A List Apart news

Presenting Sara Wachter Boettcher, ALA’s new editor-in-chief.

WITH THE RELEASE on July 10, 2012 of the A List Apart Summer Reading Issue (a collection of favorite articles from 355 issues of the magazine), ALA’s editor-in-chief Krista Stevens has hung up her spurs and moved on.

Over six significant web years, Krista’s passion for great writing led to such extraordinary articles as More Meaningful Typography by Tim Brown, Orbital Content by Cameron Koczon, In Defense of Readers by Mandy Brown, Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte, and many others.

She helped ALA anticipate the important ideas in the rapidly changing fields of web design, web development, user experience, and content strategy, and continued the magazine’s tradition of pioneering and promoting best practices, while also broadening the kinds of stories we covered. Behind the scenes, she also updated our processes; coaxed the best work possible out of authors and staff; remembered birthdays and anticipated conflicts before feelings could get hurt; and more. She led us and mothered us, and she will be missed. You can follow Krista on Twitter, benefit from her user advocacy at Automattic, and continue to be enlightened by her via Contents Magazine. Thank you, Krista.


New editor-in-chief Sara Wachter Boettcher is a content strategist and writer who recently moved to Lancaster, PA, where she bucks the local Amish tradition by spending her days making, reading, and writing things on the web. She is the author of the upcoming Rosenfeld Media book Content Everywhere, a frequent conference speaker, and has contributed articles and essays to A List Apart (Future-Ready Content) and Contents (On Content and Curiosity).

Currently a consultant under her own shingle, Sara previously spent a half-dozen years working in agencies, mainly at Off Madison Ave, where she started as a web writer and became the director of interactive content and marketing strategy. Although her A List Apart editorship does not officially begin until August, Sara has already dived in behind the scenes. She is whip-smart and a pleasure to know.

Welcome, Sara!

Readability ends reader fee program, gives uncollected funds to accessibility and writing charities

TODAY MY FRIENDS at Arc 90 announced that, as of June 30, 2012, Readability will no longer accept reader fees. Further, they will donate any uncollected funds to charities that support reading and writing. They’ll start by donating $50,000 to 826 Valencia and another $50,000 to Knowbility.

Readability has taken a lot of flack, and been accused of all kinds of base motives. The truth is, these people did these things because they love writers, love reading, love the web, and believe content and readers have gotten a raw deal because of the way most websites are designed.

The need to maximize ad revenue accounts for many of those anti-reader decisions, and so the people behind Readability — who love writers and publishers — tried this experiment, seeking a better way to let readers pay for content.

Had it worked, it would have changed our industry for the better, and might have saved small publishers who are drowning in this environment. It didn’t work. Not this year, not at this time. Live and learn and move on.

I salute my friends at Readability for giving a damn about writers, readers, and content and for at least trying to think of a sustainable solution to the problem of who pays for content.

Meet the 10K Apart Winners

ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS of the second annual 10K Apart contest (“Inspire the web with just 10K”) presented by MIX Online and An Event Apart.

Responsive apps under 10K

Last year’s 10K Apart challenged readers to create the best application they could using no more than 10K of images, scripts, and markup. We wanted to see what you could do with HTML5, CSS3, and web fonts, and you blew us away.

For this year’s contest, we asked you to step up your game by not only awing us with brilliant (and brilliantly designed) apps built using less than 10K of web standards and imagery, but we also insisted you make those awesome apps fully responsive.

(If you found this page by accident, responsive design accommodates today’s dizzying array of notebooks, tablets, smartphones, laptops, and big-screen desktops—and anticipates tomorrow’s—via fluid design experiences that squash and stretch and swell and shrink and always look like ladies. Ethan Marcotte pioneered this design approach, which takes standards-based progressive enhancement to the next level, and which achieves its magic via fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries. But I digress.)

We worried. Oh, how we worried.

We worried that demanding responsive design on top of our already tough list of requirements would kill the contest. That it was just too hard. Maybe even impossible. Silly us.

Once again, you overwhelmed us with your out-of-the-box creativity, dazzling technical chops, and inspiring can-do spirit. During the few weeks of our call for entries, people and teams from 36 countries produced 128 astonishingly excellent apps. With that many great entries, judging was a beast! Fortunately we had excellent help. But enough about us. On to the winners!

Grand Prize Winner

The mysteriously named L&L has won the 10K Apart Grand Prize for Bytes Jack, an HTML Blackjack game that is totally fun to play—unless you have a problem with gambling, in which case, try one of the fantastic runners-up: Space Mahjong by Toby Yun and Kyoungwoo Ham (Best Technical Achievement); Sproutable, by Kevin Thompson (Best Design); or PHRASE: Make Lovely Circular Patterns Based on Text Phrases (People’s Choice), by Andy Gott.

L&L will receive a paid pass to any An Event Apart conference event, a $3000 Visa Gift Card, and copies of Ethan Marcotte’s Responsive Web Design and Aaron Gustafson’s Adaptive Web Design.

In addition to these four winners, there are twelve honorable mentions that will delight any visitor—and astonish any web designer-developer who tries to figure out how these wizards worked their magic in under 10K. See all the winners or view the entire gallery and decide whom you would have awarded best in show.

P.S. We love you

An Event Apart thanks our hard-working, insanely inspired friends at Mix Online.

The 10K Apart hearkens back to Stewart Butterfield’s 5k Contest of yesteryear. Back then, Stewart challenged web designer-developers to create something magical using less than 5K of code and images—and the community responded with a flowering of creativity and awesome proto-web-apps. Stewart, we salute you!

Have Slides, Will Travel

OCTOBER brings the smells of burning leaves, the warmth of hot cider, and much speaking for yours truly:

On October 12, I’ll deliver the keynote address at Do It With Drupal 2011 at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Heights, sharing the stage with the likes of Josh Clark, Angela Byron, and Jeff Robbins.

Then it’s off to beautiful Richmond, Virginia on the 13th for EdUI 2011, the conference for web professionals who serve institutions of learning, where I’ll keynote again and join such leaders as Margot Bloomstein, Brian Fling, Kyle Soucy, and Siva Vaidhyanathan.

October 24–26 will find me in America’s capital for An Event Apart DC: three days of design, code, and content with a veritable constellation of web design stars, including a one-day learning session on Accessible Web Design led by Derek Featherstone of Further Ahead.

You can follow my speaking schedule or, better yet, come see me! I’ll keep a light in the window for you.

An Event Apart Atlanta 2011

YOU FIND ME ENSCONCED in the fabulous Buckhead, Atlanta Intercontinental Hotel, preparing to unleash An Event Apart Atlanta 2011, three days of design, code, and content strategy for people who make websites. Eric Meyer and I co-founded our traveling web conference in December, 2005; in 2006 we chose Atlanta for our second event, and it was the worst show we’ve ever done. We hosted at Turner Field, not realizing that half the audience would be forced to crane their necks around pillars if they wanted to see our speakers or the screen on which slides were projected.

Also not realizing that Turner Field’s promised contractual ability to deliver Wi-Fi was more theoretical than factual: the venue’s A/V guy spent the entire show trying to get an internet connection going. You could watch audience members twitchily check their laptops for email every fourteen seconds, then make the “no internet” face that is not unlike the face addicts make when the crack dealer is late, then check their laptops again.

The food was good, our speakers (including local hero Todd Dominey) had wise lessons to impart, and most attendees had a pretty good time, but Eric and I still shudder to remember everything that went wrong with that gig.

Not to jinx anything, but times have changed. We are now a major three-day event, thanks to a kick-ass staff and the wonderful community that has made this show its home. We thank you from the bottoms of our big grateful hearts.

I will see several hundred of you for the next three days. Those not attending may follow along:

Questions, Please: Jeffrey Zeldman’s Awesome Internet Design Panel today at SXSW Interactive

HEY, YOU WITH THE STARS in your eyes. Yes, you, the all too necessary SXSW Interactive attendee. Got questions about the present and future of web design and publishing for me or the illustrious panelists on Jeffrey Zeldman’s Awesome Internet Design Panel at SXSW Interactive 2011? You do? Bravo! Post them on Twitter using hashtag #jzsxsw and we’ll answer the good ones at 5:00 PM in Big Ballroom D of the Austin Convention Center.

Topics include platform wars (native, web, and hybrid, or welcome back to 1999), web fonts, mobile is the new widescreen, how to succeed in the new publishing, responsive design, HTML5, Flash, East Coast West Coast beefs, whatever happened to…?, and many, many more.

Comments are off here so you’ll post your questions on Twitter.

The panel will be live sketched and live recorded for later partial or full broadcast via sxsw.com. In-person attendees, arrive early for best seats. Don’t eat the brown acid.

Blue Beanie Day Haiku Contest, Revisited

IN NOVEMBER, as part of the 4th Annual Blue Beanie Day to support web standards, we announced a web standards haiku contest, with prizes donated by Peachpit/New Riders (“Voices That Matter”) and A Book Apart. Entries were posted on Twitter with the hashtag #bbd4, with judging to follow in December. It should have been easy.

Unfortunately, searches on hashtags only go back a few days. Which means, when Designing With Web Standards 3rd Edition co-author Ethan Marcotte and I sat down to judge your entries, said entries were nowhere to be found.

Not even mighty Google was able to uncover more than a few of them.

We wrote to our friends at Twitter to ask for help, but they were too busy dating supermodels on a pile of money to get back to us. With existing entries sucked into the void formerly known as Twitter search results, and with all those great books to give away and all those eager participants to thank, we have only one choice:

Blue Beanie Day Haiku Contest Phase II—This Time It’s Personal

Instructions follow:

Attention, web design geeks, contest fans, standards freaks, HTML5ophiles, CSSistas, grammarians, bookworms, UXers, designers, developers, and budding Haikuists. Can you do this?

Do not tell me I
Am source of your browser woes.
Template validates.

Write a web standards haiku (like that one), and post it on Twitter right here between today and Friday, December 24th. Entries must be “postmarked” no later than 11:59 PM Eastern. Judging will be held the week after Christmas, with winners announced before the New Year.

FAQ

Can I re-post the haiku(s) I submitted in November?

Yes, please!

Can I create one or more new haikus?

Yes, of course.

How many entries may I post?

As many as you like. However, you can only win once. (In other words, if you post the best ten haikus, you won’t win ten prizes, you’ll win one.)

I can’t post my entry here. (I’m behind a firewall.)

Unfortunately, posting behind firewalls is disabled on this site. (By doing this, I remove 99% of comment spam.) Try posting from your phone, or from a location other than your current one.

Thanks and Praise

Thanks to our sponsors, Peachpit/New Riders (“Voices That Matter”) and A Book Apart, and to Doug Vos, co-founder of Blue Beanie Day.

Let the haikus commence!


Photo: Luke Dorny

Comments are now closed. Watch this space—winners will be posted soon.

See me at the DIBI conference, UK

HEY, KIDS! GUESS WHO’s the keynote speaker at DIBI (pronounced “dibby”), the two-track Design It Build It web conference, June 7–8, 2011 at The Sage Gateshead venue in the Northeast of England? That’s right, it’s little old me. Join me for two tracks of design and development pleasure:

  • Design It track speakers include Faruk Ates, Jared Spool, Mike Kus, Inayaili de Leon, Jeremy Keith, and Brian Suda.
  • Speakers for the Build It track are Corey Donohoe, Blaine Cook, Lorna Mitchell, Bradley Wright, Rich Thornett and Jake Archibald.
  • There’s also “An Afternoon With…” half-day session focused on start-ups. The afternoon session is free to all conference pass-holders.

Tickets go on sale 13 January 2011. Follow dibiconf for announcements.

Keep up with my comings and goings on Lanyard and this site’s new Appearances page (in progress), follow me on Twitter (@zeldman), and keep watching the skies at An Event Apart, the design conference for people who make websites.

An Event Apart Gives Thanks

To thank you and the universe for five brilliant, sold-out shows in 2010, we’ve partnered with Network for Good to donate $5,000 to Computers for Youth (CFY), a non-profit foundation that brings computing and educational resources into the homes of children who wouldn’t otherwise have these advantages. Read more.

Awesome web apps in 10k or less

The 10K Apart Challenge had a simple premise: Could you build a complete web application using less than 10 kilobytes? … A joint effort between An Event Apart and MIX Online, the 10K Apart reaped 367 web applications in 28 days—everything from casual games to RIAs—that demonstrate, even with their tiny footprints, what is truly possible with modern [web] standards.

Read about the winning entries: 10K Apart – IEBlog.