In this week’s roundup of web development and design resources, you’ll find out about the new features in WordPress 3.8, discover how to improve upon the hover behavior for mobile, touch and responsive touch devices, learn about metrics in user research, and more. If you use any of resources in your projects, share your results in the comments.
This week’s photo is from The Nutcracker Ballet performance I saw earlier this week. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions and gets me in the spirit of the holiday.
A good user interface is like an electric light: when it works, nobody notices it. #UX
— Jonathan Rat (@JonMRat) December 13, 2013
- Take the 2013 UserTesting UX Industry Survey: Take the first UserTesting.com UX Industry survey (less than five minutes) and you’ll have a chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card or the entire Rosenfeld Media digital library. If you’re wondering, the Rosenfeld Media library is on my holiday wishlist.
- Conversion rate optimisation: eight case studies that show the benefit of UX testing: Impressive conversion results from user experience testing for Moz, Expedia, ASOS, and other companies in these case studies. From changing one word, to adding video, to improving sign-up pages, the companies saw increases in conversion rates and revenues while others saw decreases in cart abandonment.
— James Coltham (@prettysimple) December 9, 2013
- Web Standards for Writers: In her SitePoint post, Georgina Laidlaw highlights guides and standards available to web writers. I’m familiar with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, but I wasn’t aware of all the guides from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) including the Future Media Standards, standards for meta data, URL guidelines as well as the guidelines for creating accessible link text. Good resources for all web professionals, not just writers.
- Measuring the Metrics of User Research: My Storify of UserTesting.com’s webinar on user research metrics. Key takeaways: set objectives for your user research, identify whether to use multiple-choice, ratings, or short answer questions based on what you’re seeking, and use clear language.
- Why Bother With Accessibility?: In her post for the 24ways Advent calendar, Laura Kalbag discusses the excuses web professionals give for not including accessibility in their work.
- How a Blind Person Sees the Internet: Kevin Jones has a computer science degree, accesses and gathers information daily on the Internet, and is learning AppleScipt so he can improve accessibility in Apple’s VoiceOver feature. Interesting to read his opinion of the Find feature on web pages, problems with dynamic pages, and issues using Facebook.
- Fake sign-language interpreter at Mandela funeral: News of the “fake” sign language interpreter at this week’s memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela made headlines around the world. There was no meaning in what he was gesturing. Mark Liberman of the University of Pennsylvania highlights several of the reports from the Associated Press, National Public Radio, and The Telegraph about the bogus interpreter.
- Accessibility isn’t a buzzword, it’s personal: Developing accessible websites isn’t for “those other people”; it’s for your family, friends, and perhaps yourself.
- WordPress 3.8 “Parker”: Version 3.8 of WordPress, named “Parker” in honor of Charlie Parker, was released this week. Download the new version and explore the new user interface, flat colors, dashboard design, admin color scheme picker, and custom icon font.
- WordSesh 2: Adding Semantic Data to Your WordPress Site in 20 Minutes or Less: My notes from Miriam Schwab’s WordSesh 2 semantic data presentation last weekend. If you’re not aware, WordSesh 2 was a 24-hour free livestreamed event with presentations from WordPress professionals around the world.
- Designing for WordPress: In their WordSesh 2 session, Suzette Franck and Natalie MacLies discussed working from PSDs, problems using Photoshop to create websites, user experience, and strategies for getting content from clients. I was glad to hear Suzette’s shoutout for Mockingbird, one of my favorite wireframe applications.
- Changing WordPress themes: If you’ve ever changed WordPress themes and lost settings, this guide from The Theme Foundry is for you. Drew Strojny explains what you don’t need to worry about when you change themes, and what areas you need pay more attention to. Check the comments for an additional tip.
- 13 really useful responsive design tutorials: If you’re not sure where to start with learning responsive design, this roundup of tutorials from Chris Coyier, Val Head, and extensive five-part series from Paul Robert Lloyd will get you up to speed quickly.
- The top 25 responsive design tools: Brad Frost shares resources and tools to help you in your journey to learn and excel at responsive design.
- An Event Apart: Preprocessing is for Everybody: I know many of my web design colleagues have been hesitant to work with preprocessors, thinking it’s complicated and they need to be a “programmer”. Perhaps these notes by Carson Shold from Chris Coyier’s talk at An Event Apart San Francisco will encourage them (or you) to take the first step.
CSS and HTML
- Why does HTML footer take role=”contentinfo”?: Similar to
role="banner", Bruce Lawson explains there is no one-to-one relationship between
- The Responsive Hover Paradigm: Another excellent post on 24ways, Jenn Lukas highlights how to improve upon the traditional hover behavior for mobile, touch and responsive sites and applications. Jenn offers suggestions for how to give website visitors choice with a hover/touch switcher.
While content can be our top priority, let’s not forget that our designs and interactions, hovers included, can have a great positive impact on how visitors experience our site.
- HTML, CSS, PSD and More: 25 Free Design Resources from November 2013: The monthly roundup from Noupe includes HTML templates for landing pages, e-commerce, magazines, travel and portfolios as well as several UI kits. All resources are free to download, though some may require registration.
- Faster Workflow: Mastering Emmet, Part 2: In the second part of his Mastering Emmet series, Tahir Taous shows you how to install Emmet in Sublime Text and walks you through multiple code snippets in Emmet. Be sure to follow up with his final post in the series on syntax and function.
What I Found Interesting
- Santa Brandbook: Too funny. Check out this brand book for Santa and learn about his logo, Santa serif typeface, and approved vocabulary.
- Brené Brown on Vulnerability, Human Connection, and the Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy, Animated: What makes something better is connection, says shame and empathy researcher Dr. Brené Brown. I really enjoyed this three-minute animated video from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce that brought some of Brown’s words to life.
- What’s New in Firefox 26: The one feature I was excited about is the reduced memory usage. After using it the past few days, I can say Firefox is not hogging all my memory. Developers will be happy to see the ability to check :before and :after pseudo elements in the developer tools.