A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Web Design

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User experience design is a subset of the field of experience design which pertains to the creation of the architecture and interaction models which impact a user's perception of a device or system. The scope of the field is directed at affecting 'all aspects of the user’s interaction with the product: how it is perceived, learned, and used.'



Applied Theory: Working Toward an Accessible Web Site

With the passage of Section 508 and the efforts of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), interest in Web site accessibility continues to increase. Web designers and Web content developers are finding that knowledge in Web accessibility is becoming essential to be marketable to government contracts and private industry since accessibility is becoming a best practice, and in some cases a legal requirement, in Web development. This article is written for those who already have a general knowledge about the reasons for, and the techniques of, designing accessible Web sites. In this article, I will share the steps that I have taken to work toward transforming a Web site that I manage to one that is accessible according to the W3C recommendations.

McConnell, Kim. Usability Interface (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Section 508


Applying Brand To An Intranet

Brand has become an integral part of the employee communicator's role as organizations recognize the importance of employee behaviors in building brand. When it comes time to integrate brand elements into the intranet or portal, good usability practices and testing can guide that integration, ensuring desired employee behaviors.

Wilson, Stacy and Susan Weinschenk. Communication World Bulletin (2003). Articles>Web Design>Intranets


Applying CSS to Forms

Learn how to lay out and format your forms with the power of CSS.

Moss, Trenton. Webcredible (2004). Design>Web Design>CSS


Applying Mathematics To Web Design

Because of its beautiful nature, mathematics has been a part of art and architectural design for ages. But it has not been exploited much for website design. This is probably because many of us regard mathematics as being antithetical to creativity. On the contrary, mathematics can be a tool to produce creative designs. That said, you don’t have to rely on math for every design. The point is that you should regard it as your friend, not a foe.

Gupta, Adit. Smashing (2010). Articles>Web Design


Applying Object-Oriented Design Concepts to Web Publishing   (PDF)

This is a story of how one internal project at Sun Microsystems migrated printed user and reference documentation to an internal Web site. The principle architect of this site discusses how she applied object-oriented design concepts to the Web architecture to accommodate many learning styles simultaneously. As important as the successes of this project are its failures, which offer some insight into when and how to use the World Wide Web as a communication vehicle in your overall communication strategy.

Hoft, Nancy L. STC Proceedings (1996). Design>Documentation>Web Design


Applying Personalization to the Purchase Decision Process

The idea of personalizing Web and e-mail content is becoming well accepted because most of us already personalize the person-to-person communications that we use every day. However, planning a personalized web site has proven to be more of a challenge than many marketers had imagined.

Allen, Cliff. Allen.com (2003). Design>Web Design>Personalization


Applying Turing's Ideas to Search

Users hold search to a human standard of understanding that computers cannot as yet achieve. This is more than just a curiosity: The Turing test has something to tell us about how we can better design our website search interfaces today.

Ferrara, John. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Articles>Web Design>Search


Applying Web 2.0 Technologies to Technical Documentation

This article is based on my presentation at the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators' annual conference in October, 2006. Every now and then, there is a change in the value of what technical authors deliver. These are moments when organisations pay attention to technical documentation. This is because they recognise that these changes mean they can create something that will be of real value to the business and to their customers. In recent years, there have been three "waves of interestingness". The first wave was the introduction of Windows Help (WinHelp). The second major wave was the introduction of the Internet and intranets. This was a time when organisations looked at how they could transfer large amounts of information from paper to online. They were faced with issues such as how users could access and understand all this information easily - issues that technical communicators deal with on a day-to-day basis. I believe we're just about to approach the new wave, which we have called "Tech Writing 2.0".

Pratt, Ellis. Cherryleaf (2006). Articles>Web Design>Documentation>Technical Writing


Applying Web 2.0 to Technical Documentation

This article is based on my presentation at the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators' annual conference, in October 2006, on new trends in technical authoring. It covers the application of Web 2.0 technologies to technical documentation.

Windows 7 Help and Resources (2006). Articles>Documentation>Web Design>Social Networking


Appropriate Use of Alternative Text

Adding alternative text for images is the first principle of web accessibility. It is also one of the most difficult to properly implement. The web is replete with images that have missing, incorrect, or poor alternative text. Like many things in web accessibility, determining appropriate, equivalent, alternative text is often a matter of personal interpretation. Through the use of examples, this article will present our experienced interpretation of appropriate use of alternative text.

WebAIM (2005). Articles>Accessibility>Image Editing>Web Design


Apps vs. the Web

Pull the iPhone out of your pocket and look at the home screen. Likely, you’re seeing some well known brands on the web: Facebook, Flickr, and Google to name just a few. You’ll also see companies like Amazon, Target, and Walmart which sell a lot of products via the web. Like you, these sites and companies know how to build an effective website using the latest and greatest web technologies. The iPhone’s Safari browser also supports HTML5 markup with CSS3 styling and is powered by a fast JavaScript engine. So why is there a proliferation of apps instead of web pages that can do the same thing?

Hockenberry, Craig. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Web Design>Mobile>User Interface


Architecting Our Profession

The change within the interface design process over the past five to ten years has coincided with an increasing number of large companies refining an industrial style model of design instead of focusing on specialization or interaction sustainability through design accuracy.

Evans, Clifton. Boxes and Arrows (2005). Design>Web Design>History


Are Accessibility Statements Useful?

An accessibility statement provides website visitors with information on how to utilize any accessibility features implemented, together with known barriers and how to overcome them. This information is usually presented on a dedicated page within the website. This article will look at the benefits of providing an accessibility statement together with common problems, before evaluating whether accessibility statements are useful.

Tomlinson, Leona. Digital Web Magazine (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Policies and Procedures


Are Designers Focused Enough on User Needs?

I find that many designers give much more of their time to learning the latest standards trick than learning the latest “designing for users” trick. Here are a few reasons why this may be so.

Porter, Joshua. Bokardo (2008). Articles>Web Design>Standards>User Centered Design


Are Standards-Compliant Websites Better?

The adhoc way in which much of the web was developed has created a dilemma for web designers: should websites comply with standards, ensuring accessibility, or break the rules and work with older browsers? At this moment, the answer is simple: Websites should work with older browsers.

Baker, Adam. Merges.net (2001). Design>Web Design>Standards>Usability


Are the Product Lists on Your Site Reducing Sales?   (PDF)

You can increase sales on your site as much as 225% by offering sufficient product information to your customers at the time they need it. One way to do this is to develop product lists that don't require shoppers to bounce back-and-forth between the list and individual product pages.

User Interface Engineering (2004). Design>Web Design>Usability>E Commerce


Are There Users Who Always Search?

Web designers often tell us that they spend a great deal of their limited time and resources working to improve their on-site search engines because, they believe, there are some people who always rely on the search engine to reach their target content. They find further support for this assumption from Jakob Nielsen who, in his book, 'Designing Web Usability,' asserts that more than half of all users demonstrate 'search-dominant' tendencies by going right to the search engine when they first visit a web site looking for content.

User Interface Engineering (2002). Design>Web Design>Usability>Search


Are URL Shorteners A Necessary Evil, Or Just Evil?

What started out as something people did via e-mail and bookmark-sharing services like Delicious, is now moving to Facebook, Twitter, and other social broadcasting services. It is just so much more efficient to share a link once with all your friends and followers than to send it to each one individually.

Schonfeld, Erick. TechCrunch (2009). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>Social Networking


Are We Designers or Developers?

On the about page of this site I used to call myself a “developer/designer/occasional writer”. It’s a bit confusing, and I still find it hard to know what to answer when someone asks me what I do for a living. Am I a Web designer? A Web developer? A Web programmer? All of them? Neither? It really is a difficult question to give a simple answer to.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Careers>Web Design>Programming>Writing


Are We There Yet?

It's true: even simple projects get messy. Christina Wodtke comes clean on Swiss Army knives, the writing on the wall, and the untidy glory of the Boxes and Arrows redesign contest.

Wodtke, Christina. Boxes and Arrows (2006). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Case Studies


Are We There Yet? Effects of Delay on User Perceptions of Web Sites

One of the chronic challenges that will be highlighted by emotional design is site download speed. There are many sources of delay in Web site and application delivery.

Straub, Kathleen. Human Factors International (2003). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design>Emotions


Are You Creating a Path of Resistance?

I've been watching people type in web site addresses for a long time now. However, I only started watching people closely about 4 weeks ago. I recorded 75 observations of people typing in URLs in the address bar (I kept a notepad with a running tally). I'll be the first to admit that this was not scientific and, as you might guess, I was acting in a biased manner. Nevertheless, I think the results are somewhat useful as a starting point. I found that in about 20 of the 75 observations, when people typed in a new URL they first tried the address without the 'www'. So, my findings indicate that about 27% of the time, users did not use the 'www'.

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (1999). Design>Web Design>Usability


Are You Cultured?

When a company decides to globalize its site, the Web team often learns the taboo colors and appropriate dress codes of a given culture, translates the text, and launches. But cultural differences run deeper than visual appearance or language; they reflect strong values. Rarely do globalized sites incorporate the nuances of a culture's social hierarchy, individualism, gender roles, time-orientation, or truth-seeking attributes.

Marcus, Aaron. Dr. Dobb's (2003). Articles>Web Design>Globalization>Localization


Are You Publishing Too Much On Your Website?

Many websites are still publishing content that is not core to their business. The justification is that such content will indirectly deliver benefit. This is not a good idea. Focus on the content that is directly applicable to your organization’s objectives. Any other content confuses. It wastes time and money.

McGovern, Gerry. New Thinking (2004). Articles>Web Design>Content Management


Are You Satisfied with Online Shopping?

How many of you use the Internet to order merchandise? Many consumers are choosing the Internet to order merchandise rather than brave the crowds and traffic snarls at shopping malls. I don’t know if you have noticed it, but the order process and ease of use varies from one web site to another. The often-confusing process is enough to make you bail out and shop elsewhere. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, 'E-tailers Try to Keep Shoppers From Bolting at Checkout Point,' (1) usability, technology, and e-commerce issues are stopping shoppers from completing their purchases. The article states that about 65% of shoppers bail out at the checkout point. Poor design has cost E-tailers over $6.1 billion in potential sales.

Dick, David J. Usability Interface (2001). Design>Web Design>Usability



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