Interview

An interview with Dr. Jakob Nielsen, usability expert By Meryl K. Evans and Nick Finck Then and Now Companies, Clients, CEOs, and Cost Usability Attitudes Then and Now Digital Web: What surprised you while doing recent studies on Web site usability? Dr. Jakob Nielsen: Probably the most surprising recent finding came in our study of the usability of Web-based applications … Read moreInterview

Keep it Simple

Simplicity vs. Innovation By Peter-Paul Koch Last month’s column focused on the general concept of user-centered design. This month presents a look at the more limited field of usability and offers a way around the simple = dull equation that threatens good usability design. Conservatism A site should be innovative in design and content, but, when it comes … Read moreKeep it Simple

Keep it Simple

Client-Centered Design By Peter-Paul Koch What is the difference between user-centered design and usability? Until writing this column I didn’t have the faintest idea. Fortunately, a quick search turned up a page that explains the difference quite nicely: UCD [user centered design] is often mistakenly considered a synonym for usability. UCD is much more encompassing – it … Read moreKeep it Simple

Feature

Back to the User: Creating User-Focused Websites Collective Lessons Learned from Listening to and Observing Users By Tammy Sachs Since our earliest interviews with Web users, enormous progress has been made in shaping sites that inform, engage and build lasting customer relationships. Imagine searching for information without Google; finding a rare collectible without eBay, figuring out … Read moreFeature

Making a Timeless User Experience

By David Wertheimer Providing good user experience takes more than drawing handsome icons for people who don’t read. One has to think in all directions to properly define smart user-centric design, then, apply those decisions in a timeless fashion. An analogy By way of the audio department: Fifteen-year-old Jim walked into the Panasonic service center wheeling … Read moreMaking a Timeless User Experience

Tutorial

Introduction to XML By J. David Eisenberg What is XML? If you’ve been producing sites for any length of time you probably hear about XML, and wonder exactly why so many people are excited about it. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. Let’s take a closer look at the parts of the acronym, and then we’ll show you … Read moreTutorial

Tutorial

Using controlled vocabularies to improve findability By Christina Wodtke Many moons ago I waited tables. One day our manager came down to tell us that from now on we were to refer to our customers as “guests.” We also were to refer to courses as “first course” and “second course.” Our chef was French, and found … Read moreTutorial

Keep it Simple

Fluid Thinking By Peter-Paul Koch Times have changed for the better since the advent of Web standards. We can write a script or a CSS declaration, confident that Mozilla, Explorer and Opera will interpret it in roughly the same way. That confidence is a tremendous luxury, when compared to what we faced even a few years … Read moreKeep it Simple

The myth of User-Centered Information Architecture

By Jeff Lash One of the first things you learn about information architecture is that your Web site needs to be organized the way users think it should be organized. Unfortunately, this never happens. In fact, it should never happen. User-centered information architecture is a myth. A successful information architect understands the way users access information, … Read moreThe myth of User-Centered Information Architecture

Interview

An interview with Peter Merholz and Nathan Shedroff on User-Centered Design By Meryl K. Evans Understanding UCD Business of UCD The Process Understanding UCD Digital Web: What is user-centered design (UCD)? What are its benefits? Problems? Peter Merholz: Contrary to common wisdom, user-centered design is not a process, but a philosophy. User-centered design requires the inclusion of a … Read moreInterview

99.9% of Proper Grammar Is Obsolete

By David Wertheimer [A parody, with thanks to Jeffrey Zeldman. See also “99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete” elsewhere on Digital Web Magazine.] An equal opportunity disease afflicts nearly every person now on the Web, from the humblest instant messenger to the multi-million-dollar-salaried heads of corporate giants. Cunning and insidious, the disease goes largely unrecognized because it is … Read more99.9% of Proper Grammar Is Obsolete

Interview

An interview with Steven Champeon and Shirley Kaiser of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) By Meryl K. Evans Current Climate Get Real with Standards Compliance Current Climate Digital Web: Just prior to ending Phase I, the WaSP announced that the browser makers were finally up to standards and that the rest of the work for supporting client-side standards … Read moreInterview

Beyond the IA Guy

Defining information architecture By David Wertheimer What is information architecture, and how does it exist beyond an “IA guy”? This seemingly simple question was posed to me in June by Charles Hamilton, chair of the World Wide Web Artists’ Consortium (WWWAC ) Development SIG. Hamilton was putting together a panel on IA and had invited me … Read moreBeyond the IA Guy

Interview

An interview with Jeffrey Veen and Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path By Meryl K. Evans Information Architecture Design Concepts & Usability Adaptive Path Forward Information Architecture Digital Web: This question has been asked many times and we would be in trouble if we don’t ask. How do you define Information Architecture (IA)? What does it encompass? … Read moreInterview

Feature

Smarter Content Publishing Building a semantic website to increase the efficiency and usability of publishing systems By Victor Lombardi Do you remember the days before WYSIWYG word processors when you had to markup the text, much like we markup web documents using HTML? I don’t. I started word processing using WYSIWYG applications on the Macintosh and … Read moreFeature

Tutorial

Web Page Reconstruction with CSS By Christopher Schmitt Page design and markup Before After CSS and well-structured documents are a combination that can’t be beaten. This tutorial looks at how to transform a Web page using traditional Web design methods into a CSS-based site. In fact, the example will be drawn from a Digital Web content … Read moreTutorial

Book Review

The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog By James McNally The first of an expected flood of books about blogging, this is also bound to be one of the smartest. Rebecca Blood was one of the first to start a weblog, launching “Rebecca’s Pocket” in 1999. More importantly, Blood is a fiercely … Read moreBook Review

Book Review

Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design By James McNally In 2000, O’Reilly published Eric Meyer’s, Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide. Despite the fact that it was a reference book, Meyer’s conversational writing style and sense of humor made it a joy to read. It quickly established Meyer as the “go-to guy” for … Read moreBook Review

Feature

Cascading Style Sheets, Promise vs. Reality, and a Look to the Future By Mark Newhouse Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a technology with a lot of promise, but their often-hyped potential leaves some designers feeling blindsided by the 2×4 known as reality. This article sorts out the differences, and makes a case for educating yourself now … Read moreFeature

Tutorial

SVG: The New Flash By Eric Vitiello Jr. Macromedia has been the dominant force behind vector-based graphics and animation on the web for nearly the past 10 years. Times change, and new methods are always on the horizon. The upcoming contender for vector graphics is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an XML-based language under development by the W3C. … Read moreTutorial

Tutorial

On Digital Photography By Stephen Voss Nearly every day that I leave my apartment, and walk on 23rd Ave. in Portland, I see someone shooting away with their digital camera. Like most new technologies, the appeal seems to be the “gee-whiz” factor rather than the camera’s actual function as a tool to make photos. It’s easy … Read moreTutorial

Feature

Building the Business Game Plan By Meryl K. Evans Process: either you love it or you hate it. Rarely do you find that in-the-middle-of-the-road when it comes to process in web design. One-size-fits-all? Some say yes and others say no. ISO9001, CMM (Capability Maturity Model), RUP (Rational Unified Process), and SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability dEtermination) are too big and cost too … Read moreFeature

Profiles

Christopher Schmitt Contributing Writer Birthplace: Tallahassee, FL USA “Home of the 2000 Presidential Election” Employer: MindComet Title/Role: Sr. Design Technologist Personal Website/Portfolio: http://www.christopher.org/ Memorable Quotes: “Know thine audience.” Articles: Digital Web: Content as Navigation Tool Digital Web: Measuring User Experience WebReview: Then, Now, Next: 5 Perspectives on the Web Development Industry WebReview: Broadband for Today and Tomorrow A List … Read moreProfiles