What a week for weather in the United States. I hope you made it through without any problems. With last night’s snowfall, we’ve broken the monthly record for the most snowfall in history for our area. Over 39.1 inches of snow fell in the past month. I’m so looking forward to the February thaw.
In this week’s roundup of web design and development resources, you’ll learn about design trends to use (and avoid) for e-commerce, find out how to improve your online forms, discover how to add closed captions to videos in Adobe Captivate 7, and more.
This week’s photo is of the beautiful white flowers in bloom at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The next time someone starts listing all the reasons an idea won't work or can't happen, ask them to give three reasons it can. – S. Sinek
— Mark Kilens (@MarkKilens) January 31, 2014
- E-Commerce UX: 3 Design Trends to Follow and 3 to Avoid: Not surprised that the results of the Nielsen Norman Group’s recent e-commerce research showed large product images, robust reviews and easy discounts resulted in more people completing online purchases. It’s too bad customer service sections on the web seem to be ignored, or contain outdated information.
"The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them." — Ed Catmull
— Jorge Arango (@jarango) January 29, 2014
- Are You Ready to Be an Independent UX Consultant?: Cory Lebson discusses the pros, cons, and shares his own experiences of going out on his own as a user experience consultant.
- Pragmatic UX Techniques For Smarter Websites: A long, but worthwhile read covering the disciplines of user experience, with more detailed explanations of usability tests, interviews, customer journey maps, and microcopy. Good list of resource books is included in the article.
- Putting Web Standards for Writers Into Practice: Good tips for improving the wording, labeling, link text, and readability on the Telstra page. Personally, I think this post needs a different title of “Putting Accessibility for Writers Into Practice.”
- Adding Closed Captions for your Videos in Adobe Captivate 7: Quick tutorial (with video and text) explaining the steps for adding closed captions to your videos. Note: there are several manual steps after you’ve added captions: you’ll need to sync the captions individually (very time-consuming), break up lines of caption text for easier reading, and format the text.
#a11y tip of the day: Test on multiple platforms/AT's/browsers to ensure your content is accessible to everyone.
— Nick Beranek (@metaNick) January 30, 2014
- User Friendly Online Forms: Get rid of the Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHAs), use better color contrast, and yes, display passwords by default (but ofer option to hide) are a few steps you can take to make your online forms easier to use, says Svetlana Kouznetsova in her latest post.
- Web Accessibility 101 Video Series: Screen Magnification & Reflow: Learn about the difficulties readers face when using screen magnification to read a PDF document, and how to reflow the text in the PDF to resolve the issue.
- The New iOS and Android Apps Have Arrived!: If you’ve been frustrated trying to manage your WordPress.com sites on your mobile devices, the new apps will make your life a lot easier. Both apps have a redesign and performance improvements, as well as unique features for each platform. Have you upgrade to the new version?
- WordCamp Minneapolis 2014 Speakers: Speaker submissions are now open for WordCamp Minneapolis which will be held April 26-27, 2014. They’ll be taking submissions until Feb 28, 2014. Get your speaker submission in!
- The Case for Using WordPress Post Formats to Encourage More Blogging: It’s a long read, but I recommend you take the extra time to read Joyce Grace’s post advocating the return of the underused WordPress Post Formats. Very useful discussion of what Post Formats are, their history, along with a case study that will hopefully lead to Post Formats being added to a near-future WordPress release.
- Shortcode Suggest Helps You Discover Shortcodes in WordPress: Can you remember what each shortcode does on your WordPress site? The Shortcode Suggest plugin will automatically suggest shortcodes to you as add content in the Visual Editor, and provide a short description of that shortcode. Currently in development, the plugin is only available via GitHub download.
- Installing WordPress on a Hosted Site: My friend Dharma Zelleher published a great post on how to install WordPress on your web host, provides troubleshooting tips in case something goes wrong, and points you toward resources for learning more. Thanks Dharma!
- New BBC interactive guides: responsive, dynamic and accessible web design: eConsultancy reviews iWonder, the new interactive guides from the BBC, which are used to organize content (audio, video, text, images) into educational stories for online learners. Interesting to read about their challenges with response times and presenting interactive stories on mobile.
- Using CSS Regions in Responsive Designs: Brian Rinaldi walks you through building a simple responsive layout using CSS Regions. Note: Safari on OSX Mavericks supports CSS Regions, but you’ll need to enable it on Chrome and Opera with flags.
CSS and HTML
- Google plans to dump Adobe CSS tech to make Blink fast, not rich: The news from Google had lots of developers talking this week. Google argues that CSS regions code in Blink is complicated and not self-contained.
- CSS Regions Matter: I’m sharing lots of longer articles this week, but I found this post by Sara Soueidan to be very informative on how CSS Regions can be used and how they allow us to change the flow of content in ways no other CSS features make possible.
They can be a very useful and powerful tool in our responsive web design toolset, and when used in conjunction with other features, can provide us with great solutions to common design problems we are faced with.
- The Current Generation of CSS3 Selectors: Are you familiar with all the
:emptyCSS selectors? Check out this overview from Louis Lazurus to learn about some of the new CSS3 selectors with good browser support, and how they can be used.
What I Found Interesting
- Getting The Most Out Of Your Web Conference Experience: Good tips in this Smashing Magazine post about making your conference experience better: figure out what you want to learn before you register for the conference, research speakers and topics, and take notes. After the conference, review what you’ve learned and share it with others through a presentation or blog post recap.
- 20 things I learned changing to a career in web development: This quick two-minute read will give you some insights on what it means to be a front-end developer. I liked his third item,
You have to read everything. Read — not skim.
- 10 of the Best Web Page Weight Analysis Tools: Excellent resource listing free analysis tools you can use to reduce the bloat of your web pages. I’ve used all but two, which ones do you use?