Welcome to the weekly roundup! If you’re new to the blog, each week I publish a weekly roundup of the interesting web design and development resources, tips, and blog posts I’ve discovered in the past week. Hope you find the resources useful in your web projects.
In this week’s roundup, you’ll learn about a free ebook on wireframing, find out how to use the WAVE tool to test the accessibility of web pages, discover how to test CSS with the Charles Proxy, and more.
This week’s photo showcases Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island, Michigan where I spent part of the Memorial Day vacation last weekend. The fort has a rich history as a former British and American outpost during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.
— Elle Waters isn't here anymore. (@Nethermind) May 28, 2014
- The Guide to Wireframing: I’m impressed this book from UXPin is free. It’s a comprehensive 118-page ebook on wireframing, filled with practical advice on creating wireframes, comparison of tools used to create wireframes, techniques, and design patterns. Useful for any user experience practitioner, designer, or project manager.
- UX Thursday Detroit 2014: Speakers Announced: I was thrilled to see the local speakers announced for the second annual UX Thursday Detroit event on June 26. If you’re a user experience professional, or want to learn more about user experience, this is one event you don’t want to miss.
— Christoph K. (@ChristophKern) May 29, 2014
- Doing UX in an Agile World: Case Study Findings: The results of a recent Nielsen Norman Group study show agile teams are adept with the development process, but often forego user research testing due to tight time constraints, which leads to a poor user experience.
- The Fresh Tilled Soil Accessibility Stack: Excellent post from Tim Wright at Fresh Tilled Soil with coding tips and resources for creating accessible websites for people who are visually impaired or deaf/hard of hearing.
— Henny (@iheni) May 28, 2014
- How to Use the WAVE tool to Test and Boost Site Accessibility: My friend and colleague Virginia Debolt walks you through using the free online WAVE tool to test accessibility with a demo from a page on her own site, showing the alert icons and recommendations for fixing content, CSS, and code.
- Web accessibility is not a box to tick, but a conversation: Accessibility is an ongoing conversation, it involves the people you’re creating the site for.
Why is it that many web projects to do not talk directly to their end users, and especially to those whose experience of the world differs markedly from their own?
- The Challenges I Faced in Monetizing Easy Digital Downloads: Pippin Williamson discusses his revenue model for Easy Digital Downloads, decision-making process for paid-ons for the free open-source plugin, and challenges managing support.
- Download WPMU DEV’s Free Appointments Plugin for WordPress: Nice to see WPMU DEV has made their popular Appointments plugin available for free. Your clients can make their own appointements or you can manually schedule them.
- WordPress.com Security Vulnerability Stirs Debate Over Responsible Disclosure: Jeff Chandler of WP Tavern describes the steps Yan Zhu, a staff member at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, recently took to disclose a security issue with WordPress.com. Jeff asks when disclosure becomes irresponsible. Good discussion in the comments.
- Speaker Submissions for WordCamp Columbus: If you’re interested in speaking at WordCamp Columbus, speaker applications are due this Sunday, June 1. I attended WordCamp Columbus for the first time last August; the organizers do a fantastic job.
- Next-Generation Responsive Web Design Tools: Webflow, Edge Reflow, Macaw: In this Smashing Magazine article, Brian Wood reviews the three tools as part of a responsive design workflow, highlighting their design features, code quality, pricing, and other functionality.
- How to Fail Your Responsive Web Design Project: Brief your team for a mobile strategy and work towards creating the best user experience for your audience or your public relations, says Julien Dassonval, director of digital production at Marcel Agency, as he describes what happens when you have the wrong brief, wrong budget, wrong team, and wrong timing.
CSS and HTML
- [Screencast] Testing CSS and More with Charles Proxy: Charles is a web debugging application, a middle-man between your computer and the Internet. Great way to test CSS without having it display to the world, requests for the test site can be set up to retrieve resources from your local machine. Useful for throttling to test your site’s performance.
- Tips for Debugging HTML and CSS: Debugging takes time, says Nick Pettit, as he walks you through checking for syntax errors, preventing cross-browser issues, and using Chrome DevTools to troubleshoot issues.
What I Found Interesting
- It’s alive! What NPR learned from turning its @nprnews Twitter account from a bot into a human: No surprise here. Having a person tweet rather than a bot increased followers, clickthroughs, and retweets. Wish more businesses understood the value in having a person manage a Twitter account rather than autotweeting.
- Designing for the Web: This must be the week for useful free manuals and guides. Released as a website, Designing for the Web provides all kinds of tips and resources for styleguides, processes, workflow, grids, typography, you name it. Another site worth bookmarking.
- Concurrent: Screens, interface systems, product strategy—how do you manage all the concurrent “high priority” requests in your web projects? Brad Frost suggests you take the time up front in order to provide better solutions, and avoid troublesome issues as the project progresses.