Introducing a new Mentor Tool: the Planning Checklist

Back in December I described a two-part project to give WordCamp mentors new tools to help them help camp organizers. Today I’m announcing that the second part of that, which we’re calling the Planning Checklist, is live and available on every WordCamp site. You can access it on sites for which you are an admin by clicking the Planning link in the Dashboard menu.

The Planning Checklist is a list of tasks that need to be completed before, during, and after a successful WordCamp. Organizers can use the checklist to make sure they’re not missing any important details as they go along. Mentors can use the checklist to monitor the progress of a camp and better understand what challenges the organizing team is currently facing. The hope is that this will facilitate more efficient and effective conversations between mentors and organizers.

In the Planning Checklist interface, the tasks are listed in roughly the order they need to be completed. All tasks start with a “Pending” status, and they can be marked as “Completed” or “Skipped” as appropriate. There are filters along the top of the list so you can view all of the tasks from a particular category, or with a particular status.

Many tasks also have a more detailed description, and/or a link to a relevant Handbook page that is revealed when you click on the task.

The Planning Checklist interface uses the REST API to sync changes to the server, so that if multiple people are looking at the list at the same time, any changes they make will happen in the other users’ browsers as well.

The content of the tasks is intentionally hard-coded, instead of being stored as editable content in the WordPress database. This way, if the mentor and the organizing team have chosen different locales for viewing the site, they can all still see the Planning Checklist details in their preferred language (assuming translations are available).

This is version 1. All feedback is welcome. If you have ideas for improving the content of the tasks, or the UI, let us know in the comments or start a feature request discussion.

If you would like to help translate all of this new task content, the project is here. (cc +make.wordpress.org/polyglots)

 

Big shoutout to those who made this project happen: @brandondove for coming up with the idea and guiding the development of the UI, @camikaos and @courtneypk for editing all the task data that I messily imported from a Google Spreadsheet, and @iandunn for a thorough code review.

#wordcamps #deputies

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

Progress update: New WordCamp theme “CampSite 2017”

As announced in a previous post, this year’s WordCamp Europe team is working on a new WordCamp base theme for the community. We’re calling it “CampSite 2017”. Since the announcement was made, we were able to gather initial feedback (which was primarily positive), solidify and further develop our ideas. I’d like to share our progress with you today to hear your feedback and thoughts.

Wireframes

After we heard your feedback from our introduction post, we made a list with all common pages, components, shortcodes used, etc. each WordCamp site would need. We then created and started refining wireframes of the main page templates (you can click through the different pages by opening the sitemap button on the top left of the online tool).

Homepage:
For the homepage we put the emphasis on flexibility and being able to tease to different content rather than having a very long blogroll (as often seen on WordCamp sites). This allows us to surface important content, feature relevant calls-to-action (like Call for Speakers, Buy your ticket, Call for Sponsors, etc.). We did want to include latest blog posts, but limited the number on the homepage. The layout is created mainly with widgeted areas where we allow for some additional flexibility (see “Widget Area Top 1” + “2”, where you can use one or both depending on your needs).

Attendees page:
We’re working on extending the attendees page shortcode to include pagination and a search functionality. Bernhard published a meta post about it.

Speakers page:
On the speakers page we were playing with different grids and types of information to output. Since the event organizers can include different fields / types of information for speakers, they can also decide what to output here. We’ll achieve this by extending the speakers shortcode and will publish a meta post with all the details soon.

Speakers bio page:
We’d like to include a little more information around speakers on this page. We would find it very useful to have prominent links to a speaker’s website and social profile. We furthermore feel that it would be very helpful to see the talk a speaker is giving would be shared on their speaker bio page, instead of having to click one more time to see their full talk info, as well as a link to the slides and talk video (once available). To achieve this will will create a new page template.

Footer:
Here we’d like to provide a simple footer with just the social links or an extended footer with additional widget areas for menus and other links.

General layout templates:
Furthermore we’ll create the following general layout templates that can be used for any regular content page on the WordCamp site:

The Theme Repo – work in progress

We’re using the latest version of Underscores as a base for the theme and setup a repo on Github for the theme. As pointed out in the previous post, most features implemented in the default theme were widgets areas. As shown in the wireframes, we will add some widget areas in the new theme, but with more specific positions. The new page templates will help with some special pages, like the speakers list and bio page or the homepage. A first version with the new templates will be published next week.

A11y

Accessibility will be an important aspect of the new CampSite 2017 theme. We’re planning on implementing A11y standards and once the theme is ready for testing would love the community’s help to do a separate A11y testing phase. We’ve received some feedback from the A11y team about the biggest issues of the current theme and the things that Underscores is still lacking. We will take some A11y changes from TwentySeventeen and integrate them into the new theme and ask the A11y for additional feedback, once the prototype is available.

PS: Style Guide

As mentioned in the announcement posts, the CampSite 2017 theme will be shipped with only minimal CSS so you can use it as a starter theme and add all your own CSS styles if you like. But we will also ship an accompanying style guide with full CSS styling open source. The style guide can be used as is, as a base for customization, or cloned and made fully your own. We will publish a full post about the style guide, how it works, and our vision for the future very soon.

Your feedback please!

We’re still working on quite a few things and would to hear your feedback about the wireframes, our ideas around the page templates and shortcodes, etc. This project is for you, it will benefit the greater WordCamp community and any organizer setting up a WordCamp site in the future. So we want to hear your voice!

#campsite-theme, #meta-wordcamp, #wordcamp-sites #wordcamps

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

Requiring WordCamp Speakers to have a WordPress.org account

A team of contributors is working on building a new tool for handling WordCamp speaker submissions. As part of that project, we’ve run into a question that we’d like help from the rest of the Community team to decide.

Should potential WordCamp speakers be required to have a WordPress.org account in order to submit their proposal?

Currently, potential speakers are required to log in before submitting a proposal. Some people feel like that doesn’t offer a substantial benefit, and that it creates a barrier for speakers, especially those outside the WordPress community who can offer valuable perspective. Others feel like having the data is beneficial, and an unwillingness to fulfill a minor requirement might be a red flag that they wouldn’t be a good representative of our community.

Our discussion from September 2015 has more details on the pros and cons. I remember there’ve been more discussion in Slack too, but I couldn’t find them. If you do, please link to them in the comments.

cc @jennybeaumont, @imath, @tomjn, @johnjamesjacoby

#wordcamps #feedback

Incubator Recap: WordCamp Harare

The first WordCamp Harare took place on 10 December 2016 and it was a great success. The local community is now super motivated to get involved in local events and make sure that WordCamp Harare 2017 is bigger and better than last year’s event. Despite the challenges mentioned below, the event organisation was really solid and everything ran very smoothly. The team has already started putting together their 2017 WordCamp and they are in the pre-planning phase right now.

Continue reading

#harare, #incubator, #wordcamps

WordCamp Talks Beta

I’m happy to announce that the Beta of the WordCamp Talks plugin is on GitHub and ready for testing, feedback, feature requests and PRs! \o/

https://github.com/imath/wordcamp-talks/releases/tag/1.0.0-beta1

This first step in the process forked the WP Idea Stream plugin and integrated the WordCamp-specific features previously grouped in an external file.

Reminder: our goal is to create a plugin for WordCamp sites that manages talk submissions and selections (similar to OpenCFP), integrating seamlessly with the existing Speaker post type (on the to do list).

Ref : https://make.wordpress.org/community/2016/05/11/wp-idea-stream-for-the-wordcamp-admin-toolbox/

All credit for current efforts goes to @imath, I’m just the messenger 🙂

#speakers, #toolkit, #wordcamps

WordCamp Design Kit Producing assets and finding a…

WordCamp Design Kit!

Producing assets and finding a visual direction for conferences or big events such as WordCamp can be a tedious task and represent a lot of work for designers. From not knowing where to start, thinking about every asset that’s needed, browsing the web to find out standard dimensions and looking for visual references, the challenges arise!

So, in order to facilitate and ensure an enjoyable workflow, I created this **fully customizable, free and open source design kit**. With this folder in hand, the designers get access to tangible inspiration, functional templates, and professional mockups. More than one could ask for! Made for designers and intended for the end-users, this guide should also be a source of motivation to generating brilliant visuals that prompt excitement towards the attendees, sponsors, volunteers, organizers, speakers and anyone involved in the event.

And because the beauty of customization lives in its opportunity for a unique flavor, I myself took great influence from my surroundings as I was building the template. In fact, you’ll notice a combination of the Silicon beach tech scene (through the icons, the generous white spaces, and the sans serif font) and the romantic colors of Venice Beach sunsets (via the compound colors ranging from purple to orange).

On that note, enjoy!

Preview it here »»
http://www.cristelrossignol.com/wordcamp-design-kit
Download it here »»
https://www.dropbox.com/s/dhdba8who7kdp61/wordCamp-design-kit_2017.zip?dl=0

WordCamp Design Kit

#wordcamps #toolkit #design

Regional WordCamps

There’s been discussion in our community lately about expanding the number of regional WordCamps in the community program. In this post, I’d like to give some historical context about how the program came to include regional events, and then discuss how regional WordCamps fit into the goals of the community team’s programs. Finally, I’d like to gather opinions and thoughts about what kind of criteria we should set to decide on how to add regional WordCamps to the program.

A little history

First came WordCamp SF, which was the first WordCamp ever and became to be the official annual conference of the WordPress open source project. Over the years, WordCamp SF grew as WordPress itself grew (quickly).

Then we tried a new event concept: WordCamp Europe, a large regional event that brings together WordPress community members in Europe to share knowledge and create closer community ties. When discussing WordCamp Europe with the first organizers in 2012, we set very specific goals:

  • to organize an event that exemplified the values of the WordPress project and the WordCamp program
  • to encourage the growth of local communities in Europe (to prompt more WordCamps, not less)

In 2014, WordCamp SF finally grew out of its historic home in the (edit) Moscone Center Mission Bay and became WordCamp US. Unlike the WordCamp Europe tradition of moving to a new city every year, WordCamp US currently moves to a new city every 2 years. WordCamp US is also the event that hosts Matt’s annual State of the Word address.

The success of these two events begs the question: why don’t we organize more regionally-based WordCamps?

Community team program goals: ALL OF THE CAMPS!

One goal for the WordPress Community program is to have a WordPress meetup and annual WordCamp in as many cities as possible in the world. So while regional or national events have a purpose, they should never be a replacement for our focus on supporting the growth and health of local communities.

Regional events are big events, and big events are challenging. A lot of program resources (volunteer time especially) go into organizing both WordCamp Europe and WordCamp US. So as we start thinking about adding more regional events to the program, the question of “how is our volunteer time best spent” is important. For example, if we had to choose between organizing 3 more WordCamps in CountryX, or organizing just one WordCamp CountryX, then we’d always go with 3 more WordCamps in CountryX — because that directly helps us meet our goal of “a WordCamp in every possible city.”

Of course, just as WordCamps don’t replace year-round monthly meetup events — but instead hopefully help the local monthly meetup community grow — regional WordCamps can also help our program grow by attracting people who weren’t already active in their community and/or inspiring attendees to start communities in their hometowns.

Community team program goals: ALL OF THE PEOPLE!

Another goal in the WordPress Community program (which dovetails nicely with our goal of having a community in as many cities in the world as possible) is to make WordPress community accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of their financial status or other factors that might limit travel.

Having several WordCamps in a certain country every year makes WordCamp more available to more people, even if those folks are not able to travel. So more WordCamps gets more good quality content to more people, which is another good reason not to allow regional WordCamps (even one that travels from city to city every year) to replace an active local WordCamp scene.

The Question

What should a region have, to make a regional WordCamp possible and beneficial to the overall community? Here’s my first stab at a set of expectations:

  1. Multiple, active local WordPress communities: Regional WordCamps need a lot of local, experiences volunteers wherever the event is hosted. If there aren’t already more than 3-5 local communities in a region that have experience hosting WordCamps (at least one but preferably two in a row), then a regional event won’t be able to move around and share the work of organizing a big regional event.
  2. Multiple, experienced and available regional organizers: A regional WordCamp organizing team should represent and reflect all of the local communities in the region it represents. I’ve previously mentioned that regional camps should not be organized at the expense of multiple WordCamps being held in the region, so that means if a regional camp is going to happen, it should not be robbing local camps of all their prospective organizers.
  3. Further the goals of the community program: As with any event in our program, regional WordCamps should help the program pursue our goal of having more, better local communities and more, better local WordCamps.

What do you think about the idea of having more regional WordCamps, considering our community team goals? How about those suggested expectations? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

#discussion #wordcamps

Global Translation Day 2

Hello hello!
As some of you might know, last April the Polyglots team hosted the first Global Translation Day with 24 hours of streamed sessions and live events around the world. It was an incredible experience: we translated thousands of strings, on-boarded hundreds of new contributors and ate tons of cake (oh well, that might have been only in Torino). If you wanna read some really impressive statistics, head over to the recap post:

Global WordPress Translation Day – recap & results

It was such an incredible experience that we decided to have another one on November 12 and we would like to get *even* more people excited from all over the world.

I have been involved with Polyglots and Community for a while now and I think it would be very helpful to have the support from the Community team to do some outreach.

I will get in touch with WordCamps that have Contributor Days coming up to announce the event, and I think it would be super cool and effective if we could send a message to all Meetups organizers in the chapter: @chanthaboune do you think it would be possible?

We have a ton of materials from last WGTD to help Meetups organise a local event if they want to, even if they never contributed to Polyglots before.

Here is the website for the upcoming event: https://wptranslationday.org/
Here are all the videos recorded last time, I think they make an incredible resource for Meetups: http://wordpress.tv/event/global-wordpress-translation-day-2016/

Can you think of other ways to get local communities involved? I am all ears! We can brainstorm here or chat on Slack, I am @francina.

Ciao for now!

#contributor-day, #contributor-meetup, #meetups-2, #translation, #wordcamps