Archive for ‘standards’ category

Build Society, February 2nd

Clear your schedules, Boston-area web geeks! An extra-special joint event with fellow North Shore pals, Build Guild and the Markup & Style Society (new site coming soon) are co-hosting a meetup here in Salem on February 2nd. Special guest Eric “Rock Horns” Meyer will be in town—and when Mr. Meyer is in town, you gather up the troops and celebrate with frosty beverages and good times. You just do.

As usual, my M&SS cohort Mr. Marcotte has written up a far better summary of the night’s events. As has Mr. Meyer.

Hope to see you here in the Witch City for what is sure to be a wonderful night of markup, style and guilding. If that makes sense.

Decision or Bug?

I just logged a bug report after doing a little testing with the IE8 Beta. Overall, the progress and standards commitment in the latest effort is fantastic and exciting. Hats off to the Internet Explorer Team.

There’s one lingering decision that appears to have carried over though, and it’s an important one. I say “decision” since, by now, there clearly must be a reason why it’s still there. I’m also reminding myself that this is still a beta release. But the earlier we chime in on things, the better, right?

Here’s what I logged:

As with previous versions of Internet Explorer, the IE8 Beta also fails to resize text using the “Text Size” tool when fonts are sized in pixels. Most would consider this a bug, where the user should be able to trump any size specified by the page author, regardless of the unit specified. I remained boggled as to why this has been a consistent design decision.

It creates an accessibility issue for readers with poor or low vision, while making pixels a less than desirable choice for the page designer. In an ideal world, the designer should be able to specify fonts in any unit he or she desires (px, em, percentage, etc.) while the reader should have ultimate control over the size, using the browser’s controls. IE’s “Text Size” tool would appear to be broken when a reader attempts to adjust fonts on a page where fonts are sized in pixels. Surely confusing.

Thanks for listening, and keep up the excellent progress!

Disagree? I’d love to hear it :)

Dagen H

Inspired by a tweet from Mikipedia, I did a little Googling for “Dagen H”, the day that Sweden reversed its traffic from the left side of the road to the right side, 40 years ago:

On September 3, 1967, at 04.50 in the morning, the traffic everywhere in Sweden was directed over to the right side of the road and stopped. Everything stood absolutely still for 10 minutes, and at 05.00, when it started again, all road users in Sweden from heavy trucks to cyclists were already on the right side of the road, and they have stayed there since.

What’s even more amazing is that there were actually less fatalities and accidents during that September than in previous Septembers (although a possible result of people being more alert just after the switch).

But it could be proof that, even the most rigid and essential standards can be reversed if the warning is long enough and well-organized.

Markup & Style Society

Ethan and I are pleased to announce another meeting of The Markup & Style Society next month. It’s a semi-regular, casual meetup for New England area web geeks. This time, things are a little more interesting, and even more secretive. Here are the details:

We need to limit the number of guests due to space, and we’ll be keeping track of first 50 people who RSVP via Upcoming. Unfortunately only those folks will be able to attend, so mark your calendars early.

A fun and interesting evening is promised, with after-meetup drinks at a local pub to follow (that’s really the best part, isn’t it?). We’re also looking for a friendly sponsor to cover pizza during the event. Interested? Let us know and you’ll be forever remembered as “that awesome company that gave us pizza that one time at that thing a while back”.

404 Hunt

In doing some research for a newish presentation, I’m on the hunt for cool, funny, well-designed and/or useful custom 404 pages. Stumbled across anyone that gets this right? I’d love to see it.

Bulletproof Web Design, Second Edition

On bookstore shelves today (I hope) is something I’ve been toiling over for the past few months. Bulletproof Web Design, Second Edition is a refresh of the book I wrote for New Riders in 2005. I’ve been humbled by the response of the first edition, and have enjoyed talking about the principles described in the book at conferences and workshops over the last few years. So it was only fitting to give this little blue book a tune-up under the hood.

Book coverThis isn’t a giant update nor a new book entirely. Rather, it brings the examples in line with Internet Explorer 7 (which wasn’t released when the first ed. was published) and adds several more examples based on ems (which were sorely lacking from the original book). There are of course errata fixes and nips and tucks throughout as well, and about 30 additional pages were added in total. All in all, I’m happy to have the book be all the more solid and relevant.

On the surface, writing a second edition of a book seems like an easy little project. One that won’t be too much work, won’t take long, and can easily fit in between other activities. But it’s not like that. It’s like writing another book all over again (even though it’s not another book and a large portion of the text is the same).

I find the actual writing of a book the easiest of all stages. It’s the editing, the back-and-forth, the endless checking and double-checking of Word docs (Word!) and then PDF files. Reading comments, checking comments, adding your own comments. “Should this be bold or code font?”. All of this is necessary of course. But my goodness it’s just as time consuming as the first go-around.

But like anything that takes time and effort in life, you quickly forget the pain and maybe even someday agree to do it all over again.

While today is the official publication date, Amazon is still taking pre-orders only. I’ve yet to see an actual copy myself, so there could very well be a slight delay.

AIGA Redesign

This morning, AIGA (the professional association for design) relaunched with a shiny new design by Happy Cog. I had the pleasure of taking Jason Santa Maria‘s brilliant designs and turning them into semantic XHTML and CSS templates that could be plugged into a custom CMS built by Thirdwave (AIGA’s technical partner). Magic and fun ensued.

Every project is a learning experience. But working with Jeffrey and Jason for a client like AIGA, well that’s a whole new level of awesomeness. One could (and should) study Jason’s molecule-level of detail in typography (using just two web fonts and a splash of Interstate via the venerable sIFR). It was a fun challenge getting things _right_ using CSS. I hope I’ve come close.
Congrats to AIGA for renewing their digs with a smart, readable, beautiful design — and a big thank you to Jeffrey, Jason and Happy Cog for allowing me to pitch in and help with this.

Read more about the redesign:
* Jeffrey Zeldman: Happy Cog redesigns AIGA
* Jason Santa Maria: AIGA Redesign
* Happy Cog: AIGA Website Redesign

And a special geek note: events listed on AIGA’s homepage are marked up with hCalendar.

Way #24

For the second year in-a-row, Drew McLellan has put together another excellent 24 Ways — an advent calendar of helpful web articles written by fine folks from all over the web.

To cap off this year’s set, I’ve contributed Gravity-Defying Page Corners, a simple little trick for adding dimension to a plain ol’ box. It also might the first (and after reading you’ll probably be thinking “hopefully last“) web tutorial written in verse. It’s corny for sure, but fun to write and hopefully read. Many thanks to Drew for wrapping up 48 presents to us all.

Microformats for Designers

In a little less than two months, I’ll be heading to Vancouver to speak about “microformats for designers” at Web Directions North. It’ll be a fun topic, and I’m starting to put together the material. I’m looking forward to talking about microformats from a designer’s perspective, including a little bit about the logo development, the implementations over at Cork’d (and the unexpected cool things that came out of that), as well as applying CSS to microformats.

But I’m also looking for help. What are some interesting things happening with microformats and design? Know of any great examples, visual experiments, etc.? Here are a few to get started:

I know there’s a lot happening out there, so let’s hear about it. And thanks!

Educated

CDIA Boston UniversityThere’s a myth that colleges and universities are teaching antiquated web design skills: table-and -spacer-gif-ness, FrontPage 98, etc. Actually, I don’t think it’s a myth — it’s actually happening out there. So after touring Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts yesterday, I was completely surprised. CDIA offers an interactive design program with an emphasis on CSS, web standards and hand-coding — and it’s right in my own backyard.

Jeremy Osborn, the program’s Director, mentioned that, while BU offers the resources and infastructure of a large university, CDIA is largely independent and run much like a startup — adapting and changing the curriculum as the techniques and methods out in the real world do. I found this approach pretty fascinating, and it’ll be interesting to see how their program evolves along with the web itself.

I’m hopeful there are other programs out there in other states and countries that are offering modern skills for budding designers of the web. Leave a comment if you know of any.

Also, if you’re in (or planning to be in) the Boston area, have an interest in teaching web design, and have the skills to guide the next generation of standardistas, contact _jeremy [at] cdiabu dot com_. They’re expanding fast.