We're continually trying to strengthen this community, and one way we want to do that is by helping us all get to know each other better. We of course have our Introductions thread (post if you haven't before!), but once a month I'm going to post a Q&A with a member of our WordPress online community. Each post will include at least one question for further discussion, so please read on and chime in!
It's clear from our survey that nearly everyone is here to learn from and share real-world experiences of using WordPress with nonprofits. Please share your experiences when you feel comfortable and can relate to the stories.
This month's featured member is Laura Sharkey!
What's your job title and who do you work for?I am the Information Technology Director at Off the Mat, Into the World (OTM), but that title is highly inflated. I am really more of a low-level manager/techie. I am the first IT-specific employee ever hired at OTM and this is my first time ever working without an IT-centric manager guiding my work, so it's a learning curve for both me and the directors I report to.
Our primary mission is to bridge yoga and activism, and we do this primarily through online and in-person leadership trainings. Our mission (as presented on our website): "We help yogis utilize the tools of yoga, meditation, and self-inquiry to create conscious, sustainable change in themselves, their communities, and the world through leadership trainings, online courses, service and action projects, and much more."
One thing I really like about WordPress is the effort and intent over the past few years that has gone into making it more universally accessible. It still has a long way to go, but I appreciate that there are so many people working on both the core product and on themes and plugins to make it much easier than with other products to ensure that the website is accessible. I still have a lot to learn about internet accessibility; WordPress is an ideal platform for experimenting, learning and then using in production the kinds of changes that I am making to our public-facing sites.
How do you use WordPress these days? What type of WordPress user are you?At OTM, we use SquareSpace for our public website. I am not a fan of SquareSpace and have had numerous challenges with customizations that we need to support our online store (we use it for registration/payment for our courses, and for purchase of our course recordings), and automating interactive and customized auto-replies related to our course offerings.
We've also had some challenges with any kind of back-end automation we want to set up (e.g., subscribing customers to our mailing list if they choose to sign up when they register or donate on our site). Because of many of these challenges, I have begun to use WordPress sites for the functionality that I can't easily integrate into SquareSpace.
What's your dream feature for a future version of WordPress?Universal accessibility as a requirement for all themes and plugins.
What's your biggest WordPress pet peeve?That I can't easily redirect logins somewhere other than the console without coding or using a plugin. This should be built-in. Also, that I can't disable logins without taking the site completely offline without a plugin. This, also, should be built-in.
Do you have a recent WordPress/website win you could share with us?http://oneheartyogaforeveryone.org It's very simple, but it does exactly what we want it to. I created a child theme from the Tiny Framework theme. The plugins in use are Contact Form 7, Contact Form 7 Datepicker, Contact Form 7: Accessible Defaults, Easy Media Download and WP Accessibility Helper.
A huge thanks to Laura for being my guinea pig for these questions and giving such great answers!
To keep this discussion going, it sounds like Laura has been doing the hard work of migrating features and functions off of SquareSpace and onto WordPress. Who else has experience migrating a non-WordPress website into WordPress? What worked well and what do you wish you had known before you started?
Hey, maybe one thing we can do on this forum is curate a list of themes and plugins that have been tested for accessibility.
The repository's theme review process has an optional stage for Accessibility that requires the theme to undergo an accessibility audit.
The themes that passed can be found by filtering for the Accessibility ready tag.
Of course, that only covers free themes, not premium ones.
Great initiative Mark, and thanks for sharing your story Laura!
Laura - How long do you think you're going to continue to use the Squarespace site and what's preventing you from moving OTM off Squarespace and on to WordPress? Is it just a matter of time? Resources? Or does Squarespace offer a particular feature or function that would be difficult to get through a WordPress solution?.. Just curious.
Hi, Dennis, I hope to move off of SquareSpace as soon as we can; there are no features/functionality on SquareSpace that we can't easily get on WordPress. I just haven't move the site yet because we want to hire a developer to migrate the site and help us set up the commerce portion, recommend plugins for that, etc. We don't have the budget yet to do that, so that is the only reason we are waiting.
Best of luck with it. I hope the migration to WordPress happens for you soon. And thanks again for sharing your story.
I love this new feature!
Thanks for sharing, Laura!