Art of Interaction Column

three columns

When it comes to creating user interfaces, design and aesthetics are not just frills. The design should not simply take a back seat to function or content. Everyone agrees that good user experience is important but many miss the fact that design plays an integral role. In his column, Art of Interaction, Didier Hilhorst will assess … Read more

News : August 2002

News : August 2002 SCENE 360 (an online magazine for film, art, music and literature) relaunches. The relaunch is packed with an exciting competition to win autographed CDs and posters of the alternative blues trio, Willderry Berry Band. You’ll also find film and art articles, Flash pieces, an online game, a new t-shirt design, and … Read more

News : September 2002

News : September 2002 Luke Massman-Johnson tells me that he has redesigned his portfolio site. Luke came to me a while ago and told me he was inspired my my portfolio site‘s simple design and asked if he could make an interpretation of it. I decided to let him have the full design if he … Read more

News : November 2003

News : November 2003 Today is Thanksgiving Day. I really don’t celebrate Thanksgiving for the turkey or even the U.S. and Native American history behind the holiday. I celebrate today in honor of all those who have given so much time, energy and overall commitment to this magazine. As you may or may not know, … Read more

The $ and Sense of IT


In the beginning, business approach to technology was one of cautious scepticism. Before any new technology was adopted be it the telegraph, the telephone, or a computer system, business needed to ensure that the technology would have a positive impact on their bottom line. During the later part of the 20th century, businesses lost sight … Read more

Keep It Simple

Separating behavior and structure By Peter-Paul Koch published on April 14, 2004 In my previous column, I confessed a fear for “accessibility zealots” who really are anti-JavaScript zealots. More than once I’ve encountered a hostile reaction to the idea of using any JavaScript at all, although fortunately this attitude remains confined to the fringes of Web development land. … Read more

Art of Interaction

The Designer Is Dead, Long Live The Designer! By Didier P. Hilhorst Published April 7, 2004 Usability maharishis, with idiosyncratic attitudes and blaring random opinions about design, irritate me. While the importance of their field has been acknowledged for some years now, it is simply a sham to assume or suggest their role is principal (or sole) … Read more

Keep it Simple

The Behavior Layer By Peter-Paul Koch published on January 14 2004 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 … Read more

Don’t Forget to Architect the Home Page

In: Columns > Wide Open Column By David Wertheimer Published on March 24, 2004 One of the hardest things to do during Web site creation is to finalize a vision for the home page. So much to do, and so little real estate! How will users find anything? Where will it all fit? Yet the same questions … Read more

Keep It Simple

Accessibility and usability By Peter-Paul Koch published on February 18 2004 At the moment we Web developers are learning the basics of accessibility, as once we mastered the basics of usability. However, in my last column I hinted at a potentially dangerous “accessibility vs. usability” question. The time has come to study this question in more detail. First, … Read more

Keep CSS Simple

Keep CSS Simple By Peter-Paul Koch When I wrote my first Keep it Simple column I assumed the old, overly-complex way of looking at Web site creation was on the way out. Web developers were consciously moving towards a simpler way of making sites, or so I fondly imagined. Not so. The complexity monster has reappeared, right in … Read more

Soft Skills for Information Architecture

By Jeff Lash While much of one’s success or failure depends on the skills specific to information architecture—like diagramming, documenting, organizing—an even greater indicator is soft skills: dealing with conflict, negotiating, and communicating. These soft skills are important in any profession or job role, but are of high importance in information architecture, which requires applying them … Read more

Keep it Simple

Keep JavaScript Simple By Peter-Paul Koch On a few occasions, Java programmers mailed me the URLs of the JavaScript libraries they had created, asking me to take a look at them and suggest improvements. I reject the whole idea of JavaScript libraries, so I never answered these mails. They made me think, though, “Why do people … Read more

How did you get here?

Designing for visitors who don’t enter through the home page By Jeff Lash One of the most overlooked aspects of designing a Web site is how users get to it. Separate factions are often devoted to promoting, designing, and maintaining a Web site, and the lack of communication and involvement can lead to apathy or confusion. … Read more

Keep it Simple

The Ideal Web Team (part 2) By Peter-Paul Koch 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 … Read more

Keep it Simple

The Ideal Web Team (part 1) By Peter-Paul Koch Anyone can tell you that to create a good Web site you need a good Web team. Less people can tell you exactly how this team should go about creating the site. This two-part series presents one view of the ideal Web Team. The ideal Web team … Read more

Three approaches to Intranet Strategy

By Jeff Lash Intranets have become immensely popular over the past few years. While they were usually found only in large organizations five to ten years ago, the past few years have seen companies, non-profits, and institutions of all sizes beginning to see the value of creating a Web site specifically for internal use. Often the … Read more

Keep it Simple

Navigation Complex By Peter-Paul Koch Years ago I did some navigation research. My goal was to find out if any type of navigation was particularly suited to certain kinds of sites. I also wondered if navigation isn’t too complex in general. I identified six forms of navigation—three main types and three subtypes. The main types are: … Read more

Persuasive Navigation

By Jeff Lash Persuasive navigation is navigation that persuades a user to do something. That something can be anything that you want the user to do—buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, or download a game. By understanding user needs and matching them up with business goals, you can persuade users to go where you want them … Read more

Keep it Simple

Keep it Simple By Peter-Paul Koch The first site I made as a professional web developer used 17 frames. My first professional assignment was coding the World Press Photo site. In those days sites had to be compatible with Netscape and Explorer 3 and 4. That wasn’t a problem – that’s what I’d been hired for. … Read more

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 more

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 more

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 more

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 more

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 more