Proposal for new feature on WordCamp.org sites to hide certain pages from WordPress/Search Engine search results.

The Problem

In Orange County, we organize a golf tournament for the day before WordCamp. The page I’d want to hide from WordPress search is a confirmation page with details about the event for the subset of attendees who are going to that event. It’s nothing secret, just didn’t want it to be confusing for other attendees if they were searching for “golf” looking for the announcement post about the golf tournament and found the confirmation page I created.

In discussions on #meta-wordcamp another related use case was brought up by @kcristiano:

Another use case I’ve had is posting Speaker, Volunteer info, and sponsor information to the site. Much easier for those folks to find nothing “secret” beyond perhaps the date/time of volunteer event. We don’t put the page in the menu, the url is given to those who need it. Would be nice to not have search engines index and wp search not find it. Keeps all the info in the site (as opposed to Gdocs).

The Proposal

  • Create a checkbox in the publish metabox with a label “Don’t show this page in search results” (or similar messaging)
  • Create a filter on search results query to exclude pages with the meta key we store for the checkbox.
  • Create a filter on all related json api endpoints to exclude pages with the meta key we store for the checkbox.
  • Add noindex tags to pages that have the checkbox selected

Please weigh in with your thoughts on the usefulness/need for this feature.

#wordcamps #feature-request

The new WordCamp base theme: CampSite 2017

In our last post on the current status of the new WordCamp base theme, we got some great feedback on how to improve the theme even further. The feedback has been implemented and the new theme is ready for review.

“Day of” page template

One of the ideas from the feedback we wanted to implement was the “day of” template. This is a page template with some additional widget areas. They can be used to arrange a page, that can be used on the day of the WordCamp. Things you might want to have on homepage on that day: the schedule, directions, social media stream, information about the after party, etc. As in the widget areas, you can use shortcodes in text widgets, it’s very easy to dynamically setup such a page.

Example of the day of template

This is an example on how this could look like. The width of the widget areas can be adjusted using CSS.

A11y

As the new theme is based on the latest version of Underscores, it already comes with a lot of a11y improvements. But themes like TwentySeventeen even go one step further. So, for the two navigations we have on the site, we implemented the improvements from TwentySeventeen (like including a “dropdown-toggle” button next to sub menus).

Ready to review

We believe, that the new theme is ready to go live on WordCamp.org, so we would like to invite you, to review the current codebase on Github.

The theme itself comes with no style (except for some basic CSS from Underscores). For WordCamp Europe, we just finished our complementary style guide we presented in our first blog post and we will publish it in the next days for any WordCamp to use.

#feature-request #wordcamps #wceu #campsite-theme

Feature Request: Give WordCamp attendees ability to mark/save sessions of interest on camp schdeule

Attending WordCamp is great, but as an attendee I have to repeatedly refer to the schedule to see which talks I wanted to go to next and which room I should be in, etc. I’d like to suggest a new feature to enable users to create a custom track from a published schedule on a WordCamp website. A way for users to select their desired session and somehow save this “custom” track or collection of sessions.

What does saving mean?

I think the MVP would be save and print or email the custom schedule/agenda. The user would select one talk (maybe more? if they’re interested in multiple sessions) per time slot to attend by clicking that slot in the schedule, and visually the schedule would highlight marked sessions. Perhaps selecting a session would even create a new list of sessions as that attendees custom agenda for the Camp and that agenda can be printed. I’m sure proper UX would deem it necessary to include some type of buttons or interface to add a session to an agenda and then to remove selected sessions too. As MVP, this could be front-end only and not even save any data. It could populate an email or be ready to print – or even simply allow users to keep the page open on their phone for quick glances during the conference.  I especially see this agenda layout being useful on mobile, where it’s tough to fit a complex schedule.

For a nicer experience though, the site would save the user’s selections and allow them to return to the schedule to see their saved/selected sessions. Ideally this would be tied to their .org account or something so either on the computer or phone they could log in and view their saved agenda.

How could it be useful to more than just the attendee?

Then if we end up being able to save this data, why not allow users to opt-in to share their schedule with other attendees or even the public. Attendees and sessions are displayed, let’s connect them. Each session abstract could indicate interest either by how many attendees have selected this talk or even list all interested attendees. I could see this being useful information to gauge general interest for talks and may help ensure to have ample space for each session. For example, if one session has a high level of interest it could be moved to a larger room to account for more attendees. Anyways, I digress…

Here I’ve mocked up a quick and ugly schedule with some marked sessions:

wordcamp raleigh schedule with marked sessions

Here’s a nasty screenshot of a schedule for WordCamp Raleigh with sessions marked as proposed. Notice there are two sessions saved at 11am, while only one session for later times.

The main point here is to have a way that when viewing the WordCamp schedule, attendees can select which sessions they are most interested in to create their own agenda during a WordCamp, and then a convenient way for users to save this agenda for quick reference during WordCamp. Sharing this interest may help attendees network and connect with others before and during the event. This data could possibly provide general feedback to organizers for planning purposes too.

I don’t believe this is the first time this type of idea has come up and I’ve had positive feedback from others and hope this can generate a useful discussion and roadmap. Thoughts?

#improving-wordcamp-org, #wordcamp-org, #wordcamps #feature-request

Improvements to the attendees shortcode

With large WordCamps like WordCamp Europe and WordCamp US, the current implementation of the attendees shortcode becomes a problem. Showing more than 2000 attendees on a single page is not only bad for performance, but also for UX (like scrolling such a long page on a mobile and loading all the attendees including images).

Current performance optimizations

The current implementation of the shortcode has some tricks to increase the performance. For longer attendees lists, they are loaded in batches of 200. The generated HTML of all attendees is cached in a transient for 1 hour (24 hours after the WordCamp).

To help with the attendees Gravatar images, a lazy loading mechanism was implemented. This is very useful not only on desktop, but also helps on mobile saving bandwidth.

Improvements with the new shortcode

For the new default theme the WordCamp Europe team is working on, “CampSite 2017”, we first thought about implementing an archive page for the attendees page. But this would be inflexible and it would also only help the new default theme. The current shortcode also offers some attributes to show content gathered from attendees through additional questions. This would not be as easy with an archive page template. So we instead are trying to improve the shortcode.
Adding pagination to the shortcode
Although the current shortcode has an posts_per_page attribute, this does not add a pagination to the shortcode, but only reduces the number of visible attendees. So that doesn’t help. But we changed this attribute to enable pagination links, if present:

Attendees list with pagination links

The pagination use function paginate_link with accessible links.

Adding a search for attendees

One benefit of having all attendees on a single page is an easy search for them using the browser search. On a paginated page, a search makes it also easy to search for friends and colleagues on the attendees list. Adding the search field can be done with the new with_search attribute set to true:

Attendees list with search field

The search result is also paginated with the same number of attendees per page.

Keeping backward compatibility

As changing the shortcode will affect any WordCamp site, we implemented the new features in a way, that they are only active, if the attributes posts_per_page and/or with_search are set. We also kept the image lazy loading and we still cache the resulting HTML (per page/search) in a transient.

Feedback

For the upcoming WordCamp Europe (June), we would really like to see this new feature available as soon as possible. Please feel free to give us your feedback on the new functionality so we can move forward.

#wordcamps #feature-request