Accessibility Whack-A-Mole

“How do we deal with accessibility needs for which there are no definitive answers?” asks Eleanor Ratliff. Sometimes we arrive at a fix that helps one group of people only to find that our solution undermines another group’s experience. Through the prism of typeface choice, Ratliff relates how she and her team tackled the problem of accessibility whack-a-mole for a rebranding project.

Task Performance Indicator: A Management Metric for Customer Experience

Measuring user experience can seem like a vague, touchy-feely process with amorphous results. Where’s the value? Managers can’t always get their arms around concepts like “better” or “simpler” or “faster.” Gerry McGovern says that’s why it’s important to have a tool like the Task Performance Indicator, which gives reliable, actionable metrics that can be revisited over time.

Why We Should All Be Data Literate

Design to the data. That’s the mantra of modern, research-driven web designers. But blindly accepting statistics and studies at face value is delusional at best, irresponsible at worst. Former journalist and current design specialist Dan Turner says be a skeptic. And don’t let fear of math, or innumeracy, stop you from running the numbers. Unexamined data can lead to costly mistakes. (Hint: Tripling your page views doesn’t mean much if you started with one visitor.)

Webfonts on the Prairie

Richard Fink first wrote about webfonts for A List Apart in 2010. Back then, those of us making the web were itching to break away from so-called “web-safe” fonts. And break away we did: by 2016, roughly 60 percent of sites were reportedly using webfonts, up from just two percent in 2011. Webfonts and, by extension, web typography, have blossomed. So surely no one would argue for a return to system fonts, right? Wrong. This article teases apart the arguments for and against.

Why Aren’t You Asking Questions?

As a designer, your job is to understand your client’s needs. Listening to what they tell you is a good place to start, but it doesn’t end there. You gain much more insight by asking the right questions. Of course, it also helps to ask the right people and ask in the right way. Janice Gervais offers some tips to turn you into a better designer/detective.

Practical SVG

“Sizing svg is more complicated than sizing an img,” writes Chris Coyier in this excerpt from his new A Book Apart title Practical SVG. But, he continues, it’s complicated in a good way—it gives us more control and opens up some interesting new possibilities. Read on.

Adapting to Input

The rise of mobile devices made us confront the reality that we can’t control the size of the viewport, and we adapted. Now it’s time to face up to another reality: web input modes are proliferating and we have no control over which ones a user has and prefers. Seasoned developer Jason Grigsby has some advice on adapting to the way the web is now.

The Rich (Typefaces) Get Richer

Type on the web has come a long way since the beginning of the decade. We now have literally thousands of fonts at our disposal to use on our sites. But the same faces—the Futuras, the Gothams, the Proxima Novas—crop up everywhere. Jeremiah Shoaf encourages us to break out of our cognitive ruts and explore the wealth of typographic diversity at our fingertips.

Never Show A Design You Haven’t Tested On Users

User testing doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming—and it should never be skipped entirely if you don’t have “permission” to do it. Injecting real feedback early and often affects how we design our work, communicate, and even present concepts to the client. Testing should be a habit, even when it doesn’t seem possible. It just requires a little ingenuity.

Designing the Conversational UI

In the second of a two-part series, Matty Mariansky turns to the practical aspects of designing conversational interfaces. He discusses some of the challenges that he and his team encountered along the way and offers guidelines for translating specific design patterns into a conversational form. These guidelines are loose principles rather than hard-and-fast rules; best practices for designing conversations will form, break, and form again. It’s an exciting time to be a pioneer.