Feb 242014
 

I previously referenced an article in this blog on CSS regions which are a way of controlling the flow of content in a specified order via   containing block elements a.k.a. CSS regions. This allows for artificially (if you will) controlling content flow vs a more organic approach using native CSS3 multi-column layouts.  The purpose of CSS regions is to more precisely control content flow in responsive designs.

I suggest reading both articles for an excellent point counterpoint perspective. The implications impact semantic markup and responsive design. The author of this article is sympathetic to the concept of CSS regions while pointing out real problems with implementation.

CSS Regions Considered Harmful ∙ An A List Apart Blog Post.

Feb 142014
 

This article correlates the adult learning experience with an at large user experience by looking beyond curriculum design and considering all aspects of learning. The author models his concept on Jesse James Garrett’s Elements of User Experience. As a web and technology instructor I greatly appreciate the merit of this approach.

Designing learning experiences must be treated in the same way as designing any sort of user experience. Learners, just like users, have needs that can only be solved through proper research, design, validation, and iteration.

Anyone involved in adult learning should step outside the limiting boundaries of curriculum design in order to account for the learner’s entire experience. By only focusing on content, we are missing out and what actually makes up a person’s reality, including the environment in which they’re learning in, and their lives before and after the learning experience.

Elements of Learning Experience Design « Boxes and Arrows.

Feb 112014
 

What a brilliant idea! Deliver an online course to a learner’s inbox one lesson at a time. At the end of each lesson simply click a link to trigger delivery of subsequent lessons. If learners lose track or interest you can trigger occasional reminders and you can even tie in ecommerce if you want to charge for your course

This can all be done using MailChimp. The author walks you through the MailChimp configuration process step-by-step which really amounts to calling up integrated event triggers.

How To Create A Self-Paced Email Course | Smashing Magazine.

Feb 112014
 

Here’s a handy set of references on using the style panel in Dreamweaver from version 8 through CS6. Functionality across versions is similar. This is a CSS tutorial using Dreamweaver as the development tool.

Feb 052014
 

I’ve been having fun putting up screencast tutorials for the courses I teach using responsive video that resizes with the viewport. The only problem is distortion on resize: quality not aspect ratio. The trick with this type of screencast is that viewers are usually working on tasks while viewing so screen space is limited. Not everyone has the benefit of multiple monitors, therefore, you really need flexible media that retains quality on resize. Chris Coyer offers up some creative solutions in his post that should address the problem. I’ll do an update as soon as I give them a try.

Rundown of Handling Flexible Media | CSS-Tricks.

Jan 302014
 

A concise overview on designing elements for accessibility that includes those using assistive technologies as well as touch screens and small devices, which present unique considerations. For example, hover works great for mouse interactions but not well for screen reader and touch screens. So what are your options in those circumstances? Read the article tips and techniques.

Designing for Easy Interaction · An A List Apart Article.

Jan 282014
 

This is a really interesting article on changing jobs or roles in your career. The author expounds on his own experience in moving from designer to developer and what he discovered along the way. Key points are motivation and how to manage “changing lanes” with others in your organization. He also explores generalist knowledge and subject matter expertise and the context of their importance.

Changing Lanes « Boxes and Arrows.

Jan 162014
 

Content editing is critical to the online success of any business. It’s responsible in large part for clarity in branding and task completion as well as usability and SEO. That’s because when looking at editing in the big picture it covers five broad areas according to the author.

  1. Substantive Editing
  2. Copyediting
  3. Fact-Checking
  4. SEO
  5. Proofreading

Effective editing has implications for all aspects of your content. It’s more than just proofreading for corrections and minor tweaks. In terms of SEO here’s what Google has to say about content in it’s quality guidelines.

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  • Don’t deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

Read the complete article for detailed information and be sure to check out the one on Confused Business Words and Phrases which is referenced and also linked below so you won’t miss it.

Editing Tips For Business Web Content | Smashing Magazine.

Commonly Confused Business Words and Phrases.

Jan 132014
 

We’ve all arrived at search results pages where no results are found. If handled poorly these pages can harm your website’s goodwill, and if handled well they can increase site use by offering your visitors alternative suggestions and options. The author provides good examples and tips on best practices.

3 Guidelines for Search Engine "No Results" Pages.

Jan 132014
 

Nielsen distinguishes between intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load, and as implied by the label, the latter should be reduced on your pages so your visitors focus on the tasks and information at hand. Tips are offered on how this can be achieved. The article is a very short but important reminder on obvious ways to increase your website usability.

Minimize Cognitive Load to Maximize Usability | Nielsen Norman Group.