News : October 2003
Good news for Linux users: There's a great read on how to install Microsoft's TrueType fonts on Linux
I was going to mention this last night, but Blogger was having a severe issue: My good buddy and distant, long-lost relative of some form or another Nicholas J. Olejniczak re-designed, and relaunched blogosphere.us
Two new articles from A List Apart
Sarah Horton tells us that the Department of Health and Human Services's National Institutes of Health in partnership with the National Cancer Institute has published Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines
Just when you thought the good fight was over for the Eolas patent the W3C steps up to the plate. The W3C has presented prior art establishing that US Patent No. 5,838,906 is invalid and should therefore be re-examined in order to eliminate this unjustified impediment to the operation of the Web. You can read more about this the following briefing: World Wide Web Consortium Presents the US Patent Office with Evidence Invalidating Eolas Patent
At last. After five months of hard work I proudly present http://www.quirksmode.org
Oh, I just hate to have to resort to the blatant self-promotion, but I still think this is so cool and no one has mentioned it yet. Check out the new menus I've added to my personal site, mezzoblue and, provided you're using a reasonably CSS2-compliant browser (read: most anything but IE) you should see a nice transparent hover effect. That's all CSS kids, not a <script> in sight. The related post, MOSe Menus
Here is a very entertaining presentation that Bill Merikallio and Adam Pratt did for Seybold: Why tables for layout is stupid
Nick Bradbury never ceases to amaze me. Just as I was getting used to the Release Candidate 1 of FeedDemon and just as I finish importing all of my bookmarked blogs to RSS feeds for reading, he has released FeedDemon 1.0 RC2
Wondering where the next version of IE is? A blogger covering Longhorn (the next Windows release) claims it’s because Microsoft is developing its own version of Mozilla’s XUL called XAML
The School of Library, Archival and Information Studies The University of British Columbia has put together a great site on Faceted Classification. "Faceted classification
Today is the birthday of miss blueprints herself
Alison J. Head authors a great article on Personas: Setting the Stage for Building Usable Information Sites
Sessions.edu covers the benefits of learning CSS in an interview called Top 10 Reasons to Learn CSS
Nick Bradbury goes local
If you are wondering why I haven't been posting to the What's New blog that much, it's because I have found a new home, so to speak. I have taken on the role of Project Manager and Information Architect at Paulette Carter Design Group, Inc.
Peter Lindberg gives a great two-part overview of Semiotics
Real Simple Syndication is often times anything but simple
Here is a good resource I managed to stumble across about the Project Management Process
Alan K'necht authors another great issue of his column, the $ and Sense of IT, for Digital Web Magazine. In this issue he focuses on globalization and localization in an article entitled Think Beyond—Think Global
Ok, this is not so much news as it is useful information. Various individuals and companies within and outside of the Portland area have contacted me about several job opportunities
Three great new articles are now online at Boxes and Arrows
There are many types of users that come to your Web site. Some like to browse, some like to search, some know what they are looking for and some have no clue what they want or even how they got to where they are. One of the keys to a successful Web site is knowing what your users want and helping them get there. D. Keith Robinson's Gorilla Web Tip #11
"Web developers want to light a fire under Microsoft to get better standards support
Using mod_bandwidth to simulate slower connections on OS X. Most web developers are on fast connections, and as such are inable to properly simulate a 56k connection
Speaking of Iterative Design, did anyone happen catch Hoa Loranger's tutorial at User Experience 2003? Rapid Iterative Design
Here is a very old but good find from ACM's CHI archives: User Interface Evaluation in an Iterative Design Process
Bret Poole offers up a great little diddy on the basic needs of developing web pages for search engine indexing
Asside from user testing and usability tests, focus groups can provide critical information about a product, company, service or even web site. Professor Carter McNamara writes a great article on the Basics of Conducting Focus Groups
Biz Stone, contributing author of Rock, Paper, Stone: The Biz Stone Guide to Independent Publishing, tells us that Google has acquired Genius Labs
The Accessibility Internet Rally
Today is Matthew Haughey's 31st birthday. For those who do not know, Matt is the creator of MetaFilter, co-author of WeBlog, key developer of Blogger, creator of PVRblog, Ticketstubs, and SXSWblog as well as an all around good guy. For this 31st Matt has decided to document the next ten years of his life through photographs. The site is called, of course, Ten Years of My Life
Donna Maurer writes a great article that I think any web developer or web designer who works on an Intranet should read: Escaping the organisation chart on your intranet
"People can now use technology (blogs, meetups, message boards) to get educated, download campaign collateral (posters, brochures, etc.), and get motivated to head out into the offline world to evangelize for their candidates or causes." Read on about The Blogosphere and Political Process.
Now, I hate to toot my own horn, but as Mr. Finck encourages tooting - I thought I'd share something with y'all. In my last article for A List Apart I outlined a few small ideas of how to improve your search engine optimization with XHTML and CSS. And to prove it - if you search for "xhtml and seo" on Google you'll see that article listed in 2nd and 3rd position, as well as my website in 4th. Not only does this prove my claims, but it confirms to me that I could use a more effective redesign.
In this week's issue of Digital Web Magazine Jesse Nieminen has
reviewed Extensis Portfolio 6. For those who are not familiar with
Portfolio it is a product helps you manage and distribute media files
through the use of its dynamic cataloging system. I highly recommend
you take a look especially if you forgot what color your desk is due
to the stacks of CDs on it.
On a side note, some of you may have noticed in our last new issue post that we were in search of volunteers for our focus groups and usability tests that will help improve the existing design and guide the new redesign. Effects of this group are already starting to take shape. One thing of interest that cross my path when recruiting these volunteers is the number of people who read or newsletter but are unaware of our daily blog, and vise versa. So, to help resolve this problem I am including a link in this What's New post for those who have yet to subscribe to the weekly newsletter.
See you next week with more great content.
Unless you didn't notice, Creative Commons is holding a technology challenge to create all sorts of cool stuff.
Netzeitung.de, a German place, calls weblogs "noise" in an interview with Jason Kottke. And bravo to him for defending them, "Google's search results are at least as relevant as they have always been, if not moreso. I can almost always find what I'm looking for in the first 10 results or so. I think part of the problem is perception. "
The Las Vegas Comic Convertion runs from October 31st to November 2nd, *blink* tags and all. Tell me this site is an early April Fools joke. (This brought to you by Las Vegas correspondent, Ryan Shewchuck.)
The Altoids site is getting good reviews from a number of different sources. And why shouldn't it? It's a well designed, interestingly themed and stylized site that adheres in absolutely no way to any accessibility standards, won't validate, and won't be much of a site at all if Microsoft disables the use of Flash in its explorer.
Organized crime syndicates have stepped up their presence on the Internet, operating extortion rackets, child-pornography rings and elaborate financial scams. An interesting Wired Article reports on the increasing threat of The Internet Mafia. I hate to say it - but I smirked when I read this, totally envisioning a bunch of geeks acting out The Godfather.
This is one of many remarks I’m seeing that is completely false regarding the Eolas v. Microsoft case. From Anil Dash: "Eolas-mandated modifications to Internet Explorer" is not a true statement. Eolas cannot mandate any changes to IE. They simply won a patent infringement case against Microsoft. Microsoft decided to make changes to IE while appealing the case, rather than pay Eolas licensing fees. I’m not defending the actions of Eolas, but it would be nice to see the web development community get their facts about the case straight.
Adriana de Barros tells us that Stuart, editor of TheScreamonline.com, is holding an ebay auction to benefit ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) therapy development. 22 featured artists and photographers from the magazine have donated works to raise money for this worthy cause. The bidding starts today.
So Editor and Publisher disagree on who may be to blame for the whole Eolas fiasco. It wouldn't be the first time and probably not the last time we will disagree. However, there is one thing we can all agree on is that the result has made life a little more difficult for the web developer... even with new tools to work around the issue. On the flipside it may endorse a reality check on the dependability of plug-in driven and non-native media sources for web site design, web applications and other content.
[Awkward segue] Speaking of Eolas… XStandard is a new, ActiveX-based WYSIWYG editor that produces valid CSS and XHTML 1.1. Based on a initial test run, it looks to be an excellent replacement for contentEditable interfaces that produce such horrendous mark-up. XStandard also has full support for North American accessibility requirements (i.e., Section 508 and Canada’s CLF) and offers a screen reader preview.
D. Keith Robinson is pretty steamed about the actions of Eolas Technologies Inc. and it's sole employee, Mike Doyle. What is interesting to us is the company's vision statement: "To create and develop the inventions that allow information technologies to enhance the quality of life for everyone." Someone should really help Mike out and rewrite his vision statement to more accurately reflect the practices of Eolas Technologies Inc.
Andy Budd writes a great article on Usability Testing which focuses mostly at potential clients than web designers/developers, but interesting none the less. The article pretty much covers the 101 of usability testing questions: Why test? Can
The web community
Macromedia also has it’s own Active Content Developer Center for information regarding the upcoming changes to IE. It includes their own active content update utilities beta program for developers whose sites use a lot of Flash or Shockwave. Eolas sure lit a fire under a few developers’ backends.
If your site uses Quicktime, Java applets, Flash, or other embedded content, you might want to start reading up on changes to Internet Explorer’s handling of ActiveX controls. If you choose to do nothing, the revised version of IE will offer a pop-up dialog box for the user to click to continue loading active content, or the user can set IE to always block active content, rendering alternate content instead. It will be interesting to see how this actually works.
For those in the Toronto area, here is an event you can't afford to miss. Cameron Marlow, of Overstated.net fame, will be speaking on a panel about Broadening the Blog. This is just one of many great panels, far too many to list here, that you can see at the fourth annual Internet Research conference which is put on by The Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR). [from IDblog]
TypePad has officially launched today. New additions include domain mapping, increased bandwidth allotments for plus and pro level users, and password protection for basic users.
Congratulations to Britta & Marc Klein (yes, that Marc) on the birth of their new baby girl, Eleah Océanne Soley.
Blogging for Dollars: "When was the last time you heard someone say they received a check for advertising on their hobby site that could be used to purchase a fully loaded Aeron chair?"
"The "blogosphere" will number ten million souls by the end of 2004, but almost all of them will be dead. That's the conclusion from one of the first comprehensive studies of weblogging..." Read more here.
Matt has let the cat out of the bag. Check out his Wishlist Hacking tutorial for Amazon purchases. Though this you are able to order people gifts that are otherwise not on their wishlist and even if you don't know their address. Thoughts of sending a few friends The Mullet book come to mind, but I digress.
VeriSign attempts to close the gargantuan can of worms it opened up when it unleashed its Site Finder service. Well, it was either that or someone would open a can of lawsuits on them. This act of negligence and otherwise pure idiocy is yet another nail in the coffen for VeriSign. VeriSign currently has 270 complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
Here is a follow-up post from Russell Beattie concerning Google's AdSense service. To be honest I had looked into using AdSense on Digital Web Magazine for quite some time. I declined to go with them for these reasons.
Speaking about Rand and knowing your audiance, Beth Mazur has found some great information about the logo design process in her post Logo change wikipedia style.
Another great article by Dirk Knemeyer where he asks the question What Does Your Audience Want? See how Paul Rand and Norman Rockwell actually have a lot in common when it comes to knowing your client and knowing your audience.
The Bare Bones, No Crap, CSS Text Control Primer, by Wendy Peck. It is exactly as the title says it is: a bare bones, no crap, pure CSS text control tutorial. And a pretty darn handy one for newbies at that. Check it out, pass it around, and then - someone do me the favor of writing one entitled "The Completely Obquitious, Totally Incomprehensible, 25% Useful Description of CSS Positioning" to round out my collection.
Frank Leahy, former CMS developer for Lycos and engineer at Wired, has moved to Cornwall, England - and thus begun "A Year in Cornwall." Aside from the neat theme of his blog, he recently poised a few interesting ideas to make images more searchable. Don't forget to dive into the comments; there's a great discussion going on there on the subject, as well.
Andy Budd has something to say about Doing Work On Spec. He makes some very valid points about design comps. To comp or not to comp, that is the question... but what is the answer? Read and find out what Andy has to say.
Some time ago we mentioned Russ Weakley's Listamatic, well we also forgot to mention that he has a new list helper out in the form of a tutorial. Listutorial takes you through the basics of building CSS lists with "background images for bullets" and "simple rollovers" with a few variations along the way.
Dave Shea posts about color... or, shall we say colour. He entitles his post Colour Bland: Value, more specific, he talks about colour deficiencies. Having worked at Intel on a team of four, two of which had some form of color deficiencies, I realized first-hand just how common this problem is. Needless to say all of our colour-coded graphs, charts and applications were tested in detail. Anyway, enough about my experiences go read Dave's post.
All this talk about usability and user-centered design continues with a good article by Viswanath Gondi on SitePointe. The multi-page article is entitled Making Rich Web Application Architecture Usable. It's all about what users hate: learning, repeating, waiting, searching, reading, security breaches, a monotonous look, platform restrictions, rigid functionality, and mistakes. Don't stress, Gondi has some good suggestions on how to avoid these problems. [from InfoDesign]
Henrik Olsen wrties another great article on GUUUI. This time around he talks about Balancing visual and structural complexity in interaction design.
Keith writes up a great post about The Importance of Tone and Style, or, in his words, Why I Have a Hard Time Reading Jakob Nielsen.
A new issue of Boxes and Arrows is out with three new articles to choose from. Steve MacLaughlin interviews author Virginia Postrel and writes a great article on The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness. Also in this issue Jess McMullin writes about the Search for the center of design. Enjoy.
PhotoFont is an exciting new technology that allows you to use bitmapped type, in color, with transparency, in your webpages and still retain searchability, linkability, copyability and indexability of the text. PhotoFont is an open standard.
TheScreamOnline presents an Art and Photography Auction for ALS. 20 renown artists and photographers donate their work to raise money for ALS Therapy Development. Don