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UX

A 8-post collection

It’s 2016 already, how are websites still screwing up these user experiences?!

We’re a few days into the new year and I’m sick of it already. This is fundamental web usability 101 stuff that plagues us all and makes our online life that much more painful than it needs to be. None of these practices – none of them – is ever met with “Oh how nice, this site is doing that thing”. Every one of these is absolutely driving the web into a dismal abyss of frustration and much ranting by all. And before anyone retorts with “Oh you can just install this do-whacky plugin which rewrites the page or changes the behaviour”, no, that’s entirely not the point. Not only...

10 lessons for uncultured web developers

Who likes being treated like they’re in a minority group? Unless it means you’re in that exclusive group of playboy (or girl) billionaires, “minority group” often ends up with you being unfairly discriminated against because you don’t represent the perceived majority. As with social discrimination, technology discrimination is frequently the product of ignorance; people often don’t understand the impact of their choices. What a lot of this boils down to is culture, or more specifically, lack of cultural awareness. I’m talking about making assumptions based on what a developer may personally hold to be true but in the broader global context is incorrect and often marginalises their audience....

Beyond YSlow - Squeeeezing out website network performance

I’ve had a lot of conversations with folks recently about web app performance. Often these conversations have been around the assertion that a content distribution network (here forth referred to as a CDN), is something you need to deploy early on in the optimisation process of a website. Personally, I see a CDN as a last resort; it’s what you turn to when all other performance tuning alternatives have been exhausted and you need to eke out that last little bit of latency by moving the content closer to the audience. It’s not a replacement for good website optimisation, it’s an enhancement. One of the main problems with a CDN is simply...

A lesson in usability anti-patterns from Virgin Blue

Let me start this post by acknowledging that firstly, I screwed up and that secondly, Virgin Blue were very helpful after the aforementioned screw up. But they’ve still got a major usability issue and it’s one we website folks often face: defaults. Would you like fries with that? The problem with booking airline flights is that they’re always trying to upsize you. Would you like to pay for baggage (remember when that used to be free)?  Would you like to choose your seat (and pay for the privilege)? Would you like to offset your carbon footprint (yeah, right…)? Would you like to hire a car? Would you like accommodation at your destination?...

Birth of a UX – ASafaWeb gets an identity part 3

Let me preface everything I’m about to write by saying this: I am not a designer. I enjoy design, but I tend to hack away at it a bit. Actually I’ve gone a bit to and from in my career moving from pure code roles to front end roles to web roles where you kind of need a bit of everything, and that’s probably where I’m most comfortable now. So treat everything that followers as the designer-by-default comments of a developer :) Fixed or variable No, not interest rates, web page layouts. Somewhere in the design process you need to make a call on whether you fix the width of the page at...

Secret iOS business; what you don’t know about your apps

In the beginning, there was the web and you accessed it though the browser and all was good. Stuff didn’t download until you clicked on something; you expected cookies to be tracking you and you always knew if HTTPS was being used. In general, the casual observer had a pretty good idea of what was going on between the client and the server. Not so in the mobile app world of today. These days, there’s this great big fat abstraction layer on top of everything that keeps you pretty well disconnected from what’s actually going on. Thing is, it’s a trivial task to see what’s going on underneath, you just...

Birth of a UX – ASafaWeb gets an identity part 2

Back in part 1 of Birth of a UX I talked about identifying styles that I liked, the head start the default MVC 3 template gives you, the eternal battle of Photoshop first versus CSS first, CSS resets then actually making a start on styling one central element of ASafaWeb and making it all play nice across browsers. And that was it – phew! This time around it’s about debugging the markup, building the nav and then completely changing my mind about CSS resets. Well perhaps not completely, but rather understanding a little bit more about what “reset” really means and instead coming at it from a different angle by using a “normalisation” approach...

Birth of a UX – ASafaWeb gets an identity part 1

With the private beta testing of ASafaWeb having gone quite nicely and a good whack of time then dedicated to both fixing stuff and implementing new features, it’s time to do something about this ugly duckling. I truly believe that the user experience is an absolutely fundamental factor in the success of a site and it really deserves some serious attention so rather than just hack it out, I’m going to approach it quite methodically and write about it as I go. Here’s the story of ASafaWeb’s emergence from UX mediocrity to what will hopefully become a cohesive, engaging design. I know what I like A fair bit of work had already...