Byte-Size Workshops Recap

We had a great meetup Monday night with three short sessions and a new user workshop.

Kallen Dewey Kentner went slide-free and spoke about breeding blog posts.

Taylor Dewey spoke about typography in web design and posted his slides from that talk.

Judy Unrein, who spoke about her WordPress workflow, also posted slides over on SlideShare. Judy also has a post on her site with handy links to everything she talked about in case you were wanting to track one down.

For the new user workshop a lot of it ended up being Q&A which is more difficult to transfer in to a blog post. If you missed out on the session but are looking to get started with WordPress you can check out WordPress.com’s step-by-step guide. As things were wrapping up there was also talk of doing a new user workshop every 3 months or so. If you’d be interested in coming to the next one let us know. :)

Faddah Wolf took copious notes that are posted below the fold.



Kallen Dewey Kentner (journalist) - How To Breed Post Topics for Blogs
Journalist for Wilsonville Spokesman.
Authors the BioJournalism Blog.
@KallenDewey and @BioJournalism on Twitter.

Suggests taking one subject and doing several posts/stories on it.

Example given: Old-Timey Shaving Brushes!

  • Main Feature – all you need to know about shaving brushes!
  • Review – a new shaving brush on the market.
  • Spotlight – types of bristles (boar’s hair, etc.)
  • How-To – using a shaving brush.
  • Current Events – What’s the newest in the field of old-timey shaving brushes?

To make idea go further – go Genre specific just like a newspaper is in sections – entertainment, home & garden, etc.)

Example: Bananas!

  • Dancing Banana on the Web - entertainment section
  • Import/export bananas – business & international relations
  • Genetically modified/plant diseases – science
  • History of banana – history/background

…etc.

Exercise – come up with several post angles on a single subject, using Feature or Genre/Section methods above.

Came up with the idea of Orwellian Language, as in International Relations with language, political spin – bombing country = bring freedom & democracy

Niche blogs are very good at this – can be very successful, but the question is how to keep coming up with topics on a vertical niche subject? Also, how to differentiate from other/similar blogs? Methods above can help flesh this out.


Your WordPress Workflow - Judy Unrein
Senior Instructional Designer for Nike
and author of onehundredfortywords blog.
All the links also available on her new blog entry.

Judy wants it to be the “Daring Fireball” of learning industry (but don’t quote that – she doesn’t want John Gruber after her!)

But… there are always distractions from blogging: Relationships, family, kids, work, errands, etc.

Here are tools Judy has found for getting content into any WordPress blog. —

Press This bookmarklet (formerly Press It)

WordPress app for iOS (Faddah notes: it’s o.k., but has a number of features lacking compared to the full WP dashboard, such as placement and sizing of pics in a post/page, along with descriptions and alternative text, and having alternative text and opening in a new tab or window for links, etc. Judy recommends Scribefire or MarsEdit for these reasons.)

The Scribefire extension for chrome/firefox/safari/opera – quicker UI instead of WP Dashboard & posts, syncs & good to go back & look for previous posts/pages.

MarsEdit - Mac OS X desktop client for wp, does markdown like Wiki’s do, John Gruber created it.

On Windows, try Live Writer.

Post to draft by e-mail.
Also found in the WordPress Support Forum Pages.

Simple Post Template Plug-in (like just to notify that another podcast is up). (however, also done automatically when hosted wordpress.com) does one template, the are other plug-ins if you search the repository that have multiple templates to choose from.

IFTTT - can take content from anywhere, to anywhere (due to changes in twitter api policy, IFTTT is no longer handling Twitter).

Amazon Affiliate Link Generator for Chrome extension - for generating some $$!

WordPress embeds – youtube, Vimeo, scribd, Twitter(? – might be compromised by new Twitter API), others, via Jetpack and such.

Birdify plug-in, for linking to folks mentioned on Twitter – put hashtag or @ name and it puts in link to their twitter account.

leenk.me service, $5/year – posts to multiple twitters, linkedin, facebook, add hashtags manually, count characters (also built in to wordpress.com), etc.

For Theme Re-designs: MAMP (for Mac OS X), XAMPP (for several different platforms), Coda 2 on Mac Desktop Diet Coda on iPad.

Text Expander on Mac OS X

Recommended: proof read using text-to-speech.

Recommended: try using Scribefire or mars exit for pics or links (top things that slow down blog posts in WP Dashboard.

Lorelle – Post on mind-blowing WordPress Plug-ins.
Recommended for getting pics in - Photodropper Plug-in.


Drink The Typographic Wine… - Taylor Dewey (Kallen’s bro!)
Here are the Slides from his Presentation.
Works at 10up.
Also does the site: Web Sites That Don’t Suck.
@tddewey on Twitter.

Taylor highly recommends Elements of Typographic Style, 3rd Edition by Robert Bringhurst.

Started by reading the type of detail the book goes into: letter strings all strings of capitals, acronyms, long digits (SSN, etc), need spaces between them.

yes, all of these

  • weight, style and face
  • horizontal and vertical rhythm
  • page and container sizing: proportional

and some things more elusive…

There is some math and science to do it, but typography is mostly and art.

Taylor recommends: pick first Font Family, typeface and size, then base design around that.
Typefaces have

  • Presumptions
  • Lineage
  • Spirit and character
  • Strengths and weaknesses

Cochin Font example – designed in 1912 by French designer based on art from the 1686

Choose a typeface that

  • fits the subject
  • has what you need
  • history and associations echo the subject
  • and whose spirit and and character matches the text

Avenir text Font, designed 1988, by Adam Fruteger, more humanist version of Futura
lg, bbc2, iOS 6 all use it.

Combining —

  • start with a single family. perhaps one with many styles (small caps incl., etc.)
  • consider italic and roman separately (first), then together
  • consider not having a boldface (they’re newer <150 years old, have strong tag not mean bold, better as small caps, from book – combine roman & black letter [olde englishe])
  • balance type optically: density, texture

Exercise:
Is it a good fit?

Grace Bible Church sign downtown Portland, est. 1874, 138 years ago.

Romanesque/Gothic Archetecture
Font: Papyrus
Non-dimensional Christian Church

1982, Chris Costello designed Papyrus, calligraphy meant to look like english written on papyrus in calligraphy 2000 years ago.

pick a typeface for this gist (example).

consider: lineage, age, designer, etc.

Vertical Rhythm

  • use a modular scale for text sizes, page layout
  • use consistent line height
  • flexible (relative sizing for all)

Modular Scale

  1. reduces infinite options to a finite list
  2. a prearranged list of harmonious proportions

Vimeo video of the creator of Modular Scale talks about it: Tim Brown, “More Perfect Typography.”