For the Meetup on Tuesday January 31, 2023 we were invited by Ayodeji Ogundare, a WordPress developer advocate working for Adyen, to host this event at the Adyen Head Quarters close to Amsterdam Central Station. On the eleventh floor we had talks, drinks and even freshly baked pizzas. Due to the darkness the marvelous view on the city center was hard to see though. Kwok He Chu helped us with setting up the venue. About 40 people attended this Meetup.
This meetup was sponsored by Kinsta, SiteGround, Weglot and Aiwos. And hosted by Adyen. 💙
Our first speaker was Anne-Mieke Bovelett who works as an accessibility advocate from Germany.
To understand how to implement accessibility features in your websites, apps and software you have to start with why. About a billion people have a visual impairment. From the world population 5% is hearing impaired, 3% has ADHD/ADD, and 8% men and 0.5% women have some form of color blindness. Accessible design includes people with visual, auditory, motor and cognitive disabilities.
Accessibility needs can arise when you get older (glasses, hearing aids) or be situational (noise, light conditions). So sooner or later we all become part of this target group. Clients often think that an accessible design is only for a small target group and will only cost them money. A minor investment can make 37000% profit!
A study by the UK’s Royal National Institute of the Blind showed that a £35 000 investment by a supermarket chain in making their website accessible brought in additional revenue of over £13 million a year.
Some tips to make your website better
- Captions on video is not only beneficial to hearing impaired people. Some 80% of all videos are watched with captions on. And Google likes captions and this improves SEO.
- Choosing the right font size, font color, line height and width have a great impact on readability. A width of 75 characters (including spaces) is considered ideal. Keep in mind that peoples vision can be blurred.
- An error message or a switch were the state is only shown with a color is incomprehensible if you are color blind.
- Don’t make cluttered layouts, like mega menus.
Tabbing and screen reader
Anne-Mieke demonstrated how to visit a website with “tabbing”, so only using the keyboard, not a mouse or trackpad. It was impossible to interact with the cookie banner on the German Otto webshop. Because we ran a bit out of time it was not possible to show the use of a screen reader. Take a look the video Screen Reader Demo for Digital Accessibility on YouTube to get the idea.
The WordPress community – designers, developers, content creators, accessibility advocates – have the power to make a difference and help to improve websites. We can do it but we will encounter friction. The EU Accessibility Act enforces from 2025 on that many digital services, including webshops, are accessible.
Anne-Mieke’s slides with a list of resources are available on https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1P6IejIZkYnC2T7iLvrS-EXA8fCPRY2xulVCdla3L7UY/edit#slide=id.p
Our second speaker was hosting entrepeneur Ramon Fincken who showed us that sustainability is not limited to WordPress, but also needs a mindset shift for a brighter future.
Reduce crawler traffic
A simple site with a few page and a small number of visitors will be visited by crawlers as well. Due to the design of WordPress much more URL’s are made then only the ones for the pages. For example: tag archives, category archives, date archives, author archives, pages for attachments, RSS feeds for all pages and archives, RSS feeds for comments (even is comments are disabled), oEmbeds, shortlinks, REST-API links. This could add up to 600 URLs for only 5 actual pages.
To reduce URLs and the impact of crawlers you can:
- use plugins like Yoast (Premium), Asset CleanUp, MijnPress high traffic
- make a friendly request not to visit
robots.txtin the root of your site
- block certain crawlers in the webserver configuration file
A question from the public was if reducing archives has a negative impact on SEO. Ramon said that only real, unique pages are used in SEO and archives are only the links to those pages.
Improve your WordPress code
- The loading sequence of WordPress code takes time and energy. For example a redirect in
.htaccessis much quicker and reduces CO2 output.
- Use the lazy evaluation technique: simple check first, complicated after that
- Make a smart WP_Query and loop
- Use transients to store complex queries
200% green hosting
There are more options:
- buy green power
- use your web server heat surplus to warm nearby offices
- use caching
- disable XML-RPC
- use TLS-encryption for https and smaller ECDSA-keys
Not only the websites
- Why buy new computers and phones every year? Old devices have quite a life span and can work for many years without any problem.
- Do you really need to go to a 2 hour meeting by plane? Can’t you use other modes of communication of transportation? Consider the time, energy and stress that your travel will consume. Try to combine things. Less go go go gives a lot of suggestions.
- Turn your goodies (swag) into a piece of art, your kids will help you!
Ramon makes his slides with links available via https://www.managedwphosting.nl/meetups/.
As speaker gifts WordPress Meetup Amsterdam makes a donation to DonateWC.org
In new connection from client to designer in only 5 seconds. This really shows that attending a Meetup and connecting with the WordPress community is beneficial.
The next WordPress Meetups were announced. We are considering an extra Meetup on “ChatGPT & WordPress”. Stay informed on our website and Meetup. The next ordinary Meetup will be on Internation Women’s Day: March 8.