Welcome to the weekly roundup! If you’re new to my blog, every Friday I publish a weekly roundup of the latest web design and development resources for user experience, accessibility, WordPress, responsive web design, CSS, and HTML.
In this week’s roundup, you’ll learn why game accessibility is important, what to do when you can’t conduct a usability test, find out about designing responsive websites in the browser with Webflow, and more.
If you want to stay-up-to-date daily with resources like these, follow me @redcrew on Twitter.
This week’s photo is from the Cuban restaurant where I ate last night. Near the restaurant entrance were several dominoes games for people to play, and I couldn’t resist. It’s been years since I’ve played dominoes, and I’ve never seen a double-nine set. Have you?
1999: Images are slow to download, but at least I can read the text.
2014: Font is slow to download, but at least I can… ah shit.
— Drew McLellan (@drewm) August 7, 2014
- Should publishers really think ‘mobile-first’?: While “mobile-first” is how many publishers describe their design and content strategies, they fail to consider the user experience issues of small screens.
Readers on mobile aren’t just consuming content on smaller screens, they’re doing so on-the-go, a use case that imposes a new set of needs that publishers have, on the whole, been slow to address.
- What Happens Next?: When you add that one new feature, think of user intent. Ask what’s next, and whether the user’s intent has been satisfied. Keep asking until you can ask no more.
Trust, interest, and commitment: you need to get all three for successful guerrilla testing, and quickly. ~ Francine Gemperle #uxpgh
— UX Pittsburgh (@UXPittsburgh) August 6, 2014
- August 2014: User Experience and Web Professional Events: My monthly calendar of events for southeastern Michigan highlights August events for Metro Detroit WordPress, a search engine optimization workshop hosted by Social Media Club Detroit, and more.
- What To Do When You Can’t Run A Usability Test: Due to time constraints, cost, or other reasons, you may not be able to conduct a usability test. Jeff Sauro of Measuring Usability discusses three alternative options for better understanding the user experience.
- Revisiting the “Switch to Android full-time” experiment: A year after his first review of using an Android device full-time, Marco Zehe updates his review with news of what has been updated to support accessiblity, and what still needs improvement
- How to Provide Accessible Error Identification: In this post from the SSB Bart Group, Jonathan Avila discusses the various methods for displaying error messages to users, and ensuring the user can find the error messages.
- Why Game Accessibility Matters: Amazing stories about gamers who are disabled and developers taking the time to listen and learn how to improve the accessibility of the games they create. There are solid reasons for improving game accessibility, and it can be easy to add those features, if done early in the design process.
Accessibility for the blind can be a lot less complex than people initially assume.
- Vision-impaired son inspires dad to create software to improve internet accessibility: Developed by a software engineer for his vision-impaired son, Hueyify is a proof-of-concept tool that allows users to control all the content in a web browser, including colors, styles, layout, presentation, and enables text-to speech without needing to install a screen reader. I searched their site, looking for supported browsers, but couldn’t find anything. I sent a message, and I’m waiting for a response.
- How website accessibility can boost your SEO: Kevin Rydberg walks you through three ways to improve the accessibility and search engine optimization of your website.
- WordPress 3.9.2 Security Release: If you haven’t already updated to version 3.9.2, update now. The security release fixes a vulnerability in the XML-RPC library file that when executed, could cause a denial of service attack. For the first time, WordPress and Drupal teams worked together on the solution.
- WPCore Plugin Manager Adds Update Notifications, Plans to Implement Pro Subscription: If you’re a fan of the WPCore plugin (I started using it this week), the latest update includes a completely rewritten plugin (improved performance and communication updates) as well as a new notification feature alerting you when one of your plugin collection has a plugin update.
- Custom Post Types for WordPress: Marcy Diaz explains what custom post types are, how they can be used, and some examples of custom post types for events, directories, and testimonials.
- The Usability of WordPress Featured Images: How do you manage featured images in the themes you develop? Tom McFarlin evaluates their usage, discussing the challenges and different strategies developers use for including featured images in WordPress themes.
- Genesis Accessible 1.1: update for Genesis 2.1 plus bug fixes: My colleague Rian Rietveld has updated her Genesis Accessible plugin with bug fixes in the skip links, improved HTML5 outline, and includes changes to comply with Genesis version 2.1 updates.
- Set Your Post and Featured Image in One Click: Save yourself a click. The Instant Featured Image plugin adds a button that allows you to insert and set the featured image in one click.
- Design Responsive Websites In The Browser With Webflow: In the first post in a series on emerging responsive design tools, Richard Knight gives a guided tour of working with Webflow, a free browser-based design tool that currently only works in Google Chrome. Webflow allows you to work from a blank slate, free or paid ($10-$20) templates.
- The Flexible Grid System for Responsive Web Layouts: A new open source project, Flexible Grid System is a 24-column responsive CSS grid system. Check the Github repository for installation, usage and browser support (I was surprised to learn it supports Internet Explorer 7).
As web designers we must think of responsive sites as fluid concepts instead of static results of these concepts.
— scott kellum (@ScottKellum) August 6, 2014
- Tablesaw: A Flexible Tool for Responsive Tables: Finding a solution for displaying tables in a responsive design has been an ongoing challenge. With Tablesaw, the Filament Group offers a group of jQuery plugins that
that allows us to mix-and-match approaches, and provides a number of options for “navigating” through a table at smaller breakpoints.
CSS and HTML
- Adding a sticky footer with flexbox: With a few lines of code, Marc Drummond shows you how to add a sticky footer that nicely sits at the bottom of the viewport, and works in responsive designs.
- 5 reasons you should be using Sass today: If you haven’t found time to learn Sass, and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, these five reasons may help encourage you to get started.
- How We Read: A List Apart features an excerpt from the first chapter of Jason Santa Maria’s newly published book, On Web Typography. It was a fascinating read; I learned about saccades, fixation, and the challenges for making typography perform well.
- You Can Do That With CSS?: Cool examples, with explanations, from Scott O’Hara for creating forms with feedback, single-page layout transitions, and layout changes with
:target, all done only with CSS and HTML.
- Stay up-to-date with Internet Explorer: Microsoft announced a new policy for browser support, over time dropping support for older Internet Explorer (IE) browsers. By January 12, 2016, Microsoft will only provide technical support and security updates for the most recent version of IE for a supported operating system. Yay!
What I Found Interesting
- It’s a Rat Race: 40+ Free SEO Tools Any Site Owner Needs to Know: This collection of tools and apps from Noupe is for anyone who works on the web, with schema creators, online website speed test apps, XML sitemap creators, and more. Well worth bookmarking.
- HTTPS as a ranking signal: The official Google Webmaster blog announced this week that HTTPS is a ranking signal, though the blog post also said it’s a lightweight ranking signal.
- Android finally overtook iPhone in browsing share last month: According to NetMarketShare, Android overtook iPhone for browsing by less than .5 percent in July 2014. By comparison, a year ago in August 2013, iOS led Android by 26 percent.