I’ve read Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Eric Meyer’s book Design for Real Life, and I’m pretty sure I’ve watched this talk with the same title a couple of times before. But any time a video of Sara’s presentations comes across one of my feeds, I take the time to re-watch it. It’s just that important to keep reminding ourselves of our responsibilities when making things that others will rely on.
One of my mantras: frugality in everything.
In weird sort of way, after attending Abstractions in Pittsburgh this past weekend, I had similar thoughts as Paul Robert Lloyd:
Abstractions wasn’t all that bad. I arrived home with:
- A drawstring bag (that I have doubts about whether I will ever use)
- Two t-shirts to go into an already overflowing closet filled with similar shirts (one of which I only sought after because of some shady marketing strategy from a sponsor of the conference)
- Yet another stress ball
- A keychain bottle opener
This is probably pretty tame in terms of conference giveaways, but I feel like I would have been better off not accepting the bag. I have really no use for any of this. Sure, I’ve stuck the bottle opener on my keychain, but I don’t know how long it’s going to last there, and it’s not like I didn’t have a keychain bottle opener already. And I’ll probably wear the t-shirts, mainly to sleep in or wear to the trail. But really, I think I would have been much happier not having to deal with trying to figure out where to put all of this stuff. I appreciate the sentiment. Honestly, I do. But the fact of the matter is, swag like this is only going to end up in the back of my closet, where it’ll sit for a couple of years until I decide to throw it out. Then it’ll most likely sit in a landfill for all eternity. There are better ways to promote events. There are better ways to make impressions on event-goers. I think.
So that’s why I think I’m in total agreement with Paul on this.
Jeremy Keith muses about pull quotes and their place on the web:
I had been pondering the same thing. It seems wasteful to have this kind of redundant content (and markup) on a page. I’ve seen ways of using fancy pseudo elements (
data- attributes on elements in an effort to at least not duplicate markup. But even still, I hate reading through an article and coming across phrases or sentences duplicated like this.
It also is very jarring when you come across these pull quotes in RSS, where the style has been stripped away and you are literally seeing the same string of text twice.
Holy crap! I need to remember this the next time I am working in iTerm:
This is a really cool story about how the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is using some accessibility techniques in their space. Always cool to learn about accessibility approaches, even if they aren’t really web-related.
The most recent episode of Shop Talk—a Rapidfire episode—lead off with a question concerning opening links in new browser windows:
My personal opinions kind of echo their thoughts. Opening links in the same window is the default behavior of links. You need to have a reason to break that default. And there certainly are times where this makes sense. Again, bring one of these scenarios up in the episode: clicking on a link found on the show notes page of a podcast’s website where an embedded piece of media is playing. In this situation, it makes sense not to interrupt that playback when a link is clicked, if at all possible.
I really like the way 5by5 handles this on their website. By default, links in show notes open in new tabs/windows. But there is a checkbox that a user can uncheck to allow links to open in the same window.
Regardless, I really think opening new windows/tabs for links is a bad from a user experience perspective for merely the fact that it disorients the user when the back button is unavailable to the user. Power users know about the control shortcut for when they actually want a link to open in a new window. And intermediate users might now about right-clicking on a link and having the option to control how a particular link is handled. But deciding for every user that a link must pop open a new window and then running the risk of that user becoming disoriented as a result seems very foolish.
While I feel like I have a very limited knowledge of the inner workings of Microformats, I have long been a fan of using the vocabulary in the projects I’m tasked with building. I like the open nature of the technology and the sense of the community of support behind the initiative.
I had been a little worried that the Microformats concept had sputtered out, but reading this anniversary blog post that doesn’t seem to be the case. A lot of progress seems to have been made in regards to parser support for the new microformats2 spec. I just wish that the Microformats.org blog had more frequent updates.