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Richard Tape

Software Engineer, University of British Columbia

Rich is fortunate to work with a fantastic team who run, maintain, and build WordPress-based teaching and learning platforms at the University of British Columbia. Passionate about the student experience, inclusivity, and accessibility, Rich has been working in the WordPress world – mostly with Multisite – for the past 7 years.

Users first. Put your users first; make your apps better, make the world better

A student in Vancouver, BC,
Told her story which helped devs see,
That what they thought,
Was worth less than nought,
“‘Cos the site’s not for me” said she

We were building tools at the behest of our instructors with the goal of helping them better serve their students. Those tools were well-received, well-used, and, well, pretty good. Or so we thought. The instructors liked them as they made their lives easier and let them do innovative things in their classroom (or beyond). Then we watched students use those tools.

Some expensive therapy later, we realized our clients weren’t the instructors. OUR clients were THEIR clients. Putting students first, and focussing on their experience, has helped us design better tools. Tools that the students actually don’t hate using (that’s about as big a complement as you’re going to get). Tools that not only allow – but actively encourage – our instructors to teach ‘in the open’ meaning their expertise can be passed on to the public at large.

When you’ve been running software for nearly a decade for nearly half a million users, you have some stories. Some horror stories, some feel-good stories, some funny stories and some funny, feel-good horror stories. We’ll get through plenty of them in this talk. We’ll also break out from the Education sector and apply what we learned to the business world.

Friday, February 23rd

4:35 - 5:10

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