In today’s speaker interview we’re talking with Natalie MacLees, a front-end web developer and UI designer.
Natalie is the founder and principal of the interactive agency, Purple Pen Productions. She is the author of jQuery for Designers, now in its second edition. She was the lead organizer for WordCamp Los Angeles 2014 and 2013 and organized the first Website Weekend LA, a 48-hour hackathon matching web professionals with nonprofits in need to websites. She’s also the founder and chapter leader of the Los Angeles chapter of Girl Develop It, bringing affordable and accessible coding classes to the community. Along with Nathan Tyler, she created the Draw Attention WordPress plugin for creating interactive images. She makes her online home at nataliemac.com.
What should we know about you that you haven’t included in your brief, third-person, professional biography?
I’m a podcast addict. I subscribe to about 35 different podcasts and I keep up to date on all of them. Right now I’m waiting for some episodes to be released today so I have something to listen to.
The second Website in a Weekend is around the corner, can you tell us a little bit about the event and how we can get involved and participate?
I organized the first Website Weekend in 2013. I do a lot of work with nonprofit organizations so I know there’s a huge need for help with websites. And it’s difficult help to get – web professionals are busy folks whose skills are already in high-demand, so it’s tough to make time for a pro bono project. So I thought if we could limit the commitment to a weekend, we could get a lot of professionals on board to help out and that worked! Everybody came out and worked hard and had a good time and got some really good work done for some really worthy organizations.
Website Weekend 2016 is happening October 22 and 23. We’re looking for all kinds of help, so don’t feel like you’ve got to be an expert coder to make a meaningful contribution. Anyone interested in participating can get more information and get signed up at our website, http://websiteweekend.la. Applications are open for nonprofit organizations too, so if you run, know, or love a nonprofit that could use some professional help with their web presence, send them our way!
As a former organizer of WCLAX, how does it feel to be returning as a speaker rather than an organizer?
I’m so excited to be able to attend and just enjoy the talks and chat with friends I haven’t seen in awhile instead of having to be stressed out about whether or not lunch will be served on time or if the registration desk is running out of lanyards. 🙂
As a founder and leader of so many communities, what can you suggest to people who want to get more involved in their local communities but don’t know how?
Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to do it, just go do it! Everybody’s waiting for that awesome new group or conference or event you want to start, so take the first steps.
Stop making dangerous assumptions. Don’t assume that an element will always be on the page, don’t assume that all WordPress installs are in the root of their domain, don’t assume that people won’t use custom post types. WordPress is flexible and can be used in so many ways, so be sure to account for that when you’re writing your code.