News : February 2004
Metadata: Seven Tips for Writing Better Keywords
It's not often that I link to articles Gerry McGovern publishes. It is not because he doesn't write great articles, it is because once he has published an article, it is linked everywhere already... kind of like Nielsen or Zeldman. Well, here is a great article that he just published on Metadata: seven tips for writing better keywords. A great brief and to the point article that I could have used about 3 months ago while in the middle of retrofitting some metatags to an existing site.
Integrated Web Design
Former Digital Web Magazine editor Molly Holzschlag has published a great article on Integrated Web Design. The article covers the tension between usability heuristics and real-world needs. [from Column Two]
A New Issue of A List Apart
Today's issue of A List Apart features two articles on CSS. Sergio Villarreal writes on CSS Drop Shadows. In addition, Søren Madsen brings us the second installment of CSS Design: Creating Custom Corners & Borders Part II
New issue of Boxes and Arrows
A new issue of Boxes and Arrows is out. In this issue Steve MacLaughlin reviews "The Book of Probes" and Bob Baxley returns with the second part of "Principles of Task Flow for Web Applications;Wizards and Guides."
CSS and Wired.com
Doug Bowman and Aaron Jones have been interviewed about the Wired.com redesign over on Macromedia.com. The only problem I have with this interview is that Macromedia in all it's wisdom decided to make the entire interview within the confines of a Flash file. For those who don't have the latest version of Flash or the resources needed to install it, well you are out of luck. I am not sure why Macromedia decided to do the interview this way other than to show some visuals and broadcast the interview with audio. I'd be happy with just a plain text version I can print and read anywhere.
How Would You Redo the Google Interface?
Remember that Google Redesign post, well the full article is now online at Wired. The question was asked "How Would You Redo the Google Interface?" to various designers and the results are everything from highly functional to simply ridiculous.
New issue of Digital Web Magazine
In this week's issue of Digital Web Magazine we are proud to have the very talented Rebecca Blood joining the ranks of our contributors with an article about Google's social networking service, Orkut. She outlines thirteen ways to save Orkut as a service to not just networks and popularity contests, but the genuine needs of real people. That's all for this week, see you next week with a great article from one of our own editorial staff members.
If there is one thing I remember most about my experiences last year at SXSW it was hanging out with the K10k / Cuban Council crew. In specific, a hillarious fellow named Mike Buzzard. Much to my surprise Adam Greenfield has interviewed Mike just this month. A great insight into the man, the myth, the legend... or parhaps the just plain cool.
Multimedia: Use Image Stabilization
Gyroscopes are steadily creeping into more consumer-level cameras and binoculars. Gyro stabilization lets you create sharper and smaller photos and video destined for the Web. See Andy King's great article entitled "Multimedia: Use Image Stabilization"
Dean Allen has released the first public beta of Textpattern gamma 1.11. I have to say the system looks very promissing, I am almost tempted to set it up on one of my other domains to kick the tires. It looks like Paul and Nate already have their eyes on it. All I can say is go Dean, go!
Quality Web Content
Here is a great list of articles about Quality Web Content. From writing to publishing, from editing to formatting, it's all there. Maybe if we all email Derrick Story today he will finally publish his great presentation on Writing for the Web, it included a great section about chunking content. [from InfoDesign]
Bubblegum and Ducttape
We have all been there at one time or another in our careers. You build a beautifully designed, well formed, standard compliant, fully accessible, easy to read, search engine friendly web site. You hand it off to the client only to turn around 1 or 2 months later to learn that they have redesigned it, destroyed the site's themed branding and killed the markup with the likes of Front Page. Well, here's a great post on the subject: When Good Design Falls Into The Wrong Hands... feel free to share your horror stories.
Segrest vs Steiner
Well it looks like Veer has done it again, another great battle for the Lightboxing. This time around it's Jen Funk Segrest of Very Big Design vs. our old friend Nate Steiner of Twinsparc, but most of you will know Nate from his site Web Graphics. I am not going to spoil who won, you'll just have to see for yourself.
New issue of A List Apart
Another new issue of A List Apart is out. In this issue there is a great article on Designing for Context with CSS by Joshua Porter and an article on Helping Your Visitors: a State of Mind by Nick Usborne. Both great reads.
New issue of Digital Web Magazine
In this week's new issue of Digital Web Magazine we cover the topics of accessibility and usability. "Does building a perfectly accessible site mean all usability extras should be perfectly accessible, too?" Peter-Paul Koch explores the notion of finding a balance between accessibility and usability. Also in this issue you will find that the results for the Digital Web Magazine 2003 Readership Survey have been published thanks to Krista Stevens, Digital Web Magazine's new Communications and PR Manager. Lastly I want to give a heartfelt thanks to all of those within the web community who answered our call for articles, if it wasn't for dedicated readers like you we wouldn't be here today. Thank you! Enjoy and see you next week.
May 1st Reboot
One of the coolest ideas on the web is back. The May 1st Reboot is a contest/collaboration between any site that wishes to participate by redesigning their site for a relaunch on May 1st. I will probably get involved in this one because nothing is more fun than a new design. Make sure to check it out.
Tracking User Navigation
Michael Angeles has written a great article on log analysis: Tracking user navigation methods by logging where users click on web pages. As always, his research is solid and is findings right on the mark. [from Column Two]
Richard Rutter points out TouchGraph GoogleBrowser, a visualization tool that interfaces with Google search results. Information design could reach a whole new level here for us visual learners. [from Clagnut]
Plan for a Successful Future
Erin Malone, Editor in Chief of Boxes and Arrows, reminds us how important it is to take charge of your personal success. Planning Your Future takes you through a valuable reflection process. The time you invest will help you reset your compass and make sure you're on the right road to achieve your career/life goals.
max-width and expression() property in IE
Svend Tofte has a great post about max-width in Internet Explorer. This goes back to the 4" rule from print as stated in my 1999 article on Liquid Web Design. Also in this article Svend talks about the expression() property in IE, which is pretty handy but hardly known. Of course the downside is that it's an IE specific property and doesn't do much in the way of keeping with Web Standards (the "Tofte Expression Hack" anyone?). [from Andy Budd]
Our good friend Joshua Davis took on a project commissioned by Wired Magazine to redesign Google. "I tried to design all the things I would love to see, on a single page, for one search result. You can see some samples at Joshua Davis Studios. I imagine these screens would appear after you have found the result you were looking for and wanted to find out more about that site or information. [from Pixel Surgeon]
Jarrod has put together a usability blog over at Usability Garage that offers tons of tips to help improve the overall usability of any site, which is good for anyone working on the web to understand. Go check it out.
2003 Survey Results
The results for the Digital Web Magazine 2003 Readership Survey have been posted. The survey results also include most of the results from the 2001 and 2002 surveys as well. There are some interesting trends that surface for the popularity of various e-zines, browsers, topics and more. All of this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the help of one dedicated individual; Krista Stevens, Digital Web Magazine's new Communications and PR Manager. Enjoy!
Dan Cederholm Under the Iron
Why use Pixels?
The one debate about typography on the web that we will probably never see the end of is the whole pixel sizes vs. pretty much anything else (em, pt, %, etc). Liorean posts some thoughts Web-Graphics which answer the question What's the point of using pixels?. However there is a point missed here, screen resolution is measured in points per inch (PPI), print resolution is measured in dots per inch (DPI). Otherwise it's a great article.
Keith is probably too shy to post it here, so I will. It appears that the redesign of Asterisk* has been launched. Well done Keith! Nice CSS, oh, and I love the blue!
Web Standards Awards
New issue of Boxes and Arrows
A new issue of Boxes and Arrows is out. This issue has three great articles starting with "Managing the Complexity of Content Management" by Victor Lombardi who goes in to the gory details of choosing a CMS, followed by "Value-Driven Intranet Design" by Shiv Singh (the title speaks for itself), and "Planning your future" by Erin Malone in which she encourages everyone to create a Five Year Career plan. Great reads all around!
foxes on fire
The buzz today seems to be about a bushy tailed redish animal engulfed in flames.... well, not litrally, no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post. Anyway, if you are looking for information about Firefox, the latest release from the Mozilla team, you're in the right place, here's some coverage:
Dave Shea: Importance of Brand
Molly E. Holzschlag: go go mozilla!
WaSP: Why you foxy browser, you
Leonard Lin: Wow, so Firefox 0.8 for OS X rocks
Meryl Evans: Mozilla Schmozilla Flozilla Jetzilla
more to come....
Design Critique: Dunstan Orchard's blog
I am pretty sure Paul Scrivens wants to become the first notorious web critic. He has published a critique of Dunstan Orchard's blog. Though this time it was the designer asking the critic for the critique. I really like the depth Paul goes into and point out what may otherwise be easily excused common mistakes. I do wonder what designer will be willing to step into the firing range next.
Home page and RSS feed finalized
Ok, I think all of the bugs have been worked out of the RSS feed. For those reading the What's New blog via RSS, you may want to remove the feed and re-add it if you are seeing that seem to be jumbled up. The home page is pretty much finalized now (our RSS feed). The next step is changing the GUI template from what you see today to the new design... but that may be a while out as we just got our first design comp in from Alex Schleifer.
CSS beyond the Retrofit
Molly Holzschlag addresses integrated Web design through CSS. Get an overview of the six types of style sheets for managing a document's layout and better understand the meaning of C in CSS, which would be cascading.
Some of you may have noticed that there are more changes to the home page by the minute. We are working on getting the news blog to the home page and updating the RSS PHP file to work with the new formats. We are also including real titles in each blog post. So if your feed keeps updating, that is why. Keep watching for more changes.
New issue of A List Apart
Building CSS Without Hacks
While we now know that the issue with the W3C's CSS validator is actually service related and should be fixed shortly, the whole thing brings up some interesting points. It seemed for a while that every time I would mention building CSS without hacks, I often get shunned upon. Most CSS hacks I know are based around glitches in the browsers, glitches that are then exploited based on what browers can read it and what can't (AKA, a sniffer created with CSS). Is this the right thing to do? Probably not. Can it be avoided? Sometimes. Choose your hacks wisely and know that the fortune 500 company's CSS template you are designing may not be touched for another five years, errors or not.
New Issue of Digital Web Magazine
In this week's new issue of Digital Web Magazine we cover the topic of footers. Rather than focusing on just areas "above the fold," more sites are adding features to the bottom of pages. Jeff Lash investigates what's driving these designs and shows some effective examples in his article "More Than Just a Footer." Also, for those of you checking out the home page, we are in the process of a interim redesign with thanks to Ken Westin for his winning design and Doug Bowman for his expert advice. The home page will be changing a little bit each day and over the next few weeks. This is just a small transitional step between the design we have today and the major redesign we have in the works. More changes to come, keep an eye out!
As punk as blog
Yesterday some Digital Web Magazine staffers and I were discussing how we all are punks (to one degree or another), and lo and behold, Paul Bausch finds this gem: As punk as blog... a great essay explaining how weblogs are like punk... really, they are. [from OnFocus]
Lou Rosenfeld is interviewed
Lou Rosenfeld is interviewed over at InfoDesign by none less than Dirk Knemeyer himself. I don't know about you but I find that dialog between two experts of this nature is always very interesting.
The W3C announces that Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) Version 2.0 has become a proposed recommendation. "VoiceXML is designed for creating audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized audio, recognition of spoken and DTMF key input, recording of spoken input, telephony, and mixed initiative conversations. Its major goal is to bring the advantages of web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications."
new issue of A List Apart
A new issue of A List Apart is out. In this issue CSS Design: Custom Underlines and Everything I Need To Know About Web Design I Learned Watching Oz... really.
AOL has redesigned in CSS
Andy Budd points out that AOL has redesigned in CSS. He also points out several problems with the new design, which I imagine will be fixed shortly... after all what good is a CSS and XHTML layout that does not validate, right?
home page redesign is in progress
Ok, if you go to the site's home page you will see that the home page redesign is in progress. We still have to include the What's New content in there, but this is pretty much how it will look. Thanks to Ken Westin for the design, and special thanks to Doug Bowman for the advice. Keep watching for more changes on the home page.
And the winner is...
We want to thank all of the readers and designers who submitted designs for the Digital Web Magazine homepage redesign challenge. There were several designs that came close and a few designs that went over the top but failed to meet the challenge's guidelines. In the end we had to make a decision and there was one design that always seemed to stand out from the rest. And the winner is... Ken Westin. Ken is a Web Manager at Pacific University here in Portland, Oregon and regular reader of Digital Web Magazine. He has also contributed an article on Web Globalization On A Local Budget for Digital Web Magazine. Now that the winning home page design has been selected we will be busy at work implementing it one piece at a time over the next week.