A List Apart

Menu
Issue № 369

Building better experiences—from forms that work for both humans and machines to designs that adapt to real-world conditions.

Environmental Design with the Device API

by Tim Wright · 17 Comments

Real-world factors like low batteries and weak signal strength can turn even the most expertly crafted digital experience into a frustrating clustercuss. These factors are beyond your control, and, until recently, there was nothing you could do about them. Now there just may be. Tim Wright explains how to begin improving your users’ experiences under constantly shifting (and sometimes quite dreadful) conditions, via environmental design thinking and the Device API.

Your Website has Two Faces

by Lyle Mullican · 11 Comments

Your website must serve human and robot masters. An interface that reflects too much of a system’s internals will confuse human users; but if data doesn’t conform to a specific structure, it’s likely to confuse the machines that need to use it. How can your designs serve these very different masters? Jon Postel's Robustness Principle, although usually applied to low-level protocols like TCP, offers a clue to designing experiences that meet human and machine needs with equal grace. Lyle Mullican explains.

More from A List Apart

Columnists

Rachel Andrew on the Business of Web Dev

Software Audits for the Tiny Business

Routine software audits sound like just about the most boring thing in the world. But losing access to a DNS server, missing important alerts from a developer, or paying for a forgotten service are adventures nobody needs. Often, a contractor or an employee sets up an account or buys software for company use. When that person moves to another role, important license or login information can get lost in the shuffle. Rachel Andrew wants you to love the drab old software audit. It’s your best ally for preventing nasty surprises.

From the Blog

Feedback Phases and Personas

You want feedback in the early stages of any project, but how can you make sure you're getting the most out of it? Anthony Colangelo recommends a five-stage feedback process to gather input from unique feedback personas every step of the way.

On Our Radar: Precious Humans

There are plenty of links and a minimum of one (1) gif awaiting you, as always, in this week's On Our Radar. But first, we want to talk about someone who has inspired all of us: Molly Holzschlag, an influential web standards champion and dear friend.