Helen Hou-Sandí

This weekend will bring Zack and I to the Midwest, where we’ll be representing 10up at WordCamp Chicago. Not only are we excited to both be on semi-familiar stomping grounds, but we’ll be bringing you two brand new talks! Zack will be presenting “Grokking the WordPress Object Cache: Getting a Handle on the WP_Object_Cache Class“, an absolute must for developers and anybody else who cares about performance or the deeper innards of WordPress. I will be giving a talk entitled “How to Sneak Your Way Into Being a Rockstar WordPress Developer When Everyone Thinks You’re a Designer“, which, despite ironically being in the designer track, is about how I got involved with contributing to WordPress and how you can, too, whether or not you’re a developer-type. We’re excited to be at DePaul in the beautiful neighborhood of Lincoln Park, and we hope to see you there!

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This weekend I’m heading to New Mexico for the first time for WordCamp Albuquerque. In addition to continuing the conversation about WordPress in enterprises, I’m looking forward to participating in a panel on Making a Living as a Designer or Developer with WordPress. Judging by the communication so far with speakers and attendees, this looks to be an incredibly well organized and planned camp. If you’re headed to Albuquerque, be sure to say hi this weekend!

Opening a new tab or window: usability considerations

Have you ever asked your web developer to open a link in a new tab or window? Generally, this is accomplished by adding a target="_blank" attribute to a link. Let’s consider the usability implications.

The rationale is almost always founded in a desire to keep the audience engaged with your content longer, or a concern about usability (for example, keeping the reader losing his or her bearings). The overwhelming finding from user experience researchers*, however, is that new windows/tabs should be avoided when simply opening new web pages. However, there are some appropriate use cases: opening a non-HTML document (web page) like a large image, video, audio, or other media, or to avoid interrupting an important linear process like a checkout. Even with these exceptions, however, there are  friendlier alternatives like tool-tips and lightboxes.

In fact, the target="" attribute was actually deprecated (being phased out) from the HTML specifications until HTML5. As of HTML5, the W3C guidelines stipulate that it is no longer deprecated because it is deemed “useful in Web applications, e.g. in conjunction with iframe.”

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I’ll be attending the 501 Tech Club monthly meeting this Thursday, August 16 from 5:30PM – 7:30PM at The Rhode Island Foundation in Providence. In addition to mingling with some local non-profit tech leaders, I’ll be serving as one of the panel members for the “Ask An Expert, A Group Problem Solving Salon” panel slated to kick off around 6PM. The meeting will be informal and is designed to connect non-profits with tech experts who can lend insight on how to use online marketing tools to further organizational and fundraising goals. I’ll be fielding questions on how non-profits can better leverage their websites as part of their larger digital strategies. Hope to see you there!

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We might tell our clients to be serious about social media, and we might even build next generation websites structured entirely around social media. But we’ve been so busy helping clients that it wasn’t until tonight that we started getting serious about our own social strategy. We now own @10up on Twitter – the official place for 10up news and insights. In addition, we’ve launched our Facebook fan page, where you’ll find team photos you won’t find anywhere else. Of course, you also can continue to follow me at @jakemgold for unique 10up insights and news, and the team 10up list for a peek into our psyche. Be sure to let us know what you think – at those locations!

Reflections: WordCamp San Francisco & 10up’s Annual Meeting

Last weekend I had a blast attending WordCamp San Francisco, the original and largest WordCamp. For the price of one incredibly cheap entry ticket (well, plus travel from my home base in Washington DC…), I saw interesting speakers, ate great food, met friendly people, listened to live jazz, and was given complimentary WordPress gear. The conference was filled with WordPress users, enthusiasts, developers, and everyday people who just wanted to learn more about the platform, bonded by an affection and appreciation for the open-source WordPress project. Tied in with our annual company meeting, all of team 10up was flown into San Francisco for the purpose of attending the WordCamp and having some time for team bonding.

The most anticipated WordCamp event was, of course, Matt Mullenweg’s “State of the Word” – a light-hearted expression of his aspirations for and reflections on the current and future state of WordPress. As a web developer and plugin maker, Matt’s thoughts on unit tests for plugins stood out. Matt underscored the importance of elevating the quality of plugins in the official repository; units tests would be a great way to start this process off.

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Bates College wins eduStyle Judged & People’s Choice “best site” award

Last summer, we had the privilege of collaborating with the brilliant designers at Tellart and the IT team at Bates College to rebuild the college’s website on WordPress. Our mission was to build a durable, modular framework that would balance the consistency and unique features envisioned by Tellart with some department personalization and a clean administrative experience consistent with the needs of each departments (apparently, Food Services didn’t understand why there were sports scores; food fights are not scored). We were proud to hand off just that framework to the talented developers at Bates who ran with it.

Today, I learned that the project won both the “Judged” and “People’s Choice” category for “Best Overall Website”  – the top category – in the 2012 eduStyle Awards. Bates was also nominated for “Best Home Page” – the second highest honor – which it won the “People’s Choice” award for. The awards, in their 5th year, celebrate the best work in college and university websites.

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Tammy Hart joins 10up

“Howdy ya’ll!” I’m the new girl that hails from the South by way of Alabama and Oklahoma. Don’t let my country girl roots give you the wrong idea; I’m a geeky introvert that spends most of my time wrangling code and producing original user interface designs from the comfort of my air conditioned office space. When I’m not hunkered over my keyboard working on my latest project, I can be found playing wife to my husband of 11 years and mom to our three daughters.

I’ve been in the business of creating websites for over 7 years, much of that time spent working for myself and honing my craft. My years as a freelancer have fostered an appreciation for both creative design and solid coding. I am passionate about pixel perfection and love to see a project from blank canvas to final launch.

WordPress is my favorite playground. I’ve designed custom themes and plugins for clients, and released free themes and plugins for the WordPress community. I’ve  spoken at over a dozen events, most of which were WordCamps, and have taught classes on blogging and building websites with WordPress.


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10up – A Featured VIP Partner

Today, Automattic officially announced an expansion of their VIP featured partner program. Among other changes, it will now include consulting agencies for the first time. Here at 10up, we’re proud to be on a list that includes elite partners like Facebook and Flipboard.

“The VIP team vets each agency that applies … to ensure the agency’s capabilities fit the needs and scale of VIP customers.”

At 10up, quality and customer service is number one. 10up’s President is a core WordPress contributor with over a dozen top rated plug-ins to his name. Understanding what it means to build a high quality web solution goes all the way to the top. With a modern, distributed workforce, 10up has been able to hand pick some of the best talent from around the country; talent like Helen, 10up’s Lead User Interface Engineer, and the team representative for User Interface on the Core project. No fewer than five of 10up’s employees are credited core WordPress contributors, more than any other agency in the program – with more on the way.

If WordPress is the best platform in the world for managing a website (and we think it is!), VIP is the best platform in the world for hosting high volume WordPress sites. On VIP’s unique, highly scalable, cloud infrastructure 10up clients never have to worry about their sites going down when their popularity surges. That’s why 10up has brought fast growing clients like Hip2Save – the official deal blog of the Today Show – and Twitchy – an innovative editorial news site centered on Twitter – to the platform.

10up has been privileged to work with an exciting mix of VIP clients, from the world’s top technology news site, TechCrunch, to cable TV sports network Universal Sports, to Canada’s top news portal,, to 9to5 Mac, one of the top 100 blogs on the web. 10up is working on its most exciting VIP projects yet, and we can’t wait to tell you more.

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This weekend is the biggest WordPress event of the year – WordCamp San Francisco. So where else would team 10up be? No, we’re not just sending a couple of executives or a few top developers – you’ll find all of team 10up at this annual anchor event, running around in our 10up gear. At 10up, WordCamp San Francisco is our annual anchor, so we’ll be heading down the day before and sticking around for a couple of days after the camp for some face to face team work and some on site visits with local clients. Hope to see you there!