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Kimberly Blessing

Notes to my team #1

1 min read

I wrote the following on April 30, 2007 for the standards team I managed at PayPal. It's a good reminder to any evangelist: stay focused on results, don't let yourself get bogged down in the politics of the organization, and don't try to do everything on your own!

We are a SOLUTIONS team --
     not the whining team
     not the complaining team
     not the commiserating team
     not the finger-pointing team


  1. focus on the problem
  2. determine what we can solve
  3. define what's for others to solve
  4. involve others to help
  5. facilitate communications

Kimberly Blessing

CSS & Troubleshooting IE6

1 min read

On Saturday, July 18, I gave a talk as part of the CSS Summit on CSS & Troubleshooting IE6. Many designers and developers are passionately anti-IE6, while I'm one of those folks who has a soft spot for the browser. So I laid out the case for continuing support for the browser and gave some tips on how best to do that. Most importantly, I tried to reinforce the idea of planning for and managing browser support, especially the phasing out of specific browsers. After all, if you don't have a plan, you don't know where you're going.

You can download the presentation slides as well as read and comment on the use of IE6 hacks over at my personal site.

Kimberly Blessing

Working with the Not-So-Tech-Savvy

2 min read

Maybe it's the co-worker who sits next to you, or perhaps it's your boss. It could be a new client. And, invariably, someone in your family qualifies. That's right, they're the not-so-tech-savvy you have to deal with. How do you get them to understand you so that you can communicate and work together effectively?

Web Worker Daily provides 10 tips for working with the computer-illiterate, ranging from the obvious (avoid jargon and be patient) to smart strategies you may not have figured out yet (introduce new technologies gradually, talk results instead of process).

Two things that aren't mentioned in the article but deserve emphasis:

  1. Don't talk down to the person or treat them like an idiot. First of all, no one deserves being talked down to. Doing so is going to make you look bad and it will make future communications even more difficult. The person you're talking to could have a Ph.D. in some other field and simply may not have the background or experience to understand you without more explanation or context.
  2. Take the time to educate. I had a boss who was very results-oriented. When I was able to demonstrate the ROI of Web Standards in an effective way, he wanted to understand more. Over the course of a few months, I helped him learn some HTML and CSS, introduced him to our publishing tools, and gave him a copy of Zeldman's Designing with Web Standards, which we discussed at length. Didn't my boss turn around and become my biggest supporter and advocate to more senior management? And all it took was my investing in his education. Think of what educating a co-worker or client could do for you -- relieve you of that constant headache from one-off questions? Stop you from rolling your eyes after every interaction? Maybe the payoff seems small, but the mutual growth is worth it.

Kimberly Blessing

Standards Evangelist Wanted!

3 min read

It was through Steve Ganz, whom I met at SXSW, that I learned PayPal was making the move to Web standards -- entirely due to the great job he'd been doing evangelizing them! It was also because of Steve that I got hired at PayPal. I was excited that we'd be working together... but disappointed when, after just 10 days on the job, Steve resigned. (As Ducky would say, "Do I o-ffend?")

Despite Steve's departure, progress must continue to be made, and PayPal is in need of a standards evangelist! I'm out to find the best person for the job -- someone with great knowledge, passion, and commitment. Is that you? Someone you know? The job description follows, along with instructions for applying. Contact me with questions, or just submit your resume!

The Web Development Platform team at PayPal seeks a senior-level Web developer to work across multiple projects and teams to drive the adoption of Web standards. The ideal candidate will have prior experience working as a senior developer on a high-profile site with a cross-functional team under tight deadlines. The ideal candidate will also be well-versed in Web standards (HTML/XHTML, XML, XSL, CSS, JavaScript/DOM scripting, accessibility) and protocols, coding for multiple browsers/platforms, and current JavaScript frameworks.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Standards evangelism: Requires extensive knowledge of Web standards, a passion for advocating their correct usage, excellent communication skills (written and verbal), and a high comfort level speaking to large crowds.
  • Code analysis: Candidate should have experience with reviewing others’ code, delivering constructive criticism, assisting developers with making changes/fixes.
  • Prototype coding: Based on user interface and visual design specifications, rapidly create necessary HTML, CSS, and DOM scripts to produce working model.
  • Documentation and training: Create and deliver training materials to groups of developers.

Job Requirements

  • 5+ years experience in Web development, including hand-coding of semantic HTML/XHTML, CSS-driven layouts.
  • 3+ years experience of DOM scripting, including DHTML, Ajax, and JavaScript frameworks.
  • 3+ years experience with XML/XSL or a content management system with template scripting capabilities.
  • Expertise with cross-browser, cross-platform development practices.
  • Experience developing accessible Web sites that conform to WCAG 1.0.
  • Solid understanding of Web protocols.
  • Knowledge of software design principles, OO concepts, and/or C++ or Java programming.
  • Excellent time management, problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills.
  • Experience in internationalization/localization a plus.

Education: Bachelors Degree or Equivalent

Interested parties should apply online at under Req . Please provide at least 3 web site URLs that showcase your work.