A List Apart On 2011; And My Thoughts Too

No Comments Yet December 13, 2011

Well, it’s December, so the season of yearly wrap-ups has begun. One of the first pieces to cross my path was A List Apart‘s “What I learned About the Web in 2011“, a collection of short (1-3 paragraph) thoughts by various members of the web community. It’s a nice read, and covers a lot of ground, ranging from standards to what constitutes a book in these Kindle/Nook/Kobo saturated days. My favorite was probably Jon Tan’s “We Who Are Web Designers”, and his article of the same name he linked to. It’s a nice little manifesto of the field, and definitely worth a read. That being said, I think that the big issue of the year was mobile, and the development of responsive design. The List Apart article has plenty of thoughts on those issues, but here are mine.

Web Design Ethics

No Comments Yet November 2, 2011

The latest edition of A List Apart has come out, and one of the articles, Dark Patterns: Deception vs. Honesty in UI Design, is a particularly stimulating read. Articles that discuss how to do cool things are pretty common, but ones that discuss if we should do them? They’re rather rarer. Thankfully this article gives us a chance to plumb these less-explored depths.


User Statistic Sites: The Good, the Great, and the not so Great

No Comments Yet October 30, 2011

Knowing your audience is vital for any rhetorical endeavor. Ideally, you should be using a service like Google Analytics to track your users behavior. In addition to knowing things like browser use and resolution, you can also see things like where people are coming into your site and where they’re leaving from, and where your traffic is actually coming from. This helps you find places where your site might not be working as well as it should be.

Sometimes, however, this isn’t really an option. Maybe you’re just getting started with a site, and don’t have any users to analyze (yet). Or maybe you’re designing a template to sell or give away. Then, the user base might vary from installation to installation. One would hope that the people using the template would start using analytic software and tweak the site accordingly. This isn’t something you can count on, however, and in any event, if you’re putting something “out there” for the public to use, it should work right out of the box. In that case, you probably want to use some kind of statistics site.

Chris Coyier On What We Don’t Know.

2 Comments October 26, 2011

Just wanted to give an additional plug to the latest post by Chris Coyier over at CSS-Tricks. In one of my first posts, I said that one of the most important things to know was what you don’t actually know, and how to appropriately deal with those unknowns. Well, Chris has gathered a whole bunch of them up in a post entitled (appropriately enough) What We Don’t Know.  The great thing about it is that it not only tells what we don’t know, it also gives a quick overview of what we do (or at least should be doing) about it. It’s a quick read, but it’s got quite a bit of good stuff in it. Go read it, if you haven’t already. Now.

What Should a Developer Know Before Building a Public Web Site?

No Comments Yet November 22, 2010

Over on Stack Overflow, someone asked just that question. A lot of answers were given, but the top answer was nothing short of awesome. Go read it! It covers pretty much everything I could think of, and mentions many areas which I would like to cover in depth on this blog. It lists the basics of security, accessibility, SEO, and even things like addressing performance and web technologies. It also gives many links to help you get started addressing these issues.


Ryan Singer’s Presentation at Future of Web Apps 2010

No Comments Yet November 1, 2010

On the 37 Signals blog Signal vs. Noise, I found a video of Ryan Singer, their lead UI designer, giving a talk on how the company develops its web apps for clients. It’s chock full of goodness for the aspiring web app developer. Given the growing importance of the web app to many web designers, I think that this is a good overview of the design process. It doesn’t go into overly technical detail, instead focusing on the steps of app development, from a rough idea to a working prototype.

What is an Internet Rhetorician?

No Comments Yet August 2, 2010

A rhetorician, as I’ve said earlier, is fundamentally a student of effective communication. An internet rhetorician, therefore, understands the web and uses it to effectively impact their audience. In my mind, four characteristics define the internet rhetorician.

The most fundamental characteristic of an internet rhetorician is mindfulness. Being mindful means being aware of not only the primary effects of a decision concerning design or coding techniques, but also for secondary effects. For instance, when deciding on a font to use for a website, a non-mindful decision would be based on how the font looks. (more…)