18 March 2002
You’ve got to hand it to 37signals. Frustrated by usability lapses in FedEx’s “Ship Manager” form, they designed a better one. While they’re fixing bad sites, we hope they’ll take a stab at our insurance company’s. We just spent an hour trying to choose a primary care physician, and we’re still not positive we got one.
We like the crisp, clean look of Greg Storey’s personal site, Airbag. Source code fans, peek under the hood for a musical meta tag.
What’s wrong with this picture? Look closely. It may take you a minute.
16 March 2002
[8 pm | 3 pm | noon]
Derek Powazek has posted RealAudio recordings and photos of Fray Cafe 2, featuring remarkable (and funny) performances by Justin Hall, Carrie Bickner, Brad Graham and many others.
Back in blue: Independents Day has been updated post–SXSW.
London–based Preloaded participated in the Independents Day “Design: Trend–Setting Expression” panel at SXSW. Their fine site will repay your time and attention.
You never forget your first information specialist. “Mrs. Johnson,” a Library Stories memoir by the head lemur, is now playing at Rogue Librarian. Also by the head lemur: an interview with Dan Gillmor, “ejournalist” for the San Jose Mercury News.
Macromedia is taking its “Web Accessibility” show on the road. Next stops: Atlanta, NYC, and Cambridge. The free seminar will naturally focus on building accessible (and Section 508 compliant) sites with Macromedia products like Flash MX and Dreamweaver, but should also be of interest to those who author their sites by hand.
On a related note, Scott Stevenson questions Macromedia’s recent assertion that Flash MX should replace XHTML, CSS, and scripting languages as the defacto standard for website development.
Georgia is the new Verdana. White is the new grey. :::
14 March 2002
Notes from Carrie Bickner’s PLA 2002 lecture, “Sticky Sites on a Shoestring.” Though pitched at large sites with small budgets, the talk contains useful ideas for any site that wants to reach and retain readers.
An Austin Chronicle writeup of Fray Cafe 2 attempts to capture the magic of that remarkable night at SXSW. Stellar presenters not mentioned in the article included Brad Graham, Justin Hall, Susan Kath, Meryl Evans, and two storytelling ladies of a certain age who blew the rest of us out of the water. The PG13–rated Powazek quotation that opens the article was actually lifted from the first Independents Day panel at SXSW.
Tantek.com finally includes a site map to help you find its many useful resources. Tantek (photo) is the author of the Tasman rendering engine that drives IE5/Mac, and his site’s SVG–like CSS layouts work best in that browser. Note: a bug in the W3C validator wrongly flags the site’s “border-left: 2.5em solid transparent” style rule as invalid. For more on such bugs, see Better Living Through XHTML in Issue 137 of A List Apart. :::
13 March 2002
[7 pm | 6 pm | 3 pm]
After 48 hours at SXSW and Fray Cafe we flew to Phoenix for PLA and a tour of Lemurzone World Headquarters, then caught the Red Eye home. More on all that after we catch up on sleep and email.
Less is more: Carrie has posted two photos from SXSW.
Pal Mark Newhouse, whom we broke bread with in Phoenix, shares an Open Source three column CSS layout that’s compatible with Netscape 4.
While we were away, “Mo’ Betta Rollovers” from Issue 140 of A List Apart generated mail revealing additional reference materials on the subject, such as the enormously helpful “Evolution of Rollovers” at WebReference. In a similar vein ...
Stuart Robertson has updated his CSS rollover tutorial to work as well in Mozilla/Netscape 6 as it does in other standards–friendly browsers, while the “Angry Young Wetlog” skin at Neale Talbot’s Wetlog throws another spin on CSS rollovers. More such stuff, buried deep in our email in–box, will eventually be unearthed.
While we were away, numerous readers and colleagues wrote to tell us of AOL’s rumored plans to switch its members from MSIE to a browser built around the Gecko rendering engine that drives Mozilla/Netscape 6. If true, the browser switch would affect 30 million–plus AOL subscribers, or “about 30% of all U.S. Internet users,” according to NewsForge’s Robin “Roblimo” Miller, who reported the story. This in turn would encourage developers to author with web standards supported by Mozilla/Netscape 6, MSIE 5/6, and Opera 5/6, instead of crafting sites optimized exclusively for MSIE.
Speaking of web standards, WaSP co–founder George Olsen and some of his IA colleagues have launched Boxes and Arrows, an online magazine for Information Architects and others who focus on “user experience.” The new mag looks mighty promising.
Meryl provides a snapshot of the first Independents Day panel at SXSW. Left to right: Gabe Kean, Josh Davis, your humble narrator, and Derek Powazek. Greg Storey has posted a fast, rough blog of a small portion of the panel questions and answers. :::