News : December 2002
Andy Cameron brings up some very good points in a small article entitled "Lay off the layout" that I think every Web Designer should read... especially if you have a formal design background or hail from the print side of graphic design. Wondering what "form vs. function" is all about? This article defines it. [from LucDesk]
Alex Schleifer (Digital Web Magazine's senior web designer in charge of the digital-web.com's up-and-coming redesign) is a very talented designer... perhaps too talented. It appears that three other individuals have taken advantage of his talent and stole his hard work from him. The design of Netymology can be seen along side of the offending site right on the home page of Pirated-Sites.com. This is nothing new for us. We have had our design taken and abused more than 27 times. In each case legal action was taken and matters were quickly resolved. Regardless, it is a sad day on the web when would-be designers have to resort to stealing the creative work of others. [from Jeffrey Zeldman Presents]
To wrap up the year with a, well, certain perspective on things. Jakob Nielsen has published a new Alertbox aptly entitled "Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002." I think he hit the nail on the head here... what he failed to point out was that some of these mistakes are not mistakes at all. They are, in fact, poor business decisions or poor business practices. It's worth a read none the less. [from WebWord]
It is that time again. It is time for the second annual Digital Web Magazine Reader Survey. The survey has a total of 20 questions and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. We are using SurveyMonkey instead of Zoomerang this year so hopfully that will help resolve some of the problems many of you had last year. If you run into any problems, please contact the Webmaster.
Speaking of Nate, he also would like to let you know that he has launched a redesign challenge called WThRemix. The jest of the challenge is simple: create a redesign of the W3C homepage. More details on the site. Your's truly along with Jeffrey Zeldman, MSchmidt, Todd Dominey and many others will be judging the entries... so what are you waiting for?? Get crack'n!!
One last thing. Special thanks to Associate Editor Britt Parrott and collague Nathan Steiner from Web-Graphics for helping create the slick pull-quotes you see in today's issue of Digital Web Magazine. You will also see some other small changes to do with quotes, em-dashes and other typography elements if you look real close.
It has been a very long year for us at Digital Web Magazine. I added it up and we have published over 80 articles in 2002 alone, so it is no surprise that our staff has doubled in size and we have recruited several in-house writers and columnists. Next year will be filled with even bigger news, mark my words. But, for now, we would like to end this year with a big bang as we publish three new articles on navigation and how it relates to information architecture. In this issue we have a new edition of the Keep it Simple column by Peter-Paul Koch which hits on what it means to have "Navigation Complex." Also in this issue is another edition of IAnything Goes by Jeff Lash. Jeff covers the topic of "Persuasive Navigation." Lastly, Jesse James Garrett joins us as a contributing author to write the second feature of this month titled, "The Psychology of Navigation." That is all for this year. Now, if you don't mind, we will be far away from our computers as we enjoy the holiday season. Thanks to all of you, our readers, for your help and support, we couldn't have done this without you. See you in 2003.
Ian Lloyd has told us about his new resource site Accessify.com... as he says, "all the tools, links and resources you'll ever need to make your web site accessible." Check it out, it is a great resource that will keep growing.
A great overview of graphic design can be found here: An Intermediate Guide to Formal Visual Design. Note the simularities to this and Andrew Mundi's presentation... this is the core basis for true Web Design. [from LucDesk]
IAnything Goes columnist, Jeff Lash, writes a great review of "Making the Web Work: Designing Effective Web Applications" over at Boxes and Arrows. Both the positive and negative points of the book are addressed. [from InfoDesign]
XML and SOAP - A great article over at CambridgeDocs by Rizwan Virk answers the question Why Create/Convert Documents into XML? Meanwhile Duncan Wilcox explains SOAP interoperability. [from WebWord and O'Reilly]
It only takes a dash of CSS to spice up otherwise bland content and grab your reader's attention. In this tutorial titled Making Headlines with Cascading Style Sheets at Web Reference, Christopher Schmitt (that's me!) provides specific examples for dressing up your page and section headers.
Wrapping up the 2002 year we thought it would be good to recap some of the important practices that we expect to see growth in over the next few years. By no small margin we have Information Architecture. Just a quick trip to the bookstore or your favorite blog will turn up some great resources on IA. This month we will attempt to focus specifically on the relation of IA in site navigation. To get things started we have an excerpt from "Information architecture: blueprints for the web" by Christina Wodtke entitled "Eat Me, Drink Me, Push Me: In which the subtle arts of the interface are examined." Also in this issue we have an interview by Meryl K. Evans with Peter Morville and Lou Rosenfeld, Information Architects and authors of "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web." And last but not least we have some great art on the cover from the talented Yue Feng. See you next week for our last issue of Digital Web Magazine until 2003 (yes, we believe we need a short break from it all). I hope you all are enjoying the holidays.
Web design guru sees Flash challenges. Though this news article focuses on Jakob Nielsen's comments and the studies by the Nielsen Norman Group, I think there are some basic key points made here: Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. Always remember: form ever follows function. [from InfoDesign]
Feng Shui for web designers: the art of arranging environments to maximize their internal harmony, and the happiness of the people who use them. From light and color to navigation and simplicity. [from LucDesk]
DENIM is a rapid UI prototyping tool for Web sites from the Group for User Interface Research at Berkeley University. Remember the E-Quill tool? This is the next generation or mockup tools. If you have a WACOM pad, say goodbye to paper sketches. Check out the demo of a completed sketch here, don't forget to click. [from GUUUI]
Kiruba Shankar writes an interesting article about navigation on Web sites entitled "Proper Website Navigation: Why you absolutely need it. (with due apologies to Jakob Nielsen)" It's a spin with perspective on a recent Alertbox published by Jakob Nielsen. Well worth the read. [from LucDesk]
I have just returned from a last minute business trip and I am already overwhelmed with the amount of new content that has been published (or found) over the last few days. One great article I came across is Ten taxonomy myths. The name says it all. [from InfoDesign]
The W3C has ditched its table-based design on its homepage, and is now using
divs and CSS. In the related FAQ/how-to, the group explains the problems experienced and how to avoid them. (it uses floats but also explains layouts positioned absolutely).
PhilWeavers, The Philippine Web Designers' Network, is having its 1st General Assembly and Christmas Party on December 14, 2002, 3PM at the Pintu Gila Restaurant, Shaw Blvd corner 9 de Pebrero Street, Mandaluyong City.
Aside from being a venue for camaraderie and fun the PhilWeaver general assemblies offer members a chance to learn from and interact with noted and influential people in the Philippine Web design and Development industry.
Part two of the contraversial Nathan Shedroff interview on v-2.org has been published. Since part one was published a lot of IAs have piped up made their comments heard. Personally I feel the that fine-grain segmentation of the industry as a whole has grown a bit out of hand in the last year or so. The truth is that "good" (read: understands *all* aspects of design) and "experienced" (read: for 6 or more years) web designers have always covered IA, UX, ID, UCD, and so forth to some reasonable extent. Segemetation of that degree is only needed on projects that focus on those aspects of site design. (A few examples: Yes, Google and Yahoo! need good IAs. Yes Desktop.com, when it was around, could have used some good Interaction Designers. Yes, ICQ.com could use a good Information Designer.) [from InfoDesign]
The 2002 Philippine Web Awards has announced their award winners. Yours truly was honored with being a finalist judge. There are some good sites out there and we hope that awards like Philippine Web Awards honor those sites that deserve proper recognition.
Rose Kelleher writes a great and pretty truthful article about Why Computer Books Suck. He makes some valid points here. If you are planning to author a book, I highly recommend you read this all the way through. Pay close attension to pay, schedule and competition. Oh, and a good luck. [from WebWord]