Speaker Spotlight: Shannon Smith

Shannon Smith is the founder of Café Noir Design, a boutique Montreal web design company specializing in multilingual web development. She builds beautiful, functional websites that her clients can update themselves and that are easy for search engines to find. She support things like making the web accessible for everyone, using open source software, helping organizations find greener more sustainable ways to operate through online technology and helping non-profits with online community organizing. Also sewist and mother of four.  twitter | google+ | blog

Shannon is presenting: Building Multilingual WordPress Themes and is hosting our unconference session Where are the women?

Why WordPress? Why do you like using WordPress?
WordPress is a great web design tool because it can be (almost) anything you want it to be: a blog, a brochure site, a photo portfolio, a business directory, a social network. I love that it is so flexible and easy to customize, but also that it is easy to use. I work with non-profits and they often have volunteers running their website, which often means high staff turnover. WordPress is great because for users, it doesn’t take a huge investment in time and training to get started.
Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
WordCamps are a lot of fun, and I love attending. But I think it’s important to contribute to the open source community and to WordPress specifically. WordPress is a great tool and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. Speaking is one way I do that.
What is your talk going to be about?
The first talk I’ll be giving is on how to build multilingual WordPress themes. I’ll cover all the steps needed to get your brand new theme internationalized and localized. You’ll learn about gettext, Poedit, POT files glotpress, and more. This talk is for theme developers.
My second talk isn’t a talk at all. “Where are the Women?” is more of an audience participation activity which will look at the role of women in the WordPress community. This isn’t a traditional presentation but a group brainstorming session on increasing diversity. If you don’t like something, change it. Here’s your chance. Audience participation is expected and all are welcome (men too!).
What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
Though I haven’t used it much yet, I’m looking forward to playing around with underscores (http://underscores.me), a starter theme produced by Automattic. Billed as “ultraminimal”, it looks like a great place to start when designing custom themes.
I’m also a huge fan of Limit Login Attempts (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/limit-login-attempts/). I design sites for non-profits and community activists, and a couple of the more controversial projects I’ve done attract a lot of hackers. Limit Login Attempts sends me a quick email letting me know whenever it stops a brute-force attack. Every time I get one of those emails, I do a little cheer.
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