Books of Luke and Aarron

In Issue No. 255 of A List Apart, for people who make websites:

  • Findability, Orphan of the Web Design Industry – Aarron Walter, author of Building Findable Websites: Web Standards, SEO, and Beyond (New Riders, 2008), provides an overview of this essential web discipline, explains how it is like SEO but different, and tells how every member of your team can contribute to your site’s content’s findability. (See Aarron speak about findability and web standards live and in person at An Event Apart New Orleans, April 24–25, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.)
  • Sign Up Forms Must Die – Luke Wroblewski, Senior Principal of Product Ideation and Design at Yahoo! and author of Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks (Rosenfeld Media, 2008), calls for the abolition of sign-up forms where web services are concerned. Via “gradual engagement,” says Luke, we can get people using and caring about our web services instead of frustrating them with forms. (Get more Luke live and in person at An Event Apart Boston, June 23–24, 2008 at the Boston Marriott Copley Plaza.)

As a glance at the masthead suggests, thought-provoking content about web form design and findability isn’t all that’s happening in this issue of A List Apart:

  • Deeply gifted and seriously experienced web design magazine editor Carolyn Wood finally joins the ALA staff as acquisitions editor, taking that post from …
  • … the witty and excellent Krista Stevens, who now becomes editor of the magazine.
  • For his profound contributions to branding and usability, art director Jason Santa Maria becomes creative director.
  • And after eight years at the magazine, Erin Kissane steps down as editor (but will stay with us as contributing editor). The improvements Erin has made to the magazine in her years with us cannot be counted, not even by the angels.

Zeldman on Talk Radio Today

Live today from 3:00 to 4:00 pm Eastern Time, I’m this week’s guest on “Design Matters with Debbie Millman,” the leading internet talk radio show on the “challenging and compelling canvas of today’s design world.”

If you listen live today at 3:00 pm ET, you can use a call-in number to participate in the show.

Voted “Most Popular Podcast” by the readers of if! Magazine, “Design Matters with Debbie Millman” is an opinionated internet talk radio show with over 150,000 listeners. Previous guests have included Milton Glaser, Stefan Sagmeister, and Ellen Lupton.

The show is produced in the Empire State Building in NYC.

[tags]design, webdesign, talkradio, podcast, debbiemillman, zeldman, jeffreyzeldman, internet, internettalkradio[/tags]

Monday links

WCAG Samurai
The WCAG Samurai Errata for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 are published as an alternative to WCAG 2. “You may comply with WCAG 2, or with these errata, or with neither, but not with both at once.” Published 26 February 2008. Read the intro first.
Happy Cog Studios at SXSW Interactive
Two hot panels, plus bowling.
Alex King’s Twitter Tools
Integrate your Twitter account with your WordPress blog. Archive your tweets, create a blog post from each tweet, create a daily digest of your tweets, post a tweet in your sidebar, and more.
Chopsticks by Carlos Segura
Brilliant! 51 chopstick bags by Carlos Segura assisted by Ryan Halvorsen. In EPS for your raster or vector pleasure.
Can a Gas Station Really Be Green?
Boston design firm builds green gas station in smoggy LA.
48 Unique Ways To Use WordPress
CMS, city guide, history/timeline site, intranet, movie poster and trailer site, network hub, polling site, Feedburner alternative, Twitter clone, many more.
Misleading Marketing Copy
Words and phrases to avoid if you want an honest relationship with your customers.
Pattern inspiration (Veerle’s Blog)
Design inspiration via wallpaper and tiles.
Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior (on Flickr)
Illustrations from the newly published book by Indi Young (Rosenfeld Media, 2008).
A Speck of Sunlight Is a Town’s Yearly Alarm Clock
On March 8, the sun will rise again in Longyearbyen, the first time since October.
Dockdrop
Free Mac OS X application lets you share files fast. Drag any file or folder onto the Dockdrop dock icon, then choose how you want to send it. Dockdrop uploads it and puts a URL for your upload on the clipboard, ready for pasting into an email, chat program or website.
Official Google Maps API Blog: Google Maps Without the Scripting
The Google Static Maps API provides a simpler way to add maps to your website. Rather than use JavaScript, the Google Static Maps API creates map images on the fly via simple requests to the Static Maps service with HTTP requests.

[tags]zeldman, wcagsamurai, happycog, sxsw, googlemaps, wordpress, veerle, indiyoung, mentalmodels, wcag2, accessibility[/tags]

Appreciating web design; setting type

We have what we think is a special issue of A List Apart for people who make websites.

  • Every responsible web designer has theories about how best to serve type on the web. In How to Size Text in CSS, Richard Rutter puts the theories to the test, conducting experiments to determine the best of all best practices for setting type on the web. Richard’s recommendation lets designers reliably control text size and the vertical grid, while leaving readers free to resize text.
  • And in Understanding Web Design, I explain why cultural and business leaders mistake web design for something it’s not; show how these misunderstandings retard critical discourse and prevent projects from reaching their greatest potential; and provide a framework for better design through clearer understanding.

Plus, from October 2001, we resurrect Typography Matters by Erin Kissane, the magazine’s editor, who is currently on sabbatical.

[tags]webdesign, css, textsize, type, typography, sizingtype, sizingtext, understanding, typedesign, architecture, newspaperdesign, posterdesign, bobdylanposter, erinkissane, richardrutter, zeldman, jeffreyzeldman, alistapart[/tags]

Faster, pussycat

Have you ever bought clothes while traveling, and been unable to fit everything in your suitcase when it was time to go home? That suitcase is what my days are like now. For starters, The Wife and I are buying an apartment—or at least we are attending all the meetings, filling out all the paperwork, hiring all the attorneys and assessors and brokers and fixers, faxing and messengering and hand-delivering all the documents, auditing all the books, returning all the missed calls, sending all the e-mails, digging through spam traps for all the missed e-mails, rescheduling all the appointments, raising all the money, applying to borrow all the much more money, digging and refilling all the holes, and running up and down all the staircases that are supposed to lead to us owning a place.

Timing is the secret of comedy and an ungovernable variable in life. Our first-time homebuying marathon comes during one of The Wife’s busiest weeks at The Library, and amid a frenzy of new client activity at Happy Cog and the planning of next year’s An Event Apart conferences. In my idiocy, I agreed to speak at other people’s conferences, which means I need to create the content for those engagements. I am days behind in everything because completing the Findings From the Web Design Survey sucked nights, days, and dollars. It was our Apocalypse Now. The dog is sick and requires constant watching. The Girl must be taken to preschool and picked up and played with and loved and taught and put to bed.

My life is like everybody’s. I’m too busy and I’m grateful for everything, but I worry that I will miss some detail, forget some essential, give less than everything to some e-mail or document review or design.

I intended to write about the Findings From the Web Design Survey on the night we finally published them, but there was nothing left inside. I intended to write about them this morning, but instead I have written this excuse for not writing about them. During my next break between brokers, I will clear up one area of confusion as to the motivation behind the survey’s undertaking.

Meantime, Eric Meyer, the survey’s co-author and co-sponsor, has written nice pieces about practical problems overcome in the survey’s creation, and how to keep probing the data for new answers and new questions.

[tags]aneventapart, alistapart, webdesignsurvey, design, survey, happycog, homeownership, NYC, newyorkcity, newyork[/tags]

Client input, iPhone constraints

In Issue No. 245 of A List Apart, for people who make websites: Sarah B. Nelson of Adaptive Path shows how to create collaborative work sessions that actually work, and Iconfactory’s Craig Hockenberry concludes his remarkable two-part series on designing and coding with the iPhone and its new brethren in mind.

Staying creative

Everyone is creative. But some stay that way longer. Sooner or later, most people charged with designing, writing, illustrating, and the like find their stores of invention running low. Inspiration pays fewer calls. The well of originality produces only echoes. Ultimately, the very urge to create—the thing that got them into this business when their parents advised them to study dentistry—shrivels and fades.

Or so I have read.

A List Apart illustrator Kevin Cornell is no stranger to the problem of becoming and staying motivated, and in his new ALA article, coincidentally entitled Staying Motivated, he shares his process for doing just that.

Also in Issue 243 of A List Apart, for people who make websites:

We say potato, our client says po-tah-to. Clients and those who serve them come from different backgrounds, possess different skills, and often seem to speak different languages. To work around these differences, many of us use a metaphor- and simile-driven shorthand. The site should work “like Amazon,” with features “like Expedia.” It should be “like Basecamp” and “like Wikipedia.”

This language of comparison can help bridge the knowledge gap, but it can also create false expectations and frustration on both sides of the client/designer relationship. Can you master the metaphor without falling prey to its pitfalls? Jack Zeal thinks you can, and in Design by Metaphor he shares tips on using the technique to keep clients engaged but not unhinged.

Pretty good, right? But there’s more. In Editor’s Choice, from 16 August 2002, we proudly revive 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web by Mark Bernstein—the classic article on updating daily content to grow community and keep readers coming back.

I should reread that one myself.

[tags]alistapart, creativity, inspiration, jackzeal, kevincornell, designbymetaphor, clientservices, ebay[/tags]