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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.'



Avoid the Void

There are plenty of occasions when coding JavaScript events where you simply need to call a function, for which an entire event registration model is too lengthy. The most commonly used method is to bind your event to an anchor link. The user clicks and the onclick event is fired, calling a reference to a function. Because the user isn’t actually visiting a URL, something has to be done with the href attribute.

Reindel, Brian. d'bug (2008). Articles>Web Design>Standards>JavaScript


Avoid Unnecessary Ajax Traffic with Session State

Where possible, creating Web applications -- including Ajax-based applications -- in a RESTful way avoids a large class of bugs. However, a pitfall of REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is sending duplicate data across similar XMLHttpRequests. This tip shows how the moderate use of session cookies can maintain just enough server-side state to significantly reduce client-server traffic, while still allowing fallback to cookie-free operation.

Mertz, David. IBM (2007). Articles>Web Design>Programming>Ajax


Avoid Within-Page Links

On the Web, users have a clear mental model for a hypertext link: it should bring up a new page. Within-page links violate this model and thus cause confusion.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2006). Design>Web Design>Hypertext


Avoiding Automatic Refresh

Describes an alternative to automatic page refresh in HTML. Automatic page refresh can confuse users with cognitive disabilities when a page reloads without the user's request. This article provides you with instructions on how to apply explicit manual control of page refreshing.

Microsoft (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>DHTML


Avoiding Automatic Refresh

Describes an alternative to automatic page refresh in HTML. Automatic page refresh can confuse users with cognitive disabilities when a page reloads without the user's request. This article provides you with instructions on how to apply explicit manual control of page refreshing.

Microsoft (2003). Design>Accessibility>Web Design


Avoiding Bias from the Survivor Effect

Only a few of the survey sites we analyzed in 2000 are still around. We can safely assume that the surviving sites are not a random sample of the original group, but rather that significant differences exist between the sites that made it and those that died. Survival might be due partly to luck, but it is mainly a result of good management and an understanding of Internet fundamentals. Thus, the surviving sites are likely to be disproportionately clued-in about what it takes to run an online business.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2002). Articles>Usability>Methods>Web Design


Avoiding the R word

Many web teams I talk to long for the day they get to redesign their websites. I remember the days when I was the same. I now believe that the word ‘redesign’ should be avoided. I think it’s quicker and easier to improve a website in phases. That includes the look and feel. Avoiding the R word makes it easier to improve your website.

Hamill, David. Good Usability (2008). Design>Web Design>Redesign


AWARE: Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education Center

AWARE stands for Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education, and its mission is to serve as a central resource for web authors for learning about web accessibility.

AWARE Center. Organizations>Web Design>Accessibility


Axiomatic CSS and Lobotomized Owls

Managing flow content can get unwieldy—too many class selectors can become a specificity headache, nested styling can get redundant, and content editors don’t always understand the presentational markup. Heydon Pickering offers an unexpected option for handling cascading styles more efficiently: a variation on the universal selector.

Pickering, Heydon. List Apart, A (2014). Articles>Web Design>CSS>Standards


The AxsJAX Framework for ARIA

Charles L. Chen and T. V Raman have developed a common JavaScript framework to enhance the accessibility of AJAX-based applications. The framework is called AxsJAX, pronounced, 'Access JAX.'

Lemon, Gez. Juicy Studio (2007). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Ajax


B2B Usability

User testing shows that business-to-business websites have substantially lower usability than mainstream consumer sites. If they want to convert more prospects into leads, B2B sites should follow more guidelines and make it easier for prospects to research their offerings.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2006). Design>Web Design>Usability>E Commerce


B2B: Help Your Fans Convince Their Bosses

B2B websites must support a more complex buying process than B2C sites. Three key goals are to make a buyer's shortlist, offer a downloadable advocacy kit, and build a reputation for great service.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2004). Design>Web Design>Usability>Community


Back to Basics

Web documents are nothing more than Source. For all of the inspiration, thought, and sweat that might go into a page, it is merely a mess of characters that happens to contain a lot of brackets. After five and a half years of actively building pages, it's occurring to me that a lot of developers haven't figured this out. What I see is not what they get.

Henick, Ben. List Apart, A (2001). Design>Web Design>HTML


Back to Basics

Design and optimize products around basic features. The result--you will sell more products and improve the chances of people using secondary features (such as value added services).

Szuc, Daniel and Gerry Gaffney. Apogee (2004). Design>Web Design>Usability


Back To Basics: How Poor Usability Effects Accessibility

In recent user testing with a range of participants including Visually Impaired (VIP) and Blind users we found that the majority of problems were common across all groups. However the effect of poor usability is more severe for users with visual disabilities. Surprisingly all of the issues are very familiar and are easy to fix so we thought we’d revisit some of the basics of accessible web design.

Frontend Infocentre (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


Background Positioning vs. Centered Elements

When the browser is told to center a background image within that container, it has to decide where the actual center lies. In the case of an odd total pixel width, the browser must select one side or the other of the central odd pixel as the "center" of the container.

Bergevin, Holly and John Gallant. Position is Everything (2006). Design>Web Design>Document Design>CSS


A Backward-Compatible Style Sheet Switcher

You asked for it, you’ve got it: an Open Source alternate Style Sheet switcher that even works in Netscape Navigator 4.

Ludwin, Daniel. List Apart, A (2002). Design>Web Design>CSS>DHTML


Bad Design Can Be So Taxing

When people design Web forms, they often overlook some great sources of professional expertise in the world -- the existence of form design techniques with which nearly all users are familiar. This month, the cranky user looks at form design and management.

Seebach, Peter. IBM (2005). Design>Web Design>Forms


A Bad Site: Martha Stewart Gets "Vasperized"

Even public relations web sites must be user-centered in design and content. Narcissistic, arrogant PR sites are counter-productive in the digital age of transparency, fault-admission, and altruism via shared information. Find out why Martha Talks is a web site failure from a usability and ethics point of view.

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Web Design>Public Relations>Marketing


Balancing Image Quality and Speed: How to Shave Seconds off Your Download Time

The Internet has changed the way information is displayed. According to Weinman and Heavin, (1997) “It is no longer necessary to only create compelling visuals and information - the speed with which your site is viewed is also subject to critique,” (p. 36). Internet audiences are not captive. They can leave, and often do, at any time. It is the daunting task of web designers to not only draw the audience into a page, but to keep them there. One way to attract and keep an audience is by maximizing image quality while minimizing download time. This can be accomplished by choosing appropriate graphic file formats and by utilizing a variety of file size reduction techniques.

Larsen, Laurie and Christine Phillips. Usability News (2001). Design>Web Design>Assessment


Balancing Visual and Structural Complexity in Interaction Design

Usability is based on principles such as 'Less is more' and 'Keep it simple, stupid'. But there is more to simplicity than meets the eye. By reducing visual complexity at the cost of structural simplicity, you will give your users a hard time understanding and navigating the content of a web site.

GUUUI (2003). Design>Web Design>Interactive>User Centered Design


The Banality of the Radical

As more Web designers begin transforming their sites from the tables-fonttags-single-pixel-gifs concoctions to stripped-down CSS chic, more observers are asking the questions: if the promise of CSS and standards was liberation from the tyranny of warring browser lords, why do all the CSS designs look the same? If this is the radical shift that will allow the Web to realize its potential, why does it appear so dull? Implicit in these questions is an increasing consensus that, in the words of Chris Casciano, 'Your CSS Bores Me'.

Kaminski, Chuck. Western Civilization (2004). Design>Web Design>CSS


Banned from Other Blog Sites

Freedom of expression is not ruling the blogosphere, because insecure bloggers will block your attempt to post comments, or even read their blog, should they decide you are "too controversial" or "too different from me". Opinionated blogs are the worst culprits of cowardly post blocking.

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Blogging


Banner Blindness: Old and New Findings

Users rarely look at display advertisements on websites. Of the four design elements that do attract a few ad fixations, one is unethical and reduces the value of advertising networks.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2007). Design>Web Design>Ethics>User Centered Design


Banner Blindness: Web Searchers Often Miss 'Obvious' Links

Suppose you are designing a web page where one particular link among many is likely to be the most used by visitors. For example, perhaps you have a web page for sending text messages to pagers. 'Send a message' is likely to be a very popular link, and it is important that all users notice it. On a travel reservations page, the designer wants to be sure that users notice the link for 'make a reservation.' Web guidelines usually recommend that to make an important item stand out, it should be near the top, and be large and/or brightly colored.

Panero, Jan Benway and David M. Lane. Internetworking (1998). Design>Web Design>Usability



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