Hacking on Open APIs

Welcome back to our two-part series on Application Programming Interfaces: APIs. If you’re not familiar with what APIs are—or maybe you are but you’re still not sure what all the fuss is about—then I’d recommend starting with part one of this series: APIs and Mashups For The Rest Of Us. This time around, we’ll dispense with … Read more

Creative Use of PNG Transparency in Web Design


PNG, GIF, and JPEG The PNG image has been widely overlooked by the web design community—and mostly for good reason. Until recently, it hasn’t been possible to take full advantage of the format and have it work reliably in all browsers. But, with proper PNG support in Internet Explorer 7, and some handy JavaScript and … Read more

Web Design 101: Positioning

Any cascading style sheets (CSS) newbie will have heard about it, right? CSS positioning—absolute this and relative that. Perhaps you have some vague idea about what it is, but are afraid to try it yourself. An element with position:absolute is removed from the document flow, which means the rest of the document acts as if the element … Read more

IntraBranding: Why Your Intranet Needs Its Own Personality

The next time you work on an intranet project, whether for private- or public-sector organizations, ask your client or manager about branding. Usually, the answer will be another question, “Why do we need to worry about branding?” After all, this is an internal site, for employees only, or—in the case of extranets—for contractors and partners, … Read more

Capture a Screencast with a Mac


As a writer, I often make screenshots to accompany my tutorials, blog posts, and articles. But, sometimes, static screenshots aren’t up to the job of clearly illustrating a point. You’re likely to find that the neighbor starts the lawnmower in the middle of your voice recording session. Or, on playback, you discover your bad sniffing … Read more

Objectifying JavaScript


When I first began programming with JavaScript, I created my variables and then encapsulated any functionality I needed to reuse into a function. As my tasks got more complicated and as I started learning object-oriented programming in other languages, I began to see the benefits of applying that to JavaScript. In JavaScript, a function is … Read more

Getting Mobile


Long promised and way overdue, mobile technology is finally moving beyond telephone calls to become a fundamental of our technology-infused lives. In fact, mobile could very well transform how we gather and use information. But beyond the hype rumors and billions of investment dollars in the mobile industry lies a simple concept: mobile devices, which … Read more

Internationalization Primer

Programming Localization You might usually have the luxury of working on a site or application in just a single language, but there will come a time when you’ll have a project that must be done in two or more languages. This is where localization comes in. Localization, often referred to as “l10n” (the 10 represents … Read more

Practical Usability Testing

When I started this column, part of my motivation was to write about tools to empower Web designers—techniques they could take away and apply immediately. I’ve written an article on how information architecture can be a natural progression from Web design and two articles containing short lessons to help new information architects be more effective on the job. My … Read more

Powering the Web with HTTP


In developing Web applications, as in life, it is important to understand the basics. With that thought, let’s cover one of the most basic components of the Web: the hypertext transfer protocol, or HTTP. HTTP Why did you just get disconnected? Simply put: HTTP is stateless. Using HTTP, a request is made by the browser … Read more

Web Designer’s FREElance Toolbox for Windows


Freelancing for an extra thick wad of greenbacks to pad your back pocket is every Web designer’s dream. Wrangling up your own clients, managing the entire creative process and collecting your due reward is a great accomplishment, and the process can be more fulfilling than the daily grind of a full-time job. Yet, it can … Read more

A Matter of Styles


Until recently, cascading style sheets (CSS) were the most tragically hip technology available online. Touted as the way to create page layouts by, well, the folks that wrote the specification, style sheets were long denied any serious consideration in corporate development environments. Poor browser support stranded CSS in the “isn’t that nice” realm of Web development, a technology … Read more

Offline Marketing

marketing strategy

Looking Back It wasn’t so long ago that dotcom startups, new media, and break-out Internet companies were pushing their name on the general public through various print ads, massive public banners, radio and television spots, as well as ridiculous and outrageous publicity events. All of these advertising methods proved an effective way to get their … Read more

The Behavior Layer


Now that Web developers have a solid grip on the XHTML structural and CSS presentation layers, it’s time to consider the JavaScript behavior layer and especially its accessibility. In the past JavaScript has been much abused, mainly because people misunderstood its purpose. Many sites used JavaScript for presentation only, for instance in ubiquitous and ultimately … Read more

The Ideal Web Team (part 2)

In this column I’ll continue my investigation of the ideal Web team, which consists of three sub-teams: The client-side specialists, who create an attractive, clear front end. The server-side specialists, who create a smoothly operating back end. The supporting specialists, who make sure that the other two sub-teams can do their jobs. In the previous column, an ideal Web … Read more

Battle of the WYSIWYGs: Adobe GoLive 6 vs. Macromedia Dreamweaver MX


   Although some web developers balk at the idea of using WYSIWYG HTML editors to develop professional sites, the fact remains that they are widely used by design and development firms and have contributed to making the web a nicer-looking place. The code created by these editors isn’t always clean and lean, but they offer … Read more

Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web

I’ve always disliked the “Dummies” books—you know, the ones with the bright yellow covers. Despite the potential for funny titles (“Cooking for Dummies”), I’ve always found them to be vaguely insulting. When it comes to the burgeoning field of Information Architecture, however, a book for beginners (not always dummies) would be welcome. And now it’s … Read more

The Elements of the User Experience


There is something gratifying about picking up a book by an author whose concept is so elegantly  displayed, with a message so clear, that you want to share it with everyone you know. For those of us who have been engaged in the creative development of the Web for the last few years, The Elements of … Read more



“This article will be 750 words long exactly, or you can have your money back.” Several months ago, I went into great detail about the process that I went through to design and develop a website for a client that I had at the time. I talked about planning, design, development and implementation issues. I … Read more

Adobe Illustrator 9


As it’s done in previous versions, Adobe has added quite a few features to the latest version of Illustrator that have been on my wishlist for some time. Inevitably, it seems that these always come with the price of new quirks that upset my working routine. Also, note that this review was delayed so I could wait … Read more