News : November 2002
Jim Byrne writes an excellent and well-stated introductory article about Understanding web typography. All the key points are here including the whole serif vs. sans serif debate, cross-platform issues with fonts, font size and even image headers vs. text headers. This is a good read and well-worth a bookmark. [from LucDesk]
Confessions of a Designer is an very interesting read about a Web Designer named Douglas Bowman, who went from MacOS to Windows and is contemplating both OSs. The article focuses on OSX and Windows XP. No clear conclusions are drawn here… just some good thoughts about each OS. Having just installed a new Dell Pentium 4 system for my mother that runs on Windows XP and being nearly the only person at work with a Mac G4 running OSX as a secondary system, I can really relate to Doug’s thoughts here. If after you read the piece you are still confused, read these comments from the author.
Zeldman makes some good points about OSX. Even more so, the underlying point here is listening to the customer. About four years ago we took a chance and listened to our users… the direct result of that is Digital Web Magazine as you see it today…. not bad for once being a no-name web site with little fresh content in a sea of /files/includes/10.css0’s of other better sites. Sometimes it is proven more effective to listen rather than to talk. In the up-and-coming days we will be asking you, our readers, to talk once again and voice your opinions in a reader survey. Keep an eye out for it.
Mozilla 1.2 has finally been released. New features of this release include: Type Ahead Find, Link Prefetching, IE-like XML display, improved mail filters, and Palm syncing on Windows. The roadmap has also been up/files/includes/date.cssd.
This week’s issue of Digital Web Magazine continues the theme of usability with a great column by staff-writer Peter-Paul Koch on “Simplicity vs. Innovation” which writes about the misconception that simple is always dull. And to continue the trend of new announcements every week this month, Andrew Hinton joins the Digital Web Magazine team as an Information Architect assisting in the rearchitecting process. See you next week with one final installment on the theme of usability.
If you should read anything today, this should be it: “Briefing for a Descent into Heck.”
Ricardo Baeza-Yates and Miguel Nussbaum propose a framework for designing curricula related to technology. The proposal is entitled “The Information Architect: A Missing Link?” and it brings up some really good points about IA’s role in relation to more standard computer science or information systems backgrounds. [from Info Design]
CSS has have become more of a standard method for isolating browsers that properly support CSS to those that don’t. The problem is, of course, that a hack is a hack and we all know that hacks don’t last forever. Thankfully Kevin C. Smith has created a table to answer the question, “Will the browser apply the rule(s)?” [from css-discuss and Rudy]
Good Experience interviews Maryam Mohit of Amazon.com. Maryam has worked as Amazon.com’s V.P. of Site Development and since returning from maternity leave, she is in charge of reviewing the UI of new developments on the site. A must read. [from LucDesk]
A DIV is a thing of beauty… or at least it is when it’s in the context of explaining Thomas Vander Wal’s redesign of vanderwal.net. Very nice. RSS included.
Adam Greenfield and Nathan Shedroff battled it out in a interesting debate (part 1 of 2) about Experience Design and Information Architecture. The debate makes for a good read and gets you thinking but also perhaps makes the water more muddy than clear. Peter Merholz posted some comments on the debate. I agree with most of what Peter has to say, but at the same time (even as a AIFIA charter member and a member of several other communities and groups that have been around for a while) I think that maybe he missed a few good points Nathan made. I could go on about the signal to noise ratio in most communities and how it has deterred the true experts from participating… I could go on about how some communities only seem to be interested in preaching to the choir while spinning their tires in the mud… I could go on about how ego often drives communities nowhere fast… but I will refrain and stick to obscure comments such as the preceding for those who really pay attention to find a correlation here.
“Building Relationships Takes Time” is a great article on CRM and Newsletters by Digital Web Magazine’s own Managing Editor, Meryl K. Evans. With that said, I suppose I should mention that Digital Web Magazine’s own Up/files/includes/date.csss newsletter has reached 3330 or so readers, not that numbers really matter.
If this entry from Dori isn’t enough to show the difference between learning to hand-code markup vs. buying a WYSIWYG editor and letting the software do the markup for you… well, then I don’t know what is. [from Meryl’s Notes]
We are happy to present another new issue of Digital Web Magazine that focuses on usability. In this issue columnist David Wertheimer publishes some excerpts from Usability: The Site Speaks for Itself, published in June 2002 by Glasshaus. In chapter two of this book David covers in detail the redesign of Economist.com. Also in this issue columnist by Jeff Lash explains why Information Architecture is not Usability just in case you were confused. And I bet you thought I had no new news concerning staff members at Digital Web Magazine? Well, guess again; we are very happy to welcome author Alan K’necht to the ranks of columnist here. Alan will be writing about the business aspects of this industry from ROI to the dollar and sense of building to standards. We look forward to seeing Alan’s work grace the pages of digital-web.com and we will see you next week with more on usability.
For those in Portland: The Multimedia | Internet Developer’s Group is having another meeting on Wednesday November 20th at OHSU’s Main Library Building (BICC 124 Theater) starting around 7:15 pm. The evenings topic will be “Everything You Know is Right – How Usability Testing Enhances the User Experience” presented by Chris Bond, a User Interface Consultant with PGE, and Michelle Keating of Usability Concepts, LLC. Visit the MIDG site for more details at the link above. I hope to see you there!
November has been a busy month with a lot of changes for us at Digital Web Magazine. For starters Britt D. Parrott joins the ranks of staff as our new Associate Editor. Britt has a detailed background in editorial work going back to when he worked at Transworld Skateboarding Magazine as Managing Editor for three years (yes, David Carson was the Art Director at the time). Today Britt works for David Evans and Associates, Inc. as their Webmaster. We are happy to have Britt as a part of the team.
We have also recruited two new Product Review Editors; Alex Schleifer for Windows products and Daniel J. Cody for Linux products. These two will assist Jesse Nieminen while he focuses on specifically MacOS products.
Elisa K. Miller did such a wonderful job as an interim book review author that we decided to promote her to Assistant Book Review Editor assisting James McNally. Also moving up the ranks is Meryl K. Evans, she will be taking the role of Managing Editor assisting in the day-to-day management of contributors and staff writers.
Last but not least, Craig Saila will be moving into Meryl’s former role as Assistant Editor helping interview widely known designers, developers and experts.
Speaking of interviews and experts, I almost forgot. For this week’s issue on usability Meryl and I interviewed usability expert Dr. Jakob Nielson. We hope you enjoy the interview and we’ll see you next week with more on usability.
A beta version of Opera 7 has been posted to the company’s FTP site. The release is not “official” but may be by the time it’s morning in Oslo—bug reporting may be allowed by then, too. Opera 7 is a complete rebuild of the browser’s rendering engine and promises more complete W3C DOM support (and favicons, too). Follow the discussion in the opera.beta newsgroup.
NetDiver has published a great interview with Peter Paul Koch, Digital Web Magazine’s Keep it Simple columnist. Topics covered are Web Standards, Simplicity, Fluid Thinking and… well, to some extent, MUDs.
Macromedia has announced their new desktop application, Contribute. It’s geared for the ease of updating of Web sites by non-professionals and Web professionals alike. A site designer or administrator can dictate which Web pages, templates and styles can be edited and by whom. It can also be used as well by the budding blogger who doesn’t want to or can’t use a third-party software solution like Moveable Type or Blogger .
In this week’s issue of A List Apart Drew McLellan writes a great piece about embedding Flash with markup that is actually valid. The piece is called “Flash Satay.” If you design sites that use Flash, you should read this article and practice this method for embedding your SWFs.
Here is a great tutorial on writing CSS shorthand properties by Ove A. Klykken. This is very handy to know and can save you not only time but bytes. Of course, you’ll want to be careful, sometimes shorthand methods are a bit buggy in some browsers. This is why Ove has included a compatibility reference for each shorthand property. [from Glish]
Cover Artists Needed! Digital Web Magazine is looking for talented designers and artists who want to feature their work on our front page. Artists will get a full bio page on the site that links to their personal site, portfolio site, employeers site, etc. Your name will be on the cover as well. One cover artist per month. We would like to have enough covers to take us through the year at least, so there is plenty of room! Formats accepted are GIF, JPG, SWF. Optional music formats are MP3 and WAV. HTML is also an option if you want to get fancy. Contact us ASAP if you are interested.
Peter Merholz point out some interesting comparisons between Peter Morville‘s “Iceberg of IA” to JJG‘s “Elements of User Experience” …I was fortunate enough to see Keith Instone‘s CHIFOO presentation that depicted Little IA and Big IA in a simular light to what Peter Morville has here. No one is copying anyone else here. What is happening here is good minds thinking alike. Richard Feynman once said that if you can’t reduce something to its simplist form then we really don’t understand it well enough. The closer alike we think about IA the clearer IA will be to us and everyone else who wants to learn about it. Good minds working together is what AIfIA is about.
Meryl K. Evans, Digital Web Magazine’s new Managing Editor, has post some interesting comments about Southwest Airline’s inaccessible telephone recording system. Why? Because Meryl can’t book a flight using their system… it hangs up before she has a chance to respond. This is because she has to use a TTY system to make her call, she’s deaf. Meryl goes into more detail about this and asks “where does ADA start? End?” A good first-hand perspective of the whole thing.
November is marked as the month of usability. Why? Because December marks the mad rush for online purchases and usability is more critical than ever for the success or failure of a site or even an entire company. To kick the theme of usability off we have great new cover art designed by Digital Web Magazine’s Web Designer for the new up-and-coming design, Alex Schleifer. Also in this issue is a great feature by returning contributing author Anitra Pavka. She covers the lawsuit over Southwest’s website and the “Accountability of Accessibility and Usability.” For those who are still wondering why usability is important, please read this article. We will see you next week with another new and fresh issue.
Digital Web Magazine is looking for volunteer candi/files/includes/date.csss for the Associate Editor position within the editorial staff. You would be responsible for guiding a skilled editorial staff and assisting with editing contributed and in-house works. You would help maintain the editorial calendar and work with the producer and managing editor to keep things running smooth. If you are interested in this opening, please contact us as soon as possible. Be sure to include your full name, valid email address and URLs to your resume as well as a URL to your portfolio of authored and edited works.
Usable Jakob by Anitra Pavka… sung to the tune of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” Enough said.
Today marks the official launch of a new IA group called The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture (or AIFIA for short). Their mission is basically to promote and educate others on what IA is and how it can be of benefit to practice. They are looking for people to get involved and help the effort. Their members include the likes of Christina Wodtke, Lou Rosenfeld, Victor Lombardi, Peter Morville, John Zapolski and many more. Yours truly is a proud charter member and I encourage you to join the effort as well. Find out more about AIFIA on the site.
Wired New publishes a story about The Final Insult: A Lost Domain in which Paul Boutin descibes how domains have been stolen due to ISPs going under and people taking advantage to Network Solution’s ignorance. Also mentioned is some comments from Hoopla.com’s rightful owner Leslie Harpold. ICANN, of course, says that “most lost domains are the result of inattention, not fraud.” Talk about blowing smoke.
Because of high demand I have once again added a RSS feed for this page (What’s New). Hopfully this service will not get bogged down. Eventually we plan on having two RSS feeds, one for all posts on What’s New and one for just strictly new issues and announcements involving Digital Web Magazine. Props to Nathan Steiner for point out this service. Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in helping us setup a RSS feed using PHP, please let me know.
Howdy folks, on a lovely Sunday morning in atypically sunny Tokyo. Thought you might be interested to know that a new, standards-compliant version of v-2 Organisation has launched. We’re always interested to hear your feedback and comments. And yes, congratulations to the folks who put Asilomar together. I joined this worthy project as a charter member and recommend you do the same.
This is your last chance. This is the last month before the deadline for submitting case studies, presentations and posters for the IA Summit 2003 to be held in Portland Oregon from March 21st to 23rd. Please see the Call for Partisipation page for details. Not sure if you material is on-topic or worthy? It doesn’t matter, send it in anyway. It can’t hurt to try, the worst that could happen is that they don’t accept it. Last chance!
Yours truly is a proud member of Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture (AIFIA). The AIfIA serves to advance the design of shared information environments. We support a global community infrastructure that connects people, ideas, content, and tools. Through research, education, advocacy and community service, we promote excellence within our field and build bridges to related disciplines and organizations.
The institute is headed up by Digital Web Magazine’s own IA, Christina Wodtke and the usual suspects: Lou Rosenfeld, Victor Lombardi, Peter Morville, John Zapolski… with additional help from the Leadership Council: Michael Angeles, Samantha Bailey, Dan Brown, Andrew Dillon, Karl Fast, Jesse James Garrett, Andrew Hinton, Keith Instone, Jeff Lash (Digital Web Magazine’s IAnything Goes columnist), Erin Malone, Jess McMullin, Eric Scheid, Rashmi Sinha, Thomas Vander Wal, and Todd Wilkens. [from InfoDesign]