Automattic’s new Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion — Keynote at WordCamp RI

Keynote – John Maeda

Computational Design and Inclusion.

John Maeda has a vision and goal: that what you see and what you don’t see will work together well.  Especially when it comes to websites.  Especially when it comes to WordPress websites.  Because it’s not a case of “what you see is what you get” but rather what you don’t see determines what you will get.

Quoting from his blog, Maeda, in 1996, “co-founded the Aesthetics + Computation Group (ACG) along with a talented group of people who seamlessly bridged the wide divide that existed back then between engineers who could design and engineers who could code. ”

John Maeda is an American executive spearheading a new convergence across the design + technology industries. He recently joined Automattic as Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion. Automattic is the company behind WordPress.

Maeda says “Being at MIT for close to 20 years shaped how I saw the world …. But it was my years leading Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) that shaped how I saw the world through artists’ and designers’ eyes.”

WordCamp RI is excited and honored that Maeda has said “yes” to our request that he be our Keynote Speaker on October 1.

Maeda previously served as Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a world-leading venture capital firm. An internationally recognized speaker and author, his books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code and Redesigning Leadership. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering + Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State U, and a PhD from University of Tsukuba in Japan.

WordCamp RI is being held Friday September 30 and Saturday October 1 at New England Tech in East Greenwich.  You can get tickets:


New England Tech and WordCamp RI: what a team!

Anthony “Ajay” Coletta is an Assistant Professor for  Graphics/Multimedia/Web at the New England Institute of Technology.  He was also very instrumental in getting WordCamp RI to the NEIT campus.  He shares his thoughts on the collaboration between New England Tech and WordCamp RI.

Q: Professor you have been active in getting WordCamp RI to the East Greenwich campus of the New England Institute of Technology.  Why is this a win-win situation for both NEIT and WordCamp RI?

A: 2015 was the first year that Word Camp was held at New England Tech and the response was fantastic. I spoke to many Word Campers who said that the accommodations at New England Tech were just what they needed.  The college was clean and spacious, the infrastructure, especially the wifi, was supported well, and the ability to park securely right on campus was very convenient.

New England Tech is really astute at understanding that in order to help students fully prepare for their careers, students need to engage with people in their industries. Word Camp brings such a diverse group of people interested in learning and collaborating that hosting the event is tremendous opportunity and honor for New England Tech.

Q: In your professional life, when you’re not helping to organize WordCamp RI, what do you do?  What role does WordPress play?  What role does WordPress have with NEIT’s academics?

A: I teach in the Graphics, Multimedia & Web design department and in both the Associate and Bachelor degree programs, we offer courses in WordPress development and students really enjoying building their personal portfolios using the platform.

Personally I use WordPress for a couple of different activities, the most frequently visited site is for a band I perform with called “Hey Nineteen,”  a Tribute to Steely Dan, and I also manage some commercial sites for clients. I have been developing websites since the late 1980s and the WordPress platform (and extensive community) has been the best solution for web development and content management by far.

Q: One topic you teach is how to customize WordPress themes.  What’s the advantage to doing that when WordPress comes ready-to-use right from the start?

A: One of the things I really love about WordPress is the level of customization the platform offers. You can use the built-in customizer and change many design items in the theme just with a click of a button, or if you are interested in working with code and want to make more advanced modifications, the open source platform also allows you to do that. WordPress accommodates all types of users & designers.  Brilliant!

Q: Is there any follow-up that makes sense once WordCamp RI is over?

A: Once Word Camp has concluded, be sure to check out the excellent RI WordPress Meetup group that keeps the conversations rolling all year long,
Many of the folks who organize and participate in Word Camp are often at these meetups and share the newest, latest and greatest things happening that influence how we use the web.

Ajay is on Facebook:

SEO and Plugin Help and More

Are you getting good search engine results with your WordPress site?

How can you tell if a plugin is the right one for you?

Are you the owner of a WordPress site, needing to find someone to work on your website?

Or do you work with WordPress; looking for more jobs?

These were the topics at the June meeting of the WordPress RI Meetup.  As the days are at their longest in June, our group took advantage of the extra sunlight to travel out of state for our meeting.  Destination: Fall River, Massachusetts.

(We will pause our regularly scheduled blog post for a gasp of admiration.)

(We will now resume normal blogging.)

emagine hosted us at their headquarters.

You can review what you learned that evening or watch the talks for the first time on the videos from the Meetup.

Alicia Hale,  VP of Digital Marketing at emagine, reviewed SEO tips and tricks:

Aaron Ware, President of Linchpin, unveiled the new website matching those who want, and those who can offer, help with WordPress sites.  (Spoiler alert: the website is  His talk is at

Christian Nolan, Technical Director at emagine, advised on finding good plugins.

These are the types of topics you’ll find given in more depth, along with many other topics, at the 5th annual WordCampRI held on September 30 and October 1 at New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich.  See you there!

Thank you to Tom and Reiko Beach for videotaping!