A List Apart

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Topic: Usability

  • Reading Design

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    With so many specialists working so hard at their craft, why are so many pages so hard to read? Unabashed text enthusiast Dean Allen thinks designers would benefit from approaching their work as being written rather than assembled.

  • Information vs. Experience

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    The conflict between presentation and structure reveals two views of the web. Which one’s winning?

  • How to Succeed With URLs

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    Dynamic websites rock. Dynamically generated URLs suck. Till Quack shows how to use PHP to convert those machine-friendly nightmares into dreamy, human-friendly web addresses.

  • Beyond Usability and Design: The Narrative Web

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    Crafting a narrative web: To succeed profoundly, Bernstein says, websites must go beyond usability and design, deeply engaging readers by turning their journeys through the site into rich, memorable, narrative experiences.

  • A Failure to Communicate

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    It’s ironic that, as professionals dedicated to clear communication, information architects and user interface designers are having such trouble communicating with each other. Information designer George Olsen digs up the roots of communication breakdown and explores the three aspects of web design.

  • The Declination of Independence

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    Three web designers discuss trendiness and innovation in design, and list 15 sites that made a difference in the year 2000.

  • The Curse of Information Design

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    With the rise of information architecture, user experience consultants, and usability experts, the fate of a website is no longer left to chance, and its design is no longer a function of organic processes. That may be good for business, but is it really good for the web? Scott Cohen has his doubts.

  • Daemon Skins: Separating Presentation from Content

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    There ’s more than one way to skin a website. Newhouse demonstrates creative scripting techniques that give viewers and designers the control they crave.

  • Experience Design

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    It’s time for web designers to peek over the cubicle and start sharing ideas with their peers in related design disciplines. Jacobson suggests one way to do that in this overview of the emerging Experience Design paradigm.

  • Usability experts are from Mars, graphic designers are from Venus

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    Usability mavens like Jakob Nielsen think the web is an ill-used database. Graphic designers like Kioken think it is a fledgling multimedia platform. Could both groups be right? New ALA author Curt Cloninger explains why usability experts are from Mars, graphic designers are from Venus. This one’s a hottie.

  • URLS! URLS! URLS!

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    Database-driven content management systems are everywhere. And with them come URLs only a robot could love. Bill Humphries shows how to transform CGI-generated URLs into meaningful user interfaces through the power of URL mapping.

  • Walking Backwards: Supporting Non-Western Languages on the Web

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    And you think you?ve got problems. Try building web sites in a bi-directional language like Hebrew or Arabic. Israeli web developer Shoshannah L. Forbes discusses the mind-boggling hardships involved, and looks at what the latest browsers are doing about it.

  • Fragments (of Time)

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    The best web interfaces take time – the one asset that seems to be in perpetually short supply. Leading Scandinavian web developer Pär Almqvist presents a time-based perspective on web interfaces and the network economy.

  • Language: The Ultimate User Interface

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    Words. Language. Meaning. They’re a nutritious part of your complete website. So why do so many webmakers treat language like an afterthought? Julia Hayden explores ways to make words work.