Like a mine can fill up with toxic gasses, technology can become a toxic platform for hate. As the people building the web, we have an ethical responsibility for how these products are used—whether we intended it or not. ALA’s own Tatiana Mac lays this out using her own experience as a woman of color in tech.
There is a watershed moment approaching for personalization design. Most strategy is still driven out of marketing and IT departments, a holdover from the legacy of the inbound, “creepy” targeted ad. According to Colin Eagan, fixing that model requires the same paradigm shift we’ve used to tackle other challenges in our field. In this piece, he takes a detailed look at the UX practitioner’s emerging role in personalization design: from influencing technology selection, to data modeling, to page-level implementation. It’s now 2019, and the timing couldn’t be better.
Voice user interfaces, smart software agents, and AI-powered search are changing the way users—and computers—interact with content. Whether or not you’re building services for these emerging technologies, structured content is now necessary to ensure the accuracy and integrity of your content across the evolving digital landscape.
Words matter. Even in something as banal as a form, the words we choose can determine what someone does and what they fail to do. In this excerpt from Writing for Designers, Scott Kubie explains the purpose of prose in a design and why we need to be more intentional with how we use words.
The FAQ has grown out of favor with some factions of late, but Caroline Roberts argues that the simple question and answer format can be just what you need. With a few modern tweaks and some thoughtful intent, kick your FAQs up a notch.
The meaning of what you write isn’t only the the words. The sequence of information, the categories you use, the emphasis you imply through your hierarchy—all of these decisions have a huge influence on audience understanding. Richard Rabil, Jr., explains how to use foundational patterns of organization to help you convey what you mean to say.
Like the headlights of an oncoming train, the sender name and address, subject, and preheader are typically all that’s initially visible whenever our company or app reaches out to connect with users via email. With huge impact on engagement, open rates, and user satisfaction, these are nimble context elements that punch well above their weight, yet rarely get the attention they deserve. As Garrett Dimon points out in this exploration of best practice, that’s a shame, because they, your users, your app, and your company deserve better.
Ready to write a professional article? Make sure your submission is the best it can be! ALA editor Brandon Gregory gives some advice on common pitfalls the editorial team sees in article submissions, including advice for picking your topic, writing intros, and adding authority to your ideas.
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!
Putting the right information in the right place to best support user (and company) goals requires carefully targeted content and good information architecture (IA) … and definitely no FAQs! However attractive the FAQ “solution” might seem at times, using it makes information hard to find, access and maintain, and generally hinders task completion. Discussing the limitations of—and alternatives to—FAQs, Lisa Wright is on a mission to banish them forever, or at the very least make them more effective if you have to include them.