The University of Georgia Online Learning team wanted to build a site for their faculty community to share resources and best practices related to online learning. A primary goal of this project was to recreate the design used on the school’s main Drupal site. In addition to reproducing the design in WordPress, I was asked to optimize it for speed as much as possible. Many of my previous projects had placed their priorities elsewhere, so this was the first time in a long while I’d been able to indulge my nitpicky side and reevaluate every tiny component of our plugin and theme setup. I lazy-loaded fonts, trimmed images, separated CSS into render-blocking styles to be loaded inline, minified other files, and ran speed tests until the site loaded faster than anything else I’d ever built.
Another primary goal was to make the site as accessible as possible. Again, I dug in somewhat deeper than usual. Our plugin and theme choices were solid, but I ran tests again anyway and looked at everything. I eventually rewrote Genesis’s multi-page numeric pagination functions to include additional context and ARIA labels based in part on Mike West’s “An Accessible Pagination Pattern.” This code was later adopted into the Genesis framework, and then reworked further by screen reader experts.