News : October 2006
Taking A Break This Week
A lot has been happening around here, between illness, moving, new jobs, vacations, heavy work loads, and the usual unusual events. So, we've decided the wisest course of action for everyone, including our readers, is to take a break from publication this week. We'll be back with a great article next Monday night. Maybe now would be a good time to catch up on one of our articles from the past year. Did you read our interview with designer Veerle Pieters, get Donna Maurer's take on Usability for Rich Internet Applications, see what Garrett Dimon had to say about Code Reviews, go through Chris Heilmann's two-parter on Seven Accessibility Mistakes, or really explore John Allsopp's Big Picture on Microformats? Now's your chance to go back and see what you might have missed.
Web Directions North: Registration is Open
The folks who brought us Web Directions, the not-to-be-missed Australian annual web conference, have joined with Dave Shea and Derek Featherstone to create Web Directions North—and it looks great. Located in Vancouver, BC, February 6-8, 2007, confirmed speakers include Cameron Moll, Doug Bowman, Veerle Pieters, Derek Featherstone, Dave Shea, Joe Clark, Molly Holzschlag, Adrian Holovaty, John Allsopp, Kelly Goto, Dan Cederholm, Andy Clarke and other web luminaries. A day of workshops precedes the two-day conference, and then speakers and attendees will enjoy two days of skiing and snowboarding at the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Blackcomb/Whistler. Registration opened today.
The Rise of Flash Video, Part 2, and an interview with Shirley Kaiser
Flash video is popping up all over the place these days, and not all of it looks good. Tom Green, author of several books on Flash, addresses the questions of quality and compression in part two of his series on Flash video. Also this week, Shirley Kaiser, veteran web designer and author of a recent book on essential checklists for designing sites, is interviewed by Meryl K. Evans.
Seattle UX Events
For those of you in the Seattle area, there is a whole line up of UX related events going on over the next few weeks starting today. If you haven't done so already check out our Seattle UX Events page. The events page is something we have been updating every so often over the past few years and we'll be upgrading it soon so keep an eye out.
New Digital Web Author: Jeff Cram
Our latest issue marks the debut of Jeff Cram, of ISITE Design, with his article Building a Website for Analytics. Jeff co-founded his company back in 1997, and also worked for WebTrends for a year and a half in the time since then. ISITE, which does web strategy, design, and technology, is, in his words “very data and measurement-driven,” as you’ll see in his article. The company has now grown to 30 employees. Jeff started out in journalism, planning to be a sports writer, and he sees web design and journalism as having much in common: “It’s all about asking the right questions.”
SXSW Interactive Web Awards early entry deadline
Shawn O'keefe tells me that this Friday, October 13th is the early entry deadline for the 10th annual SXSW Interactive Web Awards. This international competition uncovers the best new sites, the top new trends and the most impressive talent in the ever-evolving web design industry. If you have redesigned or launched a new website within the last calendar year be sure to enter your site before the early deadline! Winners will be announced at the 2007 Web Awards Ceremony during SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas.
My friend Jason McVearry over at Media Temple tells me that they are about to launch Grid-Server. I know what you're thinking, yet another marketing stunt, all hot air, no real news. Not so fast, this is a system they are marking as zero-downtime. It is hosted exclusively at Tier 4 data centers using fibre channel to link the specially optimized servers. The platform they use to support Ruby on Rails is Mongrel which runs in their own customized Media Temple Container. Say buh bye to Fast-CGI and say hello to better performance and quicker response times. To boot they have one click Wordpress installs, which of course means Bryan Veloso has already blogged about it in-depth: The Future of Hosting, Now.
Google, YouTube, and the future of video on the Web
Unless you have been sleeping under a rock you probably have already heard that Google acquired YouTube for 1.65 billion. You can read the Google press release here: Google To Acquire YouTube for $1.65 Billion in Stock. (Notice how all the other bloggers left off the "in stock" part?). Meanwhile Brian Williams closes the NBC Nightly News with "They just don't make media empires the way they used to." What does this really mean in the grand scheme of things? Is videocasting about to hit a whole new level? Is video finally going to converge with the web on a level we haven't seen before? It's hard to tell. I'll be offering my stab at this in my presentation in Philly this Friday. What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment here.
Article: The Rise of Flash Video, Part 1
In Part One of a two-part series on Flash Video, the immensely qualified Tom Green gives us a spirited and insightful account of the rise of Flash from a face in the crowd to the dominant video format of choice for giants like YouTube and MySpace. If you are thinking of adding Flash video to your web design skill set, this series is the place to start. Read more...
Firefox 2.0 Preview
The Mozilla Foundation has announced the preview version of Firefox 2 (RC 2). Here is your chance to kick the tires of the browser before it's too late. Hopfully your pages are standard compliant so you won't even have to worry about any changes in the browser.
Introducing Matthew Pennell and Walker Hamilton
We've added two new people to the Digital Web staff. Matthew Pennell is a web designer from the Cambridge area in the UK. He'll be an Assistant Managing Editor for us. Smart, talented, dedicated, with a great sense of humor—how could we resist?
Walker Hamilton is a web developer living in the Chicago area who is working on his MS in Information Architecture. Brilliant Mr. Hamilton is now the Technical Director of Digital Web, and we'll give him the key to the back-end of the magazine as soon as I can find it. I know it's around here somewhere. Welcome aboard, Matthew and Walker. We're very happy to have you here!
Article: Competitive Analysis, Part 2
Websites don’t exist in isolation, of course—the competition is always just a click or two away. How can you make sure yours is the site that wins the hearts, minds, or dollars of visitors? An insightful, detailed competitive analysis can make the difference between a site that delivers or one that sits unused. In Part Two of the excerpt from his book Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning, IA and user experience expert Dan Brown continues to show us how to create an effective analysis. Read more...