All posts by Brent Skadsen

I head up the sales and marketing efforts at TNT Software. We provide real-time monitoring, alerting and reporting solutions in support of the Windows platform. It is great fun!

WordPress Plugin: Nomad World Map

Before the world went digital, vacation stories were associated with whining projectors,  jammed carousels, and reversed slides.

Fortunately today, Nomad World Map WordPress Plugin automates the story of the annual vacation with descriptions, dates and images. These self guided tours are a wonderful way to share travel experiences and adventures.

The Input

Here is how it works. After the Plugin is installed, the user interface provides fields to add unique information about that specific location.

User Interface for Nomad World Maps
Each location can be set by moving a marker from a scaled map to the location, typing in the city/country names, or added in a landmark.

Custom content can be added to the location or it can be linked from a post.

For information about the site, a URL can be added.

The arrival and departure dates build a timeline to journey.

Thumbnail images help identify the location or the people there.

Once the journey is completed, the short code [nwm_map] is available for present the trip.

The Output

All the input data is assigned to the specific location. By advancing the arrows on the map output, a step by step journey is presented. Shortcuts are available by just clicking the location point.
Red lines indicate the travels between locations on a map.

Document travels, adventures and vacations with Nomad World Map WordPress Plugin. Whether across town or around the world, present the story so everyone can enjoy it.

Other travel Plugins include:

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WordPress News: Custom Post Types for No Ordinary Website

By default, WordPress Themes provide a variety of post types. They always include Post, Page, Attachment, Revision and Nav Menus. Depending on a website design objectives, themes may also include the more specialized Portfolio, Testimonials and Products post types. In Adelina Tuca’s post on September 15, 2015 on Tesla Themes, she reminds us to consider the flexibility available in using Custom Post Types.

Custom post types are awesome. Because they let you add amazing things on your website, things that, in most cases, make the difference between an ordinary website and a well crafted one.

Being a skilled web developer is not necessarily required. While Adelina confirms the coding to create a Custom Post Type can be very challenging, WordPress Plugins are available to simplify the process.

When considering unique design objectives,  get out of the box and  use Custom Post Types to build extraordinary websites.

For more information:

Web Design and Section 508

In the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, US lawmakers recognized that the emerging information technologies could restrict the opportunities for those with a disabilities. This law started the process of enforceable requirements to ensure all individuals can receive the same benefits of internet access.  Section 508, as it is known today, provides web developers the guidelines for being compliant.

This section bars the Federal government from procuring electronic and information technology (E&IT) goods and services that are not fully accessible to those with disabilities.
WebAIM.com Overview of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

It is very clear, to do business with US federal government agencies, or any company or non-profit organization that adopts these policies, must be consistent with the Section 508 requirements. Be too creative and web design proposals can be rejected.

Web Design Requirements for Section 508

Section 508 1194.22a-p provides the 16 requirements for web design. Since they have been the standard for many years, most are included in web development tools or are considered best practices. For easy reference, listed below are the first five.  All the requirements with explanations are available at the Quick Reference Guide to Section 508: Web Based Internet and Internet Information and Applications.

  • 1194.22 (a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided.
  • 1194.22 (b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.
  • 1194.22 (c) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color.
  • 1194.22 (d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.
  • 1194.22 (e) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.

Win Government Contracts

Web designers seeking the award of government contracts should understand the law. They should be familiar with the accessibility requirements of those with disabilities and incorporate them in all web projects.

Resources:

How to: Configure Milestone Widgets

It can be exciting to display the days until a big event. An online holiday retailer may want to highlight the shopping days before Christmas. To inspire urgency, a candidate website may post a countdown to election day. Both these tasked can be automated with the Milestone Widget found on WordPress.com sites or added with a WordPress Plugin.

Listed below is a process for adding a Milestone Widget to a website. In this example, the traditional user interface is used. The fields are similar in the new UI.

Adding the Milestone Widget to WordPress.com Sites

Go to Appearance Widgets and scroll down to Milestone. Expand the Milestone Widget to present the sidebar and footer options.

A copied image for showing the selection of Milestone Widget and the assignment to the Main Sidebar

  1. Expand the Milestone Widget
  2. Select the sidebar or footer location option
  3. When complete, execute the Add Widget button

Customize the Milestone Widget with text and termination date.

A Screen shot of the Milestone Widget test field for configuring the widget

  1. Title is a short title for the milestone.
  2. Event is the text displayed in the message box along with the target date.
  3. Time and Date sets the expiration date and time.
  4. Message is the text presented in the display box after the target date expires.

This is a screen shot of the Visibility options for configuring a Widget.

  1. Visibility Button will drop down the configuration options for Showing or Hiding the Widget.
  2. Save the configurations and Close

Milestone Widget Configurations

A Milestone Widget image included a Holiday Milestone Title, a black box with Days until Christmas December 25, 2015 written in it and abox containing 1 month to goThere are a variety of ways to configure the Milestone Widget. Here are some examples:

  • Title: Holiday Milestone
  • Event: Days until Christmas
  • Date and Time: 12-Dec, 25,2015,0,00
  • Message: Merry Christmas

With only a handful of steps, a Milestone Widget can be added to a website and bring awareness to an important date.

Additional Information on Milestone Widgets

WordPress Words: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
Webopedia Terms: Search Engine Optimization (Optimizer) – SEO.

Example: One Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is to keep the content fresh and updated.

About The Word

Based on the search terms, search engines attempt to return the most relevant information available on internet. They have developed complex formulas or algorithms to evaluate the matches, rank them , and present the results. The higher the score, the closer to the top position of the first page it will be displayed.

The goal of most webpages is to have the content reviewed and encourage the reader to take a specific action. If search engines determine a low ranking value, it can be listed far beyond the top position/first page on the search engine results page (SERP).  The likelihood that it will be selected can be very low.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the a set of techniques used, both on and off the webpage, to assist the search engines with accurate evaluations of a webpage’s content and promote a high ranking.

For More Information