In this week’s web design and development news roundup, you’ll learn about writing better error messages, find a browser extension for fixing poor color contrast, discover three front-end auditing tools, and more.
If you’re new to my blog, each Friday I publish a post highlighting my favorite user experience, accessibility, WordPress, CSS, and HTML posts I’ve read in the past week.
Hope you find the resources helpful in your work or projects!
Want more resources like these on a daily basis? Follow me @redcrew on Twitter.
Tweet of the Week
What an unexpected, but wonderful surprise I had this week when Smashing Magazine recognized me as their Person of the Week.
I’m honored and humbled.
Our Person of the Week is a front-end developer, UX professional, and meetup organizer. Please meet… Deborah Edwards-Oñoro!
— Smashing Magazine (@smashingmag) June 7, 2021
- If you used one the sites that was affected by Fastly’s CDN outage this week, you saw a cryptic error message. We can do better, says Max Rosen, as he explains what Fastly’s outage taught us about writing error messages.
- Have you discovered Patttterns, the collection of interaction design patterns? Organized into nine categories and searchable by mobile/desktop, the collection is available in both English and Spanish.
- It’s your job as a designer to create a usable product or service.
"We can't design for everyone," is a common accessibility pushback
This implies that accessibility is special accommodation when it's really baseline usability
No one is asking for a perfect product for all we're just asking for a usable one
As designers, usability is our job.
— Anna E. Cook (@annaecook) June 9, 2021
- Are you looking for user experience books to read this summer? Perhaps a book about user research or strategy? Check out this review from UX Booth of five UX books published in the past year.
- While design tools have improved dramatically, they’re still failing users in one key way. Including people with disabilities during the design process helps, but only if the tools used during design are accessible.
- If you get frustrated with the lack of color contrast on a website, take action by installing Fix Contrast. The browser extension automatically increases contrast on sites, available currently only for Chrome. More extensions and supported browsers are expected.
- The Gravity Forms 2.5 release in April 2021 brought a slew of accessibility improvements, thanks to accessibility expert Rian Rietveld working with their team. Learn how the plugin was improved in my recap of enhancing the accessibility of a plugin, a use case from this week’s WordCamp Europe 2021 virtual conference.
- Accessibility needs to be considered from the start of a design project, and every step along the way. Which is why I never promoted Clubhouse, the social app with no captions. They’re not alone: Clubhouse and its clones have an accessibility problem. One that would never have happened if the companies designed with accessibility in mind.
- Can you help? WordPress 5.8 beta 1 is available for download and testing. The 5.8 release is scheduled for release on July 20, 2021.
- You won’t need to use a plugin anymore, once WordPress 5.8 is released with WebP image support. Be aware: in WordPress the lossless WebP format is only supported when the hosting server has Imagick PHP library turned on.
- Did you attend WordCamp Europe 2021? I know many WordPress users I chatted with weren’t aware the virtual conference was this week. If you missed it, don’t worry. You can catch the recordings on the WordCamp Europe YouTube channel.
- If you use the ShortPixel Image Optimization plugin, check your settings to make sure you don’t forget this ShortPixel maintenance task.
- Do you have four hours or more to volunteer for a WordPress-focused virtual conference? WordFest returns July 23, 2021 and has put out their call for volunteers.
CSS and HTML
- In his CSS Tricks article about better target sizes and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, my colleague Todd Libby explains the many issues you need to consider for target sizes: platform, relationship to surroundings, as well as clicking vs. tapping.
- I’m always on the lookout for new tools to check websites. Excited to find these recommendations from Stefan Judis for three front-end auditing tools. I recently learned about Waterfaller from my friend Eric Karkovack, but hadn’t heard of the other two tools.
- When you use semantic markup, you provide structured information to users, says Sophie Koonin. Not only to sighted people, but to people who use assistive technology. Which is why it’s important to use semantic HTML and the right tag for the job.
Screenreaders allow users to navigate by headings, so it’s important they’re in a logical order.
- Smashing Magazine continues publishing helpful collections of resources for web professionals. In their latest collection, you’ll find useful front-end boilerplates and starter kits for static sites, accessibility, style guide, and over two dozen more.
What I Found Interesting
- Hey, go take some time off. Seriously. You aren’t taking enough time off-and neither are your employees.
- My colleague Morten will have you thinking about how to build sustainable funding for the open source products you use, like NPM and WordPress, in this week’s who pays for open source? newsletter.
- Well, now scientists really know what causes the northern lights. Personally, I look forward to seeing the northern lights again this October or November in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
- Carrie Cousins highlights three design trends for June 2021, including left-aligned text in the hero area, creative typography, and fewer images of people above-the-fold.
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Did I miss some resources you found this week? I’d love to see them! Post them in the comments below.