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Takeaways from WordCamp Fayetteville

The next time someone asks me, “What’s so great about WordPress?” I’ll be able to quickly and confidently reply, “The Community”.

Except this time I won’t just be talking about the hundreds of developers that contribute to the core every day, or the ever-vigilant forum moderators, or even the avid members and users across the globe. This time I’ll be talking about the real-life collaboration of passionate WordPress “activists” that make the community what it is. I’ve used WordPress to design, build, and manage websites for years, but wasn’t until my first WordCamp that I feel like I really get it.

WordCamp Fayetteville 2015

The Sessions

I attended WordCamp Fayetteville with my fellow UpTrender and WordCamp veteran, Tammy Hart, which we kicked off with a Friday night VIP dinner and meet n’ mingle. Organizers and attendees had a chance to break some bread and some ice, and speakers introduced their topics. We all indulged in some good food and drink before a full day of Saturday sessions.

I left my TARDIS at home so I wasn’t able to catch all of the awesome speakers, but I’ll recap a few highlights from the ones I attended.

Designing and Building Modular WordPress Themes

Tammy Hart

This was one of my favorite presentations, and not just because Tammy is one of our own UpTrending developers, but because she brilliantly presented on how we use a slick little plugin called ACF to create unique page layouts in WordPress more efficiently. We’ve battle tested this on a number of sites, including our own.

Tammy Hart WordCamp

Some key points from her session:

  • Building unique and flexible custom page layouts is easier than you think
  • ACF Pro allows you to create unique field data and reusable content modules for various pages
  • Drag n’ drop content sections give non-developers (clients, content writers, etc.) an intuitive solution for custom page layout and individualized content structure
  • Writing elegant code and adhering to modular file structure keeps your code extendible and easier to maintain over time

Modular Themes Code Snippet

View Slides

Customizer? I Barely Know ‘er!

Sky Shabatura

Aside from just getting points for the most kick-ass title, Sky provided some great insights on the somewhat underutilized Customizer feature in WordPress. He walked through some of the core features added to the Theme Customization API in 4.0, including a bunch of additions and improvements to the UI, new built-in Customizer controls, and some even more recent enhancements.

$wp_customize->add_control(new My_Custom_Control( $wp_customize, 'my_setting', array( 'label' => 'My Custom Control', 'section' => ‘my_section', 'choices => array( 'one' => 'choice one' 'two' => 'choice two' ) ) ));

Here’s a few things I learned about in Sky’s talk:

  • How to add new panels, sections, and settings to the Customizer
  • How to create a custom control class by extending WP_Customize_Control
  • Live settings preview can be automated without page refresh using JavaScript
  • Menu Management (formerly available as a plugin) is now merged with the core in 4.3

View Slides

 

Additional Customizer Resources:

https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/advanced-topics/customizer-api/
https://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Customization_API https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/classes/wp_customize_manager/
https://make.wordpress.org/core/2014/07/08/customizer-improvements-in-4-0/

Baking in the SEO

Sean Morrison

Sean stepped us through a great use case for website optimization, using a number of tools to take a client’s site from a 55% Google page speed rating to a 90% and a load time of under 2 seconds. He touched on critical factors in site performance, such as selecting the right hosting provider, leveraging a content delivery network, and improving overall page speed.

A few key takeaways from Sean:

  • Add expires headers for common static file types by modifying your .htaccess file (and if .htaccess makes you squeamish try this plugin)
  • Remove query strings from static resources (and yes there’s a plugin for this too)
  • Use a caching plugin like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache to improve page load time
  • Some nice tools exist for optimizing images like Kraken and WP Smush
  • BJ Lazy Load will save you some valuable bandwidth and is degrades gracefully (so it’s totes Google compliant)
  • Managed hosting solutions can be worth the investment when it comes to speed, security, and uptime
  • Using a good CDN like Cloudflare makes a pretty big impact on performance

View Slides

 

Additional Page Speed Resources:

https://gtmetrix.com/
http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Design Thinking & Going Pro

Daniel Herron

Coming to WordCamp I was hoping for an impactful and inspiring design talk, and Daniel Herron hit the mark. He shared some of his personal strategies for being a “pro” designer, and common snags in the creative process. His beautifully designed preso and engaging speaking style left us exhilarated and wanting more.

Being-Surrounded-Daniel-Herron-1024x576

“Find someone who is doing what you wish you could do and get obsessed.”

Some points I loved in his talk:

  • Good designers are problem solvers, a great case for this is The Elevator Problem
  • Whether it’s good or bad, we are constantly surrounded by design (we also learned of Daniel’s loathing of microwaves)
  • If you’re not careful as a designer you can become immersed in distractions, which become oppressive. Disconnect, put on headphones, and find your creative sanctuary
  • Be aware of feature creep and avoid becoming overwhelmed by too many options (true on so many levels, like controlling user flow)
  • Seek out inspiration in various forms: books, podcasts, music and mentors
  • Learn to say no, so people will trust you when you say yes
  • Make progress … every single day

View Slides

 

Additional Design Resources

http://signalnoise.com/442788/podcast
https://archive.org/details/DesignOfEverydayThings
https://www.skillshare.com/

Responsive Live!

Tom Hapgood

This was a really great intro to responsive web design techniques, and had a lot to offer for all levels, from newb to RWD master. I particularly enjoyed the brief demo on some of the features of flexbox.

Some of the takeaways:

  • The three main ingredients of RWD are fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries
  • The distinction between adaptive vs responsive design is important (breakpoints defined at explicit device widths vs natural fluid layout that responds at any viewport size)
  • Using ems (instead of px) for media queries allows designs to be resolution independent
  • Flexbox offers some great advantages over a traditional fluid grid approach: More efficient layout for dynamic container sizes and source ordering flexibility

View Slides

Protect Yo Self or Wreck Yo Self

Sean Borsodi

Sean gave an in-depth presentation on the introduction of the WP REST API into the WordPress Core, and the inherent security risks.  He also explained how to how to access data securely through the API.

  • The new API offers a way to fetch or manipulate data from your WordPress site
  • RESTful development helps the client speak to the server with the same HTTP verbs you might already be used to: GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, etc.
  • There are multiple ways to securely access an API: Cookie, Basic, OAuth, and HMAC with HMAC being considered impossible to invert
  • The WP REST API is planned to be fully integrated into core in WordPress version 4.4 in December 2015

View Slides

 

Additional API Resources

https://www.getpostman.com/
http://v2.wp-api.org/
11825741_10205265334577139_2089356109565615650_n

Props

I want to extend a special thanks to Eric and the organizing committee, and of course all the volunteers, speakers, and campers for making awesome events like this possible. For more info on WordCamp Fayetteville check out the website, or their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Managing A Creative Team

Managing a creative team always has unique challenges.  Managing a creative team while managing a web design project creates an entirely different set of challenges.

Whether you’re a project manager at an agency, an agency client, or working with an in-house team of creatives, you need to know the common challenges of managing a creative team, and how to solve them.

Defined Budgets

Having clear budgets and time allotments are the most important things in having a successful relationship with your creative team members. Having the budget up-front allows your creative folks to do two things:

1. Create an approach that will allow them to meet that budget.

2. Allow them to raise objections to the budget prior to any work actually being completed.

Designers love to design. Sometimes it takes two iterations, sometimes ten.  If not given clear direction, they are going to want to do their best work for you and spend the ten iterations to get that perfect design. Having a clear budget expectation allows a designer to meet the budget as laid out in the proposal.

Your developers might be able to build a feature three different ways. If they have the limits of a budget, it allows them to properly pick a course of action that meets to amount of time available to work on a task.

Everyone wishes budgets didn’t exist, and that there was unlimited time to build the perfect project. Unfortunately, that’s almost never the case – but budgets don’t have to be viewed in a negative light!

Budget conversations provide opportunities for discovering what’s possible. Some agencies call this an upsell, which makes creatives uncomfortable. In reality, it’s an exercise in communicating what all the options are. If a designer or developer can clearly lay out how much time an additional feature might take, it gives the client the opportunity to decide if it is worth spending more money to get exactly what they want.

Defined Timelines

Whether you call it a project plan, a roadmap, or something else, visually laying out the timeline of a project and its deliverables really helps everyone succeed.

Something I personally learned the hard way in managing creative types, is that if you ask them to do something, they are likely to say, “yes,” regardless of availability. I think there are two reasons for this.

First, you are asking them to do design or build something. That’s what they do, that’s what they are passionate about, and if it sounds interesting or fun, they are going to say, “yes,” because they want to work on it.

Second, there’s an ugly trend popping up in the web design industry of getting work done no matter the personal sacrifice. This has led to people being fearful of losing a job because they aren’t willing to commit to an impossible deadline. At UpTrending, we work to have open communication with our team. We encourage them to push back when there isn’t enough time to complete the project or task, and we push for as much work/life balance as possible, because burning our employees out isn’t something that is beneficial for our team or our clients.

By clearly communicating a reasonable timeline to all parties involved, it allows creatives to succeed, makes the client happy to have deadlines met, and makes the company consistently look great. It really is a win-win-win situation!

Designers Design, Developers Develop

This one is bound to cause some controversy, but hear me out!

Even at UpTrending, we have skilled designers who can also develop and talented developers who can design. And yet, design and development are different skill sets. While people are more than capable of having multiple skill sets, usually we find team members excel at either design or development a bit more. From an agency perspective, putting team members in a position where they are able to produce their best allows them to be successful. In turn, their success leads to happy clients and a happy boss.

No Two Projects are the Same

This one really applies to the larger type of agencies. One of the things that can happen at any organization as it grows, is you begin to create reports and data and analytics on your team and their performance. There are a variety of reasons why this is important, but it can quickly lead to putting everyone in a box to meet goals that a management team member came up with.  

Judging a team member’s performance based on one project is a recipe for disaster. There are numerous questions that don’t get answered through reports.

  • Was the project the best fit for the team member’s skills?
  • What particular challenges did this project have that others didn’t?
  • Was the project budgeted correctly to begin with?

Ultimately, you realize that every project is dependent on a number of factors that are outside the control of the designer or developer.

A much better way to measure a team member’s performance is looking to see if they maximized the time they were given; they communicated throughout a project effectively; and they delivered the caliber of work your team expects. These are much more consistent measures of performance that do not always show up in a report.

Understanding Praise

One thing I learned quickly in working with creative team members was how to give them praise that they valued. Here are a few key things that seem to be consistent:  

1. Creatives would prefer you acknowledge the quality of their work, not the speed with which it was done.

2. Even if it was timeline or budget related, praise for a creative solution to a problem needs to go further than, “Thanks for getting me out of that jam.”

3. A simple, “thank you,” goes a million miles, especially when you have asked that person to go above and beyond in some way.

Creatives are People, Too

Ultimately, the key to managing designers, developers, copywriters, videographers and all other types of creative talent is simple: they’re people, just like you.

In the midst of discussions about budgets, timelines, assets, revisions, mockups and quality assurance, just remember that creative people aren’t vending machines, they’re artists. You don’t need to punch in your order and impatiently tap your foot until they deliver a predictable result. Instead, you need to give them the best tools to do their job, and build processes that enable them to focus on their craft with good boundaries.

At the end of the work day, creatives truly love to do what they do. And anything you can do to help them love their job more is going to result in some of the most spectacular work you’ve ever seen.

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Featured UpTrender – Jack Perry

This post is part of a series highlighting the talented team of UpTrending. We believe in hiring the best and brightest in all areas of expertise, and it shows in the wide range of personalities and skills we have on our team. But our team members are more than just talented professionals – and you deserve to know them a bit better.

Our Featured UpTrender this month is Jack Perry, one of UpTrending’s premier developers. Jack joined our team in August of 2014. Prior to working with us, he spent time freelancing and in a boutique agency, as well as being an in-house developer at a startup working with nonprofits.

 

How did you end up as a developer?

I discovered web development and programming in middle school, from an HTML book in the school library. That same day, I went home and made my first website. I was immediately hooked, and dove right into the programming, web, and hacking scenes from there.

 

Working in such a cutting edge field, do you have trouble explaining your job to people?

I tell them I’m a Web Developer. Most people have at least a general idea so it’s not too painful.

 

Even so, I’m sure there are times that people don’t understand your role.

Some people think the creation of websites falls under one giant umbrella – that one person is capable of taking a project from concept to final product. A lot of developers can’t design, and a lot of designers can’t develop.

 

You’ve got a pretty diverse work background – what brings you to UpTrending?

I was drawn to UpTrending by a close friend who was already working here. He’s someone I trust and admire so when I saw how much he really enjoyed working at UpTrending, it piqued my interest. The company culture and talented team helped too, I guess!

 

What’s the best part of working here?

My coworkers for sure. I’m surrounded by incredibly talented people day in and day out.

 

And the worst? It can’t all be roses.

Being an introvert in a job where communication is key.

 

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

Video games are definitely my favorite hobby, but in general I like to think of myself as an entertainment glutton. I am super into movies, TV shows, video games, and comic books. I run home servers for all of those so I can watch things or read comics anywhere in the world on my iPad.

 

Speaking of anywhere in the world, what is someplace you’d like to live?

That’s a tough question. I’ve wanted to live in Santa Monica for the better half of a decade, so I guess I’d say there.

 

There’s a lot of developers out there – what do you think helps you stand out?

Perseverance and untamed passion. I started learning web development when I was twelve with the full support of my family. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

 

Speak to someone just getting started in development. What advice can you give them?

I would hope they are doing so because they love the idea of problem-solving. Critical thinking and problem-solving are so paramount to success in this field.

Experimentation is one of the best ways to learn so just build something. Even if you do something wrong, if you’re passionate you’ll find a method to accomplish your goal. You’ll learn the right way, which hopefully you can continue to pursue, and the wrong way, which you can recognize the next time a similar challenge arises.

 

In terms of problem-solving, how do you approach your projects?

Get a full scope of work and discuss the specifics line by line, taking extra notes along the way as needed. There are so many small intricacies to the way each client works that no project is ever the same as the ones you’ve done previously, even in the same client industry.

 

And what’s your ideal work scenario?

I work best on projects where I’m given the breathing room to “go dark” (within reason of course) with my head down on a big feature or page. I love when one of my Project Managers tells me I have a large chunk of hours to get something done and not to worry about anything else. By the way, my Project Managers freaking rock.

 

So the best way for a client or PM working with someone like you is to give you lots of space. What else?

Be specific and transparent. There is nothing worse than being told one thing, and later finding out something else that you should have been told in the beginning. I always do my best to foresee every scenario when I am working on something, but if there is information that is pertinent to predicting those things that I’m not privy to, that creates problems.

 

Alright, last question: something interesting or surprising people might not guess about you.

Most people don’t know that I’m British, even after meeting me. Also that I have two middle names.

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QA: It Takes a Village to Build a Website

If you think that Quality Assurance on a new website is something that happens on the day before launch by an intern who has some free time, then let me offer you a paradigm shift: QA is one of the most important elements in a website build.

And as a client, you need to be deeply involved.

Don’t believe me? Let’s start with why QA is so vitally important.

QA the Wrong Way

Many digital agencies consider quality assurance, or QA, as a task assigned at the end of a website build. They may have one person clicking around the newly-built website, making sure links work, and responsiveness is the same in different popular browsers.

If you’re lucky, this person is a developer who has spent hours working on the site over the past few months, and is just sanity-checking to make sure all of her buttons go to the right place. If you’re unlucky, it’s that guy in the office who has some free time to blindly click around your new online presence.

As the website launches, they assure you that it “has been fully QA’d” and there’s nothing to worry about. What could go wrong?

A Better Way

Let’s look at a few ways we can try to fix this broken system.

Don’t Wait

It’s vital that you have continual rounds of QA throughout the building process. The earlier you catch a flaw, a hiccup, or a blatant oversight, the easier it is to fix. As the saying goes, “There’s never time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over.”

Many Hands Make Light Work

One lone person facing down an unbelievable task is a great plot for a movie, but it’s an awful plan for QAing your website. You won’t have just one user on your site, you’ll have thousands, which means you’ll have thousands of behavior patterns. The more testers you have, the more of those behaviors and quirks you’ll work into your process.

And just in case you thought we meant that your agency should have a team to handle all of this…

Get Your Hands Dirty

Yes, you, the client. You need to be in the QA process. No, we don’t mean that it’s your job to click every button and slide every slider. But you do know your business better than anyone in your agency.

What’s your company phone number? Headquarters address? What year were you founded? Annual revenue? Spelling of your CEO’s last name?

These are the type of things that get missed, lost, forgotten and eventually end up with someone shouting over the phone, “How could you mess this up?!” And the person most qualified to catch these content errors…is you.

So take a few minutes and read your site, really read it. Make sure it’s perfect. Because the last thing you want on launch day is a flood of new prospects coming to your site and getting the phone number for a Domino’s in Minnetonka.

Don’t Forget to Test the…

The list of things your site should be QA’d for is lengthy, and will vary a bit from site to site. But there are a few things that are pretty universal, and will save a lot of headache if you ensure they are checked.

  • Mobile functionality. Most web shops will test your site on common browsers. But those browsers vary slightly from one operating system to another, so be sure to extend those tests to include tablets and smartphones as well. Use Google Analytics to determine what devices, operating systems, screen resolutions and browsers are typically used when visiting your site. This will help make sure you don’t miss a crucial slice of your customer base.
  • Redirects. Using your current sitemap, be sure that every page is accounted for in a list of 301 redirects. That way when your new site launches, all pages will seamlessly open for your users, even if they have an old, outdated page bookmarked. Without this step, pages may appear broken, and you may lose a potential client – not to mention the SEO ramifications.
  • Forms. If you have forms on your site, there are a number of things that could go wrong. Field validation, Thank You pages, email confirmation and notification, and analytics event tracking all need to be flawless on launch day.
  • Media. Video is the biggest culprit, but any type of specialized media needs to be a focal point for the testing team. Slide decks, calculators, and interactive infographics need to be thoroughly scrutinized to be sure they render at different resolutions, on different devices, and with common browser plugins running.

No one is more invested in your company’s website than you are. We understand that. That’s why we are such strong supporters of a good QA process throughout the life of your website build.

No matter who builds your next website, don’t leave the QA process to the very end. You may find it’s a lot harder to back up and fix any issues you find. If you continually QA, test and check along the way, your final QA should be a breeze, and you’ll have a great-looking, well-running, fully functional website that you can be proud of, and garner the results you desire!

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WordPress vs. The Rest

We build a lot of WordPress sites here at UpTrending, so we often get asked about how it compares to other Content Management Systems. Whether it’s Joomla, Drupal, SquareSpace or even a proprietary CMS, companies want to be sure they get the right platform for their largest digital asset.

Why WordPress is the Best

Nine times out of ten a company building a new website should do it in WordPress. There are so many reasons why WordPress squashes the competition, but we’ve chosen to highlight just five.

Ease of use

One of the biggest points in WordPress’ favor is that the admin interface is extremely easy to manage. The key to this ease-of-use is organization. A well-setup theme will separate out custom post types like press releases or white papers from larger static pages. This keeps everything filed in its proper place in a big grey sidebar that’s always accessible for admins.

sidebar

A good theme will also break out sections of a page into “custom fields” letting users edit the specific content they want without breaking the html structure of the whole page. The Advanced Custom Fields plugin makes these so easy, it would be foolish not to use them!

custom_fields

Menus are also extremely easy to manage in WordPress. With just two clicks in the admin panel, you can be editing menu links and text. You can independently edit your main menu, footer menu, mobile menu or any other menus you have globally on your site. While most other CMS’ allow for menu customization, they often require an extensive tutorial to understand the process.

Popularity

Statistics show that 24% of the web is powered by WordPress. Why does your business care? Simple – more people are familiar with it.

When hiring a new team member to manage the company website, finding someone with WordPress experience is exponentially easier. Most developers also know how to manage a WordPress site’s code. Choosing a development partner with WordPress is easier because almost everyone knows how to work on them.

Customization

With over 39,000 plugins (and counting!) in the official WordPress directory, plus countless themes at your fingertips, WordPress is by far the most flexible CMS to customize. Most custom features requested for company websites can be implemented with a simple plugin that someone else has already written and is giving away for free, or a relatively low cost.

That being said, it is sometimes better to have a developer custom-build these features, because plugins with bad or bloated code can cause issues down the line. It is always good practice to question plugins (and test them) before throwing them into a site.

Community support

The WordPress Codex offers a wealth of knowledge on how to customize and build a solid theme or plugin. There are also many forums that are regularly updated and dedicated to WordPress theme and plugin support. On the rare occasion when a solution can’t be found with a simple Google search, it is easy to drop a question in one of these forums and get answers, sometimes within minutes!

Open source

WordPress is free to use and always will be. This beats getting locked into a payment plan with SquareSpace or Wix where they control the site and never give up ownership of the code.

The Exceptions to the Rule

There are some cases where WordPress is not the best solution. Here are three cases where another option will work out much better in the long run.

Web or mobile apps

Complicated web or mobile apps are not what WordPress was built for. There are cases where these can be achieved with WordPress, but using a more robust framework like Ruby on Rails or Laravel is probably a better option.

Single-use landing pages

Sometimes a single page site is so static it never needs the content updated. In this case it may be faster to build it out as a flat HTML site.

However, implementing WordPress isn’t all that complicated so it may be better to use the CMS for single page sites that do get their content refreshed every so often.

Complex e-commerce sites

WordPress did recently partner with the popular e-commerce plugin WooCommerce. This does allow companies who sell goods online to use WordPress, and it works very well.

However, some enterprise level e-commerce sites are so complicated that it is much less headache to use the popular Magento CMS to manage the online shop. In these cases it is still nice to use WordPress for the marketing side of the company site to get the benefits of both platforms.

Not convinced that WordPress has what it takes to power your company’s website? Check out some examples of our enterprise clients whose sites are built on WordPress.

 

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Coffee Shop Etiquette

Coffee shops can be amazing. They can also become the bane of a remote worker’s existence.

Working remotely allows for a ton of freedom from where you can be creative. You can work practically anywhere with Wi-Fi (and caffeine), which makes the concept of coffee shops amazing. You can leave the house, grab a good cup of coffee, sit outside on a beautiful day, and enjoy conversations with people other than your dog.

On the other hand, coffee shops can be a pain sometimes – usually not due to the actual coffee shop, but the people around you.

Our remote team frequents coffee shops all over the United States. So it’s easy to say that we have experienced some frustrating and hilarious moments at them. We have compiled a list to make sure you’re not “that guy” at coffee shops.

Warning: If you do all of these things, we secretly hate you.

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SEATING

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giphy.com

Don’t sit in a bad location.
Entering a coffee shop, you have a very akward 1-5 minutes immediately after you step in the front door. Find a table, quick. Oh, and everyone is watching you.

Your hunt needs to be quick and effective. Here are the things to look for:

      • Near outlets
      • Not right beside the cash register line
      • Not blinded by the sun
      • Not near the bathroom (Remember, coffee is a natural laxative)
      • Not where ‘creepy people’ can approach you (Personal experience…)
      • Not next to a huge table of women (Run away! It’s a Mary-Kay party and they will be there all day)

Don’t sit at a stranger’s table.
It’s not an open seat. Personal space says, “You can’t sit here, this seat’s taken.” You wouldn’t sit at an occupied booth at Chili’s – don’t do it at a coffee shop.

Don’t set your laptop down and then go order.
Swiper, no swiping!” doesn’t work in the real world. Instead of setting down your expensive laptop to claim that empty table, throw a couple of notebooks and pens down to save your seat while you order. If those get taken or moved, your life will go on. Not so much for your laptop.

Don’t sit at a large table or take up two tables.
Other people are trying to find places to sit. When there is one of you versus a group of five people trying to find seats, you will look like the jerk that took the six-person table. If it is not a large single seater “community” table, don’t sit there…it’s a trap.

Don’t make an obstacle course with your stuff.
No one wants to Double Dutch jump rope with your laptop cord. Also, obstacles + steaming hot coffee = disaster.

Don’t hog all of the power outlets.
Go the extra mile and bring your own power strip. We promise you will be popular.

VOLUME

gifrific.com
gifrific.com

Don’t use your outside voice inside.
We can hear you loud and clear…meaning, we know for a fact that the person on the other end of the phone can, too.

Don’t forget to bring your headphones.
The best way to block out noise is by adding your own. (It might not be the peace and quiet you want, but you went to a coffee shop.)

Come prepared. Buy 2-3 cheap extra ear buds and put them in your car, laptop bag, or purse/man-bag…just in case.

Don’t “forget” to plug your headphones in.
We don’t want to hear your techno music. If you didn’t listen to the advice above and forgot them, don’t try to listen to your own music out loud.

Don’t give parents with loud/crying kids the death stare.
It sucks. I get it. Their kids are running around and screaming while you are trying to work…but I promise, the parents need coffee more than you do. Take a deep breath. It won’t last long. They will order and leave.

COMMON SENSE

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reddit.com

Don’t camp out and not buy anything.
FYI, ordering water doesn’t count.

Don’t forget your manners.
Tip the barista. Say “please” and “thank you.” Clean up your space when you’re done.

Don’t take someone else’s coffee.
Duh. That’s not how you make friends on the playground.

Don’t complain to the barista if the Wi-Fi is awful.
They are not the IT guy. People go there for the coffee, not the Wi-Fi. Cross it off your coffee shop list and move on. Also, be careful, because some coffee shops’ Wi-Fi will “time out” during peak hours (usually only if they also serve lunch and dinner). Be aware of this before you order and get comfortable. Checking Yelp before going to a new coffee shop helps to avoid hindrances like that.

Don’t stay until they kick you out.
Don’t stay until someone has to come tap you on the shoulder and ask you to leave. The polite thing to do is leave 15 minutes or earlier before closing time.

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(Yes, that’s actually me, in my favorite brew house, The Well Coffeehouse. If you’re ever in Nashville, check them out!)

Sidenote: If you realize coffee shops are not your “thing,” and prefer to work from home, try the Coffitivity app to get the background noise of a coffee shop without the pain points of actually being there. Great for white noise and productivity for a quiet day at home (and you can turn down the volume if it is too loud).