Compassionate web development

Thank you!

If you found your way here because you saw my talk at WCUS in Nashville, “We are the gatekeepers“, thank you for listening, and for visiting this site.

Regarding the story I told at the beginning about making a bit of a mistake at work and accidentally emailing the entire company… I told my clients that I’d be telling that story, and after we all had a good laugh, they asked me to be sure everyone knows that they still love, use, and have confidence in the tool that we built. They use it every month to send communications to the company from our COO, and love that it automatically builds archives of those communications on our site.

In fact, since that whole thing happened earlier this year, we’ve added our CIO and CEO to the roster of executives using it. I was terrified to touch the code again after The Incident, but my co-worker S. who has built significant portions of the tool, did some more work to ensure that it was much more difficult to do what I did. I know that as natural problem-solvers, the developers in the audience were tempted to figure out ways to prevent my mistake from happening again! No worries… S. fixed it…


Resources that may help you get started, if you’re looking to develop a more compassionate approach to software development.

User Centered Design


  • Personas – Neilsen Norman Group
  • WordCamp talks about using and creating Personas

Accessibility (A11y)

Make WordPress Accessibile – The WordPress core A11y team home page.

WordCamp talks by A11y core team members


Chrome Dev Summit 2016 – Progressive performance. If you develop a lot of Javascript that’s consumed on mobile devices this might be somewhat eye-opening. I can’t find any evidence that two years later anything has changed. Speaking is Alex Russell, a software engineer working on Chrome.

“Alex shows us the important things to focus on in performance, and how to run great experiences on slow, inconsistent networks and low-power devices.”

This talk has stuck with me since I first saw it some time ago and I’ve watched it several times. It’s the reason why I describe the parent holding a crying baby as using a crappy phone on a crappy connection. To further back this up, I recently offered some iPhone 4 specific gadgets for free on our company bulletin board. Within 24 hours, two of the three items had new owners, and these folks were my fellow SAS employees. So even people who have good jobs with benefits are actively using mobile devices that were made when Steve Jobs was still living.

This tweet was making the rounds earlier this year. Maybe you saw it.

Using Ethics in Web Design by Morten Rand-Hendricksen

The Ethics of Web Performance by Tim Kadlec

Not just code monkeys by Martin Fowler


Thanks to…

The WordPress Raleigh Meetup group who listened to an early version of my talk, gave me great advice to make it better and asked good questions.

My husband, for being in the talk, and making it easy for me to be away from home for a few days!

Friends in Slack for telling me this talk needed to exist after I had the idea.