We have no excuseadmit it. UX may brag about intuitive and pretty, but we sure suck at helping people-this one thing that most defines, most embodies great user experience. Throughout history, there‘s one recurring theme: people need help. For all we know, the need for assistance might have triggered the development of communication. It could have led to bonding among tribes and our existence today. In the future, it might be the only thin
A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Dan Brown‘s new book, Practical Design Discovery, available now from A Book Apart.One of the hardest design problems I ever worked on was for a company that helps IT groups manage risk. Their product focused on open-source components-inexpensive and widely supported by an enormous community, but often vulnerable to security flaws. What made this design prob
It‘s not breaking news to say that the core of UX, in a vacuum, is talking to your users to gather insights and then applying that information to your designs. But it‘s equally true that UX does not happen in a vacuum. So what happens when you don‘t have the budget or the timeline to run user tests, card sorts, or stakeholder interviews? What should you do when your company doesn‘t want you bothering the paying customers w
We run our client service businesses just like door-to-door salespeople hawking vacuum cleaners. That may seem unfair, but it‘s exactly how we sell design. We‘re focused on short-term wins-but we‘re teaching clients to see our work as disposable. I want to believe we‘re better than that. We spend our entire careers knocking on doors and shilling our services. It‘s just how we do business. Even if a potential client
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A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Geri Coady‘s new book, Color Accessibility Workflows, available now from A Book Apart.The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 contain recommendations from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for making the web more accessible to users with disabilities, including color blindness and other vision deficiencies. There are three levels of conformance
Good intentions usually drive the ‘gamification‘ of websites-adding points, badges, and leaderboards to make them more engaging. It sounds like a great idea, but borrowing game design elements out of context is a risky way to design experiences, especially experiences intended to bring users back to a site. Not everyone wants to spend more time on your site just to get a badge; some people simply aren‘t motivated by such extri
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The web is not the traditional home of data visualization. You might come across a bar chart here or there in your online journey on any given day, but they‘ve never been an artifact of web history. It seems like that‘s been changing. With the world becoming increasingly data-driven, we‘re seeing more and more visualizations make their way onto our web pages and into our design briefs. They help us tell stories that better enga
With consumer expectations growing year after year, high quality web design and development services are in top demand. If you want to be the one to deliver those high-end results, then you‘ll need to focus on playing to your strengths and be comfortable entrusting everything else to others. Like many of us, you‘re probably so occupied by managing the day-to-day and maintaining the base of clients you currently have that you don&lsqu
As product owners or developers, we probably have a good handle on which core assets we need to make a website work. But rarely is that the whole picture. How well do we know every last thing that loads on our sites? An occasional web performance audit, done by hand, does make us aware of every last thing. What‘s so great about that? Well, for starters, the process increases our mindfulness of what we are actually asking of our users. Furt
Understanding and using CSS Grid is easier than you might expect. The day Grid support shipped in Firefox 52, I decided on the spur of the moment to convert the basic layout of my personal site to use Grid. And it was a fairly simple process-five minutes to write the grid styles, then 15-20 spent troubleshooting. Grid allows us to literally define column and row grid lines, and then attach elements to those lines in any order we choose. That may
Attracting future clients on autopilot-that‘s the whole point of your website, right? Most freelancers accept the story that great work attracts leads, but I‘m going to be straight with you: clients have no clue you exist. What usually tips the balance isn‘t your portfolio-they see plenty of those. Not many people talk about failures they had promoting their products and services. We struggle and we hide it. It‘s one of
A note from the editors: As a community, we can learn so much from discovering what other developers are doing around the world. We encourage everyone to participate in this very brief survey created by Jens Oliver Meiert. Jens will share the results-and an updated guide to web maintainability based on the findings-in a few weeks. How often do we consider the maintenance and general maintainability of our websites and apps? What steps do we activ
A note from the editors: This article is part one of a two-part series exploring the new HTTP/2 protocol and using it responsibly. Be sure to read part two, Considering How We Use HTTP/2.With HTTP/2 ticking up steadily in use, it‘s clear that there‘s something to this long overdue update to the protocol. Implementing it, however, not only changes how websites are delivered to the user, it demands that we think critically about how we
A note from the editors: This article is part two of a two-part series exploring the new HTTP/2 protocol and using it responsibly. Be sure to read part one, Using HTTP/2 Responsibly: Adapting for Users.It‘s important to remember that HTTP/2-specific optimizations may become performance liabilities for HTTP/1 users. In the final part of this series, we‘ll talk about the performance implications of such a strategy and how build tools ca
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A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Chris Noessel‘s new book, Designing Agentive Technology, AI That Works for People, available now from Rosenfeld Media. For a limited time, ALA readers can get 20% off Chris‘s book by using the code ‘ALADAT‘ on the Rosenfeld Media site.Similar to intelligence, agency can be thought of as a spectrum. Some things are more agentive than others.