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’Tis a gift to be simple. ALA’s Zeldman bemoans our industry’s current fetish for the needlessly complicated over the straightforward. Escape the cult of the complex! Get back to improving lives, one interaction at a time.
Publishing on A List Apart isn’t as easy-peasy as dashing off a post on your blog, but the results—and the audience—are worth it. And when you write for A List Apart, you never write alone: our industry-leading editors, technical editors, and copy editors are ready to help you polish your best idea from good to great. Come share with us!
A few days ago, we announced a reimagined A List Apart, with you, our faithful readers of nearly 20 years, contributing your talents. The response from this community was humbling, thrilling, and, frankly, a bit overwhelming. If you volunteered to help A List Apart and haven’t heard back from us yet, here’s what’s up.
As A List Apart approaches its 20th anniversary—a milestone in independent, web-based publishing—we’re once again reimagining the magazine. We want your feedback. And most of all, we want you. We’re getting rid of advertisers and digging back to our roots: community-based, community-built, and determinedly non-commercial. Find out how you can help!
You have a solid resume, but can’t seem to connect with the right job. Maybe it's not you. Jeffrey Zeldman suggests reconsidering your career niche or refocusing your work persona. It could open fresh hiring tracks just waiting for the right candidate—you.
At the start of your career, you’re excited to have any job—but at some point you wonder if there’s a better job out there for you. Is it youthful restlessness, or are you learning to recognize the warning signs of career stagnation? There’s no sure-fire way to tell—but if you’ve stopped growing or feeling any passion for the work, it’s probably time to let go. So how do you find a better job without making it worse with your current colleagues and in your bank account? Jeffrey Zeldman has some tried-and-true tips to make your transitions smoother.
More than a decade after we won the battle for web standards, too much code is still crap. Dr. Web is back to answer your career and industry questions. This time out, the good doctor considers what you can do when your boss is satisfied with third-party code that would make Stalin yak.
15 years ago this month, a plucky ALA staffer wrote “Much Ado About 5K,” an article on a contest created by Stewart Butterfield that challenged web designers and developers to build a complete website using less than 5K of images and code. As one group of modern web makers embraces mobile-first design and performance budgets, while another (the majority) worships at the altar of bigger, fatter, and slower, the 5K contest reminds us that a byte saved is a follower earned.
What's the best way to present your work on the web? It's not just about your portfolio pieces—it's also about cultivating your voice. Jeffrey Zeldman explains the importance of speaking and writing publicly as you build your online presence.
What if a lot of your past work reflects times when you satisfied the client, but couldn’t sell them on your best ideas? How do you build a portfolio out of choices you wouldn’t have made? Our very own Jeffrey Zeldman answers your toughest career questions.
When I first met Kevin Cornell in the early 2000s, he was employing his illustration talent mainly to draw caricatures of his fellow designers at a small Philadelphia design studio. Even in that rough, dashed-off state, his work floored me. It was as if Charles Addams and my favorite Mad Magazine illustrators from the 1960s had blended their DNA to spawn the perfect artist.
Where should new web designers go to get started? Find out in this first edition of Ask Dr. Web, where A List Apart’s founder and publisher, Jeffrey Zeldman, answers your questions about web design.
Big news! The Filament Group has released a new version of Picturefill that will make the real
pictureelement work in existing browsers, which means you can start using picture today.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A multi-blog discussion challenges the secrecy design studios maintain around their sales processes and pitch success ratios.
Yes, the clipped logotype at the top of the page is intentional.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Is there life after Georgia? We ask David Berlow, co-founder of The Font Bureau, Inc, and the first 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the crown of its cranium to the tips of its Ruby-slippered toes, A List Apart 4.0 is both old and new.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As businesses struggle to stay in business, many are short–changing vendors or woefully delaying payment. Zeldman laments the difficulties of getting paid.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A gentle introduction to the SVG and SMIL standards for programmable vector graphics and accessible rich media.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Netscape’s bold move to fully support the W3C DOM and sacrifice backward compatibility raises a few concerns and much hope.
“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.
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.