Thoughts on Design

Public Categories: 
  • Validation and Testing

I've been asked a number of times lately how I test websites that I work on. While I'm never shy about talking about this sort of thing, I thought writing it down might be beneficial.

Public Categories: 
  • Web Design

Ze Frank is hiring. I say this not because I'm interested, but because I like the way he wrote the job descriptions. Two statements jump out at me.

Public Categories: 
  • Accessibility
  • CSS
  • Web Design
  • Government on the Web

As part of my work with North Dakota Government's Information Technology Department (ITD) I with a team of people maintaining www.nd.gov. We've recently launched a series of updates, with more on the way. My part of the recent changes involved improving the basic HTML structure, the CSS, and overall accessibility. This new structure is now wrapped in a new theme for the Summer. The content and back-end work belongs to others, but the CSS and Photoshop work is mine.

Public Categories: 
  • Social Media

I've been doing some experimentation with integrating RSS feeds from my accounts at Twitter and Delicious. Drupal has a whole range of options for importing content or aggregating content from RSS. You can see the results of my most resent experiments on social media aggregation. Delicious.com can be very picky about what sites it lets pull in its RSS feeds. Sites hosted at Bluehost for instance, seem to be banned. How did I get around this?

Public Categories: 
  • CSS

Are you being selective enough with your CSS? Maybe too much? CSS Selectors are the basis of good CSS. Inappropriate Selector choice is one of the most common sources of problems I find when troubleshooting CSS. The best strategy I know of is to start simple, and build on it. Don't start with obscure Class names, start with the type selectors. How can you define a Class meant to apply to paragraphs, if you haven't defined paragraphs? Define the basic HTML your site is built from before you add anything else.

For the sake of this discussion, let's define some simple HTML.

Public Categories: 
  • About this Site
  • Drupal
  • Web Design

The changes on this site weren't entirely for the sake of change. I've wanted to change to Drupal for a while, but I just didn't want to spend the time. WordPress was working fine and I had no real reason to change. Now I do. I've been building some other sites for family and family businesses using my personal hosting account. These sites have for one reason or another all changed to Drupal in recent months. One of Drupal's advantages is the ability to build multiple sites on the same code base.

Public Categories: 
  • About this Site
  • Accessibility
  • Blogging
  • Drupal
  • WordPress
  • Web Design

After a lot of thought, I've switched this site over to Drupal. I really like WordPress, and I plan to continue designing for it, but for my purposes Drupal will be a better fit. While I could have matched the new site structure to the old one, I decided to restructure. My old site map had become a little convoluted and I took this opportunity to straighten it out.

Public Categories: 
  • About this Site
  • Blogging
  • Drupal
  • WordPress

I'm in the process of making some significant changes to this site, and I seem to have crossed feeds with another site. Hopefully this post will straighten things out. The transition to Drupal from WordPress is underway.

Public Categories: 
  • Social Media

Good social media tools let you get your message to everyone who has internet access, but do you need to reach the whole world? Twitter has millions of users around the World. Do you sell your service around the World?

Public Categories: 
  • Accessibility
  • Web Design

W3C has a new accessibility section. It does a nice job of unifying their accessibility content into one location. The home page has a great explanation of the three W's of accessibility. Why, What, and How. (Two W's and an H just doesn't have a nice ring to it.)