OR 

User Research When You Can‘t Talk to Your Users

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

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Conducting the Technical Interview

I vividly remember my first interview as a manager. My hands were shaking as I led the candidate up the stairs to the conference room I had booked. When we got there, I went into a panic. What if I don‘t ask a vital question? How do I even know what the vital questions are? What if I hire him and he‘s completely unprofessional? How can I tell if he really knows JavaScript? Wait a second-does he have a prosthetic leg? Did I just take a

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Color Accessibility Workflows

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

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Integrating Animation into a Design System

Keeping animation choreography cohesive from the outset of a project can be challenging, especially for small companies. Without a dedicated motion specialist on the team, it can be difficult to prioritize guidelines and patterns early in the design process. What‘s more likely to happen is that animations will be added as the product develops. Unsurprisingly, the ad-hoc approach can lead to inconsistencies, duplications, and rework in the

favicon of http://alistapart.com

How People Perceive Lossy Image Quality: A Study

The notion that lossy image quality is subjective is not an unreasonable hypothesis. There are many factors that play into how humans perceive quality: screen size, image scaling, and yes, even performance. Many research projects have tackled this subject, but I‘ve recently launched a survey that attempts to understand how people perceive image quality in a slightly different way: in the context of performance. This image quality assessme

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Focus on What You Do Best and Outsource the Rest

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

favicon of http://alistapart.com

The Mindfulness of a Manual Performance Audit

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

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Project Management for Humans

A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Brett Harned‘s new book, Project Management for Humans, available now from Rosenfeld Media.I loved the game Tetris as a kid. I played the Game Boy version for hours. It‘s easy to get wrapped up in the concept of little shapes coming together in a logical way to clear a goal. The pieces complement one another, yet they all naturally work in different way

favicon of http://alistapart.com

The Ten Essentials for Good API Documentation

API documentation is the number one reference for anyone implementing your API, and it can profoundly influence the developer experience. Because it describes what services an application programming interface offers and how to use those services, your documentation will inevitably create an impression about your product-for better or for worse. In this two-part series I share what I‘ve learned about API documentation. This part discusse

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Practical CSS Grid: Adding Grid to an Existing Design

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

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Widen Out: Using Your Blog to Attract New Clients

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

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Web Maintainability Industry Survey: How Do We Maintain?

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

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Team Conflict: Four Ways to Deflate the Discord that‘s Killing Your Team

It was supposed to be a simple web project. Our client needed a site that would allow users to create, deploy and review survey results. Aside from some APIs that weren‘t done, I wasn‘t very worried about the project. I was surprised that my product manager was spending so much time at the client‘s office. Then, she explained the problem. It seemed that the leaders of product, UX and engineering didn‘t speak to each othe

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Practical User Research: Creating a Culture of Learning in Large Organizations

Enterprise companies are realizing that understanding customer needs and motivations is critical in today‘s marketplace. Building and sustaining new user research programs to collect these insights can be a major struggle, however. Digital teams often feel thwarted by large organizations that are slow to change and have many competing priorities for financial investments. As a design consultant at Cantina, I‘ve seen companies at wil

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Yes, That Web Project Should Be a PWA

It seems like ever since Frances Berriman coined the term Progressive Web App in an effort to describe a new class of website, there‘s been a great deal of confusion over exactly what a Progressive Web App (PWA) is. Sure, her husband, Alex Russell, put together a handy guide to the characteristics of a PWA, and they have been the subject of reams of documentation, dozens of blog posts, and equally as many conference talks. Even with so muc

favicon of http://alistapart.com

New A List Apart wants you!

As A List Apart approaches its 20th anniversary-a milestone in independent, web-based publishing-we‘re once again reimagining the magazine. We want your feedback. And most of all, we want you. We‘re getting rid of advertisers and digging back to our roots: community-based, community-built, and determinedly non-commercial. If you want to highlight local events or innovations, expand your skills, give back, or explore any other goal o

favicon of http://alistapart.com

A List Apart volunteer update

A note from the editors: A few days ago, we announced a reimagined A List Apart, with you, our faithful readers of nearly 20 years, contributing your talents. The response from this community was humbling, thrilling, and, frankly, a bit overwhelming. If you volunteered to help A List Apart and haven‘t heard back from us yet, here‘s what‘s up.To the many wonderful souls who have so far volunteered to help A List Apart, thank you

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Fait Accompli: Agentive Tech Is Here

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.

favicon of http://alistapart.com

User Interfaces for Variable Fonts

The tools we design with have a unique effect on the way we work, constraining and empowering us while we explore, examine and create. Variable fonts give us a new, wide open typographic space with which to work. Instead of prescribing value to individual UI elements in a vacuum, we should take a hybrid and calculated approach to variable font interfaces. How do we structure our design tools to adapt to the new advantages variable fonts provide u

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Patterns and Purpose, an Excerpt from Animation at Work

A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Rachel Nabors‘s new book, Animation at Work, available now from A Book Apart.So we can use animations to tap into users‘ visual systems and give them a cognitive speed boost, terrific! But before animating every element of our designs, we must learn when and how to use this new tool: with great power comes great responsibility, and so forth. And as anim

favicon of http://alistapart.com