Web Accessibility: Using the Web With No Eyesight

Almost everyone uses the internet. Browsing websites, purchasing products online, checking bank account balances, or just chatting with friends using social media, are activities that sighted people take for granted. But, how would you accomplish these tasks if you were blind?

Different Modalities

When a sighted person uses the web, they use their eyes to scan the page, and then make a decision where to click their mouse or where text needs to be input such as on a form. Buttons and links are easily discerned. For a blind person, navigating these simple tasks requires an extraordinary amount of time in comparison and relies on whether the website being used is in compliance with W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind) guidelines and international law. Continue reading Web Accessibility: Using the Web With No Eyesight

Facebook Like Box WordPress Plugin

The Facebook Like Box WordPress Plugin by WPdevart and smplug-in helps you promote pages and post, same as you normally do on the Facebook site itself.

There are many WordPress Plugins for adding Facebook like boxes to a WordPress site. This one is different as it adds more than just a like box. A Facebook Like Box allows visitors to “like” your post or Page content and connect it by sharing on their Facebook site. This Plugin adds a WordPress Widget, a shortcode for embedding in the site’s content, and the ability to actually create popups for Likes and Facebook sharing.

The Plugin is also highly customizable, allowing height and width to be set, languages, and colors. You can also set it as a Sticky box, and show or hide Friend Faces, and other visual elements. Continue reading Facebook Like Box WordPress Plugin

Interview: with Doug Yuen

A black and white picture of Doug Yuen in black and white with a profile shot of his face.Meet Douglas Yuen, Doug is originally from Waldwick, New Jersey. During his time at Cornell University, he double majored in English Literature with a concentration on creative writing, as well as Philosophy. He was interested in the subject matter, and thought that one day he would become a writer and professor of creative writing. In 2008, he got into Content Management Systems because he was thinking about quitting his job and working for himself so he could travel the world. After evaluation of some of the most popular CMSs of that time, he decided to settle on WordPress. He has owned and operated EfficientWP (Efficient Websites LLC.) for the last 6.5 years.

A screenshot of a landing page for efficientwp.com. Website design in a day.

Q: Tell me about yourself?

A: I’m a WordPress designer who’s expanding into the world of developing premium plugins. I’ve spent about 2.5 years traveling abroad, while growing my business, between 2012-2015. I’ve spoken at WordCamps 4 times (so far), have 3 publicly available plugins in WordPress.org, and co-host a WordPress podcast, WPcast.fm. Continue reading Interview: with Doug Yuen

Interview: Jocelyn Mozak, WordPress Web Designer

A portrait of WordPress Web Designer, Jocelyn Muzak.Jocelyn Mozak, WordPress Website Designer and Founder of Mozak Design, was born and raised on the East Coast and was a featured speaker at WordCamp 2015. At Cornell University, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering then worked as a Senior Hardware Designer at Intel. With her hard work and discipline, she earned a full scholarship to Stanford University to obtain her Master’s in Electrical Engineering. From the technical skills she learned from her education, her passion is what makes her an outstanding web designer. Continue reading Interview: Jocelyn Mozak, WordPress Web Designer

Interview: Lisa Presely, Web Master at The Independent

This is a screen shot of the banner for the website The Independent at Clark College.Lisa Presely is the current Web Master for The Independent and one time student of WordPress here at Clark College. Lisa in fact, decided to attend Clark College to learn more about WordPress.

Ever since I discovered WordPress, just a couple of years ago, I quickly fell in love with the fact that I could have a website almost instantly by choosing a theme and entering my information, and…bam! A website!

Since then, especially since I took the WordPress class at Clark College, I have also fallen in love with the way I can completely make a WordPress Theme my own by customizing almost any aspect of a Theme into the specific details that I need.


Did you have a defining moment that ignitied you to continue your education?


I have been a stay at home mom for 16 years. In that time, I only worked part time outside of our home for a few months. My kids are all in school full-time now, and even though I still keep busy with the demands of my home life, I felt a strong desire to continue my education.

I knew I had skills that could help others, and I wanted to learn more about web design in order to build beautiful things for other people…and web design gives me an opportunity to hopefully be able to do it mostly from home so I can still be available for my kids.

It was important for me to teach my kids that we can do hard things. I knew adding school to my already busy life wouldn’t be easy, but I felt like it was the right time, and my kids have been nothing short of amazing in helping me achieve this goal.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to change careers, start a first career or just improve their job skills by learning WordPress?

Exactly one year ago, I knew I needed a new career field, and I wanted to make sure that if I was going to take the time and money to go to school for it, that it needed to be something I loved! For me, it was web design, and more specifically, to learn about WordPress in depth. I saw potential in that field, and I continue to see it.

If you love a career that you constantly need to stay on your toes about what you’re learning (I LOVE to learn!), then web design is for you! Especially if you love to create and design beautiful things that make other people happy. That is my joy in life, and with WordPress, I can do that.

Does your five year plan include continuing your WordPress mastery?


Given any content management system to work with, I will always choose WordPress.

I have done my research, and I am very impressed with the way WordPress stays on top of the changes in technology and builds them into their users’ experiences.

They have the best, most generous group of users, who continue to give up their own time to help other people learn about the benefits and joys of WordPress. The WP community is so helpful! It doesn’t matter if you are working with WordPress.com or WordPress.org, you will always find the answer to your questions out there.

If you are interested in WordPress, you should really try to go to a WordCamp. I went to my first one this year in Portland, Oregon, and I met so many wonderful people there who just wanted to share what they had learned with people like me who are trying to make a living out of this.

What has been the biggest challenge of running The Independent?

There really haven’t been a lot of challenges with The Independent. The people I worked with to build the site were fantastic, and very supportive. Any of the challenges that have come about have been because I am still a student of web design, and really need to learn a lot more about what I’m doing! But that is the great part of working for a student run newspaper…we are all students here, and we are loving what we are learning.

As a web designer one of them is wrapping my brain around the complexity and constant changes of coding.

I can do it, and I’m continuing to build my weakness into a strength, but with WordPress in my tool box, I can build a gorgeous site without much coding involved.

It is a beautiful thing that has given me the chance to start building sites for other people before I had the ability to code much at all.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris, a 19th century British textile artist and poet.

Interview: Jino Conklin, The Columbian

Jino Conklin attended Clark College, just like we are right now. But he attended classes here between 2011 and 2014 for his web development degree. He now works over at The Columbian as a world class Web Developer, where they just transferred completely to WordPress from another major CMS. But before I go spilling all the details of the interview, here are the words from Jino himself.

Jino Conklin

Q & A

When did you first start using WordPress and was it your first time using a CMS (Content Management System)?

The first time I used WordPress was actually in Lorelle’s class, back in May 2013 as part of my Web Development Degree Program. And, yes, it was the first time using a CMS. I’ve had a couple projects going at that time trying to create my own CMS, but once I found out that Matt Mullenweg had beat me to the punch, I started using WordPress.

How do you use WordPress at your job? (Do you alter Themes, create content or code custom Plugins for your company?)

We do quite a bit with WordPress here at The Columbian. Up until August 2015, we were on a completely different CMS (a very popular one used around the country) that was hosted off site. Our vision was to bring columbian.com on-site and forego a hosting company. It took us from January 2015 – August 2015 to get switched over (with only myself and my Senior Developer, and a crew of 4 IT gurus). Now we are full fledged WordPress.  We’ve had to convert all of our Theme templates from Django (written in Python) to WordPress.
What do I do personally with WordPress at The Columbian? I’ve written a couple custom Plugins for our Events site, I’ve modified Themes to fit our needs. As we speak, I’m in process of writing a new Plugin for our Best of Clark County contest coming up in February. And I do maintenance for columbian.com when issues arise.

Do you have a personal preference towards WordPress, as compared to other CMS’s like Drupal or Joomla?

I personally really enjoy WordPress. I like how the action and filter hooks give you pretty much endless customization and abilities to do everything you want. I’ve touched Drupal and Joomla, and while they are great CMS’s, I was pulled toward WordPress because of the minor learning curve, and because all the support that comes with it (Codex, WPDevelopers site, Support Forums, etc). I felt that trying to learn Drupal or Joomla was off the course of where I wanted to be with The Columbian, so I didn’t go that route. I’m not saying I never will, but right now, I’m content with WordPress.

Is there anything that you wish that WordPress would change that may make your job easier?

I’m still new in my career with WordPress, but so far, I haven’t had any major requests for WordPress to change. Everything that I’ve wanted to change, WordPress provided a way, either with a custom Plugin, or a little bit of custom code inside of a Theme.

Plugin: Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Google Analytics Dashboard is a WordPress Plugin that connects the power of Google’s analytical software with the far-reaching spread of WordPress sites. While I wasn’t able to actually test the Plugin, since I had to install it on an offline version of my site and Google couldn’t pull data from a site that wasn’t connected to them, I was able to mess with their interface to get a better idea about what is possible with the software.

A New Way to Track

After activating the Plugin (which had an error because of the type of page I was using) I was able to check out some of the ways that I could track data through the Plugin. I was able to mask IP addresses while I track data, to keep any personal user data private, in consideration for my users. And I was also able to enable demographics and interest reports from Google’s targeted ad system. I could track by all outbound data, like outbound links and downloads, or I could track identifiers like hashmarks (#).

Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress

Organize Data

I was also able to sort custom tracking definitions, like being able to create different tracking data files for authors of the site, or maybe a specific category. And if I find that I’m starting to have a bunch of useless data, I have the ability to exclude certain users from the tracking process. For example, if I start to notice that the data from my staff is throwing off my early morning number, I can exclude the admins, editors, authors and contributors from tracking for a set period of time. I can even link the analytics software to my AdSense account, to ensure that I’m getting the most out of my Google AdSense advertising. If you’re interested in the Plugin, check out the first link in the Additional Resources section, and you’ll be well on your way to having a better understanding of your users.

Additional Resources

WordPress News: Is Becoming a ‘WordPress Professional’ Right for You (Or Even Possible)?

In the article “Is becoming a WordPress Professional right for you (or even possible)” written by Tom Ewer, he mentions a few pointers for people who want to do WordPress as a profession. While doing so, Tom tells of 4 WordPress users who had little to no knowledge of WordPress become great theme and plug-in developers. WordPress has helped these users find their niche in the WordPress community.

Joost de Valk screenshot. Continue reading WordPress News: Is Becoming a ‘WordPress Professional’ Right for You (Or Even Possible)?

Web Accessibility: What is WCAG?

A accessibility symbol on a keyboard.WCAG is short for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
These guidelines were developed through the W3C process with a goal of providing a shared standard for web accessibility that meets the needs for every individual, organization, and government. It covers a wide range of recommended web content to make it easier to browse the internet for people with disabilities. Its success criteria is written as a testable statement that isn’t technology-specific.

How to Use It

WCAG addresses the shortcomings by defining what “accessible” content is and presenting guidelines in a way that it can be easily understood and adapted to new technology. Continue reading Web Accessibility: What is WCAG?

WordPress Plugins: Soliloquy Lite

The Soliloquy Lite Responsive Slider plugin allows you to create  sliders with both images and videos. The plugin is quick and super easy to use and showcases a code to put on any post or page.

Soliloquy's logo.

This is what your posts section looks before the Plugin was installed:

A screenshot of the add new post panel.After the plugin is activated, an Add Slider button will show up next to the Add Media button on the Posts and Pages sections.

A add slider button next to the add media button.

An example of the the Add New Soliloquy Slider is shown below.  In context area you can upload images and set the configurations of how you want your slider to look:

The new slider post area.

Once finished with setting up your slider, go to Add Post and click the Add Slider button choose the slider you just made and then publish it.

A sample slider post.

On the site, you should see something like the screenshot below:

A sample slider of Soliloquy Lite.

For More Information:

WordPress Plugin Review: Random Backgrounds

Are you needing to revamp your WordPress site? Are you not the most tech savvy? I have found the perfect Plugin for you: Random Backgrounds. With this easy-to-use Plugin, your WordPress site will automatically change the background image each time your blog visitor clicks on a new Page or post. This can be used by just about anybody wanting to freshen up their site; whether it be Molly’s personal blog or Miss Fashionista’s Handbag website.

Here’s How it Works:

  • Search for Random Backgrounds in the Plugin Repository, download it, then activate it.

Screen shot of Random Backgrounds Plugin download page.

  • On your WordPress site, hover over “Appearance,” and click on “Random Backgrounds.” You’ll then see this page, where you can upload your own images, using the WordPress Media Uploader. The defaulted images are purposely unattractive, as to inspire a need to customize your own backgrounds.

Screen shot of uploading images.

  • Once you’ve uploaded your backgrounds, you can set them to either tile or stretch across the background. Click “Save Changes,” and take a look at your new changing backgrounds.

A Sample of my Random Backgrounds:


Screenshot of background #1Screenshot of background #2.Screenshot of background #3Screenshot of background #4.

Random Backgrounds is very simple to install and use on your WordPress site. It enhances the professionalism of your site, which positively catches the attention of your visitors.

For More Information



Interview: Cheri Calvert, WordPress Web Designer, Web Developer, & Incredible Artistic Talent

WordPress gives women a voice. WordPress gives women an opportunity to better integrate meaningful income-producing work into their family life. I especially enjoy helping young mothers grow a business out of their talents and passions.

WordPress supplies Artists of all kinds – from authors, musicians, and actors to painters, photographers, and sculptors – with a platform to showcase their work and preserve their memories. WordPress enables graphic designers to include complex functionality at an affordable price through the use of its vast assortment of Plugins. Cheri Calvert

The Interview

It was the first significant rain and wind storm this fall: Mother Nature was angry, and I had the greatest opportunity to meet with Cheri Calvert, Web Designer, Developer, and Artist, at her breathtaking Hayden Island work office. The wind was whipping my scarf around my face and rain pelted my glasses as I approached Cheri’s front door.

After a soft knock, Cheri opened the door; her friendly face appearing with a smile. She was so stylishly outfitted as well as accessorized with a beautiful black and silver scarf.

Andrea: Cheri, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to meet with me! This is such a pleasure, and your view is amazing!

Amazing view from Cheri's home office on Hayden Island on a very stormy day.
Cheri’s home office view onto the Columbia River on an especially stormy day.

Andrea: How long have you been working with WordPress, and do you have any other experience with non-WordPress website design?

Cheri: I’ve worked with WordPress for the last 8 years, but I started out hand-coding an HTML site back in 2002. I purchased Adobe Suites shortly thereafter, and worked in DreamWeaver and Flash. I worked for a couple of years for a company that was a pioneer in the field of virtual tours. One of their contracts was to film and create virtual tours for all the Best Western properties in the US. One of my jobs in 2006 at VRNational was to research blogs along with some of the cutting edge virtual environments of Second Life. This was my first blog, still published on Blogspot (she said to me as she pulled the website up on her computer).

Andrea: Why do you prefer WordPress, and what is your favorite feature?

Cheri: I really like the WordPress culture; it was created to share. It is affordable: a platform for the people, not designed just for corporate elitists. It is a supportive International Community that works together to create something that is bigger than merely the sum of its parts. I once had a question that I posted within the WordPress Community, and a young man in Belgium responded to me immediately with a solution.

Andrea: How did you get into Web Design and Development?

Cheri: As the world changed, I felt I needed these new tools to effectively market my own artwork. I fell in love with the creative possibilities and loved the fact that I could keep all my messes tidily on a couple of hard drives. I foresaw the freedom it would give me to earn a higher hourly rate, work from just about anywhere, and make my own schedule. When the sun comes out and it’s a glorious day, I want to be able to take a “Sun-Day” off and go out and worship our amazing Earth! I’ve found that living in the Pacific Northwest, Mother Nature usually supplies me with sufficient inclement weather for me to make a living. When it’s rainy like this (as she indicates out the window), it’s perfect weather to cozy up to my computer.

Andrea: How do you go about generating new business?

Cheri: I have participated in BNI, networking groups, several Chambers of Commerce and done numerous pro bono work for non-profits. However, most of my work comes from Word of Mouth. Existing clients have recommended friends from across the country that I have never met. I think any group that you are consistently involved with creates a feeling of trust. If you let them know what you love doing, they will seek you out if that need arises for them. In the past few days, I have had four new projects come in. One is an Artist who just moved here from Hawaii and has seen some of the work I’ve done for our HOA. Another is an Actor who’s appeared on Law and Order and Grimm who is in my cardio class at the Marshall Center. Another is a single Mom who is growing her personal chef business. My daughter is her food photographer and recommended me.

Andrea: How do you deal with clients that are difficult or resistant to change?

Cheri: I just let them go. I know the relationship won’t work, and perhaps there’s someone who can better accommodate them.

Andrea: How do you make a website mobile-friendly?

Cheri: I let the Theme do the basic heavy-lifting and tweak it with a Child Theme’s custom CSS. To ensure compatibility on all mobile devices, I test them out on my Windows desktop, Apple Notebook, Tablet, and Android phone.

Photo of Cheri Calvert with a Windows desktop, Apple Notebook, Tablet, and Android phone.
Cheri Calvert tests her sites with a Windows desktop, Apple Notebook, Tablet, and Android phone to ensure compatibility.


Andrea: How do you feel about Web Accessibility?

Cheri: In 2003, while working for Lewis-Clark State in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop introducing the importance of accessibility issues. Although the screen-reader technology was rather crude back then, it was a good tool to help understand how information would be extracted for the visually impaired.

Andrea: What would you change about WordPress?

Cheri: Nothing. I can’t think of anything I’d want to change.

Andrea: It seems that this line of work requires constant education to keep up with all the upgrades. How do you go about continuing your knowledge?

Cheri: WordPress Meetup Groups, WordCamp, Online User Groups, solving problems through researching. When things don’t work, I try to look at it as a game. I’m “Cherlock” Holmes, searching for clues to solve the mystery. When something breaks, it is oftentimes trying to determine what is different. Sometimes I find that it’s just a comma in the code…

Andrea: What do you enjoy most about your career?

Cheri: Flexibility. Plus, there’s always something new to learn! I am an introvert (meaning that groups of people drain my energy). I need solitude, like a nutrient, to keep me balanced. Web Development gives me a voice and allows me to connect with the world from the comfort of my own office!

Andrea: Do you have any advice for those who are pursuing the same line of work?

Cheri: You’ve got to love it!

Cheri’s Story

Cheri is not just a Web Designer/Developer, but she has also worn many, many hats. She went from processing crab in the Aleutian Islands in the 70’s to Head of Wardrobe for Bobby Vinton and the Glen Miller Orchestra at the Blue Velvet Theatre in the 80’s, and spending the majority of her time as a self-employed artist. 

She had her own line of sheepskin outerwear and hand-laced deerskin clothing. Cheri used the scraps to create hand-sculpted dolls, with faces made of deerskin. These dolls were featured on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens and Early American Life. She sold these little dolls, as well as elves and Santas, while featuring them in illustrated booklets.

Screen shot from Cheri Calvert's theleatherdoll.com.
Cheri Calvert’s Woodland Fantasy Elves, photo courtesy of http://www.theleatherdoll.com.

In the 90’s Cheri developed her own line of hemp clothing called the Cannabis Collection. She created beautiful clothing and bridal gowns, all made of hemp.

Cheri continues to play with the creative features of WordPress, which fits well with her Artist clientele. Her current favorite Theme is Elegant Themes DIVI to create fun special effects and layouts. One of the biggest joys of her career is being able to help promote her fellow creative-types and their work.


WordPress Plugin: MetaSlider

Meta Slider is an easy to use WordPress slider plugin made by Matcha Labs. As the most popular WordPress slider plugin, with over 600,000+ active installs, it allows you to create SEO optimized responsive slideshows with Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider and Responsive Slides.

There are a variety of slider options with this WordPress Plugin.

  • Flex Slider 2 – Responsive, 2 transition effects, carousel mode
  • Nivo Slider – Responsive, 16 transition effects, 4 themes
  • Responsive Slides – Responsive & incredibly light weight
  • Coin Slider – 4 transition effects

Continue reading WordPress Plugin: MetaSlider

Interview with Bob Passaro

Profile picture of Bob Passaro.Bob Passaro is a partner in the branding/web development agency Figoli Quinn & Associates. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.

The following is from a phone conversation with Bob Passaro on November 20, 2015.

Bob’s Experience with WordPress

Bob has been using WordPress for around 6 years. His first development job using WordPress was for NW Book Lovers. The website is still active. Even though he has offered to redesign the site, the owners are happy with the original design. Continue reading Interview with Bob Passaro

WordPress Plugin Review: EverKinetic

Everkinetic was created by Greg Priday. This WordPress Plugin provides users with over 289 specific images of exercises to insert into posts and/or pages. If you a have fitness blog, this Plugin has a library of images that can be downloaded with a push of a button. A shortcode is added to the content area with the image(s) the user selects.

Screen Shot of EverKinetic barbell iconWhen you click on the EverKinetic icon (Barbell) that’s located in the Content Editor Bar, EverKinetic is activated and opens up. Please note that the icon will only appear when in the “Visual” view and not in “Text” view. I couldn’t find anywhere on this subject to see if this is normal functionality or not.

Screen shot of types of exercise images from EverKineticEverKinetic Plugin categorizes its images in several ways, making it easier to locate specific images. The menu located across the top main menu in this Plugin lists all the features the user can search with. Here is a list of those features:

Specific Image Categories:

  • Isolations
  • Compounds
  • Isometrics
  • Primary Muscules
  • Secondary Muscules
  • Equipment

The only downfall to this Plugin is when selecting the exercise, the Plugin provides written steps on how to complete the exercise, these steps do not download with the image. The screen shots below show an example of what you see on the user end and what you see at pageview end.

everkinetic stepspageview

There is not a lot of information available on this Plugin. There are 60+ active installers and the Plugin does require WordPress Version 3.5 or higher.

For More Information

Students Serving Up WordPress Tips and Techniques for Clark College Students and the World