Teens are not technowizards who surf the web with abandon. And they don’t like sites laden with glitzy, blinking graphics. Teens are often stereotyped as only wanting things that are bold and different. They’re also often viewed as being fearless about technology and constantly connected to some form of media. Although this might be partially true, it’s an oversimplification and letting this steer your design can lead to disastrous outcomes.
Have a blog? With small adjustments, you can noticeably improve its typography. Your readers will thank you for it.
This guide will help you understand the typographic foundations that will improve the readability of your articles.
The Interactive Guide to Blog Typography walks you through all of the fiddly typography bits designers go on about with examples to help you understand what their talking about and help make your websites easier to read.
The notion that you should create a separate, stripped-down version for ‘the mobile use case’ might be appropriate if such a clean mobile use case existed, but it doesn’t.
Nielsen has articulated a way of thinking I’ve seen in a number of library and university websites and which, as a user, usually frustrates me. Not only the lack of access to information or services I know are there but also the inconsistent experience where I have to learn the website all over again.
WordPress is one of, if not the most, popular pieces of software for blogging and managing websites, mostly because of the ease of installation. But customizing it can be a difficult and technical process.
Annotum is a WordPress theme built for publishing research papers. It has all of the functionality built-in for multiple authors to collaborate, edit, review, and import and export in the NLM-DTD format. It creates the correct document structure by default and has visual editors for figures, references, tables, and equations. Because it creates an Article post type, you can still use the same installation as a regular blog.
It is an available theme on WordPress.org, so you can just create a blog and choose it. If you host your own WordPress blog, you can download it from the depository and customize how it looks with a child theme.
Someone recently asked me about the problems faced by academic library websites and I immediately started writing a list. Being a fairly unique part of an organization is difficult enough. But the radical changes in how people access and use information are still ongoing.
What is the Audience?
There are many challenges for academic library websites, starting right at the beginning. If you do research on web design, the first thing all the books say is to define your audience. But who is the audience of the academic library? The students who are the most numerous? The faculty who have been there for years and may have their own research to do? Are the school’s administration and staff unimportant? The school I worked at last was part of a consortium that often shared resources, what about the students, faculty and staff of those schools? Even if you narrow it down to your own school’s faculty and students you’ve got two disparate groups with different needs, technical comfort levels and desires of what the library should provide them. How do you reconcile the differences?
What Content to Post?
The second problem is the content. Libraries by definition have a lot of information, choosing which should go up on the website can be a nightmare. Everyone thinks their pet interest should be on the front page. It’s difficult to refuse because that information usually is important and unique to the library.
Figuring out how to organize content so that it’s findable for casual users is a job unto itself.
How to Display the Content?
Then there’s presentation. Many academic libraries are being required to use the parent university’s webpage templates. Which solves the design problem but often complicates the organizational one. As well as having more content than anyone else, libraries have different content like catalog pages and web forms.
What Technologies to Use?
The biggest challenge may be the rapidly changing web itself. When my last library needed a blog, we had to use an outside service not because we didn’t have the knowledge and experience to set up and maintain the software ourselves but because the campus IT department which hosted our servers wouldn’t allow it. With social networks everywhere and new services starting and closing all the time, libraries need to be fast and flexible to try new offerings and move on when needed.
Are There Solutions?
Unfortunately with all if these problems, solutions must be found on a case-by-case basis. You can read articles and blog posts, talk to other librarians who’ve faced the same complications, but in the end organizations and communities vary so much that very little of what works for one will help another. The best we can do is use the experiences of others as ideas and directions for our own problem-solving.
The five user number comes from the number of users you would need to detect approximately 85% of the problems in an interface, given that the probability a user would encounter a problem is about 31%. Most people either leave off the last part or are not sure what it means. This does not apply to all testing situations such as comparing two products or when trying to get a precise measure of task times or completion rates but to discovering problems with an interface. Where does 31% come from? It was found as an average problem frequency from several studies (more on this below).
The thing that should make librarians happy is increased relevance of the code to the content. A header is marked <header> instead of <div id=“whatever”>, and so on. Not only is it more difficult for humans to read though and change when needed, computers have a harder time which complicates format changes. I have spent untold hours cleaning up old and unreadable code for simple website redesigns. Imagine the problems turning web content into handouts.
Another plus no one has spoken of is the fact that unlike earlier HTML tags, the new HTML5 tags don’t have predefined presentation in the browsers. When I redesigned this site I used HTML5 and it was the easiest browser verification I’ve ever had. It looks pretty much the same in all the major browsers and the problems in IE6 (which are most likely from the advanced CSS selectors I used instead of the html) don’t effect the readability of the content in the least.
If I’ve piqued your curiosity, the collection of HTML5 resources and tutorials at Speckyboy Design Magazine should give you a good start on learning the HTML specification.
An Idiot’s Guide To Accessible Website Design | Web Design Ledger
If you are designing web sites in the UK, you probably already know that the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) mandates web sites be accessible by visually and physically disabled persons. But even if you work in a locale that doesn’t have any accessibility requirements yet, web designers have an obligation to make their clients’ web sites available and accessible to anyone who wishes to visit.
Why? According to a report by the Danish Center for Accessibility, as many as 25% of the world’s Internet users have some sort of visual, auditory or mobility disability.
Fail to take into the consideration the needs of these people and you are depriving your client the opportunity to connect with a huge audience. Not only doesn’t that make good business sense, but also you could end up breaking the law. For example, if you’re working for an organization that is hoping to do business with the U.S. government, you’re going to run up against the “508 Act”.
This regulation requires all Federal agencies that “develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology”, to provide access to disabled users that is comparable to access available to everyone else.
I have said on numerous occasions that there is no simple checklist that, when followed, will give you an accessible site without fail. There are simply too many variables. But, what do you do when you want to create accessible pages and you have dozens or even hundreds of developers who (like most of their peers) have little to no experience with accessibility? What do you do when it just simply isnâ€™t practical to have someone review all of your pages? In short, how do you insure that a very large organization creates pages that can be accessed by the largest audience possible without drastically increasing your budget? This is one of the questions we have been (and continue to) struggle with.
I believe that in order to solve this problem, we will need to take a multi-faceted approach. However, one element which seems inevitable is training for our designers and developers. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s reasonable (no matter how much I would like to try) to make our devs and designers into accessibility experts, so what can we do? If we canâ€™t yet achieve excellent accessibility, what about simply doing better than we are doing now?
Presenting A List Apartâ€™s first annual web design survey. The information it collects will help us form a long overdue picture of the ways web design is really practiced around the globe. The more people who complete the survey, the richer and more detailed the picture will become.
Depending on how you answer it, the survey has up to 37 questions, nearly all of them multiple choice. A fluent English speaker should be able to complete the survey in ten minutes or less.
They do want to hear from those of us who are only part-time web designers so go ahead and take the survey if that’s you.