Interview with Jamie Sanchez

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Jamie will be presenting Admin as a User Experience: The Quest for Simplicity on Friday in the Foundation Friday 301 track

Jamie Sanchez is an award-winning graphic designer, front-end developer, and usability advocate in Chicago, IL. She’s been crafting websites for over 12 years, experimenting with WordPress since 2005, and has over 6 years of design and marketing expertise working with clients such as Follett, Holabird and Root, and US Equities. She currently develops websites at Association Management Center.

Jamie is extremely passionate about community building. She is the founder of AnimeChicago, board member of independent game developer community Indie City Collective, and proud Chicago Nerd Social Club member. Follow @spacedragon for nerdy rants and occasional craft beer live tweet tastings.


Why do you use WordPress?
WordPress makes life so much easier. It often saves a client a lot of time, money and hassle down the line. I cannot stress the importance of using an easy, non-anxiety-inducing CMS when educating and recommending content-first web strategy and editorial calendar to a client. But most of all, the community is avidly updating documentation and sharing their knowledge to make other’s lives easier, too. They are the best.

What would you say to convince someone to attend a WordCamp?
Although you may have learned a ton of WordPress knowledge from online documentation and forums, nothing beats humanizing your development experience. Don’t fear meatspace. Venting frustrations and sharing victories in-person is part of networking, and those connection made at WordCamp can go a long way.

What is your favorite WordPress project you have worked on recently?
I spend a fair amount of time promoting and learning about independent games at events like Penny Arcade Expo, IndieCade and GDC. The indie dev community is phenomenal but most devs are new to running a business. There’s no consistent model to follow – what works for some probably might not work again in the future.

So I teamed up with a friend to conceive, craft and launch over a weekend. It’s a resource hub to share design, marketing, and convention knowledge with indie devs who are new to exhibiting games. I had a ton of fun fiddling around with responsive code and integrating Advanced Custom Fields for easier data entry. A few devs have been very appreciative of the resource. I hope grow this project with more data and some cool tools!

Do you have any advice for someone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?
WordPress development is a great way to earn extra income as a part-time freelancer. That type of work pays for my travels and adventures, but it also leads to severe burnout. Two tips:

1) You’ll be surprised how much time will go towards client management and security measures instead of the fun parts like theming and content creation. So either be picky about what kind of client work you accept or have a fun project on the side to keep your WP interest piqued.

2) Be clear about your business hours, your hourly rate, and how much support you’ll provide post-launch. Most of all, be honest with yourself about these commitments!

What is your favorite WordPress-related resource?
I know this is obvious, but the WP Codex is always my first stop when looking for answers. As for plugins, I can’t say enough about Advanced Custom Fields! It adds a professional touch and really cuts down on documentation and client education time.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related
My greatest adventure of 2014 thus far was taking an Amtrak train from Chicago to San Francisco with 58 indie game devs. It’s known as Train Jam and like most game jams, each team conceives of a game idea and executes as much of it as possible by the end of the jam. Although it was the worst two nights of sleep I’ve ever had, I helped make a game!