Ross Johnson Speaker Interview

Ross Johnson has been designing websites professionally for over fifteen years. He brings a unique and comprehensive view to design, shaped by a lifelong love for fine arts and his education in technology, business and social science. This diverse background brings insight to all aspects of design including practicality, business implications and psychology of how people interact with computers.

He’ll be presenting Using WordPress’ Built-in Theme Capabilities for Better UX.


Why do you use WordPress?

Its flexibility and simplicity. The sites my firm builds are eventually handed over to their owners for management. If managing the site is difficult we have to spend more time training and less time designing, which is a lose-lose for both us and our clients. We’ve found that we can build just about anything using WordPress and still make it maintainable for our clients.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started using WordPress in 2006 for a personal blog. The blog originally lived on Blogger, but I didn’t like the clunky method of posting content to your own server. There was buzz around WordPress so I figured it would be a better solution and gave it a shot.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

Setup a development server so you can test plugins, theme changes, etc… The fear of “breaking” something often prevents people from learning by experimentation. If breaking the site is of no consequence you can install and play around as much as you like.

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

Value your time and your expertise. It’s easy to fall into the trap of accepting low budget projects or letting the scope increase in an effort to keep the client happy. In the end, neither party will be happy however. You’re work quality will eventually slip when you’re working more and getting paid less and the client will get frustrated even if it was free work.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

WordCamps, WordPress meetups,, Podcasts, Twitter.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

The community. I always find someone who is passionate about something similar or something I haven’t considered. This community is so willing to share and teach, it seems to attract people who care more about building great things than making a quick buck.

Where can we find you online?

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