Journalists, developers, and many others who use WordPress to manage publications gathered in Chicago from August 8 through 10 for the second annual WordCamp for Publishers. We were able to share knowledge about the ways WordPress has fueled success in the publishing industry and discuss its future. We were pleased to be part of this conference in many ways — organizing, sponsoring, and speaking.

Prime Access Consulting founder and president Sina Bahram and Alley senior UX developer Pattie Reaves presented Cooking With Gas: Quick and Easy Recipes for Developing Accessible Websites. Pattie and Sina discussed accessible and semantic patterns to use when developing WordPress themes. They walked through common motifs in theme development, including navigation, archive pages, and posts, and demonstrated how to make those templates accessible for users of assistive technology.

Alley co-founder and CEO Austin Smith presented The Narrow Path for Local News, covering results of his research with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. He explained why publishers should take the opportunity to step away from ad revenue and content syndication on social media. Smith noted that publishers need to deploy technologies that allow them to learn more about their audiences, design user experiences that clearly convey value, and develop economies of scale that reduce costs without cutting journalism. Watch the full presentation to learn more about how news organizations can take steps to achieve these goals. We saw a lot of great engagement both in person and on social media, so we hope to share more of Austin’s thoughts soon!

It wasn’t all business this year. In our downtime, we got together and enjoyed a breathtaking architectural boat tour of the skyscrapers that line the banks of the Chicago River, and even caught a White Sox game!

As part of the team that organized this event, we are proud to have facilitated this ongoing set of conversations about WordPress and publishing. This is a space where there is great opportunity to learn, to collaborate and share ideas, and to work together to envision new solutions. If you’d like to learn more about these subject areas, you can watch all of the sessions and follow Alley and WordCamp for Publishers on Twitter for updates on next year’s event. We hope to see you there!

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