Planning for WordCamp US 2015

By Melanie Chongolola-Nestor

November 23, 2015

Hello, Melanie here. If you’ve been keeping up with YIKES’ weekly blog posts, then you should know that I am a neophyte when it comes to Web Development and Design. Thus far I have attended WordCamp Philadelphia in June 2015, and a Girl Develop It Class (Intro to Web Concepts) in September. I feel like they both have been getting me ready for WordCamp US – the biggest WordPress conference in the World, which will be hosted in YIKES’ home town and the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.

Hopefully you already have your tickets, and are eagerly awaiting for the fourth of December to roll around. I recommend taking a look at the schedule before you show up for registration because there are a lot of classes and lecture offerings. You could just wing it and pop in and out of sessions, but with so many experts and professionals on-hand to answer your questions, you should maximize this opportunity.

The first thing one should note is that the schedule is broken up into tracks and lightening talks. Tracks A and B are full-length talks, and Track C, 10-minute Lightening Talks. You should attend the classes that speak most to the direction you want your learning to take, not which one will allow you to sit next to a friend.

As a novice, these are the courses I am looking forward to taking:

Friday, December 4th

11:05am –  Communities and The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense

Because everyone should know how to shut down internet trolls without losing their cool

11:50am – Themes are for Users

Learn how to choose the right theme to increase the user experience for the visitors to your site

3:25pm – Get It Right The First Time: WordPress Launching Checklist

Self-explanatory, amirite?

5:05pm – Designing For Those Who Matter – Your Users

Another talk about user experience

5:50pm – Publish in 10 Minutes Per Day

Keep your creative juices flowing and your ideas moving forward

6:00pm – What I Learned When My Blog Post Went Viral

Be prepared for big things, even if your site is one of obscure nature.

Saturday, December 5th

9:00am – You can learn a lot from WordPress: Learning by building the Web

Turning your WordPress practice into learning experiences

9:45am – 10 Tips for Clean Code

Clean code is easier to de-bug. Start off right and save time on future fixes.

11:00am – Things you always wanted to know about WordPress (but were afraid to ask)

Self-explanatory, amirite?

2:45pm – Take Care of Each Other: How to Contribute to WordPress Without Writing Code

As a code novice I don’t know the best way to contribute to WordPress, this will tell me how

4:15pm – Explaining Hard Things to Humans: The Principles of Effective Technical Communication

I’m attending this to learn how to best translate tech terms to layman’s terms

The best thing about this schedule is that I will still have time to explore the other offerings of WordCamp US 2015. Opportunity maximized.

Reflections on WordCamp

By Jodie Riccelli

October 26, 2015

The significance of Philadelphia hosting the inaugural year of WordCamp US is not lost on me. I remember my first WordCamp very clearly. It was November of 2011. I was new to my job at YIKES and fairly new to the WordPress community. Eager to learn everything there is to know about WordPress, I awoke early to board the train to Temple University. As I entered the building, Tracy (my boss) was behind the registration desk holding my badge. There were coffee and donuts and … hundreds of people I didn’t know. Armed with my It’s Always Sunny WordCamp t-shirt I just received and a stack of business cards, I proceeded to mingle around the coffee table.

My first thought was that people were so welcoming, but I also noticed that most people had computers with them. Being a less-technical person in a super-technical world has its advantages, preferring to write with a pen and notebook is not always one of them. Now panic stricken because I was without my laptop, I immediately began to think that people would notice I was a newbie. Did I stand out? Did my lack of a messenger bag or a backpack riddled with tiny pins make me look funny? (Pins are a thing in the tech community I have learned, and it’s awesome.)

The sessions were about to start and I got seated at my desk ready to learn. As it turns out, all the preconceived notions in my head were false. I met people of various skill levels throughout the day and many had notebooks just like me. The one common thread throughout the group was the desire to learn. WordPress had brought this seemingly random, diverse group of people together. Here they were growing, learning, and creating websites that now run almost 25% of the internet. I didn’t know it at the time, but that atmosphere would become a safe haven for me.

So here were are, four years later and I’m lucky enough to be part of the organizing committee for WordCamp US. Being accepted into this group of wonderful and brilliant people has been enlightening in so many ways. What stands out for me is that the city of Philadelphia has become part of the WordPress community. It’s part of the organizing team just as much as I am.

The home of democracy is the perfect setting to host an event for a software with democratic principals. When the announcement was made that Philadelphia was selected to host WordCamp US, I was excited and incredibly nervous. What could Philadelphia do to thank the WordPress community for this honor? As time progressed it became a bit clearer. The answer is to give back to the WordPress community. The city of Brotherly Love can easily embrace a group of people that proclaim, “Code is Poetry”.

Philly, get ready because WordCamp US is almost here. You can still purchase tickets and experience the same joy I did at my first WordCamp. Bring a notebook or a laptop and surround yourself with information and knowledge. Thank you for selecting Philly to host WordCamp in 2015 and 2016. We will do you proud, WordPress 🙂

P.S. There are still opportunities to sponsor this historic event! We would love to have you!

Easy Forms for MailChimp Plugin Gets an Upgrade!

By Jodie Riccelli

October 6, 2015

YIKES is excited to launch tomorrow — a new site to showcase our awesome WordPress plugins.

With the new site comes a brand new and improved version of our wildly successful Easy Forms for MailChimp plugin. For months we have been working on this new version, and we are excited to release the update tomorrow.

Making the Update

We want our current users to have as smooth a transition as possible so we have created guide to updating:

As always, you can submit support requests for the free version of our plugin to our Github Issue Tracker, and we will respond ASAP.

What’s new in this version?

Completely Rewritten Code

We make note of every support request and feedback message our users send us and have completely rebuilt the codebase to eliminate reoccurring issues. We also had the the code professionally reviewed to ensure it was the highest quality.

“This is certainly a well-coded plugin…it’s in the top 5% – 10% of plugins I’ve seen as far as code goes.”
Justin Tadlock, Co-author Professional WordPress Plugin Development

Brand New Interface

The plugin Admin has been completely redesigned with a streamlined interface.


New Knowledge Base

We have created a Knowledge Base full of articles with step-by-step guides on plugin installation, use, settings and developer documentation.

New Add-Ons

We built fabulous free and premium add-ons to extend the base functionality of Easy Forms for MailChimp. Paid add-ons also come with premium support.

One add-on we know you’ll love is the Form Customizer. With it you can completely customize the look of your forms without needing to know any code.

Watch this video demo if it in action.

Visit our new plugins website to see all the free and premium add-ons available.

We are excited to release these and more great plugins in the future.

WordPress version 4.3 – “Billie”

By Tracy Levesque

August 18, 2015

WordPress Version 4.3 came out today, and the YIKES crew is proud to have made contributions to this release.

Language Translation

Carlos is a member of the WordPress Polyglots team and an active contributor and editor of Spanish (Mexico). He translated and approved hundreds of strings for WordPress 4.3.


I designed a couple new Dashicons for the WordPress admin – “Rotate” and “Unlock” to go along with the Lock icon.


Admin UX

At WordCamp Philly we were lucky to have lead developer, Helen Hou-Sandí, in attendance at our contributor day. I was interested in the work she was doing regarding cleaning up the WordPress Admin and was able to learn about tasks with which I could help. I got some handy SVN tips from Helen as well.

Admin forms on mobile

The contribution I am most proud of is improving the error messaging on forms.


Add New User before


Add New User after

In addition to looking nicer, the use of the alert icon doesn’t just rely on color to convey an error, making it better for accessibility.

I have really enjoyed participating in the WordPress #Design Slack channel. I love seeing how much thought people put into every design decision that is made.

Learn about all the great new features in 4.3.

My Top 5 Tech Meetups in Philadelphia

By Jodie Riccelli

July 27, 2015

My top 5 tech Meetups in Philadelphia for networking and learning (in no particular order):

1. #techinColor

Two years ago a group of like minded individuals got together to discuss promoting diversity in the tech community. What evolved from that meeting was an Official Philly Tech Week networking event attended by more that 100 people. During that first year, a brain mapping exercise was done to see what attendees would like to get out of #techinColor overall. The results led us to this past years Philly Tech Week speed networking event. Speed networking turned out to be incredibly beneficial to the attendees and the mentors.

2. Girl Develop It
If you are a female (or male) looking to learn about tech in any capacity, you have to check out Girl Develop It. Girl Develop It can be found in many cities throughout the country. Their website states is perfectly, “Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their every day lives.”

3. WordPress Philly
The Philadelphia WordPress Meetup Group is a group of WordPress enthusiasts in and around the Philadelphia area. I have had the pleasure of working with the organizers of this Meetup for WordCamp Philly. I can tell you that this is a devoted group of individuals who aim to provide education content in an exciting and mindful way.

4. Philly Burbs WordPress Meetup
I haven’t had the chance to venture out to burbs for a Meetup yet but other folks at YIKES have. The organizers of this group are some of the kindest and smartest folks I have encountered. Sessions cover everything from “Creating a Beer Fest Site with WordPress” to Web Accessibility.

5. Tech in Motion
The Tech in Motion group was a sponsor for a recent #techinColor event. They provide great Meetups to foster relationships within the tech community. Session include topics like “Reality, Musicality and Beyond: Drinks & Demos.”

I know there are so many more out there. I am anxious to spend the next half of this year discovering new Meetups in the Philadelphia area and meeting more people in our amazing tech community. I would love to hear about some of your favorite meetups or networking events. Feel free to leave a message in the comments below!

YIKES’s Adventure at WordCamp San Francisco

By Tracy Levesque

November 11, 2014

This past October YIKES was fortunate to have team members attend, sponsor and speak at WordCamp San Francisco, the biggest WordPress conference in the World.

Tracy, Carlos and Evan report back on their experience:


Tracy Speaking

Last year when I attended WCSF13 I was by myself and I barely knew anyone. After more than a year of seriously contributing to WordPress, going to WCSF14 was like going to a week-long camp with all my friends. I loved having Carlos and Evan with me representing YIKES and Philly.

I was honored to be selected to speak at WCSF for the second year in a row. This time it was a 5-minute lightening talk. This proved to be much more challenging than I imagined, but I had a great time doing it.

I was also fortunate to be able to attend the Community Summit following WordCamp. I co-lead the Training Project, and we were able to get a lot of work done. It was great to see old friends and meet new folks as well. I’m already looking forward to next year.



It was quite eye opening how cooperative and welcoming the WordPress community is. I found people using WordPress in creative and unique ways. Some of these applications of WordPress, I look forward to duplicating in our own projects.

The widespread use of WordPress in different countries and using different languages is an important issue. The Polyglot team, comprised of volunteers (as well as other volunteer translators in other open-source communities), is an integral part of democratizing publishing using tools like WordPress. I look forward to investing time in the Polyglot team as a translator as a way to contribute to the community.


Evan and Matt

I gained valuable insight into the WordPress community and the direction the entire platform is headed moving forward. I was quite surprised to hear that this was the first year non-English installations surpassed English installations.

WordCamp San Francisco re-ignited my excitement for the REST API coming to 4.1, and I’m really looking forward to utilizing that in some of our future client projects and plugins.

Sticking to plugin development, I was extremely excited to hear all about the future plans for language packs in WordPress core (including plugins!). And, of course, networking with people from all around the world who use WordPress in so many different ways was a huge bonus.

WordCamp San Francisco

By Tracy Levesque

October 21, 2014

WordCamp San Francisco is the unofficial official and biggest WordPress conference in the World.

This year three members of the YIKES team will be at WCSF — Tracy, Carlos and Evan. Tracy will be giving a 5-minute lightening talk on Teaching People to WordPress.

YIKES is also proud to be a sponsor this year! If you’re there, find us and say “hi!” We’ll be giving away some swag and we’ll have a few t-shirts to hand out as well. 🙂

Saying Goodbye to Linda, Our Summer Unicorn

By Jodie Riccelli

August 7, 2014

It’s a sad time for YIKES. Our summer intern, Linda Gorman, is leaving to go back to college. Linda will be a senior at Syracuse University this fall. Prior to interning at YIKES, Linda studied abroad in Japan for a semester, tackled numerous independent projects, and interned at other reputable businesses.

While at YIKES, she was instrumental in supporting work on a wide range of projects, learning ColdFusion along the way. Her knowledge in a variety of technologies and her keen editing abilities were a great addition to the team. Linda is truly a tech unicorn with the ability to program in different languages, work proficiently with Bootstrap, test UX/UI, develop dashboards, and more.

While at YIKES, she discovered Indian Food, cappuccino potato chips, and Pho. We couldn’t be prouder. We wish her the best of luck in the upcoming school year. It was an honor to have her part of the team this summer.

Luckily we can continue to follow her successes on Twitter and her website!

As one door closes another opens they say. Therefore we are looking for interns! You can get more information on our jobs page.

Tech Unicorn by Phine. Can you spot all 8 technologies plus a bonus YIKES logo icon?
Tech Unicorn by Phine. Can you spot all 8 technologies plus a bonus YIKES logo icon?

YIKES Gets Serious About Contributing to Open Source

By Tracy Levesque

August 6, 2014

Inspired by Helen Hou-Sandí’s WordCamp Philly keynote, “How I convinced my boss to let me work on WordPress full-time,” we’ve decided to donate a collective 5 hours a week to the WordPress Open Source Project.

We want to give back to the project and community that provides a free, open source and fantastic software platform to build and maintain great websites. We decided to start with 5 hours a week with the goal to increase those hours in the future.

Tracy Levesque contributes time as the co-lead of the WordPress Training Project (aka Theme School). The project’s goal is to create WordPress-approved, classroom-style curriculum instructors can use to hold in-person WordPress classes and workshops. She is also involved with initiatives to bring more diversity to the WordPress Community and newly obsessed with designing Dashicons.

Programmers, Evan Herman and Carlos Zuniga, spend time combing through trac tickets, testing code and submitting patches. Evan also helps out on the support forums. He even received an in-person thank you at WordCamp NYC from a person he recently gave assistance to.

We are excited to make our commitment to helping build the software we use every day and supporting the vibrant community surrounding it official.

Evan working at WordCamp NYC Contributor Day
Evan working at WordCamp NYC Contributor Day

Summer Camp for Geeks: WordCamp NYC

By Jodie Riccelli

July 29, 2014

With WordCamp NYC 2014 only a few days away, the YIKES team is looking closely at the schedule and getting excited. Tracy will be speaking on Saturday, August 2nd at 2:45pm. Don’t miss her presentation: 6 Ways to Up Your Theme Game. Besides Tracy’s presentation, here are a few things we are looking forward to:

WordCamps are always fun, and I am glad NYC was able to have one this year. I am looking forward to seeing WordPress friends from all over the World and recruiting new folks to join the WordPress Training Project. I also love learning new skills and teaching some as well.
– Tracy Levesque, Web Designer/Developer & Co-Owner of YIKES, Inc.

I’m looking forward to networking with some of the smartest people in the WordPress community and learning more about contributing to the community. I also just enjoy being around like minded individuals who love WordPress as much as I do.
– Evan Herman (WordPress Developer)

Everything is great in NYC. I have no doubt that WordCamp will be any different. It’s always exciting to share in the enthusiasm of the WordPress community. I’m anxious to see what new and exciting things I learn this weekend, and I look forward to meeting new friends!
– Jodie E. Saueraker (Sales and Marketing Director)

After a very successful WordCamp Philly this June, I am looking forward to spending a beautiful summer weekend in New York with other WordPress aficionados. WordCamps provide a great opportunity to meet people in-person, chat, swap stories, and share solutions.
– Mia Levesque, Web Project Manager & Co-Owner of YIKES, Inc.

We are bringing the infamous YIKES swag including bottle openers, beer koosies, and pins! See you in New York.

Bottle Openers - YIKES

WordCamp NYC is this weekend at the Brooklyn Marriott.

YIKES is proud to be a Broadway Sponsor of this year’s event.

Meet Evan Herman

By Jodie Riccelli

February 6, 2014

We are excited to welcome web developer, Evan Herman, to the growing YIKES team. Evan is an accomplished WordPress developer, and we really love the fact that he geeks out on WordPress as much as we do!


He has developed two plugins for WordPress that can be found in the WordPress Plugin Directory.

  • YouTube Plus allows you to upload content to your YouTube account without having to leave your WordPress dashboard.
  • WordPress Icons – SVG will install 500+ SVG glyph icons for use on your WordPress website.

In November of 2013, Evan was interviewed on WP Tavern with Marcus Couch. You can listen to the podcast on the WP Taven website.  During the interview, Evan talks about his observations of the WordPress community and the future of plugin development.

He loves the WordPress community to a degree that when he gives his contact information, he always includes his user name! I would classify Evan as a “lunch bucket” type of developer. The kind of guy that isn’t seeking notoriety or accolades and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in mind-numbing code. He simply gets the job done for the betterment of the WordPress community and moves on to the next project.”  – Marcus Couch

We couldn’t agree more! Evan is a great addition to our team, and we are excited to see the great things he will build for our clients. Read what he has to say about working for YIKES on his blog.

Hello Kitty Learns about Custom Post Types

By Mia Levesque

October 23, 2012

WordCamp Montreal 2012

By Mia Levesque

August 19, 2012

Tracy Levesque presented on Creating Custom Child Themes for WordPress at this year’s WordCamp Montreal. Attendees learned how to safely change the look-and-feel of WordPress sites using Child Themes, without modifying the core code of your theme. Tracy walked through the steps of creating a child theme via slides and a live demo. CSS modification, template modification, include tags, conditional tags, creating your own page templates and modifying functions.php were all covered.

You can view slides on Slideshare »

Tracy Levesque Presents at WordCamp NYC 2012

By Mia Levesque

June 13, 2012

WordCampNYC-–-June-9-10-1Last weekend Tracy presented at WordCamp NYC 2012. Her session on Creating Custom Child Themes for WordPress was selected in this fabulous article on 12 Fantastic Presentations from WordCamp NYC.

You can also check out her presentation on