News : June 2003
Great minds think alike. Peter J. Bogaards (yes, that Peter) has decided to launch his own business, BogieLand which will focus on Information Design and Information Architecture. As for myself? I will neither confirm or deny any entrepreneurial endeavors during this harsh economy.
Nick Bradbury, the creator of Homesite and TopStyle, tells us that FeedDemon Beta 1.0 (pre-release) is now open to the public for download. I am sure you will enjoy the ease of using this feed reader as much as I enjoyed alpha testing it. This is yet another example of the amazing skill Nick Bradbury has for developing top-notch software.
If you haven't already heard about it, there is an interesting story behind the Hack Hotbot contest that Lycos ran. It involves Dave Shea, the creator of the CSS Zen Garden. Dave tells all here, and Doug Bowman has a few comments. If they made this into a movie, it would be entitled "Dave's not here." Yet another designer getting swingled out of some rightful income... not to mention the guy could use it for his wedding this month.
Well here is a brilliant article by Daniel Will-Harris; How to (and not to) work with a designer. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it does cover the basics... and more importantly, it covers what is often overlooked or dismissed by those who work with designers. My hats off to Daniel for putting all of this in one nice and well-rounded article. [from NoFusion]
I have posted a few personal comments on what I thought the future of input devices for PDAs would probably be. Feel free to drop me an email with your opinion and comments. Also, on a related note, if you are in the Portland, Oregon area, be sure to check out CHIFOO.
In its latest Opinion the Web Standards Project reminds Microsoft, the professional web development community, and in fact all interested parties that Microsoft's move to a for-pay browsing software model does nothing to decrease its obligation to preserve and improve the standards-compliance of its Web software. Microsoft, suggests the WaSP, needs to continue upholding the reputation for standards support that has earned them the respect of the market... and helped to ease the penalties they suffered for anti-trust violations.
This week we publish a second interview as part of a series of interviews with WebVisions speakers. This time around Craig Saila interviews Dr. U. N. Umesh, a marketing professor at Washington State University. Also in this issue James McNally reviews Ani Phyo's book "Return on Design" and to package everything up design Eli Castillo of Hot Pepper Studios has a great cover art piece just in time for the WebVisions event. If you are going to be in the area, swing by and visit Digital Web Magazine's editor in chief, Britt Parrott, and myself in booth 14 on the tradeshow floor. See you next week.
Coudal.com has just relaunched. I've been reading portions of their new section, Reading + Writing "Field Tested Books -- Summer 2003," which is a list of book recommendations told by contributors in a storytelling manner. It's quite interesting to read. In addition, since Zeldman is usually linked up at digital-web (grin), I'd like to mention that his book "Designing With Web Standards" has been selected as a feature at Coudal.
Richard Rutter has a nice and pretty much all inclusive wrap-up of the situation with Internet Explorer and it's future. Month in the life (and death) of a browser. It's worth a read being that it puts all of the changes and concerns side by side for an interesting prespective on how things could turn out for the Web as whole.
Tantek Çelik mentions that his SXSW 2003 presentation is still online, and unchanged except for a few style tweaks to help out IE/Windows and Mozilla. Tantek claims it is much more of a beginner/elementary presentation, but I tend to disagree: CSS: Between the Style Sheets as presented by Tantek Çelik, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Eric Meyer.
Over at Good Experience, Mark Hurst points out The Most Important User Experience Method. Turns out it's all about results and changing ways of thinking. Difficult work to be sure, but without out it, what's the point?
What do Zeldman.com, Web-Graphics, and Mezzoblue all have in common aside from talking about Web Standard? Design on the fly. We are not talking about major redesigns and version 4.0 of anything... instead of major overhauls that tend to confuse users, why not make minor tweaks and adjustments to accomodate changes that can be made without a major overhaul? Better yet, why not get your site's readership to offer suggestions and advice on how to improve the design... perhaps right in your own blog's comments area or in your site's forum. Address each suggestion as it comes in. Your site's readers will thank you and your design's overall usability, information architecture and perhaps even accessibility will improve through the process. So the burning question is, are redesigns dead?
While we were playing around with our .htaccess files and worrying about hot-linked images, it seems that iStockphoto.com has totally redesigned their UI. Instead of shades of green, it's shades of blue... or pink, or brown... you pick the theme. 100% valid HTML 4.01 tansitional with table based layout but CSS for all of the UI. Very nice!
Some of you may recal the presentation Steve Champeon and I (less so) gave on Inclusive Web Design for the Future. Well, Steve managed to write a detailed article about this topic on WebMonkey. The piece is entitled Progressive Enhancement and the Future of Web Design. It's important to note that his is not talking about graceful degradation here, he is talking about something that is quite opposite, in fact. Read the article to find out more.
Mark Pilgrim writes about the History of RSS date formats, at great length. It's a great informative article that helps explain why RSS feeds are so inconsistent.
Dirk Knemeyer writes another great article about The Domain of Design. Dirk talks about how the term "design" gets abused and missused over time. If you call yourself a designer, perhaps you should read this.
Students: The WebVisions Student Competition deadline is only 5 days away so hurry up and get your interactive or Web design project in before it is too late. Winners will be announced and finalists will be presented at the annual WebVisions conference in Portland, Oregon on July 18th.
We will be publishing a series of weekly interviews with WebVisions speakers up until the event on July 18th. This week Craig Saila interviews CSS wizard Mark Newhouse. You'll find more discussion about the past, present, and future of CSS and other standards on the Web. Also in this issue, Jesse Nieminen reviews Macromedia's Freehand MX in great detail. Jesse has a pile of reviews coming in over the next month or two, so expect weekly product reviews on the latest web design tools and graphic software. That's all for this week, see you next week with another great interview and an in-depth product review.
This Space for Rent - Digital Web Magazine is now offering advertising at a reasonable rate. If you want to market your product, service, company, or site to a very captive audience of Web Designers, Web Developers, Information Architects, and other Web professionals, this is your chance to see a major return on investment through focused advertising.
CodeBitch has completed another thorough CSS support chart, this time detailing how today’s browsers handle CSS3 selectors. MSN for Mac OS X comes out on top, followed closely by Mozilla. Also worth reading is the related article, “The power of three,” which argues in favour of graceful degradation—or progressive enhancement, depending on how you look at it.
As Keith points out, it's the death of Internet Explorer for the Mac. Which leads me to speculate that browsers will become part of the platform as Notepad is to Windows and SimpleText is to MacOS. The real question is what browser will dominate on the Mac and Linux platforms. The theory is that it will be Mozilla and Safari but no one is willing to lay down their chips on this gamble.
Andy King wants you to help spread the word about his new book, Speed Up Your Site. But this is no typical banner ad campaign, he's offering prizes for participating sites. Once a month he will draw a URL to win a free speed consult and a copy of his book. The tips and information from the speed consult alone proves to be invaluable for any Web site. So what are you waiting for?
The Basefield Competition is almost reaching its closing deadline, July 1st. All artwork submissions till now
I am sure by now you have heard that Quark Xpress 6 is now out... what you may not know is thatQuark's new website is driven by a valid CSS for layout and XHTML for structure. I am still hoping that some of these software manufactures actually start developing tools that produce valid markup and styles rather than just having valid sites that sell the products.
Sherif Tariq has started a column called Design Matters which covers the basics of design. So far we have articles on these subjects: alignment, whitespace, fonts, and color. I can't wait to see what's next. [from Mozzoblue]
You know you have had a busy month when you can no longer tell what month it currently is. But this is not to say that quality should be compromised when you are hoping for a good return on investment. Alan K'necht's latest edition of The $ and Sense of IT hits on this topic from the perspective of Adding Value through Search Engine Optimization. It is important to the bottom line that even the smallest, and seemingly insignificant, details are addressed with care and precision. This distinguishes the difference between someone who builds or designs web sites and someone who is a web site craftsman. We will see you next week with more great content.
Drew Europeo has redesigned her portfolio site. As always, some very impressive work, not to mention a very slick interface for her work. Check it out.
Dave Shea writes A PNG Review. His comments about why the expiration of the LZW patent doesn't mean the death of the PNG format.
A new issue of Boxes and Arrows is out. In this issue Dan Brown writes the 8th article for his Special Deliverables series. This time it's all about Deliverables and Methods. Also in this issue Dabney Gough and Holly Phillips write a great article on >Remote Online Usability Testing: Why, How, and When to Use It. Last but not least Erin Malone shares Five Lessons Learned at DUX.
Eric Meyer redesigns meyerweb.com with CSS-P ...I am still not sure if he's just trying to show off his skills or push the envelope ...or perhaps both. At any rate, as these things go there will always be bugs, I found a few in IE6 and Eric was able to resolve the major ones with the help of some people from the css-discuss mailing list.
The good, the bad and the fugly. Armin Vit wants to hear about your good and bad brand experiences. The comments drum up a good list of textbook examples.
There are things that you are suppose to keep under wraps and there are things that you are suppose to keep under wraps but are too exciting to contain. As you may or may not know, I have been Alpha testing a new product developed by none other than Nick Bradbury. The same man who created Homesite and TopStyle is at it again. This time it's all about feeds. Check out the early details of FeedDemon, an RSS feed reader and so much more.
Believe it or not another issue of A List Apart has been published. In this issue Zeldman interviews Anil Dash of Six Apart about company
Here is an interesting article entitled Business case for usability. What makes this article so interesting is this line in the article, "The return on investment by usability studies is typically found to be 800-1200%." There is no citation on how they came up with their figure. Regardless of the numbers, good usability is always considered a worth-while investment for any business. [from WebWord]
Kicking off the month of June is another great column by Jeff Lash. This month he focuses on user centered design, in specific, how to design for visitors who don't enter through the home page. If you are checking your server log files you will realize how much traffic comes into your site from pages other than the home page. That's all for this week, we will see you next week with more great articles.
The Design Council has published a bunch of information about, well, information. Check out their article on Information Design.
Could it be that since Microsoft is pushing Internet Explorer deep into the OS that Mozilla has now changed its browser strategy and is now going for a new, slimline browser that is smaller, faster and more easily customised. Find out what all the fuss over Mozilla Firebird is about. [from Web Page Design for Designers]
Doug Bowman explains his process for his CSS Zen Garden design. The article is entitled "In the Garden: A Design Process Revealed" and it is a great read even for those of you who feel very distant from any form of process.
Dave Shea gives his two cents on why there shouldn't be a second Browser Upgrade Campaign. He makes some very good points here. Sometimes it is better to show what can be done rather than complain about what can't be done.
James Landay at Berkeley's Group for User Interface Research tells us that a new version of DENIM and they want your feedback. For those who do not know what DENIM is, it's essentially a rapid concepting tool that you can use for mockups and wireframes. Check it out!
After a lot of hard work, the new and improved Computerlove is now online. It looks amazing... I'll probably be browing around on this site checking out all of the new and cool features for the rest of the day. Mad props to Christophe Martin and crew!
Congratulations to Jeffrey Zeldman, as of June 1st, he's been running The Daily Report for eight years. Independent web publishing is not easy, even if it's just a blog, show the man some respect and buy his book. Never mind that the book covers one of the key topics that every web developer should learn and know. Never mind that this man and several web developers around the world, including yours truly, have dedicated their lives to improving ours by preaching the gospel of this book's topic.