Web - Post archive

Information architecture: More than just a pretty menu

Published by | Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Comparing information architectures

Explore this course at lynda.com.

Some people in the design community insist on calling website menu systems “information architecture.” I think they do it to make menu design sound sexier or more esoteric. Unfortunately that’s not what information architecture is. Or rather, it’s only part of what information architecture is.

Information architecture (IA) is actually “the structural design of shared information environments.” It’s no good just having a well-thought-through menu system for your site. Once you get people to where they need to be, the content needs to be arranged in the way they expect, using words they understand. Knowing how your users think about and self-categorize your site’s content should be central to your whole design effort. It boils down to finding out how your users think about and categorize the concepts, tasks, and activities that your product deals with, and then creating an architecture that matches this world view. My course Foundations of UX: Information Architecture steps through the discipline of IA, and the practical steps needed to apply it to your projects.

Bootstrap 3: What you need to know

Published by | Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Bootstrap 3 is out.

Bootstrap 3, the popular HTML5 front-end design framework (and top-starred project on GitHub), has finally been released—and what a release it is! With tons of new features and a revised API, there’s much to enjoy. Here are some of the new features and things to keep in mind when working with Bootstrap 3.

Mobile-first and fully responsive
The Bootstrap 3 framework has been entirely rewritten to follow mobile-first design principles, so you can more easily build responsive web experiences that adapt gracefully from smaller to larger screens.

WordPress 3.6: What’s new, and why it matters

Published by | Thursday, August 1st, 2013

A few months behind schedule, version 3.6 of WordPress is out and ready for you to make the most of. The scope of changes in this release are relatively minor, but the updates are important and will help in your day-to-day work with WordPress. Here’s what’s new and why it matters to you.

Twenty Thirteen: The new theme standard

Since 2010, a new default theme has been released every year, and this year is no different. With 3.6 comes Twenty Thirteen. While the previous three themes—Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven, and Twenty Twelve—got progressively simpler, Twenty Thirteen goes in a new design direction. It’s aggressively blog-centric with a heavy focus on Post Formats, and it’s a great example of the popular flat design trend currently sweeping the web.

The Twenty Thirteen WordPress default theme

Post Formats are a new feature in WordPress 3.6 that lets you choose unique layout and design templates for specific types of blog posts, such as images, videos, quotes, and regular articles, among others. The Twenty Thirteen theme supports Post Formats by providing a bold, unique visual style for each post so your site visitors can differentiate between the content in each one. In the image above you see the Video, Quote, Status, and Chat post formats on the front page. The Standard post format has a white background. The post format styling is also carried over into the post editor so as you change your post format you’ll see the styling change as you work, and the post formats are now identified using icons throughout the dashboard.

Working with the Twitter API 1.1 changes

Published by | Monday, July 15th, 2013

Twitter API v1.1

Did your Twitter app stop working after the 1.1 version of their API was released? Twitter made recent changes to its API that affected a lot of users and applications connected to the service, so I wrote a small PHP script that duplicates much of the old Twitter API functionality. The video below demonstrates the steps you’ll need to take to use it in your web apps.

 

New Adobe Muse features for Q2 2013

Published by | Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

This is arguably the biggest update to Muse since the product’s initial release. The big new features this time around include Parallax Scrolling, In-Browser Editing, and something near and dear to my heart: a Layers panel. As always, there are a bunch of smaller updates and enhancements, too.

Parallax Scrolling

MU_parallax_scrolling

Parallax Scrolling helps you create animated effects that involve two (or more) “layers of content” that move in the browser at different speeds. It is a web design technique that enables you to set the speed of each element. Using this technology, you can apply these animated effects to individual objects on your page to create visually compelling designs. Check out a great example of a site using built with Muse using parallax scrolling.

WordPress under attack: How to protect yourself

Published by | Monday, April 15th, 2013

WordPress is under attack and your self-hosted site may well be in the crosshairs of people with nefarious intent. I’d like to shed some light on what’s going on, how to protect yourself against becoming a victim, and what to do if you’re hacked.

A bot-what-now attack?

Over the last couple of weeks, WordPress sites all over the world have been subjected to an unprecedented attack. Botnets—essentially thousands or millions of infected computers working in tandem—are executing brute-force attacks on self-hosted WordPress sites, attempting to log into administrator accounts, and taking over the sites. A brute-force attack is when a computer tries to log in using every password under the sun. While this would take forever for a human, a computer can make hundreds or even thousands of attempts per minute and eventually stumble upon the correct user name/password combination. This is one of the most extensive and wide-reaching botnet attacks ever recorded and it’s targeting all kinds of sites, from personal blogs to enterprise solutions.

Staying motivated when business is slow

Published by | Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Most freelancers live a feast-or-famine existence. We’re either pushing hard to finish a client’s urgent project—and aren’t they all urgent?—or we’re wiling away the time, wondering what to do with ourselves.

When there’s a feast of work, clients define your activities and goals. But during famines, you’re on your own. You want to use the time well, but don’t have an external authority guiding you. Uncertainty can freeze even the most intrepid freelancer into inactivity.

Don’t let that happen to you! Here are five things to do to keep your business moving forward when you have downtime.