UX and Storytelling Resources

Complementary to my talk called “Designing without Color” at WordCamp US, I’ve put together some resources around the fundamentals of UX design and storytelling in web design:

I hope these are useful to learn more about the topics.

Designing without Color

I have a crazy idea – let’s remove color from design! No, I’m not talking about designing in black and white. I believe we should take color out of the equation, completely. Because it is quite irrelevant. No, no, no, hear me out. I’m talking about the early stages of a project and everything that comes before visual design. That is when we need to forget color exists. This will allow us to focus on what’s really important: Crafting an engaging experience while solving problems for people. So we need to focus first and foremost on the user and the content, not the design.

Visual design is important, yes, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. We ultimately want to achieve IMPACT. I argue that a visually beautiful website isn’t really worth the pixels it occupies on the web, if it isn’t usable, useful and speaks to it’s audience.

Let’s explore the most important fundamentals of designing an engaging experience that creates impact. Continue reading “Designing without Color”

CritiquePress – WordCamp Denver

I was honored to be invited to speak at WordCamp Denver for CritiquePress. I’ve shared the stage with the amazing Meg Delagrange, a local designer extraordinaire. We’ve given valuable real-time feedback for designs that have been submitted in advance in a hybrid town-hall / panel discussion format.

I understand that getting your website or the design you’ve created critiqued can make you feel vulnerable. Especially in front of an audience. I however believe it’s important to share your work and get feedback. There is always something that can be improved. Sometimes the smallest change can have the biggest impact.

critiquepress

As designers we sometimes tend to be perfectionists. But perfect is the enemy of done. Websites are a living thing, it’s better to iterate as content grows. Over time we learn more about our audience and how they interact with the website. It’s always recommend to ship early and continue to iterate.

Meg and I critique each website based on the following categories: User Flow, Storytelling, Layout, and Accessibility.

We’ve gathered some resources on the topic we’d like to share with you:

Design & User Experience

Accessibility

Slides of presentation can be found on Speakerdeck.

Join me at WordCamp Denver

My travels over the past year and a half have taken me to many beautiful places. One of those incredible places was Colorado. I’m excited to return and meet the local WordPress community.

I’ll be on a Design panel with the wonderful Meg Delagrange. We will be reviewing websites and give constructive and actionable feedback on how to improve the User Experience and Design of a website. This will give you an insight in how we approach projects, solve problems for the user, and help clients to better connect to their audience.

Join us at WordCamp Denver November 5-6 and submit your site for review during CritiquePress.

WordCamp Denver Speaker Badge

Lost in Translation: What I learned by Contributing to the Polyglots Team

I’m going to tell you why you should care about WordPress Translations, even if you don’t speak any other languages besides English.

Today WordPress powers 26% of the Internet. It is now a teenager and has been growing constantly over the past 13 years. It was created here in the U.S., so it’s “native” language is English. But for a CMS to grow globally, English is not enough.

So how many languages does WordPress speak?

WordPress speaks more than 100 languages and is learning new languages every day by it’s amazing community, the Polyglots. It has 162 locales, and 56 locales are translated at 100%. That means that every string in WordPress, the dashboard and default themes are fully translated. Continue reading “Lost in Translation: What I learned by Contributing to the Polyglots Team”

I’m speaking at WordCamp New Orleans next month

I’ve passed through New Orleans once two years ago during an epic road trip from Orlando to Seattle. The two nights I’ve spend in Nola were barely enough to soak in the amazing and very unique culture. I’m excited to return to New Orleans to listen to lots of Jazz and speak at WordCamp Nola next month. It will be great to meet the local community and talk about translating WordPress.

wcnola

My friend the Impostor Syndrome

Four years ago I was working in New York on a project. It was a strategy project for a big media company. They got 10,000 visitors a day. Whereas all my previous projects would get 1,000 hits a day or less. So it was 10 times bigger than anything I’ve ever worked on.

One day I went to work, I approached the huge silver building in Midtown Manhattan, walked through the revolving door and into an empty elevator. Even before I reached the 46th floor I found myself crying. But I pulled myself together, walked into the office and started my day. A few days later the same thing happened again and only after I found myself crying in the elevator for the third time I knew I had to do something. Continue reading “My friend the Impostor Syndrome”

I’ll be speaking at WordCamp NYC again this year

The very first time I spoke at a WordCamp was in 2012 at WordCamp New York. I spoke about Responsive Design back then, which was the hot topic at the time. This year I have the honor to share the stage again with so many amazing people in the community. I’ll be speaking about my experience with the Impostor Syndrome and how I am overcoming it. I hope to inspire others to talk about how it is effecting them.

WordCamp NYC is happening July 15th to 17th. It is hosted at the United Nations during OpenCamp, a week of events organized by different Open Source projects. I’m very excited to see how OpenCamp will bring different Open Source communities together to foster conversation and hopefully we can learn from each other.

speaking-wcnyc-box-logo

Lessons learned from 7 years freelancing as a WordPress Designer and Developer

Seven years ago, I was stuck in a full-time job. I was overworked, under-appreciated, and I didn’t feel challenged. I was working as a Graphic Designer and wanted to transition to web design, but none of the companies I’ve worked for gave me a chance to grow in this direction. I felt trapped and I didn’t see it go anywhere.

This article is based on a talk I gave at the WordPress Meetup in Sofia on April 19 called “Lessons learned from 7 years of freelancing as a WordPress Designer and Developer” in which I shared my experiences.

Freelancing was on the back of my mind for a while, but I was scared to fail. Continue reading “Lessons learned from 7 years freelancing as a WordPress Designer and Developer”

WordCamp Switzerland 2015

I always enjoy meeting new people and catching up with good friends in the European WordPress community. This past weekend I went to WordCamp Switzerland, a very well-organized, fun WordCamp.

The single-track lineup, a mix of full sessions and lightning talks, was excellent, for one because the selection of topics was diverse and more so because all speakers shared their personal experiences on the topic they spoke about. The event venue was setup perfectly to connect with many of the 200 attendees in between sessions and during breaks.

WordCamp Switzerland 2015 – Q&A with WordPress Experts Pascal Birchler and Konstantin Obenland
WordCamp Switzerland 2015 – Q&A with WordPress Experts
Pascal Birchler and Konstantin Obenland

I had the pleasure to speak at the event and share my experiences working remotely as a WordPress freelancer. I shared reasons why I love working remotely and the challenges it come with. How I stay motivated and find community. You can find my slides on Speaker Deck.

WordCamp Switzerland 2015 – Petya Raykovska
WordCamp Switzerland 2015 – Petya Raykovska

The Contributor Day Sunday drew quite a lot of experienced and first-time contributors. It’s always great to see more people getting involved and giving back. Petya gave a great intro and her enthusiastic nature draws you right in! I decided to join the Polyglots team this time and really enjoyed translating 400 strings of the iThemes Security plugin into German. If you speak multiple languages and you’d like to contribute to the Polyglots team as well, you can find more information at: https://translate.wordpress.org

A huge thank you to all the organizers (Karin, Silvan, Noel, Andrew, Pascal, and the rest of the amazing team), the volunteers and sponsors for putting together such an amazing event and fun after-party!!

See you again next year!