do I do this? Lean on people who know how to do it. Um, and
um, yeah,
Cory Miller: I think you all have modeled that for me in our discussions leading up to this. You
really have modeled it. We, I won't get into the exact details, but when I was saying, Hey, we're
gonna, okay, we got our date and all that, you all started asking these questions.
I didn't think about that. And they were accessibility questions like naturally. But what I really,
really appreciated about you three, why we're like working with really super talented people that
are also humble is you all team approached that I think Sarah, you're like, okay, I think, I think
it's this, but let me, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna go chase that with a team.
Chris, same way. And you guys were collaborating and I think what you all have modeled, what
you're talking about the client should do is really look at this like it's not on one particular person.
Yeah. Embrace the team concept. [00:41:00] We, we care. And that's why as a team, we're
gonna figure this out together.
Mike Klanac: Yeah. Yeah. It's a, a perpetually changing topic. It's guidelines are evolving,
browsers are evolving. The tools that people use are always changing. So if you're an expert
one day, by the next day, you have more learning to do. And the way that we get around that is
by leaning on each other as a team, uh, and thinking about it as sort of a topic that we all need
to stay fresh on, um,
Cory Miller: and just care about.
I mean, this whole conversation evolved because you and I were talking to Mike, you know, and
I'm aware of the work you all do, and. You know, through us talking, you go, gotta have Chris,
gotta have Sarah on this call. That's my, that's You have a bigger team. Absolutely. You all have
a bigger team of course.
But you're like, that's a great model. So like we had you start with leadership in making those
decisions and then we're gonna talk about creativity and then we're gonna talk about tech. And
then you all have even lighten. Say there's somebody else that [00:42:00] might not be in that
spec, but they're the ones publishing the post or whatever it is to the site.

Exactly. Yeah. I think we've modeled this like cross-disciplinary, I think you said that too, Sarah
is like, okay, we, when we're having these conversations, we do need leadership, do need tech,
we do need design. And probably the people actually doing this, the work, like into the world,
probably all need to be somehow represented in that conversation.
So I think I'm, I'm digressing from your subject, Sarah, but I just go, I think that just, again,
models, it's a holistic whole team approach. We're, we're not gonna get it perfect, but we're
gonna figure it out together. Absolutely. So I I love that too. I think you've given permission to
take some burden off Sarah, as like, yes.
You don't have to be aid
Sarah Gless: as long as you lean on, on, on your, your internal teams or consultants in that, in
that area
Cory Miller: Care. Lean on your team. Yes. Try to make the best decisions, get the best
[00:43:00] experience. You may not win the award every single time, but hey, allowing someone
to do that, which probably has a fr I can't imagine the frustration someone might feel trying to
get actually this cool tool called the internet, but Oh, tripped up like one of the best
communication tools ever invented in human history, yet there's significant part of our population
that can't get to it.
Sarah Gless: Yeah. It's like in the states, one in four, um, have a disability and I think globally
it's one in six. Like think about those numbers. It's like 25% in the us.
Cory Miller: That can't,
Sarah Gless: that you may not be communicating with today on your website.
Cory Miller: I, uh, see again, you just go like, so let's, let's make this for a second, Mike.
I'm curious about this, but you two chime in. You go. If we were gonna say like, just make it a
business decision. If I went to any corporate leader, business leader in America and said, what if
you could get [00:44:00] 20% more than your gi, like, what if you could tap this market, Mike,
like from a market size, what if just from a business, okay, let's take, take the pure human
element and you go, everybody, every business is looking for new markets to build and expand
And you go the stat that's you just shared, Sarah goes 20% of the popul. That, that, that if we
just embrace this right thing to do thing, you can get access to that. And imagine just from a
pure business standpoint, that market that's served better than any they get anywhere else.
They're gonna talk, they're gonna share, do business here, do work here, because they're
gonna be your most vocal evangelists.
So Mike, like from a pure business standpoint, and I go, let's add it to the thing cuz this STA is
like we all think about the new markets that we could try to break into, you know, or grow our
existing thing. And you all just said, by the way, everybody ha you know, has a hard time with
this subject, but we're giving you a [00:45:00] huge part of the population.
You could serve extremely well.
Mike Klanac: Again, yes. Massive opportunity. And, you know, we have so many conversations
where, where we will, um, sit and deliberate over customer journeys or you know, how to adjust
content in a way to gain just that slight advantage, that percentage change, that 1%, 2% change
in conversion or experience improvement.
And here's an opportunity if you really think about it, to cater to a, you know, one in four people
in the United States. That's a dramatic improvement. And, and that alone justifies, you know,
thinking about this start to finish. It's just an incredible opportunity. Again, uh, it's a no-brainer.
Cory Miller: I've told you all, I want Modern Tribe to do some stickers around these things that
I've heard as like core values should be accessibility.
Yeah. But it's also like, Hey, uh, I got a secret. Do you wanna grow your business? Do the right
thing? Like, [00:46:00] just service me on the shirt. . Yeah. Get it on the shirt. Cause I need a
shirt for that. You know, I'm a, I'm a swag geek Mike. But anyway, I digress. . No, we're too, it's
all good. . No, and I, I think that's another thing I've learned from y'all too, is like, hey, we can be,
this can be a subject that we get kinda tense about because we don't know all the answers.
What I got from you, Sarah, was uh, you took, I think you took a big, big load of perfectionism,
expectation, worry, fear of people and release them to say, care about it. Get your team. Yes.
Like that's the two I got when you're looking at design. And that doesn't mean just the design
team. That means the people who are out there publishing content on the website too.

Absolutely. You know, lean on your team and don't exclude anybody. Include everybody in this
conversation and it matters. Anything else, Sarah, on design and creativity you wanted to
share? .
Sarah Gless: Yeah, I mean, I, I'll echo I think a lot of what we've already talked about, but if you
could just, [00:47:00] at the end of the day, it's, it's about putting yourself in those folks' shoes.
And if, I think a great place to do that is by talking to those people, testing those people. Um, I, I
think that's something that we, we don't, you know, as a, um, a, a world , uh, probably do
enough of, um, and so empathy, empathy, empathy, just, you know, do the right thing, um, and,
and make it a value that you actually follow through with.
Cory Miller: Um, yep. Okay. I know you're gonna have more to this chair. Thank you for sharing
the creativity. I think those are powerful messages that can release and really free people up to
use that creativity, use that, those innovative skills in such a really cool way. Yeah. Okay. So we
talked about leadership, talked about creativity and design.
Now let's talk about the nuts and bolts, how this stuff works. Like [00:48:00] Chris. Uh, so you're
back in, I know you work a lot with your team, uh, Sarah's team, Mike's team, um, in delivering
to the client. Um, when we talk about development, and you, you've, you've surprised me a
couple times on this Bec and, but it's, it's something that we just see.
It's cuz you care about the subject, you know, you care about this work, but you've been able to
give some really good perspective too. But when we kind of venture into this third phase for
subject about accessibility, it's the technical side. What sticks out to you? Uh, I always start with
Chris Kindred: You've gotta make it part of your culture.
And in order to do that, that means that when you are hiring, you've gotta actually be looking to
make sure that you're hiring people that believe the same. And, uh, it's very difficult to always
create great accessible things if the, the people you're looking at to bring on board don't believe
the same thing.
[00:49:00] So it starts kind of there. It starts with making sure you get the right people in the right
seats and, and that, uh, piece of it. Um, after that there's a little bit of understanding why, why
we're doing this. And, um, one of the things that I like to kind of explain is that accessibility over
time has become the norm for, for so many places.
Um, think about it as, uh, curb cutouts right at crosswalks. Um, it's so that it's easier for
wheelchairs to get up onto the sidewalk. And, and it's such a normal thing to see now. Um,
when you're getting ready to cross the street and you hit the, the walk button, when it changes,
it makes a noise. Well, it's because people found out, hey, we need to make this more
accessible for other people.
And, and they need to be able to get from one side of the street to the other. [00:50:00] And it, it,
it just, it, it becomes part of your everyday interaction and it becomes so normal that it, it, it just
becomes part of what you do. The same applies building a website. The same applies for the
technical side of these things.
When you're building a form, you just, it, it, it is, it, it has to be ingrained in your culture that
that's the normal way of doing that. You build it as an accessible form and you don't cut corners.
Where, um, Somebody that's not building it accessible or maybe somebody that doesn't know or
is ignorant of how to build it accessible.
Um, would, would be doing that. You know, um, braille is another great example of having like a
braille inside a building trying to find where a, um, a, a hotel room is or an office is, that kind of
thing. You, it becomes normal and therefore you start [00:51:00] implementing it. You come to
expect it. And that's, that's a big
Mike Klanac: I, I just wanna jump in there, Chris, cause I think. The part that ties this all
together is the fact that those items you mentioned, which were initially built for accessible
purposes, how, how many other benefits have they shown to perhaps people with different
forms of acce, uh, disability or just really anyone like a curb cutout has, su has become a
Um, the noise. I often just can hear that and it becomes a benefit to my experience not being a
disabled person. Um, and, and so those, those changes have, have become innovations for all
of us.

Chris Kindred: You, you mentioned a really good point there. Um, there's different levels of, uh,
disability, let's say. Yes. Um, you, you've got permanent disabilities, which are, are people that,
that aren't going to get over whatever disability they have.
Mm-hmm. . And, and you also have, [00:52:00] uh, you know, that's, uh, Loss of limb kind of
thing. Maybe not being able to type, not being able to hear, not being able to see those kinds of
things. Uh, you also have a concept of a temporary disability.
Uh, we, we've
all experience things like getting your eyes dilated and not being able to look at a website, uh,
that, that can really mess with your mind a little bit.
If, if a website has all the text way too close together, say you need to call your, uh, eye doctor
right after you left and you pull up their website on your phone and you can't find the phone
number because you, your eyes are dilated. Um, yeah. Now, and there there's also this concept
of situational disability.
Um, very similar. But, uh, say you're sitting next to your four-year-old and on the couch and
you're flipping through videos on your phone and you have the volume off cuz you don't know
what somebody's gonna say and you don't want your four year old to hear it. Um, You know that
that's another [00:53:00] case of an opportunity, that if they have transcripts on that video, all of
a sudden, you know what they're talking about without having to maybe have your four year old
say a word they shouldn't.
Um, you know, it, the, there's, there's this other concept a, around situational disabilities, um,
that I, it kind of hits home with me in particular because, um, there's this level of like your
emotional state when you're looking at a website, um, maybe your, your ability to actually have
like all the right, be in the right state of mind when you're going to a, a website.
And it, uh, it, my, my daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. She was life flighted from
the hospital three days after she was born to a hospital five hours away.
My wife went with [00:54:00] her on, on the life flight, and we were extremely thankful she was
able to, but uh, here we are. I'm, I'm five hours away.
I'm getting ready to get in the car. There was a blizzard that night. There, there was just all kinds
of things going on, and I've gotta try to figure out how to get to this hospital and how to, um, find
my family, my newborn baby, all of this stuff. Uh, yeah. Eric Meyer does a very good talk on this.
Um, I, I think it was a, a list of part talk some, something like that.
Um, but it, it is a, a, a, it, it specifically talks about, uh, I think designing in a crisis or designing
for crisis. And, you know, if, if your mind's not where it needs to be to read the information on a
website and you're looking for how to get to an emergency room from the airport, And [00:55:00]
you are scrolling through a website.
I, I know websites pretty well. I've been reading websites my whole life, and I know that normally
there's an address in the bottom left or right side of most websites. But if you're trying to do that
looking through tiers, it's much more difficult. And so there's this level of, um, just because the,
there's this level of morality that we talked about before, it's the right thing to do.
But also it, it's, it, it doesn't, it, it can apply to anybody at any point in time. And you want to
make sure you're being inclusive of all of those potential situations, especially when it's, um, you
know, good or, or bad or, you know, education has alerts and all kinds of, there's just, it, it
permeates through the entire industry.
Cory Miller: So before I come back to, to you, Chris, because I want you to put, uh, what the
question I'll ask when I digress for a second with Sarah [00:56:00] is, uh, think about the
technical person on the other side in that seat and the challenges they have. But, you know,
Sarah, you, you do design. You know, you think about from the purpose of a website.
If I'm an er, I mean, Chris, you just said a hundred percent of people on that website, what do
they want to know? I wanna get to that building as fast as humanly possible. So Sarah, from a
pure design ux ui, that's the purpose of a website. Is it not? Like, give people to the thing you
and your situational, uh, uh, experience.
Chris made me think. That's, let's, let's take aside for a second. Accessibility. That's just what
you wanna do with the website. Like absolutely. How do I, they are hunting, how do I put it right
in front of them? You know what I'm saying? Like from the design side .
Sarah Gless: Yes. Like know your audiences, [00:57:00] all of them prioritize, you know, and,
and ensure that you're talking to them, you're listening to them, you're testing that work, and you

know that it's going to be there in, in a variety of situations.
It's not just about slapping your brand on a website. It's about ensuring that that experience is
meeting users where they're at and serving their needs and, and, um, understanding the tests
they need to complete and, and designing to that. Um,
Cory Miller: like I go back to what you said, and this is reverberating now, and how deep, well,
what you said earlier is good accessibility is good design, and you go.
I mean, we can take it aside, all of this and just go, that's the purpose. You wanna get people to
the thing they need to do. You want to empathize, use the word you used earlier, Sarah too, is
like, empathize. What are they trying to get done? Okay. I'm a, whatever the organization, Chris,
you just laid it out.
It's blindingly obvious, the location. Think about that for restaurants. [00:58:00] Think about that
for any, any business, any organization, nonprofits, like, they come to you by the way, and
they're looking for something and as fast and efficiently as you can get that to 'em. So I go back
to your comment now, it's even more deeper.
It's like good accessibility is a good design because it's about the action you're trying to help that
person get to, right?
Sarah Gless: Absolutely. Yeah.

Chris Kindred: I, I would even take it a step further and say, good acceptability is usability. Mm-
hmm. Uh, it,

it's, it's not just the design, but. It, it's, it's the total package of it.
It's, it's making sure that that button, when it's clicked, you know, it was clicked and that it's not
going to do something unexpected. You know, taking, taking it back to a technical point of view,
you know, making sure to know how to make sure a screen reader is announcing that button
that it was clicked um, making sure that, uh, the, the person knew what that button button
[00:59:00] was going to do and not just say, click here. You know, that making it clear
that's what was going to happen when that button was clicked is a key aspect to it.
Cory Miller: So, Mike, I just go back down. Sorry. Go ahead, Sarah.
Sarah Gless: Yeah, I was just gonna go back to like what Mike said earlier about like, there's
also like kind of these like side effects that are good side effects when you, when you design,
um, um, whatever the experience is, whether it's a curb or a website, um, to be accessible, you
have all these.
Additional benefits for folks that may not have disabilities. So like in the case of the, um, the,
you know, the button to call the ER is not visible. Well, what if you designed it to be, well, I bet
you're gonna pick up not just ensuring that like it's accessible, but also a lot of users who may
not have disabilities, um, still struggle to find things on websites.
So like, you know, they'll be able to get their tasks done. Um, professor too, I know it's a very
hyper [01:00:00] specific example, but, but it does help provide like context, this bigger idea,
Cory Miller: Hey Sarah, I think no, it's a like proving you all's point is the it. Let's add another
one, Mike, to the first part you said, let's add another one if, if you only use accessibility as to
make your site the best converting, most efficient tool for communicating to your customers.
We just like backed into, uh, because you, we've all gone back to these, like the usability thing.
If you're forced to look at like, okay, let's pull up JAWS or whatever tools you all use and
recommend for your clients, and let's, let's go at it from that perspective. You've empathized with
the customer and you think if we just put it under marketing or sales, I go, this is the exercise
most organizations should be doing.
Because you're gonna go to the level and you're gonna have to think about, I'm just talking the
business case. Okay? Every website [01:01:00] needs to spur an action, like we're trying to lead
them to something. It could be a sale, it could be the address of the emergency room, it could
be whatever it is. I just go from the business case, Mike, like, this is an exercise that all of us
should be doing.
Because if you're in Chris's situation, you're like, isn't it clear? Everybody, everybody in the room
know what the key thing here is we're trying to get people to the emergency room physically.
That informs design, it informs technical, but. Here's another business case we should add.
Mike Klanac: Absolutely. Yeah, and it's really inspiring to like see the conversation.

I think. As an entire, in the, across the world, evolve from being one where like the, the, the talk
that, that Chris just provided it, it probably used to have just been about like how to use like alt
tags. Like 10 years ago it would've been like, how do we tag content? And now it's, it's crossed
into like more of a phil philosophical understanding that, hey, this is, this is, um, this is [01:02:00]
good business.
This is a usability opportunity, this is a chance to empathize with our users. This is a chance to,
um, improve customer and user journeys and, and, uh, make it easier for you to check out or to
get the information that you need. Um, so it's, I just am it, it, I, I'm, I like that the dots are starting
to be connected and that this conversation has changed from just like a very sort of niche
technical, how do I.
Do these things that I have to do, because otherwise I'm gonna get in trouble to look at all of this
opportunity that we have to incorporate this thinking to better serve our audience that affects,
that, improves our business and makes everybody happier. I mean, uh, it connects a lot of dots.
Cory Miller: It's cool. I, I'm not exaggerating, but maybe we should rename this panel to how to
build a successful website.
Yeah. , I mean, I know I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I go, like, when you were talking through
that, Sarah, I thought [01:03:00] that is a focusing feature. It makes us ask the question, what's
this all about? What are we trying to do? Well, if we can hit it in all these scenarios, we've
crystal, we've used it as an exercise honestly, to crystallize what we're trying to get from it and
pave the way, like that's the purpose of website, right?
Mm-hmm. , so Absolutely. Okay. I'm preaching the choir, but I'm just hearing what you're saying
and going, yeah. We should. Totally. I think the other title is it's not a problem, it's an opportunity,
you know? Yeah. Okay. Chris, I have veered all the way, but I think it's been good. We need this
out in the world. We need people to hear these things and appreciate you all sharing so
authentically with this.
So, back to the question, Chris, I'm gonna get back to you. So from a technical standpoint,
there's, on your clients, you've, you've talked to a number, I mean number of teams in the
technical side. And you know, part of my question here is trying to help the leaders listening to
other people, the other parts of this team understand [01:04:00] there are issues like Sarah did
for design that designers have, there's somewhere technical.
What are the things that stick out to you, you know, those challenges people the technical side
has when they're working on this particular subject of accessibility?
Chris Kindred: Uh, I, I would say it's, it's keeping up with the changes as they come. Um,
that's, that's one of the big ones. Uh, you know, there, there are different requirements.
Uh, those, there's more stringent requirements when it comes to WIC ag, which is if, if you're a
front-end developer and, and backend developers to, uh, knowing what the requirements are to
hit certain levels, depending on kind of going back into the legal side of it, you're, you're certain
you're gonna be required to hit a certain level of accessibility.
And knowing what those are and how they change over time is a big piece of it. And, uh,
[01:05:00] at, at Modern Tribe, we really lean a lot on our front end developers for keeping up
with that. But also we communicate as a whole and, and we make sure that everybody's, you
know, doing code reviews for each other and, and that kind of thing to make sure that, uh, if, if
there is an accessibility, um, Item that we address it before it goes out, uh, and that, uh, those
kinds of things.
So it, it, I would say the, the biggest issue is trying to just stay relevant with those, um,
accessibility changes. Every time a browser comes out with something new, you've gotta kind of
go back and look at it and see if it changed the way you need to implement something based
upon those accessibility requirements.
So, yeah.
Cory Miller: So from, so from the technical side, there's how, how any general guidance you'd
give for how to kind of stay touched. It seemed to [01:06:00] me, you know, from a team
standpoint is we just regularly have the discuss. Like the topic comes up regularly enough,
however that is, but those developers that want to contribute, technical people that want to
contribute to it.
Any, any thoughts there about how they could try to keep up and places to go?

Chris Kindred: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh, so there's, we, we use a lot of different tools and,
and that kind of thing, but you can always go to the WAC website and, and that's going to tell
you exactly what you need to hit and, and how to perform certain actions in an accessible way.
Uh, but, but there's also some other things out there. Um, uh, I A A P certifications, uh, the, this
is a, um, it, it's a, uh, they offer a web accessibility certification that you can get and, uh, it, it
teaches you a, about web accessibility, and you [01:07:00] can go through the whole, whole
process there and, uh, you know, There's no better way to prove that accessibility's serious to
you than getting some kind of certification For sure.
Um, it's, it's not, uh, an easy thing to do. There. There are other certifications out there too. Um,
that's just the first one that came to my mind. But, uh, th those types of certifications are, are
nice to be able to go out and do and, and learn. Um, and if you're making it part of your culture,
then you're always talking about it.
It's, it's like, like I said, it's part of those code reviews. Um, if, if, if I'm reviewing somebody's
code and I'm, I'm seeing it, I'm learning too. If they implemented something that I may not have
been aware of yet, uh, that, that's a big piece as well. So mm-hmm. that, that being able to
communicate back and forth about 'em, uh, is, is also super beneficial.
Cory Miller: Mike, did you have something to add? probably jumped the gun
Mike Klanac: a little bit. I, I [01:08:00] think I was going to start to mention tooling a little and its
role in this and, and Chris hit it a, a touch there. But, um, yeah, I mean this is a, this is a, a open
conversation. So, you know, it's, it's something that it, you have to kind of revisit periodically.
And the, the tooling, one of the things that it does besides kind of educate you and their, their
job is to stay current on creating a system of scans that, um, enforces certain standards. Um, it,
it, it allows you to kind of revisit it on a regular basis, uh, and that there is some. There's a huge
role for that, right?
Like it no, no human can actually stay on top of all of the changes at all times. The, that
provides some nice rails. And yeah, as we get into this, perhaps this last section in a moment
where we talk about the, the, the content publishing or the sort of the, the end user role in
[01:09:00] accessibility, um, I think that tooling is a, a key
Cory Miller: part of that as well.
Okay. So I want to ask Chris one more thing. So this whole banner is accessibility for sure, but
WordPress accessibility, I think that's the two parts of this why I asked you all to do this
particular topic because, you know, accessibility, but you also know the nuances with
WordPress like you're experts.
Travis has been around for a very long time doing some really cool stuff with WordPress forever.
So, uh, Chris, my question is now accessibility with WordPress. Things that come out, stand out
with you with this amazing open source software that we love that's used around the globe and
it's great solutions for clients.
Um, what things stick out there with WordPress accessibility particularly?
Chris Kindred: Uh, well, well first open source software. It, it is always, um, it, people are
always talking about accessibility. If you go into the, the WordPress Slack, you can see people
trying [01:10:00] to focus on accessibility and try to get accessibility into, uh, everything.
Uh, you know, I guess it was two or three years, Gutenberg did a big accessibility audit on all
the blocks, and that was really important for WordPress to be doing to help move the editor itself
forward and make it more accessible for content editors. Um, but as Gutenberg's matured and,
and become the block editor, it's, it's become everybody's focus.
There's this new opportunity and, and I think that, uh, As we continue to implement these
accessible designs that our, our amazing designers have put together and, and our developers
have gone in and, and put a lot of work behind the templates and building out the header and
the footer and, and everything, there's this, uh, there's this content piece that is going to have to
be implemented and most of the time that's by the client.
And [01:11:00] the, the best way to help them would be by creating plugins that test the
accessibility before it's ever even published. And being able to interface with a service that
allows you to check that and give feedback in a meaningful way to a publisher and being able to
tell them, this is inaccessible and here is why.
Because that's a key point too, making sure they know why, so they don't always have to fix it
every time they do it. Um, and, and being able to flag that the way that editor works now

compared to way it worked with the classic editor. It, it gives you so many more opportunities for
that kind of, um, benefit.
So, so creating a, a plugin, you know, it, it's something that I, I know a few places have tried to
create these, and, and there's, there's an opportunity to be able to, to do that. And I, I really, I'm
looking forward to, [01:12:00] uh, potentially participating and creating a plugin that can handle
that kind of thing. Um, you know, flagging it, uh, checking it from the front, inside, all of those
kinds of things for a user, um, that, that would be a, a huge benefit to the community as a whole
and, and to content creators.
Cory Miller: I, I think you pointed at something that I often don't, I, I kind of gloss over, but the
fact that there's so many people, the power of WordPress is so many people collaborating and
caring about this. Yes. This isn't a new thing to WordPress. It's what I. It's, we're, we're
imperfect, but as a community. And the core software has a very passion for diversity, equity,
inclusion in that conversation has been championed by people like you and others in the
community to make sure WordPress is always accessible.
But having said that, there's still things, there's still things that we need to account for. And you
brought those up as like, well, we did in the discussions. It's like you can do all the [01:13:00]
front end work and then you're down to the person that just hasn't had the opportunity to be
trained a little bit.
And the block editor, there are things that need, that are being discussed actively and worked
on in the community to need to be done to ensure the other part of this. We got the great first
site, but now, okay, we're turning over and I, I think it was, Sarah mentioned one of the previous
conversations is one, you know, a blog post.
Could break the accessibility. You know, one thing that would just because you have so much
power, I mean, it's the beauty of Good Berg and the block editor, you have so much opportunity
there, . You also have an opportunity to kind of go into and break your, all your good work
you've done to try to be accessible.
Okay. Anything else on technical? And then I wanna divide, dive in with the remain time and
thank you all for your time and sharing your expertise so openly. Um, the next section, just about
that side of this whole thing is like the other part of the team that might not be in some of the
core conversations but are executing, doing the work.
[01:14:00] Anything else? Chris, though, before we shift gears into that?
Chris Kindred: Uh, technical is such a code dependent thing that it could get. I, I could drown
you in what Aria labels mean and why and why not. But you know, the fact is if you've put a
culture in place around accessibility, then. It's, it's something that your devs are going to be able
to help you with.
And, uh, it, it's, it's just part of, part of the process.
Cory Miller: I've heard. I've, I think another theme in all this is like, if you're a designer,
developer on the team in some way, uh, this is your webinar to go back if you need help in
reinforcements, saying, Hey, we need to embrace this. Um, because I know so many talented
designer developers, good hearts, wanna do the right thing, need the resources, you know?
Yeah. Need that collaboration.
Sarah Gless: Be champions of, yeah. [01:15:00] Making sure this, this is a conversation. Um,
and, and feel empowered to like, Take that upwards towards, towards leadership.
Cory Miller: Yeah. And share this link afterwards so they Yeah. Can come in here us talk about
the amazing opportunity they have here. Yeah. Okay.
Thanks Chris. All right. So final section is just this part. You've done all the fronting work, you do
care, you're doing all the efforts, but then there's this situation you already mentioned that they
could break it on that particular page because of the power of some of the word and and the
lack of the resources and training and guidance.
So when we get to this side, the client publishing of all this, who wants to share, what do you got
locked and loaded? I wanna just kind of put it here. Cause I think this is another team
collaboration of like probably people that are oftentimes overlooked, blamed sometimes, and
just don't have this side of it that we need to be thinking about from leadership all the way down
through the organiz.
Mike Klanac: [01:16:00] Yeah, this is a, a really important part of it that oftentimes gets
overlooked. Um, and that is just to be really clear, it's that after these tools have been created, a

lot of accessibility thinking has gone into them, and then they are delivered to, um, you know, a,
a content publisher to, to maintain and to use for, for possibly up to five years.
Um, you're at this key point where as a, maybe an agency partner supporting someone, like
you're putting a lot of that power into their hands now to pick up that, that, that torch and
continue to run with it. Um, and there's a really unfortunate metaphor here, which is, you know,
MySpace, you know, we can all recall MySpace.
It was really great. No longer exists today. They were very well intended. And at some point it
went from being this nice. Tidy page with a profile to music blaring and the thousands of like
scrolling pages and things [01:17:00] jumping out all over. And that's because there was not
enough rails put into place for content publishers to be success successful for the long haul
So we've, we've sort of come to the realization, and this is kind of part of like ergonomic thinking
and you know, you have to set these content publishers up for success. And the way that you
do that is not only in how you're architecting the system, the publishing environment, um, to give
instruction, to make it just like intuitive and easy to use and sort of like heuristic and you can
kind of just, you can figure it out.
It's simple. Um, but like training them on the idea of publishing accessible content because we,
no matter how many guardrails we put into place, if you're not thinking about it, you will
eventually break the system by putting in. You know, content that is not accessible. Uh, so we
try to incorporate that into our training [01:18:00] process.
Um, and, and let, let be pretty candid upfront to say, you've got a, a wonderfully accessible site
right now. It won't be this way if you put in concerning content with, you know, strange things
that, that perhaps like in the moment feel really exciting, but you know, they're, they're not
gonna, they're not gonna work from an accessibility standpoint.
It's something you need to continue to think about. Um,
Cory Miller: I mean, this goes back, that's first part of it. Yeah. This goes back to your, your part
and two is the leader and the people making the decisions need to think about all of this that,
okay. Part one is just getting the infrastructure, the, the base. Part two is people have to operate
within that base and we need to be considerate and give ample resource.
To to hear because all of our good intentions could go away. . Yeah. When, when inadvertently
someone who does care, [01:19:00] makes a, makes a decision that affects it. So putting that
into the process is, is huge. And I think I've heard variously E three talk about the training and
the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of your knowledge about how these things operate, um,
isn't a very important part of all of this.
Um, yes sir. Chris, you mentioned tooling or I think Mike got into tooling too earlier. So that
seems to be one part, as I've talked to you all, part of this is like just proper tooling to do some
as much as we can, as this continues to evolve and change with browsers and different
technology and stuff.
But, so can you talk to me a little bit about the tooling side?
Chris Kindred: Yeah. Uh, so. Tools we use, um, we use Site Improve Dubbo. Um, some of
those that what they'll do is they'll actually go out and put your, put the URL in there and it will
scrape your site and tell you what kind of, um, accessibility issues come up.[01:20:00]
Uh, they're, they're great tools that, that kind of thing helps a lot. And, and you can automate
that process to run weekly, daily, monthly, however often you want it to. Uh, and, and that's a
really great check, but I, I really feel like you should be doing something before that. And, and
the easiest way to do that is by installing a browser extension on, you know, if you're using
Chrome, Chrome has ax and you can install AX on your, on your browser, and then you can go
pull up your page and it's gonna tell you the same stuff, but you're just gonna catch it before
somebody else did.
You know, make it part of your publishing process that you publish a page. Go pull up X on, on
the front end and make sure that there's not a glaring problem. Um, when you're dealing with
Go ahead.
Sarah Gless: Go ahead. I was just gonna say even, even before that, um, too, it's, it's the
training aspect that, that we mentioned earlier.
Um, you know, from [01:21:00] a kind of content side of things, established guidelines and, and
make sure that they're accessible by everyone on your team that's creating content and that

they're updated regularly, um, as things change and evolve with, uh, within the accessibility
world. Um, so people are, are making good content from the start.
So we, we looked at it a little bit backwards, but I I, I like that because it, yeah, it kinda leads
back to that, that person,
Cory Miller: the two sides are seems like tools and training the two sides of the airplane, you
know? Um, so the,
Chris Kindred: there's, there's one more piece that I wanna mention is that you can always fix
what's in the editor.
It's not, you didn't just destroy your site forever because you posted one piece of content that
was, uh, that had an accessibility problem, evaluate it, go back in and fix it. It's not the, the
whole point is being aware. Yeah. It's when you didn't go back and fix it. It's [01:22:00] knowing
it was there and ignoring it.
Those kinds of things that will really get you going along a
bad path,
Mike Klanac: right. I mean, people are gonna make mistakes. In fact, I'm assuming at some
point someone will look back at this webinar and think they said something incorrect. Um, the
point is that we care and we're we're trying to do the right thing.
Um, and, and so I think you're right, Chris, like going back, if someone identifies an issue, you
can fix it. I mean, that's the best thing about this is nothing set in stone here forever.
Cory Miller: That is the beauty of the web. I used to be in new newspapers, and when you
printed a mistake, it went out . I can't imagine we had this opportunity to make it, to fix it.
Go back and fix it. Um, well, I, I like that. Any other thoughts on the training and tooling side?
Um, making sure, you know, I, I assume all this when you're, we're talking about like checklists
and workflows, like making [01:23:00] sure this is things you do with clients. Like, Hey, there's
somebody in, not in this meeting and hasn't been privy to all this
Here you go. Here's some basic stuff to look at. I don't know if that's style sheets. I don't know if
that's like, earlier you talk, you know, Sarah, about like the colors of your logo and then how
does that transit translate accessibly And, uh, Chris again, any, anything like that you think as
you're, you've been working with clients for a long time with this particular thing.
What you do that kind of makes the difference for someone you know, is, are there style guides?
Are there. Typical things they do. How do you approach this from alus perspective on that
training? Like, do you build in like, you know, um, training with a team or I, you know, anything
on that regard?
Mike Klanac: I, I could probably add one more thing, which is that we, you know, there's a lot of
intention in the, in the design and the construction of content, so I, if you do that right, [01:24:00]
the, the publishers experie.
Is pretty like straightforward. It's about the quality of the content and the messaging and less the
construction of it, and therefore like there's less opportunity to get creative at that point. You're,
you're sort of like focused on like what the message, the content's trying to convey is, and not
so much how the looks and where it positions or if you do have some editorial power at that
It's from a predetermined set of, of configuration. So you're like putting the content in and
flipping levers and hitting buttons from pre-approved standards that everyone was agreed, uh, in
agreement on and happened to be accessible. Um, so if that, that work upfront has been done
well, those are some of those guardrails and I, I think that that can, that can help continue
success into the future.
Chris Kindred: That's where Gutenberg has made things so much easier [01:25:00] for, for us.
We can go in and create patterns and build out those patterns to be accessible and, and meet a
certain, um, layout that sales teams provided the front end to, to be able to do. And, and so
we've, we've said, okay, here's, here's a pattern you can use that we've already vetted as an
accessible pattern, and, and you don't have to worry about it.
If you use this pattern, you're good. And then you can use the next pattern. You're good, and,
and you can kinda work your way down the page that way. And it, it makes things better for the
end user. And, you know, that's, that's everybody's goal here. How can we do what's best for the
end user using WordPress to publish and then in turn their users
coming to the website.
Cory Miller: All right. Anything else on that? And before we do some takeaways,

Mike Klanac: I think that pretty much covers it.
Cory Miller: This has been like, I think it's [01:26:00] beyond primer. What this is is helping one,
somebody that does want to care, that cares, takes some meaningful steps about holistically
embracing this. Um, and with really solid business and human reasons attached. And I think
part of this that I was surprised a little bit is just the thinking when we got into accessibility.
It's like actually you can, you can make money doing the good thing, doing the right thing. Um,
Maybe more money because we've talked about the one in 6, 1, 1 in four in America in
particular. But, and, and then the situational that you did, Chris, permanent, situational,
temporary Mike, really sharing, um, the, that, that whole case to help us think about that.
Um, so I, I love it. And I think the big headline is don't look at this as a problem. Look at this as
an opportunity. And I think you all have masterfully shared some really compelling, [01:27:00]
you can't look away from reasons why this should be like the center of, not just the project, not
just the website Pro, but culturally as a, as an organization, how we're gonna be in the world.
And I think it's pretty, pretty awesome. Anything we missed? Anything you wanna share? Um,
that we didn't touch?
Mike Klanac: I'll just like, my final thought on this was, first of all, again, thank you Corey, for, for
recording this. I, I like the opportunity to sometimes approach these topics from a new angle
and, and specifically as it relates to accessibility.
There's been a lot of talks and accessibility and a lot of times they do get pretty in the weeds.
Um, because that's an important part of this is understanding the weeds and the, the specifics.
Um, but what I was, what really drew me to this conversation was the ability to take a step back
and, and think about, uh, this topic more holistically as it relates across all the layers of culture
and business.
Um, both like at a, working with an agency partner, but in your own organization and how doing
that, [01:28:00] um, can ultimately bring you a lot of success. So I appreciated the new angle on
Cory Miller: Sarah, Chris, any any save takeaways or thought.
Sarah Gless: Yeah, I think like my, my biggest kind of takeaways are how critical it is for, um,
you know, organizations to truly like, resource for this.
Don't, you know, it's, it's kind of that idea of like, show don't tell, like make it part of your values.
Sure. But then show it, right? And, and, and put resources towards it. I think that, um, is a
critical step in making sure this is truly valued, um, at your organization and that you're
connecting with your, your audiences.
Chris Kindred: Uh, I, I really agree. Uh, I, I agree with everything that's been said, but you
know, I, I think Mike talking along the points of, there's a bunch of talks out there about
accessibility from a technical point of view, [01:29:00] from, uh, how to implement and, and
those kinds of things. But I, I think one of the places that struggles the most is, um,
Organizations understanding that it costs a lot of money to do that, and it, it costs a lot of money
because they've been going at it the wrong way, and they've been coming at it from kind of an
inside out, not an outside in, and not making it like sarason not making it part of your culture.
And if you can make it part of every piece, it's not, it's not going to be as expensive as it is if you

have to remediate something once it's all done. Uh, so it, it's, um, this has been very eye-
opening to me to, I don't think many people are looking at it from this direction. And I, I, uh, am

am excited to be a part of that.
Cory Miller: Well, thank you three for sharing. Uh, so openly, uh, your expertise and experience
about [01:30:00] this pretty vital, you know, topic that if we're working on the web, it's just, In
fact, it's, we've illustrated some good points, but appreciate you all for being and sharing so
openly and taking your time. I know it's, it's a Friday now as we're recording, but, um, you have,
you have those clients waiting on you.
Mike, would you share a little bit how can someone heard what you all have shared and talk,
start the conversation with Modern Tribe.
Mike Klanac: Yeah, for sure. If anybody has a, a follow on question or wants to talk to Modern
Tribe about the work that we do, um, our website is, uh, t r i.be. Um, so you can Google Search
Modern Tribe, we pop up around there, uh, the first couple responses.
Um, you can also reach me@helloattri.be and um, You know, our goal is to be helpful. So I I
really, we do this quite often. If you just have a question, we're happy to, to just just talk about

stuff. So it doesn't always [01:31:00] have to be reaching out if you have a, a new project
opportunity. This is important to us.
We like to hear from people and, uh, yeah, build relationships with everyone in the space. So
that's how you can reach us. And, and thanks again. And Corey, and then, and the work that
post status is doing, carrying these topics through, uh, to the audience. It, it's really, really
Cory Miller: Yeah. I, I think we've got a couple more to topics to pull back because I've, I've
already identified some ones that I want to go.
I go, I think there's more here that I kind of hear, heard that like it may be more, more a specific
treatment. So, but Sarah, Chris, Mike, thank you for today. Appreciate your time, what you do
and WordPress and the larger world, uh, out there. So have a great, uh, rest of your day. Thank
you for being here.
Mike Klanac: Good talk.
Cory Miller: Bye.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by Cory Miller at March 15, 2023 10:35 PM under Yoast

Post Status: Launching a WordPress Product in Public: Session 5

In this episode, Corey Maass, a freelance web developer, joins Cory Miller to discuss the continuation of the development of their WordPress plugin, Crop.Express, and the value of their partnership.

Estimated reading time: 73 minutes


Learn from Corey Maass, a master of WordPress plugins and apps, and Cory Miller, a marketing, business, and WordPress experience guru. The two discuss the intimacies of partnering on a product and how solopreneurs can benefit from support.

Top Takeaways:

  • The Value of Partnerships. Starting a business can be a lonely experience. Having someone to bounce ideas off, talk through tough subjects with, and celebrate successes with makes a significant difference. Having that collaborative support system can make managing a business more enjoyable and streamlined, which is a huge benefit, especially for startups and small businesses. 
  • Discussion vs. Decision. It’s important to be intentional with communication considering the stage you are in when you are improving a product or creating something brand new. Being vocal about whether you are still discussing or whether you are ready to make decisive moves is critical to keep the process moving forward without missteps. 
  • The Art of Failing. Understanding that taking risks and being willing to fail in order to ultimately achieve success is key for solopreneurs and partnerships. Quantifying your success rate on projects isn’t the ultimate indicator of how successful you truly are. Stumbling through a myriad of shortcomings while still pursuing success is powerful.

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

🐦 You can follow Post Status and our guests on Twitter:

The Post Status Draft podcast is geared toward WordPress professionals, with interviews, news, and deep analysis. 📝

Browse our archives, and don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes, Google Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, Simplecast, or RSS. 🎧


Session 5 Corey & Cory Launch a WordPress Product Live

Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Ooh, cheers are good. . You talented, man.
Corey Maass: So yeah, session six. Okay. Impromptu time change, but life happens. And that's part of the
journey of being a founder. Exactly.
Cory Miller: Let me push it to Twitter.
Corey Maass: Are we founders? Yeah.
Entrepreneurs, founders Starters,
for once. I'm not a solopreneur,
Cory Miller: you know, I talked to a lot of people over the years and, um, Like solopreneurs. And the one thing I
hear from a lot of 'em, cause I had, I had partners from the beginning, they weren't active. But is that, you know,
business as lonely as it is and um, [00:01:00] having somebody else to kind of walk with I think is pretty dang
Corey Maass: I, I did it best when I worked in a co-working space with, Four other guys that I was friends with and
we had formed a little cohort and so regularly, you know, get out of, get out of the house, get to a, a focused place
of work. And then have people who you were on a journey with and knew their journey.
And so you could grab somebody and say, Hey, can we talk this through for a minute? And that went in all
directions. Like it just makes such a difference. Yeah,
Cory Miller: it, it really does. Um, I had Matt Daner and I themes, um, On the team. And of course my Lindsay
was, um, in and around the team in different ways. Um, and it was just then I have my business group, which I told
you I'm meeting with this afternoon, [00:02:00] I've walked with for 11 years, and I tell you, wow, it's such a tough
You know, where you're trying to, like we're doing here. Where if it wasn't with you, I'd be sitting here going, okay,
what segments are we gonna try to hit? You know, and. And the highs and lows. You know, there's things that you
celebrate as an entrepreneur that you not, maybe not necessarily celebrate with your team.
And just having another group, or a sidekick or a partner or whatever that is, I think is pretty dang healthy for me
Corey Maass: at least. Yeah. And yeah, it's, it's a step better than rubber ducking it also, I find, Because it's like,
you know, I don't, I don't always immediately respond to you, and you don't always immediately respond to me.
But I have a, a real human being to say things at, even if it's not to talk about it with, and, you know, when you see
the message in the afternoon and, and [00:03:00] celebrate it with me, that I fixed a bug or whatever it is like that.
Makes a difference and you ping me out of, you know, whenever you kind of, whenever you need to.
Like, that's such a difference cuz like, who did I, oh, for a different product. I was having issues with, not issues at
all with, um, EDD I was trying to hack the hell out of EDD , let's be honest. Um, to make it do things that it has no
right doing. Because it's the better product. I'd rather use the core and slap my janky ass code on top of it.
Anyway, there's my little EDDendorsement. Um, but I know one of the head programmers over there and was like,
I would love to have him look at this. And he and I were in a. Co-working group years ago. And so I have a little bit
of connection with him, you know, but haven't talked to him in a year or two.
And so I had to hesitate and I hemmed and hod and was like, let me, let me refactor this five [00:04:00] times
before I send it over to him because I don't wanna waste his time. I'm using up a favor. I guess that's my long way
of saying that I'm using up a favor. And uh, and if you have somebody. You've lost count of favors or you have a
partner, then you don't have to hesitate.
And honestly, that, that lack of hesitation is huge. I hadn't really thought about it like that, but it's just that what a
waste of time. I mean, it was great that it made me refactor my code because, you know, that's never a bad thing.
But, uh, have to think that hard about just asking a question rather than just asking a question.
Maybe that's why we all like chat, GPT or something.
Cory Miller: Yeah. You're not alone, . No, I, I think that's, uh, when I left eye themes, I wanted to do coaching and
had some clients my first year before I started with post status and, um, I said, you know, the hardest for me was
when I was [00:05:00] in trying to make these big decisions and, and even the little ones, and just having
I could bounce things off of. So that, that's one of the reasons I did coaching. One of the reasons I talked about my
group as much like I left, came back, they were gracious enough to, to let me come back. And, um, these were the
several of the guys that were in Phoenix with me and, um, In fact, that's who's funeral, uh, dad's funeral.
One of the guys that went with us is where I'm going today. Mm. Uh, while we couldn't meet at a normal time, but,
you know, just kind of doing life together, but then having someone just to bounce stuff off of, like, I feel like you're
very open and we're having this conversation where it's, it feels like, you know, the whole improv plus one, it's like
we're keeping, we're, I think we're trying to keep each other kind of.
on the trail here, but you know, you'd let me veer off and like discuss it. Let's take a sidebar side trail. Yeah.
[00:06:00] And come back, . And that's part of my process though, and I really deeply respect that and appreciate
it for you. Um, but just having somebody that understands that you can bounce stuff off, it's pretty, pretty critical.
Corey Maass: Yeah. Well, I, I'm a big proponent of, uh, discussion, not decision, which I. Once I learned that I, I'm
a, I'm a big rule person, so like I applied that rule to most conversations and try to make sure that it's clear to
everybody else. Um, but also I think more often it's the. Being vocal about when you're switching to decision.
So it's like, okay, you know, we are still discussing, we are still discussing. Now we are deciding because as you've
seen, I'm prone to go, oh, that sounded cool, and then I just go off and, and do it rather than, you know, is that the
best use of my time, is at the highest priority, all [00:07:00] those kinds of things.

So try to impose that upon myself a lot of the time too of like, is. You know, because I'm also, I'm the type of
extrovert who needs to talk out loud. And so there tends to be a lot of discussion. Um, you know, oh, hold on, I got
a barking dog. Come on.
Cory Miller: I think that's good, especially in the beginning, in the start, you know, um, is making, you know, the
whole woodworking thing is measured twice, cut once kind of thing. Not to say to get into overthinking or
overanalyzing, but we're, we're figuring it out, you know? Right. Uh, together. And I think that's been pretty critical
and really, like last week was huge breakthrough for me.
It's. Seeing, okay, here's v1, or here's the free version, I should say, what we're gonna do there, and then there's
all this, we can kind of chase and see what's there for [00:08:00] the pro side.
Corey Maass: Yep. Yep. One more, one more comment on partnerships too is I think I've talked about like I've,
I've looked for people to work with for years and one of those.
one of the outstanding questions is always that I've, that I've heard from other people that I've worried about too, is
the, like, how do you, how do you quantify compatibility? Right? And it's like, I couldn't, I think I'm, I'm bringing this
up rhetorically, like, it's not a question necessarily unless you have something, unless you have an answer.
But it's like, You, you and I sort of talked about it a little bit and then said, okay, let's work on this together, and I
didn't hesitate and, and of course then I'm like, you know, then we have amazing con like we've had amazing
conversations. . And I think that it helps that we both have [00:09:00] been aware of each other for a while and so
have some sense of how we operate.
And I think I've also, I've heard you speak in public, you've heard me speak in public, so I, I had a sense of you,
and I'm being presumptuous, but I imagine you had some sense of me. Um, but it's, it's definitely one of those,
What does this look like in a year? And if we end up with, you know, an I themes or a, you know, something,
something, Of of decent size.
You know how, how do you know that that person that you casually said, oh yeah, we should work on this little
plugin together with ends up being the person that you partner with. And that's, it's crazy cuz there's so much
around pairing people and, you know, meeting co-founders and stuff like that, and, Yeah, I don't know.
It's ju it's like I say, I think I'm bringing it up rhetorically from my perspective. It's just, it's a crapshoot. You just kind
of go with your gut .
Cory Miller: [00:10:00] Yeah, I, I totally agree. Um, you know, I, I'm trying to think how many times I've partnered
and it's been quite a few, you know, uh, Brian, initially with post status, I had two partners.
They weren't, weren't active in the business. Um, at Ithe, I've had several. Um, partnerships last four years. Um,
and, uh, I, I almost think it's like this product stuff, partner, partnerships and products are very similar in my
experience for me is that . I told Lindsay, I said, you know, when we started Ithe, it's like people bought it and they
kept buying it and it was pretty, pretty simple, like a good looking theme.
You know, and this is 2008, and I did these things and put 'em out there and things that I kind of wanted for myself,
but I didn't think, like, I didn't have a big inner monologue of like, should I do dropdown menu? Should I not?
Should I do? [00:11:00] I was just doing things I wanted to do, which spoke to like, I was obviously embedded in
our user group that were customers that eventually bought to us.
And I think that was first. But like I say, I compare it to baseball, like products and maybe even partnership and
people, it's like, you know, classic growing up was Tony Gwen, San Diego Padres. He got on base all the time. If
you hit 300 in the majors, you're, you're in the Hall of Fame. If you have a career consistently with 300 in, you're,
you're in the Hall of Fame, even close to it, you're probably in the Hall of Fame.
And, uh, when I left Ithe and tried to start some new projects, products, and businesses and partnerships, I was
like, oh yeah, I just know, I know how to do this, I can do this. And I was like, oh, you know, that means Tony struck
out three out of 10 means Tony struck out or got out seven times out of 10, but he's in the Hall of Fame.
And I'm like, wow. That's kind of like [00:12:00] entrepreneurship and products. And, and I'm gonna go even
further, uh, uh, partnerships, you know, like it's, it's not a high percentage of wins in my personal experience. , um,
from products like, I don't know if you, if I told you this, we had 200 s skews that I think were not left 200 plus.
How many of those actually made money? Right? Like maybe it's, that's a little bit low, but like, you know, and uh,
then I've gotten crushed cuz things just don't go as fast or as easy as I always want them to. And you've done a
number of products and I don't know where you're, you staying with partnerships, but, Just a lot of failure, a lot of
learn learning lessons.
Corey Maass: I, I learned, I was in New York, uh, I had just moved to New York after college and there was one
couple, so I was pursuing mo a music career, mostly, um, DJing, producing dance music, electronic music. And
there was one [00:13:00] married couple who threw a party and had started a label and. They were, uh, they were
They were all over the place. They were, they're still very eccentric people. I, I love them to death, but they are, uh,
sometimes out there. But I would follow them anywhere. And I, and I finally quantified it and I was like, because
they. 7% of what they say they're gonna do. Everybody in New York City talks a great game.
Every bartender is a comedian. You know, every person you meet, working any kind of job is actually writing a
script or is in a band or whatever, which is awesome. But most people talk a really good game and don't actually
do. What they say they're gonna do. And so I think that for me, a lot of it is, is exactly what you talked about.
Like people don't have to have success. Like I didn't wanna work with you be necessarily because you had
success, [00:14:00] but because you've put yourself out there, you've clearly done a lot, you've tried a lot, and you
keep trying. And I think that that, like for me, that's the gold standard. Like I try to live by that.
Like I put, I put a lot of products out there. Same thing have, how many of my products have actually like done
anything made little blips, you know? But you've gotta keep getting up to bat. I think this is the first baseball

analogy I've ever made in my life. But you've gotta keep getting up to bat and eventually you're gonna hit
something, presumably, you know, big or small.
And then you want to keep, you know, practice makes perfect kind.
Cory Miller: I tell you, the part of like, keep going on is the one I've really struggled with the last four years. Hmm.
Just keep going on. Um, and then last year with the burnout, um, and all that kind of stuff is just like, it's, it's tough
because, uh, it's, it's one thing if like this, nothing huge, significant, but not like life shattering.
Is dependent on [00:15:00] this. Um, but you know, when I left Ithe, I didn't really have another business to just
kind of walk onto. Now Posttest came next, you know, the next year, and it wa and it was like really good timing for
me. Um, but now it's, you know, it's still a part-time gig for me. So like, It, it's been tough cuz you just kind of have
these ideas to put 'em out there.
And the theme I told people for how I've done business, at least my ithe chapter, is stumbling successfully. Like ,
keeping going, tripping but not falling flat on your face. You know, like, just kind of keep a low profile to the ground.
Cause you're gonna keep stumbling. And, and you know, a lot of the products, for instance, were stumbled like,
and I'm not, I'm not saying it's pure.
However, there was healthy blend of right time or a place, um, hard work, right. To get more luck. And then once
the first one was rolling, it was easier to add [00:16:00] new, you know, when you get that first hit, it's easier to hit
to do others. But I still didn't have even a like 50% success rate , you know?
Corey Maass: Yep. Well look at Google.
How many products have they shut down, you know? Yeah. So anyway, sorry. I wanna respect your time. So
we've got 10 minutes. I've, I've dragged this out much longer than I needed to. I did too. Um, um, so product, we
have version 0 0 2 is in the repo. Uh, the has come a long way. Uh, we have added, uh, a few bells and whistles.
I've cleaned up the UI a bit, and then a duplicate. Cropper is now in the media library. So if you go to media library,
there's now an extra button that says Upload and Crop. Next to add new. I felt a little bad totally ripping out the
ADD new button, but we can decide to do that because there is now a [00:17:00] bypass.
So you, even if you open the cropper, And select an image. There's a button that says, crop it. There's a button
that says Just upload it so you can bypass the crop. Um, and then the other sort of sneaky thing that I, I added last
minute yesterday is if you go to media, add new, it technically opens the media library with the cropper open.
So we are totally hijacking media a new, so I mean, all these. Discussions, not decisions, but at this point we've
still got fewer than 10 users. And you and I are, are kind of, you know, we are a kitten with a ball. We're bating it
around just kind of deciding, you know, where we wanna land with it.
Cory Miller: Um, it's great. The new stuff that you pushed out, I think that's awesome. Iterating on some things
that you feel like, hey, I, this is a small little check I can do that I think is so good for progress on the product.
[00:18:00] So I was looking at it on my personal site and then my test site and um, I'll give you, I'll give you notes,
uh, in chat too.
But when I tried to upload from the media library and I just installed the new plugin on my personal, lemme do this
real quick. It's not showing the preview. Sorry. I should just be showing you.
It's not showing that preview. And maybe I've got the wrong image or something like that, but, oh, huh. So we got
uploading crop
so it's not preview in here, and then I just click square crop. Huh. So I don't, I I, I've done it at least on two sites
and it's done this, so I wanted to mention it. Ooh. But lemme just say, Thank you for that button iterating on those
buttons, these two, because I was testing your previous version [00:19:00] and with my, with images from my
phone, and one was like sideways and I was like, Hey, so oh yeah, you got that in like, I don't
know, an hour after we test.
Corey Maass: Well, I, yeah, the, I mean this is, we are still riding the, the happiness that is the library we're using.
Um, so there's, there's, they. Rotate. They also have, um, you can actually flip it horizontally and vertically, which is
an option, but I don't think we need it. Um, I don't, I don't yet see the use case. Um, but rotate, I was like, I will add
He must be onto something. And the fact that you pulled it from your phone and we're like, oh, instead of rotating it
on my phone and then uploading it again, make creative tasks simpler, easier, fun. There you go. Like, you
shouldn't have to think like, oh, I have to rotate it in one place before I upload it to another.
Um, but I will go fix that bug. So, um, the, to me, the outstanding [00:20:00] question is, um, we, I think we did
come to the conclusion last week that we want a settings page, which let. The creator of the site or the whoever is
controlling the site, which might be the same person who's creating content, but to go into a settings page and say,
four featured images, we want 16, nine, and we want them to be 1600 pixels wide every single time.
Set it once, forget it, and then they go set their featured image right. When we are including that. Originally we'd
said that that was be, that would be a paid thing, but I. I kind of feel like the free version's useless without it.
Cory Miller: Yeah, I do too. And I think we're gonna get more momentum, um, with this, with that thing cuz we, like
we talked last week, really becomes a cool utility tool for a, a problem.
And so
Corey Maass: and, and is and is feature complete? Is product complete? [00:21:00] Yep.
Cory Miller: Yeah. So the savings page with the custom. Dimensions. That's really our biggest thing left, is that
Corey Maass: Uh, and, and we want to, there's all the other holes, all the other places where you upload an
image. So to me, um, after media library, I think block is the next big one.
So I think we, I think we need, cuz I, I use the classic editor and I'm gonna look at. Adding our cropper to featured
image. You know, and, and classic editor plugin has, you know, millions of installs. So I, it's, it there. I don't think
there's, to me, there's not a clear majority one way or the other. Gutenberg block editor over classic editor.

We need, we need the cropper in both. Um, but since we have [00:22:00] the beginning of the block, I think that
that's, um, the way to go. And I, I, at some point I will look. Also applying it to the classic editor. Okay. But it's, it's
finding all of those primary places and there's a lo as we've talked about, there's a long, long tail.
Like eventually we will build a module for Elementor and, and Beaver Builder. Um, but we need to work, work for
vanilla WordPress first. Yeah.
Cory Miller: So that leaves me at really, and I'm with this with process too, is like, we need a lot, it seems like we
need a lot of users. Mm-hmm. to start getting more users in there, giving feedback, requesting features.
And this next one with the, uh, well the blocks will be big, but that's another conversation. But like, I think the
custom dimensions, then we're getting [00:23:00] something. I ped and ccd you in those. As you know, Robbie
from Beaver Builder, Kathy San from Cadence. Um, I need to look at generate press. Um, but then we bumped up
against like everybody be gone, being gone for Asia or Camp Asia.
Um, but yeah, are you going to any word camps? I'll have it down for like a placeholder for Europe and then US is
standard for me for sure. You are gonna go, yeah, I was supposed to go to Phoenix, but yeah. What, what about
you? Do you have any plans.
Corey Maass: I was, uh, thinking about US . So if you're gonna be there, then yeah, we need to meet up.
That's in August, so. Okay. It gives us, um, let's do plenty of time to, I think that'd be a blast. Yeah. We could do
this live. That'd be fun. Do it live.
Cory Miller: Let's, uh, let's plan. Yeah, let's plan on that. I'd be, that'd be great if another opportunity comes up in
between. Um, I know work camps are getting started and [00:24:00] stuff, or, um, we've loosely been throwing
around some in-person stuff with.
Post, but I'll let you know, uh, before we even announce that and see if you're able to, to get to it too. Um, nothing,
Corey Maass: Yeah. Um, I derailed us. So you were talking about getting users. Um, do we, to me, I'm starting
more and more, I'm getting anxious that we don't have a website. Okay. Which, I mean, we.
crop.express the website that is currently just the cropper, um, but to, with no mention of the plugin. And so I'd love
for you to start thinking about what that looks like,
even if it's a little banner that then links to a landing. You know, we could have crop.express/wordpress plugin and
have a landing page temporarily, but [00:25:00] just cuz it's even like I'm now. I'm linking people to the plugin in the
repo, but I feel like we wanna start expanding the use case, expanding what we're talking about, you know, to a
Cory Miller: Um, yes, absolutely. I think we're there
Corey Maass: in the coming weeks. It doesn't need to be tomorrow. Yeah,
Cory Miller: I was thinking about. Um, from the brand we talked about last week too. Mm-hmm. , it's like, do we
just go ahead and make the keep, keep crop.express like it is? Hmm. Probably link to it, but then at some point
we'll probably want to change an update plugin to go what our new brand is.
And that made me think about, my mind went to. Some discussion that could be recorded like this for users, not
about our product [00:26:00] necessarily, or this detailed stuff, but you know, hey, here's some sources we can,
where you can go find all, you know, all these images. Um, some of those mar more messaging, marketing
content, thoughts we had last week.
I was like, you know, that might be, um, pretty good. It's like having that site. Maybe scheduling, you know, some,
like, we outline it loosely and just talk through and then we can take that, you know, put it on our YouTube channel,
all that kinda stuff. And then, um, maybe see if we turn that into like our lead magnet or something like that to start
building emails.
That's where my head goes initially, but I've. We've got two things on my list, outreach and website. Um, right now,
at least until you tell me otherwise. Um,
Corey Maass: well, and, and the other thing that Kathy brought up that I thought was valuable was to aid in your
discussions. [00:27:00] She's like, oh, what does it do? And we're, and you were like, here's the plugin.
And she's like, Oh, thanks. Now I have to go find a WordPress install, install it on this WordPress install. And then
because it's essentially a a beta, we have no guidance. We have no user docs, we have no anything. And so she's
like s Now if she even gets that far, she's like splashing around trying to figure out what the hell it does and how
Um, I kind of feel like we are getting close to, like, I could do a. QuickTime, screen capture of here's how you re
crop your featured image. 1, 2, 3. Mm-hmm. , here's how you crop an image going into media library, you know,
and put them on YouTube or you know, even just to have them in our back pocket. One for any potential users, we
can link to those.
If they're on YouTube, we can put those in our readme, which goes on the, you know, So it's Crop Express in 30
seconds, a video in [00:28:00] that, in the Read Me Doc in the, in the repo. Um, and it gives you something to link
to when you're having dis discussions because rather than you having to do a demo or people trying to figure it
out, you know, here's, here's a quick 32nd video, then let's have a conversation.
Yeah. So it seems like if you agree that I feel like that should go on my list. Oh,
Cory Miller: if you're good to put on your list, absolutely. Yeah, I
Corey Maass: can bang through those pretty
Cory Miller: quick. And that lends back to website is like having something where people can see it. Mm-hmm. .
Um, yeah, I'll, okay, I'll do some thinking on that.
Corey Maass: Yeah. Again, I feel like we're, right now these are discussions, not decisions, but good ideas, so,
Yeah. Uh, ruminate on them a little bit today, and then, you know, this week or next, let's make some decisions.

Okay? [00:29:00] All right. And I'll continue. No matter what, there's this. You know, as a developer, you're like
building product and it's, and it's a straight line.
It's a rocket ship going up, but it's inevitable to do everything else. There's, there's the, the triangle. So as the
triangle goes up, it gets wider and wider. and wider. I'm just seeing it. It's like I can just keep adding features. I can
just keep making the product better, but nobody's gonna know about it.
Nobody gives a shit. There's no, you know, but it's like, Ever so slightly the more features then it's like the more
you want a website, the more you want docs, the more you want, uh, feedback. The more you want assets, the
more you want swag, the more you want, you know, and it just keeps getting broader as, as much as it gets taller.
It feels like that
Cory Miller: It does, it def definitely blends over time. Um, okay, so I've got outreach and website to continue the
outreach outreach. Um, [00:30:00] I think Kathy, I think Robbie, when he's back, um, I need to reach out to the
Elementor team.
Corey Maass: Do you have, um, like the starting in the conversation seemed good. Do you have a plan for
specific questions that we're trying to get answered?
Um, or do you wanna leave it broad?
Cory Miller: What I intend to get to them with that is like getting to the heart of what are the things that annoyed
the team, building the themes. Mm-hmm. , what are they hearing from customers? Um, and, or even, even seeing
like they see sight and like the images just blown out and stuff.
And I, I want to keep those conversations open enough where they can tell us something I might surprise us that
goes in a particular direction.
So, and I think Rob Robbie's very open to that. He just is out this week. So yeah, [00:31:00] sure. I'm really eager
to hear what he says. And that'll be our first integration or, you know, potential integration for us thinking through
that. Um, so that's kind of my intention. And then, uh, same thing with, um, any other theme framework from
Element towards generate press
sounds. But open. Do you have any thoughts or anybody else we should talk to? But you know, and then, well, the
story I'll share too is like, here's what free is gonna be, you know, and then to start to share the story to lead to this.
This could be a great tool for y'all to recommend to your communities kind of thing.
So I'll, once I get some of those, I'll drill down into, okay, cadence. What are the ratios, what are the things that we
could build into free to be, you know, that utility tool?
Corey Maass: Yeah, for sure. [00:32:00] So that, that's kind of my plan there is just kind of digging in and seeing
what we hear. Trying to get to that true marrow of it.
Like how are people using it? What are you seeing? And hopefully be surprised. Love.
Um, and I'll, I'll do some thought too on the website. I know that's been something we've been talking about,
um, but I like what you just said, like that solves the problem. If we switch to a branded site that talks ab, that's, or
a company site that lets us be open up to anything, crop Express can stay the same.
Start to talk about the plugin and link back to what ultimately would be the shopping cart or the mm-hmm. , you
know, the main marketing site around it. But let crop.express as a website, be a lead magnet, a U [00:33:00] utility
site that is a lead magnet for the WordPress plugin. And for anything else, we end up spitting up.
Cory Miller: Yeah. And then you've got a great free tool out there, so. Right. I do think, like you said, the banner
to, do you want the WordPress version, you know, you want this in WordPress and link over to the thing will be
helpful as we kind of grow for people to Yep. See the vision. Okay. All right. Anything else you had?
Corey Maass: No, I, I just, we've been, I like, I think I talked to you before. I, I've been watching Silicon Valley, so
I'm, I'm feeling like we need to scale up. We need to get some, um, venture capital. I need at least three more
developers under me.
Cory Miller: Um, I gotta get back and
Corey Maass: watch that. Move all of our operations out to Silicon Valley.
Of course. Hey, I'm in San Francisco in three weeks I'll do our first raise. Um, I'll talk to some angels out
Cory Miller: there. There you go. . When that came out, I, [00:34:00] I actually happened to have at the time a
little community car. It was a Ford Escape. Yellow, just like, uh, ,
Corey Maass: Avi Avik,
Cory Miller: ak a classic.
Corey Maass: All right, man. Well, good luck today.
Okay. It'll be a long day. Hope you'll be all right. Yeah. And, uh, I'll
Cory Miller: appreciate that.
Corey Maass: Um, yeah, I'll keep you posted.
Cory Miller: Okay, sounds good. And I'll get these webinars back on the, reschedule them and put 'em on our
calendars. Okay. So, sounds
Corey Maass: good. All right. Thanks. Thanks, Steve.
Cory Miller: Bye.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by Cory Miller at March 15, 2023 09:13 PM under Yoast

WPTavern: WooCommerce 7.5.0 Introduces 3 New Blocks, Expands Support for Global Styles

WooCommerce 7.5.0 was released this week with three new blocks for the Product Archive templates. These include a new Store Breadcrumb block, Product Results Count block, and a Catalog Sorting block, all seen in action below.

image credit: WooCommerce 7.5.0 Release Post

These blocks were released as part of an effort to “blockify” Product Archive templates so that they can more easily be customized with a block experience.

“We also want to account for the extensibility within this project by researching the mechanism for extensions to extend the templates and implementing a compatibility layer to keep as many extensions as possible working with blockified templates while giving time for extension developers to update and blockify their extensions,” WooCommerce engineer Tung Du said.

This project also includes support for a Notices block so merchants can display store notices to customers as well as determine where they appear.

WooCommerce 7.5.0 has expanded support for Global Styles, so that the Product Button, Product Rating, and Product Price blocks can now be customized more easily in the Site Editor. The Product Rating block now supports padding controls in Global Styles so that store owners can add more spacing around the blocks.

This release also brings in expanded support for the Style Book, which has been available since the WooCommerce Blocks 9.5.0 release. The Featured Product and Featured Category blocks can now be previewed in the Style Book and have Global Style changes applied.

WooCommerce 7.5.0 includes two database updates, 278 commits to WooCommerce Core, and rolls in 170 commits from the WooCommerce Blocks plugin.

by Sarah Gooding at March 15, 2023 07:49 PM under News

WPTavern: #67 – Talisha Lewallen on How CertifyWP Is Hoping To Offer WordPress Certification


[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case, what a WordPress certification might look like.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast, player of choice, or by going to WPTavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you all your ideas featured on the show.

Head to WPTavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and you use the form there.

So on the podcast today we have Talisha Lewallen.

You might have found your way into WordPress intentionally, or perhaps you stumbled across it and decided to explore further. Whichever it was, you’ve learned things along the way. Some of it might have been through training, but there’s likely been some self discovery on the way as well.

Perhaps you’re a coder, or a designer. In fact, there are dozens of different pathways in the WordPress ecosystem. Given the broad range of knowledge you might possess, how can you prove that you know what you know?

Many industries provide training programs which, when completed successfully, allow you to assert that you were competent in a given area. You’d want your lawyer or surgeon to have passed through the appropriate programs of study, so that they’re equipped to do the work.

With WordPress being such a dominant force in the world of websites. Would it be a good idea to have a certification for WordPress? Talisha certainly thinks so, and has founded CertifyWP to try to make that happen.

We approach this subject through the work that she’s been doing at WPConnects, in which she’s been trying to provide training to military veterans, so that on the departure from the services they have the prospect of finding work in the WordPress space.

We talk about whether there’s a need for certification for WordPress and how such a certification would come about. What levels of training does Talisha see as essential, and how many such layers might there be?

We discuss whether the WordPress community is ready for a third party to be certifying people’s abilities, and whether this strays away from the approach that we’ve had so far in which routes into employment have relied on other, less formal, methods.

Later in the podcast, we talk about the structure of CertifyWP, and who’s behind the project. You’ll hear that it’s not just Talisha. There’s quite a few members of the WordPress community who want this project to succeed.

If you’re curious about certifications in the WordPress space, this podcast is for you.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

And so without further delay, I bring you Talisha Lewallen.

I am joined on the podcast today by Talisha Lewallen, Hello Talisha.

[00:04:00] Talisha Lewallen: Hi Nathan.

[00:04:02] Nathan Wrigley: Very nice to meet with you. You’re welcome on the podcast. Thank you for joining us. Would you mind just introducing yourself and give us some indication of what you do, perhaps who you work for, and how come you are in any way connected with WordPress?

[00:04:18] Talisha Lewallen: Yes. I am Talisha Lewallen. And I am the owner of WPConnects, which is a company that helps US military veterans or really any veterans, but helps them receive training while they’re active duty, and then when they’re separating from the military we provide them with mentors and help them find employment within WordPress.

And then I’ve also started this new venture with some very amazing people within the WordPress community called CertifyWP Foundation. And that is where we are creating a couple of WordPress credentials.

[00:04:51] Nathan Wrigley: So we’re going to talk about both of those endeavors today, but I think probably the correct road into both of those subjects is if we begin with WPConnects. Now, you mentioned that this is a company that you are the founder of. It’s got a mission, it’s connected with the military, but in broad outline really, it’s a, it’s an endeavor to connect people who are looking for work and are in need of guidance. Do you just want to tell us how all this started and what really the bedrock, the core philosophy is, and who you are helping and how you are helping?

[00:05:26] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah. So I worked at Post Status for a little while, and while we were over there, we kept hearing a lot of people state that they really needed some trained WordPress developers and employees. And so that really got us thinking, you know, it’s one of those twist of fate things, that we ran into a gentleman named Hector who has a similar company to WPConnects.

And he’s definitely been a very big mentor to me. So when service members go in and sign up to join the military, a lot of times they’ve never had an interview, they’ve never had job experience, they’re literally just starting their career. Well, when they get out there are transferable skills, but not a lot employers are looking for, if that makes sense. So we want to provide them with, it’s called transitioning assistance. And we want to provide them with that training and so it helps them transition into the civilian sector a lot easier. There’s different skills that, you know, we do over here. And then we’re training them for WordPress front end and backend development.

And if they wanted to do anything else in WordPress. You know, it’s really expanding past just developer careers. And so we’re just really helping them find the right connections, along with mentors who have been where they’ve been and can help them transition and really just know that experience.

And so it really just comes from a place of, I have several members in my family that were in the military, and seeing them transition out of the military was kind of hard. I took the general route over here and I went to high school, college and then started my professional career and seeing my family members and friends join the military, and then when they get out and they had these amazing jobs in the military. They had all of this training and then they get out and they can’t even get a job.

I heard one of my friends tell me the story of a gentleman who was a military police officer and couldn’t get a job as a police officer here in the States. And it’s because he didn’t have, in that town, you had to have an associate’s degree. So he didn’t have the training to become a police officer when that’s all he did for 10 years in the military, was be a police officer.

And so it’s very interesting to see the skills that they have and the jobs that these men and women have had, and then transferring it into civilian life. It’s just not, or hasn’t been there. They’ve just been struggling to find these employment. And so we’re really just reaching out a hand and saying, let us help you and let us get you introduced to these amazing people inside of WordPress. WordPress has the best community that I have ever been a part of, and so it really just seems like a good fit for them.

[00:08:04] Nathan Wrigley: Can I ask, do you give them a curriculum which they follow? In other words, have you mapped out, in the same way that a university may do, you know, you’d attend a university and you would fully expect that they would provide you with the course and they’re not just making it up on the fly? Or is it more working with them to try and figure out what they need? It might be a mixture of both. I don’t know.

[00:08:25] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah, so how we do it, we have three pathways right now. And this is what makes WPConnects very unique, even within the military training field. So there’s a saying in the military that’s crawl, walk, run. So you’re not just going to get something and immediately start running. So our steps for crawl, walk, run are these three pathways.

The first one is the credentialing assistance program. Active duty and reserve military personnel are able to take a credential and it is funded through the military, so it does not cost them a dime. And they’re able to take this training. So we currently have the web foundation associate credential. And this is also where CertifyWP comes in.

So currently we’re using that WFA course. So once they complete that and they decide to transition out of the military. It could be the next month, whenever their service contract’s up. It can be two, three years later. Whenever they are transitioning out in the last 180 days of their service contract, they can join what’s called a Skill Bridge program.

So we also have a WordPress Skill Bridge program. This program is an instructor-led 12 week course. And it’s all over the US. We do it over Zoom, and we’re looking at a few other platforms. But again, it’s that instructor is there. There is a curriculum, and they are learning how to, mostly that one is backend development, is what they’re learning currently.

And then whenever they finish that, we just opened up an apprenticeship program in Texas. And we’re about to open one in Oklahoma. And so it’s just this three step process. The apprenticeship program, they have certain skills that they will acquire throughout the year long apprenticeship program. And then they are 100% ready to be employed and be able to do any job that they’re really wanting to do, because we will give them that individualized skill.

And through all of that, they have a mentor that they can reach out to, and the mentors reach out to them and just help them with anything they’re struggling with or have questions about. There’s different terminology that we use in civilian life than they’ve used in the military. And so really that person’s just to be there, to just have a helping hand.

But yeah, it’s a little bit of both. We have a pathway, we have curriculum. And we do change our curriculum. We get feedback from other people within WordPress. Nikki with Liquid Web has been the biggest help for our Skill Bridge program. She comes through and interviews and mock interviews just about every person we have in our programs and helps give us feedback so we can help them gain those interview skills. We have them write a resume and then I go through and help them work on their resume, so then they have that resume whenever they get out as well.

[00:10:59] Nathan Wrigley: I guess if you are in a different industry, there may already have been for a great deal of time, there may have been institutions or pathways like this already set up. You mentioned the example there of the police and that pathway not really working out. But presumably there are other ways that people leaving the military can go and there’s things that are already concrete. Institutions that they can join. Companies that they can join. Programs that they can go through. But not in the WordPress space.

And given WordPress’ 43, and counting, percent share of the internet, it’s a really credible career to go in, but it’s a difficult thing to, I would imagine, to even understand. If you’ve never touched the internet before, apart from being a user and a consumer of the web, you may have no skills or whatsoever.

So I’m guessing it’s bridging that gap. Trying to persuade people that actually there’s a job in here. It’s an in demand job. Can be well paid and a good career path, and there’s a nice community behind it all as well.

[00:11:57] Talisha Lewallen: Right. And you know, we have some people that are literally, I’ve never touched a computer before. But we also have people that come through the program that have been a part of the satellite operations within the military, or have done tech in the military. But getting that pathway to employment is what they really need. And learning WordPress. There’s a lot that goes into WordPress that we want our individuals to learn and that will help them grow within whatever job they decide to do. But yeah, so we have two opposite ends of the spectrum usually. We have the ones that have a ton of tech experience, or the ones that have no tech experience.

[00:12:33] Nathan Wrigley: So that was a really nice introduction into the why really, for the next bit of the podcast, which I think will consume the rest of the show. So we’re going to talk now, instead of talking about WPConnects, we’re going to talk about credentialing in the WordPress space. And maybe I’ll begin this way.

If I were to attend a university that everybody’s heard of, let’s say I’ve been to, I don’t know, Harvard or Cambridge or somewhere like that. That credential that you hold, it’s a real passport. Everybody understands what that means, and you present it to employers and they get, okay. Right, you’ve been to a university, we know what that university is about. We understand that it’s been around for a while and, that’s a credible piece of paper that you are holding. But curiously, in the tech space, there are things like this, but specifically in the WordPress space, there’s nothing like this.

There’s a great big hole there, isn’t there? So people who wish to be employed, going to an employer, you really are relying on testimonials, the CV, the reputation that you’ve got from your previous employer, and the letters that they may write on your behalf. But there’s no bit of paper that you can hold, going in cold, to say, I’ve done this. Look, there it is. It’s certifiable. This is what I’ve achieved.

[00:13:51] Talisha Lewallen: Yes. And you know, that’s what we’re kind of finding out on both ways. Having a credential helps both employers and people looking for employment, especially within the WordPress space, without having that credential. There’s a lot of people that I would say could very well do certain jobs. But because there’s not that level of credentialing and there’s not that standard education.

What does a WordPress developer mean? What can you do if you say you’re a WordPress developer? And that’s what a lot of companies are running into. So it really is almost word of mouth. Sometimes I feel like I should say that it’s almost word of mouth for you to get hired, because somebody’s worked with you and knows your level of skill. If you’re new to the WordPress space, it could possibly be harder to find a job because nobody knows who you are, your work ethic and what your skillset is.

[00:14:39] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So that’s the premise behind all of this. So I guess I should ask at the beginning, what level are you going in at? Because really in the WordPress space, we could probably come up with 50 curricular that people could follow, probably more. We could have things on the hosting side, speed optimization, SEO, backend WordPress. The sky’s the limit, but I’m presuming. That in the scenario that you are dealing with, mainly it’s getting started?

[00:15:08] Talisha Lewallen: You know, that’s the interesting thing. So we, so we have the advisory board. I should say, whenever I first decided this is something I want to do, I really want to make this credential. I reached out to several people, because I kept hearing nos and yeses, and so we put together a team of an advisory board and we had this conversation.

Because originally I was thinking about one credential, that would have three tiers. So now we’ve decided on two. We’re going to have a front end developer credential and the backend developer credential. So each one will have three tiers. So it starts at base level of here’s how I download a WordPress. This is how I can add admins. This is how I do, you know, very, very basic.

Then there’s the next level, and then there’s the expert level. So to obtain the credential, you must pass, it’s either one cumulative exam, or you could take it with each course. So you take that exam that has all three tiers of those, and that’s how you obtain that credential.

And that’ll be on the backend credential too. It’ll have that three tiers again, crawl, walk, run. We’re not going to expect you to be able to do it if you’ve never been taught the why behind it. So with that being said, one conversation that I had with a gentleman was, well, you know, it almost turned into some people can take tests, but some people can’t. That doesn’t mean that they’re able to do the job. And I said exactly, and that’s where we are trying to find a way. It’s still, still alluding me a little bit, but we are trying to find a way to have a practical part to the exam, in the top two tiers.

The first tier exam probably will just be question and answer type exam. But in that expert level, I want there to be a practical part of it. To have people show that, yes, I did learn how to master this skill. And yes, I can do this. And so I think that that’ll help. Also with the credential and why it’s, I think, beneficial to WordPress is, you know, WordPress changes sometimes.

We have big changes, we have small changes. So there’s a certification that you can take. And that can just be a course. Anybody can come up with a course. I could just go to my back room and be like, this is what I think somebody should know for WordPress and create this certification.

And then I never have to re-certify. I never have to go back in and show that my knowledge has not waned, or that I do still know what I’m doing, and still have that level, just standard level of education. With a credential, there is an advisory board and a board of directors and you have to re-certify every three years, to show that you are still maintaining that knowledge. So it’s not 10 years down the road, oh look, I took this and I’m still here. You’re able to show that you still maintain that level of credentialing.

[00:17:53] Nathan Wrigley: That’s an industry practice that I’ve seen before, especially in things like networking. And I mean networking in the sense of cables and connecting routers. The organizations often behind that will require you to come back after a given period of time and re-certify yourself. Just because otherwise that credential kind of loses all meaning, because the technology itself has moved on so far in the three, four however many years. That if you claim to know from 10 years ago what’s required to be known today, there could be a complete mismatch. Okay, that’s really interesting to know.

[00:18:25] Talisha Lewallen: There’s been a lot of thought that went into this credentialing. Along with having, you know, just what I would consider WordPress experts that are being there and really talking about what they feel somebody should know in the WordPress for each level of the credentialing.

But, let’s see. I think JavaScript has a credential that you have to re-certify. If you’re a nurse, here in the US you have to re-certify your knowledge. Car mechanics. You know, so there’s a lot of credentialing out there in every industry that does have that continuing education piece. Just because things do change, the world changes so much, and it’s very beneficial.

[00:18:58] Nathan Wrigley: So given that you are hoping to find people who wish to take these credentials. Is it open to anybody? We know that your background was connecting with people leaving the military. Is the intention of CertifyWP, and of course I should have mentioned the URL. The URL that you’ll go to, which of course I’ll put in the the show notes is certifywp.com, as you’d imagine, it’s all spelled in the typical way. No, no underscores or anything like that. Is the intention that these certifications will be open to everybody? Or is there a subset of people? What’s the audience for this?

[00:19:37] Talisha Lewallen: So the audience for the credential is everybody. CertifywP is for anybody and everybody to take. Our hope would be that companies start looking at their credential and stating that, yes, I want to hire people that have this credential because we know they have this baseline education. So it is open to every single person.

The baseline, the level one certifications I hope to get into some smaller communities. I live here in Oklahoma and so there’s a lot of Indian capital technology centers and stuff like that, that I would really like them to start taking these credentials and really trying to help the minority groups get more into WordPress as well.

But one thing that has confused a lot of people, and I have to say that this is definitely my fault. I expect everybody to be on my brainwave sometimes. The mention of the DoD, the Department of Defense has thrown a lot of people off. And so they think that this is just a credential for the military and that is really the farthest from it.

And I just have not fully been able to explain that to everybody. But the DoD approving the credential comes in for WPConnects, so that we can train our military. Instead of using that web foundation associate credential, we will use our WordPress credentialing to train them. So they will be trained from the bottom up in WordPress. So that’s where that has came in. But CertifyWP is open to everybody to take.

[00:21:03] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so just to clarify that. There was a hoop that you had to jump through in order to receive money from the government to train people from the military, but the training is ostensibly the same, but there’s that slightly strange mixed messaging there. Have I parsed that right?

[00:21:20] Talisha Lewallen: Yes, yeah. And that’s all it is, is for our military members to be able to take the training where the government pays for it. They have educational grants and stipends in the Army and Air Force, especially here in the US that they don’t have to take those, they don’t have to pay for those credentialing. So for us, for them to be able to use those monies, our credential has to be approved through the DoD.

[00:21:43] Nathan Wrigley: Speaking of money, that’s an interesting segue for a minute. Is the intention for this then to have a fee bound to it? In other words, if you want to take this credential and receive the training materials and the time of the tutors and all of that, that there’ll be a fee attached to it? And, if that’s the case, do you have plans to have scholarships and things like that? Is there any of that afoot even as an idea?

[00:22:07] Talisha Lewallen: Yes. That’s, you know, partly why we actually turned CertifyWP into a nonprofit, is so that we can offer those scholarships. For the credential to be, I almost want to be, say accepted into definitely DoD standards. But if we ever get it accredited, either, there has to be certain qualifications that credentialing meets.

So we’re trying to set up CertifyWP credentials to meet the qualifications for, one, the DoD, but also if we ever do decide to get it accredited. And one of them is that it has to meet the standard for financial costs. So, I think there’s even a PHP credential, but the other tech credentials out there, ours will have to match that price.

But we are going to be able to scholarship people in. That is definitely our hope. Because again, we don’t want this to be a gatekeeping thing of you have to pay to play. Not everybody can do that. And so we definitely want to work with people and companies on just trying to get this credential out to the community and making it affordable for every person.

And there are ways to do that. The board hasn’t fully decided on one and cost has not even been mentioned yet, just other than the fact that we have to have one and it has to meet an industry standard. But yes, definitely trying to find a way to cut costs down for just the regular person is something that we are looking at, because it can be, they can be quite expensive. And I know that that’s been a talk within, that I’ve seen in the Post Status Slack channels before. Whenever somebody moved CertifyWP into one of the channels, somebody was like, oh, here we go, gatekeeping. And oh, it’s going to cost so much and stuff like that.

And it’s a very good concern and conversation to have. But our whole intention, and I don’t want to speak for everybody on the board or advisory board, but isn’t to keep it away from people. We want everybody to be able to take it. So we are finding ways to really scholarship and bring people in.

[00:24:01] Nathan Wrigley: So we’ve talked about the audience, well, one of the audiences or one of the, one of the spokes of the wheel, if you like, for you. But of course there’s another side to this, and I’m, imagining that you really are a bridge between the people who want to be certified and the people who subsequently want to receive the wisdom that you’ve given them, the certification.

In other words, the employers, the people who are going to be employing the people out the other end. And presumably that’s going to be a challenge that you’re going to face as well, is convincing businesses that look the certificate that we’ve given them the certification that they’ve gone through and achieved actually means something. And I’m guessing there’s going to be quite a lot of your time spent making those people aware that it really is bonafide.

[00:24:46] Talisha Lewallen: Yes. That’s where having the DoD backing, and also possibly getting it accredited shows that this is a real credential. There are people out there that do see that this credential is a massive benefit. So with that, for us there’s different ways to get it DoD approved, I should say.

And the easiest way is to have community buy-in. So having those companies state that yes, I do see a need for this education level and to have credentialing. So that’s where on the website we have the endorsement letters. And I know Sophia Desrosiers has been making some phone calls and we have a couple of people that have been reaching out to companies and explaining what we’re really doing.

Because we’re trying to get those endorsement letters because that will help us get it DoD approved. It’s just showing that there is a need in the community for a credential. Not even our credential. It’s one of those fun little things, but it’s just saying that there is a need in the community.

And I definitely think once we get our credentials up and running and people start seeing what we have in there, and the education. I really think that a lot of companies will come around to it. The ones that I’ve talked to so far, I talked to one that was a little hesitant and I love that he booked a meeting with me and talked to me about his concerns, and that I was able to, I don’t want to say that I argued my point, just was able to genuinely share what we are trying to do at CertifyWP, which is just to make a community built and maintain credential.

And he ended up signing our endorsement letter, and I absolutely loved it. But I loved that space to be able to fully explain what we’re doing and how we’re setting up the credential to really benefit not only employers, but the job seeker.

[00:26:29] Nathan Wrigley: It’s a virtuous cycle in a way, isn’t it? In that if you get people on board and you can take them through the whole process and then they are ultimately employed, and the employers are happy that they can hit the ground running at whatever level that may be. That has a sort of feedback loop to it, doesn’t it?

After a period of time, the employers will broadcast that message. It will presumably encourage people who are looking for a way to be certified in tech, to hop on board and on it goes. So yeah, that’s going to quite an important part. So you are reaching out to those people and you’re hoping to get some more on board to bolster the whole enterprise.

[00:27:07] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah, we definitely need more endorsement letters from the community. It could be individuals or companies. The companies are what really the DoD is looking for. But just showing the need in the community. And like I said, I’ve talked to quite a few either hiring managers or companies that have sat here and said, you know, I put out a job description and I need a WordPress developer. And then I pay them the salary and they come in and they can’t do what we need them to do.

But on their resume it looked fine. And they were able to say these things, but they didn’t have the education that they needed. So then it costs the company more money to have to train this person to be able to get them up to this level, to where if we are able to train them and then you’re able to hire them, and you know they passed this, I hate to say they passed the test, but they’re able to show that their competency is there. It saves companies time and money on hiring.

[00:28:00] Nathan Wrigley: Speaking of the test, you mentioned that in some scenarios it may be like a written paper or something like that, but presumably the higher up you go on the ladder of difficulty, the more need there will be for practical implementations. And you said that there was still room to be, you’re still trying to figure all that out, and work out what that path might be, but I guess that’d be an interesting subject to pause on for a moment.

What are your thoughts around that? Testing in some kind of platform that allows you to do code examples on the screen, live. Those kind of things. Just essentially making sure that it’s legit, it’s bonafide, and that the people that are doing it are actually doing it. You could be bringing them into test centres. There’s all sorts of permutations here, isn’t there?

[00:28:41] Talisha Lewallen: Exactly. And that’s where, right now, I’m looking at LMSs, Learning Management Systems to put the coursework, but also the exam on. And so I’ve been talking a lot with these companies about what this exam could look like with this practical application. And what I hear a lot, and even this has been suggested in conversations with the advisory board is almost having like a capstone, or a project that they complete after they take the written assessment. In having this practical that they turn in.

And that is always an option, and we might have to go to that. I’m leery about that because then we will have to train and hire people to look at these capstone projects if you will. And determine if somebody has passed or failed it. And so then you run into, well maybe I got somebody that graded my capstone or my project harder than person B.

I really shy away from that type of stuff and I’d rather have it be computer generated. It’s unbiased. There’s just so many ways you can set that up to where there’s not that fault in there. So definitely the back end and coding one, there will be sides once you get higher up for you to actually code. I’m not a coder, so I don’t want to sit here and use terminology that I don’t understand myself.

But there is that practical part in there where you’re actually going to go in there and you’re going to do it. The front end side’s going to look, you know, a little bit differently, but still, I’m not a test taker, but I can perform the task and I can do the job generally.

But then you have other people, and I always use the example of my sister. I love her to death. She’s very, very smart. And she could take a test like nobody’s business, but that doesn’t always mean that she can do the work that she just tested on. It just means that she can have really good memory recollection. But doing the task is not something that is there all the time.

And so we really want to hit both sides. As well as companies having the confidence that when they hire somebody with this credential, they know that they passed the practical part and they can do it. And so it’s really just trying to find out the best, we’ll say best, most efficient, cost effective way to really have this and what is best for everybody.

Because what I really don’t want to get into is somebody sitting there and saying, well, I didn’t pass the exam because of, you know, X, Y, Z. And it ended up, it could have been human error. Computers have errors too, and we can work with that. But I just want to take the human error side out of it.

[00:31:07] Nathan Wrigley: I can imagine there’s going to be a subset of people listening to this podcast who will be thinking there should be no canonical certification in WordPress. We should be open to go wherever we choose. It feels like you would like this to have some sort of backing, if you like. Community backing, if nothing else. Not necessarily official backing. But you’d like this to become a baseline. Something that anybody can aspire to, and anybody can see within the community that this is something which represents a decent beginning if you like.

Not really sure I’ve phrased that question particularly well, but what I’m trying to say is that there’s going to be some people who say, why do we need this? What’s the point when we’ve been getting along just fine for many, many years? We don’t want one player dominating the market in accreditation and certifications. So we’ll just speak to that for a minute.

[00:32:00] Talisha Lewallen: Yeah. I’ve had this conversation, it actually might have been on Bob’s podcast. And through a conversation that I had with somebody else, it got brought up to why CertifyWP. Why should a third party be able to have this credentialing instead of either the hosting companies or Automattic themselves, whichever way you want to look at it.

Why should this third party be able to do it? And my answer is always, why not? We are able to have this just absolutely community built and maintained. I think it gives us the freedom is what I should say. It gives us the freedom to be able to keep it unbiased as possible, to where it benefits the most people that we can.

Not everybody’s going to be happy with it, no matter what we do, and that’s fine. We’re here to help the most people that we can. So having it community built and maintained just allows for a little bit more freedom to get the information that we see as a community that people need to learn, and have to be able to do the jobs that we are hiring them for, or that we want them to do.

And so my example, if you go onto Fiverr, and again, I’m not dissing anybody that works on Fiverr or does websites. It is a great platform for you to be able to get contract work. But when you look on there and you look at a WordPress developer, I need a WordPress website. There are, I mean, it seems like thousands of people out there that are like, oh, I’m a WordPress expert.

And I even saw a couple that were I’m certified in WordPress. And I’m like, no you’re not, because there’s not one. It’s one of those that people that are just an average Joe that’s trying to get their website built is not going to know about the community. That we don’t already have this certification. That we don’t already have all of this baseline knowledge. They’re not going to know.

And so this credential allows even contractors to hire the right person and know that they have been certified, and that they know what they’re doing and they know what they’re going to get out of the product based off of that. So it really, it’s really just this, I keep going back to community built and maintained, because I want, I really want everybody to know it’s not us sitting here saying that, oh, we have the master knowledge and we, we know what everybody needs, because we don’t.

And that’s where we are willing to hear your side and your opinion and really build the credential that the community needs and is going to use and finds the most benefit out of. We’re coming from a very big place of love and light and you know, trying just to help. And you know, that’s just really where we’re at at this point.

[00:34:28] Nathan Wrigley: With that conversation in mind, have you had any collisions with the use of WordPress, because obviously WordPress, the word is a trademark. I noticed that you’re calling it CertifyWP, so you’ve, you’ve sidestep that one, but I wonder if there are any collisions there that need to be avoided.

[00:34:49] Talisha Lewallen: So, so far, I’ll say now, we have been in contact with Josepha and Matt Mullenweg has been on some email chains. I have not personally got to speak to Matt about these, but Michelle Frechette, fantastic woman, and saves my life every day, I swear. Michelle, and myself had a meeting with Josepha and we sat down and we explained what we are trying to, and it really, I mean it was a very positive conversation in my opinion.

And so it was never brought up that, I’d hate to say that, you know, we get trademark or you know, cease and desist, but it was really, they were just trying to figure out where they wanted their position to be and that they would get back to us.

And that was around December and, you know, you got to love the holidays and everything else. But so far, no. But we are definitely wanting to also work with everybody with inside WordPress. So we would never want to do anything that Matt or Josepha would think that was not appropriate to the point of wanting us to cease and desist or whatever else.

And I also know that there’s another company, I don’t know if it’s public knowledge, so I don’t want to just like throw it out there. But there is another company that is building or hoping to build a top tier credential. So it would be like our credentialing, and then you would be able to take theirs.

And that would allow participants who had that credential to be hired by these absolutely massive corporations that are in WordPress. There are very large companies that use WordPress and they need a certain type of developer and security knowledge. And so that level of credentialing would take it one step above ours.

And since that company works with those high level companies, they would be the best fit to be able to create that level of credentialing. I mean, that’s the fun thing. The credentialing is coming. It’s been talked about a lot and I’m excited for the growth. I’m excited for the next couple of years to see where these credentials really take us as a community. But yeah, no, so far the conversations we’ve had with, I’ll say the powers that be, have been very positive.

[00:36:50] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. It’s just nice to hear that you’ve had those conversations because obviously that would be an area of, uh, of concern if you hadn’t, so at least that, that’s been put on the table, shall we say. You mentioned community a few times there, and it might be an interesting moment just to wrap this up to talk about the people that are involved and what have you.

So, Talisha, there’s obviously you. But you’ve got a whole bunch of other people on board. Do you just want to give us a bit of a name drop on who’s involved so far. And I guess an ancillary question to that is, are you still open for other people to join and lead certain areas, and be involved? Is this still a group which is welcoming community members in to help?

[00:37:30] Talisha Lewallen: Yes. So right now our advisory board and I always say this like, oh, sorry if I forget anybody. I always feel so bad. Because we have added people on in the last little bit. So we have Courtney Robertson, we have Gabriel Cohen of PMC. Jess Frick from Pressable. Michelle Frechette, love her. And we also have Nikki Bulmer. So they’re both from the Liquid Web brand. And then we have Robbie Adair with OS Training, and we just brought on Zach Stepek, and we brought him on because once we started talking about, okay, we needed the front end and the back end credential. All of us are talking about the front end, and I said, okay, so what do we know about backend?

What do we know about really coding and what do we know about all of this? And we all just kind of sat there and we’re like, okay, we need to find somebody else that could be that expert in that field. So whenever we find there is a lack of our knowledge, or that we could find somebody that has a little bit more, we are definitely open to bringing them on.

It’s not that we’re trying to keep it small, but we want to keep the team progressing. And so when you get too many people, sometimes that can be a hindrance to the progression forward, but we also need to have as many people as we need to get the best product possible as well. So we are still open to certain people. If anybody wants to be involved, definitely reach out. If we have the space and need that area of knowledge, definitely want to do that. And then we have our board of directors. And we are trying to keep the board as separate from the advisory board as possible. There are a few people that are crossing over, just because of their expertise and skills whenever we are putting the board together.

So we have myself, Michelle, Nikki and Jess. But then we also have Rob Howard, and Hans. That is currently our board of directors. We have our first meeting today, actually. I’m very excited about that. And then we have our next advisory board meeting on Thursday, and we are hoping to get the level, so for the front end credential, the level one course and exam approved by the board and the level two course and exam as well. Very exciting stuff happening this week.

[00:39:50] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it’s all moving forward, isn’t it? This is really great. We’re probably just going to have to round it up in terms of time, but before we do that, if people have been listening to this and they’d like to find out more, possibly get involved from either direction, whether that’s from the company side, looking to consume the accreditation, or if somebody would like to be involved in taking the accreditation and wants a little bit more information, where are the best places to go to contact either CertifyWP or just you?

[00:40:18] Talisha Lewallen: Me, you could find me on Post Status Slack. Or you can always hit the contact forms on either website page. They get emailed to myself to either wpconnects.com or certifywp.com. And we are also in Twitter and we now have Tumblr. We just recently got on Tumblr as well. So any of those ways are perfect ways to get ahold of us. Or my email is always a great way, which is just talisha @ wpconnects.com

[00:40:46] Nathan Wrigley: As always, I’ll put the links that you mentioned into the show notes, so if anybody wants to follow those up, just head over to the WP Tavern website, search for this episode and you should be able to find the links there. So it only remains for me to thank you Talisha for coming on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

[00:41:02] Talisha Lewallen: Well, I very much appreciate you having me and WPConnects and CertifyWP all in one. I know it’s a lot of information, but I very much appreciate it.

[00:41:11] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you very much indeed.

On the podcast today we have Talisha Lewallen.

You might have found your way into WordPress intentionally, or perhaps you stumbled across it and decided to explore further. Whichever it was, you’ve learned things along the way. Some of it might have been through training, but there’s likely been some self-discovery on the way as well. Perhaps you’re a coder, or a designer. In fact, there are dozens of different pathways in the WordPress ecosystem.

Given the broad range of knowledge you might possess, how can you prove that you know what you know?

Many industries provide training programs which, when completed successfully, allow you to assert that you are competent in a given area. You’d want your lawyer and surgeon to have passed through the appropriate program of study, so that they’re equipped to do that work.

With WordPress being such a dominant force in the world of websites, would it be a good idea to have a certification for WordPress? Talisha certainly thinks so and has founded CertifyWP to try to make that happen.

We approach this subject through the work that she’s been doing at WPConnects in which she’s been trying to provide training to military veterans, so that on their departure from the services, they have the prospect of finding work in the WordPress space.

We talk about whether there is a need for a certification for WordPress and how such a certification would come about. What levels of training does Talisha see as essential, and how many such layers might there be?

We discuss whether the WordPress community is ready for a third party to be certifying people’s abilities and whether this strays away from the approach that we’ve had so far, in which routes into employment have relied upon other, less formal, methods.

Later in the podcast we talk about the structure of CertifyWP and who is behind the project. You’ll hear that it’s not just Talisha, there are quite a few members of the community who want this project to succeed.

If you’re curious about certifications in the WordPress space, this podcast is for you.

Useful links.

WPConnects website

CertifyWP website

Talisha on the Do the Woo podcast

WPConnects Twitter

WP Connects Tumblr

by Nathan Wrigley at March 15, 2023 02:00 PM under podcast

HeroPress: Everybody is a Node: Connecting and Growing

Pull Quote: Everybody you encounter is an opportunity to learn and grow, and when we commit to growing together, we create ecosystems of mutual joy.

Starting with a Definition

Google defines the term node as “a point at which lines or pathways intersect.”It’s a connecting point. For the use of node in botany, Google offers a second definition: “the part of a plant stem from which one or more leaves emerge.” It’s a point for growth. Today, I’ll provide a third definition that combines the first two. A node is you, me, and everybody, all on our professional and personal journeys through life.

I currently work as an independent product designer, which perfectly combines my interests in culture, business, and the internet. One day, I hope to evolve my practice into a consulting business for Black-owned internet companies.

My path to my current position and future goal has been shaped by points of intersection with everyone I’ve encountered along the way.

These experiences helped me grow, helped my leaves flourish and my branches stretch further. My pathway collided with others in my field and adjacent areas, and from these interactions, I made connections with mentors, colleagues, and friends. 

The business term for this is networking. Something we’re all told to do to move forward in our careers. But making connections is more than just a box to tick on the to-do list of life — it’s the fundamental act that makes our lives worth living. 

For me, the journey to a fulfilling life began in an art museum. 

Finding New Direction

In college, I pursued a degree in Art History. I interned at, and was later employed by, the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I practically lived in that building during my employment, and I loved it. Art is a way to connect with people: when we interpret creative works, we interpret the human experience. Art helps us understand one another and understand ourselves. I thoroughly enjoy immersing myself in the art world consisting of brick-and-mortar museums and galleries. But as it turned out, art became a stepping stone towards my next passion – the internet.

My brain thrives on projects. I love to create and collaborate, and I’m an idea-engine, always itching to bring my concepts to life. Throughout college, I had aspirations to start a website about art, but struggled to find the best avenue to start.

After graduation when my schedule cleared up, a friend working in software engineering turned me toward WordPress.

It was for non-developers like me and provided the digital access I craved for my latest project. His advice permanently shifted my trajectory. Without this interaction, I never would’ve found the pathway to realizing my passions with WordPress. 

Using WordPress, I developed the arts website I had dreamt of. That site, In-Art was a place to talk about art online – include, interpret, interact. At that point, WordPress still felt like a hobby — albeit, the hobby that made me feel the most human. I devoted as much time to it as I could, and began seeking out WordPress meetups.

Little did I know at that very first WordPress Meetup, I’d meet the man who would later become my boss. Dan Olson gave a talk on “The Future of WordPress” at my first Philly WordPress meetup. In hindsight, the title feels like a pun from the universe since WordPress became my future. At this event, I also met Jason McClintock, my mentor and the lead designer at DigitalCube. In fact, he’s the one who suggested Dan hire me! 


The beauty of networking is two-fold: verticals and horizontals. In the case of Dan and Jason, Jason serves as my vertical. Verticals have the same specialty, like product design, but are at different stages in their journeys, from interns to experts.  Your verticals serve as inspirations and guides when you break into the field, since they’ve been there, done that, and lived to tell you how you can do it too. 

Once you’re further along in your professional journey, you take over and become the mentor for other newbies. You bestow upon them all your wisdom, like, “This is the best platform to simplify your process” and “splurge for the large coffee on big project days, your sleepy brain will thank you.”

But your verticals are also your competition. Competition doesn’t have to be cutthroat, and should never sway you from interacting with them.

The lessons your verticals will teach you are invaluable, and the act of teaching mentees is fulfilling and enlightening.

However, logically, if you only interact with people who do what you do, you won’t be meeting the people who need what you do. Fellow UX designers don’t have a need for UX design, they have a need for UX design jobs. Who offers jobs like that? That’s where Horizontals come into play. 


Horizontals are the people working side by side in the supply chain of a service. Take a website for example — designers collaborate with developers, marketing specialists, content creators, and business owners to create the strongest final product for their future customers.

Unless you’re a multi-talented wizard with no need for sleep and no limit for creativity, it takes every single team member working together to bring excellent large-scale projects into fruition.

For DigitalCube, Dan was one of my horizontals. Dan’s technical expertise combined well with my passion for networking and public speaking. Together, we created a discovery process for new clients, reworked our events marketing strategy, and improved technical support service. 

I’m a people person, and part of what I admire so much about people is how uniquely skilled we are in different ways. Life would be incredibly dull if we all had the same goals, same passions, same drives that make life worth living. Everybody you encounter is an opportunity to learn and grow, and when we commit to growing together, we create ecosystems of mutual joy. There’s an antiquated idea that to be successful, you must work solo. You should be a lone wolf, step on whatever toes necessary to get your foot through the best doors. I wholeheartedly reject that. 

Everyone deserves a piece of the pie, and everyone deserves a spot at the table. The horizontals I surround myself with are believers in the power of side-by-side success, in working together to achieve excellence together. This commitment to communal efforts helped me take the leap to finding success and happiness. 

How I Leaped & Where I Landed 

I dabbled as a digital marking assistant for a few months, but it was a UX bootcamp that really ignited my professional passions. The bootcamp built upon my foundation of WordPress. Before it was even over, I began freelancing by creating elementor websites for others. I started helping entrepreneurs put forth websites that launched their projects and captured their essences through effective, engaging design. 

I spend each day actively seeking new clients, growing my portfolio and my abilities with each new project. The clients I work with inspire me and align with my values, an added freedom that comes with entrepreneurship. I’m also preparing business school applications for some point in the future to learn more about finance and management, with the goals of growing a consulting service that will support Black-owned businesses on the web. 

Contracting is very fulfilling, and it keeps me connected to the spaces that sparked my passion in the first place.

I continue to attend WordPress meetups and WordCamps, volunteering in any way I can, eager to support the community that motivates me.

I relish these meetups: sources of learning and growing where I could nerd out about all the WordPress topics I love with a bunch of fellow nerds. Plus, the free swag at WordCamps never hurts. In 2020, I crafted my first WordPress talk, leaning on my love of public speaking. These efforts forged even more connections between myself and the WordPress community. Now, I’m happy to lead the Philly WordPress Meetup Group, recruiting interesting speakers for our events to help forge more connections for our members. 

Shoutouts to some WordPress SUPER-nodes who changed the trajectory of my journey:

Moral of My Story

Life is a string of transitions, a catapult of change. Whether you’re a recent graduate with no clear path to finding your peace and realizing your passions, or you’re settled into your career with no clear signs of stalling, life will keep throwing new obstacles and opportunities at you. If you tackle them alone, you’ll enjoy the highs alone, with no one to celebrate your successes. You’ll endure the lows alone too, with no one to offer a helping hand and pull you from your pit of self doubt. You will miss out on critical lessons that set you back in both your professional and personal journeys.

Each day, I immerse myself in growth-centered communities so we can learn and succeed together. I am who I am because of who I’ve met, from college friends, to coworkers, to clients. Here’s the story so far: I’ve found my place, my peace, and my passions. This is a tale I couldn’t tell without the communities, mentors, and friends I’ve encountered along the way.

Rachel’s Work Environment

We asked Rachel for a view into her development life and this is what she sent!

#hotspot-5415 .hotspots-image-container, #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-container { background: #efefef } #hotspot-5415 .hotspots-placeholder, .featherlight .featherlight-content.lightbox-5415 { background: #ffffff; border: 0 #ffffff solid; color: #000000; } #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-title, #hotspot-5415 .bc-product__title a, .featherlight .featherlight-content.lightbox-5415 .hotspot-title, .featherlight .featherlight-content.lightbox-5415 .bc-product__title a { color: #000000; } #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-style-1 { stroke-width: 1; fill: #ffffff; fill-opacity: 0; stroke: #ffffff; stroke-opacity: 0; } #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-style-1:hover, #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-style-1:focus, #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-style-1.hotspot-active { fill: #ffffff; fill-opacity: 0.81; outline: none; stroke: #ffffff; stroke-opacity: 0.81; } #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-default { stroke-width: 1; fill: #ffffff; fill-opacity: 0; stroke: #ffffff; stroke-opacity: 0; } #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-default:hover, #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-default:focus, #hotspot-5415 .hotspot-default.hotspot-active { fill: #ffffff; fill-opacity: 0.81; outline: none; stroke: #ffffff; stroke-opacity: 0.81; } #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-tooltip, #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-rrose-content-wrapper { background: #ffffff; border-color: #ffffff; color: #000000; } #hotspot-5415 a.leaflet-rrose-close-button { color: #000000; } #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-rrose-tip { background: #ffffff; } #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-popup-scrolled { border-bottom-color: #000000; border-top-color: #000000; } #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-tooltip-top:before { border-top-color: #ffffff; } #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-tooltip-bottom:before { border-bottom-color: #ffffff; } #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-tooltip-left:before { border-left-color: #ffffff; } #hotspot-5415 .leaflet-tooltip-right:before { border-right-color: #ffffff; }
Rachel Winchester
HP W2082a 20-inch LED Backlit Monitor Lenovo Yoga Guitars! Philadelphia! AboveTEK Phone Stand

HP W2082a 20-inch LED Backlit Monitor

My monitor used as a second, rather than a mirror.  I only wish it were touchscreen also.


Lenovo Yoga

I love my laptop because it's touch screen, and it can convert into a tablet. To me, Touch screen navigation is a better experience than using a mouse. But my monitor isn't touch screen lol.



I have two next to my desk. One is an Ibanez semi hollow, and the other is an ESP explorer. I just play for myself sometimes.

The Ibanez is great for jazz rock and blues. The ESP is for metal.


AboveTEK Phone Stand

I keep my phone in the stand most of the day so i don't use it too often. It becomes apart of my workspace just like the monitor.
If i keep it in my pocket or laying around somewhere else, I'll take it out too often just to check it. But when it's docked, I don't pick it up as often.

HeroPress would like to thank Draw Attention for their donation of the plugin to make this interactive image!

Header image CCO licensed photo by Laura Byrne from the WordPress Photo Directory.

The post Everybody is a Node: Connecting and Growing appeared first on HeroPress.

by Rachel Winchester at March 15, 2023 12:00 PM

March 14, 2023

WPTavern: Gutenberg 15.3 Adds New “Time to Read” Block 

Gutenberg 15.3 was released this week with a new “Time to Read” block that calculates the estimated reading time for the post or page using the same method that appears in the details panel. The block displays this information on the frontend wherever it is inserted.

This is the first iteration of the Time to Read block, so it isn’t very customizable yet. Although users can add custom CSS to the block, it only includes alignment controls right now. The block needs Typography controls and more options for customizing its appearance to be consistent with other core blocks.

In 15.3 Duotone filters have been reworked in several ways to make them more portable across themes. Previously, duotone settings were stored as an array of colors. This has been changed so that duotone presets are stored as slugs, making the color swatches available when a user changes themes.

Another change for Duotone filters in this release is the ability to set them globally inside the Site Editor’s Styles panel.

The Site Editor also received several improvements to make the design more clear and consistent, updating the designs for the edit button and the add template modal, and cleaning up the template details popover, among other small changes.

Check out the 15.3 changelog for the full rundown of all the enhancements, bug fixes, and accessibility and performance improvements.

by Sarah Gooding at March 14, 2023 09:10 PM under News

WPTavern: WordPress 6.2 RC 2 Drops Navigation Panel from Site Editor

WordPress 6.2 RC 2 was released today on schedule. The new Navigation section in the Site Editor was dropped from the upcoming release in a somewhat unusual turn of events this late in the release cycle. The feature will remain in the Gutenberg plugin and will be iterated on for a future core release. Users will still be able to manage their menus within the block settings of the Navigation block.

The Navigation section was added in Gutenberg 15.1, the last release to be rolled into 6.2, and the one with the least amount of time to be tested.

“After being added and as the beta cycle continued, various bugs and refinements started adding up,” Editor Triage Co-Lead Anne McCarthy said. “In particular, the top pain points revolved around which menu appears (and how to change it), needing a better description of what this newer section did, and improving the general experience of adding links from that section.”

McCarthy published a video showing what has been removed:

The conversation leading to this decision was spread across many PRs, issues, and Slack conversations, so it became difficult to track. McCarthy cited a dozen of the related issues and PR’s, including page links being buried in the inserter, confusion around which menu is pulled into the panel, and many other loose ends that do not provide a good experience for users.

 “Even with trying to lock the experience further down, bugs continued to pop up and the experience isn’t polished enough to move forward with,” she said. “This led to a decision amongst Core Editor Tech, Core Editor Triage, and the Design lead ahead of WordPress 6.2 RC 2 to remove that was then shared with the wider release squad.”

The PR to remove the feature was merged 13 hours ago and now the navigation panel will only be visible if using the Gutenberg plugin. Anyone who is creating documentation or educational resources for WordPress should be aware that those related to the navigation panel may need to be udpated.

WordPress 6.2 is now just two weeks away from being released on March 28, 2023. Testing and translation are still needed to ensure the official release will be ready for the world of WordPress users.

by Sarah Gooding at March 14, 2023 06:58 PM under WordPress

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 6.2 Release Candidate 2

Here it is: the second release candidate (RC2) for WordPress 6.2 is ready! 

WordPress 6.2 is scheduled for release on March 28, 2023—which is only two weeks away. Now is your perfect opportunity if you haven’t tried it out yet. Your feedback and help filing bug reports are what keep the WordPress experience stable, smooth, and delightful. It’s important work and a great way to contribute to the project. 

Thanks to everyone who tested the Beta and RC releases so far. Since RC1 was released on March 9, there have been about 36 issues resolved in Trac and GitHub

Catch up on the featured highlights, and dig into more 6.2 details, in the WordPress 6.2 RC1 release announcement.

How to install RC2 for testing

This version of the WordPress software is under development. Please do not install, run, or test this version of WordPress on production or mission-critical websites. Instead, it is recommended that you test RC2 on a test server and site. 

You can test WordPress 6.2 RC2 in three ways:

Option 1: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).

Option 2: Direct download the RC2 version (zip).

Option 3: Use the following WP-CLI command:

wp core update --version=6.2-RC2

A shoutout to plugin and theme developers

Your products are the reason WordPress does so many more things for more people across the world. As you test your latest versions against RC2, make sure you update the “Tested up to” version in your plugin’s readme file to 6.2. If you find compatibility problems, please post detailed information to the support forums.

Check out the WordPress 6.2 Field Guide for more details about the major changes in this release.

Help translate WordPress

Do you speak a language other than English? Help translate WordPress into more than 100 languages. 

Join the bug hunt—test, test, test

Without your testing support, hitting important product milestones would be a much bigger challenge. It’s also a meaningful way to contribute to the project. If you’re new to testing, or it’s been a while, this detailed guide can help you get started. 

If you think you have run into an issue, please report it to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, you can file one on WordPress Trac. You can also check your issue against a list of known bugs.

Release the haiku

Listen, we are close
One step to final RC
Breathe, and keep going

Thank you to the following contributors for collaborating on this post: @laurlittle @marybaum @audrasjb @cbringmann

Haiku by @sereedmedia

by Jonathan Pantani at March 14, 2023 05:59 PM under releases

Post Status: WordPress Website Cost to Develop

Every business needs a website. Not only does it tell your customers what you do, but it gives you credibility. WordPress is the best website option, but what will it set you back? The WordPress website cost to develop question isn’t so cut and dry.

Eventually, you have to talk about cost.

If you’re a consultant, you’ve been asked how much your services cost. And you have to make some decisions:

  • What services am I providing?
  • How many hours do I think this will take?
  • How much is this worth to the client from a business perspective?
  • Does the client have money? How about a business plan?
  • Should I charge hourly or by the project?
  • Is this a one-off thing, or is there potential for a long-term relationship?
  • How busy am I? Do I need this job? Do I want it?

These questions are important. The answers are critical. Gauging the client is vital. Every interaction with the client helps you learn more about them and the project and affects the cost.

Cost often also depends on the market and location. For the purpose of this post, we’re assuming we’re talking to an American audience in U.S. dollars. 

How Much Should a Custom WordPress Website Cost to Develop?

Brian has built websites or been part of website projects — all on WordPress — ranging in cost from less than $1,000 to more than $100,000 for complete websites.

So, in short: It always depends.

This differentiation is why we can’t ballpark it for you. It’s essential to build out an estimate specific to your project.

Table of Contents

WordPress Website Cost to Develop

Types of Websites and their Costs

There are many types of websites, each with its potential costs. Brian ranks sites in complexity like this:

  • Simple Blog. Archives and single post views only. A pretty typical layout.
  • Complex Blog. A bunch of “out of the box” styles for various templates. It requires attention to detail on archives, single posts, and other stuff like post formats.
  • Brochure Site. Fairly standard but custom home page design and page layout. Stock archive/blog setup with little to no customizations.
  • Marketing Site. A mashup between a simple brochure and a complicated blog. It requires more designs, and the home page might be a little more advanced than the simple brochure.
  • E-Commerce Site. It could be a mix of any of the websites above plus all the needs in e-commerce (like cart/account/checkout views and tons of configuration considerations). This type of project is often a huge PM bump as well.
  • Small Business Site. Similar to a marketing site, but often includes a couple of custom content types that require design and code, like events, testimonials, services, etc.
  • Large Company Site. Big business websites are like regular business websites, but more. They often have many custom content types, advanced searching needs, tons of content, and some fancy user permissions needs. And, of course, potentially much more.
  • Non-Profit or Advocacy Site. Non-profit and advocacy sites are the holy grail of wanting everything on a budget. These are difficult to keep in scope because they often have the exact needs of big businesses without the budgets.
  • Large Scale Site. You can take any of these types of websites and then say you need it to handle millions of page views per month without breaking a sweat. A whole new layer of complexity comes into play.

The hours it takes to build these different websites can vary tremendously. It depends on the consultant’s experience, whether they’ve done similar work before, how many “gotchas” appear in the project, how particular the client is about any given feature, and more.

Understanding What Goes into Development

Not all websites are created equal, so not all websites will take the same time and work to create. Here are some factors to consider related to the website development process.

Static vs. Dynamic Websites

Static websites are the easiest types of sites to maintain and build. They’re faster for users because they require little back-end processing, and the server only retrieves the requested files. Static sites make it challenging to execute a site-wide change because they require you to update each HTML file. 

Dynamic sites display different information to each visitor. The visitor’s location, time zone, personal preferences, and habits determine the content. This feature creates a more tailored and interactive experience. Instead of building one page that stays the same, web servers build these personalized pages when users request pages. Dynamic sites build these pages on server-side scripting languages like PHP, Python, or Ruby.

Depending on which type of site you need, you may have to work with different developers. Some common types of development include:

  • Front-End Development. The practice of producing CSS, HTML, or JavaScript for a website that the user sees and interacts with directly.
  • Back-End Development. Working with server-side software to make sure the site is functioning correctly. Backend development focuses on databases, architecture, and servers.
  • Database Development. The type of development that focuses on design, programming, construction, and implementation of new databases and modifying existing databases. 

Factors Affecting Website Development Cost

Each website project is unique, and the factors surrounding each project help determine the website cost to develop. 

Factors that affect every project:

  • Level of Complexity. More pages take more time and money to build. Plus, parent and child pages can complicate the process.
  • Design Requirements. Some websites need special features and customization. The more design requirements for a specific project, the more it will cost.
  • Platforms and Technologies. If the project requires the developer to integrate technologies into the website, it adds to the time and cost to build. While many technologies make integrations easy with API keys, not all companies can quickly provide that to their web designer.
  • Functionality. Plugins can be relatively inexpensive, but setting them and ensuring they work well together can take a lot of time. 
  • Security. You can add different levels of security to websites. The costs can be a one-time fee or ongoing. For any e-commerce site, continuous security monitoring is crucial.
  • Maintenance and Updates. The developer will need to add new components to sites, and regular maintenance ensures everything functions probably and is consistently updated.

Considerations for Small Businesses

If you’re a small business owner needing a website, there are some unique factors to consider before you approach a developer.

Factors that affect small business projects:

  • Budget. Knowing the limitations of your budget is crucial. This knowledge will help you choose the best web developer for you while also giving you realistic expectations about the type of website you’ll receive.
  • Timeline. The more complex a website is, the longer it takes to develop. Plus, if you have a lot of old website content that needs to be accounted for, it can add development time.
  • Outsourcing. When you create a website in-house, you have more control of the process and final product. But when you outsource, you don’t have to worry about paying full-time salary and benefits to the developer or tying up team members with the project.

Estimating the Cost to Develop a Website

An estimate takes time. Whether that time is in a paid discovery or a sunk cost the consultant takes on themselves is a different matter. Either way, estimates are expensive because they’re time-consuming. And if a consultant spends a week on an estimate or proposal, they’ll put that cost into the proposal somewhere.

Estimate Cost and Timeline 

There are some broad brush typical price ranges we can establish for you. Let’s start by segmenting based on who you’re working with. Basically, working with a freelancer will generally be cheaper than working with an agency. Agencies have more overhead, padding built in, concern about cash flow, and generally just tend to be a bit more expensive.

If you work with an agency, the risk of them falling off the map is generally lower, but they move slower too. And you’ll often have to deal with changing contacts as the project progresses (from sales to design to development to maintenance).

If you work with a freelancer, your risks are a bit higher that they’ll disappear someday. It means vetting them is even more important than with an agency. But they also tend to move quickly and don’t juggle as many projects simultaneously. You also benefit from working with (typically) one person who knows everything about your project, and you don’t feel like you’re constantly getting bounced around between people.

It’s possible to have a great relationship with a freelancer or agency. Which route is better typically depends on the client’s mentality and requirements.

Pricing Views 

It’s generally good to estimate how many unique views a website has to consider how much it will cost.

Unique views are:

  • The home page
  • The archive page — although it could be category, search, and more, combined in one unique view
  • The blog “post” page
  • The generic “page” template, though it can be mashed with the post view
  • Custom page templates — like fancy about us pages or a key landing page
  • Custom post types — sometimes in the traditional archive/singular sense and other times the way it sits within another view, like how an FAQ content type may fit into a regular page
  • Variable sidebars within sections of the website

Unique views aren’t always evident. Depending on how discovery conversations go with the client, you can figure out more necessary unique views.

What’s essential about unique views is that they’re excellent for estimating design time, and they can help guide estimating development time.

If a unique view requires a comp (design preview for the client), then that’s a relatively set number of required hours for design. If it doesn’t require a comp, it’s still best to build in time for the designer to do a quality check after it’s developed, so they can make sure it looks good.

Designing a unique view from the ground up could take a designer between four and 10 hours, depending on the complexity. For certain complex or innovative views, that number could hit upward of 20 hours just for design.

Also, design requires a base set of hours to establish the overall tone of the website and to design things rarely considered with unique views, like the header, footer, and overall style guide. The website's base elements and style guide could easily range between 10 and 100 hours. It’s a ridiculous range, but it's necessary.

So, we’ve established a framework for pricing the design of unique views. Developing them is a different story.

You must carefully consider development. Generally, every design hour should get a development hour to go with it. But development hours can easily break that rule, especially when developing something complex. 

Development hours can be literally anything for wholly custom functionality, which is entirely outside this post's scope. Development can cost millions of dollars.

Pricing Content 

With WordPress, you can add as many posts and pages as you want. But the more posts or pages the client’s existing website has (and expects to transfer to the new site), the more complex the new project will be.

Some levels to consider when pricing content:

  • Less than 10 pages No big deal
  • More than 30 pages – Start thinking about structure
  • Hierarchical pages (lots of parent > child page relationships) – Require strategic thinking time
  • Hundreds of pages – Either a problem or a lot of strategy and design consideration
  • Thousands of blog posts, taxonomies (category/tag handling), and searches – Probably cost more
  • A lot of content – Navigation needs to be uniquely priced 
  • Multi-author blog – Needs special consideration
  • Pages or posts need editorial workflow (section management, change or publishing approval, etc.) – Need special consideration
  • Current CMS isn’t WordPress – Migration requires special language and details to make it happen
  • Current CMS is WordPress – Understand plugins or custom code potentially creating shortcodes or weird content handling (maybe with custom fields) or what other bad practices may be present

Pricing Time

Time is a huge factor to consider when building a website. Developers need to charge for the time a project will take to complete. 

Both freelancers and agencies factor time into their pricing. So the time spent researching a project, bidding on it, and meeting with the clients is built into the pricing structure. It’s not just the cost of the time spent working on WordPress website development, though that is the bulk of the cost. 

Pricing Site Factors 

Every website development project is different, and the goals of each website owner vary as well. The developer must consider each specification when determining the website's cost.

Additionally, the client is a huge factor in price. In short, if a client is going to be difficult, it affects the client multiplier on the overall project cost.

Client qualities that end up costing money are when the client:

  • Doesn’t have a single point of contact (multiple people always have to be looped into communication)
  • Has to get some form of committee approval
  • Isn’t decisive or is incapable of playing the “consultant advocate” role well internally
  • Has a lot of red tape for decision making
  • Payment schedules are awful (payment may take months)
  • Is prone to huge email threads about small issues
  • Wants daily or frequent phone calls or meetings
  • Doesn’t have a clear business plan and will require a lot of advising

These are mostly people and organizational things. They have little to do with the actual project.

Let’s say the work for a project will be about $20,000. Add in these client qualities that could get costly from a project management perspective and apply them to the overall cost.

In a $20,000 project, it’s not uncommon for $5,000 of that to be project management costs. If there are enough concerns to warrant 50% higher PM costs, the project gets a $2,500, or 12.5%, increase in overall project cost.

Looking for client qualities that trigger higher costs is vital as a consultant. For potential clients, remember that your qualities (organizational and behavioral) affect your consultant’s price.

Working with a Freelancer for Website Development 

Freelancers can be an affordable option for website development, but not everyone enjoys working with them, and they aren't the right fit for every project.

Pros and Cons of Freelancers

Working with freelancers can be good if you have a quick turnaround time. Unlike agencies, freelancers tend to work on one project at a time, so they can focus on your website until it’s finished. You’ll also only communicate with the freelancer during the project, unlike with agencies where you may speak to different departments in various project stages. 

But freelancers don’t always have the same schedule availability since they’re a smaller business operation. So, if you need updates in the future, it may take a long time to get on the freelancer’s schedule. 

Also, many freelancers work alone, leading to a more unstructured process, which means you may not know the project's stage. The freelancer you work with will also likely be acting as their own project manager, so you won’t necessarily get as many updates or information about the project's status while they’re working.

When a Freelancer is a Good Fit 

In general, freelancers are great for jobs that fit the following criteria:

  • Are small enough for one person to handle 
  • Have a tight timeline, and you want them to start quickly
  • Are fine with informal communication channels 
  • Don't need big contractor agreements, insurance, or other common big-business requirements

Working with an Agency for Website Development 

Agencies are a more established alternative to working with freelancers. They tend to have greater resources and an established process.

Pros and Cons of Agencies 

Working with agencies can be good for a lot of reasons. Because they specialize in what you’re paying for, you have the potential to build a long-term relationship with them and will be able to come back to them for future projects. You’ll also have a project or client manager to usher you through the process and explain what’s going on with your website. Plus, agencies have dedicated processes, so you know nothing will be left out or forgotten.

But there are still limitations to working with agencies. They work with a large number of clients, so that means you may have a waiting period before they begin your project. It can also lead to a slower project turnaround time. 

As your project progresses, you’ll have different points of contact for the various stages. 

Working with an agency also can be expensive since they have more overhead costs.

When an Agency is a Good Fit 

In general, agencies are better when you:

  • Don’t want to risk your consultant disappearing
  • Are comfortable with a project structure you don’t define and following their process
  • Can handle a multi-month project that takes two to six months
  • Don’t mind waiting 30 to 90 days to start until you can fit into their schedule 
  • Want a dedicated project manager
  • Have a large-scope or fast-turnaround project that requires multiple people working full-time on it

Comparing Freelancer vs. Agency Rates

For most projects, the consultant has to estimate the time it will take them to build and charge at least that. So the consultant probably isn’t charging much more than their cost.

Whether the consultant is an agency or a freelancer, the developer only spends about half their day on the project. Also, that number is probably higher for your average web worker in an agency. It still works as an average because managers and PMs typically won’t hit 50%, and their time may not even factor into direct costs.

Assume the freelancer is billing an end client, not subcontracting to an agency where their costs decrease considerably due to less PM and consistent work.

Finally, utilize these hourly rates as if it’s for billable work and known costs. So, if the rate is $100 per hour and the design will take 50 hours and the development will take 50 hours, and you build in 25 hours for project management, it would be 125 hours, and the project would cost $12,500. Profits, overhead, and everything else are built into the internal hourly rate — just like if someone were billing the client hourly for the work.

Understanding Special Cases 

Freelancers and agencies also break their own rules all the time. A great example is when you get an inquiry from a big brand. If it’s a competitive bid, and a consultant wants that brand as a featured client, they could easily drop their rates by a third or more to get it — hoping that that brand will make other folks want to work with them down the road. 

Sometimes this is effective. Other times it’s a terrible idea. Referrals can come from anywhere, and generally, bending your rates for a brand name is a bad idea, even though it's tempting.

Other times, consultants break their own rules or don’t follow their internal rates. Consultants may charge less if it’s a client they work with repeatedly and know the true costs better. Consultants may charge less for non-profit organizations, with a retainer, if work is slow or if they get emotionally invested in the bid. The list of ways to break the guidelines goes on and on.

Common Freelancer Rates

Freelance WordPress website developers today make $30 to $175 an hour, with the average developer charging $70 an hour. Freelancers with good experience, who are more in demand, and those with reputations as specialists charge more for their services.

Common Agency Rates

WordPress website development agencies charge anywhere from $3,000 to $75,000 or more to build a website, depending on your needs, their reputation, and the size of the market they serve. The better their reputation and the bigger, more high-profile projects they’ve completed in the past, the more they can charge. They also can charge more if they have a niche expertise.

Market size is the difference between working in big towns or small cities (small market), cities that are thriving but not huge (medium market), or the type of city that’s got pro sports teams and more than a million people (large market). The bigger the market, the more an agency can charge. Agencies in mega markets, like New York and San Francisco, can charge much more.

How to Get Your Website Development Started

Before you contact a web developer to build your website, there are some things to do to prepare. This list will help you be more intentional about your web development project and ensure you get what you need.

  • Assess Any Current Site Failings. What do you wish your site could do that it doesn’t? Are there any functions you absolutely need to add?
  • Identify Your Goals. Know what you want from a new site. This direction will help your developer build a better site for you.
  • Create a Comprehensive List of Needs. This list will help your developer create a website that works best for your business and help you determine what’s most important during the web development process.
  • Determine Your Budget. Knowing how much money you have to work with will help you choose a developer and understand what features you can afford.
  • Research Freelancers or Agencies. Think about your timeline and how you’d like the project to proceed. Find a developer that will work well with you.
  • Track Progress and Stay Connected. Know where your website is in the development stages. This tracking will help you stay on top of the project.

Do You Want to Learn More About WordPress Development?

Are you a WordPress pro or someone who works with WordPress pros? If so, you’ll want to connect with a greater WordPress community to learn from and share with. Where else can you talk in-depth about how much a WordPress website costs to develop? Join Post Status today and get access to members-only content and tons of WordPress news.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by Brian Krogsgard at March 14, 2023 03:30 PM under Static

Do The Woo Community: Emerging Web Tech with Brad, Kathy and Dave

An introduction to our upcoming series with Brad Williams, Kathy Zant and Dave Lockie of new web technologies and WooCommerce/WordPress.

>> The post Emerging Web Tech with Brad, Kathy and Dave appeared first on Do the Woo - a WooCommerce Builder Community .

by BobWP at March 14, 2023 10:38 AM under Do the Woo Podcast

WPTavern: Patchstack Tracks 328% More Security Bugs Reported in WordPress Plugins in 2022

Patchstack, a WordPress security maintenance and management tool, has published its “State of WordPress Security” whitepaper for 2022, tracking a few key metrics on publicly reported vulnerabilities.

The findings highlight the risk of using unmaintained themes and plugins along with developers’ need to keep pace with updates to libraries and dependencies included in their work. Patchstack is tracking a significant increase in vulnerabilities reported in 2022:

In 2022 we saw 328% more security bugs reported in WordPress plugins – we added 4,528 confirmed security bugs to our database, compared to 1,382 in 2021.

Similar to previous years, the majority of these security bugs were found in plugins (93%), followed by themes (6.7%), and WordPress core (0.6%).

These numbers were sourced from public data from Patchstack and other security companies and researchers in the WordPress ecosystem. The total number of vulnerabilities comes from the three official CNAs in the WordPress space that are authorized to assign CVE IDs to new security vulnerabilities and to whom researchers report issues. These include Patchstack, Automattic (WPscan) and WordFence. Patchstack CEO Oliver Sild said some of the vulnerabilities were also independently published elsewhere or reported directly to MITRE.

The report emphasized that the increase in the number of vulnerabilities reported means that ecosystem is becoming more secure as the result of more security issues being found and patched.

Another small improvement over last year is the percentage of critical security bugs that never received a patch. In 2022, that number was 26% versus 29% in 2021. Critical vulnerabilities were better addressed this year but Sild said so far it’s not a significant change that they would connect with any trend yet.

“We still think it shows a big problem, which is that some plugins are unsupported or abandoned and do not receive timely patches,” he said.

Solving the problem of developers abandoning their work is challenging, and many users have no idea how to select plugins that are more likely to be supported.

“I think it’s important to be transparent,” Sild said. “It is also okay that projects come to an end. I just recently told my colleague that ‘when someone builds a new plugin, they should keep in mind that someone might actually use it.’ It kind of stuck with me, because even if the plugin developer has moved on and is not working on the project anymore, there still might be people who rely on it.”

Sild said users often get left in the dark because WordPress core only shows if an update is available. If a plugin gets closed by WordPress.org due to an unpatched security issue, users don’t get notified.

“It’s something we try to improve together with our partners such as other security plugins and hosting companies,” he said. “Communication is key. We recently also created a free service for plugin developers called ‘managed vulnerability disclosure program’ shortly mVDP. The goal is to help plugin developers adopt more mature security practices and show users that they take security seriously.”

Other notable insights from the whitepaper include a breakdown of WordPress security bugs by severity. In 2022, the majority of vulnerabilities (84%) were classified as Medium severity, with a smaller percentage of High severity (11%) and Critical (2%).

Of the most popular plugins (over 1 million installs) that had security issues, only five contained high severity bugs. The two with the highest CVSS score vulnerabilities were Elementor and Essential Add-ons for Elementor, followed by UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup, One Click Demo Import, and MonsterInsights.

The whitepaper highlights a few other trends, including hosting companies alerting their customers to vulnerabilities, the growth of the security research community, and increased security awareness within the WordPress ecosystem. For more details on the state of WordPress security in 2022 and predictions for this year, check out the whitepaper on Patchstack’s website.

by Sarah Gooding at March 14, 2023 01:09 AM under security

March 13, 2023

WPTavern: Automattic Acquires ActivityPub Plugin for WordPress

Automattic has acquired the ActivityPub plugin for WordPress from German developer Matthias Pfefferle, who will be joining the company to continue improving support for federated platforms. Pfefferle, who is also the author of the Webmention plugin, said his new role is to see how Automattic’s products can benefit from open protocols like ActivityPub.

In 2021, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg indicated that he would be interested in having Tumblr support the ActivityPub protocol for a greater level of interoperability across networks like Mastodon and others using the same protocol. That is still in the works, but WordPress sites already have this capability through the plugin.

“ActivityPub and a lot of other Open Web Plugins (like the Webmention plugin) were spare time projects, so I was not looking for an acquisition,” Pfefferle said.

“When Matt announced that Tumblr wants to implement ActivityPub on Twitter, I asked why not WordPress, so I came in contact with Automattic and they offered me the opportunity to work full time on the plugin and other Open Web projects.”

The ActivityPub plugin makes it possible for readers to follow a WordPress site in the fediverse using the ActivityPub protocol. This includes Mastodon, one of the most popular platforms using the protocol, and other platforms like Pleroma, Friendica, HubZilla, Pixelfed, SocialHome, and Misskey. For those using Mastodon, this plugin will automatically send posts to the network and replies to it will become comments on the post.

Last March, the ActivityPub plugin had just 700 users. Today it has grown to more than 2,000 active installs. Although it is not yet widely used, it has gotten more exposure since Elon Musk bought Twitter.

“Thanks to Elon Musk, the number of downloads from my ActivityPub (WordPress) plugin and my followers on Mastodon have increased at least tenfold!” Pfefferle said in a post on his blog in January 2023. “This inspired me to work more actively on the plugin again and some great changes came about.”

Most recently, Pfefferle added a new onboarding screen with recommended plugins, added the published date to author profiles, and added outgoing mentions, among other features.

Pfefferle said he thinks the idea of the acquisition is not to have the protocol merged into core, but to “guarantee that it will stay open source and to maybe make it a canonical plugin.”

As more social networks unite on open protocols, it won’t matter where you choose to create your home on the web. Interoperability between apps allows people to post from whatever network they enjoy, creating a richer, more diverse web. Automattic’s support of the ActivityPub plugin ensures WordPress’ place in the fediverse, where blogs will not isolated islands but rather interconnected as many were in the early days of blogging. Pfefferle’s work embodies these ideals.

“I think my drive was always to build an alternative to the big walled gardens of Facebook & co,” Pfefferle said.

“I fell in love with the idea of blogging and the spirit of the Web 2.0 movement and tried to keep the idea alive. I worked on several WordPress plugins and participated in several movements (DiSo, DataPortability and others) starting in 2007.

“It is so exciting to finally see such a big interest in Open and Federated technologies!”

by Sarah Gooding at March 13, 2023 08:24 PM under mastodon

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 51: Is Routine a Rut?

On Episode fifty-one of the WordPress Briefing podcast, join WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy as she makes a case for why routine is a good thing– in life and in the WordPress project.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.


Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Santana Inniss
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

Show Notes


[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:00] 

Hello everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks.

I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:29]

All right, my WordPress wonders; it’s time to join me for one of my gentle rants on basic leadership principles. Today we’re talking about the importance of routine and predictability in everyday life. But don’t worry, I’m gonna tie it all together with WordPress, too. So by now you’re probably aware that I don’t really consider myself one of those “born leaders.” 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:01:00] 

Over the years, I’ve put a lot of effort into researching characteristics of good leaders and general leadership methods overall. But one of the things I encountered early on in my leadership learning journey was the concept of routine.

As with most leadership practices I hold, routine has more than one purpose. From a very pragmatic standpoint, routines provide predictability and the more predictable something is, the lower the cognitive load becomes, which in turn lets you use your thinking power for something better. For instance, if you know that in every check-in with your team lead, she’s gonna ask you what you were proud to have shipped last week, what you want to ship next week, and what things stand in the way of your plans, then you know that that is what you have to prepare for. 

The knowledge work, the thinking part. The thinking part stops being, what is my team lead going to ask me and starts being what is the problem that she can help me solve? 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:02:00] 

But from a more human standpoint, that kind of predictability helps us to understand when something that happened is out of the ordinary. Whether it’s a notification of a comment left on your blog or syntactical highlighting that lets you know that you’ve written something that’s out of voice or against grammar standards, it just lets you know that something is unusual there and deserves your attention. 

Now for me, this has a lot of applications across the WordPress project. There are the obvious things like the cadence of our major release cycles or our notification system, which honestly could use a bit of TLC, a little bit of elbow grease.

But there are also less obvious things that this idea still applies to simply because of the way our brains work, the information architecture on our sites, for instance. It should make sense visually and semantically because that makes it easy for us to skim and predict where the highest value content is for us. Or the user interface across the back end of our software. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:03:00] 

Having familiar tasks or actions across any type of content or area of content makes it easier for a site maintainer to flow from one area of a site to the next, fixing things as they find them without necessarily having to stop and put down their hammer and pick up a screwdriver or whatever metaphor works for you. Or if you’re doing more nuanced work, like put down your timpani mallets and pick up your xylophone mallets. 

So, yeah, consistency. Consistency is the topic of today’s gentle rant. I get really worked up about it because I feel like consistency ends up being this euphemism for being boring. But I honestly believe that it’s the consistency and the dependability that make it clear what is supposed to be exciting, the things that are different enough that they merit our attention.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:03:38] 

Which, fortunately, now brings us to our small list of big things. It’s actually a pretty big list today and also a bunch of pretty big things. So first thing to know, there was an additional beta added to this release cycle.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:04:00] 

It was beta five; it came out last week, I think. There was a bit of a regression that we worked our way through. And so RC1, release candidate one, is going to be postponed a little bit because of that. But don’t wait until RC to start testing, obviously RC is tomorrow, so that means you get to test, like, today!

The second thing on our small list of big things is that we have the WordPress 20th anniversary coming up. That’s May 27th. And you can join in the celebrations. So at WordPress’s 10th anniversary and 15th anniversary, we had like a big, ongoing global set of parties, like Meetup events got together and made cakes, or did a concert, or did a hackathon for various reasons.

Like they all got together on May 27th or thereabouts and did some really fun, like celebration of how far WordPress has gotten them and how far they hope to be able to go with WordPress. 

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:05:00] 

So if you are from the before times WordCamp kind of organizing timeframe, you know that we always consider WordCamps to be like an annual celebration of the excellence of your community and how much you all come together and how different you are as part of this overall big WordPress-y thingy. 

All right. Third item that we have is that, I know that I mentioned this in the last WP Briefing as well, but we have another session of the diverse and inclusive WordPress events coming up that’s happening on March 16th. So coming up really fast, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well.

And the final thing, I don’t remember what list number we’re at, but the final thing is that there is a proposal out there right now to modify the events and news widget that we use inside the WordPress dashboard. If you’re not familiar with it, it is a place where all of the local-to-you Meetup events get listed.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:06:00] 

It’s where all of the news items from various WordPress media outlets get published. We just have a link to it there. And so, we would like to make some changes to that so that we’re able to include not only specific location types of events but also events that are location agnostic because they’re online but might have a specific, identifying niche that you particularly find interesting.

So it might be for Spanish speakers or for women in particular, or whatever it might be. There’s a proposal out for that. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. 

And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Thanks for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. 

by Santana Inniss at March 13, 2023 12:00 PM under wp-briefing

March 12, 2023

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg Changelog #80 – WordPress 6.2 Preview, Gutenberg 15.2 and 15.3

Rich Tabor and Birgit Pauli-Haack chat about WordPress 6.2 Preview, Dev Notes and Fieldguide, Gutenberg 15.2 and 15.3.

Show Notes / Transcript

WordPress Developer Blog

Summary: Community Themes Project Kickoff

Rebuilding my website using a block theme by Felix Arntz

WordPress 6.2

Dev Notes

What’s new in Gutenberg 15.2? (22 February)

Stay in Touch


Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello and welcome to our 80th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog Podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about WordPress 6.2 Preview, Gutenberg 15.2 and 15.3. I’m your host, Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and WordPress developer advocate and a full-time core contributor to the WordPress Open Source Project. I’m thrilled to have with me today Rich Tabor, product manager for the WordPress Open Source project and part of Automattic’s Five for the Future program. Hi, Rich, thank you so much for taking the time out of your very busy week to be here with us and talk to our listeners. How are you?

Rich Tabor: Hey, thanks, Birgit. I’m doing pretty well. I can’t complain, to be honest. Thanks for having me on this show. It’s been a long time coming here.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think so, for two years or so.

Rich Tabor: That’s right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: In and out. For many who have known you in the community, you are an early adopter of the block editor, you and Jeffrey Carandang worked on several things together in the early days, and that’s about five years ago now. Since then, you presented at WordCamps, virtual and in-person. I remember your talk at WordCamp Atlanta. No, was it Atlanta in 2019? 

Rich Tabor: Yeah, it was.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: … Boston ’19 that I saw you, but both of them are fine. Also, your talk on WordCamp US in 2021 and last year, so there’s a lot you did in the last five years.

Rich Tabor: I’ve been exploring block editing since I guess before it landed in WordPress. WordCamp US in 2018, I believe, is really what kicked me into gear on designing and building block experiences for Gutenberg. Since then, I’ve been building, launching, and sharing my knowledge however I can. Code Blocks, the project I did with Jeffrey Carandang, it’s now under the GoDaddy brand, I was one of the early explorations and just a really great entry to learning the ins and outs of Gutenberg. I personally learn best by doing something real and releasing an open source block plugin for folks to actually use was certainly the catalyst to where I am today.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I used Code Blocks together with Atomic Blocks. Michael Allison was pretty much also on the forefront and it must have been before 2018, though, WordCamp US 2018, because I think wasn’t that there when you already sold Code Blocks to GoDaddy?

Rich Tabor: I think it was January 2018. In 2018, it was the like, “Hey, I need to get serious,” moment. Maybe it was ’17, I don’t know, but right around there, it was like the, “Hey, let’s learn this and let’s do this.”

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Now, as a product builder, what do you find now fascinating about the WordPress, the block editor, the Site Editor, and this potential to empower folks?

Rich Tabor: I think that potential is huge. The WordPress experience is changing and evolving, and it’s slowly becoming more intuitive and better to use on the site level, not just on the post editor level. I just think that the opportunities for empowering those creatives and publishers and just people who want to share something and have a little ownership in it on the web is paramount to the future of the web, and I’m just so thankful to be a part of this time in WordPress.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s been quite exciting to see what people come up in their creativity, what they do with the sites, what they do with the design tools, how they manage the space and the spacings and the dimension controls. There are quite a few additional explorations there that are totally new to WordPress, nobody really, apart from additional third-party page builder, but to have that right into the software is such an amazing product. I’m really happy about that. I’m glad we are finally here.

Rich Tabor: We’re getting there, yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We are there. To the Site Editor, do you think it’s ready to have people use it in production and all that?

Rich Tabor: Oh yeah, certainly. I think that there’s always improvements to be made and there’s still a lot of lines to draw between the dots to connect a lot of these experiences, but overall, as a holistic editing experience for your site, it’s really been fine-tuned in the last couple of maybe half a year or so, since the release of 6.1, it’s really tightened up quite a bit and there’s more to do, but I’m pretty stoked at where we’re headed.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Me too, me too. We will talk about it when we go to 15.3, I had another great experience with the new tools that are in there, but first of all, we have some announcements, well, actually one announcement, but it has multiple facets there. 


There is an official WordPress Developer Blog and in February, there were six new posts published there and one of them was a block theme resource roundup by Daisy Olsen. If you are WordPress developer, either you have already experience with block themes, you get some resources there, as well as if you just get started and want to have one page where you can have a startup page, so to speak, get started and get to the resources that are available on wordpress.org, all through learn, through the Developer Blog, through documentation, the theme handbook, it’s a great roundup of all those resources.

The next one is a little bit is a topic that is really high on our minds and finally, we have a post up there, and you probably can talk about that, as well, it’s about the intrinsic design theming and rethinking how to do design with WordPress. Justin Tadlock wrote this post because there were a lot of questions about the responsiveness of WordPress, that’s one thing. The other one is many people that come from other page builders, they miss their viewpoints, the three viewpoints that they have been using for the last 8 or 10 years. But intrinsic design is more the fluid typography, so no matter what the screen size is, it adapts to the screen size and there’s also fluid spacing that’s now part of WordPress. Is that enough, what do you think, Rich?

Rich Tabor: I think you hit it on pretty good. It’s the idea that when you design something in WordPress, in this case, that it inherits the responsive nature of the viewport, instead of you having to actually declare those values, like instead of declaring that you want to font size smaller on mobile or even a column going to Stack on mobile versus on desktop, maybe it’s side-by-side. It is something that intrinsically will Stack whenever it becomes too small to render side-by-side, so trying to figure out those controls, it is tricky to be honest, but there’s been a lot of improvements in that direction and overall, it does simplify the editing experience quite a bit. That doesn’t mean that we’re there, by any means, on the controls that we need, but if we do improve some of the Row and Stack capabilities and some of this intrinsic design methodology in WordPress, I think it will move forward to the point where it’s less of a concept that you have to think about and more of just a way that you expect it to work.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I can see that those viewpoints, that’s more for designers rather than your site owners or those who just want to build a website and hope that it’s all working out of the box, and those concepts can get really confusing, but also very hard to manage. I saw a plugin that was built on the block editor, but they had six viewpoints for every design decision. I don’t think that’s where we want to go as a product, pretty much, or for the normal user or even the design user, the theme developer, that they have to be so granular. It’s not so much thinking about the first version of it, but also where did I change this? Is it in the viewpoint of this one or this one or this one?

With the proliferation of the screen sizes, they go smaller, but they also get bigger, I think it’s going to be harder and harder to actually hit the right size for the viewpoints. I think there was a very interesting article from Justin Tadlock and there’s definitely a lot of discussion also on there, so dear listeners, you can definitely spend a half an hour or so reading that and also reading the discussions. Another article on the Developer Blog explains the difference between the static and dynamic blocks. Joni Halibi wrote this one. I know it was a topic close to her heart. She’s a developer at Georgetown University.

Rich Tabor: That’s right, yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Thank you. I heard her talking about it, so I asked her if she wanted to write about it. It’s definitely a great rundown of the pros and cons of static and dynamic blocks. Dynamic blocks are rendered with PHP, static blocks are everything the editor, as well as frontend is coming from Post Content from the JavaScript. I think the biggest hurdle is the updating during development and after development. I’m jumping over the other lists there.

There is just today, Michael Burridge published an article on how to deprecate static blocks and have some version, so you have a version of a block on the site and you use it multiple times and then a new update comes for the block. Sometimes when you open up the post into the editor and there was a block in there and it wasn’t deprecated right, it has this error message in there, so something happened with the block kind of thing, and some of you have already seen it, and this prevents that from happening. It’s not difficult from the mechanics, but it’s definitely something to think about when you do static block development. How did you feel about that when you came across it in your early days of block development?

Rich Tabor: I feel like that’s a pointed question. The idea between static and dynamic blocks is really powerful. Dynamic blocks are definitely, I would say, probably the primary use case on most of the more complex blocks that you would build, in particular in third-party situations like rebuilding a custom block for a client, because you don’t need deprecations at that point. If you need to make changes, you can, because it’s all rendered in PHP, and the tooling around dynamic blocks has improved quite a bit, as well, with the render.php file that you can load in and it makes templating a much easier process than it was originally. But deprecations are a necessary part of static blocks and they can be a little frustrating just because it sits there forever at that point, but if I’m building a custom block these days, I probably would lean more on the dynamic side, if possible.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I can see that. There are some new ideas actually happening that also will be on tap into the dynamic block development there, and we will talk about it on the Gutenberg Changelog when the time is right. Two more posts were launched just recently, one was how to create a custom block that stores Post Meta. That’s certainly a big question that a lot of people had and Ryan Welcher answers that question nicely, walk you through step-by-step, and explains very much most of the steps that are necessary to make that successful.

And then the other post is converting your short codes to blocks, and that one is from Jonathan Bossenger and he has his use case that he… It’s not really a conversion, it’s recreating something that was a short code into a block and make it more user-friendly. Short codes had their good usage, but with newer modern interfaces, they are just too cumbersome for site users to write all those text strings and not forgetting a comma or something like that, so converting them to blocks is definitely a good way to go about them. Any thoughts about those two problems? It doesn’t have to be from the articles.

Rich Tabor: I would say they’re both well-written and good examples of writing tutorials and documentation together, in a sense. There’s a short code that Jonathan’s actually converting in real time, you can see and watch it, I think you might be able to listen to part of it, but the idea that you’re taking a real-world example and converting it, I think is very powerful. And then the same goes for the other one about storing Post Meta with the custom block. I think it’s very powerful and hasn’t been done very often, or at least not often enough that’s front and center, because it really is a powerful way to manipulate Post Meta, but also site options. I think it works very similar if you’re updating the site options, which is what the site title block does and the Site Logo block. But you could do other options, perhaps, like I experimented with pulling in the WooCommerce phone number into a block, but if you update it there, it also updates it in WooCommerce, again, connecting some of those dots that right now are very disconnected and this is one of those steps in that direction.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, that’s actually a good idea to look beyond the WordPress core and see where connections and integrations are made. We definitely share the links in the show notes that are coming out with this episode or you can just go to the Developer Blog and read through the latest What’s new for developers? (March 2023). That’s the second edition of a roundup post of what’s new not only in a block in the block development, but also for core and the learn places, but it’s specifically for developers, extenders, plugin developers, theme developers, or agency developers so they can get up to speed very fast. 

Community Contributions

We have, in the section of community contributions, there’s one new project, the theme team kicked off the community theme project, and I believe, Rich, you were part of it. What can you tell us about it?

Rich Tabor: Yeah, certainly. On March 7th, we had, I think, over 20 people participating in the Hallway Hangout session to discuss it. This community theme project is an interesting way to start really just encouraging experienced and new WordPress contributors to create more themes, in particular, block themes. It was a big learning curve to how block themes are created compared to existing themes, but really they’re much more of a simple system that’s design-oriented, so some of the talks were centered around a designing a theme within the editor and not necessarily with a different design tool like Figma, which is a huge challenge, but I really think it will help open up a lot more eyes to the issues that we need to continue resolving within the editor to encourage more of the explorative design work that designers can leverage to build beautiful themes.

There’s a Slack channel within Make, it’s the Core Themes Projects channel, there’s some discussion there. There’s a repo, I think it’s WordPress/community-themes. The idea is that you can start creating themes and submit them as a pull request and collectively, we’ll all try to help get these situated in the right way, so where we’re all learning and growing from this experience of building themes together.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m really excited about this. This started with the theme team, thinking about the latest default team that was 2023, where there was a call for sending in style variations. There was a base theme that was made public very early and then there were, I think, 19 theme designers sent in about 30, almost 40, style variations, of which 10 made it into the final release. But that kind of community collaboration is always very fruitful and very creative and it helps people really learn about things, but also push the boundaries so much more than just brooding alone in your own remote home office. I think that’s a fantastic way to get the community also in producing more than one theme per year; I hope that is what will come out of it. The theme will all be published under the username of WordPress, so that’s the new part of it, I would think. Do you already have an idea for a theme that you might want to work on?

Rich Tabor: I’ve got the bug to redesign my blog again. I love it, but I want to remove some of the barriers to publishing. Featured image, right now, it’s almost required in my current blog design, and then I want my headings to be a certain lead flow, so I want to try to identify the things that are blocking me from publishing more and start designing in that essence, so it could be more of a thought feed instead of only technical blog posts, in a sense. That’s my personal project I’ve been exploring a little bit on.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I saw that the list of block patterns for the Query Loop actually would probably help you with that, because there are quite a few text-based lists design available now in the Block Pattern Directory, as well as I think that are now coming out, as well.

Rich Tabor: Yeah. There’s more opinionated design elements to some of these patterns, which I think is great because at the end of the day, if you don’t want to use a pattern, you don’t have to use it, but if you do want to use one of these more interesting, opinionated designs, then it’s a great start to building out the rest of your theme. I’m really looking forward to even more of the patterns coming down from WordPress.org.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Oh, speaking about switching the site up, Felix Arntz, who is a software engineer with Google, shared his experience on doing exactly that, switching his site from a classic theme to a block theme and his post is exactly that, rebuilding my website using block theme. It’s a very long post; he recounts all the steps in detail that it took him to convert it, and it wasn’t so much… It was minimal code editing, he says, in part, but he also had to update his custom blocks, so that’s part of it. But he also, and that was very interesting for me to read, is that Felix is also a member of the WordPress Performance Team, so what he did was also measuring the performance before and after the redesign and it really piqued my interest, and you definitely should read it, dear listeners. I’m only Miss Numbers on the podcast, it’s really hard, but I just wanted to say one number.

He did two steps. One was just recreating the same pages with the block theme, the header and content and Query Loop and that part and then measured it, and then he did additional tweaking and he actually explains very detailed how he did those. And then with the first step, just moving it over to a block theme, he had an improvement on the LCP, which is the longest content paint, one of the web vitals. He went from something a little over 1 second to 600 milliseconds, so that was an almost 38% improvement of the speed. But when he did the first performance tweaks, he went down to 452 from 1 second to 0.4 second, that’s an improvement of almost 60%. That was the first time that I actually saw this so very much spelled out and I have a trust in Felix that his numbers are actually averages from multiple tests, he explains that also in his post, but this was a very interesting post in many, many directions. Also, learning more how to do some more performance tweaks was one. I’ll leave the link in the show notes and definitely go and read it.

Rich Tabor: I would just like to echo what Felix writes at the very end. He says, “Block themes in full site editing, the effort for the Site Editor has evolved quite a bit since it originally launching in 5.9.” He says, “Here, I can with confidence say that it was the right decision for me to jump on that train now. If you’ve tried block themes a while ago and weren’t satisfied, maybe give it another try.” I totally agree with that sentiment. Especially if you have a personal blog, I would say just give it a shot, even 2023, put that on there and start designing it within the editor, then start running with it, you can see what happens.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: If you are not a developer and a little bit of hesitant to change something in production or on a live site, definitely be cautious. There is a new tutorial up and I just listened to it a couple days ago with Sarah Snow, she actually did the same thing. She went and replaced her old theme with a new theme and rebuilt her website, but she also walks through how she tried to avoid all the pitfalls to take her site down and all that, so that is also for non-developers, a very good tutorial to look at and to watch. 

What’s Released – WordPress 6.2

That brings us to the section of what’s released? Of course, we start with this week, it was release week with multiple releases.

One of them was the 6.2 Release Candidate 1 and the contributor published 12 dev notes that are related to the block editor in the Field Guide. The Release Candidate 1 is that point in the release cycle where there is hard string freeze, the Field Guide is published, and the emails go out to plugin and theme developers about what’s new, that send the Field Guide and also to test their products against the new version so they can figure out all the incompatibilities or make it compatible to the version. The final release is on March 28th, 2023, that’s, right now, 18 days from today. We are recording this on March 10th. Rich, you were part of the release squad as lead for design, what was your role there, or is your role there, you are not done yet?

Rich Tabor: No, not quite yet.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We are not done yet.

Rich Tabor: That’s right. I think there’s three focuses, especially around this release. But the first, I would say it’s keeping a general pulse on what’s coming, what’s being worked on, keeping contributors focused on delivering that best, optimal WordPress experience that’s always right there on the horizon. It doesn’t mean we’re there today, like I’ve said a couple times here, but if we set our gaze in that direction, I’m sure we will continue refining and iterating towards that best experience, so that’s the first. The second would be the about page. The WordPress about page introduces you to the latest and greatest parts of WordPress that have been put into by all these contributors over the last release.

That’s been a fun project working with designers from the design community and really putting together the images and the layout and the structure, even the copy, to make sure that it portrays 6.2 as intended. 6.2 has a lot of new stuff in it and it’s hard to distill that into one page, but it’s been a welcome challenge, for sure. And then the last bit, this release, we did a product demo of 6.2, I did it with Anne McCarthy, and that was a very nice way to really showcase what’s coming in a live action, here, this is like a real demo on a real site that I set up. I was using 2023 and I designed it a little bit differently so that it showcased some of the design tooling in the actual demo itself and it was great. We had lots of help, lots of folks really chimed in to make that what it was, and I thought it went pretty well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The site was beautiful. If you, dear listeners, haven’t seen it yet, go, and of course there will be a link in the show notes, but go to the product demo and watch that video. You will learn a lot about 6.2, but also it’s actually a joy to watch, so that’s definitely….

Rich Tabor: Awesome.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It shows that a designer was preparing for the product, absolutely. As mentioned, there are block editor related dev notes, so what’s coming, what should developers watch out for? We are not going through all 12 of them, but there, we have a few. First off is the introduction of the Block Inspector tabs, which is a design, an interface change, that your customers or you, if you build sites for others, will need to get used to, because now the settings are in two tabs, one is the settings tab, the other one is the appearance tab. In the developer note, we learn how a custom block can manage that for themselves, where do the settings go or the styles? I know that some custom blocks have their own color picker and if they don’t do anything, they will find it under settings and not under appearance, for instance, because settings is a default. There’s a little trick there that’s in the dev notes how to do that, there’s a new Group attribute that says either style or settings.

Rich Tabor: Next step, we have shadows that are added to global styles in 6.2. These are shadow presets that are provided within the core theme.json file, but themes can also provide their own shadow presets using, I think it’s settings, shadow preset. There are four or five provided by core, but they’re pretty easy to override. In the future, releases will include the shadow control elsewhere. Right now, it’s only on the button block and that’s to restart refining it and tightening up the experience first. Some other ideas that are circling are perhaps allowing multiple shadows, so how do you Stack them, perhaps? Of course, the blur, the X and the Y, trying to really hone in on the design of the shadows, as well, but right now, they’re just preset-based. I think they’re nice, but they do need a little bit more work before we move them available on more blocks.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: You said that they are now only available for the button block, they are not available in the post editor, only in the Site Editor in the style sidebar, just because of that….

Rich Tabor: That’s right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: … that you only can do global studies with that. The next one is the introduction of an HTML API, which is, it’s very developer-oriented, so it’s highly technical, but it’s a uniform way that WordPress developers now can travel through parsing a website and changing out tags. That was always prone to rejects and all the other things that was only prone to not always hit the mark and this one is now so much better. People can use it not only for the block editor, but of course, also for their PHP plugin or other apps that they add to the WordPress.

Rich Tabor: That’s right. The next one here is the sticky position block support was added in 6.2. Right now, it’s featured on top-level Group blocks, so only the Group blocks that are within the top level of your document, so in the list view, it’s the first level. It’s this new prop that right now enables you to set it to sticky and if it’s set to sticky, even within the editor itself, the actual Group block will stick. Right now, it’s not open to other blocks because there’s still some UX considerations around sticky positioning, because it doesn’t always stick if the surrounding element isn’t tall enough to allow for sticking, so trying to figure a smart way to communicate that is a very important part of that experience, otherwise you would think it would stick, but it doesn’t. I think that that’s something significant to iron out, but that’s already in the works for, hopefully, the next release of WordPress.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: There’s a lot of trial and error to do and a lot of people have a different ideas on how is this supposed to work, but I am really looking forward to it. Well, the sticky header, we all know about, but with mobile, you also need to think about a sticky footer, because that’s where your thumb goes. When you look at a webpage, you are not going to the top, you are going to the bottom, so there are quite some new variations possible. The next one is that a lot of people waited for it and now, here it is, custom CSS in the global styles, that’s one part, but also you can have custom CSS4 on a block level, so it’s now here. It’s a little bit more hidden, so it’s also in the style sidebar, it’s not upfront in the left-side menu item like it was for the customizer, but it’s there and it works and it’s beautiful.

Rich Tabor: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: A few people asked me if it would also come to the post editor so you can do it on a single instance of a block, because in the style sheet, you only do it for the block and then it propagates over the full site, but if you just want to do one section in your per… That’s not possible, unless you do an additional class name in the advanced section and then go to the standard sheet and put that class name and your styles in there. I have an answer for that person who had the question.

Rich Tabor: Yes. And then the next big one is the minimum height dimension support, and this is a new block support feature added to 6.2 for the Group and I believe the Post Content blocks and it’s opted in by default. This makes the Group and Post Content blocks perform much like the Cover block, where you can set a minimum height that it would take over in the page. It’s useful, for example, if you had a footer and some content and you wanted the content to keep the footer down below, so you can set a minimum height of the content using a viewport unit, perhaps, and then that would apply it to where the footer would stay towards the bottom of the page and not be meshed up at the top. It’s pretty self-explanatory and we already have this in the Cover block, but it starts to extend it out into other blocks.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Wonderful. Excellent. Also, there is not a Card block per se, but there is a component there, but I think with the minimum height, you actually could use that Card block for all kinds of different content there. The Miscellaneous Editor changes in WordPress 6 is that that place where all the little things go in. There are a few little things that are not new features, but they are extending existing features. The first one is the fluid typography now also has a minimum font size in the UI that you can set, I think is it UI? Yeah, I think so. You could always do this for the theme. How you can use it, I read 13,000 words in three days or something like that, forgive me for that. That’s why in 6.1, there was a minimum, but there was a hard coded minimum and now it’s you can set this as a theme developer, as well, in the theme.json. Of course, it’s not in the UI yet, fluid topography is not that yet in the style things, I guess.

Rich Tabor: For another Miscellaneous improvement, we have sizing controls for flex layout children. This means that when you have Container blocks, like the Group block and Row and Stack blocks, you can set a flex-type layout which provides controls for the blocks within those. If your blocks are stacked vertically, then it would be a height control, if they’re stacked horizontally, it’s a width control, so it’s dynamic in that sense. You can set, I believe it’s fit, fill, and fixed, so that’s where it either hugs the content, fills the available space, or is a fixed value. This plays into the intrinsic design that we were talking about earlier in starting to add more controls that allow a block to either try to take up only a space as it needs, fill up all the space that is available, or stay within constrained value, so it’s one of those improvements in that direction.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The next one is there is a new CSS class attributed to every Heading block, so now you can control the Heading block more granularly for each of the levels, and you can, for instance, say a blue background for all the H1s and a pink one for all the H2s, which is now easily done through the theme.json by adding the other style for the elements. You have style elements, each one, color, background, that would be the latter, and the other one would be styles for blocks and then Heading and then the elements, then each one, and the background, so it’s quite granular in the controls, that’s pretty cool.

Rich Tabor: Yeah, I agree. I believe the last one for the Miscellaneous Editor improvements is the ability to edit block style variations from theme.json. This is a new theme.json API that allows existing core block style variations to be styled directly from theme.json. For example, the Image block has a rounded variation, so you could target the rounded variation and set its border width or border radius within theme.json now, which is pretty neat.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I believe then, was it in 15.3, we also get the UI for it in the style?

Rich Tabor: That’s right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, we’ll come to that. But that is our WordPress 6.2 rundown on the developer notes. Of course, there’s more, look at the Field Guide, the links will be in the show notes, of course. 

Gutenberg 15.2 and 15.3

We’re coming to the last, to Gutenberg releases 15.2 and 15.3. Gutenberg 15.2 was released on February 23rd. Yes, it’s been that long that we heard each other, I know, and I’m really sorry about that. Daisy Olsen was release lead for that and it contained 197 PRs merged by 57 contributors, four of them were new. It was mostly fixing bug fixes, because WordPress 6.2 will contain all the features that came out in 14.2 to 15.1, that’s the whole range, 10 Gutenberg plugin releases, the features all come into core. But then after the beta release, there are a lot  more people testing it, they find bugs, and they are still also finished the last little bit on some of the features, so many things in the Gutenberg 5.2 release or in the bug fix category. The new features probably didn’t make it into 6.2, but we can tackle each one of them and find out.

Rich Tabor: Yes, I’ll kick us off here. The first bit here is that there is a new nested level when selecting templates or template parts in the Site Editor, which is an enhancement that right now is a little bit it’s in a middle ground, where it’s basically a placeholder state for future contents to go. Some ideas are when you focus in on a template part, we could potentially have the different template parts that you could replace with that one, for example, or even some other different controls, like assigning it a category, having its name present, so it’s right now, a place to start thinking of what controls we can put there to control that template part.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The second part I want to point out is there’s now a modal to choose a start pattern for particular templates. The biggest problem users have is they want to start a new template, but how do they start? Now, theme developers and also plugin developers can actually add patterns to the site that now opens a modal and then can be selected. Also, the selection is a little bit better to view because you have more space to see all the patterns that are available for that. There is also an API in the works that lets you target certain templates with your patterns, but that has not been released yet, that’s still in the works.

Rich Tabor: This next one here is pretty interesting, it’s the UI for template revisions. Now, we have a button to open up the revisions for templates and template parts, which is quite powerful because previously, it was very difficult or nearly impossible to find those revisions for your actual template parts. Say you’re focused in on your header and you changed some of your navigation items and then you changed maybe the background color of your header and then saved it all, but wanted to go back to a different version the next day or so, say it didn’t really sit well, you can now access those revisions and make those requests to change them back to what it was previously. I think it’s pretty neat on the template level and again on the template part.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Revisions, I always need to change my mind once back and forth, this revision is really helpful, having access to it to know what my former self was thinking with that and go back to a previous one. The next one with 15.2, it came a global save button to the Site Editor, so when you make changes to multiple templates and all that, it tracks them and then you can save all at once, but it’s not anymore to the right, it’s going to be on the left. I think it makes it, actually, in 6.2, you can have that, that was….

Rich Tabor: Yeah, I believe so. We have another one here for the Post Excerpt block that allows you to control the length of the excerpt. There’s a range control now where you could slide it left or right, or I think you could also enter an integer value, as well. It would essentially truncate to the Post Excerpt within the Query Loop block, so now you can define how long you want those to be instead of falling back on the default number of characters, which was pretty large, so it’s a nice quality of life improvement for designing.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m just hesitating and I need to verify this, there is the possibility that that was actually reversed in a later version.

Rich Tabor: I think the change, it was affecting if a post type didn’t support Post Excerpts. I don’t know that it actually reverted the control itself, but it is still a work in progress, that’s why I don’t think it landed in 6.2.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: No, it didn’t.

Rich Tabor: It could be tidied up a little bit.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We definitely need to test this, as well, in a real-life situation.

Rich Tabor: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Do you have a site that’s on Nightly or on trunk, where you have all the latest versions in production or so?

Rich Tabor: Yes. I’m running it dangerously, I’m running everything. The whole eat your own dog food stuff, I just really want to see the problems before they get big.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I changed over, I don’t know, a year ago for the Gutenberg Times to run on WordPress Nightly and also on the trunk version of the Gutenberg Nightly, which is a plugin coming every day from the current version.

Rich Tabor: That’s right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: On the website, on the Gutenberg Times, you can see the Nightly, if you need to live on the edge.

Rich Tabor: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The next item on the list is that the Post Featured Image block now has aspect ratio controls, so you can determine that and it makes your post table, the list of posts, much nicer to control that so when you have different sizes and images, you can actually say which aspect ratio you want to have in there. That’s a long-time want of mine to get that. There are themes who manage that quite well, but now you can do this, as well, in the block editor site templates thing.

Rich Tabor: Yes. There’s some more follow-ups on aspect ratio. I think it can be quite a powerful tool for not just a Post Featured Image block, but also just Image blocks or even Cover block maybe, I think there’s other ways to continue to push that forward, for sure.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I see from my agency days, which are not that long ago, see users adding featured images or even just images when they’re just changed the size of it and they didn’t change the aspect ratio with it, it was just very distorted. It’s very hard to teach that who is not dealing with it on a day-to-day basis and does not have an image dimension feel for it, it’s very hard to teach that, so if that works out as it should be in the editor, it makes for a much better web.

Bug Fixes

Rich Tabor: Yes, yes. I think that’s it for the highlights, for the enhancements. There was a whole slew of bugs that were fixed in 15.2, so I’ll call out this one here. The ToolsPanel needed a couple of tweaks, there’s a new feature in 6.2 for copy and pasting styles so you can design a heading or design a button, design anything, and copy its styling and then paste it onto another like block, so copy the heading styles to another heading or button to another button, for example. We needed a way to ensure that those values were properly propagated to these other blocks so there were some minor tweaks to fix that, but now, it’s all good and when you copy and paste those styles, you see those applied properly within the tools.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s such a phenomenal feature, that copy styles over, that you can have it. It’s in-between block-oriented or block on this post and global styles, it’s in-between, and sometimes you need that to make the same things look the same, but not the other things. It’s really good to just do copy paste on that. I think that was it for 15.2, unless I’m overlooking something. I’m scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

Rich Tabor: This is a pretty big Changelog, yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I find one, though. You could use, so that’s for the build tools, the WP Scripts has now another flag that you can actually run it in development without having the watch from apply every build on your development system. I think that’s a good flag to point out for people who use those internal script for that. That’s the Gutenberg 15.2 for us. Let’s dive right in to 15.3. You’re coming right off of releasing it, Rich, so what was your first experience with… Was this your first experience releasing a Gutenberg plugin?

Gutenberg 15.3

Rich Tabor: Yes, it was, but I did co-release it with Hector, so he’s a team member of mine. He helped me, he guided me quite a bit on this one, but it was pretty smooth, to be honest, especially there’s a little bit of tension around getting the immediate bug fixes in for 6.2 and backporting and keeping that in line. But generally speaking, I think it’s a well-oiled machine and moving forward.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Definitely. It’s the 153rd release, so you hope that everything is well-oiled by then.

Rich Tabor: That’s right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I like when you say backport and not only to 6.2, but also there are bug fixes for the release after the Release Candidate. There is an expression that I really like that’s cherry picking, which is an interesting thing to do.

Rich Tabor: Yes.


Birgit Pauli-Haack: But it’s just a little joke. People talk about it with cherry emojis. The release had 161 PRs in there, so almost as big as 15.2, and also a lot of bug fixes in there, but it also had some enhancements to the Duotone, quite a few. The Duotone CSS is now not created in line, that’s the expression, right?

Rich Tabor: Yes. It’s not applied in line.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: In line, it’s now in the style engine, so it can also be controlled through all the different levels. There is a control for the global size control for the Duotone and CSS variables instead of slugs, which helps it to propagate it over different to use the presets, as well, so Duotone is quite interesting. There is actually a bug in the backwards compatibility, it’s already noted that when you have a Cover block with Duotone and you upgrade it to 15.3, you get the heart attack kind of thing, oh, my Duotone is missing. If you apply them again on the same Cover block, it will appear again. That’s something that we found while we were testing it, but the bug fix is in the works.

Rich Tabor: Nice. It also means that by using these slugs instead of hardcoded hex values for colors, that when you do switch to variations, for example, those Duotones can actually map now to the new variations. If they use the same slugs, then you’ll get the new styles instead of in previous versions, where if you applied a Duotone reset from a theme, like say it was yellow and blue and then you switched to a variation or changed your theme up to one that was green, they would still be yellow and blue, so now it can receive the new ones if there are there. I think it’s a pretty cool improvement on something that is one of those things that should have always worked this way and now that we’ve explored a little bit more, it’s like, “Let’s go ahead and knock that out,” so a lot of effort went into that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The style versions are very, very interesting in that regard, that sometimes you want the thing to come over, take over your site, but then you want certain things that stay the same. It’s very hard to read the user’s mind as a developer, as a designer.

Rich Tabor: The way I look at it is if you’re using a preset, then that’s game for a theme to manipulate. But if you’ve applied your own colors, I believe in these Duotone PRs, even if you applied a red and black, by picking the actual colors yourself, then those will stay hex value, so when you switch to a different theme, they’ll still remain red and black. But if it’s a preset, I would say that it’s open for interpretation by the theme designer.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think there is a bug in there. 15.3 also brings us a new block. It’s been a while since we had new blocks, but this one is a very tiny block, but it’s very powerful. People know that in a list view, you can see the number of blocks and the number of words and the time to read and several people asked, “Can we have that also show up as a block so we can add it to our post template or for the single post?” Yes, this was now implemented. It’s a very basic block, it only shows one minute or three minutes, well, 15 minutes, that’s all it does, but I really like that, because first, it can be translated in any language, and if you use it together with a Paragraph block in a Row, then you can have any string in front of it or after it that you as a site owner want to put in there. I tested that and it worked really nice.

Rich Tabor: I think there’s some follow-up PRs to do on that to add some of the design tooling that exists on other blocks, but it’s a great start and just nice, another piece of meta that can help readers know what to expect, investment-wise, like how much time am I going to invest on this? I think it’s great.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That was the one point where I really needed and was so happy that they have now, the custom CSS, because on the blog where I used it, I wanted to have that line reading time, one minute or three minute, be smaller than the rest of the excerpt in the post list. I was able to, of course, use the typography controls for the paragraph part, but not for the time to read, so I created, there is an advanced section where I can add a new class. I set a T2R and then went to the custom styles and then created the custom style for the T2R and made it font size small, which is pretty much the same as the reading time. It worked out of the box and with the rows, I could align it. The row controls were really nice, I like that. Now, I see that you could do some of the other shortcuts that are out there that are actually strings that are in a paragraph can now be blocks that need some design controls, but you don’t have to use the shortcuts anymore.

Rich Tabor: That’s right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m thinking a little bit more in that direction.

Rich Tabor: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I know that some of the developers actually were exploring having a token system to take care of those string-related in the middle of a paragraph kind of thing. I’m not sure if that is needed or just introduces another complication or complexity to the system and it’s hard for users to use. If you have a block meta for it, it’s so much easier to get it into the system.

Rich Tabor: Yes, I agree. 15.3, I would say these are the big hitters on these, but there were a bunch of small improvements like making the Site Logo block placeholder just a little bit smaller so it fits better within headers, especially around the new header patterns included in 6.2. There’s been some quite a few bug fixes around template parts, resetting all for typography, making sure the Site Editor’s a little bit more tightened up, so some of the alignment parts and then the design units within the Site Editor have been tweaked and it looks and feels like it’s coming together quite well, but generally, I think those are the big hitters.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Let me go a little bit, I’m scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Oh, what also happened, say, for some of the developers there wanted to know if there are new theme.json filters came into 6.1, but they were not yet in the documentation and they are now. There is a page in the how to guides of the Block Editor Handbook that is titled Curating the Editor Experience that has all the different ways how you can control or disable some of the features that are either in the sidebar available for your user or not or show up or are not. Now, you can also do this for the theme.json filters, they are now listed there. I believe one of the writers on the Developer Blog is actually looking at writing about them and having some good examples that are a little bit more closer to the real-life situations. I used the release candidate Changelog, but I think that was it, right, we all done?

Rich Tabor: Yeah, I think so.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. That’s all we wanted you to know about 15.3, the rest you need to discover yourself. Of course, we have the What’s New in Gutenberg 15.3 post will be in the show notes. I don’t know if you published them yet or is it still in the works?

Rich Tabor: It should be out soon, yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I wait for the episode to be published for that post, of course, so we can get it in there. Almost at the end of our Changelog episode, so what’s next for you in next week or next month?

Rich Tabor: 6.2, the idea is that it sums up the culmination of Phase 2 and the kickoff of Phase 3. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t quite a bit more customization and design tooling that we need to continue to bake in, even like I was saying with the time to read block, as well, but that means that there’s now some more thinking going into what workflow-oriented processes look like for Phase 3, what type of collaboration can we start looking at. Making those plans and start writing about them and sharing ideas with everyone and really getting folks on focus and on point with Phase 3, I think is really important, so I’m going to start digging into that a little bit more, making sure the about page assets are tightened up and looking good for 6.2, and continuing to explore around designing block themes within the editor.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Awesome. I very much looking forward to the Phase 3 collaboration because it also will catapult your WordPress a little bit ahead of all of the other content management systems, because that’s what we are actually waiting for the last 25 years, is collaborating on our websites and not using all the other tools where you have to copy paste things over once you’re done with the collaboration. Now, you can do it all on the website, so I am really excited about that. Thank you so much for being on the show and walking us through all the great design and interface changes. When people want to reach you, where can they reach out?

Rich Tabor: I write and share everything I know on my blog, richtabor, that’s T-A-B-O-R, .com. I am on Twitter, so Richard, R-I-C-H-A-R-D, _Tabor. I like to explore the fringes of WordPress and experience and try to push ideas around and see what resonates with folks, so feel free to chime in and ask questions or ping me anywhere.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: As always, the show notes will be published on the gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. This is the 80th episode. If you have questions, suggestions, or news you want us to talk about, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. That’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. Thank you all for listening and thank you again, Rich, for spending time with me on this. Goodbye, everybody.

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at March 12, 2023 12:27 PM under Gutenberg

March 11, 2023

Gutenberg Times: Fieldguide for WordPress 6.2, Community theme project, Theme.json and PHP—Weekend Edition #246

Howdy, howdy!

This has been a busy week! Phew. The contributors published twelve Dev Notes related to the Block Editor together with the Release candidate 1 version of WordPress 6.2. The Field Guide has all the developer related updates. It’s time for plugin and theme developers to test their products for compatibility with the new WordPress version. The final version is scheduled for March 28th, 2023.

The release squad for documentation, Milana Cap, Abha Thakor, Femy Praseet, and yours truly, wrangled the developer notes from two tracking systems, WordPress Trac and Gutenberg Repo. After the posts were drafted, we took turns reviewing them before publishing, all 13,150 words.

Then there were the posts for the WordPress Developer Blog, that needed editing and reviewing. That was lot of reading already, and then I kept an eye out for interesting content in the community to assemble this week’s round up post. The good news is, I am done for the week. 😎 🏖️

Enjoy and don’t take it in all at once. Keep some for later.

Yours, 💕

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

Mary Baum published a follow-up to the Preview of 6.2 which ran out of time for numerous questions. 6.2 Live Product Demo Q & A.

Preview of WordPress 6.2

Dave Smith and Rich Tabor chatted about the Top Five features coming to WordPress 6.2, with some cool demos of Site Editor browsing, the Style Book, Media inserter and Distraction-free mode in the post editor.

In the post, What’s new for developers? (March 2023), Justin Tadlock collected a myriad of interesting updates to WordPress that are specifically relevant for developers. “If you’re a developer who builds on top of the WordPress platform, this news is for you. The goal is to make it easier to navigate the fast-paced development cycle, narrowing down the list of must-read content into a single digestible source.” Tadlock wrote.

It’s the second edition of this monthly round-up. If the roundup posts are all you require to stay on top of changes of WordPress, you can subscribe to the Roundup Tag Feed with your favorite Feed Reader.

Dev Notes WordPress 6.2 (Block Editor)

🎙️ New episode: Gutenberg Changelog #80 – WordPress 6.2 Preview, Gutenberg 15.2 and 15.3 with Birgit Pauli-Haack and special guest Rich Tabor

On Friday, Rich Tabor, joined me on the Gutenberg Changelog episode #80 recording. We had great fun geeking out over the upcoming release of WordPress 6.2, Gutenberg 15.2 and 15.3. The recording will appear at your favorite podcast app over the weekend.

Plugins, Themes, and Tools for #nocode site builders and owners

Quite a few new Block themes arrived at the Theme Directory.

Sarah Gooding at the WPTavern reviewed Lemmony: A Free WordPress Block Theme with 30+ Patterns, a magazine style theme for publishers and bloggers alike.

Gooding also reviewed: Lettre Newsletter Theme Now Available on WordPress.org, a theme suitable for writers and publishers to style their newsletters.

Manesh Timilsina, a plugin developer from Nepal, and new member of the WordPress Theme team, published his first theme for the Theme directory and made it a Block Theme. Congratulations! The theme is called Zino and described as a minimal, lightweight, and speed optimized. It’s still a pre-release version 0.0.2, though.

The team at Automattic also released a new theme: Bibimbap, named after a Korean dish, is a simple and fun restaurant theme. Sarah Gooding has the details in Automattic Releases Bibimbap, a Free Block Theme for Restaurants

Brad Hogan, at Block Themes Pro published the first Theme in the Theme directory as well. It’s call Blockster, “a simple, clean, easy to manage block theme meant for non-profits, bloggers, freelancers and agencies” with four Style Variatons. It’s also used as a starter theme for #node site builders, creating websites for others.

Sarah Snow and Kathryn Presner were the hosts of the workshop How to Confidently Migrate from a Classic Theme to a Block Theme. The description reads: “Are you are worried about potential down-time on your live website if you make a mistake when switching from theme to theme? Would you like to learn how to move widget areas from your classic theme to a new block theme? If this sounds exciting, please join Sarah Snow in a live workshop to learn how to safely and comfortably migrate from a classic theme to a block theme.”

Aki Hamano released version 3.2 of his plugin Custom HTML Block Extension, which extends custom HTML blocks into a code editor, allows you to write code on a larger screen via a modal component!

WordPress doesn’t have a Pattern manager/editor for site’s yet. The plugin Block Pattern Builder by Block Meister has been my go-to tool for a few years now. I also use the pattern builder of Newsletter Glue. Now the developers at WP Engine released their Pattern Manager Plugin. Sarah Gooding has the skinny: WP Engine Pattern Manager Plugin Now in Beta

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Learn.WordPress published a new course: Develop Your First Low-Code Block Theme. “By the end of this course, you will be able to build a fully functional, custom WordPress theme using very little code.”

Justin Tadlock published the Summary: Community Themes Project Kickoff. “Over 20 members of the WordPress theming community gathered for an initial discussion on the proposed Community Themes project on March 7, 2023. The primary goal of the conversation was to gauge interest and discuss what this project might look like.” There were also a few outcomes, and a few open questions. Further Discussion will happen in the #core-theme-projects channel on the Making WordPress Slack space.

If you want to follow along but don’t have an account yet, here are the instructions on how to gain access.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2022” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here

Carolina Nymark published another lesson on her site: How to filter theme.json with PHP.

Here is how it works: WordPress loads a default theme.json file (source). This file has all the default settings including colors and gradients. WordPress merges this data with settings from other sources, in the following order:

  • The block itself (block supports)
  • The theme.json file in the active theme (and parent theme if applicable)
  • User settings: The options in the Styles sidebar in the Site Editor
Caroline Nymark, fullsiteediting.com

Felix Arntz, software engineer at Google, shared his experience switching his site from a classic theme to a block theme in his post: Rebuilding my website using a block theme He recounts all the steps in details, and the minimal code editing he had to do. Arntz is also a member of the WordPress Performance team, so his study on the before and after performance piqued my interest. An excellent read.

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

Michael Burridge wrote Block deprecation – a tutorial for the WordPress Developer blog. It walks you through the mechanics of block deprecation of static blocks, with step-by-step instructions.

Earlier this month, the team of the Block Protocol published their WordPress plugin. Eric Karkovack reported on it in his post: Digging Into the WordPress Block Protocol Plugin with an interview with David Wilkinson, CEO of Hash, the company behind the Block Protocol.

“Although Block Protocol blocks are developed with no knowledge of the applications that embed them, through the hook module they can tap into the embedding application’s native functionality anyway.

This means that things like WordPress’s native image gallery, file uploading, text editing, and so on all work seamlessly within Block Protocol blocks, as if they were native Gutenberg ones.”

David Wilkinson, CEO of Hash

Are you experimenting with the Block Protocol, too? I would love to connect with you and compare notes! Email at pauli@gutenbergtimes.com or share some information in the comments online

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s master branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

Questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Don’t hesitate to send them via email or send me a message on WordPress Slack or Twitter @bph.

For questions to be answered on the Gutenberg Changelog, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com

Featured Image: Bangkok Taxi Ride by Birgit Pauli-Haack

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at March 11, 2023 09:25 AM under Weekend Edition

March 10, 2023

WPTavern: Toot the Word Survey Finds Mastodon Increasingly Important to WordPress’ Community of Tooters

More than 200 users on Mastodon who consider themselves part of the WordPress community, responded to the recent Toot the Word 2023 Survey, which was conducted by the admins of five WordPress-oriented Mastodon instances. The purpose of the survey was to help those running these instances understand how important Mastodon is for the WordPress community and what they can do to improve their instances to foster a better meeting place.

Key findings from the survey have been published alongside the raw data on GitHub for anyone to analyze. More than 82% of respondents (172/209) said they frequently use Mastodon. The community is active and Mastodon is an important social channel for those who have adopted it in addition to their other networks.

A few other highlights from the published findings include:

  • Nearly all participants of the survey expect Mastodon to have some kind of influence on the WordPress community in the future, a majority thinks Mastodon will be very influential or extremely influential. Most of the participants want to see more WordPress content and community discussions on Mastodon in the future.
  • Generally, users on WordPress-oriented instances state that the communication with the community on Mastodon is important to their WordPress-related social media activity. They also are working with the community, or state that they are WordPress Community influencers, more often than users on common instances.

The survey also found that the respondents who rated themselves as important to the WordPress community seem higher in WordPress-related instances, which may mean that those looking for more relevant WordPress-related content and interactions are better-suited joining these existing instances rather than unrelated ones or creating their own.

“For me as an instance admin, it’s important to know that all the work I’m doing means something for the tooters on my instance and the entire community,” wptoot.social administrator Daniel Auener told the Tavern. “I think the survey has shown that many in the still small WP/Mastodon community see this network as important as I do. So I’m quite confident (as many of the surveys participants) that Mastodon will have its place in the WordPress community.”

Administrating a Mastodon instance is not trivial. The users depend on the administrator to keep everything up and running with system updates, hosting, community moderation, curating community lists, and other housekeeping tasks. Auener said his current hosting costs are $20-30/month and they are 70-80% covered by one-time donations and commitments on Patreon.

“If nothing more, the [survey] results will keep me and my wptoots-instance going,” Auener said. “I even hope that the results will show others within the community that Mastodon as a social network is worth supporting and finding their own ways to contribute.”

Auener hasn’t planned anything specific yet but based on the results it is clear that participants want to have more WordPress content in their timelines.

“I think one of the best ways of achieving that would be to onboard more WordPress sites to the fediverse via ActivityPub,” he said. “Working in that direction is something I’m thinking about.”

There is an ActivityPub plugin for WordPress that implements the ActivityPub protocol for so that readers can follow your site’s posts on Mastodon and other federated platforms that support ActivityPub. It is currently used by more than 2,000 WordPress sites and is one avenue for users to automate sharing their content across the fediverse. A search for Mastodon plugins turns up several other auto sharing plugins and Jetpack is also considering adding Mastodon support to Publicize after many requests on a ticket opened in 2017.

Some Mastodon users on other instances have considered switching to a WordPress-oriented instance, so increasing education for users on how to move to a new instance is another improvement Auener is considering.

“The data even seems to support that the quality of (WordPress-)conversation is better on our instances,” he said. “So spreading that information, helping people to move and keeping our instances a safe space for great WordPress discussions is another cause for action.”

Joining Mastodon’s federated network is still intimidating for some who are not familiar with how the instances work and are not sure which one to join. Others fear they may lose out on interactions and connections by moving to a lesser-used social network. This survey indicates that the WordPress-related instances are active and important to the community interacting there. Auener has created a document called The WordPressers Guide to the Fediverse for those who are new and want to learn more.

“I would like to align my work more with the WordPress community and the work all the amazing people in the community teams and initiatives do,” he said. “I’m quite new in the game and think I can learn a lot from people working within the community for years. I think Mastodon/the Fediverse aligns very well with WordPress values but there is still a lot of convincing to do.”

by Sarah Gooding at March 10, 2023 10:43 PM under News

Post Status: Launching a WordPress Product in Public: Session 4

Corey Maass and Cory Miller continue laying the groundwork for the launch of their new plugin Crop.Express. They strategize ways to attract customers and agencies and gain full adoption as they integrate changes from user feedback.

Estimated reading time: 73 minutes


In this episode, Corey Maass and Cory Miller focus on preparing Crop.Express for launch. They discuss building launch assets, utilizing a freemium model as a path toward a premium product, and future possibilities.

Top Takeaways:

  • Value of a Soft Launch. This is a great way to test the waters and get initial feedback. If you utilize a soft launch, you need to be willing to make changes and improvements based on that feedback before you fully launch.
  • Building a Sustainable Premium Product. Start by setting up a basic website and integration to attract customers. Establishing a freemium model allows you to identify what users will value enough to pay for and provides space for your plugin to become a recommended tool for users, agencies, and hosting providers as a premium product.
  • Feedback as Fuel. Gathering input from customers and agency owners in the WordPress ecosystem can help you understand the barriers to adoption, like already established workflows, the challenge of installing and learning a new tool, and limitations within initial versions to full adoption.
  • Importance of Image Use. Current workflows make images an afterthought in content creation, but they are critical to drawing interest, provide context, and evoke emotion. While there may be SEO value, the primary purpose is to appeal to human visitors. Creating tools to make this easier is the case for Crop.Express. 
  • Consider the possibilities. As product creators, you should continue to explore potential opportunities for development. Leveraging AI, increasing user engagement, and offering more value can uncover future revenue streams while you focus on current integration points.

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

🐦 You can follow Post Status and our guests on Twitter:

The Post Status Draft podcast is geared toward WordPress professionals, with interviews, news, and deep analysis. 📝

Browse our archives, and don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes, Google Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, Simplecast, or RSS. 🎧


Session 4 Corey & Cory Launch a WordPress Product Live

Corey Maass: [00:00:00] Uh, host status YouTube channel so we can hopefully period when that pops up. Oh, I'm signed into the wrong account, but yeah. Um, cuz it seems like people were commenting there. So session four live, 

we're streaming, hopping out the chat because if people are asking us questions and stuff, I'd love to know about it and interact with it. 

Okay. We're live. Cool. YouTube, baby. All  

Cory Miller: right, let's get it. You ready?  

Corey Maass: Internet.  


Cory Miller: Famous. That'll get us maybe a coffee, right? 

Hey everybody, welcome back to session four. [00:01:00] Corey and Corey launching a WordPress product in public. Today we're gonna be talking about some website tweak continuing on from last week, and some feature discussion that the other Corey's been working on. Um, and we're  

Corey Maass: live, Corey, we are Awesome. Session four. 

So that's, that Marks four weeks. Um, and two what, two weeks or a week since, uh, the plugin was accepted. Um, and we should go look at, uh, let's see, word press. I'm looking at the plugin. In the repo, it still says fewer than 10. So, you know, the harsh reality right, is, is you launch something and you get really excited and you tell your friends about it, um, and the, the repo, and you go and, uh, or. 

One, not necessarily [00:02:00] me, goes and installs it on as many websites as I own, which is a lot trying to make, you know, total, um, what do they call vanity metrics to make it look like we're installed on a bunch of websites. Um, but the, you know, the plug-in repo only gives you fewer than 10, and then groups of 10, and then a hundred groups of hundred. 

So you never really know how many installs you have.  

Cory Miller: I think this is the moment, uh, when you push your art or your work into the light of day in public and you're like, the tendency is to go, oh man, I thought a million people were gonna activate this. I think we've been really reasonable and practical about it, but I just know from my past is you, you get so excited, you think you're on the right path. 

You'd launch it and you're like, Crickets. Cool. Crickets are trippy. Right? Um, [00:03:00] man, that's happened so many times and you know, the typical marketing thing is to go, okay, build up buzz to a launch. You know? And we were like, we did it . Here it is . And I, I, I don't know how you feel, but I personally would rather launch something than build. 

I, I know it's probably better from a marketing perspective to build up to a launch to use things like product launch formula and stuff like that to like create a compelling story and I'm just like, or you could push publish. Right. You know, and I think we've had reasonable expectations about it. Not that it would hit a million, you know, active installs or anything like that. 

Um, but this is the point where I tend to probably have that little moment of deflation. Mm-hmm. . Um, but I'm not, I'm, I'm, I'm shoving past that. I'm like, you know, because we, we didn't have a big email list to send it to. We've been [00:04:00] putting in post status in our personal channels. Um, but we talked about last week, like key thing was like feedback from people. 

And so I knew on my list was to talk to content journey about this. Um, because they do so much content production, those people in the use case, the avatar that like does it all the time. Um, but to me, Corey, I'm curious, your, your perspective on all this too haven't launched so many products is there's, you, you wait for that cataly moment where you go, we got something. 

You know, you and I feel had that together. Cause we're like, I want this, you know, but now we're building to some unknown moment where it's like, okay, we got something. Well, and it's,  

Corey Maass: yeah, it's getting something out there. I, I view where we're at. I, I. Have done it dozens of times and I view it as a soft launch. 

Right? So it's, uh, we put it out there. Um, [00:05:00] and frankly I'd rather it build slowly and then, uh, at some point we are going to have, you know, we we're technically at version 0 0 1. Um, and so at some point we're gonna launch. Zero one or one . And that's when we, in my mind, you know, marketing actually starts, or we put effort into it, or when we start, when we've got, um, something for sale. 

You know, that's when we start putting effort into okay, getting it out there. But to me, this is, this is the soft launch. We want a few people to wander into our restaurant, hopefully, at least some of them are friendly faces and they're the ones that are gonna be like, um, you don't have any knives, which has actually happened to me over the weekend. 

We went to a soft launch of a new restaurant and they literally didn't have knives. And so I, we were eating chicken and waffles with plastic forks, and so you had to stab the whole chicken breast and like, [00:06:00] take a bite and then put it back down on your plate, you know, but it's like great work out the kinks. 

Um, the, the thing I struggle with honestly is getting, That there's times when I build a product that I immediately start using. And, and so to me now the, the difference of a soft launch is, is just building something for me to use it. Um, and here I'm not yet comfortable, and this is something I've been sort of asking myself about. 

It's like I'm using it on a couple of my own websites, but I'm not yet putting it in front of my clients other than showing it to them. But I haven't like, installed it and told them, this is what you're now using. And so I'm still looking at the UI and, and going, okay, why, what, what features are lacking? 

Um, or you know, why don't I have confidence in [00:07:00] the, we've, to me, we've technically proven that we can solve the problem, but it's not. Elegant enough or friendly enough or simple enough for non-technical people to use. Um, so that's kind of where I'm at. And so I, to me, I feel like we're waiting for feedback from all quarters, um, including our own, before taking more steps forward with the actual  

Cory Miller: product. 

So that's an interesting thing, uh, that you said right there is, um, because I went, obviously installed it, used the live version on my site, and, um, immediately I was like, I need, I still need this. I'm not, I know I need it for featured image, you know, but I ne I feel like just from a user perspective, I go, I need this for other [00:08:00] things on my site. 

Like mm-hmm. , I was doing a page on my personal site and I was like, And this comes back to our original conversation, um, being able to crop things appropriately in WordPress. I already bump up to my bet still on this cuz I, I want it as the custom specifications. Um, I found myself, I think I used, you know, the circle thing you did? 

Yep. Uh, the circle crop. I was like, I needed it for something. It wasn't a blog post. So, you know, there's this perspective of like, I, I know you've been, this flows into our conversation about feature product features and stuff you've been exploring with the media library. I was like, okay, I need a place that I can just like get my images cropped with the size and, um, you know, DPI or whatever, uh, for these things. 

And I'm like, this would [00:09:00] be cool to have. I actually use crop.express. I think yesterday for something, right. And I was like, the utility of it. Mm-hmm. still rings true for me. I just need this utility. But I was like, you know what I need, I just need to crop something real quick. I went to crop.express Yep. 

And used the live, the online tool. Yep. Uh, for it. So I'm curious your thoughts too about, okay, so when you're doing a WordPress website, you're, you're publishing, you're, you're creating content and stuff, and it brings back like just an exploration, I'm not saying we do this, but like your thoughts on media library in the center of, okay. 

I've created, I, I've loaded my photo, this whole hassle of doing all this, finding photos, cropping photos, all that stuff. And. The utility of like being able to manipulate this and any, any updated thoughts. And maybe we just go straight into the product stuff you've been thinking about.  

Corey Maass: But yeah, I, that's, that's the [00:10:00] segue. 

Um, cuz I personally also had a couple of images to crop and was like, okay, I can create a post. I can for the, for the sake of the exercise, I'll create a post, I'll crop the image and then I'll delete the post. And that cropped image is now in my media library. So to me the next, uh, short, short circuit sounds bad, but the next shortcut, there we go. 

That's the good version is I go directly to media library and can manipulate an image. Um, and so I started working on that, um, as kind of the next step cuz it's it without hearing, um, again, The having without having too many of these kinds of conversations. I'm like, okay, well I'm gonna continue to solve the problem that I have because again, this, you know, the assumption is presumption is that you and I have this, have a problem that a lot of other people have. 

So, [00:11:00] uh, so featured image, uh, and then the same functionality in ui, uh, on top of the media library, which is coming along pretty well. Um, and then, uh, I actually have classic editor installed. Um, something that I think is gonna come up, uh, pretty often in, in our conversations is that I am, uh, I, I do not go near the block editor. 

Um, and, uh, for a number of reasons and that's its own conversation. But, and, and that isn't to say that we don't have plans, um, and even some code already for. A block that also allows you to crop images. Um, but, you know, for my own uses, I'm gonna, IM implement this into the classic editor before I implement this into the block editor. 

Unless people start telling me like, oh my God, we [00:12:00] need this in the block editor. Um, and again, not to say that that's not like next on the list or, you know, within the next few items, but, um, but anyway, so that's, you know, to me that's, I, I'm with you. Um, and I think I had, I had also pinged you and, and earlier in the week and said to sort of start the conversation of like, what does, or maybe it was last week, but anyway, like, you know, what, what does the new website look like and how do we implement those same functional, that same functionality? 

Because also, The plugin now has the circle option and crop.express. The website does not. Um, and so as I'm getting more and more comfortable, essentially repeating the functionality and the ui, um, you know, we wanna decide on what that lead magnet crop.express as a wide open, pure web utility for cropping images [00:13:00] as, as lead magnet. 

Like what does that look like? So, 

Cory Miller: yeah, I, utility of it is I love utility tools, you know, um, yeah. And the, the question I wrote down here, will, will, is I think we're trying to answer is what will enough people value to pay for. In, in the sustainable premium product type category. And again, just anchoring back to finding the past. And so it's like if you're creating content online, um, professionally, you, you probably have this utility somewhere like mm-hmm. 

Camba or Photoshop or whatever that, you know, you affinity designer. And then anchoring to WordPress is content [00:14:00] producers, I think. Mm-hmm. generally speaking. Um, so, and then we've got these two things. We've almost got two potential use cases that you started this project through the online tool. Now we have a plugin and probably, I don't know, do you think we need to talk about those two things too? 

How we keep, uh, like do we keep parody with online tool? Tool and the plugin kind  

Corey Maass: of thing, or I think we start with it anyway. Um, and, and I think that that gives us the sooner the, so to me, yes, like the down the road is the pro version, what are people gonna pay for? Um, but if we are walking the steps of setting ourselves up for freemium, then we need, we just need users full stop, right? 

[00:15:00] And it's like, wait, what can we, what's the first thing we can start talking about? And normally that's the plugin. And so I'm in forums or I'm, you know, in Facebook groups or whatever, and I'm, I'm mentioning it. Um, and again, I think we'll start to see a trickle of users. WordPress, just na natural discovering. 

Discovery within the WordPress, um, plugin directory. But if, if we are happy with the UI that I've knocked together, then moving that, setting that up, uh, on Crop Express and then, um, and putting a little banner that even links to the free plugin. Need this for WordPress, you know, click here. Um, again, we've already got way beyond the WordPress world. 

We've got, uh, you know, there's so many websites that just let you list that love to list free utility tools. Um, and so to me that's, that's [00:16:00] an, an easy way to. Have something to talk about even beyond, you know, again, my normal situation is I create a free version of a plugin and then I have to go try to talk, you know, show that to people. 

And inevitably, lots of the people who see me plugging it are going, well, I don't use WordPress, so it's not even the beginning of a conversation. So here we've got an extra advantage, you know, I think we could take advantage of that.  

Cory Miller: Yeah, absolutely. Since it's already built, like we talked about last week, it's a, if anything, it's a great lead magnet. 


Corey Maass: Okay. So, I mean, I guess what I'm picturing, you know, is, um, like we, we've started sort of what I put on your to-do list last week is, you know, the, the envisioning of this over time. Um, but I guess I'm picturing even in the short term, like a landing page and. And [00:17:00] then I can, and then again, I can integrate the, the cropping tool, utility tool, um, and keep chipping away at the plugin essentially. 

Um, but that gives us lots to talk about, lots to promote. Um, and again, lots of, lots of different, hopefully different places to start collecting feedback because yes, we launched. It's fun. Um, but like you said, then there's that little like, okay, now what? And, and then, and then it's the feedback. It can be internal feedback, but we, we need some guidance on what we do next. 


Cory Miller: swag. S always swag. Come on, . I mean, you created the new logo.  

Corey Maass: Oh, that's right. So yeah. On, you know, uh, as far as accountability goes, I think  

Cory Miller: you had more fun. Did the logo than the plugin, by the way?  

Corey Maass: Oh, always, always. Yeah. No, it's, I, there was a [00:18:00] time, uh, that I fancied myself a designer and I missed that. 

And once Design switched, and this is me dating myself, but once Design switched from Photoshop to, um, technically Illustrator, but I still actually use, I used the fla, I used Flash, and now I actually still use Animate, which is the, the modern version of, but I just like their vector designer. Easier, better. 

Um, I also design a lot of logos now in Canva. Same thing, like I love the simplicity, I love the constraints of it. And so it's just you, you take away and take away and take away. And you saw me do that. Like I was sending you comps where it was not necessarily complicated, but there was a lot more lines. 

And then the moment where I was like, that's, it was when I deleted most of the lines and it was like, oh, the essence of what I've been trying to accomplish is there. Um, but yeah, I, I, I love, I [00:19:00] mean the books behind me here, the books next to me are, uh, you know, are bowhouse, uh, graphic design, like, nice. I don't, I don't, I don't have code books next to me, 

Everything I have next to me is, is architecture or graphic design or, you know, some sort of  

Cory Miller: visual. Okay. So 

this is what makes product stuff fun, um, and engaging. So I'm anchoring back. Um, 

we need, I, I think we, we've talked about this a lot and it's like, we need someone to give us feedback. And so that's where it was talked to. Content journey. 

Another thought here [00:20:00] is 

asking agency owners mm-hmm. people that build sites and getting there, because I, I, we've talked about this a lot. I, we think agency owners in the, in the WordPress ecosystem essentially, um, end up. This is my perspective, but I want to hear yours. Buying plugins, functionality, things like that for their client's websites, whether they use their key, their premium key, or whatever it is. 

Um, and that's a whole separate issue. But I've tended to see, you know, we want to do this, uh, we need this for, the client will buy it. Whether we pass it on the client, we just absorb it. You know, the gravity forms, ws any kind of form plugin, I bet you is on like 90% of client websites for the agency going, you need forms, you've gotta have forms. 

Um, and it seems to me it's like if we fit [00:21:00] this in the story agency owner, freelancer builder, person delivering a site for a client where I've seen the most. Use cases just from my themes and different things, is like they're gonna use their website or it's a, like a content production agency like content journey or whatever else. 

Or a blogger, professional blogger, creator using this to speed up workflow now. Mm-hmm. , how does that sit with you? Like, we've kind of, I feel like we've defined this case of like, if you're producing content on a regular basis, this could be a tool in your utility, in your workflow. How does that square, and what are your thoughts here about like, I like talking to agency owners because then they might, might be the number one customer binded on behalf of their clients so they don't have crappy, you know, huge 15 megabyte files on their site. 

I don't know what, what are your thoughts there? Because I, and, [00:22:00] and sometimes I go really slow on this and ask questions because I'm trying to get it, when it gets clear in my mind what we see, it'll help. I think it really helps me personally to go here, you know? What are your thoughts on that?  

Corey Maass: Yeah, I think, I think that that's fine. 

We, I just, I guess I'm not clear on how we do that, right? Like we are, I, I guess what I'm finding in, in me taking the leap forward in implementing this into the media library is that we're not, not quite, like we've got the, I don't know, the cardboard version or something. Um, and so it's like, I don't, I don't actually anticipate. 

One of the things I also realized was if, uh, If you, if you have already have the perfect image, like one of the, okay, [00:23:00] so sorry I'm a little all over the place. I didn't sleep well, so I'm not as coherent as I'd like to be, but bear with me. Um, if, sorry. One of the most difficult things in what we're trying to do, what anybody is trying to do product-wise is unless you have a brand new thing, um, you are, you're walking into or you're trying to get people to switch. 

So like you said, people already have a process for editing, editing images, they're already in Canva. So how do we get them to. Take an afternoon, you know, and install the plugin and say, okay, for this next post, instead of using Canva, I'm going to use this plugin. Um, and, and so that's, that's tricky, right? 

Because we also only have one opportunity to get it right, right now. I mean, people will try again, at least a free version. Um, but I feel like [00:24:00] we're, we're, we're still a little shy of solving the problem enough so that people are gonna keep it installed. Like one of the things again that I realize that isn't there is if you already have the perfect image, we force you to crop it 

Um, and we also, uh, like we've talked about, we don't have, uh, we're, you know, we've, we've put in a handful of Square 16, nine. Four three. Um, there isn't a way to customize that, and we're talking about charging for that down the road, which is fine. But again, right now, are there gonna be enough people that are coming in and going, you know, I only need one of these five and that's sufficient. 

Um mm-hmm. , I'll keep this installed. Um, and then again, for me it was like, oh, but I could go over to Media Library and upload any old [00:25:00] image. So it's like we, we've, we, we have a proof of concept, which I think is great, but I, I also wonder that we're not a little premature in calling it a product yet. Right. 

Um, or, or how do we, mm. How do we get people to install this and it might, and, and leave it installed or, you know, promise to come back in a month and try it again, or like, I don't think we're, we're not hurting ourselves by having it in the repo. It gives us something to talk about, gives something, you know, a place to link, all that kind of stuff. 

Um, But now, I guess, you know, getting, going all the way back to one of your first questions, uh, or the first things that I talked about on this call was, um, where I'm at is usually I, this is where I start scrambling to be like, oh, you know, now that I'm public, oh crap. Like people are seeing that the wheels are on my go-kart or square and I need to quick chisel them to [00:26:00] be C circles or they're gonna make fun of me kind of thing. 

Um, and so it's, you know, there there's a little bit of a, like, what, what do we, you know, what is the next thing that we have to do to get people to actually keep trying this, um, or stick with this or, or what have you.  

Cory Miller: Okay. I wanna go back to a couple things. You said, this is a powerful statement. You said keep it installed, okay. 

Mm-hmm. , I love that because it centers us sneakers us down in, like, we're a utility workflow at Flow tool. And the question becomes how do we. Keep it installed. How do we, what do we do to keep it installed? And then we have this other fine line of like, there's a breaking point. We go, that's paid. This is free, that's paid, you know, particularly with the free right. 

Um, so Hendrix has given us some interesting thing, and if you will, I want to explore this for a second because you're on the media library. So Hendrick [00:27:00] said media. We're talking to an agency owner right now. It's awesome. Thanks. Hendrick. Media management. The media library is crap, easily leads to the same images being uploaded multiple times, identifying problems, what we're doing. 

Um, we're chasing that problem a little bit. Editing is another issue. This results in other stuff. For content, Leon is subtly necessary again. So if I talk about, it's interesting maybe your client thing. How, how do you, your, your newspapers and magazines that you work with, what's their flow? And this is the thing I need to just ask. 

From Content Journey two on my side, and I didn't do that. Apologies. Um, Hendricks is helping, but like, what's their content workflow? Do they, like I know Content Journey starts in Google Docs. Mm. And does a lot of their collaboration. Uh, then they put it in here and then there's image like from in Hendricks, he's like, media. 

We, we know this media library has needed something in [00:28:00] WordPress for a long time. So I think we stumbled into a really good problem here. Um, but like, what's the workflow? You know, like me, I go, I start writing headline, start into text. The last thing I do is the image, but I take it professionals have a different way to do that. 

Like, I, I guess I do this semi my professionally, but like , you know, that's the  

Corey Maass: people. It's not your job title.  

Cory Miller: Yeah. . Um, that's the people that use it as a workflow tool. And I think you, you mentioned something else, the switch. Mm-hmm. . The switch from co. I think it's really cool cuz we got cobble these together over here and then put it in a WordPress and published, but we're trying to say, we'd like to make that better within WordPress. 

What I don't know for sure I'm unsure of is how most professional content people do this. Mm-hmm. , you know, do they go [00:29:00] checklist beforehand? Image title, like, I know Content Journey has a whole SEO and content stuff and process they work through. Right. Thoughts on that?  

Corey Maass: About the media library? The, the, the clients I, I have do not use the client, the media library they are uploading, um, on one site. 


Cu it's a custom size and a 16 nine, and then on the other site it's square and 16 nine. There's, I, I had to add essentially multiple featured images for each story. So it's like on the homepages and on the archive pages, we show squares, and then when you click through to see the individual post, you see the, the big 16 nine. 

Um, but exactly as, and I'm, I have the same question mark as you, like, this [00:30:00] is where they've arrived. But these are, and these are professional writers, but they are not experienced WordPress people for the most part. So this is the flow that they've settled in on. Um, but yes, content comes from Google Docs. 

Same thing that I'm, I've seen almost everywhere that I've worked where there's a lot of content. So I think that that's very, I think that's the most common situation. Um, and then, and images are last is also the thing that I have also seen with both, with the, the, the number of sites that I work with now and have worked with in the past, even at big, big agencies on, on sites bigger than, than what I work on now. 

Images come last, they go and hunt for somebody goes and hunts for an image after the content is written. Um, and like I said, what I've got, I mean, this was why I created [00:31:00] crop.express as a utility in the first place, was I, I said this, they can't just keep uploading. These are, these are writers, they're non-technical people. 

And so it's, there's the shame on them, shame on me situation where. I've tried to teach them, or I, you know, and created documentation and stuff like that around proper crop image cropping and image compression and all that stuff. But at some point I have to say, okay, you know, I'm, I'm the technologist here. 

Technology needs to do this for them. And so that's where, yeah, I, I think we're on the right path featured. I, and that's why when you initially suggested, let's start with featured image, I jumped, I was like, yes, that's it. Um, see,  

Cory Miller: you pointed that out to me though. I want you to know this. Hmm. For context, because you're in work doing [00:32:00] client work. 

I know what a featured image is. , you have clients using that? We use it at post status and I don't like it. Like mm-hmm. , the featured image the way that, or I haven't taken the time to take the theme, so like, blown out. Huge PI pictures down. I haven't taken the time to dive into it, but you're like, most every theme includes featured image functionality, so there's step one, you know? 

Yeah. I wanna zoom out for a second, Corey, if you, if you're okay with this, we'll get, we'll get back to the product, but this will help me, this discussion. Yeah, sure. Images in publishing, what's their purpose, what's their reason? What are the people trying to get out of them? The two things I stand out to me is something to hang your eyes on. 

Mm-hmm. . Something to set the tone of the content you're writing. That's one. Second to me is like SEO value. You know, put an image in here of. Someone [00:33:00] doing or showing the thing you're talking about. So there's a, there's an SEO angle to it. Those are my two tops. But can, I'm, I'm doing this on the mind map by the way, cuz I want us to get this story. 

This is the narrative to me. Sure. But like, if we zoom out, we just go like, what's the purpose of an  

Corey Maass: image? Yeah. I mean the, the, I've got paper magazines behind me, um, which is what one of the main sites that I work on. And in a magazine you can't not have a picture. And so it, it translates to the web where, you know, we've nerds like me go to Hacker News and there aren't images unless you click through to the story or read it. 

A lot of the time there, there isn't necessarily an image. Um, but I think for news sites or sites that are meant to emulate a magazine, I mean we call them blogs, but you know, which came first kind of thing. Um, , you need an image. And so with the [00:34:00] magazine that I work with, there's, there's sometimes there's photography, there's dedicated photography. 

They do a lot of fashion spreads. So that's, you know, original content. But there's also a lot of stories that they go to uns Unsplash or you know, stock Unlimited and they're like, we need a picture of a pencil because this is about the pencil factory. And that's a bad example. They'd go take a picture of the pencil factory, but you know what I mean, like we need a picture of trees cuz this is about trees in the northwest and just broadly speaking and so, and then they crop that or whatever. 

But it's, it's that, that compelling image that that visual hook, like you said, um, I, I think there's, there's technically an s e o aspect of it, but for the most part I, I view it more as human cuz these stories don't need. Images. Um, but the layouts that, that they've chosen, the [00:35:00] clients have chosen on very different sites, ultimately are very similar in that when you look at an archive page, the emphasis is on lots of compelling images because that's what makes humans want to click. 

Mm-hmm. .  

Cory Miller: So, uh, it, it capturing it and we're getting ethereal and I love that because then we'll have opinions that we come back down to and say, this sure takes away from this what an image is. Purpose is on a piece of content or on a website. So Hendrick said Emotionalize love that. I think he made up a word. 

Provide context, draw interest context. Yeah, absolutely. So like I think about in this, um, and go with me here please, but I do a slide presentation. And I'm doing presentation in front of a bunch of people and I want it to emotionalize, evoke emotion, um, set the mood, [00:36:00] tone, um, context and stuff. But it's always that, I think he said it in his last interest. 

It's drawing interest and like Yeah. Color to what you're doing. Now, there's a host of problems with that in the web. Cause you're talking about like Unsplash different things. It's like, I personally effing hate trying to hunt down an image. I've done the painful work of trying to write and share and now I gotta go find an image. 

Right. So we should note that problem. I mean, it's, it's an obvious one that we know about, but like, it's still a problem that factors into what that person's trying to get done.  

Corey Maass: Yep. And I picture down the, I, you know, I think it's, there, there is this, we keep talking about this workflow. Um, and what we, what we wanna do is shorten, there's, there's different ways to quantify all the different steps in a workflow, [00:37:00] uh, length of time, ease, you know, general knowledge, um, things that hold your interest. 

And what we're talking about is when we talk about pain, right, is there's some steps that are absolutely required. So that's another quantifi quantifying element, whether it's a required step or not, but it's broadly speaking, we've got req a required step of finding an inserting an image, um, that isn't fun. 

And, uh, and we're just trying to shorten that. And so we're starting with again, Shortening, you know, people go and find images, bring them in. But then hopefully if they, once they've done that work, inserting it is inserting it into the context of the site as a snap once they've got our plugin set up. Um, and then down the road we can also look at integrations. 

Cuz it was like, [00:38:00] you came to me and you were like, crop.express as a website is great. How do we get this into WordPress? And I said, inserting this into WordPress is not a small lift, but I'm halfway done with a, with a Chrome extension. So you, again, shortening the step of like, instead of loading a website, just click a button. 

and it'll crop it, you know, in a, in a Chrome extension. And then you and I got talking and it was like, okay, it's worth it to do, make the effort to, to make this a WordPress plugin. Um, but, you know, trying to shorten all those steps, uh, and, uh, and integrate with different, uh, you know, capture people where they already are kind of thing. 

So it's, um, you know, if they're already in WordPress, then um, then they can do cropping there. If at some point we find that people are using the website, [00:39:00] I mean, what's, what's to keep us from monetizing the website at some point, right? Like we don't have to be a dedicated freemium WordPress plugin. Um, things like Chrome extensions, uh, not off the table, down the road. 

And then we also could look at, um, integrating with Unsplash, with whatever other, um, Where people are finding, getting their images, finding their images, that kind of thing. Um, and to me, I guess it's the, you said something a minute ago about, you know, what is the process and, and how do we know what the process is? 

And I guess to me, that's why I'm starting to add our functionality in front of, it's like you have a storefront and you have lots of doors. And right now we've put some sort of, we've put our code in front of one door, which is the featured image door, but people might be walking [00:40:00] through the media library door, or they might be walking through the block editor door. 

It's like all the ways that people are, WordPress is here, I'm here and Im, we're doing something with images. And so it's like, how do we catch people at each door at. Uh, interaction point of them images and WordPress, and so media library, uh, an image block, um, classic editor featured image, classic editor featured image, um, block editor, whatever I just said. 

Um, you know, a at some point, a c f, you know their forms. Again, any, the idea to me is however we can, we can get in front of people or in between people and images into WordPress. 

Yep. So, so at [00:41:00] this point, I guess what I'd say is we've both said a lot of words. . Maybe maybe rephrase the question like what it, you know, I, I, I, I mean I say that to be funny, but we're talking about a lot of interesting things. Yeah. Some of it is ethereal. What is it? You're, what, what is the question precisely that you're trying to have us answer right now? 

I'm zooming out  

Cory Miller: from our original thesis, uh, zooming out and trying to get a perspective, and I think you give me really good perspective of, you know, we're a part of this process. Our product is a part of a bigger process. Like, last time I looked it up, we, we said, make creative chores fun. This is a chore. 

It's like, I, I wrote this down too for us. I go, you know, my grandmother painted paintings and she was an artist and incredible artist and we've got a lot of our work in our house. The [00:42:00] frame that she picked makes the painting. I was looking at the art itself and I go, it's beautiful the frame. Makes it, and it's almost like images are the frame of it, right? 

Mm-hmm. . So back down to utility for a second. I'm just trying to think. I think this is where we're gonna come up with some bells to ring and some opinions of mm-hmm. images, image stuff in, in WordPress and anywhere. It kind of sucks. It's a, it's a hunt, it's a chore. It's all that stuff when you're just trying to get like powerful writing. 

And it's, the thing most people don't do on their websites is do an image. Like I, I'm on this one book all the time, I love it. No images and it's cool, but because she's done the pain of creating the content, now it's left to this final thing of the chore. But like, here's an opinion. We could say images should be your frame of your contents. 

Like, you know, we're talking about emotionalized, wrong answers, provide context. So how do we do that Now, [00:43:00] back down. Thank you for exploring that with me a little bit. I'd just like to get this bigger perspective cuz sometimes Corey, I've been like, I wanna solve this one problem and I don't see the bigger picture zooming out. 

Now we can zoom back in too and just go like, in an ideal state, finding sizing, finding and sizing are two big design issues. Image, you know, in publishing.  

Corey Maass: And Hendrick just brought up another good one, which I deal with my clients all the time, which is broadly speaking, image metadata. Mm. And so it's like, and it's a chore and. 

Because they source images, uh, free images that, that need credit. Or again, they're, they're having bespoke fashion shoots done and they need to credit the photographer. Um, and all that kind of stuff. I saw, I just saw a plugin yesterday that is [00:44:00] integrating AI with WordPress images to write the alt text for you. 

Um, which I thought was, I'm like, that's, that's a no-brainer. Um, you know, that's a problem that's desperately n needed to be solved for a while as much because humans are terrible at , this kind of stuff. Yeah. Um, and, and again, non-technical, non s e o people, clients don't understand. They're like, it's a, it's a picture of a house in front of two trees, like. 

Do I say cabin? Do I say house? Do I say trees? Do I say, you know, and it's like, even if the AI isn't a hundred percent right, I'd rather it, it, it did something , um, lit literal rather than humans overinterpreting. Cuz some of them were like peaceful setting and you're like, no, that's not a, technically you're right, but that's a house with trees.[00:45:00]  

It's not p Google doesn't understand what a peaceful setting is, but it'll, it'll say, it'll know that it's a picture of a house with trees and read the article that about a peaceful setting and then it will connect the dots. Obviously I'm being presumptuous about how Google works, but you know, I think that there's, there's definitely times where there's too much human interaction and whatnot. 

Anyway, I'm, I'm ranting, but I do think that part of the bigger problem as we're trying to define it here, finding images or sourcing images, images getting, um, inserted correctly. For the theme, for the site, for the design, um, and then metadata. So it's that whole last, um, you know, if it's a Gantt chart, it's the, the last chunk of that Gantt chart of, okay, my story is ready to go. 

Oh crap, I need an image. And everything that, that involves finding the image, inserting the image, resizing the image, making sure all the metadata on the image is [00:46:00] correct, and then I can publish.  

Cory Miller: Yep. Um, I think what this does for me too is help with marketing. Like when we talk about lead magnets is like, how do you source it? 

That's a easy blog, post lead magnet, something. Um, the other thing is a potential path for us, like we got one part of the thing that we've kind of said. Crop scale, get the right size, um, downstream. We have another path though we could take is like taking the other problem, which is finding, sourcing, not saying we should do it, just saying it is hundred percent option. 

Yep. Finding sourcing, then. Correct. And it's like trying to put this piece pu puzzle together. Um,  

Corey Maass: okay. It's like the, there's a lot of, there's a lot of thinking, writing, talking now in the startup world about, sorry, I'm rising slowly with my desk, um, [00:47:00] but about not jumping in and building products, which I'm terrible at. 

Um, but at. Talking to customers first, defining problems, defining, letting them define solutions, and then that's what you're supposed to build. I'm too impatient. I'm a developer. I'm a hammer. Everything's a nail. Uh, it's a problem I have and I'm, and I'm fine with it. Um, but I do think that this helps us fill in some of those gaps that are necessary. 

Right. And it's like you said, if we understand the problem, we don't have to solve all of them, but it, but the problem is what everybody wants to talk about. You know, you go to a meetup. I was on a, on a virtual WordPress meetup last night. Shout out to the New Hampshire, uh, WordPress meetup. That's just getting started again after a long hiatus, which is awesome. 

Um, you know, but it, it inevitably turns into people [00:48:00] complaining together about similar problems. Oh, we all, all of my clients use, you know, such and such a page builder and it's a pain in the butt. And like that's how humans. Converse, you know, we share our pain and uh, and it helps us, makes us feel better and not alone. 

And other people might have suggestions and yada yada. So it's like, even if we don't ever tackle the problem of sourcing images, it gives us plenty of blog posts to talk about our top 10 places for sourcing images that works really well with crop, you know, integrates nicely with Crop Express or whatever. 

Um, and helps our customers, our users, broadly speaking with what we know to be a problem overall, even if our product doesn't necessarily solve it. 

Cory Miller: So in your work with the media library, are you like in the media library going add new, pulls it up, and then Crop Express comes in? [00:49:00]  

Corey Maass: Okay, so it's right now, yeah, it's, you know, there is a button, right? You're looking at all of your images and there's a button at the top that says add new. Just like on every edit screen there's an ad, new post, an add, new whatever. 

And so the, what I have currently, again, I'm just proving concepts here, still is next to the add new I have, um, uploaded crop. So there's a duplicate button because again, I'm starting to think that we need a way to bypass crop express so that if you want a featured image that isn't 16.9, we're not getting in your way. 

Because that's how people, that's when people are like, screw this. I'm gonna go uninstall this damn thing, cuz it, it's too opinionated or it's locking me into something. Um, and so we have to figure that out from a UI perspective or, or UX exp uh, perspective. But, but right now, yes, same, same exact thing. 

Just like in, [00:50:00] um, the, the block editor featured image, it opens a modal crop, your image, and then that sets your featured image instead of uploading an image into the media library and then using the, the very clunky WordPress image crop, it opens a modal. You upload your image, you crop it easily and quickly, and then it gets injected into the media library. 

So it's really the same flow. Um, again, just trying to kind of be. Insert ourselves in between so that you're doing the, the hard part quickly and easily before it, the image gets saved, which I also think is a huge feature. Yeah.  

Cory Miller: And I mean if we do it where the media library is in it's now and train people on that workflow, like go there, um, potentially, cuz I was kind of thinking, and I'm not, don't know the technical hurdles, [00:51:00] but back to the keep it installed, how do we keep it installed? 

We make it an indispensable utility tool. So I was kind of wondering like you got featured image box on the right side of the post Senator and that's cool. It's right there. It's very obvious. Upload, pick, upload, you know, and then crop. So we, we check that box, but I go, okay, back to the keep it installed, making a utility. 

What did, do we, there's one thought just gonna give these raw is that there's a left side of the WordPress nav, there's crop express menu item go in, they can start manipulating somehow. That's probably tied in with the media library, non-developer. Um, the other option is using media library as it is. 

Third option I was thinking about is right below that feature tab is like, here's your, your handy utility tool [00:52:00] right at your fingertips when you're in the publishing process. Um, because downstream, like if we did any one of the, like the left, left menu or the right side of the Post-it, I'm like, put the utility tool right at my fingertips. 

Mm-hmm. down down that one stream of like the finding. If we decide we want to maybe. to do this. At some point you're like, it's right there. You're, you've done the hard work of writing your post now this tool over here, cause I know there's Gutenberg Block h Big Hill to climb on that. So I'm like right here. 

I can, you know, it lays the foundation for saying find source potentially. Then step three or two is crop it and put it in. You know, we still have to figure out that gap between post editor, post block editor and here. But I go, I don't know. Those are the three things I've been thinking about. But I want your, see what you think about that. 

Corey Maass: Yeah, I like that [00:53:00] idea. Like what jumps out at me is, is a, so we're talking about like, you're in the dashboard, you're not in the con you know, it's, it's what is, what is cont what is the context, right? So I'm writing a post, I'm building a page. Um, And so I'm inserting images again, like we want, and that's where the block I think comes in if people are using the block editor. 

Um, at some point, I think before we started recording our calls, we talked about, like, I use Beaver Builder, um, and so, and they allow, you know, custom modules and so having a, like, you know, when I'm building a page or my clients are building a page, insert an image. It's not just any image. You've, you've gotten, uh, the, the media library picker, but with our cropper installed again. 

Um, but anyway, the, the context of you go to media Library to upload and [00:54:00] manipulate images. I'm sure some people do that. I have a, I don't understand the context of it, but I'm sure some people. Upload images or, or think about images separately, and then they want to go find them when they're writing a blog post or something like that. 

Um, to me, I, that searches WordPress searches terrible. And so trying to upload a whole bunch of images and then go find them out of the workflow, I can't even imagine, but I'm sure people do it. Um, but all that to say, I like your idea of like, I just need to crop an image. I'm, you know, maybe it's the fave icon or maybe there's some other context we're not thinking about yet, but it's like instead of there being a crop express admin menu item, it would say crop and image or, and so it's like, it might e and you're right, it might even be redundant or somewhat redundant to the media library [00:55:00] integration point, but it's like it saves you going to crop express. 

The website or it saves you having the Chrome extension installed or whatever it is. Um, and so I like that idea of like, again, it's, to me it's, we're, we're trying to sort of cast a net and so it's wherever we're catching people, wherever they're dealing with images. Um, and then I just think that, you know, as we, as we continue on our journey, interacting with people, hearing feedback and stuff like that, that it's all those points that are then going to be upgraded. 

So it's like here's, you know, three or four different contexts where people upload and crop an image. And then if we decide to tackle metadata, okay, so then here, you know, here are the three or four points where people are uploading, cropping an image, adding metadata, or we're sucking in metadata or whatever, [00:56:00] again, before they hit publish. 

So if we can, if we can start with. all those integration points, but I think it's, you know, we have to go where people are already integrating or are already interacting, um, rather than ex expecting them to come to us. And  

Cory Miller: without further validation, I go, I think I'd want it just for my own use case in the right side bar there. 

Just like to figure and go, okay, I can go here to find that piece. That drives me nuts, which is an image. But I'm starting to think up here again a little bit and just go, what makes an ima if an image like in a magazine is there to evoke, uh, interest, emotions and all that, what's this place? And this is where we get opinionated potentially. 

It's like, what's this place in a blog post on a site? Um, and like, [00:57:00] I don't know about you, I just abandoned the whole thing because. Just as I, I guess I'm a design snob, even though I can't do that very well, I'm still a snob about it. Um, but like I, I thought about the post I wrote yesterday. What would I do? 

What would I do to evoke emotion and interest for the Post I did? You know? And, and that's, that's a problem I bet with a lot of sourcing. I know content Journey does a lot of, I mean, I think everything they do has featured images, if I'm not mistaken. So I think we can get really opinionated about that for sure. 

Especially with our magazine. Newspaper background is like, it's about to set the tone, the flavor of what you're trying to get across, what's that intent? Um, and then we just come back down to the process of like, when you're doing that, how does this process work? I love, that's what I. To get more feedback on is [00:58:00] how people do that, because they probably go, you're doing it all wrong core, you're doing it at the back end. 

You should do it at the front end. I'm like, okay,  

Corey Maass: tell me more. That's true, right? Yeah. And I mean, it's all I can say is you and I, and pretty much everybody I've interacted with are, 

I don't wanna say not professionals, but we, we all share the same problem. We've all arrived at the same situation where we're, we're developing written content. And the image is not necessarily an afterthought, but it's the last step of what's being handled. Uh, it would, it would be fascinating to me to, to find out that there is some, Doesn't New York Times use WordPress or I, they, they've abandoned it and come back [00:59:00] again and, and one of the other New York Post I think does too. 

Um, and I, they left and came back, or white, white House or whatever. It's like to me that those, that's the epitome of . The, the WordPress workflow, right? WordPress publishing workflow is if you are, uh, the New York Times or similar and you're using WordPress, and so it's like, call up the president and find out if he's looking for an image before he writes his blog posts. 

Obviously a joke. He doesn't write his own blog post, but that would be fascinating. But I bet we find that this is universal or, or damn near, you know, 80 20. Um, and so yeah, how. we're starting with a very small problem that we're solving. Where it goes from here would be fascinating. [01:00:00] I what what comes to mind is like, doesn't Yost Pro let you put in some keywords and then it helps you rate your content based on those keywords or, or you know, it looks at search results or keyword points, you know, and how you're gonna rate for those keywords kind of thing. 

Like, so I start to,  

Cory Miller: yeah, I love that. Imagine some AI thing going down and going, here's a couple of images we either found or created, um, on the site that flash him up a bit. I'm so funny about my content though, and I just, I'm trying to unearth a bigger problem here that could really lead a roadmap about is there's a. 

Seems like there's a problem. It's wonky. The workflow to, to frame evoke interest through images in your content. [01:01:00] Like when you said Element, uh, beaver Builder, and I put Elementor down to you, I'm like, oh, that's right there in that workflow. Great business integration to do. I just talked to Robbie yesterday, by the way, so we could, we could follow up with Robbie on this and he might be a source of really good information. 

So I'll write down, follow up with Robbie  

Corey Maass: again. Yeah. Like what, what does the Beaver Builder team know about how people use their tool? Yeah. Are they, because  

Cory Miller: images are, oftentimes they're lame cuz they're being pulled from stock. We feel like we need 'em and they just, you know, they're obvious stock images, you know? 

Yeah. Which  

Corey Maass: is, we're all used the same ones. .  

Cory Miller: Mm-hmm. . Yep. Which is interesting to me from an AI perspective of like, do something that actually more one off matches the content [01:02:00] and the, and emotions and outcomes you're trying to evoke.  

Corey Maass: Yeah. I think we're there like, I mean all I'm seeing for the most part is people on Facebook plugging in some of their images and seeing, you know, here's me as Hercules or whatever. 

Um, but it's the image generation or that, you know, the, here's a picture of me in the style of da Vinci, or, you know, Monet or whatever, but I, I, there've gotta be people already using AI to generate images. You know, here is an article about X, Y, Z, generate an image, and then that way I don't have to pay royalties, I don't have to do any searching, you know, if the image is good enough and compelling enough. 

Um, which is, I mean, also very subjective, like you said, yourself, you're picky about your content. So, you know, would AI generated images be enough? I don't know. Um, I've got a buddy who runs all of his [01:03:00] images of himself. He's a dj and so he has his marketing site and he runs all of his images through like an in Instagram filter that's one specific filter. 

So all of his images look consistent and stylized. And so, you know, the image source is easy for him. It's him DJing. Um, but the, the manipulation of the image. It takes a little bit of time, but it, that's what makes all of the images of him look cool and different, you know, hip and with it cuz he is a, a dj. 

Um, you know, rather than just pictures of like, I mean, I, I DJ here in my office, the pictures don't look like anything . I may as well be working. Um, yeah. So yeah, there's lots of, it's, it's a big interesting step, uh, of the way we present ourselves [01:04:00] online. And some of it's painful, but I also don't, I don't, I don't know yet whether. 

like there's lots of potential ways to integrate ai. I also think it's early days of mm-hmm. , like the norms haven't been worked out on, on how, how we can use it and how we want to use it. Frankly, like, you know, there's for, for everybody who's excited for every, everybody who's, every person who's excited about ai. 

I feel like there's also a person who's very apprehensive about like, do I, you know, if every blog post needs an image and so we're, but we're too lazy to go find the perfect image, then I'm gonna press a button. AI's gonna do its best, and then I'm just gonna throw that up there because my blog post, somebody told me I have to have an image, but I don't really care if that image is, is honestly the best one.[01:05:00]  

are we contributing to, you know, or AI writing? I mean, it's the same argument. It's like if, if half the blog posts now are gonna just be written by ai, is it, is it worth it? Are we just continuing to pollute the web with bad writing? You know, we're saying the same thing over and over again. So it's, all of this stuff I think is really interesting to start writing about or talking about. 

Um, for me, I, I still think some of the dust needs to settle, um, before we actually look at integrating this stuff. Unless, unless some obvious winner jumps out at us. Yeah, I like  

Cory Miller: it in view of here's that conversation going. It's gonna only accelerate. And then how do we position crop express where there's a convergence point at some point. 

So, and I think we've identified it's the finding sourcing part. All that back, back to here. Cause I wanna make sure I tie back down to ground earth cuz I [01:06:00] don't always do this. I get thinking about this going, this is cool, this is something to chase. This is some validation for me of like interest. Um, but it, uh, then I go practical point is like having a utility tool to do my, it was just, so, like Patrick Garman, one of our agency owner members posted like his year end wrap up basically. 

And you know, looking through the post, I could have read it and imagined he was on an RV trip with his wife and they got to do all these things, but he posted some pictures along the way, you know? Mm-hmm. and, and that was the ideal use. Like seeing one of his picture RV two chairs and looking off, I was like, well that captured the moment right there. 

Now he sourced those personally from his own camera and media library. Um, I'm like, if you're doing that, You know, images come in from the iPhone, huge not right format. All this stuff, [01:07:00] being able to just go through my media library. You're having the problem of like taking off your phone over to your desktop probably. 

Then you're trying to upload it up there. That's just a cluster by the way. Just feels like a cluster. But you're like, okay, he's done all that hunting, searching, finding. Now he comes in, he doesn't wanna go to another tool, he is already done all, you know, potentially Dropbox it over. That's how I do it anyway. 

Or, or air dropped it over. Uh, and it seems like when you're in there creating the tools should be right there at your right side. That, that's where I'm leaning on these three things we've been talking about. Like media, library, carbon Express thing, and right here where I need it. Mm-hmm. , I don't know if it's the right, but it tend to be gravitating toward if we're gonna make this into a utility suite, um, eventually. 

Yep. Or want the possibility of it. It seems like that is a good way, is is a good thought, but technically I don't know what the hurdles are. Um, you know, the already the post thing is just [01:08:00] like overwhelming to me anyway, but this would be one I'd want prominent if I'm gonna be using images.  

Corey Maass: Yeah. And, and I mean, what jumps in jumps in my, to my mind is again, down the road, it's like we could start moving upstream and it's like somehow you are doing, I mean, we're just having fun brainstorming here at the moment, but it's like, be the. 

I, I, I, it used to be delicious. That went out of business. Now I use Pinboard, but it's like the, you know, the bookmark keeper. So it's like, imagine if like we, we could extend beyond WordPress or beyond, it's like you're out browsing the web or you're on your phone or anywhere that you're just kind of like, you're collecting, you're collecting, you're, these are all the potential images. 

Um, and somehow they all get channeled into like, you wouldn't really wanna do this because your media library would [01:09:00] fill up and most hosting companies limit your disc space, whatever. But if you're like, you know, I'm writing a blog post about, you know, my, my RVing trip with my wife. It's like, I. Throw images off my phone, I might go and try to source some images from Unsplash and if all of them landed in my media library, uh, cropped correctly, sized correctly, stylized correctly, um, and then I could, and then it, they were there for me to choose from or something like that. 

So it's like, you know, that's not, there's, there's a lot of things wrong with what I just described as an actual product, but, or problem to solve. But it's like, we can definitely start looking at again, if, if we get feedback that's upstream. Bless you. Um, upstream, you know, part of the problem of sourcing images or finding images or, you know, it's like, or even getting them off of our, our devices and into WordPress, if that's a pain, [01:10:00] you know, you're, If you're dropboxing it to your PC and then uploading it from your PC into your media library and then selecting it in your posts, then you know, what's the, the one click? 

Like take it without signing into WordPress from your phone, you know, what's the quick share to your WordPress install little utility plugin or something like that. I use a, um, an app on my iPhone called Flight that is free, and it's basically for emailing anything to myself. Um, but it uses the share, so it's like I'm browsing. 

Any website or I'm in Amazon or whatever and I hit the little share icon and where it gives me the option to airdrop or it gives me the option to post it to Messenger so I can send it to my wife or whatever. Um, there's a, a flight option and it opens up a little icon. I hit [01:11:00] post and it sends me an email with a link to whatever I'm looking at, cuz I'm in my inbox all day. 

And that's kind of my ends up being my to-do list. And so in theory, you know, again, if we find that this is a huge pain point, there's a, I'm looking through images on my phone. I click share, I click the, the send this to my WordPress install and it's preconfigured to crop 16 nine, then it just lands in my, my media library already ready to go. 

You know, these are problems we can solve technically, once we've defined that there's enough people that want that kind of solution. 


Cory Miller: right now you're, you're working on the media library thing, um, d but do you like this right sidebar thing? What's your thoughts on having it? Do [01:12:00] you crop express you the tool, whatever next version, thoughts or whatever? I'm trying to think through, uh, product guidance and give you enough.  

Corey Maass: Sure. I mean, I think to me the, 

right now, the problems that I quote, unquote know we have because I have them and, and I want, if nothing else, I want you to be using this. I want my clients to be using this. I want, um, content journey to be using this is, um, featured image. Media library, uh, block editor, block, classic editor featured image. 

Those are the four to me, the four known integration points of WordPress and images. And then, and then that way anybody who stall installs this plugin is [01:13:00] going to interact. I mean, if, and Beaver Builder aside, or these other scenarios aside, you know, there's, there's a very long tail of integration points, but the four primary integration points are covered at that point. 

And that's, that to me is the bay, the, the bare minimum of if anybody installs this plugin, they're guaranteed to interact with our plugin and then we can start seeing if it works for people. Yeah.  

Cory Miller: The thing I wanna do on my own is, um, chase this. More metaconcept of like purpose of the image and then just look around and see, you know, where it's like images, the opinion I um, thesis of happiness images should add value, not subtract or be a distr distraction. 

How does that get done? How do people source it? You know? Mm-hmm. , how do we get that thing? There is a SEO value, you know, [01:14:00] from a good image, um, in that, and I, I want to chase that a little bit cause I think it's gonna help us, you know, downstream cuz like if we, okay. If we do the thing you were just saying, get all the integration points, the, the basis covered. 

Yeah. That's the free tool. Mm-hmm. to me. And then it's like, you want more and better. And this is where we could explore downstream on the paid side is creation, sourcing, finding part of that. And I, I really like that because the free of those, like, here's those points you're gonna have and we're gonna be utility, we're gonna help make it easier, this problem easier, you know? 

Um, and then what it saves us is some of this bigger picture stuff for pro and paid. Like you really want to get serious about it, about doing this better. [01:15:00] This workflow, this outcome you're getting. Here's  

Corey Maass: paid. Yep. There's, there's certain WordPress plugins. Because I deal with, because I build web apps, um, and or because I control what my clients see when they sign in. 

I install user switching, uh, in, on many, many sites. I install duplicate pages. Like these are no-brainer, low lift, low impact. High value. You know, they add a button that frankly should exist in WordPress. And I think that's kind of what we're talking about here is like, yes, WordPress has cropping, but it's dire. 

And so we are adding simple, basic functionality that arguably should be there or should be upgraded at this point. But where we take that sky's the limit. Yeah. But if we can get, if we get to the point, I like that we keep talking about utility, [01:16:00] essentially is like if, if we are the sponge, the, uh, the coat rack, the, you know, the basic thing that every house has to have, um, you know, then, then we're just gonna watch installs happen. 

Mm-hmm. , um, you know, that's the dream, right? That hosting companies start recommending us because it's just, It's gonna save them support tickets. That's the dream. Mm-hmm. . And then past that, all this thinking that we're doing defines the the business.  

Cory Miller: Okay. Take this for a second. I just wanna quickly sidebar on something. 

You hit another value add. So if for utility is, you know, making cropping easier, that's our been our thesis. Um, you just put a use case. We've talked about beaver builder hosting companies. So I go, what's a compelling thing? It's okay. [01:17:00] Huge images don't help anybody on the web. You know, h ginormous, it takes a dis space. 

It's, you know, bandwidth. It's all those things that's compelling. Mm-hmm. . So then I go, this is just over here. An idea for us, this is like if, if we, if we take that angle and make this like the rockstar utility and that's our base. To showcase. Okay, well you wanna go more? Here it is. Okay. Why would he host recommended it? 

It's like, well, maybe there's a tool out here that does this, but like when you put an image, it's like, hey, fyi, you're think maybe there's a module or in the free at some point it's like, by the way, this is 1000 million pixels wide, big disk size, it's not the right, like some of that's in in WordPress already, right? 

Mm-hmm. True. So true, true. Getting some of those details [01:18:00] to prevent, like it's kind of a, for the hosts, kinda like a prevention, by the way, this is gonna help you and the tool right underneath it, A free tool. Is it gonna help you crop that to the right setting? There's a compelling value proposition. 

Mm-hmm. , it's like a, and this is 10 year old story, but my mom uses one of our themes and it's got rotating images and she's like, wow. 15 five megabyte files. That doesn't help anybody. Doesn't help the user. Right. Doesn't help their visitor, doesn't help the hosting company that checks a lot of boxes for a utility. 

So I almost wonder, it's like conceptually you've uploaded an image to the media library and it's like, hey, this is effing huge size it. Yep. So, I don't know, I just want to see, cuz you know, technical, all the, the backend is like, conceptually speaking, you think [01:19:00] this is huge. You probably don't even need it up here, but before we put it up here, we can make it better. 

Yep. Right there. That's compelling. It's like, You know, people would recommend it and support, because this is a, I've heard enough of this that I think it's probably an issue. It's like, it's not gonna help your bandwidth , it's only gonna, you know, most of these hosts have, uh, visitors  

Corey Maass: caps and, and disc space caps and Yeah. 

Cory Miller: And they're solving it with CDNs and stuff on the other, you know, other side of it. You're like, what if you could be proactive about it and help people get better images?  

Corey Maass: Right. Well, and that's, I mean, like, that goes back too to the, you know, creating, creating images, helping users create images that work with the themes, the theme and the design overall. 

It's like if, if everywhere on your site you've got. Square images, why are you up uploading 16, nine featured image? You know? So it's, um, you know, all part and parcel of, um, [01:20:00] the, the sort of cynical way of saying it is like protecting people from themselves. Um, but that's, that's like you said, on all fronts, the disk size, uh, or the image size, the space that it takes. 

So there's bandwidth issues, um, you know, and making it look good the way humans view it. So, um, but yeah, I mean the, the upsell again, be by becoming a utility. Like there's a number of, um, hosting companies that recommend certain plugins that have white list, white lists of recommended plugins or incurred, you know, and some of them I don't, I don't know. 

I'm not on enough hosts anymore to know, like, do they come that most of them have their own plug-in installed, but they don't necessarily like pre-install a bunch of plug-ins for you. But, um, you know, but again, all good marketing copy, um, good relationships to be [01:21:00] building and, and taking advantage of. And, um, you know, and we, and in, in, in the inverse right, is hosting companies that we recommend working with that are trying to solve this problem. 

Again, kind of protect, protect people from themselves. If you're non-technical, these are things, you know, ideally you're not even having to think about. Well, and  

Cory Miller: give me another per person to put people to put on this. Um, asking about problems is hosting companies. Mm-hmm. , so probably hit up Jess from principal and some of my different contexts, but like from the utility value prop. 

The alone. This doesn't get us to revenue as fast, but it's like, get installed or get recommended. Huge. So the value prop, like if we can hit the value prop for the user, the end user, the agency, the hosting in a very simple, elegant way, just solve these little problems. Yeah. It's like we, we all become the [01:22:00] defacto, um, recommended tool. 

Like Hendrick was saying, okay, it's it's forms, it's seo, it's this, it's that. You know, like, why not put it up there? Maybe we're not that tier, but we're second tier in that recommended of like making your images better for everybody. Mm-hmm. . So that's what made me think about as you're working on the media library stuff is simple ways to say, this is really big, you know, why don't you like, hey, two, two parts, just one is it's huge. 

You don't need it. You know, the file size is way too big. Way too big margin. The second I thought of is like, I didn't think about this until you said this, but themes have recommended default ratios, right? So it's like we can go back to Cadence, beaver, builder, elementary, whoever it is, and go like, can you give us those? 

What are those standard if we [01:23:00] can't find them? But I was even thinking like, I wish that information was in the theme that could be displayed in there. It's like, you need  

Corey Maass: four by three. Well, and there's, um, like you can install a c f. If you own an A C F license, you can install a c f, um, you know, preconfigured essentially. 

So the client doesn't know that it's being used, but it's, it's integrated. Um, and so I'm envisioning ways, um, of our functionality being integrated with constants being defined in the code. And so it's like you install the, uh, the golf course theme and it's, and it's, it's beautiful. If it has 16, nine images and so hard coded into the theme is anywhere you're uploading an image, again, media library featured images, Gutenberg block is, you know, [01:24:00] all you can, it, it, it throws up the cropper and says, you know, the theme you have installed has 16 nine defined, you know, will let you break that if you want to, but, , you know, you, you should probably do what they tell you and then your site will come out beautiful. 

Um, and, and like you said too of like, um, I like starting that conversation. Like there's a, there's a chicken or egg, right? Like you can't warn, you can't tell people the image you're uploading is too big. You should install the, our plugin if you, because that's functionality we would build into our plugin, so they'd already have to have it installed. 

But having the option, uh, or having it throw up a warning that's like, you know, our, this is going to get cropped to a recommended 1200 pixels. We noticed that it's, you've uploaded one that's 10,000 pixels. Do you want, is there some compelling reason that [01:25:00] you want this bigger? Obviously, like we're, we're saying this conversationally, but. 

But I like that kind of thing. Like co you know, we're helping people, we're protecting people from themselves, but we're not also, we're also not gonna, like, like I said, right now, I think the, the product is too opinionated, um, that you can't get around the plugin, which isn't, you know, is gonna piss some people off. 

Um, but we can, we can help people conversationally or functionally as a user.  

Cory Miller: This is a problem I've had forever, you know? Yeah. And as on the other side is you build a cool theme or product and people can make it as like, ugly as you want. You know? This seems like an idea to go, like we just need, I think we're talking about first Dominoes is we've got hosting, we've got some set of use cases, like your clients come to Journey, different things.[01:26:00]  

Now we've got theme providers. , that could be a domino for us because, you know, I just put down here Cadence and Kathy's aunt because she's doing, um, community marketing at Cadence and just going like, can you, can you give me a little bit of time? Tell me what the problems that users have with this and what you all have with this. 

Like, seriously, we went to all this time and effort to make it a beautiful template and you effed it up, you know? Yeah. Um, and it's like 

the banner there is help, you know, this tool with this integration points, the four, I wanna write those down by the way, cause I didn't get to write those down. But the four integration points, um, could be a way to get this adopted. Again, chick Egg, but like, cool. You know, is it interesting to you and I to make this a free utility that potentially builds a bigger snowball [01:27:00] down there? 


Corey Maass: your answer? Hey, if we get internet famous off of a free plugin, I'm okay with that too. You know, like we, like we talked about on, in our first call, all of this is a bit of an experiment and, and I think we're by, by talking about it publicly, we're making it more of an experiment than it would be if we weren't. 

But we're both, we're both approaching it that way. We're not, we're not having a ha you know, meeting and having a hackathon and going, this has to make us a million dollars, uh, tomorrow. Yeah. And so there's, there's, and neither of us are, I, I think we'd both love it to make us some money or to lead to something that makes us some money. 

Uh, it becomes a, a, a revenue stream for us individually and or may it becomes a business, um, or whatever that looks like. Um, you know, [01:28:00] but we're open to non-obvious or not immediate apparent, immediately apparent. Benefits here. And so, you know, being the person behind a utility plugin that has millions of active installs, some good is gonna come from that and probably some revenue in some way is gonna come from that. 

Even if crop Express becomes itself, becomes a lead magnet for some other plugin, we'd, if we crop express, we, we end up creating Image Express that integrates with all of the free image sourcing and, and that's purely a paid product or something, you know, so, so that's kind of, I think to me, we're still there. 

Do you  

Cory Miller: have image.express? Because if not, go by it. Please. , we're all by for you because I think we need that. Um,  

Corey Maass: okay. Everybody listening is scrambling right now to go see if that  

Cory Miller: hang. You've got a five second delay, so see how fast you [01:29:00] type. Yeah. Okay. No kidding. . Takeaways? Takeaways and next steps. Um, I need to do my original to-do from last week, which is like, just have a conversation with a couple of these people on my list. 

Mm-hmm. , um, you're continuing to work on the integration points Media library is next. Is that right? Okay. Yeah. Anything else you need from me? 

Corey Maass: I just wanna, sorry, ,  

Cory Miller: he's, he's getting domain guys. Um,  

Corey Maass: nope, it's taken. 

Hey, I mean, I, I feel lucky that, and of course it's parked, um, I feel lucky that I got Crop Express and the other, the couple of other domains like that, that I have. Um, but, um, photo Express . But anyway, um, yeah, I, I feel like I continue to, my, my [01:30:00] to-dos are to continue to cover, cover those, those functional. 

Feature the feature bases that we've talked about, um, those integration points. And you, you start having conversations about, like, cuz I, to me, we, we know, well we're, we're again, we're still at truly laying the foundation. We're pouring the slab. Like this is a no-brainer. No matter what kind of house we build, we need the cement that we're gonna build off of. 

So, um, I have no hesitation about continuing to build at least the, the next few features that we're talking about. Okay.  

Cory Miller: Awesome man. Okay, I got my marching orders. How the combos yours keep your, keep on your work with the integration media library points. Um, yep. I was cueing up a question in the agency on [01:31:00] your channel to say, how do you use your, how do your clients use images? 

I'll wait until after my next meeting, which starts in just a minute. But thanks  

Corey Maass: brother. Yeah, great to talk to you again.  

Cory Miller: I love doing philosophy and productivity 

but seriously, this is context for what I used to formulate marketing messages and approach, and I think it's invaluable to product as we understand the problem, you know, and we're understanding, I should say. Mm-hmm. , it's always evolving and then we'll find the point. But I really like where we landed, which is for. 

Pre plug in super uber utility, keep going to those low lift things that we can kind of keep adding value with some avatars that we added, which is hosting agencies end user kind of thing. And then, um, just get, keep the feedback loop going. Yep. All right, my friends. You good? Thanks for your time. All right. 


This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by Cory Miller at March 10, 2023 03:42 PM under Yoast

Post Status: Interview With Product Lead Brandon Dove Of Pixel Jar — Post Status Draft 144

Brandon Dove, co-founder of Pixel Jar, joins Cory Miller to discuss his WordPress plugin, AdSanity Plugin. They dive into the nuance of advertising, evaluate the benefits of free and paid plugins, and talk through the challenges and opportunities available to agencies that invest in product development while providing other services.

Estimated reading time: 73 minutes


In this episode, Cory Miller talks with Brandon Dove of Pixel Jar about agency product development. They discuss how the AdSanity Plugin works and what lessons Brandon has learned about the relationship between agency operations and product development.

Top Takeaways:

  • Recurring Product Revenue.While it can be challenging for an agency to balance custom service work with product development, having a product that generates recurring revenue can provide a cushion and diversify the overall business revenue. AdSanity is a successful example of this, and the team is working on dedicating more resources towards the product to even out development between the two sides of their business. However, it can be difficult to maintain free plugins without generating revenue, and it's important to consider how to incorporate them into the business model.
  • Value vs. Spam in Advertising. For many people, advertising has become a four-letter word, so there is a need to help customers become good advertisers rather than just spamming ads everywhere. It’s critical to empower your visitors by explaining the importance of creating a community around the site to allow for more meaningful conversations with visitors. 
  • The Point of Free Plugins. Building free plugins is more about passion and community engagement than being a lead generator. The main outcome has been connecting with people within the WordPress community, but those connections remember to come to you for solutions. So the increased exposure can lead to revenue in the long term.

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Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Everybody welcome back to Post Status Draft. This is another interview in the series called Product People, and I'm talking to my longtime friend, uh, an agency owner and product founder Brandon Dove. Today to talk about Ad Sanity, a WordPress plugin that helps you, um, helps site owners. Um, Well, I'll let you tell that in just a second, but , um, you'll be seeing ad ad sanity on posts very soon cuz I meant to mention this before we started recording.

It's something that we need. Need for the site. All right. And I'm like, great longtime friend product, product member, um, has the key solution. Anyway. Um, Brandon, would you tell us a little bit for those of you that don't know you, and, and, uh, tell us a little bit about what you do, uh, your work in WordPress from both product and services side?

Brandon Dove: Yeah, uh, thanks having me on by the way. And, um, yeah, so, uh, I run a, a company called Pixel Jar. [00:01:00] That, uh, we've been doing WordPress stuff for a very long time. Um, we started our business in 2004 and, um, you know, just, uh, through our work with not only clients and, and services that we provide, um, have, have found sort of a, a niche in building plug-ins for our, our customers.

And, um, some of those are great one-time use things for our customers, but. , in other cases, they're, they're bigger, sort of, um, needs amongst the community. And so, uh, our product Ad Sani launched from just such a, uh, an instance where we had a, a customer who was, who had a wedding blog that was highly trafficked.

They had been using another plugin that was just tanking their site. And so at the time, you know, we decided to build them a custom solution for advertising and it worked for them. Um, it kept their site up and, and kept making them [00:02:00] money. And so we talked to them about like releasing it to, to the broader community to see if people would be able to benefit in the same way.

And, um, they were agreeable to that. And, um, yeah, we, we put it out in the market.

Cory Miller: Well, I want to talk about that, that whole experience too, because I know a lot of people on the on agencies go, “Hey, what if we did this product?” And you've done this unique organic experience that came out of. Um, your work, which I think is so cool for agencies to think about that there might be an opportunity to do a product.

And I've seen so many agencies like you, you know, this, uh, friends of ours that have done products, well, maybe they haven't monetized directly from them, but it's been a part of their portfolio and all that kind of stuff. So, um, how has that experience agency and then having this product. That you'd like, you work on, I know you're passionate about it.

I've talked to you in the pa part about it, but tell me from that agency experience, what that journey has been like. [00:03:00]

Brandon Dove: Uh, yeah, it's, it's tricky for sure, right? Um, you know, our core services are, um, taking care of our customers, our clients who come to us and need more custom solutions, like that's our bread and butter.

Um, but you know, as agencies, it's, it's great to be able to. You know, sort of, um, get past the ebb and flow of work to have a, a baseline of income that's recurring revenue from a product kind of type of, uh, business. And so that's, that's sort of where, you know, we really focus on ad sanity to, to provide that for us is, is that that cushion to really start off our month every month with like, okay, we're gonna, we're gonna make this much money.

We can, you know, we can. Uh, count on that. And, um, so then it's like, uh, from an organizational standpoint, how do we focus time on this when we've got clients who are saying, Hey, I, I need you to complete this work by this deadline, or whatever. You know, that that push and [00:04:00] pull of product development in that is, is sometimes really tricky.

Um, I've talked to some product only houses that say it's just not possible to do well, um, between products and services. And in some days I definitely feel like that it's, it's really hard to, um, especially for a small team like ours, to, you know, please everybody all the time. And, um, so we've, we've set.

Over the years at Sandy Launch in 2011. So it's been around for a long time. Um, and so throughout that time we've spent, um, you know, a lot of time on it in some instances and also in some instances, not a lot of time because client services had a ramped up. So we're, um, we're in the middle of trying some, some more dedicated resources towards the product to even out development, um, between the two different sides of our business.

And, um, it's a work in progress, right now ?

Cory Miller: So I appreciate that. I think hearing [00:05:00] that Will is gonna be help a lot of people as they're thinking through this. Cuz I think there's this perpetual, you know, pressure to say, do I have a product when you're doing client services? But then I talk to so many people that are very, very happy doing client work only.

Yeah. Um, And then some people like me that have failed miserably at client work and go, well, it's product. So I think it's cool. It's been around very long time. Um, it makes money. Uh, and now it seems like what I hear too is it's an opportunity to even diversify your overall business' revenue. Yep. And, um, I know you're, you're passionate about product, like this is something you've poured into with that sanity in particular, just talking to you in the past.

So, um, I think that's all, um, super cool to hear, hear, and then it has potential. Mm-hmm. . It could stay here and we'd be happy with it, but it has more potential if we might put some in there. And I think that's a, that's a really nice [00:06:00] place to be in the product space. Like we said, there's plugins out there that, you know, agencies maintain for themselves that probably don't make, you know, money.

Sure. Um, but are those portfolio pieces,

Brandon Dove: and I think that's one of, that's a, it can be a drag like, um, We've put out free plug-ins before we ever put out paid plug-ins and supporting that as a service. Is really hard, right? Like if you have plug-ins that aren't making you money, but they're useful to the community, sometimes you put those out there and say, well, some people might be able to use this.

Those often get unsupported. They don't, they don't really ever change code because, you know, unless you have a very large team. Um, but, uh, It, it, it's hard because you're like, well, how do I, how do I put that into my business, uh, if I'm not making money off of it, but I have customers or clients who are paying me.

So that, that, that is tricky. I think if you have a free plugin. But, um, ad sanity started really [00:07:00] small, um, really lightweight, really basic as far as ad plug-ins go, but over time we added functionality through add-ons and things like that, that made it more robust.

Cory Miller: Well, tell me about the plugin itself. Uh, I've, I've obviously used it, but tell us a little bit about where the product is today, and then I'll ask you where you're kind of go, what your thoughts and ideas are for the future for the plugin.

Brandon Dove: Yeah, so the, at the core of Ad Sanity, it's just, it's a custom post type. So for developers out there or people who are very familiar with WordPress, it, it's, it utilizes a lot of WordPress core functionality, which is what we wanted, right? We didn't want to build independent systems that we're gonna add to WordPress.

We wanted to make sure that we tied in as closely as possible to the WordPress editing experience. So, Any user could pick it up and, and build with it. And so, um, out, out of the box, it's, you know, custom post type that supports a featured image. So if you have a relationship with a, an advertiser, you can take their, their ad assets, [00:08:00] dump 'em into a featured image, and we use a lot of the built-in WordPress, um, queries and things like that to keep things really, keep things really performant. And you know, we have different blocks, widgets, template tags, like all sorts of different WordPress implementations to be able to display those in different ways on your site.

Like that's, Outta the box. That's the very, very basic stuff. We also support, um, ad ad networks. So we have a, an area where you can dump in ad network code if you want to use an ad sense or some other, um, ad network, you can just pop that in there. Um, and over time we added also HTML five ads, which was really, um, a lot of our customers were asking for and even just plain text ads.

Um, so you have some customization of a look and feel of those things, but, um, that's sort of out of the box core functionality. Um, I think there's some other things I'm probably glossing over, but, um, we, we created some additional add-ons to. [00:09:00] You know, enhance the functionality of the things that you might expect of expirations on impressions instead of just, um, like date-based ranges of like start and end dates.

Um, we have conditional advertising, so like, You can say, only show these ads on these categories. Um, but you have an ad group that has lots and lots of ads in it, so you can really slice and dice and display those, um, those ads where you want them, or based on user, user type or lots of different things.

Um, we've got a way for advertisers to get self-service reporting, so if you do build relationships through advertisers, they can log in. See all views, clicks, and click through, rate, all that stuff on their own. So you don't have to provide those to all your, your customer or your advertisers. Um, yeah, there's, there's probably like a, a few other I'm missing, but I think those are like some of the popular ones, um, that are on top of my head.

Cory Miller: Yeah. The ability to put ads on your [00:10:00] WordPress site. Um, uh, this, its, uh, I can assume will always exist, but. You know, trying to monetize onto the site and it does it very freshly Well, I was trying to remember when I logged in, seeing all the down the add-ons there for a second to help to, to share some isol.

Um, well, okay, so that's where the plugin is now. And, and I wanna just talk a little bit before we talk about the future of what you're trying to do with the plugin. I know a high value from you, from me and friends as long as we have talking about this product in particular, that you have a, you threaded align with this because.

You know, value, personal values, business values too. And in the subject of advertising, it's always this tricky like, line. Yeah. To, uh, to, to, to walk. So tell me about that. I, I know cuz we've talked about this subject is, you know, you, I go to this, I can't remember what the side is, but I'm like, man, I've got one answer by one inch square to actually.

What the text is and everything else is [00:11:00] video. And I know from past like that's one of the things I know you always card against. How do you navigate that line with the product?

Brandon Dove: I think like more and more lately, you know, advertising is sort of like, um, a four letter word almost. You know, people are like, I, I've got an ad blocker on my, my browser because I don't wanna see 17,000 ads when I'm just trying to read an article.

Right. And, and more big publishers are starting to go, okay, well, like, hold on a second. We were, we rely on that money. To, um, to be able to create this content. So I think what, what that's really led us to is how can we help all of our customers, our insanity customers, be good advertisers or good publishers, and not just spam.

Ads everywhere, all over their site. Um, and so we've done a lot of, um, writing on our site about, you know, best practices for advertising. Um, we actually have another ad-on, which is, um, [00:12:00] is an ad block detection because we want, we want our, to empower our publishers to start that conversation with their visitors, right?

We want them to be able to say, , I appreciate that you've got an ad blocker. I've got one too, or whatever, but here's why I have ads on my site. You know, I'm a small team of, of content creators. We rely on these advertisements to pay our bills. You know, either could you turn off your, your ad blocker for our site, you know, like, like whitelist us or in some cases we've been talking.

Creating a membership so that people become members to your site and you can disable using the conditional ads add-on. You can disable ads for users who are logged in or at a certain level. Um, so again, it creates, um, more of a community around your site. It allows you to, to connect with people who are visiting your site and actually have more meaningful conversations.

With them, um, and, and give them the kind of content that they want. Um, and, and in addition, be able to [00:13:00] provide advertising that's relevant to those people. So not only are they not turned off by the advertising, they're actually more willing to like look into those, those advertisements because it's something they're you're already writing about or something that's related to your content.

Cory Miller: I, I love that for two reasons. One is because, um, giving somebody an option that. , um, you know, like developer and explaining why we're doing this. I mean, post status.com, we take advertising in the form of sponsorships. We want people to see those and say thank you. And those advertisers have like goals, objectives, they wanna meet a part of that. And so it's like balancing that. I know, I know this, so I love that. You're like, Hey, I know you don't like it. Here's a path to help support us. Mm-hmm. . And then the second. Um, the ability from just a business model standpoint to go, you don't like 'em, turn 'em off.

Like come into, it's a great introduction to membership and that's, you know, [00:14:00] particularly during Covid, Brandon, I'm sure you saw this too, is like the rise in the. anecdotal data from friends around the sphere. Yeah. Is like membership sites were really hot core sites. L m s stuff was really hot and for good reason, people kinda left, has had a little bit more time and thought I'll do my pet project and stuff.

Yep. And I think this is that line you, you kind of balance with any kind of membership is. Strong enough front facing content to attract people to the membership. And I love that you've got a path for people to use, um, with, with those two scenarios. Mm-hmm. , hey, you don't like it? We don't either, but here's an opportunity and then a way to go.

I want to pay for the non-advertising version and to do that programmatically. I pr think it's pretty spectacular. Yeah.

All right. What, what, what else did I miss on, on that part? I love that you mentioned that particular add-on. Is there anything else that came to mind before I start talking about [00:15:00] the future and what you're trying to do?

Brandon Dove: I think one thing that I just, just, it's not specifically related to this, but one thing I, I did forget to mention when we were talking about agencies or like being an agency and having products is, um, what we have found in having ad sanity is there, there's always people who want customizations, right? Like we get that as an agency. People come in and they're like, Hey, we've got these seven plugins. We need 'em to work better together. Or we have, you know, this one plugin that we just need to tweak another 10% to get exactly.

Have it exactly do what we want. And as a product developer, it, it gives you like core knowledge about this plugin. Like I know how to modify ad sanity. Any use case probably. And so we have, like, we've had people come to us like looking for ad sanity and, and seeing it as a good platform, but they need another 10%, or in some cases they need an entire add-on built for it, um, to do what they want.

And, and that has been a huge revenue generator for, [00:16:00] for Pixel Jar. Um, and, and so like that, that, you know, Cross-selling opportunity. I think as far as an agency and a product space is, is actually really great.

Cory Miller: Well, we really didn't go deep into that, but I a hundred percent agree and I'm not from the a agency side, but I go a project that can generate work or an name brain that just being out there and knowing that you might have a plugin that somebody might go, huh, it's a cool plug.

I wonder who, who does it. And it's this awesome agency. Could lead to a lot, a lot of work. And then I know there's companies in space and you got, you all might do this too, is companies approach you to build their integration plugin and continue to maintain it. And so you're like mm-hmm. . I, I think that's an excellent, I'm glad you came back to that because an excellent way to build the marketing exposure and, uh, drive revenue to your business.

Yeah. Even [00:17:00] some of the ones, like our friends over at WebDev Studios, I know they've got custom post op ui and I think to myself, what a great calling card. Yeah. Because I think it's installed over a million times on the repo. And, um, but what a great calling card, you know, to say when you're talking to a client or to get, be out there in the mainstream.

Um, how have the free plugins you've done in the past worked? Um, there, there's bound to be some net effect that's helped, but how has that experience gone from the free.

Brandon Dove: Um, it's difficult, right? Like, um, I would say some of 'em are, um, you know, used on a couple thousand blogs or something like that. Like nothing to the extent of custom post type ui, um, which is a fantastic plugin.

We use that several times. Um, but, uh, but yeah, like, uh, for. It's, it's more of like the passion for the community that gets us to put those out. Um, the first, I think the first free plugin I [00:18:00] put out was because in 2009, There was a plug-in competition in New York, uh, word Camp New York, that, uh, it just, as a developer, it was a way for me to engage with that community.

Like I had never been to New York before. And, uh, because there was that plug-in competition where you were gonna be on stage and, and kind of talking about the plug-in you built, um, and you had to have a team that was, um, distributed. So you had to work with people, uh, that weren't just in your company or whatever.

So, um, I got the, the opportunity to work with people that would've never worked with otherwise. Uh, I flew out to New York to, to present, um, the plugin and, and I think that was like my favorite experience for building like a free plugin because, um, you know, being part of that WordPress community feeling, the collaboration was, was pretty awesome. I, I think for me it's more of a, it has to be more about the passion in, in that case than, you [00:19:00] know, having it be really like a, a lead generator in a lot of cases.

Cory Miller: Yes, absolutely. And I mean, I would think the better, it helps showcase your core expertise, the work you do, um, e even better.

So, yeah, I like that. All right. Well, Let's talk about the future of added sanity and what you got planned and what you're thinking about, um, a little bit more in depth. So what's next for the, the product?

Brandon Dove: Uh, that's a good question. Like I said, um, we are, uh, we're experimenting with dedicated resources for the, the product.

So while we continue to maintain it, build new features here and there, it's not as like, it, it's, we don't have a dedicated team to it. So, um, it, it, it can, sometimes development can come sometimes slow. So I think that's, that's part of our plans next year is, is really to dedicate resources to it. We, we are also as [00:20:00] many plugins are, um, sort of like finding our way with all of the new block editing stuff.

We, we addressed a lot of our core functionality with block editing. Um, we integrated with a couple page builders at the same time. But I mean, the, the way site editing is evolving, um, will probably. Further and deeper than we expect. And so we've been following a lot of the, the development on, on site editing and Gutenberg and, and all of that stuff.

And I think you know what it means for us, like I am, I'm a backend more PHP focused developer. So what it means for us is really, you know, fully embracing more JavaScript life, um, and, and becoming, uh, You, you know, more in tune and more ingrained with what, with what WordPress is offering at its core.

Because that was our initial mantra is like being, [00:21:00] being very, um, focused on what WordPress offers out of the box and making it an easy to use experience. So I think like the, the big thing that we've been focusing on is trying to plan, how do we want to integrate with, with the site editing experience in a better way and, um, , you know, how does that rework our entire user interface potentially.

Um, and also as a product developer who's been around for a long time, how do we not alienate customers that have been with us for years and years and years?

Cory Miller: So, Yeah, that we could do a whole public podcast series on how to balance like agency time and resources with the, with that product. Mm-hmm. , um, for sure.

And that equation, when does it make sense? But I was right in here, some of the reasons we've talked about why an agency might consider doing a product and one, I was just thinking, I know you'll do this part of your client work, but the product is probably an excuse too [00:22:00] to. Dig in and really stay in touch with full side where the software itself is going.

Yeah. Uh, in addition to like flexing your expertise muscle and all that.

Brandon Dove: And Beyond that, it's, it's like we're in charge. Right? A another benefit of an agency with a product is like all day you work servicing clients who have requests for you to do exactly what they say, but when you're a product owner, you get to decide what gets built.

Like you might have customers who are saying, Hey, we need this feature. But you ultimately get to decide like, do I wanna build that feature? Do I wanna support that feature? Is it good for the broader customer base that I have? Um, so there's some freedom in that as well.

Cory Miller: Yeah, like a change of pace too, you know.

Mm-hmm. , um, like you said, I, I got change of pace when you said that. It's like, okay, we have to do what the client ultimately wants over here, potentially, but over here we get to like make our way and see, and that creative freedom freedom's gotta be nice. Yeah, definitely. Balance [00:23:00] with, okay. We still wanted to pay , you know, make money.

Yeah. We don't want to just spend it on a research project.

Brandon Dove: Yeah. That tracking is important too, right? Like, whatever time you're spending on it, you wanna make sure it's, it's effective. You know, just like as a developer, if you're building a new feature, you wanna make sure it's not impacting the performance of the plugin, things like that.

So you gotta, you gotta weigh those things for sure.

Cory Miller: Yeah. And just there, it just kind of ping my thing so you. hours you all spend as a company on the product. Yep. That's excellent. Because then you're able to make better informed decisions. Okay, we just spent 50 or 500 hours this quarter, year, whatever it is, right?

In making those decisions, having some of the data. That's awesome. Mm-hmm. . See, I like talking to the real agency pros, ,

Brandon Dove: You gotta know.

Cory Miller: Yep. That's true. All right, Brandon. Well thanks for, um, talking about all this. Is there anything that I missed that you want to. And talk about with the plugin and,

Brandon Dove: um, no, I think, I think [00:24:00] that's, that's most of it.

You know, I, I think, you know, we're, we're not going anywhere. That's, that's, uh, um, you know, when development slows, sometimes people get like, is this plugin still active? Like, yeah, we're, we're still grinding on this and, and we don't anticipate it going anywhere. There's a lot of other advertising plugins out there.

and, um, you know, I still think that that, you know, I, I'm personally biased, but I still think ours is the best. Mm-hmm. . Um, so we're, we're gonna continue to, to keep up with what, what WordPress is doing and make sure that it's, it's doing what we can for our customers to be successful.

Cory Miller: Cool. Well, I know you're in Post Status , but where can we find Ad Sandy and learn more about you and Pixel Jar ?

Brandon Dove: Yeah, ad sanity plugin.com is the website. Um, and uh, from there you can get over to pixeljar.com as well. But, um, yeah, all the information's on ad sanity plugin.com. Our, our socials are, you know, burning cuz of Twitter. I don't know , uh, but uh, yeah, we're [00:25:00] on, we're on twitter at adsanityplugin.com (???) and Facebook as well, so wherever you still hang out.

Yeah. ,

Cory Miller: we'll be there. Yeah, exactly. All right. Thanks Brandon for sharing about Ed Sandy in our Product People series at Post Status draft. We'll see you all next time. Thanks, Cory.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

by Olivia Bisset at March 10, 2023 03:44 AM under Yoast

March 09, 2023

WPTavern: WordPress 6.2 RC 1 Released and Ready for Testing

WordPress 6.2 RC 1 was released today, marking the hard string freeze and readiness for translation ahead of the official release on March 28. There are three weeks remaining for testing.

WordPress contributors published the 6.2 Field Guide, which includes the dev notes – technical updates for many of the new features and changes included in this release. These include editor component updates, notes on new and expanded APIs, accessibility updates, and more.

Plugin and theme developers are advised to test their extensions for compatibility and update the “Tested up to”  version in their readme files to 6.2. (A separate testing guide is available for those who are testing the changes in this release.)

A bug that was introduced in 6.2 Beta 1, which showed a white screen when using the browser’s back button inside the Site Editor, was fixed earlier this week in the 6.2 Beta 5 release. This is a major issue that would likely affect millions of users, and it underscores the fact that testing at this phase is still important. Bugs can be reported via the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums or by filing a bug report on WordPress Trac.

by Sarah Gooding at March 09, 2023 09:15 PM under WordPress

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 6.2 Release Candidate 1

WordPress 6.2’s first release candidate (RC1) is here and ready for testing.

Reaching this part of the release cycle is a key milestone. While we consider release candidates ready for final release, additional testing and use by the community can only make it better.

The official release of 6.2 is just three short weeks away on March 28. In open source, we say with many eyes, all bugs are shallow, so we ask everyone across the WordPress ecosystem—theme and plugin developers, educators, agencies, and creators—to jump in and help test.

This version of the WordPress software is under development. Please do not install, run, or test this version of WordPress on production or mission-critical websites. Instead, it is recommended that you test RC1 on a test server and site. 

You can test WordPress 6.2 RC1 in three ways:

Option 1: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).

Option 2: Direct download the RC1 version (zip).

Option 3: Use the following WP-CLI command:

wp core update --version=6.2-RC1

First-time tester? Here’s a guide to getting started.

What’s in WordPress 6.2 RC1

This release includes over 900 enhancements and fixes and is the first major release of 2023. 

WordPress 6.2 comes packed with enhancements to make everything you do smoother, faster and a little more inspired:

  • A refreshed Site Editor for easier template browsing
  • A new sidebar experience in the Navigation block for simpler menu management
  • Reorganized block settings with separate tabs for Settings and Styles
  • New inserter design that lets you add Media—including Openverse and its more than 600-million-item catalog, plus your entire Media Library—and better categories
  • More header and footer patterns for block themes
  • A new Style Book that shows your entire site’s look and feel all in one place
  • New controls to let you copy and paste block styles for faster, simpler design across your whole site
  • Custom CSS you can add for those finishing touches, per block and globally
  • Sticky positioning to keep important blocks fixed when scrolling
  • Distraction Free mode for moments you want to focus on writing
  • New options that let you import certain widgets from classic to block themes
  • The removal of the Site Editor’s beta label—welcome to the next generation of WordPress

Want to see some of these featured highlights in action? Check out the WordPress 6.2 Demo recorded March 2, 2023.

Do you crave a deep dive into tech specs? These recent posts cover a few of the latest technical updates. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should get you started: 

These are also compiled into a comprehensive WordPress 6.2 Field Guide.  

Let’s go on a bug hunt!

Without your testing support, hitting important product milestones would be a much bigger challenge. It’s also a meaningful way to contribute to the project. If it’s your first time, or it’s been a while, this detailed guide is a great resource to lean on. 

From a global perspective, every time you test a pre-release version, you help secure the future of WordPress. How? By helping the community prove the software is stable, easy to use, and as bug-free as possible. 

Want to know more about testing releases in general? You can follow along with the testing initiatives that happen in Make Core. You can also join the #core-test channel on the Making WordPress Slack workspace.

If you think you have run into an issue, please report it to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, you can file one on WordPress Trac. You can also check your issue against a list of known bugs.

Interested in the details on the latest Gutenberg features? Find out what’s been included since WordPress 6.1 (the last major release of WordPress). You will find more details in these What’s new in Gutenberg posts for 15.1, 15.0, 14.9, 14.8, 14.7, 14.6, 14.5, 14.4, 14.3, and 14.2.

A special thanks to WordPress plugin and theme developers

Do you build plugins and themes? Your products play a special role in helping WordPress do more things for more people across the world. In turn, more people in the WordPress Community mean a bigger, more robust open web.

Chances are, you have already been testing your latest versions against the WordPress 6.2 betas. With RC1, you will want to finalize your testing and update the “Tested up to” version in your plugin’s readme file to 6.2. 

If you find compatibility problems, please post detailed information to the support forums.

Help translate WordPress

Do you speak a language other than English? ¿Español? Français? Português? Русский? 日本? Help translate WordPress into more than 100 languages. This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 6.2 release cycle.

Hungry for even more?

Want to know more about what went into the making of WordPress 6.2? Please check out the 6.2 release cycle, the Make WordPress Core blog, or search for all things 6.2 related

Another haiku for 6.2—it’s tradition! 

Beta has left us
The code sings such happy songs
Six point two RC

Thank you to the following contributors for collaborating on this post: @laurlittle @cbringmann, @audrasjb, @jpantani. Haiku by @nomad-skateboarding-dev.

by marybaum at March 09, 2023 05:39 PM under releases

WPTavern: Lemmony: A Free WordPress Block Theme with 30+ Patterns

Lemmony is a new WordPress block theme designed by the team at Shufflehound, a theme development company based in Europe with commercial products on Themeforest. This is the team’s first block theme on WordPress.org and it is a strong debut.

Lemmony is a beautifully-designed multipurpose theme that would work well for businesses, agencies, and portfolio websites. It features the Plus Jakarta Sans font face for both headings and paragraph text, a geometric sans serif style, designed by Gumpita Rahayu from Tokotype.

The homepage includes bold, full-width immersive images offset with calls-to-action and blocks featuring a variety of different ways to present information. Scrolling the page reveals tasteful (and optional) animation that brings the content to life.

Lemmony packages more than 30 custom block patterns to help users design and build pages. These include multiple heroes with lists and calls-to-action, heroes with images and titles, partner logos, query with a sidebar, services grid, services with video, team members, and more – nearly every kind of pattern that a business website might require.

Lemmony also packages five full-page patterns for services, gallery, contact, about, and the front page, making it easy to simply drop the pattern in place for the most common pages found on a brochure website.

This theme offers a solid user experience for those who are just getting started building their websites. After installing and activating Lemmony on a fresh site, it will look nearly exactly like the live demo. Everything on the front page is in place with placeholder content, including different menu items, just waiting for the user to add, remove, or edit the blocks. The user doesn’t have to start from scratch do any guesswork about where things go in the design. This is the kind of experience that all block themes should provide.

Lemmony comes with a companion plugin that includes additional customer blocks and other features, such as the custom icons seen in the demo. It will prompt the user after installing the theme to install the plugin as well to get more features. If the user is editing a page and inserts a pattern that includes icons, the theme will allow users to install the plugin directly from the editor. It’s a very smooth experience for including features that require an additional plugin. The plugin is optional and most of the designs seen in the demo work without it installed.

In the future, Lemmony’s creators plan to include more website templates, which would make it easier and faster to set up different kinds of sites. Overall, the theme feels snappy, has an unusually large variety of patterns, and is responsive and looks great on mobile. The installation experience is user-friendly and provides a good starting point for jumping into full-site editing. Check out the live demo and download Lemmony for free from the WordPress Themes Directory.

by Sarah Gooding at March 09, 2023 04:20 AM under free wordpress themes

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March 20, 2023 10:45 PM
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