Friday Links

TEN great links to launch your weekend:

If you missed Gerry McGovern’s brilliant An Event Apart talk on “Top Task Management,” the video’s here for your pleasure.

If you missed Eric Meyer’s article “Practical CSS Grid: Adding Grid to an Existing Design” in A List Apart, drop what you’re doing and read!

If you missed my chat about design discovery with UX consultant Dan Brown on this week’s Big Web Show, have a listen.

Like it says: “How to Build a Simple and Powerful Lazyload JavaScript Plugin” by Alex Devero in A List Apart: Sidebar.

Modern JavaScript for Ancient Web Developers” by Gina Trapani in Postlight’s “Track Changes.”

What sex is your font? Many people see typefaces as gendered. All this and much more in “The Font Purchasing Habits Survey Results” by Mary Catherine Pflug.

The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death” by Jia Tolentino in The New Yorker.

Well, there goes *that* startup idea. Facebook starts warning U.S. users when they’re sharing fake news in Macworld.

The Three-Hour Brand Sprint” (“GV’s Simple Recipe For Getting Started On Your Brand”) by Jake Knapp.

Why Are Designers Still Expected To Work For Free?” asks Design Observer’s Jessica Helfand in Fast Company’s Co.Design.

Bonus (this one goes to 11): “Jeffrey Zeldman Presents a Math Problem” from Typethos.


Also published in Medium.

Breakfast Links

Hope you’re hungry!

Web Design and Typography

This is freakin’ awesome: Styling Text With SVG Filters from the Code School blog.

John D. Jameson writes great mini-articles about web typography and front-end development on his personal site.

Here’s a look at twelve kinds of italic typeface, with some notes on their cultural contexts, historical backgrounds, and practical applications: Italics Examined, from Hoefler & Co.

So you’ve seen a typeface in use – on a poster, in a magazine, on a website … and you want to know what’s the name of that typeface. Here are five useful tips to identify it: The 5 best Tricks to Identify a Font – Video by Typography Guru. Hat tip: Typewolf.

In the Magazine

Write a better class of CSS: Tim Baxter shows how to make our CSS as semantic and meaningful as our markup in today’s A List Apart: Meaningful CSS: Style Like You Mean It.

JavaScript is more dynamic than you might think: Prototypal Object-Oriented Programming using JavaScript, by Mehdi Maujood.

Conversations

Rachel Andrew, Eric Meyer, Jen Simmons & I discuss radically new web layouts—for real this time—in Episode 115 of The Web Ahead, recorded live at An Event Apart: thewebahead.net/115.

Design For Real Life authors Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Eric Meyer chat with Jason Ogle on the User Defenders podcast: userdefenders.com/podcast/design-for-real-life/

Code

Speaking of radically new web layouts, the future of web layout needs your input and feedback. Read and respond: A Revised Subgrid Specification, by Rachel Andrew.

Better CSS Drop Caps with “initial-letter” (hat tip: Rachel Andrew)

Of Patterns and Power: Web Standards Then & Now

IN “CONTENT Display Patterns” (which all front-end folk should read), Dan Mall points to a truth not unlike the one Ethan Marcotte shared last month on 24 ways. It is a truth as old as standards-based design: Construct your markup to properly support your content (not your design).

Modular/atomic design doesn’t change this truth, it just reinforces its wisdom. Flexbox and grid layout don’t change this truth, they just make it easier to do it better. HTML5 doesn’t change this truth, it just reminds us that the separation of structure from style came into existence for a reason. A reason that hasn’t changed. A reason that cannot change, because it is the core truth of the web, and is inextricably bound up with the promise of this medium.

Separating structure from style and behavior was the web standards movement’s prime revelation, and each generation of web designers discovers it anew. This separation is what makes our content as backward-compatible as it is forward-compatible (or “future-friendly,” if you prefer). It’s the key to re-use. The key to accessibility. The key to the new kinds of CMS systems we’re just beginning to dream up. It’s what makes our content as accessible to an ancient device as it will be to an unimagined future one.

Every time a leader in our field discovers, as if for the first time, the genius of this separation between style, presentation, and behavior, she is validating the brilliance of web forbears like Tim Berners-Lee, Håkon Wium Lie, and Bert Bos.

Every time a Dan or an Ethan (or a Sara or a Lea) writes a beautiful and insightful article like the two cited above, they are telling new web designers, and reminding experienced ones, that this separation of powers matters.

And they are plunging a stake into the increasingly slippery ground beneath us.

Why is it slippery? Because too many developers and designers in our amnesiac community have begun to believe and share bad ideas—ideas, like CSS isn’t needed, HTML isn’t needed, progressive enhancement is old-fashioned and unnecessary, and so on. Ideas that, if followed, will turn the web back what it was becoming in the late 1990s: a wasteland of walled gardens that said no to more people than they welcomed. Let that never be so. We have the power.

As Maimonides, were he alive today, would tell us: he who excludes a single user destroys a universe. Web standards now and forever.

1,000 nerds

THE MODERN SOCIAL WEB is a miracle of progress but also a status-driven guilt-spewing shit volcano. Back in the 1990s—this will sound insane—we paid a lot of money for our tilde accounts, like $30 or $40 a month or sometimes much more. We paid to reach strangers with our weird ideas. Whereas now, as everyone understands, brands pay to know users.

via Tilde.Club: I had a couple drinks and woke up with 1,000 nerds — The Message — Medium.

Product Management for the Web; Beyond Usability Testing

IN ISSUE NO. 357 of A List Apart for people who make websites:

Beyond Usability Testing

by DEVAN GOLDSTEIN

To be sure we’re designing the right experience for the right audience, there’s no substitute for research conducted with actual users. Like any research method, though, usability testing has its drawbacks. Most importantly, it isn’t cheap. Fortunately, there are other usability research methods at our disposal. The standouts, expert review and heuristic evaluation, are easy to add to a design and development process almost regardless of budget or resource concerns. Explore these techniques, learn their advantages and disadvantages, and get the low-down on how to include them in your projects.

Product Management for the Web

by KRISTOFER LAYON

Whether we prototype, write, design, develop, or test as part of building the web, we’re creating something hundreds, thousands, or maybe even millions of people will use. But how do we know that we’re creating the right enhancements for the web, at the right time, and for the right customers? Because our client or boss asked us to? And how do they know? Enter product management for the web—bridging the gap between leadership and customers on one side, and the user experience, content strategy, design, and development team on the other. Learn to set priorities that gradually but steadily make your product (and the web) better.


SINCE 1998, A List Apart has explored the design, development, and meaning of web content, with a special focus on web standards and best practices.

Illustration by Kevin Cornell for A List Apart Magazine.

Wednesday Links

For your pleasure:

Jason Grigsby: The Immobile Web

Jason Grigsby (@grigs) discusses the next frontier: web-enabled televisions. Key points from this important BDConf speech transcribed by Brad Frost. With Slideshare video.

Jeremy Keith: Secret Src

As usual, Jeremy Keith is the cluefullest person in the room when it comes to the sexual politics of HTML5.

Context Free Patent Art

Just like it says.

Creative Bloq: Ten Questions for Jeffrey Zeldman

“If you’re complaining about IE in 2012, the problem isn’t Internet Explorer … it’s your job. But you can fix that.” One of several nuggets that emerge from my interview with the new design magazine.

Lea Verou: The top 8 web standards myths debunked

Just like it says.

Double Vision – Global Trends in Tablet and Smartphone Use while Watching TV

“Whether to check email or to look up program or product information, using a tablet or smartphone while watching TV is more common than not according to a Q4 2011 Nielsen survey of connected device owners in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Italy. In the U.S., 88 percent of tablet owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners said they used their device while watching TV at least once during a 30-day period. For 45 percent of tablet-tapping Americans, using their device while watching TV was a daily event, with 26 percent noting simultaneous TV and tablet use several times a day. U.S. smartphone owners showed similar dual usage of TV with their phones, with 41 percent saying their use their phone at least once a day while tuned in.”

How we use feature based development to give better quotes

Just like it says.

The Egotistical Puppet King & I

The latest CSSquirrel comic takes a jaded view of recent goings-on amidst the framers of HTML5. Alas, it’s even worse than he thinks.

LingsCars.com Gets a Makeover

Well done, Adaptive Path.

The Impossible Year | Jeffrey Zeldman with Mini-Zeldman Doll Polaroid…

The Impossible Year | Jeffrey Zeldman with Mini-Zeldman Doll Polaroid...

JOHN MORRISON:

Jeffrey Zeldman with Mini-Zeldman Doll

Polaroid SLR 680SE / Impossible PX-680 Color Shade

Jeffrey became the first person inducted into the SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame. Afterwards there was a party with mini-Zeldman dolls.

The Impossible Year | Jeffrey Zeldman with Mini-Zeldman Doll Polaroid…