So you want more women at your tech event? Say it out loud.

This is Part 3 of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

One of the biggest mistakes I see conference organizers make is not making a public statement on gender equality. It’s a very small thing to do, but the effect can be huge.

I had been meaning to write this post earlier, but in August it’s easy to get sidelined by the summer weather. And I was looking for a good example. Luckily, yesterday I was sent a link to the Diversity Statement for PyCon 2012, the largest annual conference for the Python programming language.

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So you want more women at your tech event? Make it cheap.

This is Part 2 of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

One of the easiest things you can do to get more women at your event is to make it cheap to attend.

Women have lower salaries and less disposable income than men. They are more often single parents. And this income gap is even larger for older women.

You will also have the advantage of an event that is more diverse in other ways, by removing a very real barrier to participation.  Continue reading

Multilingual billing… what are your options?

I work and build websites in Quebec where I’m required to provide invoices in French as the default. This is perfect for my French-speaking clients.  But many of my English-speaking clients prefer English invoices. This means that I need a multilingual billing system.

Many billing systems claim to be multilingual, when they are really unilingual in a language other than English. Unfortunately that type of system won’t work if you need to invoice some clients in one language and some in another. Continue reading

Bilingual eCommerce… what are your options?

This week I was contacted by a potential client. They wanted a WordPress based eCommerce site. But there was a catch. They wanted it to be bilingual.

It’s tough to find a content management system that does bilingual well. It’s even more difficult when you add eCommerce to the mix.

In Quebec (where I build websites), if you are a commercial enterprise targeting Quebec businesses or consumers online, you are required by law to provide a complete French-language version of your website. But most people also want to take advantage of the larger English speaking markets in Canada and the US, and that means they need a multilingual website. Continue reading

The future is mobile: Part II

This is the second part of a two-part series on designing for mobile.

Today, I’m going to cover SEO, server-side tweaks, and conditional tags. I’ll also look at how to deal with javascript and multimedia. I’ll be posting a short follow-up on accessibility soon. Check back for more.
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So you want more women at your tech event? Put a woman in charge

This is Part 1 of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

One of the first things you should do if you want more women at your tech event, is put a woman in charge. Tech events usually have an organizing committee and there should be at least one woman on that committee. You could even try two or more!

But what does “in charge” mean? It means having a woman organizer who will have some authority, who will have the power to say no and to implement positive measures that appeal to women. Yes, I’m telling male event organizers that they have to actually cede some power to women. Continue reading

So you want more women at your tech event?

This is what a tech event looks like when women are welcome.

Baby at PodCamp Montreal

This is a photo of me, taken by the talented Eva Blue at PodCamp Montreal 2010. I also brought my baby to WordCamp 2010 about two weeks before this photo was taken. There were at least two other babes in arms at that event. Their dads brought them. Continue reading

The price of admission

After I wrote my last blog post on women in tech (or more accurately the invisibility of women in tech), both organizers of Startup Fest emailed me. They weren’t happy with the article. And (surprise!) they wanted me to MC the Granny Den.

They offered to let me help organize the Granny Den, make it more respectful and I’d also get to go to StartupFest for free.

For those arriving late to the party, Startup Fest had planned an event where startups would pitch their ideas to grandmothers. Their reasoning: that if even a grandmother could understand it, anyone could and it would made good business sense.

I called the premise sexist. Continue reading

The future is mobile – Part I

Last weekend I gave a presentation at WordCamp Montreal 2011 on developing for the mobile Web. The talk covered some easy online tools, and WordPress-specific themes and plugins that require no coding. Then I offered my own solution.

Designing for mobile can be tough because you are designing for so many different devices, screen sizes, screen resolutions, operating devices, and functionality sets. Your design needs to be really flexible in order to work on the majority of mobile devices.

And it needs to be attractive. Most of the mobile web is not especially functional, and what is functional is a bit plain vanilla. It’s quite easy at this point to build a standout site, if you put in the effort. Continue reading