A List Apart



Jeffrey Zeldman

Designing and blogging since 1995, Jeffrey Zeldman (@zeldman) founded A List Apart in 1998 and Happy Cog™ design studios in 1999; co-founded the web design conference An Event Apart; co-founded and publishes A Book Apart—brief books for people who make websites; wrote the industry-changing front-end bible Designing With Web Standards, now in its third edition; teaches in the MFA Interaction Design program at School of Visual Arts NYC; and hosts The Big Web Show,  an internet radio spectacular. More.

Entries by Jeffrey Zeldman

  • The Death of the Web Design Agency?

    In The Pastry Box Project today, Greg Hoy of Happy Cog talks honestly about why the first quarter of this year sucked for most web design agencies (including ours), assesses the new and growing long-term threats to the agency business model, and shares his thinking on what we in the client services design business can do to survive, and maybe even thrive.

  • Ten Years Ago in A List Apart: CSS Sprites – Image Slicing’s Kiss of Death

    Rereading this seminal 2004 article from the comfort of today’s privileged position, it’s easy to miss how new and revolutionary Dave Shea's thinking was. Today we take sophisticated CSS for granted, and we expect our markup to be just that—clean and semantic, not oozing behavior and leaking layout. But in 2004, removing all that cruft from HTML took courage. And it was an act of absolute wizardry to conceive that a grid of images in a single master GIF or JPEG could replace all those http calls and subfolders full of tiny images thanks to CSS’s hover property and cropping ability.

  • We’re Nothing Without You: The Web at 25

    The World Wide Web celebrates its 25th birthday with a newly launched website commissioned by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and designed and developed by A List Apart’s own creative director/designer Mike Pick and technical director Tim Murtaugh.

  • Blue Beanie Day Comes But Once A Year

    On Saturday, November 30, web designers around the world will once again don a blue beanie (toque, cap) to show their support for web standards. Join us!

  • Web Type, Meet Size Calculator

    It is trivial for a designer to set type (or any artwork) to appear at a specific size in centimeters or inches on the printed page. But it is impossible to do so when designing for screens. At Ampersand New York, Nick Sherman demonstrated a tool designed to change that.

  • How many people are missing out on JavaScript enhancement?

    UK Government Digital Service wanted to know how many people use their web services without the enhancement of JavaScript. Follow their quest, and learn what they discovered.

  • Google Hides Layout, JavaScript from Game Console Browsers

    Anna Debenham updates her 2012 A List Apart article on testing websites in game console browsers and discovers that Google serves dumbed-down versions of the web to folks using the 3DS browser.

  • “Designers Shouldn’t Code” is the Wrong Answer to the Right Question

    Why some professionals fear that too much knowledge of code will lead to designs being based around implementation models instead of a user's mental model; why that concern is overblown; and why having HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in the design workflow can make for a much better end-product.

  • Progressive Reduction: Modify Your UI Over Time

    The idea behind Progressive Reduction is simple: Usability is a moving target. A user’s understanding of your application improves over time and your application’s interface should adapt to your user.

  • Responsive Web Design Easter Egg

    Celebrate the third anniversary of Ethan Marcotte’s seminal “Responsive Web Design” article with a nifty Easter Egg from the pen of Kevin Cornell and the minds of Pick and Murtaugh.

  • The Virtues of Vertical Media Queries

    Devices come in all shapes and sizes, and pivot between portrait and landscape orientation. Desktop and laptop browsers can also be contorted into all sorts of shapes. It’s time to stop ignoring short (and tall!) viewports and start using them to creative and user-pleasing effect. Anthony Colangelo shares why and how.

  • Smells Like Design Sales

    A multi-blog discussion challenges the secrecy design studios maintain around their sales processes and pitch success ratios.

  • Outside the Box

    Yes, the clipped logotype at the top of the page is intentional.

  • On Alt Text

    Any web designer or developer with her heart in the right place knows that, to be accessible, every image requires an alt text. Except when it doesn’t.

  • I Vant To Be Alone

    Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk?

  • A List Apart 5.0

    Issue 368 · 

    A design that departs from our past and a platform on which to build the future. Welcome to the relaunch of A List Apart, for people who make websites.

  • Why are Links Blue?

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, is credited with making hyperlinks blue, a decision he appears to have reached at random. But although accessibility may not have been on Sir Tim's mind at the time, the color choice was a happy one, according to Joe Clark.

  • Say No to SOPA

    Issue 340 · 

    A List Apart strongly opposes United States H.R.3261 AKA the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), an ill-conceived lobbyist-driven piece of legislation that is technically impossible to enforce, cripplingly burdensome to support, and would, without hyperbole, destroy the internet as we know it. SOPA approaches the problem of content piracy with a broad brush, lights that brush on fire, and soaks the whole web in gasoline. If passed, SOPA will allow corporations to block the domains of websites that are “capable of” or “seem to encourage” copyright infringement. Once a domain is blocked, nobody can access it, unless they’ve memorized the I.P. address. Under SOPA, everything from your grandma’s knitting blog to mighty Google is guilty until proven innocent. Learn why SOPA must not pass, and find out what you can do to help stop it.

  • Real Fonts on the Web: An Interview with The Font Bureau’s David Berlow

    Issue 282 · 

    Is there life after Georgia? We ask David Berlow, co-founder of The Font Bureau, Inc, and the first TrueType type designer, how type designers and web designers can work together to resolve licensing and technology issues that stand between us and real fonts on the web.

  • Ten Years

    Issue 269 · 

    When Google was little more than a napkin sketch and the first dot-com boom was not even a blip, we started a magazine for people who make websites. Celebrate A List Apart's first decade. Join Zeldman for a look back at the way we were—and why we were that way. Find out what we've done and who did it with us, peek into our process, and get a clue about what's next.

  • Fix Your Site With the Right DOCTYPE!

    Issue 142 · 

    You’ve done everything right, but your site is breaking in the latest browsers. A faulty DOCTYPE is likely to blame. This essential ALA article will provide you with DOCTYPEs that work, enabling you to fix your site with just one tag.

  • To Hell With Bad Browsers

    Issue 99 · 

    In a year or two, all sites will be designed with standards that separate structure from presentation (or they will be built with Flash 7). We can watch our skills grow obsolete, or start learning standards-based techniques. In fact, since the latest versions of IE, Navigator, and Opera already support many web standards, if we are willing to let go of the notion that backward compatibility is a virtue, we can stop making excuses and start using these standards now. At ALA, beginning with Issue No. 99, we've done just that. Join us.

  • Better Living Through XHTML

    Issue 137 · 

    Everything you wanted to know about converting from HTML to XHTML, including why you’d want to, tools that help, changes in the way browsers display XHTML pages, shortcuts, bugs, workarounds, and other tips you won’t find elsewhere.

  • Version Targeting: Threat or Menace?

    Issue 253 · 

    Version targeting shakes our browser-agnostic faith. Its default behavior runs counter to our expectations, and seems wrong. Yet to offer true DOM support without bringing JScript-authored sites to their knees, version targeting must work the way Microsoft proposes, argues Jeffrey Zeldman.

  • Understanding Web Design

    Issue 249 · 

    We'll have better web design when we stop asking it to be something it's not, and start appreciating it for what it is. It's not print, not video, not a poster—and that's not a problem. Find out why cultural and business leaders misunderstand web design, and learn which other forms it most usefully resembles.

  • A List Apart 4.0

    Issue 201 · 

    From the crown of its cranium to the tips of its Ruby-slippered toes, A List Apart 4.0 is both old and new.

  • Web 3.0

    Issue 210 · 

    Web 2.0 is a fresh-faced starlet on the intertwingled longtail to the disruptive experience of tomorrow. Web 3.0 thinks you are so 2005.

  • A Standards-Compliant Publishing Tool for the Rest of Us?

    Issue 157 · 

    Publishing with web standards is not for experts alone. A new tool hopes to make it easier for anyone. ALA interviews Six Apart’s Anil Dash about his company’s easy-to-use, standards-compliant publishing tool, TypePad.

  • Why Don’t You Code for Netscape?

    Issue 129 · 

    Long considered the Holy Grail of web design, “backward compatibility” has its place; but at this point in web development history, shouldn’t we be more concerned about forward compatibility? ALA makes the case for authoring to web standards instead of browser quirks.

  • SMIL When You Play That

    Issue 101 · 

    A gentle introduction to the SVG and SMIL standards for programmable vector graphics and accessible rich media.

  • Getting Paid

    Issue 134 · 

    As businesses struggle to stay in business, many are short–changing vendors or woefully delaying payment. Zeldman laments the difficulties of getting paid.

  • Mac Browser Roundup (with Håkon Lie and Tantek Çelik)

    Issue 130 · 

    We test drove and reviewed the new Mac browsers, then asked browser makers Håkon Lie of Opera and Tantek Çelik of Microsoft to respond to our comments.

  • Patents, Royalties, and Web Standards

    Issue 122 · 

    This week there is only one web story that matters. The W3C has written a patent policy that opens the door to royalty payments on web standards.

  • From Table Hacks to CSS Layout: A Web Designer’s Journey

    Issue 99 · 

    Redesigning A List Apart using CSS should have been easy. It wasn’t. The first problem was understanding how CSS actually works. The second was getting it to work in standards-compliant browsers. A journey of discovery.

  • Survivor! (How Your Peers are Coping With the Dotcom Crisis)

    Issue 95 · 

    It’s ugly out there, but how bad is it, really? We asked 40 colleagues to share how they were coping (or not) with the layoffs and business failures plaguing our industry.

  • Much Ado About 5K

    Issue 63 · 

    A full-fledged website under 5K? Some of the brightest people in the industry swore it could not be done. Yet hundreds of developers not only came in under the 5K budget, they built great sites in the process. Zeldman explores how the 5K Awards rocked the web.

  • Fear of Style Sheets

    Issue 8 · 

    “No-fault CSS” can help you work around frightened clients, buggy software, and readers who still love last year’s browser. In Part One of a series, Zeldman walks you through the fear.

  • Tackling Usability Gotchas in Large-scale Site Redesigns

    Issue 163 · 

    Redesigns can solve old usability problems while creating new ones that must be solved in turn. From the lessons of the ALA 3.0 redesign comes this quick study in remapping content without frustrating readers.

  • Why Gecko Matters: What Netscape’s Upcoming Browser Will Mean to the Web

    Issue 56 · 

    Netscape is about to unleash its new browser, built around the Gecko rendering engine. Theoretically the first completely standards-compliant web browser, Gecko enters a world where most people use IE5 (which is not completely standards-compliant). Is Netscape’s effort too little, too late? Or is it the beginning of a new and better way to create websites? Zeldman articulates The Web Standards Project’s position and explains what Netscape’s browser will mean to the web.

  • Why IE5/Mac Matters

    Issue 57 · 

    It complies with two key web standards. And leaves out two others. It's IE5 Macintosh Edition, the first browser on any platform to truly support HTML 4 and CSS-1. Its accessibility enhancements put the user in charge, and its clever new features solve long-standing cross-platform and usability problems. All this ... but still no XML or DOM. Zeldman explains what IE5/Mac means to the web.

  • Netscape Bites Bullet

    Issue 22 · 

    Netscape’s bold move to fully support the W3C DOM and sacrifice backward compatibility raises a few concerns and much hope.

  • Circle Jerks & Web Elitists

    Issue 108 · 

    The web design community goes through this kind of self-examination every three months. Under the banner of honest criticism, names are named, guesses about motivation are sketched, and sometimes entire bodies of work are dismissed.

  • Writing for the Web

    Issue 1 · 

    When Brian and I launched the original LIST APART in January '98, we had two goals: to create a noise-free, high-level discussion list for the web; and to cover all the bases of webmaking – from pixels to prose, coding to content. Posts in the digest have begun that work. It continues with this article, the first in a series. The scarcity of online writing about online writing is baffling when you consider that most websites consist of words.

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