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By Starshine Roshell | Sunday, October 05, 2014

Barriers? Ha! Web Design Expert Champions Accessibility

UX accessibility expert Derek Featherstone

Derek Featherstone has spent his life leaping over barriers—and helping others do the same.

“I was born with a club foot,” says the accessibility expert, “but I never let it get in my way. I’ve been in sports all my life and try never to make excuses.”

Though his left leg has always been weaker, and occasionally in casts, he teaches fitness classes and played competitive rugby for many years.

Oh, yeah—and he completed the Ironman Triathlon (a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike ride followed by a marathon run) three times.

By Scott Fegette | Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Get the 411 on 404s: Website Error Page Templates

404-error-web

No one likes to run into website errors, but they inevitably occur: Links are changed, pages are moved, a post is taken offline, and your site visitors end up following a link to a virtual dead end and an error page.

It’s easy to accept this as a fact of life—but armed with a little knowledge, technical know-how, and some inspiration, you can transform your website error page templates from vague and embarrassing to helpful and informative.

And maybe even inject a little humor into an otherwise awkward situation.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, September 04, 2014

WordPress 4.0: Improved Internationalization and UX

morten-wp4-hero

To cap off the summer, WordPress is crossing the 4.0 milestone with its newest release code-named “Benny”, named after jazz great Benny Goodman.

For an open-source application that now powers 23% of the web, this is a very big deal. In response to its widespread adoption, the WordPress development team is putting a strong emphasis on user experience and accessibility in this release. The result is a 4.0 release that feels more like the maturing of a young and feisty wine than a box of new goodies.

Some will see this as a bit of an anti-climax; we’ve come to expect big additions and UI changes with full number releases of WordPress. But in reality it’s more exciting than a new set of features as it shows that WordPress has reached a point in its development where it can start refining itself more often than throwing new features and ideas at the wall to see what sticks.

That said, there are plenty of innovations and updates to talk about in WordPress 4.0.

By Chris Converse | Thursday, August 14, 2014

Improve Website Performance on Mobile Devices

2014_08_14_slashHTTPone

When considering user experience for mobile, speed of download is a huge factor. People are typically using a cellular data plan when browsing on phones, and website performance is rarely optimal under these circumstances.

One factor in a web page’s download speed is the number of external file requests the HTML page needs. This includes CSS files (style sheets), JavaScripts, images, audio and video, applets, online feeds and services, and well … you get the idea.

Here are some techniques for reducing the number of times your web page needs to go back to the server to “ask for more” files.

By Scott Fegette | Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Interview with UX Guru Steve Krug

krug-podcast-web

When Steve Krug’s first book Don’t Make Me Think hit the shelves, it took the UX world by storm and brought the discipline of usability and building strong user experiences to a much wider audience than ever before.

lynda.com author Jen Kramer recently sat down with Steve for a podcast around his upcoming keynote session at the Northeast PHP and UX conference.

By Joseph Lowery | Monday, August 11, 2014

Hot and Hidden New Features in Dreamweaver

2014_08_10_DreamweaverHero

Having reached the ripe age of 15, Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2014 is a precocious teenager.

This widely popular web design program is capable of simultaneously showing off big, wowza new features while casually accepting major productivity advancements with a no-big-deal attitude.

The latest version of Dreamweaver has ample new features from both the sonic barrier-shattering and the subtle-but-essential varieties.

Let’s take a tour of the new features in Dreamweaver.

By Chris Converse | Saturday, July 26, 2014

Optimize Graphics for the Mobile Web

mobile-web-hero

When creating graphics for the web, we walk a delicate line between file size and image quality. We want smaller files for faster performing sites, especially on mobile, but we also want beautiful imagery on today/s high-quality screens.

With nearly 20% of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s important to consider the file size of your graphics. The irony of this trend is that mobile devices have higher quality displays and, typically, a slower internet connection. This challenges web designers to create high-quality graphics with smaller file sizes.

This is a pretty tough order, but I have some techniques that can help reduce sizes and optimize graphics for web delivery.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, July 24, 2014

Create Responsive Featured Images in WordPress

Create Responsive Featured Images in WordPress

Responsive layouts have become commonplace in today’s web experiences, but the current HTML <img> element still has a fundamental flaw when used with responsive designs: It assumes uniformity in the screens it’s displayed upon, a uniformity that doesn’t exist in today’s mobile-saturated world.

Consider an image on a web page from the viewer’s perspective. Although it appears to be part of the page, it’s actually a replaced element: The code of the page cuts a hole in the page big enough to contain the image, and then retrieves it from its remote location to fill that hole. In some cases the hole has a specified width and height; in others the hole is built to be flexible and scale to a percentage, or proportion, of the screen size.

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