A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Building and Managing Virtual Teams

Chris Nagele’s run Wildbit, creators of hosted Subversion app Beanstalk, for 8 years virtually. He lives in Philadelphia and his team is all over the world. So, he knows a few things about virtual teams and shares them in this article.

Nagele, Chris. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Management>Collaboration>Online


Bye-Bye to Boring Page Footers

Gone are the days when a footer merely ended the page. Now it is just as likely to be an all-encompassing launchpad to other areas of the site. Typically a footer will run the full length of the layout, and it is usually used to display information at the bottom of the content hierarchy.

Collison, Simon. Vitamin (2006). Articles>Web Design>Information Design


Coding for the Mobile Web

Good evening — in this article I will aim to demystify the world of mobile web development, or in other words, developing web sites so that they will provide an acceptable user experience on mobile devices. I’ll run through how “the mobile web” differs from the normal web, the basics of techniques you can employ.

Mills, Chris. Vitamin (2008). Academic>Web Design>Mobile>HTML


Create Your Own Ajax Effects

The basic and prebuilt effects in script.aculo.us are nice, but if you really want to build something great why not investigate doing your own, homegrown, do-it-yourself effects. We’re going to show you how to take basic effects and build on them to create your own. So let’s get going.

Fuchs, Thomas. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Ajax


Creating Sexy Stylesheets

Lately, I have taken interest in discussing methods of creating sexy stylesheets. While CSS can be used to create sexy websites, writing CSS can actually be an artform by itself. The way in which CSS is created, structured, and maintained can be a thing of beauty. So how does one create sexy stylesheets?

Bolton, Jina. Vitamin (2007). Design>Web Design>CSS


Fifteen Things You Can Do with Yahoo! UI

Slicken up your web apps with these tips and tricks using the Yahoo! User Interface library.

Diaz, Dustin. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Programming>Ajax


The Five Hidden Costs of Running a CMS

We all know content management systems (CMS) can be beneficial for most websites. However, they do come with five hidden costs. Many think of a content management system as a magic bullet that solves all of their content woes. Unfortunately the cost of a CMS is greater than its price tag. Before making a decision about whether to adopt a CMS, or indeed which CMS to choose, you first need to be aware of the hidden costs. These include: the cost of training; the cost to quality; the cost to functionality; the cost of redundancy and flexibility; the cost of commitment. It is important that you understand the impact of each beginning with the cost of training.

Boag, Paul. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Content Management>Management


Go Forth and API

To most, the virtues of Web 2.0 are rather ephemeral; that’s always been one of its main criticisms. However, I like to think that one of the movement’s key aspects is a sense of community, an ability to create sites and applications that bring people together.

Adams, Cameron. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Programming>Ajax


Good Products Don’t Make Up for Bad Service … But They Help

Jeffrey Kalmikoff is partner at skinnyCorp and chief creative officer at Threadless. In this article he relates what a trip to a sandwich shop can teach you about customer service.

Kalmikoff, Jeffrey. Vitamin (2008). Articles>User Experience>User Centered Design


Hats Off to Your Own Web Business

Sahil Parikh built and runs his web app DeskAway a world away in Mumbai, India. In this article he shares some of the things he’s learned and hats he’s worn while creating his successful and profitable web app business.

Parikh, Sahil. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Management>Web Design>E Commerce


How C.R.A.P is Your Site Design?

Eons ago when I was taking the Freshman web design course in college (okay, it was only 4 years ago) I was taught about the acronym of all acronyms, the one by which all other web design acronyms were judged. We learned that good design is based on the C.R.A.P. principles where C.R.A.P. stands for Contrast Repetition Alignment Proximity, and when Creative Directors tell you that your design is crap, they’re actually giving you positive reinforcement. Okay, that last part was made up, sorry. “Crappy work” is probably not a term of endearment but rather an indication that your pixels smell.

Rundle, Mike. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Assessment


How to Podcast with Skype

So you want to be a podcast superstar? Well, while this article might not make you a superstar, the aim is to help you record quality audio using Skype. Skype recording can be a tricky, but the benefits far outweigh the time investment it takes to learn. We use it on the Web 2.0 Show podcast to capture our interview audio and it has allowed us to interview some very big names without being in our interviewee’s location. Or running up large phone bills. This article will cover both Mac and Windows based recording techniques, and we will post follow-up articles covering post-production of the audio and how to upload and track your podcast.

Owens, Josh. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Streaming>Podcasting


How to Recreate Silverback’s Parallax Effect

When I was a lad, I remember being wowed by an effect in Sonic the Hedgehog known as parallax scrolling. Moving my little spiky friend to the right caused the foreground to move past the camera to the left faster than the background, creating a faux-3D view of Green Hill Zone.

Annett, Paul. Vitamin (2008). Design>Graphic Design


HTML Emails: Taming the Beast

Should you use CSS or (horror of horrors) tables? And what do you do when images are ‘blocked’?

Greiner, David. Vitamin (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Correspondence>Email


The Importance of Maintainable JavaScript

JavaScript is hip again; there’s no doubt about it. But if you’re starting to get down and dirty with it, there’s no excuse not to keep it clean.

Heilmann, Christian. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Programming>JavaScript


Real-World CSS Zen for Your Site

By now we all know the benefits of “web standards” - creating sites where content and presentation are separated by use of semantic XHTML and CSS. Early adopters of web standards have long extolled the many payoffs.

Sheriar, Mani. Vitamin (2007). Design>Web Design>CSS>Standards


Redefining Content Management

We live in a time where people have an amazing amount of power when it comes to publishing. Blogging, podcasts, vidcasts (or whatever you call ‘em) and more have been put into the hands of millions and it’s changing the way we live and work. Despite all of that, content management for the web remains a huge pain point for many individuals and businesses. The amount of time, effort and money that’s involved (and often wasted) to do things that are seemingly rather straightforward is astronomical.

Robinson, D. Keith. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Content Management


Responsible Asynchronous Scripting

Asynchronous or remote scripting has been lurking in the background of web app development for quite some time now. Originally dependent on proprietary technology like Java applets, ActiveX and Flash or clever combinations of disparate technologies like images and cookies, native support for the XMLHttpRequest (XHR) object in modern browsers has made it easier than ever to make web apps more responsive and more like their desktop counterparts. This lower barrier to entry also makes it easier to make poor decisions and inappropriate use of a powerful technology.

Inman, Shaun. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Server Side Includes>Ajax


Same DOM Errors, Different Browser Interpretations

Have you ever looked at how the different browsers handle the same DOM errors? As this article from Opera JS guru Hallvord R. M. Steen points out, their different interpretations can be surprising.

Steen, Hallvord R.M. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Standards>Web Browsers


Setting and Retrieving Accesskeys with JavaScript and DOM

There are some things in the world of accessibility that appear, on the face of it, to be really wonderful ideas… until you scratch slightly below the service. What may seem feasible when putting together some guidelines on accessibility might not ultimately translate well to a real-world application. Hands up who can remember the last time they felt compelled to use a longdesc attribute? And what about the accesskey attribute? Oh, you have used them you say. OK, let’s back up a little and find out what went wrong here.

Lloyd, Ian. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>JavaScript


The Standards Way to Do Dynamic Data

Somewhere in between presenting static information graphics and complex, interactive data dashboards there’s a need for a way to visualize moderately dynamic data on the web. Oftentimes the solutions you see implemented are clunky, for example, manually creating multiple frames of various data points and uploading them by hand.

Madden, Sean. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Standards>Interaction Design


Stay on :target

In this article, I want to introduce you to a really powerful CSS3 pseudo selector called :target. Much like :hover, :target is invoked during certain interactions with the website. Specifically, when applied to a fragment identifier.

Suda, Brian. Vitamin (2008). Design>Web Design>CSS


Stop Hacking, or be Stopped

CSS has experienced a colourful and unusual history. From historic slow adoption to the current slow rate of development, ugly hacks have meant filling in the gaps is par for the course. But now that Internet Explorer 7 is looming, we're getting ready to deal with the first really major upgrade to a browser's rendering engine since we've started using CSS-based layouts in earnest.

Shea, Dave. Vitamin (2006). Articles>Web Design>CSS


Streamline Your Forms with Widgets

“Advanced forms” are rarely that. A more fitting name would be “Overwhelming and confusing forms”. But with Jason Long’s clever approach to streamlining a screen full of checkboxes, you might just be able to once again look fondly on your forms.

Long, Jason. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Forms>CSS


Subversion for Designers

There’s no question that developers need version control when working on an app. But what about designers? In this article Chris Nagele, founder of Beanstalk, talks about the benefits and basics of Subversion for designers.

Nagele, Chris. Vitamin (2008). Articles>Web Design>Collaboration>Software



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