Welcome to the weekly roundup! If you’re new, each week I gather some of my favorite resources for user experience, accessibility, WordPress, CSS, HTML, and responsive design and compile it in my weekly resource post.
In this week’s roundup, you’ll learn about a new online collaboration tool (and it’s free!), find out what ARIA is and when to use it, find out what managed WordPress hosting site had the best performance, and more.
This week’s photo is from last weekend’s performance of Scheherazade by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Pro tip: if you think there's no value in watching usability testing, then don't call yourself a 'UX designer'.
— Caroline Jarrett (@cjforms) March 27, 2014
- BoardThing: Looking for a simple online collaborative group-sticky note tool? Check out this new application from Dave Gray to organize thoughts, create personas, and do simple card sorts.
Where did the hamburger menu icon originate? Xerox, circa 1981.
— Brad Colbow (@bradcolbow) March 26, 2014
- Beware of Feature Overload: A Case Study: One reason popular applications are no longer in use is that unnecessary features turned the once simple-to-use applications into a bad user experience.
- What Testing Won’t Tell You: Fascinating case study from Shopify’s user experience team who used a “research cocktail” to uncover onboarding issues for their product.
Once we discovered just how tiresome some of their tasks were, we figured out ways to make them more efficient.
- Designing for Your Objectives: Understand your key objectives for a website so you can use them to back up your key design and development decisions.
- Term of the Week: Accessibility: Char James-Tanny defines the term accessibility, explains why it’s important for content strategy, and shares steps a content strategist can take to improve accessibility in projects.
- Tanaguru Contrast-Finder: I just discovered this color contrast tool this week, and it’s fast becoming a favorite. Tanaguru Contrast-Finder not only checks current contrast for web accessibility, it offers suggestions to change contrast so your text will have best color contrast for accessibility.
- Getting Started with Accessibility Testing: Not sure where to start with accessibility testing? Take a look at Patrick Dunphy’s slideshow from last week’s CSUN conference.
#c4l14 Just because your site is accessible doesn't mean your site is usable by default. UX still matters.
— Ranti Junus (@ranti) March 26, 2014
- Why Do My Documents Need To Be Accessible?: With a focus on Portable Document Format (PDF) documents, this post from SiteImprove explains what defines an accessible document, the accessibility standards that apply to PDFs, who’s responsible for creating accessible PDFs, and discusses accessible alternatives to PDFs.
- What is WAI-ARIA, what does it do for me, and what not: Bookmark this comprehensive article from Marco Zehe on what ARIA is, when to use it, and when not to use it. Excellent.
- WordPress 3.9 Feature Updates: My friend Marcy Diaz walks you through the native gallery preview, Visual Editor, and live widget updates in the Theme Customizer for the soon-to-be-released 3.9 version.
- 8+ Awesome Plugins for Safely Moving WordPress: If you need to move a WordPress site, and don’t want to do it manually, check out this list of free and premium plugins (and one script).
- The Dangers Of Using WordPress Plugins From Untrusted Sources: While it may be tempting to download a “free” premium plugin for your site, downloading a plugin from an untrusted source can cause big security issues. The most trustworthy place to find plugins is the WordPress repository.
- Lockdown WordPress with iThemes Security and iThemes Security Pro: Officially released this week, the free and revamped iThemes Security plugin has a new name, additional features, and new dashboard. One of my favorite new features: sending email notification messages to multiple email addresses.
- Managed WordPress Hosting Showdown—Performance Benchmarks Comparison: Check out this managed WordPress hosting comparison of eight hosting companies from Kevin Ohashi at Review Signal.
- Eight tips for improving responsive typography: Natalie MacLees shares how you can improve typography in your responsive site with tips on modular scale, typeface, flexible units, leading, measure, and CSS pseudo-classes.
- Responsive Design Sameness: Stephen Hay continues the conversation about why responsive sites look similar, commenting that while workflow is one important factor, other contributing factors are a
lack of a solid graphic design foundation, excessive reliance on tools, and lack of critical design thinking when copying the work of other designers
- Responsive-Design Intranets with Smart Content Prioritization Two case studies from the Nielsen Norman Group show how responsive design was used to prioritize features and content on different devices.
CSS and HTML
- Forms: The Complete Guide: If you want to better understand how to use HTML form elements, this article from Martin Polley will get your started. Note: the article uses Zurb’s Foundation, but if you don’t have it, you’ll be able to follow along. Also, there’s no mention of ARIA.
- Images Off: McDonald’s Leads the Way: I love this clever method McDonald’s used for their “images off” email newsletter.
- HTML, CSS, PSD and More: 18 Free Design Resources from February/March 2014: Thanks to Noupe for this collection of HTML/CSS templates, user interface kits, and PSD templates.
What I Found Interesting
- Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions: Would you tell the US Government Printing Office how to save millions? Fourteen-year-old Suvir Mirchandani who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania did. His science-fair project analyzed ink needed for printing, and he expanded his research to analyze cost savings for the the US Government Printing Office.
- Google Naps: A parody of Google Maps, Google Naps will help you find the best place to snooze.
- A Simple Guide to Conference Panel Moderation: Moderating conference panels is not an easy task. It’s challenging to keep the conversation going, manage conflicting opinions, and stay focused on the topic all at the same time. These tips and sage advice from Morten Rand-Hendriksen will make your job a lot easier.