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Advice and Commentary on Web Site Issues

Archive for June, 2004

Back to Basics: Color

Friday, June 18th, 2004

Let’s talk about Web design and color. Thank goodness the heady days of “just because you can” are fading, but I still see sites with the “box ‘o Crayolas” color scheme. You know, where every element has a different color (or worse, every letter in a headline is a different color)? At a glance, you [...]

Pithy Quotes on Usabilty and Design – STC Usability SIG

Monday, June 14th, 2004

“We’ve all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. ” – Robert Wilensky, author and professor, UC Berkeley “If the user can’t use it, it doesn’t work.” – Susan Dray, Dray & Associates, [...]

Mixed Layers in Applications

Friday, June 11th, 2004

I can tell already that this is going to be a multi-post rant, because I’m burning up. I’m working to configure an application for our Alumni Web Community (a “portal,” if you’ll excuse the buzzword). The fine folks at BSR Advance, who are now no longer on my Christmas card list, have made a classic [...]

Hit Counters Must Die

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

About once a week, I get a call from someone asking me to add a hit counter. You know, those “you are visitor #2,346 to this site” messages? The answer is no. Hit counters have many problems, as I often explain. First off, the average Web site visitor doesn’t have enough context to understand the [...]

The (Unexpected) Power of Persistent Information

Monday, June 7th, 2004

Something happened today that highlights how close to the surface every page on your site is, even if you’ve buried it in your navigation. Someone was doing a photo search on H. Claude Hudson, the first African-American graduate of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. They came upon the August 2001 issue of our campus e-newsletter, [...]

We Should All Speak Aussie

Friday, June 4th, 2004

While reading newsgroups, I came across this gem: squiz, (a quick, inquisitive glance, as in “Jerry, have a squiz at this bloke.”). And since I’m feeling especially editorial today, I’ll say thank God for the Aussies, and their apparent love of the the sound of language. Oy! Without them, we wouldn’t have the digideridoo, shrimp [...]

Try to Avoid Duplication Duplication

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004

Today’s problem stems from the common practice of repurposing content that was in print as online docs (aka “brochureware”) — but it occurs in a number of other ways as well. In print, we generally included some related-but-relevant information in our handbooks, manuals, brochures, etc. These items might be found in several different publications. As [...]

Bigger Soapboxes Than This

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

I’ve given several presentations and had a pre-blog list of Web myths going in the past, and I thought some might be interested in them: Website Redesign and the Devil’s Work. How to make your Webs user-focused. Iceberg, Right Ahead: Managing Website Growth — Little gorillas are so cute. Then they grow. Web Site 101 [...]

Details, details, details

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

Today is round one of the National Spelling Bee, where kids up to 16 years old put the rest of us to shame. The first round includes tricky words ranging from “tenor” to “onomatopoeia” to “rijsttafel.” I’m reminded that I spend a chunk of my time correcting spelling for my many college-edumacated content publishers, and [...]

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