Developing Empathy

Everyone talks a lot about empathy, but distilling that theory-driven talk into practices for our day-to-day work can seem daunting. Susan Robertson shows how she’s been able to practice empathy for users as a developer.

Designing for Non-Native Speakers

Half of all web pages are in English, but only about 28 percent of people using the internet speak English as a first language. Fortunately, designing for non-native English speakers doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. Senongo Akpem shares three straightforward strategies for making your sites and apps more usable for non-native speakers.

Feedback Phases and Personas

You want feedback in the early stages of any project, but how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of it? Anthony Colangelo recommends a five-stage feedback process to gather input from unique feedback personas every step of the way.

The Homepage Exception

Structured, automatic systems are great at managing content efficiently—but not so great at accommodating human changes in that content. On the other hand, free-for-all WYSIWYGs lead to inconsistency and breakdowns. Stakeholders and content administrators need flexibility and control, especially where the all-important homepage is concerned. What’s a website to do? Johanna Bates suggests embracing a people-friendly homepage solution within our robot-driven architectures.

Approaching Content Strategy for Personalized Websites

Experience management systems are making it easier than ever to customize content for your visitors—but are you using your newfound personalizing powers for good (or for creepy)? Colin Eagan shows that personalization can be done, thoughtfully, using the same tools you would apply to any content strategy conundrum: by asking why, being deliberate, and putting users first.

Building Nonlinear Narratives for the Web

The web operates in ways that can conflict with our traditional view of what a “story” is. Content is chunked, mixed, and spread across channels, devices, and formats. How do we understand story lines, characters, interactions, and the role of the audience, given this information sprawl? Cue nonlinear narratives—Senongo Akpem guides us past basic “scrolly-telling” to immersive, sometimes surprising experiences.

What Really Matters: Focusing on Top Tasks

Every piece of web content is important—or so every stakeholder insists. But what happens when dozens, even hundreds, of different tasks battle for space on your homepage and in your navigation? It’s time to make some hard choices about what does and doesn’t belong. Gerry McGovern demonstrates how to zero in on the tasks that matter most to your users.

WAI-finding with ARIA Landmark Roles

Between the intricacies of documentation and the risk of wielding too much power over the browser, WAI-ARIA can be daunting. For the dev uncertain on how to fold accessibility best practices into their daily workflow, Lyza Gardner sets out to summarize one category of roles—the landmark roles. They help user agents map out the territories on a page so the user can navigate them with greater ease, and they’re a great place to start getting familiar with ARIA’s part in assistive technology.

Stopping the Infighting About Digital Standards

Organizations that struggle with their digital presence often do so because they haven’t established proper governance. But good governance is worth pursuing: clear policies and processes can answer questions, empower teams, and enable web strategies to shine. In this excerpt from Chapter 5 of Managing Chaos, Lisa Welchman explains the importance of digital standards—what they are, why they matter for governance, and how to start documenting them for your stakeholders.

A New Way to Listen

Empathy can have an enormous impact on how we work. By learning to better understand others—what they think, how they feel, what guides their decisions and behaviors—we add balance, clarity, and depth to our business practices. In this excerpt from Chapter 4 of Practical Empathy, Indi Young explains how listening intently can lay the groundwork for developing empathy.