Web Design Resources: News

The Wisdom of Community
The Wisdom of Crowds (WOC) theory does not mean that people are smart in groups ? they?re not. Anyone who?s seen an angry mob knows it. But crowds, presented with the right challenge and the right interface, can be wise. When it works, the crowd is wiser, in fact, than any single participant.
Multi-line JavaScript
In a case of, "I didn't know you could do that," I discovered via some random blog post I've now lost track of, that you can do multi-line JavaScript by escaping the line breaks. var a = 'You can start here and continue here and then finish it up here.'; The backslash on each line allows you to keep going. It's a little bit cleaner than opening and closing quotes and a concatenation operator on each line. And now's your chance to say, "I can't believe you didn't know...
Hyphen Nation
Lionel Schriver’s piece in the Standpoint called Dashed Bad Form is a witty affair, comparing and contrasting the semicolon and the em dash . Alas, the self-describing nature of the article is completely lost in the online version—though presumably not in the print edition—having suffered the all-too-common fate of emdashculation; every instance of an em dash in the article has been converted into a plain ol’ hyphen. Oh, the irony! …proper irony...
Hiding with CSS: Problems and solutions
Many CSS and JavaScript tutorials suggest using display:none to hide elements. It may be temporarily, for example when using JavaScript to hide or show parts of a page depending on the user's actions, or permanently, for example in image replacement techniques, skip links, or structural headings. In most cases, using display:none to hide an element is a bad choice that reduces accessibility. I thought this was a well-known fact, but apparently there are many who are not aware of it...
Dyson ball
When I was in Japan last year, I noticed that most advertisements don’t mention URLs . Instead, they simply show what to search for. The practice seems to be gaining ground over here too. Advertising for the government’s Act on CO 2 campaign didn’t include a URL—just an entreaty to search for the phrase. The current television advertising for the latest Dyson vacuum cleaner finishes with the message to search for “dyson ball.” Sure enough, the...
5 things you (probably) don?t know about me
(I was rooting around and found this leftover post from 2006 and figured I’d throw it out here.) It looks like blog tag has come to the search bloggers. I’ve been tagged by so many people that I yield and surrender obscure facts about me. When I was growing up in Eastern Kentucky, there wasn’t always a [...]
Thinking about thunder
I read an interesting blog post by Mike Markson, VP of Marketing for Blekko, which is the working name for a new search engine planned to launch to the public in a few months. The title of Mike’s post was “Google Likes To Steal Other’s Thunder,” and he mentions several anecdotes to back up that idea. [...]
I love my Samsung NC10 Netbook
A couple months back I got a Samsung NC10 Netbook . I had been on the fence for a long time, trying to decide between the an Eee PC from Asus, the MSI Wind, and the Samsung NC10. Right about the time I was going to finally do it, the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE was announced. I read a lot of reviews from folks who'd bought those netbooks and eventually settled on the NC10. The main deciding factors, in order, were: keyboard layout, build quality, ease of upgrade (mine has 2GB RAM...
Missed the Web App Summit? You Can Still Experience It.
If you missed attending the UIE Web App Summit, we’ve created something special just for you. Experience the Summit yourself with the Proceedings CD.  For the first time ever, you can get a CD loaded with all the presentation slides PLUS 16 audio recordings.  Last week’s UIE Web App Summit was the best Web App Summit [...]
Excitement and the Design Process
Lately I?ve been PM ?ing a lot more, and therefore thinking a lot about what makes the big web projects we do go smoothly. As you might expect, smooth projects typically involve realistic expectations that both the client and agency understand. They also tend involve empowered, communicative project managers on both ends. And they tend to be scoped very well, with enough time and money budgeted to do the job right. But let?s just pretend that (mmmgulp) you or someone else has...
UIEtips: Knowledge Navigator Deconstructed - Building an Envisionment
Last week we reprinted an article discussing the 3 steps design teams take when creating an experience vision to guide the direction of design toward their users’ ideal experience. Once a design team creates that experience vision, they need to share it with everyone involved in the project to make sure everyone is on the same page as the design [...]
Use the fieldset and legend elements to group HTML form controls
The fieldset and legend elements , which should always be used together, allow you to create and name groups of related input fields in HTML forms. By doing this you help users understand how the input fields are related. How the grouping is conveyed to the user depends mainly on whether the user is sighted or not. Most graphical web browsers draw a border around fieldset elements and render the legend element on top of the border, while screen readers may speak the legend text...
Is MySQL 5.1 a compelling upgrade?
Of the many things I noticed last week at the MySQL Conference, one of the most notable was how many companies have not upgraded from MySQL 5.0 to 5.1 yet. Craigslist is in that camp and it seems that we're joined by the likes of Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and about half a dozen other companies that use MySQL heavily. Come to think of it, SmugMug are the only folks I've talked with who've made the jump (video). So it's not much of a surprise that Percona is asking if they should...
Why I don't love JavaScript's Module Pattern
The Module Pattern is the use of closures to create, in essence, private functions that are only accessible by other functions created within that closure. Functions can be attached to an object and returned outside of that function call. This establishes a public API and only the functions defined within that public API will have access to those hidden functions. The YUI blog documents this well but here is a simple example of the Module Pattern: var ManageChildren =...
MySQL and Drizzle Tip: Checking configuration file syntax (faking configtest)
In the Apache world , you might be familiar with tweaking your config file(s) and then running $ apachectl configtest to see if the config parses. We've been discussing this on the drizzle mailing list and talking in general about configuration handling and management. Well, it turns out that you can fake it in MySQL and Drizzle too. If you have a new configuration in /tmp/new.cnf , try this: $ mysqld --defaults-file=/tmp/new.cnf --verbose --help And it'll run mysqld (or...
The White House on Flickr
The official photostream of The White House is fascinating as well as encouraging. I also love that the first photo set is titled, "Delivering on Change". #
Saying Farewell to Tom Watson
I’m both excited and sad to announce that Tom Watson, our immensely talented interaction designer and one of our first two employees, is leaving us. He’s accepted a job down in the Silicon Valley working for Facebook as a product designer. It’s a gig that sounds incredible, exciting and challenging. I’ve got no doubt that he’ll be amazing down there and Facebook should count themselves lucky to have him. I can’t convey in words the true pleasure...
Teach the web right
You could say that I?ve been around in this industry, but after all this years it still amazes me that certain aspects still are used like way back in the 90?s. I?m pointing my finger towards Flash now. For example, this week I received a request to link to a site that sells Flash templates.
Using an XML declaration triggers Quirks mode in IE 6
If you use an XHTML doctype in your documents, do not include an XML declaration unless you want Internet Explorer 6 to use its Quirks mode . An XHTML 1.0 Strict doctype with an XML declaration looks like this: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> IE 7 and later are not affected and will use Standards mode. Neither are other browsers...
UIEtips: Designing for Faceted Search
If you’re like me, (and hopefully you’re not,) you have books and magazines scattered all over your house. For reasons I can’t completely explain, I always want reading material in arms reach, so I’ve haphazardly distributed my library in every possible room. There’s even reading material in the bathroom. (I once bumped into the editor of my favorite magazine and [...]