Preview of “What Comes Next is the Future”

What Comes Next is the Future

What Comes Next is the Future is a documentary film about the future of web design as envisioned by the people who build the web.

Here’s the film description:

What Comes Next Is the Future is a documentary film about the web created by Bearded founder Matt Griffin. It is the story of Tim Berners-Lee’s creation – how it came to be, where it’s been, and where it’s going – as told by the people who build it.

 

In the film, Griffin knits together a narrative by mining dozens of conversations with important figures from throughout the web’s history including Jeffrey Zeldman, Denise Jacobs, Tim Berners-Lee, Ethan Marcotte, Chris Wilson, Lyza Danger Gardner, Eric Meyer, Irene Au, Alex Russell, Trent Walton, Val Head, Jonathan Snook and many more.

After you watch the preview, go to the futureisnext.com site to see to the list of cities and dates for viewings or to sign up for updates.

Thanks to Eric Meyer for mentioning this documentary on Facebook, otherwise I might not have heard about it. Hope my mentioning it here helps even more people become aware of the film.

Image ©Bearded

New Accessibility Tutorial for Learners and Educators

The Paciello Group announced a new online interactive tutorial called Teach Access. The tutorial is well organized and allows the learner to do some coding and see the results. It’s a result of work done by The Paciello Group and the Teach Access organization.

Learners are encouraged to use Voice Over to verify results of their coding efforts. Instructions for using Voice Over are included.

Something this tutorial does that you don’t often see is offer instruction in ARIA attributes such as ‘aria-labelledby’ and ARIA roles such as ‘list’ and ‘listitem’.

Following the exercises involving code, there is a section on design principles that talks about color contrast, text size, copy writing, and photos and videos.

This tutorial is a very useful site for anyone who wants to learn about writing accessible web sites.

 

Review: Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine

Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine - Amazon affliate link

Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine  by Melissa Ford is from Que Publishing (2016). This book is part software manual, part writing workshop.

The software described in the book, Twine, is free to download. There are sites mentioned in the book where you can publish your completed interactive fiction. If you have your own web site, Twine stories can be published there.

If you loved the choose your own adventure books from a few years ago, this is the modern version of that type of storytelling.

Twine can be used to create more than stories. It can create games, puzzles, and role-playing games. It’s meant for game designers and game players who have lots of ideas of their own for exciting games. (I think it would also be a great way for people who love to write fan fiction to work their way into a more high tech approach to storytelling.)

In terms of writing advice, the book talks about story structure, character building, creating settings, balancing pacing and action, keeping players engaged, and the all important storytelling rule to “show, don’t tell.”

The approach to the software used in the book is step by step. You should read the book with Twine open on your computer so you can try out all the ideas and suggestions and learn how to write in the Twine languages.

The book instructs in the use of macros in a choice of Twine languages. It also explains how to create variables, conditional statements, and arrays. With the help of macros for history, either, random, click, mouseover, prompt, count, append, prepend, replace, remove and more, a user can create a complex and exciting interactive world. There are built-in Twine functions to control turns, display, actions and more.

A Twine writer can use HTML and some CSS to change fonts, backgrounds, sidebars, links and more. You can import Google fonts with the stylesheet. Twine lets you add images to your story.

If you are interested in creating interactive fiction or games that you can easily share with others, you should take a look at Twine as your software tool. This book will make you an expert user with an easy to follow, step-by-step approach.

Summary: Melissa Ford shows you how to create a game or puzzle using Twine software, and helps you be a better writer in the process.

A review by Virginia DeBolt of Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine (rating: 5 stars)

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. Opinions are my own. Links to Amazon are affiliate links. Here is my review policy.

W3C’s WAI Creates Perspectives Videos for Accessibility Understanding

an image of a man with burned toast

Just as we all like different degrees of doneness in our toast, users need to be able to change the way text is displayed — changing the size, spacing, font, color, and more — in order to read the text. When text is changed, no information or functionality should be lost, the text should re-flow, and users shouldn’t have to scroll horizontally to read sentences.

A wonderful new resource from the W3C is a set of very short videos called Web Accessibility Perspectives. The videos take a particular aspect of web accessibility such as keyboard compatibility or clear layout and design and show how they are essential for people with disabilities and useful for everyone.

I picked one at random, the text to speech one, to share here. There are 10 videos in all. They are perfect for use in a class about accessibility or just for learning something about web accessibility if you’re trying to understand it yourself.

 

 

Excellent Posters from Ada Lovelace Day

The Ada Lovelace Day website has some excellent posters for educating yourself and for educating students. The one that caught my eye first is the “Amazingly Enormous Careers in STEM Poster.”

Others include “Ten Types of Scientist poster,” “Ada Lovelace poster,” and “Mary Anning poster.”

You can download the posters from the Ada Lovelace Day website or buy them already printed out and ready to be put on display. Here’s the Careers in STEM one, not very readable at this size, but enough to give you an idea what you’d get if you bought the poster.

 

Wordcamp Albuquerque 2016

The night before the event, there was a planning meeting for the volunteers.

Sheila and Alonso make plans at a planning meeting

Sheelah and Alonso at the planning meeting.

Marketing Your Business with WordPress

Marjorie R. Asturias

Marjorie R. Asturias presented this talk.

Marjorie emphasized the importance of the home page, the about page and the contact page. She explained when a blog could be useful to your business.

Getting into CSS

Eric Debelak

Eric talked about CSS

Eric Debelak gave this talk. He explained how to find selectors being used on a WordPress site using a web inspector so that they can be modified. He explained how to set up a child theme so that you could create new CSS for your theme.

He mentioned something that I didn’t know: Albuquerque residents with a library card get free access to lynda.com.

Break Time

Ingrid and Elaine

Great conversationalists

Ingrid and Elaine were great chat partners during break time. Ingrid showed me how to use the web inspector in Chrome, which was very helpful.

During lunch I chatted with a woman from Denver named Sue. She drove down specifically for Wordcamp and was happy with what she was seeing.

WordPress.com for Business Sites

Elizabeth Urello

Elizabeth Urello talks about business sites

Elizabeth Urello gave this presentation. I’ve been inspired by her at previous Wordcamps and was looking forward to this one.

She talked about how to set clients up on WordPress.com in a way that enables them to maintain and keep the site updated themselves. She mentioned how beginner friendly and secure it is. WordPress.com has many new capabilites as well.

Wohoo! You Have Your First Website Up and Running. Now what?

Mark Carrara

Mark Carrara talks about the in-between stages of website building

This talk was from Mark Carrera. He talked about what you do in the in-between states of website building. What you do between deciding to build the site and getting it running. He works for a school and emphasized the importance so far fresh content on a website.

Unlocking WordPress as a Framework

Danny Santoro

Danny Santoro talked about unlocking WordPress as a framework

Danny Santoro talked about the components of WordPress and how those components can be used to build any sort of website you want. He talked about themes as for styling and display, not for functionality. He described some of the components to pull from.

Project Management 3 … 2 … Launch!

 

Hilary Fosdal

Hilary Fosdal talks Project Management

Hilary Fosdal spoke about the business of building websites rather than the development of the website. She talked about process – client intake forms, payment schedules, and business matters like that. Her talk was brilliantly organized and delivered. She should write a book about business process for creative firms.

This was my experience and my day at this year’s Albuquerue Wordcamp. Everyone has their own experience at these events, but you always come away with new information and new contacts and acquaintances. If there’s a Wordcamp anywhere near you, you’ll find it worth attending..

For Middle and High School Girl Coders: YouTube Series “My Code”

Girls Who Code, the national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, today released “My Code,” a YouTube series about learning how to code from the perspective of four female coders. The weekly series will air every Thursday on YouTube at YouTube.com/GirlsWhoCode.

“My Code” shares the experiences of four Girls Who Code alumnae: Audrey, Brittney, Margot, and Shannon. These real world role models and coders, all in high school, represent a diverse range of perspectives and interests in technology – from gaming to animation to social impact to web design. Every week, the cast of “My Code” will answer questions about what it’s like to learn to code and tackle a different perspective on their journey: from why they learned to code to the challenges they’ve faced and their plans for the future. The aim is to provide relatable and practical advice for teen girls who are interested in coding.

Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, said: “Teen girls increasingly take their cues about what they want to be from places like YouTube. In fact, 81.9% of US Internet users between the age of 14-17 are on YouTube. That’s a lot of teenage girls. We wanted to fill a gap we saw on YouTube and present relatable and inspiring role models for the next generation of women in technology. I often say that you can’t be what you can’t see. Our goal is to help girls see themselves as coders and, by doing so, start to close the gender gap in technology.”

Well before college, young girls have begun to opt out of computer science. While girls’ interest ebbs over time, the largest drop-off happens during the teenage years. Studies point to media portrayals of coders as “nerdy boys” and lack of roles models as key reasons that girls opt out. By college, only 18% of Computer Science majors are women. This gap then continues into the workforce and has major implications for our economy. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million open jobs in computing. Women are on track to fill just 3% of those roles.

Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Program and Clubs, Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. By the end of 2016, Girls Who Code will have reached 40,000 girls in every US state. Additional information is available at girlswhocode.com.