News : May 2006
Online Diagramming with Gliffy
Ross Olson just told me about Gliffy. Gliffy is a Flash based website that bascially is the equivelent of OmniGraffle or Visio for the web... though probably not as robust. A handy little tool that you can create wireframes, network diagrams, floorplans, and the like for free. Only exports in PNG and JPG as far as I can tell... so no hope of getting .Graffle, .VSD, or .VDX files from it, let alone XHTML/CSS. But cool none the less.
Article: Building Your Own Start-up Technology Company, Part 3
The newest article in Dirk Knemeyer's Innovating the Web Experience column covers finding a home and hiring the right people. He shares his experience as he has grown and cultivated his own business. This feature is part three of the four-part series on on Building a Start-Up Tech Company. Read more...
Breadcrumbs for Website Navigation
angela colter has reported the findings of her research on Exploring User Mental Models of Breadcrumbs in Web Navigation. A great read for those who are still waffeling over if they should or shouldn't include breadcrubs in their site's architecture. [via ColumnTwo and GUUUI]
Dealing with Clients, It's Just Business
Armin Vit has an excellent post over at Speak-Up called Client is as Client Does. I can really relate to this post because it hits on several subjects that I am familiar with; choosing a vendor, pricing and budgeting, and good old fashioned home repair. I know it seems like a hodgepodge of things but Armin puts the analogy together quite well. If you like his post, you should also check out these two posts: Making the Right Decision (though not as well articulated as Armin's post), Pricing a Project (a must bookmark), Call and Response: Handling RFP Tension (a good all-around article), and of course What makes those damn clients so difficult? (a classic).
Shaun Inman posted a link to his website graph, upon further investigation I discovered there is a service out there that creates website graphs on the fly with Java. It offers a nice little visualization of the material on your site. Here is the the website graph of Digital Web Magazine, for example. If you want to figure out what the colors mean, here a more detailed explanation.
It Depends on Context
Donna Maurer has an interesting post on black and white answers to questions that come up in her talks and probably via several other means. She makes some good points that experts sometimes jump to the good old "no, don't do that" and "yes, do it this way" which is suppose to answer the question for everyone, but the truth is that most of the time.. well.. it depends on the context. Speaking of context and questions, Donna has a book coming out soon on Card Sorting and if I understand this correctly, this will be one of the first books to roll off the presses at Rosenfeld Media. They couldn't have picked a better author to kick things off.
Target and Accessibility
Sharaf Atakhanov in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania tells us that we never mentioned the Target lawsuit regaurding accessibility. This is true. You see, this isn't the first time it has happened. We even published an entire article about one of the occurances called Accountability of Accessibility and Usability... though, I must admit that most of the lawsuits are often filed by individuals and not organizations such as the National Federation of the Blind which makes this particular case very distinct. However, the main reason we didn't blog about it is because everyone else was and we felt the story was already covered better elsewhere. That said, keep the news coming in.
Blog Snobbery and Name Dropping
Ara Pehlivanian has a blog post that's just too funny (but perhaps just too true) about Blog Snobbery. Now, I know that, according to this, I have been guilty of name dropping. You may see posts here on Digital Web Magazine that start out with something like "[person's name] just told me about..." This is simply because I want to give credit to who told me. If you email, I don't care if you are known or unknown in the community, so long as what you send is blog worthy you'll get mentioned and linked. So what are you waiting for? Tells us about something blog worthy, we love to hear about your web news! Oh, I guess I should mention it has to be related to web professionals.
Interview: Chris Mills
Join Interviews Editor Carolyn Wood in her conversation with Chris Mills, Senior Editor at friends of ED/Apress where they discuss the publishing process from inside and out as well as Chris' take on the Beatles and heavy metal. Read more...
WebVisions 2006 - Notices
For those who will be attending or planning on attending WebVisions 2006 you might want to know about three things. First, airfare rates are going up by the month, it's best to book early to get a lower rate... this includes those coming from New York and the east coast by way of JetBlue, etc. Also, it sounds like a lot of the hotels in Portland are filling up fast, I believe this is due to both WebVisions and other non-web conferences going on in town the same week so please book soon. I recommend The Hotel Lucia as a great place to stay. Lastly, tickets for WebVisions are selling fast so that is a good sign, however tickets to the Workshops are also selling fast. I would like to remind everyone that seating in the workshops is very limited, we will only be able to sell a certain number of tickets. So if you haven't already done so, I would highly reocommend you register for a workshop ASAP. Please Note: Workshop registration is different than the main WebVisions 2006 conference registration. Also note that the special Early Bird rate ends soon. Lastly, let us know you are attending via Upcoming.org. Hope to see you there!
Headdress for Mac OSX
Long time ol buddy Nathan Steiner over at TwinSparc (you may know him from WebGrpahics) tells me that they have just released Headdress for OS X. Now, I know what you are thinking... what a wacky name and oh no not another web 2.0 app. No, you got it all wrong, yes the name is a bit wacky but this is something that's suprisingly handy. If you are like most developers on the Mac out there you probably run a lot of your work through a local web server. Mac OSX comes with a web server but since you can only run one server at time people often are left to putting sites in folders, etc. Headdress solves that problem. even more so it allows you to turn on PHP with a single click, no more PHP setup headaches. It's got a ton more features, but you'll just have to kick the tires and see for yourself.
Derek Powazek on Google's Design
Long time friend Derek Powazek, has a very interesting article up over at Vitamin entitled What Would Google Do? As you might guess the article is also very controversial. See Joshua Porter's response Does Google Succeed Despite Bad Design? This is a very interesting topic as the design, or shall I say non-design, of Google has always brought up both prais and skepticism. Google search has a very specific mission, does it really need design? Joshua says only the designers are complaining, and he may be right, but think about the scores of people who make purchasing decisions based on design after all of the features and functionality between a series of products have been deemed equal. The one with the more appealing design will always win. Does google succeed despite bad design or does google succeed because their functionality is superior to their competition? You decide. Catch Derek Powazek at WebVisions 2006 as he presents The New Community: How Decentralized Conversation Empowers Individuals while Creating Community.
Tristan Louis's Future Tense
Tristan Louis has a six part post on a big set of trends that will influence the events of the next 10 years. He calls his series Future Tense and while some may see this as simply crystal ball gazing, I tend to thing that Mr. Louis is not far off the mark if at all. He has a way with making good calls. Come see him speak on Thinking Globally at WebVisions 2006 - Exploring the Future of the Web.
Recyclable Information Architecture
For those who may be interested, I have a new post up on the Blue Flavor blog about Recyclable Information Architecture. I address the issues of documenting IA and being able to repurpose those documents right into the finalized product. I am, of course, speaking about HTML wireframing, HTML sitemaps, and functional prototypes, etc. Give it a read if IA is your thing.
Article: Why the Tech Industry Needs to Change Its Language
Imagine hosting a foreign exchange student who doesn't speak English. Knowing that their goal is to better understand the language to be successful in this strange new land, how would you communicate with them? Jonathan Follet suggests that your competitive advantage comes from how you communicate the foreign language of the Web to your customers. Read more...
Digital Web Magazine's 10 Year Anniversary
Today is a very special day for Digital Web Magazine. It was exactly 10 years ago that we registered the domain digital-web.com and started on a long journey that eventually lead us to publishing Digital Web Magazine as you know it today. In the past I have published retrospects on the history of the design. This year I am just going to leave you with a simple blog post. I want to explain the scale of what we have accomplished over the past 10 years as publication and where we are going.
Let me start with a few metrics. Digital Web Magazine has had 195 contributors from all walks of life and from all over the world writing articles, interviews, and reviews for us to date. That is backed by the current 18 staff members who have authored columns, conducted interviews, reviewed products, edited, copyedited and managed the entire publication. All this accounts for about 359 articles in all. That's quite a lot of material for an all volunteer publication working in their spare time with the only revenue being from advertising and reader donations. If you have a moment consider showing your appriciation and thanks to these contributors by donating a small amount, writing an article, or just saying thanks in the comment area of this blog post.
So what's next? That's really hard to say. The staff and I have talked in great detail about what is the next step for Digital Web Magazine. We have some pretty good ideas and we will reveal those in time. All in all we want to improve the lives of the web professional. Making it easier for them to learn about new techniques and hear about new technologies. We want to make sure schools are teaching the right things to their students. We want to make sure software manufactures are developing tools that help make the web professional's job easier. We want to make sure professionals are pushing the boundries of what is possible and continually exploring new ideas and new ways of looking at old problems. We want to make sure our industry is producing a web that will make the lives of everyone who uses it easier. Do you want to be a part of that? If so, let us know.
Thank you for reading... and a special thanks to everyone who has contributed.
For those who are at the The Ajax Experience conference but want to learn more or for those who couldn't make it to the conference, here is a list for you:
- Andy Budd tells me that Clearleft is having another Ajax training workshop coming up on May 26th in Manchester.
- The guys at Adaptive Path also have an Designing and Building with Ajax workshop in Amsterdam on June 7th.
- Carson Workshops is also hosting a Building Web Apps with Ajax workshop in London on June 29th.
My only question is why are there no Ajax workshops in the United States? Oh well, enjoy anyway.
Information Architecture for the People - Help Pick the Topic
Joshua Kaufman, DWM's Information Architecture for the People Columnist wants to know what you think. He's got four topic ideas for his next column and wants to know what the people want to read about. Complete the poll and help Joshua pick a topic.