Introducing WPCampus Speaker: Travis Totz

Travis Totz will be joining us at WPCampus 2017 to share new innovations with page and layout building tools. You can see him in action on Saturday, July 15 at 9 a.m.


Travis Totz presents

Tell us about your first website or digital project. What was the spark for you?
The first project I can recall was a Flash website project that was part of my Graphic Design curriculum in college. The assignment: design a build a website entirely in Flash, learning ActionScript and all. This was not yet at the point where Apple and Steve Jobs went all out ‘war’ against Flash, but it was at the point where HTML and CSS (and table-less layouts) were gaining popularity in the web design field.

Needless to say I completed the Flash project for a grade, but myself and a few other students took it upon ourselves to use this as a lesson in learning new technologies while older ones (like Flash) were quickly fading. The goal: build the same site in HTML and CSS and learn something that I knew would be far more future-compatible. I loved it and stuck with web design since then. It was an amazing juxtaposition to build the same experience in Flash and in HTML/CSS.

Why higher education?
Truthfully, I really enjoy the experience of designing and building experiences for the audiences within higher ed. I enjoy architecting complex builds and content patterns within the higher education world. While there are many experiences in ed that are easily translatable to other industries, there are also many unique challenges to overcome. Having overcome these challenges for many higher education clients and stakeholders, I love the process and design challenges that come with it all.

Tell us about the topic of your session. Why is it important to you?
The title of the talk is “The builder’s dilemma: No layout left behind”, where the goal is to dialogue about new innovations with page and layout building tools, specifically in WordPress. And how to keep the web beautiful while making content creation intuitive and flexible for clients. What is the right amount of options when it comes to custom content creation tools, and how do you properly handoff a system that comes with a level of complexity, while maintaining simplicity.

Who do you follow on Twitter?
I tend to follow a lot of musicians and artists on Twitter; really because I enjoy using Twitter for inspirational outlets first and foremost. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a fair amount of twitter dialogue around web design, development, WordPress, and the like — I really love the other stuff. The stuff that takes you out of the “trend cycle” and into the mindset of “finding your own way.” Music, art, photography. These are the interesting things that help you find inspiration outside of what everyone else is doing.

A few of my current favs:

  • @dessadarling: a wonderful Minneapolis0-based musician and writer. Part of the @Doomtree party and an extremely talented woman.
  • @elonmusk: Mr. Tesla, SpaceX, OpenAI himself. I love tech and innovation. He’s inspiring to follow.
  • @DesignersMX: Your mix of music inspiration and a whole load of rad Soundcloud and Spotify playlists to browse through.

Why do you ♥️ WPCampus?
As the only WordPress focused Higher Ed conference, WPCampus is easy to love. As an organization who helps those in higher education to connect with others who have similar passions, WPCampus is even easier to love. And as a wonderfully well-organized conference, WPCampus is definitely ‘love’ in my book.

If someone designed a wapuu for you, what would it look like?
Half hipster, half cycler. I’d probably have my Apple earbuds in while riding my bike, maybe wearing a hoodie and shorts. 🙂

What WordPress, or other, tool can you not live without?
The Modern Tribe WordPress page-builder tool we can ‘Panels’. Ask me about it, I promise it’s rad. 😉


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