All posts by Alexandrea Chaudoin

I'm currently living and loving life day by day. I'm working on being a web developer and designer, but when I'm at home, I'm an anime and video game nerd. I also love puppies and cupcakes.

Interview with Jennifer Daly: College Art Instructor

A portrait photograph of Jennifer Daly.

Jennifer Daly is an art professor who teaches at both Shasta College and Butte College in Northern California. She also co-owns a nonprofit consulting business called Daly Professional Services. She has incorporated WordPress into both her career and life.

When and how did you first start using WordPress? Since then, how long have you used it?

I started using WordPress in 2007. I had been using Blackboard and WebCT to provide students information online for a couple of years. Neither one was really designed for art students. They are very rigid in the layout and format, and not very visually appealing. While in grad school, one of my professors, Byron Wolfe, was using Typepad and a blog format for communicating with his students. I really liked the simplicity and elegance of the system, but being in grad school, I couldn’t afford to pay for a blog, and found WordPress. I have used it every semester since then. I started out with a WordPress.com site and then migrated to a self-hosted site about three years ago.

What was the appeal of WordPress? Why do you use it?

I loved the ability to completely customize my courses and the flexibility that comes with the Plugins.

What is your job title and career focus? Do you use WordPress in your job?

I teach photography at Butte College and Shasta College in Northern California. I am also the co-owner of Daly Professional Services, a nonprofit consulting business. We use WordPress for all of our websites.
Home page of Daly Professional Services consulting business.

How does WordPress affect your job tasks? For example, is course planning easier or more complicated?

I think course planning is much easier on a WordPress site compared to BlackBoard and Moodle. The format is much more flexible, responsive and is much easier to navigate on a smartphone or other smaller form factor.

With your photography courses, is WordPress ideal for photography work? Why or why not?

I think that WordPress is perfect for photo classes. It works well for collaborative work and sharing. I can easily add slideshows for assignments or to help illustrate readings. It also allows me to add menus that are relevant for my classes.

Do you feel that anyone in any field can use WordPress successfully without being intimidated by it?

A tintype self-portrait of Jennifer Daly.

Yes. I often have students add content to the website. Many of them have limited computer skills and they have all found it easy enough to add posts and comments.

Has WordPress helped branch out your technological expertise? Is it worth the time and effort to use it?

I’ve done some web design work but it’s not my first love. WordPress simplifies so much of the design work for me and lets me do the work I want to do. I think WordPress has been pretty easy to learn and it isn’t a lot of effort to set up a site and manage it, even with rapidly changing content.

Daly’s current WordPress sites and websites include:

Daly’s past WordPress sites and websites include:

WordPress Plugin Review: The Social Contact Display

Have you ever wanted to use a WordPress Plugin that shows all of your social media accounts your WordPress site is connected to?

Social Contact Display WordPress Plugin provides a simple display for your social media that contributes to your WordPress site. For example, if you have Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts which all contribute content in addition to your WordPress site, the Social Contact Display will display the links to those social media accounts with buttons, icons, or any other display setting the user chooses.

On their Plugin page, it is currently on version 2.3.7, although given how popular it is (with over 25,000 downloads), that version number will only change in the future with more updates.

It is very simple to install the Plugin, according to the Plugin’s installation page:

  1. Upload social-contact-display to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the WordPress Social Contact Display Widget plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Navigate to Appearance > Widgets
  4. Locate the WordPress Social Contact Display widget and drag to your desired location
  5. Fill in the options and select Save

Continue reading WordPress Plugin Review: The Social Contact Display

Security Training Program for VIP WordPress.com Program

According to the WordPress.com VIP site, the staff behind the WordPress VIP Program hosted a course called “WordPress Fundamentals: Security, Performance, & Debugging” in San Francisco, California. This course was tailored for members of the VIP program, as it would help them to make their sites they build to be safe and scalable.

The WordPress.com VIP Program is targeted to large-scale businesses that want to use WordPress.com as a premium airtight hosting site. Members of the VIP Program have the benefits of access to site monitoring, a higher threshold for web traffic (easily “100+ million pageviews per day”), and access to other VIP features and services. Continue reading Security Training Program for VIP WordPress.com Program

WordPress Words: WordPress Gallery

Gallery…is specifically an exposition of images attached to a post. In that same vein, an upload is “attached to a post” when you upload it while editing a post.
WordPress Codex

Example: “Let’s upload images to the gallery as attachments, not as media files.”
Continue reading WordPress Words: WordPress Gallery

Tutorial: How to Create a Link List

Links are a vital part of the World Wide Web. Anything can be made into a link, from words and phrases to images. A link list is, as the name implies, a list of links. In HTML, a list of links can be easily coded with <ul>, <ol>, <li>, and <a> tags. In WordPress, these are the same exact tags used to create a link list inside a post.

In this tutorial, I will walk you through the process on how to create a link list inside a post. Lorelle’s article, “The Art of List Making,” is a valuable resource on making link lists and it serves as very useful information for this tutorial.

In this tutorial, I will guide you through creating three different types of link lists in both the text and visual editors: the unordered list, the ordered list, and the nested list. Continue reading Tutorial: How to Create a Link List

Web Accessibility: Links

When you click a link on a website, what is that link? What is it made of? The W3schools website defines a link as “a link between a document and an external resource.” A link is basically an established relationship between one document (HTML, CSS, etc.) and another. A link is one of the many roads to travel on the World Wide Web.

While links are easy to include in a Post or Page, they are too easy. In fact, it is not hard to overlook a very important part of links: web accessibility. According to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, web accessibility is defined as an initiative to help “people with disabilities” navigate, use, and contribute to the web. Despite the fact that the initiative is mainly for people with disabilities, web accessibility also helps people without disabilities:

Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. For example, a key principle of Web accessibility is designing Web sites and software that are flexible to meet different user needs, preferences, and situations. This flexibility also benefits people without disabilities in certain situations, such as people using a slow Internet connection, people with “temporary disabilities” such as a broken arm, and people with changing abilities due to aging.
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Continue reading Web Accessibility: Links

WordPress Words: Posts

Posts are what make your blog a blog — they’re servings of content that are listed in reverse chronological order on your blog’s front page.
Posts – WordPress Support Documentation

Example: “Did you write enough posts for the WordPress Newspaper site? You need to write five more posts by midnight.”

According to WordPress.com’s Support article on posts, posts are the essential content which make WordPress a blog. A post can be anything: an announcement of a new content series, a photograph of a special moment, a quote once buried but now on display, or even just a solitary link followed by a description. Continue reading WordPress Words: Posts

WordPress Words: CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a simple mechanism for adding style (e.g., fonts, colors, spacing) to Web documents.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3)

Example: “The CSS in this part of the code is not coded correctly. Are you sure that the color of that Page is correct in the CSS?”

According to the W3C (or World Wide Web Consortium), Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, is a mechanism used in web development to style certain elements of a website. CSS originally applies to web coding alongside other languages, such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and JavaScript/jQuery/jQuery Mobile. Currently the latest version of CSS, CSS3, is being used for many websites today.

What is the history behind CSS development? In Chapter 20 of Cascading Style Sheets, designing for the Web by Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos, both Lie and Bos delineate the origins of CSS from 1994 to their present year in 1999. Looking back over twenty years ago, it is easy to see how much of a struggle it was to establish CSS as a fundamental part of web browsers and the construction of the World Wide Web in general. Continue reading WordPress Words: CSS

You Can Count on WP Tally

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you knew how many times your own hand-coded Plugin was downloaded? According to Jeff’s Chandler recent WP Tavern article, “How to Obtain The Total Download Count For Plugins Attached to a WordPress.org Username,” a new Plugin called WP Tally does just that: it keeps track of the number of times any one Plugin has been downloaded.