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The Web We Lost: Luke Dorny Redesign

Like 90s hip-hop, The Web We Lost™ retains a near-mystical hold on the hearts and minds of those who were lucky enough to be part of it. Luke Dorny’s recent, lovingly hand-carved redesign of his personal site encompasses several generations of that pioneering creative web. As such, it will repay your curiosity.

Details, details.

Check Luke’s article page for textural, typographic, and interactive hat tips to great old sites from the likes of k10k, Cameron Moll, Jason Santa Maria, and more. 

And don’t stop there; each section of the updated lukedorny.com offers its own little bonus delights. Like the floating titles (on first load) and touchable, complex thumbnail highlights on the “observer” (AKA home) page. 

And by home page, I don’t mean the home page that loads when you first hit the site: that’s a narrow, fixed-width design that’s both a tribute and a goof.

No, I mean the home page that replaces that narrow initial home page once the cookies kick in. Want to see the initial, fixed-width home page again? I’m not sure that you can. Weird detail. Cool detail. Who thinks of such things? Some of us used to.

And don’t miss the subtle thrills of the silken pull threads (complete with shadows) and winking logo pull tab in the site’s footer. I could play with that all day.

Multiply animated elements, paths, and shadows bring life to the footer of Luke Dorny’s newly redesigned website.

Now, no site exactly needs those loving details. But danged if they don’t encourage you to spend time on the site and actually peruse its content

There was a time when we thought about things like that. We knew people had a big choice in which websites they chose to visit. (Because people did have a big choice back in them days before social media consolidation.) And we worked to be worthy of their time and attention.

Days of future past

We can still strive to be worthy by sweating details and staying alive to the creative possibilities of the page. Not on every project, of course. But certainly on our personal sites. And we don’t have to limit our creative love and attention only to our personal sites. We pushed ourselves, back then; we can do it again.

In our products, we can remember to add delight as we subtract friction.

And just as an unexpected bouquet can brighten the day for someone we love, in the sites we design for partners, we can be on the lookout for opportunities to pleasantly surprise with unexpected, little, loving details.

Crafted with care doesn’t have to mean bespoke. But it’s remarkable what can happen when, in the early planning stage of a new project, we act as if we’re going to have to create each page from scratch.

In calling Luke Dorny’s site to your attention, I must disclaim a few things:

  • I haven’t run accessibility tests on lukedorny.com or even tried to navigate it with images off, or via the keyboard.
  • Using pixel fonts for body copy, headlines, labels, and so on—while entirely appropriate to the period Luke’s celebrating and conceptually necessary for the design to work as it should—isn’t the most readable choice and may cause difficulty for some readers.
  • I haven’t tested the site in every browser and on every known device. I haven’t checked its optimization. For all I know, the site may pass such tests with flying colors, but I tend to think all this beauty comes at a price in terms of assets and bandwidth. 

Nevertheless, I do commend this fine website to your loving attention. Maybe spend time on it instead of Twitter next time you take a break?

I’ll be back soon with more examples of sites trying harder.


Simulcast on Automattic Design

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Limo to my bed of nails, stat!

Unintentionally hilarious Style piece on Stoicism as misunderstood and ostentatiously practiced by trend-conforming Silicon Valley billionaires. (Ooh, billionaire walks five miles a day? So does everyone with two legs in New York.)

nytimes.com/2019/03/26/style/silicon-valley-stoics.html

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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.

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links

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)

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Authoring Best practices Compatibility Content First Content-First CSS CSS3 Design Ethan Marcotte HTML HTML5 Jeremy Keith links Standards State of the Web Told you so Web Design Web Design History Web Standards

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"Found Objects" Acclaim Appearances Hall of Fame links photography Publications SXSW Zeldman

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…

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Mobile Web Resources

ONE of the most frequent questions we get asked about the mobile web is ‘Where do I go to learn about all this stuff?’ So here’s an extensive list of helpful tools and resources that can help you create great mobile web experiences.”

Mobile Web Resources | Mobile Web Best Practices.

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Site update 20 August 2011

GOOD MORNING! I’ve added some nifty external links to my About page. Enjoy.

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Design links State of the Web Themes and Templates Web Design Web Design History Web Standards Websites

Adactio on Responsive Design as a “Sea Change”

I WISH I had written Adactio: Journal—Sea change. I advise every web designer who hasn’t yet done so to read it.

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A Book Apart A List Apart Adobe An Event Apart Apple architecture art direction Authoring Best practices Big Web Show client services Code content content strategy creativity CSS CSS3 Dan Benjamin Design DWWS E-Books editorial Education eric meyer Fonts Formats Free Advice Happy Cog™ Haters industry Information architecture interface ipad iphone IXD javascript links maturity New Riders peachpit Publications Publishing Real type on the web Respect Responsibility Responsive Web Design Standards State of the Web tbws The Big Web Show The Essentials The Profession This never happens to Gruber Typekit Typography Usability User Experience UX W3C Web Design Web Design History Web Standards webfonts webkit Websites webtype work Working writing Zeldman zeldman.com

2010: The Year in Web Standards

WHAT A YEAR 2010 has been. It was the year HTML5 and CSS3 broke wide; the year the iPad, iPhone, and Android led designers down the contradictory paths of proprietary application design and standards-based mobile web application design—in both cases focused on user needs, simplicity, and new ways of interacting thanks to small screens and touch-sensitive surfaces.

It was the third year in a row that everyone was talking about content strategy and designers refused to “just comp something up” without first conducting research and developing a user experience strategy.

CSS3 media queries plus fluid grids and flexible images gave birth to responsive web design (thanks, Beep!). Internet Explorer 9 (that’s right, the browser by Microsoft we’ve spent years grousing about) kicked ass on web standards, inspiring a 10K Apart contest that celebrated what designers and developers could achieve with just 10K of standards-compliant HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. IE9 also kicked ass on type rendering, stimulating debates as to which platform offers the best reading experience for the first time since Macintosh System 7.

Even outside the newest, best browsers, things were better than ever. Modernizr and eCSStender brought advanced selectors and @font-face to archaic browsers (not to mention HTML5 and SVG, in the case of Modernizr). Tim Murtaugh and Mike Pick’s HTML5 Reset and Paul Irish’s HTML5 Boilerplate gave us clean starting points for HTML5- and CSS3-powered sites.

Web fonts were everywhere—from the W3C to small personal and large commercial websites—thanks to pioneering syntax constructions by Paul Irish and Richard Fink, fine open-source products like the Font Squirrel @Font-Face Generator, open-source liberal font licensing like FontSpring’s, and terrific service platforms led by Typekit and including Fontdeck, Webtype, Typotheque, and Kernest.

Print continued its move to networked screens. iPhone found a worthy adversary in Android. Webkit was ubiquitous.

Insights into the new spirit of web design, from a wide variety of extremely smart people, can be seen and heard on The Big Web Show, which Dan Benjamin and I started this year (and which won Video Podcast of the Year in the 2010 .net Awards), on Dan’s other shows on the 5by5 network, on the Workers of the Web podcast by Alan Houser and Eric Anderson, and of course in A List Apart for people who make websites.

Zeldman.com: The Year in Review

A few things I wrote here at zeldman.com this year (some related to web standards and design, some not) may be worth reviewing:

iPad as the New Flash 17 October 2010
Masturbatory novelty is not a business strategy.
Flash, iPad, and Standards 1 February 2010
Lack of Flash in the iPad (and before that, in the iPhone) is a win for accessible, standards-based design. Not because Flash is bad, but because the increasing popularity of devices that don’t support Flash is going to force recalcitrant web developers to build the semantic HTML layer first.
An InDesign for HTML and CSS? 5 July 2010
while our current tools can certainly stand improvement, no company will ever create “the modern day equivalent of Illustrator and PageMaker for CSS, HTML5 and JavaScript.” The assumption that a such thing is possible suggests a lack of understanding.
Stop Chasing Followers 21 April 2010
The web is not a game of “eyeballs.” Never has been, never will be. Influence matters, numbers don’t.
Crowdsourcing Dickens 23 March 2010
Like it says.
My Love/Hate Affair with Typekit 22 March 2010
Like it says.
You Cannot Copyright A Tweet 25 February 2010
Like it says.
Free Advice: Show Up Early 5 February 2010
Love means never having to say you’re sorry, but client services means apologizing every five minutes. Give yourself one less thing to be sorry for. Take some free advice. Show up often, and show up early.

Outside Reading

A few things I wrote elsewhere might repay your interest as well:

The Future of Web Standards 26 September, for .net Magazine
Cheap, complex devices such as the iPhone and the Droid have come along at precisely the moment when HTML5, CSS3 and web fonts are ready for action; when standards-based web development is no longer relegated to the fringe; and when web designers, no longer content to merely decorate screens, are crafting provocative, multi-platform experiences. Is this the dawn of a new web?
Style vs. Design written in 1999 and slightly revised in 2005, for Adobe
When Style is a fetish, sites confuse visitors, hurting users and the companies that paid for the sites. When designers don’t start by asking who will use the site, and what they will use it for, we get meaningless eye candy that gives beauty a bad name.

Happy New Year, all!

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Social Network Creep

The Social Network, a David Fincher film.

If you’re intrigued, as I am, by the trailer for David Fincher’s upcoming The Social Network, and if part of what compels you about the trailer is the musical score—a choral version of Radiohead’s “Creep”—you’ll be happy to know you can purchase said song via emusic.com: On The Rocks is the album, “Creep” is the track, and Scala, a Belgian all-teenage-girl choir, are the artists. Highly recommended.

P.S. If emusic.com had an affiliate program, I’d have free music for life.

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Browsers bugs Code Compatibility CSS CSS3 development Free Happy Cog™ HTML HTML5 Ideas industry links Standards State of the Web The Essentials The Profession Tools Web Design Web Design History Web Standards

HTML5, CSS3 default templates

Free for use in all web projects, professional or personal, HTML5 Reset by Monkey Do! is a set of HTML5 and CSS templates that jumpstart web development by removing the styling native to each browser, establishing basic HTML structures (title, header, footer, etc.), clearing floats, correcting for IE problems, and more.

Most of us who design websites begin every project with bits and pieces of this kind of code, but developer Tim Murtaugh, who created these files and who modestly thanks everyone in the universe, has struck a near-ideal balance. In these lean, simple files, without fuss or clutter, he manages to give us the best-practices equivalent of everything but the kitchen sink.

Tim Murtaugh sits beside me at Happy Cog, so I’ve seen him use these very files (and earlier versions of them) to quickly code advanced websites. If you’re up to speed on all the new hotness, these files will help you stay that way and work faster. If you’re still learning (and who isn’t?) about HTML5, CSS3, and browser workarounds, studying these files and Tim’s notes about them will help you become a more knowledgeable web designer slash developer. (We need a better name for what we do.)

My daughter calls Mr Murtaugh “Tim the giant.” With the release of this little package, he earns the moniker. Highly recommended.