Posts Tagged: web development

Designing the Obvious — Robert Hoekman, Jr

Designing the ObviousThe title of this book describes the web application design strategy presented within. Hoekman calls it the
Framework for Obvious Design:

  • Know what to build — the conceptual element
  • Know what makes it great — the application element
  • Know the best ways to implement it — the interaction element

Continue reading “Designing the Obvious — Robert Hoekman, Jr” →

Designing and Building Great Forms at BCA4

Web guy Phil Howie talked at Barcamp Auckland 4 recently about designing forms on the web. He singled out Luke Wroblewski as a good source of wisdom on this topic, especially Luke’s book Web Form Design. I can second that recommendation — I’ve posted about Luke’s form design ideas before. Continue reading “Designing and Building Great Forms at BCA4” →

Building Facebook Applications at BCA4

Richard Wright of Federation Media talked at Barcamp Auckland 4 about building FaceBook applications –- pitfalls and promotion. He worked on a campaign that involved using a FaceBook application to give away free beer. Some interesting technical challenges and details there. And other challenges too — despite apparently being technically within FaceBook’s (extraordinarily complex) terms and conditions, the application was taken down when FB objected to the free alcohol angle.

He gave some insights into what went well and what didn’t about the campaign. In a sharing campaign like this, it’s important to clarify exactly what is being shared. Is it the beer token? Is it the beer itself? Or is it the get-together with friends to go to the bar to get the beer? He said a bit more thought in this area would have improved the participation level. He referred to Social Object Theory and posited that FaceBook’s Live Stream is its social “Supersoul”. This may fit in with the theory’s concepts, but the thought that FaceBook has a supersoul just makes me want to throw my computer out the window.

Continue reading “Building Facebook Applications at BCA4” →

Don’t Make Me Think! — Steve Krug

Don't Make Me Think! at amazon.comTo mark World Usability Day 2009, here’s a review of a classic book on usability for web sites and applications. A lot of the information and advice seems obvious once you’ve read it, but judging by the websites that litter the web, it’s not always obvious when you’re building sites. If all web designers and developers read this book, the web would be a better place. And hey, it’s fun to read. Here are some of the book’s highlights. Continue reading “Don’t Make Me Think! — Steve Krug” →

Forms that Work — Jarrett & Gaffney

Forms that WorkForms That Work is a practical book dedicated to making web forms usable and useful. It gathers a heap of information together, with helpful summaries and guidelines to make it easy to create web forms that people will actually use.

Here is a summary of some points that I found particularly helpful. This gives the flavour of the book and serves as a reminder for me at least. For all the background information, you’ll need to read the book itself.
Continue reading “Forms that Work — Jarrett & Gaffney” →

Web Word Wizardry — Rachel McAlpine

Web Word WizardryI read this good short guide to writing for the web a year or two ago. Even though the book is a few years old now, its advice is still relevant: Web technologies change quickly, but the rules for good web writing are the same now as they were when the web was new.

I learned a lot from the sections on writing for international users, specifically for users who aren’t proficient at reading English. Short, active sentences without complicated words. It has helped me respond usefully to comments on this website, which has readers from all over the world.

Letting Go of the Words — Ginny Redish

Letting Go of the Words“Writing web content that works” is the subtitle of this book, and it delivers a thorough treatment of the topic. I don’t think it contains any radical new ideas, but it is a nicely organised compilation of what some people call “best practices” about writing and layout for the web.

Of course, you can’t possibly summarise an entire book with a list of bullet points, but here are the ideas in the book that struck me as being especially useful. Continue reading “Letting Go of the Words — Ginny Redish” →

The Big Red Fez — Seth Godin

This book is nice and short, but it could be a lot shorter. It’s supposed to help you “make any website better”. It invites you to imagine that your website visitors are monkeys looking for a banana. If you don’t make the “banana” easy to see and easy to get, they will go to another website instead.

I don’t think that viewing your visitors as monkeys is a good idea. Continue reading “The Big Red Fez — Seth Godin” →

Web Form Design Recommendations

Here is a checklist of recommendations for form design. I extracted this from Luke Wroblewski‘s excellent presentation on Best Practices For Web Form Design; I took my favourite points, edited them, and arranged them into categories for easy reference. I use this checklist when designing and reviewing forms. For best results, view the original presentation and commit it to memory first. Continue reading “Web Form Design Recommendations” →

elementReady: a jQuery plugin

Please see waitFor, the updated version of elementReady.

I have written a simple but useful jQuery plugin. elementReady calls a function during page load as soon as a specific element is available — even before the full DOM is loaded. It’s useful if you have unobtrusive JavaScript that you want to apply to particular page elements immediately, without having to wait for the whole DOM to load in a large page. Continue reading “elementReady: a jQuery plugin” →