Links and ideas from last week’s WordCamp in Zürich #wcch

I attended the WordCamp in Zurich last Saturday.

It’s been a while since I attended a similar geek event and I enjoyed listening to others.

It was encouraging to hear about WordPress. I’ve used WordPress since September 2004. And it’s truly a great sign of continuity that WordPress is still here. Not only that, but there’s a thriving community and a company that want to keep it that way as well.

Secondly, it was encouraging to hear from other bloggers and web developers.

Here’s a quick run through my Twitter notes and faves (like a Storify summary of Tatort on Spiegel.de ;-)).

First talk I listened to was on trends in enterprise blogs. I found this talk useful for my day job.

Large, enterprise blogs have switched off commenting and are experimenting with new forms of integrating user interaction, e.g. by using annotations, or by asking specific questions, or moving comments entirely to Facebook.

Regarding content length, short texts and long analysis articles (aka Longreads) work best. It’s the mid-length texts between 500 and 800 words that are read least frequently.

And many of the enterprise sites use extensive email marketing to bring readers to their site.

The slides are here.

Next talk that inspired me was by Vitaly Friedman. He had a fun starting point by looking at typewriter art in the late 19th century, which led to ASCI art and teletext.

If the Internet hadn’t appeared, we would all be teletext designers and developers.

I think I’ll print this tweet on dead wood and post it on my office door:

Vitaly had some excellent UX examples. His message: details matter for usability.

Another very enjoyable talk was by Paolo on virtual offices and distributed teams. First thing to note it’s not only about tools. The tools should not be the first thing you try to solve when setting up a distributed team. Three common mistakes are

  1. Trying to mimic a local office setup
  2. Measuring work based on the wrong metrics
  3. Suffering instead of embracing change

Recruiting is a very important part of distributed teams. And because your team is in different places and different timezones, managers need to empower their team members. Managers must trust team members to perform and deliver their work packages in time, in high quality.

Next talk:

I liked Christian Leu’s humorous talk about how to become a successful blogger. His point was there are tonnes of articles on successful blogging. There’s no point in repeating this.

Many long-term bloggers have moved to Twitter and are blogging less. Main reason given by many is lack of time. As a result, @leumund presented 10 simple tips to find more time for blogging.

It’s important to stay true to yourself.

In summary, it was an enjoyable day.

Videos of the talks will be published WordPress.tv at some point.

Observation:
There were several talks on maintaining multilingual sites with WordPress. For me this is a sign, that WordPress is used increasingly in a Swiss business environment. Many Swiss websites (even for SMEs) need to display in German, French, Italian and English. My humble tip: Consider using Drupal instead of WordPress for multilingual sites. Maintaining multi-language sites is part of the Drupal core.

While listening to others present, I thought of two WordPress presentations which I could present to share some of my more recent learnings and experience:

  1. Idea no. 1: POSSE and IndieWeb plugins for WordPress – Using Webmention plugin, an URL shortener and Jetpack’s Publicize (see corresponding entry)
  2. Idea no.2: Security for non-techies – Make your WordPress site less vulnerable, even if you’re a non-developer; about WordPress resources, plugins, advice, where to get help

Further links:

Storify

Blogging in an imperfectly multilingual world

Live blogging notes by Evren Kiefer

On communication within a distributed team

The end of time

Buildings to see in Basel

I stumbled across a list of places to see in Basel (link now broken) and decided to venture out and have a look at some of the listed architecture.

Freidorf Residential Estate (1920) by Hannes Meyer in Muttenz near Basel

Antoniuskirche (1927), near Kannenfeldplatz, Basel by Karl Moser

I really like this church building. It feels very modern. The stained glass windows are exceptional. Highly recommended. More background info is available at Wikipedia.

Kraftwerk Birsfelden / Power Station (1955) by Hans Hoffmann in Birsfelden near Basel

kraftwerk birsfelden

St. Alban-Tal Housing (1984–88) by Diener & Diener at St. Alban-Rheinweg 94 in Basel

wildwuchs

Schaulager (2003) by Herzog and de Meuron in Münchenstein near Basel

IMG_4182

Breite Zentrum (2004), Zürcherstr. 149, 4052 Basel
The Breite Hotel was designed by Larghi and Stula. More details on the design can be found on the hotel’s website. The hotel manager was very friendly and would have shown me a room. Unfortunately all rooms were taken due to the watch and jewellery trade fair.

das breite hotel

Residential Housing in a former factory (2005) by Buol and Zünd at Oetlingerstrasse 69 in Basel
This building proved difficult to find as the former factory is located behind an apartment building in Klein-Basel in an inner courtyard. But it is an instant fave. I would love to live in a building like this. Well worth the search time…

Apartment House in Riehen (2009) by Pedrocchi Meier Architekten at Hinterwenkenweg 3 in Riehen near Basel
I am not such a fan of all the corners but it does look very spacious and the location is great:

School cafeteria by HHF

Gymnasium Kirschgarten
Hermann Kinkelin-Strasse 10
4051 Basel

Further details:
The city of Basel publishes an architectural guide
Update: new building to see in Allschwil: the corporate headquarters of Actelion by Herzog and de Meuron:

actelion designed by herzog and de meuron

Update no. 2:
Another building to see is Ackermannshof:

photo walk in basel

HdM

Basel is Herzog and de Meuron City.

Central signal box
herzog & de meuron

Südpark

Messe Basel
messe basel

Herzog and de Meuron archive and apartment building, Dreispitz

HdM archive and apartment building in Basel-Dreispitz

Another HdM construction in Basel-Stadt is the natural water swimming pool in Riehen. I really like the pool and it reminds me of old wooden lidos.

the view from the deck

New in 2016:
Kunstmuseum by Gantenbein and Christ.

new building in basel

And at night:
Looks like there are LED lights in the walls. The museum is scheduled to open in April 2016.

new building in basel