Take the Leap, Ditch the Tables

Happy Leap Day to all. I like to think of today as a special bonus day that only comes along once every four years. You should take advantage of your bonus day to take a Leap and break out of your old routines, to try something new and bold. Today is the day you are going to take a Leap into the future and ditch those unwieldy tables on your website. Those tables you use to maintain that painfully complex layout with all of the neatly sliced up images. You have tables inside of tables inside of tables. Your users are left waiting for hours, sending out for pizza and doing crossword puzzles, while they watch your pages slowly loading. […]

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can Also Teach

One of the joys of working on something as new as usability and user experience design is that most people have no clue what you do. Say you’re an architect and most folks have a good grasp of what your job is, say you’re an information architect and people stare at you blankly. So I’ve found that I spend fair amount of time teaching people what I do and why I do it. There a few things I’ve learned from my experiences about the what you should and shouldn’t do when trying to explain or justify your work to a boss, client, or co-worker. 1. Don’t preach It can be very easy to go on and on about everything you […]

Is Usability a Fad?

Usability is spreading. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon.com, Adobe, and Macromedia all hire User Interface (UI) designers, user experience designers, and other usability folks to work as part of the software or web design teams. In big and small ways companies and individuals are starting to really press for computers that the average Joe can use. But is usability doomed to go the way of the moa? Will we see a bunch of people trying to tactfully get around saying that they were part of the usability movement in favor of the next great thing? My short answer is ‘not likely’. While the terminology may change there is a growing appreciation that in order to make truly great computing and information […]

CSS: Head First or Feet First?

Many web designers are struggling with the question of how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) properly. Going all out using CSS for text formatting, layouts, and other features is tempting at times. There are a lot of savings in time and effort when updating a site that has single style sheet and savings in bandwidth with the new leaner <font> and <table> free pages. One quick update can move around elements on a page and change the color scheme. Some designers are hesitant to invest the time in learning how to create style sheets and apply them to their work, especially since some old browsers still struggle to render CSS. But not using CSS at all leaves you behind […]