Speaker Spotlight: Brendan Sera-Shriar

Brendan Sera-Shriar has been an interactive designer, developer, college and university professor, community manager, author, consultant, and professional speaker at some of the largest corporations and festivals in the world, including Microsoft, Mozilla Firefox, Sun Microsystems, WordCamp, BlogWorld, SXSW and more. His work has also appeared in TechCrunch, TechVibes, WordPress TV, and a host of other blogs. He was also featured in the October 2012 issue of Marketing Magazine.

Despite being known best for his work as a WordPress designer, developer, and WordCamp speaker and organizer, Brendan’s best communications skills lie in his ability to help organizations understand how they can build communities around their products and services.

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Brendan will be giving a talk titled “How to A/B Test with WordPress: Conversions Aren’t Just for Landing Pages“.

What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

As a marketing and social guy I would have to say my fave improvements would be post embeds for stuff like Tumblr and more specifically Kickstarter. And talking social, there has been great improvements made to PressThis.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

Same reason I have always participated at WordCamp’s across NA for the last 6yrs – to give back to the community. WordPress has always been a huge part of my “life” so the opportunity to help those who help me is great.

What is your talk going to be about?

I’ll be talking about best practices for integrating A/B testing tools and plugins like Visual Web Optimizer and Optimizely. I’ll touch a bit on marketing, but really this is about how to properly integrate these tools, embed tracking codes, work with template pages, etc.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

I love cliches, because generally they are true – meaning they come from a genuine place. That being said I want people to walk away as coder, designer, or publisher with a real understanding that nothing we do online is for us, it is for those we intend to engage with. Basically, don’t code or design your site based on what you like or want, do it for you audience! This is why A/B testing is so crucial and it is so underused beyond marketing pages.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

That’s a loaded question :) As a parent you learn to not pick favourites, at least you don’t verbalize it. There are great people everywhere doing great things in the community. The question is really more a matter of what “topics” I follow and who is most active at that time in those areas as oppose to who I “follow”. So anything theme related or cross-device and platform is whats interests me the most. I’m inspired by those that do great things.

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

Hmm. Good question. When asked this question last year I said responsive. This year I would have to say that I think improvements can still be made to WordPress when it comes to the responsive web. But, considering my talk this year I would say that the ability to test more would be cool. A built-in way to weight pages by traffic would be cool.