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DrupalCon New Orleans Recap

DrupalCon is the name given to global conferences where members of the growing Drupal community, including developers, system engineers, designers, project managers, functional analysts, and more, gather to participate in learning sessions, talks, code sprints, and social events. Last week, Flightpathers Denise and Bart were part of the 3,102 attendees who attended DrupalCon in New Orleans.

DrupalCon Takeaways

Drupal 8 launched last November with hundreds of improvements, making it easier to use for both developers and site administrators. Translatability and localization out of the box, enhanced accessibility and WAI-ARIA compliance, REST-first native web services, and mobile-first, responsive, HTML5 output are just a few features that make D8 better than D7.

Drupal 8 has a large adoption rate. Within the 3 months of release, 60,000 websites have been developed. Popular companies that use Drupal include Tesla, The Weather Channel, Pfizer, Cisco and Nike.

 

Drupal 8 Features and Enhancements

Common Drupal 7 modules are now part of the Drupal 8 core like Display Suite, custom blocks, and views. This makes it easier for developers to build websites. There will no longer be a need to search for common modules and installing them. We loved the Lego cruise ship analogy presented by Josh Koenig of Pantheon:

DrupalCon New Orleans D7 Analogy of modules - you have to pull different modules to build a site. Looks a little sloppy doesn't it?
D7 Analogy of modules – you have to pull different modules to build a site. Looks a little sloppy, doesn’t it?
DrupalCon New Orleans D8 Analogy of modules - you get a better looking cruise ship
D8 Analogy of modules – you get a better looking cruise ship

Markup

All markup is now in Twig templates. That means developers can control HTML output and attributes like classes, data, IDs, and more. In Drupal 7, HTML was messy and there was no control over classes or IDs you had no control over it, making it hard for a developer to add/remove classes from HTML elements. Now with D8 you can easily control HTML elements and classes with TWIG templates. Only downside is that need to learn twig template engine but once you learn it, it will make everything easier.

CSS and Javascript

Drupal 7 typically outputs all CSS and Javascript files regardless if it is called on the page/node. Drupal 8 now has libraries that will include global or node-specific files.

Pattern Lab

Pattern Lab is a custom static site generator. We have used it for several projects and were pleased to learn that developers can combine a Twig version of Pattern Lab with Drupal 8. You can build out front end code once designs are produced and there no longer is a need to wait for a backend developer to build the site. You can just copy and paste the Pattern Lab CSS and code (or sync it with Grunt) to your Drupal theme, change a few class and ID names, and, voilà, you’re done.

Integration with Javascript Frameworks

Since you have full control of the markup and attributes, you can integrate with Ember, Angular, or React.js.

Other Takeaways

Security

We all know credit cards are important. Security on your site is more than just a credit card – that’s not what hackers want anyway. If you’re collecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as a name and an email address, don’t store this information. By default, use SSL for your website – it will be a win for security purposes and also beneficial for SEO. Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates so there is no excuse not to secure your site. Using CloudFlare, SSO (Google, Facebook) and other modules can help with security. Security is a good business investment.

UX Best Practices

Numerous presenters have stated that developers and designers should build a site together, especially after the wireframes have been created. With D8, Twig and Pattern Lab can help build wireframes to life.

Keep the user in mind. If you focus on the user, all else will follow. Set urgency to prioritize appropriate calls to action.

Accessibility

Creating an accessible web experience improves SEO, usability, and increases the size of your market by opening it up to the vast number of people who have restraints on their ability to interact with web content. D8 has numerous accessibility improvements, such as alt text being a required field.

A few tips:

  • Color contrast – Take note of text color over images, avoid low contrast, take note of font weight.
  • When writing image alt text, use descriptive phrases. Think of it like a tweet. go up to 140 characters.
  • Closed captioning on videos. YouTube has automatic captioning. Subtitles are great for silent autoplay.
  • Headings – avoid use of headings for styling. Use headings for hierarchy.
  • When writing link text, train your content editors to avoid using “Here” “Click Here.” Use descriptive links, like “For more info, email Joe.”
An example of how link text is typically written and how it appears on screenreaders
An example of how link text is typically written and how it appears on screenreaders

 

An example of how link text should be written and how it appears on screenreaders
An example of how link text should be written and how it appears on screenreaders

There was a lot learned at DrupalCon, with topics of interest to all parties within an organization. Beyond all the trainings and sessions, there was an emotional touch. DrupalCon ended with a marriage proposal at the closing session and a D6 funeral procession and mourning party.

We enjoyed our time in NOLA and we look forward to the next DrupalCon North America, which will take place in Baltimore next spring. Did you attend DrupalCon this year? Have you attended any noteworthy sessions? Let us know. Tweet us @FlightpathNY, message us on Facebook, or find us on LinkedIn.

Ten Millennial Marketing Tips from AdWeek

Millennials are adults ages 18 to 34. There are roughly 80 million Millennials in the United States alone, and each year they spend approximately $600 billion. In marketing, the group has been described as high influencers with a heightened awareness of marketing schemes.

According to AdWeek, marketers are constantly working multiple social media platforms and tweaking digital ads to target elusive millennials who don’t respond to traditional advertising. While it is a challenge to market to this ‘elusive’ segment, here are some key tips on engaging Millennials.

  1. Break through the noise by utilizing the tools that are available.
  2. Get the consumer excited with engaging content.
  3. Millennials look for instant gratification. Allow them to personalize/customize their experience.
  4. Be authentic. Fans can detect BS.
  5. Consumers base their purchases based off their perception of the brand.
  6. Mobile first. Two-thirds of Millennials view content on mobile. 70% tweet while watching television or other shows.
  7. Create something people want to watch, and they will share that content.
  8. Be culturally relevant. For brands, find something that is interesting and fits into the cultural space.
  9. Content is designed to engage the consumer regardless of platform.
  10. Listen to your audience. If your content isn’t working, pivot.

Building Great Editor Experiences with Umbraco

At Flightpath we love building websites with the Umbraco content management system (CMS) because it gives us complete control over how the site is rendered while providing the content editor with a great, easy-to-use experience. Last year the core Umbraco team overhauled the ‘back office’ with an improved interface and they have continued to refine the editors’ experience with subsequent releases.

Continue reading “Building Great Editor Experiences with Umbraco”

The State of Umbraco

Umbraco roots are growing in North America! Flightpathers recently participated in training and sessions at the second uWestFest in Orlando, Florida. uWestFest is the annual North American Festival centered around all things Umbraco. For those that don’t yet know, Umbraco is an open source content management system (CMS) built on the .NET stack with commercial support available from Umbraco HQ based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Continue reading “The State of Umbraco”

Photo Journal: Day 2 at #IFBCon

This week it’s not just about New York Fashion Week, it’s about the bloggers. We here at Flightpath are taking you behind-the-scenes of the beauty and fashion conferences this week. We sent our Social Media Intern to check out day two of the IFB conference.

As promised, our Social Media intern Beck will share her thoughts on the IFB conference.  Take it away Beck!


Each year IFB  holds a conference that brings together some of the most successful people in the fashion industry and the bloggers who write about fashion. It’s a two day event and as the lucky Flightpath intern I had the pleasure of attending the second day of the event!

This panel focused on turning your blog into a business. Some of the key points were:

  • Be ok with risk
  • Surround yourself with people who are passionate about the same thing you are
  • Challenge yourself daily

Conferences can be fun too with everyday tips.  Samantha Brown from Style to Hire showed us which pieces of clothing are essential to a complete closet!

Bloggers and writers tackled the topic of Bringing Bravery Back to Blogging. A few things they highlighted were:

  •  Blog like no one is watching
  • Be aware that once you put yourself out there, there will be negative feedback and that’s okay
  • Find fuel in the hate comments, don’t let them bring you down

I had the pleasure of meeting Iman! She is not only a gorgeous model
but a successful entrepreneur. Such an inspiration.

That concludes our adventures at the bigger, better and bolder IFB conferences.  Next up is Lucky Magazine‘s LuckyFABB.

BlogHer 2012: Photo Journal

As you may remember from last week, we were counting down the days to BlogHer 2012 and it finally arrived! We here at Flightpath thought that we should share the highlights in a photo journal. Enjoy!

As you may remember from last week, we were counting down the days to BlogHer 2012 and it finally arrived!  We here at Flightpath thought that we should share the highlights through photos of our experience this past weekend. Enjoy!

A warm (digital) welcome by President Barack Obama to start off the conference.

Samsung was one of the many brands that participated as a sponsor with a showroom to display the new and soon-to-launch products for work and play.

There were floors filled with a variety of brands in technology, fashion, home, cooking and more that offered incentives such as sweepstakes, giveaways and contests. It was the platform for brands to share their elevator pitch and get products into the hands of bloggers, not only for media consideration but as potential new customers.

Me striking a pose as I’m making way through the the crowded floor, but I can’t beat Betsy’s modeling skills…

We think Betsy nailed it with her signature pose and should win America’s Top Social Media Model. Tyra would be so proud. Just an example of how brands had some fun with guests using props for impromptu photo shoots.

One of the many sessions we attended. This one discussed best practices for both bloggers and brands on how to work together for opportunities. As you can see, it was a packed house.

Oh yeah, did we mention how we met Martha Stewart? Brands like Staples and Avery upped the ante by bringing along celebrities to the conference to interact face-to-face with bloggers.

Don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to attend this year in New York City. They’ve announced that BlogHer 2013 will be in Chicago and we can’t wait to see what’s in store then.