News : September 2005
Ok, for those of you who are regular readers you will know I have been hinting at a new business venture for a while now. Well, the waiting is over. After much nurturing I am happy to announce the launch of Blue Flavor. Blue Flavor is a experience design consultancy. It is founded by mobile guru Brian Fling, web designer D. Keith Robinson, accessibility expert Matt May, and myself, Nick Finck. We're based out of Seattle but work with clients all around the globe. You can read more about in this post. Enjoy.
Access by Design book review
A hearty welcome back to James McNally who returns to Digital Web Magazine this week to review Sarah Horton's new book Access by Design. Is Access by Design worth your well-squeezed nickel? Let James help you decide. Read more...
Firefox Search Plugin
Firefox users represent over 30% of the visitors to Digital Web Magazine. So, on a suggestion from Nick I have created a search plugin that you can use to find articles and other content directly from your browser without having to first visit the site. I have successfully tested the plugin with Firefox 1.0.6 and Netscape 7.2. If there are any Mozilla (aka "Seamonkey") users out there who can confirm it works with that browser, we would appreciate the feedback. The plugin is also known to work with the Advanced Search Sidebar extension. Please submit any bug reports or other feedback as comments, or you can drop me an email. Eventually, we will upload the plugin to the Mozilla Mycroft search plugin repository. To install the plugin, visit the Search page directly, or you will find it near the top of any search results page.
Clearleft launches in Brighton
Three guys from Brighton... ok, well, not just any average three guys, in fact, Andy Budd, Jeremy Keith and Richard Rutter have got together to form a new web company based in the UK called Clearleft. I know what you're thinking, they are experts so their rates are probably through the roof. Not so, I found that they actually have pretty reasonable rates for working in the UK. We here at Digital Web Magazine wish the three of them the best of luck on their new venture, but we know with their skills they won't need any luck.
Doing Big Things with Small Teams
Many of you already know Jason Fried of 37 Signals. Well, he recently gave a presentation for O'Reilly's Etech conference about his lessons learned from Basecamp. If you haven't heard Jason talk about this before, or even if you have, I highly recommend you give it a listen. He makes some great points. His points about doing big things with small teams is exactly where I feel we are headed as an industry. The whole presentation is superbly executed and well thought through.
IA with content or IA with code?
Garrett Dimon has posted a great article about Information Architecture as part of his series on redesigning his site step by step (also see Getting Our Act Together). One thing about the new article is it talks a lot about page description diagrams which are an interesting way to do IA shorthand. While this technique works well I have heard other IAs going the other direction and taking IA closer doing HTML wireframes or even programming. Which do you prefer and why?
Sarah Horton interview
Pull up a chair and join Alex Barnett in conversation with Sarah Horton on her recently published book: Access by Design - A Guide to Universal Usability for Designers where they discuss Ajax and accessibility and the dollars and “sense” of accessibility by design. Read more...
Thomas Vander Wal
The greatest failure of brilliant minds is the fear of greatness. No more fear. No more waiting. Thomas Vander Wal, the man who coined the term folksonomy, created the Personal InfoCloud, and perhaps one of the greatest minds in the online information space today is moving on. Right now he's not sure if he will find the perfect job or just go solo but we here at Digital Web Magazine wish him the best of luck. Any company in the online information space would be crazy not to jump at the chance to have Thomas on their team.
My friends at OmniGroup tell me that OmniGraffle 4.0 has been released. Clearly some of my friends are not excited about this as I am, but that's ok... they'd only understand if they were an information architect on the Mac. To celebrate this occasion I will be releasing the OmniGraffle version of my Stencils for Information Architects later tonight. More on that later. Enjoy.
For those in the Seattle and Puget Sound area you may want to check this out. Brian Fling tells me that he has launched Idea Day, a monthly mini-conference for Seattle area creatives and web professionals. The first Idea Day is on October 11th and covers the topic "What Works? Using new models of Marketing." I highly recommend you check it out and RSVP if you plan to go. Also, be sure to check out the Seattle UX Events page.
Peter Morville tells me that he has launched a new blog (yes, Peter has a blog now) at findability.org which features the first chapter of his new book, Ambient Findability in PDF. You may also want to check out his article on Ambient Findability that he wrote for Digital Web Magazine last year. However, if you are looking for the old findability site you can find it here.
Clients Don't Care About Accessibility
This week, we welcome Christian Heilmann as a contributing author of Digital Web Magazine. Christian tells us why clients still don't get accessibility - despite Web designers' theory that it's good for business) - and compiles his thoughts on what we can do to nudge clients, competitors and companies in the right direction. Read on...
Over the past several months there has been a number of people going freelance or starting up a new service or company. Those of you who are doing this or about to might want to check out Garrett Dimon's post on the Steps to Becoming a Freelance Web Developer. While some of these are givens, there are a few tasty tidbits there as well. You may also want to check out some great tools for your FREElance Toolbox.
The ROI of a good copy writer
Ok, today WebTrends launched Web Position. Now, I am sure this is a great piece of software that helps you quantify your listings with search engines. However, the problem I am seeing is with the poorly worded content on the site. For example, the site says "optimize your web site's search engine rankings and increase revenue" ...perhaps what they should say is "optimize your web site for better relevancy with search engines?" It's the misuse of tools such as this one that are taking the Web from an information resource tool and turning it into an over-commercialized revenue generator with little regard to the actual users. Whatever happened to quality of users over the quantity of users? That's your ROI right there. My only advice to WebTrends is to stop letting your marketing team write the content, hire a copy writer who has experience with Search Engine Optimization not Search Engine Marketing!
So I have been given the opportunity to host another panel or presentation at SXSW Interactive like I have in the past four or so years. This year I wanted to do things a little different. I want to make this panel attendee centric. To start with I want to hear what you, Digital Web Magazine's readers, are interested in learning about. I want to hear your suggestions about how to go about organizing the presentation or panel as far as things like should it be more like a workshop, a round table, a discussion, a lecture, etc. Who should be presenting it, give me names (no email addresses please). Now the only requirement I am going to make is that you put some serious thought into it (that's right, "do a panel on CSS" isn't going to cut it) and it must be focused on some aspect of the professional web industry. That said, post your feedback in the comments for this thread.
Writing Semantic Markup and Dan Cederholm
Today, we've got a two article issue of Digital Web Magazine. In part one, our bootstrappin' buddies Joshua Porter and Richard MacManus return with Writing Semantic Markup, the second installment of their column Web 2.0 Design: Bootstrapping the Social Web. In part two, Ethan Marcotte gives us an interview with Dan Cederholm about his new book, Bulletproof Web Design, and much more. Read more...
Web Analytics with Mint 1.0
Shaun Inman tells me that Mint has launched. Mint is a simplified web analytics tool that analyizes your site's traffic, referals, and key information. At $30 per site, it's much more affordable than most more robust web analytics packages yet only contains the features you are most likely to use anyway. Go take it for a spin. Update: Though the database for the demo is currently overwhelmed due to the number of people checking it out today, you can get a pretty good idea of the avilable features it contains just by reading the home page.
Friday I was invited to participate in the first BlogWalk in Seattle. Here are some photos of the BlogWalk. Lilia Efimova hosted the event with Nancy White and plenty of people showed up including Lee LeFever, the Bryght guys, Cyprien Lomas, Jon Husband, Phil Klein and Korby Parnell. It was quite an interesting gathering and followed the OpenSpace standard. I am curious to know what other kinds of grassroots and informal gatherings are happening in Seattle as well as other cities around the world. Know of any? If so what kind of format do they use? Is it more like presentational style that you see at conferences or is it more open and driven by the attendees (AKA the unconference)? Any feedback you can offer would be greatly appreciated, just use the comments for this blog post to reply.
YTS turns one year old
I looks like YourTotalSite Turned 1 Year Older yesterday. Garrett Dimon has pulled out some traffic analysis graphs to show the growth of the site over the past year. Digital Web Magazine would like to wish Garrett, Jonathan Snook, Paul Jarvis, and Joseph Wain congradulations on passing this milestone and we look forward to the up and coming redesign. If you haven't yet checked out YourTotalSite yet I highly recommend you give it a spin.