A List Apart


Topic: Usability

  • Daemon Skins: Separating Presentation from Content

    by Mark Newhouse · Issue 87 ·

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

  • The Declination of Independence

    by Ryan Holsten, Michael Krisher, Brandon Oelling · Issue 102 ·

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

  • Experience Design

    by Bob Jacobson · Issue 77 ·

    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.

  • Keeping Navigation Current With PHP

    by Jason Pearce · Issue 162 ·

    Turning unordered lists into elegant navigational menus has become a new favorite pastime for many web designers. A dash of PHP can add intelligence to your CSS-styled menu.

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

    by Shoshannah L. Forbes · Issue 65 ·

    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.

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

    by Curt Cloninger · Issue 74 ·

    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.

  • Language: The Ultimate User Interface

    by Julia Hayden · Issue 59 ·

    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.

  • Tackling Usability Gotchas in Large-scale Site Redesigns

    by Jeffrey Zeldman · 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.

  • The Perfect 404

    by Ian Lloyd · Issue 168 ·

    No matter how carefully you design and structure your site, visitors will sometimes request missing, moved, or non-existent pages. A well tempered 404 error page will plunge these visitors back into the flow of your site. Ian Lloyd shares strategies for crafting the perfect 404.

  • Designing for Context with CSS

    by Joshua Porter · Issue 171 ·

    The medium is the message: Imagine providing unique information exclusively for people who read your site via a web-enabled cell phone — then crafting a different message for those who are reading a printout instead of the screen. Let your context guide your content. All it takes is some user-centric marketing savvy and a dash of CSS.

  • Helping Your Visitors: a State of Mind

    by Nick Usborne · Issue 171 ·

    Even the simplest website is harder to figure out than a catalog or magazine. We all know how to “use” a catalog: start at the front cover and keep turning the pages. But with every new site we visit, we have to “learn” how it works, how its “pages” turn, how to find what we’re looking for. Text that takes visitors’ needs into account can help guide them through the maze.

  • Accessible Pop-up Links

    by Caio Chassot · Issue 174 ·

    Sometimes we have to use pop-ups — so we might as well do them right. This article will show you how to make them more accessible and reliable while simplifying their implementation.

  • The Table Ruler

    by Christian Heilmann · Issue 175 ·

    Make your site easier to use by giving your visitors a virtual “ruler” to guide and track their progress down long data tables. With a pinch of JavaScript and a dash of the DOM, your table rows will light up as your visitors hover over them.

  • Let Them Eat Cake

    by Aaron Gustafson · Issue 177 ·

    A growing debate pits accessibility against usability. From our point of view, it’s like pitting peanut butter against jelly. This article helps you create a page that is both usable and accessible, saving readers the trouble of scrolling with a little help from JavaScript and the Document Object Model.