November 2015 Notes

Topic was the Designer-Developer relationship and workflows

Facilitator Barb (for Gabe) Please add in your thoughts, I wasn’t taking notes


Because we all practice different skills in the designer-developer wheelhouse, there is no hard and fast workflow to follow—or partnerships to forge. The overall summary was: follow best practices and inform your partners early in the process if possible.

Designer perspective:

Barb’s process is before any web implementation is planned, a brand identity foundation is established. This isn’t always possible, but recommended. The following is a brief summary of the contents. This sets the most basic of marketing strategies and helps make design and development decisions when a marketing plan is not available.

  • Brand personality
  • Goals (1 year, measurable)
  • Competitive analysis (light, includes at least 3)
  • Audience personas for each segment
  • Tone of textual and visual content
  • Style guide for language, logo
  • Color palette

Other designers weighed in that a brand identity foundation, or discovery, would not be marketable to their client audience, and that to address these things more informally is their approach to keep costs down.

Developer perspective:

Make sure the designer has web experience and understands responsive, and can call out actions, states and interactivity.

Write code for mobile first.

A seamless browser-based design tool that exports clean and ordered code for WordPress may not be a realistic workflow right now.

Other thoughts:

Planning is the most important first step, and that includes the discovery phase. It can eliminate very expensive redesign and development.

Mark has a blog post on how to start planning:

And a guest post: that is equally important for any business, not only nonprofits.

Depending on whether you’re customizing an existing theme or starting from scratch, it is important to include the planning process with both designer and developer, depending on who is leading client management.

To say “I don’t know, let me check with my developer/designer” is a good way to handle things that come up mid-stream.

An interest in knowing what WP packaged themes were the most developer friendly [please list here]


September 2015 Notes

Upcoming Events

  • GiveCamp, October 2-4 – Nonprofit tech hackathon
  • InfoCamp, October 17 – Unconference about information architecture, UX, content strategy, etc.
  • WordCamp, October 24-25 – You know.

Resources / Sites That Came Up

Website priority venn diagram

Accessibility Presentation & Resources

Other Resources

  • Find the errors on my bad accessibility test page!
  • – New newsletter about accessibility from an Automattician. Could be a good way to help you keep thinking about accessibility!
  • Alt Text Decision Tree:


Testing Tools

Future Topics

Suggestion to discuss pricing when you’re coordinating other designers and developers.

We forgot our accountability check-in! Good news though: I moved my site before last month’s meeting we didn’t even have! I just so happened to move to Siteground too, so I’m happy to talk about it. They support wp-cli which I’ve had fun playing with.

Meeting Recap: July 2015


  • Take vacations! (And getting people to cover for you)
  • Merging businesses!
  • Expanding your business
  • Marketing your business


If you want to help organize, get involved soon! Email Morgan.

Upcoming Events

Vancouver WordCamp: August 15
GiveCamp: October 2?/3-4
InfoCamp: October 17-18
WordCamp (Seattle & Portland) October: 24-25

Weekly biz + WordPress meetup on the East side: Tech it Easy with WordPress


Should we add more members? What’s most important in new members? Some connection to WordPress. CONSISTENCY (at least the intention!). Having your own [established] businesses.

Future topics ideas (plenty of overlap with Future Topics):

  • Designer-developer collaboration
  • Core model (content development method, described on A List Apart)
  • Client relationships (various communication style assessments)
  • Usability (Sara leads or someone else)
  • Accessibility (Mark can lead discussions but would want to know what people want to know, Mark might treat good wordcamp talk)
  • Introduce some accountability group-style activities during checkins.
    • We will start doing this experimentally with check-ins next meeting.
    • First up: Mark will move his site hosting by the September meeting! You are allowed to bother him about that then.
  • Special WordPress tech topics with subset of group
  • “Lean coffee” (when we don’t have another topic)
  • One thing going well, three things not, one nonwork related thing
  • More demos/showcases/etc. with projector
  • Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools / Search Console

Future Meetings

There will be no full August meeting. Mark will email the tech people to see if they’re interested in meeting to discuss preprocessors/tech workflows.

Mark is tentatively presenting on accessibility in September (which will hopefully be a preview of his planned WordCamp talk)

Hosting Recommendation

I have recently been using SiteGround as my preferred hosting provider. I gave them a try after they contacted me and offered an affiliate plan. I heard from colleagues that they are a good WordPress host and reasonably priced – IvyCat hosts their clients on SiteGround.  While based in Europe (Bulgaria) , they have excellent support and everyone speaks English.  So, far I only have a few clients on SiteGround so I don’t have a huge sample to base by impressions on. However, I really like that they have a PCI compliant server (see the “GoGeek” plan in the link above). I have one client that sells coffee subscriptions which requires that they take and maintain credit cards on site. The subscription service means PCI compliance is essential and it was really easy with SiteGround.

Update: They just raised their rates a little but I’ve really liked them too. They have one-click Let’s Encrypt which I think is why they raised their rates. Not sure if the link above is an affiliate link or not. This is my affiliate link (Sheila).

June 2015 Meeting Notes

Not really a lot of notes from this meeting. We all talked about what is working well in our businesses and 1 or 2 challenges we are facing.

Social media referral:
Sara LeHoullier, Busybee Consulting

Also, totally unrelated to WordPress: Being Mortal (Frontline documentary, book)

Our next meeting is Tuesday, July 28, and we will talk about the next round of topics so bring your ideas and we will also look at our idea list.

May 2015 Meeting Minutes

News & Announcements

Please add!

Mark’s Presentation

a11y = accessibility *

wpa11y = WordPress accessibility (for hashtag purposes)

WP Accessibility plugin a “shim” for themes that need better contrast, skip-to-content links, etc. Also newly requires alt attributes on images!

Thanks for bearing with the technical difficulties! Coincidentally (actually not at all coincidentally), I also posted the videos from the slides on my blog this morning.

Here are the slides with lots of links to tools:

If you run one of those tests and need help understanding the results, I will help you!

* l10n = localization. i18n = internationalization. a16z = Andreessen Horowitz.