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In one sense, that is just a reflection of how poorly we understand and implement accessibility in the rest of the world around us. In another sense, it is both devastating and ridiculous that we can invent glorious new digital things that are simply not usable by people who may have one or more disabilities. You could say that the web actually deals with accessibility better than the rest of the world. We, or at least the W3C, have built a set of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that have evolved from a limited checklist (WCAG 1.0) to a highly detailed set of statements that define both the principles of accessibility and how they can be implemented (WCAG 2.0). Yet that's not enough. We still need speakers at web conferences to address accessibility directly, such as at Respond 17 where several talks are accessibility-specific, and we still have to push web professionals to take accessibility into account in all of their work. It stumps me how in five years or so Responsive Web Design went from being a good idea to so ingrained that we can just about stop using the word "responsive" because all web design simply must be responsive, while accessibility still struggles to be understood let alone implemented as a matter of course. Earlier this year, a working draft was released by the W3C of WCAG 2.1, which aims to take into account recent developments in the web world, and the way people access the web. We asked our Managing Editor, Ricky Onsman - whose work with people with disabilities goes back to the 80s when he managed a purpose-specific information service in Sydney - to prepare an article for Scroll magazine that gives us an idea of what WCAG 2.1 has in store.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

By Ricky Onsman

On the last day of February this year, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released a First Public Working Draft of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Reaction from accessibility advocates was immediate and clear.
WCAG 2.1 — It’s here! After much deliberation and fine-tuning, the highly-anticipated first draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 has been released for public comment.”

Intopia: https://medium.com/@intopia/wcag-2-1-its-here-70abeca88b2f

WCAG 2.0 was released in 2008. Since then, much has changed.
“The last time guidelines for accessible web content were published by the World Wide Web Consortium, many of our readers were likely using flip phones or early talking Nokia devices. The next version will address many of the advancements in technology which have been released over the past few years including mobile apps and touch screen devices.”

Blind Bargains: https://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=16937

The W3C said in a blog post that their Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG) had been
“Working very hard looking at how to improve WCAG 2.0! To successfully iterate such a broad and deep standard has not been easy. There has been extensive research, discussion and debate within the task forces and the wider working group in order to better understand the interconnectedness and relationships between diverse and sometimes competing user requirements as we develop new success criteria. This extensive work has resulted in the development of around 60 new success criteria, of which 28 are now included in this draft, to be used as measures of conformance to the standard.”

W3C blog: https://www.w3.org/blog/2017/02/wcag21-fpwd/

While 28 new Success Criteria have been included in the draft, the Web Accessibility Initiative of the W3C advised that
“This first draft includes 28 new Success Criteria, three of which have been formally accepted by the Working Group and the remainder included as proposals to provide an opportunity for early feedback.”

WAI: https://www.w3.org/WAI/

That feedback had to be submitted by 31 March, after which the Working Draft would undergo more discussion and revision
“In addition to refining the accepted and proposed Success Criteria included in the draft, the Working Group will continue to review additional proposals which could appear formally in a future version. Through the course of the year, the AG WG plans to process the remaining success criteria along with the input we gather from the public. The group will then produce a semi-final version towards the end of this year …“

W3C blog: https://www.w3.org/blog/2017/02/wcag21-fpwd/

The W3C is scheduled to formally adopt WCAG 2.1 as a recommended standard by mid-2018. The work will then be used as a basis to start determining the requirements for Project ‘Silver’ (a codename for the third iteration of accessibility guidelines).

Intopia: https://medium.com/@intopia/wcag-2-1-its-here-70abeca88b2f

“Silver”?
“At the CSUN 2017 conference, Shawn Lauriat of Google and I [ Jeanne Spellman ] presented on the work being done in the W3C WCAG task force working on this next major upgrade of WCAG – still to be named.  Provisionally we are calling it Silver, because Accessibility Guidelines = AG = Ag, the chemical symbol for Silver.”

The Paciello Group: https://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2017/03/slides-csun17-what-comes-after-wcag-2-1/

So, that’s the process. But why do we need WCAG 2.1? And what are the new Success Criteria?
“The first paragraph of the WCAG 2.1 abstract answers the first question, and it’s very much in line with what has been called for in recent years – a greater inclusion of cognitive-related disability support and specific guidance on a range of devices including the specific naming of mobiles and tablets. To quote the abstract: “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these. These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general. The last point is a particularly good addition.  It’s often argued that accessibility is not just helpful to people with disabilities, but in fact helpful to everyone, and it’s great to see that point made in the draft.”

http://hollier.info/wcag21draft/

That was Dr Scott Hollier, one of Australia’s leading experts on digital accessibility, and he’s right to emphasise that last sentence. It is an increasing – albeit unnecessarily hard-won – understanding that making web content accessible is good for everybody. It’s good to see that in print, even conditionally. Let’s take a look at the three Success Criteria that have already been approved. Note that they can and may still be changed based on feedback and reviews. Dr Hollier again:
“There are currently three SC that have been approved by the AG WG.  They are: 1.4.11 Resize content (Level A): Content can be resized to 400% without loss of content or functionality, and without requiring two-dimensional scrolling except for parts of the content where fixed spatial layout is necessary to use or meaning 1.4.12 Graphics Contrast (Level AA): The visual presentation of graphical objects that are essential for understanding the content or functionality have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 against the adjacent color(s), except for the following:
  • Thicker
  • Sensory
  • Logotypes
  • Essential
2.2.8 Interruptions (minimum) (Level AA): There is an easily available mechanism to postpone and suppress interruptions and changes in content unless they are initiated by the user or involve an emergency. The first of these takes into account a common issue on mobiles whereby making content bigger has a habit of breaking the website as even now there’s an assumption that people are viewing websites on desktops with large screens.  With responsive design not being around much in 2008 it’s great to see an SC highlighting the need to ensure that if text is increased it won’t break things. It also addresses the presence of unwieldy scroll bars which become particularly challenging if you are using screen magnification tools on a mobile device. Graphics contrast is also a great addition, clarifying a long-standing issue with WCAG 2.0 in that the 4.5:1 Level AA contrast is quite clear, but how it specifically relates to graphics is not.  This is now addressed, along with important exceptions such as logos for images that have to have specific colours otherwise content is lost.  My only concern relates to the ‘essential’ point which could be a loophole for people to put anything they like on a website arguing the colours have to be that way, but perhaps this will be further clarified during the review process. The final point is one for which I cheer.  With ARIA support becoming more common and a greater ability for developers to take charge of assistive technologies, there’s a lot of ways the process of assistive technology such as a screen reader can be interrupted.  This SC is a logical progression of existing SC that relate to auto-updates and I hope this remains largely unchanged.”

http://hollier.info/wcag21draft/

That gives you a pretty good idea of the kinds of issues being addressed by the new Success Criteria. To sum up, here are a few key points about WCAG 2.1. 1. WCAG 2.1 does not replace WCAG 2.0. 2. There are no changes to existing Success Criteria. 3. WCAG 2.1 extends WCAG 2.0 it by proposing 28 new, additional Success Criteria for feedback and review. 4. Three of the new Success Criteria have been formally approved, but are still subject to change based on feedback and review. 5. The other 25 proposed Success Criteria will be reviewed during the course of 2017, resulting in possible approval and formal adoption by mid-2018. 6. The proposed new Success Criteria better acknowledge accessibility considerations:
  •      + associated with mobile devices, including small screens and touch interfaces
  •      + for people with cognitive or learning disabilities
  •      + for people with low vision
7. There are another 32 new Success Criteria being considered by various Working Group task forces but these do not yet meet requirements for public review. Full details of the W3C First Public Working Draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 can be found at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/.    " ["post_title"]=> string(64) "Will WCAG 2.1 Make Accessibility More Accessible? - Ricky Onsman" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "making-accessibility-accessible" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-27 13:14:08" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-27 02:14:08" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7353" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#948 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7336) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-26 10:00:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-25 23:00:32" ["post_content"]=> string(3378) "Chris WrightA hallmark of the relatively short history of web design and development has been the often very creative use of CSS elements meant to do one thing but made to serve some other purpose entirely. Some might find that surprising, given that this has all been invented fairly recently for specifically to design and build websites, but the reality is that CSS was always going to need to evolve as we go along. Back at Respond 16, Chris Wright addressed one of these situations, namely using media queries to adapt components to the available space - necessary for a responsive site. Chris' talk focused on the prospect of using element queries instead: very interesting stuff and worth 25 minutes of your time.    

Got your ticket for 2017 yet?

For Respond 17, we've put together a truly remarkable two-day program of international and local speakers digging into front end design and development, that we're taking in full to Sydney (4-5 May) and Melbourne (8-9 May), with a special trip to Brisbane as well (11 May). Come and join us!  

Want more?

Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list to keep up with everything happening at Web Directions. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of Scroll magazine.
" ["post_title"]=> string(77) "Video Ristretto: Components Without Screen-based Media Queries - Chris Wright" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(74) "video-ristretto-components-without-screen-based-media-queries-chris-wright" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-26 10:50:21" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-25 23:50:21" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7336" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#949 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7328) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-24 17:43:27" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-24 06:43:27" ["post_content"]=> string(5065) "As is often the case, our next major event - Respond 17 - is not only a two-day conference, but also has a third day devoted to a Masterclass workshop with Vitaly Friedman (in Brisbane, we'll present only the workshop). Our roster of past Masterclass workshop leaders reads like an album of who's who in web design over the last decade, and Vitaly represents another great page in that album. Given that his session is on packing all these great responsive design tools and techniques into a cohesive and comprehensive toolkit, you should give serious thought to coming along. For perspective, here's our Wrap account of the Respond 16 Masterclass led by Ethan Marcotte and Karen McGrane. This was written by Simon Vrachliotis, a first time web conference attendee who decided to join the Masterclass at the last minute.

Responsive Design: Content, Code, Collaboration

presented by Ethan Marcotte and Karen McGrane

Ethan Marcotte and Karen McGrane

Described by Simon Vrachliotis

I'm at Darling Harbour, on a glorious autumn Sydney Wednesday morning, and the anticipation is high. I'm about to step into a responsive web design workshop hosted by none other than Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte. Respond 16 is my first major conference, and the idea of even being in a room with these people feels almost surreal. My co-worker Matt is also attending. We got our tickets at the last minute, and the prospect of spending an entire day sponging knowledge from two iconic industry leaders has us pretty excited. Ethan Marcotte kicks thing off with the first presentation. This guy doesn't just give a talk, he gives a performance. Each word, spoken with a slow-paced, calm voice, seems carefully designed. The long pauses allow my mind to process it all, the spikes of humour perfectly break up the intensity. The room is lapping it up and soaking it in. Ethan is a master at the art of public speaking, and has clearly put a lot of effort into putting together top quality content.
"The only thing we can reliably know is the size of the browser window."
Karen McGrane is up next. Her style is very different. Ethan's philosophical, almost poetic performance gives way to some sharp, provocative, cold hard facts about the wide gap that sits between responsive web design and the corporate/enterprise world. Slide after slide, Karen brings us infographics that carry undeniable business value, the sort of stuff you can print and show a CEO to give you instant leverage when suggesting a responsive web design strategy. Karen does a great job at calling out situations with which most of us have been familiar throughout our careers. She gives us ammunition for the next time such situations occur.
"Mobile first is about designing for focus."
We then undertook a group exercise where content hierarchy had to be structured on a stream of post-it notes stacking on top of each other. This had the participants talking to each other, and some interesting discussions were sparked among the teams. It felt like the workshop had kicked in and there would be more of this. However, after the groups regained their sitting spots, the day went back to listening to Karen and Ethan and there were no more workshop activities. Between them, the two presenters made convincing cases for using fluid layout and adaptive design, demonstrated relevant techniques, showed how to build a business case for responsive design - and did this with clarity, insight and humour. If I could have improved anything, it would have been having more hands-on exercises and do-it-yourself activities throughout the day. We were told we could bring our laptops, but never really needed to use them. The quality of the information delivered was extremely high. We all came away with a much better understanding of designing to suit content delivered on an unpredictable range of devices. Karen and Ethan clearly have extensive experience and skill in both responsive web design and public speaking. Attending their workshop was a privilege. Respond 16: Ethan Marcotte and Karen McGrane

Resources

@RWD website

Tweets

Respond 16: Ethan Marcotte and Karen McGrane Respond 16: Ethan Marcotte and Karen McGrane " ["post_title"]=> string(58) "Respond 16: Masterclass - Ethan Marcotte and Karen McGrane" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(51) "respond-16-masterclass-ethan-marcotte-karen-mcgrane" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-24 17:43:27" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-24 06:43:27" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7328" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#950 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7316) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-24 13:12:23" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-24 02:12:23" ["post_content"]=> string(7236) "This is the tale of two products. Physical things that do something rather similar. Each prepares a beverage – one hot, one cold – that are consumed on a enormous scale all over the planet. The drinks themselves have been consumed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But each of the devices has been developed within the last 15 years. One was invented by a man in his 60s. He's been an old fashioned inventor for decades, inventing simple, widely known and popular plastic based toys (one of which holds the record for the object thrown furthest by a human on earth*), and, quite late in life by most people's standards, created this device to meet a specific need for which he found no exact equivalent available, although there are countless devices that exist to do the job. It is made of plastic, requires no power, and has no internet connection. He had no prior experience with this beverage other than as a consumer of it. His modest company (by internet standards) funded and produced this device, and you can buy them for less than $50, all round the world. Every few months (or even years, depending) it requires you to purchase a perishable component for about $5. You buy the raw product needed to make the drink from any of thousands, potentially millions, of suppliers worldwide. The other product was developed by a startup that raised $120 million in venture capital from top tier investors. The founder had enormous prior success selling this beverage in bottled form. The device sells for $400 (originally $700) and uses a power source and an internet connection so you can operate it from your phone. You must purchase the raw product ($4 to $10 per serve) to turn into the drink from the company, and only from the company. Although it turns out you could use the raw product to create the drink without even using the device! One of these devices has engendered an enormous following of fans, from those who use it occasionally at home to some of the most experienced food and beverage professionals in the world. There are global competitions to use this device to produce the best possible beverage. People hack it to create variations on its original purpose. There are video based paeans to it online. It is truly a phenomenon. The other is quickly becoming an object of outright ridicule. It shuts itself down if it detects you using it for any other purpose than consuming the expensive raw material you purchase from its manufacturer. Or if that material goes out of date. Which of these two kinds of product are you trying to build? One that creates a passionate community who will take your creation places no-one, least of all you, imagined? Or one that is a glossy, over 'designed', needlessly tech-laden trojan horse for your business model?

The Reveal

Two Products: AeroPress versus Juicero image credits Aerobie and Wired Magazine   Of course, the first device is the AeroPress, and the second is the Juicero. I'm a huge fan of the AeroPress, and have written about it before. I use it every day. Coffee is at the heart of my life. I've made it for a living, and consumed it in myriad forms for well over half my life. On some of my most difficult days it's been a source of profound comfort, and I've had some of the best conversations of my life, personal and professional, over a coffee. I invited the AeroPress inventor, Alan Adler, to speak at one of our events but he's not a great traveller and Australia was a bridge too far. His daughter looks after this sort of thing. A company with such impact being run by a small family (I am from a similar background) really says something to me. Now, the plural of anecdote may (or may not) be data, but "AeroPress versus Juicero", from the outside, tells a story that is in many ways what we are supposed to naively believe. Juicero convinced the likes VCs of GV and KPCB to invest, and garnered all kinds of press. Now, that has turned into not very good press. As in really terrible, product destroying press. Meanwhile, imagine the sort of advice the army of advisors and VCs would love to dish out to Aerobie:
  • * 500 additional filters priced not at 1 cent each, but 10 cents
  • * special pods of pre-prepared coffee (required) to ensure the best possible quality and experience (AKA a post sale revenue stream)
  • * on-board electronics to ensure the freshest and best quality drinks and remind you to replace the exclusive paper filters (and force you to use only Aerobie consumables)
  • * internet connectivity to share your coffee experience with your friends" "John just made a coffee!" (and shut down the device if non-standard pods or filters are detected - hmm, better up their price)
Instead, here's how Aerobie responded to an after-market metal filter (which eats into that $5 a year paper filter sale they make).
There are many companies, both domestic and foreign, that manufacture filters designed for use in the AeroPress coffee maker made of other materials, particularly metal. We do not object to these other companies selling their filters but none of them can legally use our AeroPress trademark.
Alan Adler set out to make a single cup coffee maker, since that's what he needed but couldn't find anywhere. Turns out he created a novel, inexpensive way to make about as good a cup of coffee can be made. And then, rather than stand in the way of people who wanted to take this simple amazing thing and do more with it (for example, start a competition for the best coffee made with it), he and his company embraced that. Instead of looking to own the aftermarket space, Aerobie is happy to let others fill that gap. And instead of taking their captive audience, who I'm pretty sure would be very happy to pay more than $5 for hundreds of paper filters, they charge a ludicrously small amount (IMO) for a vital component to my coffee making. Juicero isn't really a device for extracting a great drink from fruit and vegetables, it's a device for extracting money from customers. AeroPress is a device that - largely by accident but also due to the values of its inventor - is much, much more than just the best coffee maker you'll find. There have to be some lessons in that. World Record Throw at Fort Funston Set with Aerobie Ring" ["post_title"]=> string(22) "A Tale of Two Products" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(22) "a-tale-of-two-products" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-24 13:13:49" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-24 02:13:49" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7316" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "3" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#951 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7303) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-21 10:30:46" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-20 23:30:46" ["post_content"]=> string(3365) "Russ WeakleyOne of the things we really like about staging conferences like Respond is that we can bring to Australia experts from around the world. Perhaps even better than that is when we can feature locals who are themselves world class in their fields. When it comes to CSS, we're fortunate to have a thinker, practitioner and educator at that level in Russ Weakley. Add to that Russ's understanding and ability to use CSS to build truly accessible web experiences, and his capacity and willingness to share his skill with as many web practitioners as possible, and we're talking not just world class, but world leading. And it doesn't hurt that he can be seriously funny. Here's a tadge under an hour of Russ at Respond 16. Well worth your time.    

Got your ticket for 2017 yet?

For Respond 17, we've put together a truly remarkable two-day program of international and local speakers digging into front end design and development, that we're taking in full to Sydney (4-5 May) and Melbourne (8-9 May), with a special trip to Brisbane as well (11 May). Come and join us!  

Want more?

Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list to keep up with everything happening at Web Directions. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of Scroll magazine.
" ["post_title"]=> string(82) "Video of the Week: Building Accessible Web Components Without Tears - Russ Weakley" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(79) "video-of-the-week-building-accessible-web-components-without-tears-russ-weakley" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-21 00:36:38" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-20 13:36:38" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7303" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#952 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7225) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-21 10:00:28" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-20 23:00:28" ["post_content"]=> string(4819) "Some of us remember Clippy, Microsoft's assistant in Office, now much derided as an interfering pain that never seemed to help. clippy in action And for years we've been seeing chat boxes on home pages of sites we visit, but how often have we ever used them? And how many horror stories have we heard about them going wrong? So why do bots seem to be all the rage? For quite some time, I've asked this question incredulously, skeptical that conversational approaches to user interfaces will ever be of much value. But in the last few months, I've started to come around to the idea that a conversational approach to user interfaces will increasingly have a place in a future of computing that will not always be screen-centric, whether text or voice based (such as Alexa, Amazon's in-home voice based assistant) or as a way of connecting with a human or driven by machine intelligence. chatbots going wrong, an infinite loop of question and answer These are very early days, despite earlier false starts like Clippy, and even Siri. Advances in speech-to-text algorithms (already very accurate for many use cases), in Natural Language Processing, and other machine learning techniques for making sense of free form text, available through easy and inexpensive to use APIs from the likes of IBM's Watson, AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Azure, alongside many startups, mean that exploring and experimenting are low cost and low risk, but with a potentially very high upside. One area that is looking with considerable interest at AI based chat technologies is the insurance industry. When a large storm is bearing down on an area, insurance companies know they are about to be hit with a huge number of enquiries. This is the time they must deliver on promises to their customers who've paid premiums for years, perhaps decades: the promise that in their hour of need they'll be there for them. Call centre based enquiry lines scale linearly with the number of people affected. And yet, increasingly, it seems people don't actually want to call, they want to visit a website, or use an app. 'Chat' (the term seems too trivial, and non-serious for applications like reporting a claim to an insurance company) based systems will also only scale with the number of humans able to engage with enquirers. But AI based chatbots (seriously, we need a far better name for these types of experiences - sadly, Conversational UXs will get abbreviated to CUXs and the less said about that, the better), even if they might help triage a relatively small percentage of claims - the simplest, the ones that are least emotionally charged - and escalate the most significant claims - like a family home destroyed - to people as quickly as possible, might save money and make for a better experience both for the person whose claim or enquiry was dealt with promptly by a chatbot, and the person whose claim needed the human touch, who waited less long, and who dealt with someone less under the pressure of time to address a huge and growing backlog of claims. I feel  the intelligent, sensible, sensitive use of technologies that are available today might already improve the customer experience in so many areas of commerce, in government services and elsewhere. In fact, I think it's so interesting and potentially fruitful an area of exploration that we have a whole session at Respond focusing on it. This features Elizabeth Allen from Shopify, which has been exploring and investing extensively in 'conversational commerce'- a term coined by Chris Messina (who also happens to have invented the hashtag, among many other contributions to web technology and practice), and locals Laura Summers and Warwick Cox, who are using conversational approaches to UI in interesting ways. I really do feel we're at the tip of an iceberg here (where's my intelligent agent to point out a terrible cliche when I need it?). Let's see how my prediction plays out a year or two from now. But my advice is at least start exploring. We are, and we'll have a lot more to say about this area in the coming weeks and months." ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Chatbots? Seriously?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(18) "chatbots-seriously" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-21 01:43:38" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-20 14:43:38" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7225" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#953 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7293) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-20 12:48:38" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-20 01:48:38" ["post_content"]=> string(7493) "Mike RiethmullerWe invited some of our Respond 17 speakers to contribute an article on a topic not necessarily directly related to their presentation theme, but that would fit in with the general themes of the conference. Mike Riethmuller, who is presenting on Responsive, Progressive Fluid Typography at Respond, came up with this excellent piece about CSS Grid and its impact on our work.  

Give Yourself Over to CSS Grid

By Mike Riethmuller

Whenever a new feature is added to browsers, I see developers trying to repeat familiar patterns. I'm not the first to say it, but I think very soon we're about to see a lot of developers try to recreate familiar 12 column grid systems with native CSS Grid Layout. Which, by the way, has now landed in the current version of every major browser. Grid is going to allow us to go way beyond what we can do with existing layout options. Unfortunately, before we get there we're going to have to suffer a whole lot of conversations about why Flexbox is a better alternative, and Medium articles with titles like: “How I switched from Bootstrap’s grid to CSS Grid”. We might all know CSS Grid is a unique tool with characteristics that provide for new possibilities, but we're going to make these mistakes anyway. Some of us are even going to get scared and angry about it. You don’t need to look back very far to see how this might happen. Although it’s more widely appreciated today, there were a lot of discussions early on about the merits of Flexbox. Many were quick to suggest that it had performance issues and if you Google “Is Flexbox slow?”, you can still see the remnants of these discussions. With the exception of a few edge-cases and bugs, I don’t think Flexbox was ever slow. At least not in any meaningful way. Any minor bugs were quickly resolved, and browsers continue to optimise their algorithms in favour of modern features. Once we realised it wasn’t slow, all we had left to complain about was its complexity. People said things like:
“I do wish it wasn't quite so terrifyingly complex” -- John Allsopp, 2015.
But let's be kind to John because he put it more mildly than most, and he was not alone in being terrified of Flexbox. Flexbox introduced a wide range of new CSS properties and new terms to our vocabulary, including basis, shrink, grow, flex containers, flex items, align-items and justify-content. All of this at once was daunting and it was a new mindset too. Some of us had trust issues giving up control over the exact height or width of elements, but it turned out this was OK. Grid is also about to introduce a whole lot of new terminology and new ideas such as lines, tracks, fr units, grid areas and grid cells. Luckily, it also builds on some concepts we’ve become familiar with through Flexbox. The idea of grid containers and grid items should make sense, as will the reason for properties like align-items and justify-content. The hardest part will be letting go of ideas about how CSS Grid Layout should work. CSS Grid Layout is not the same as traditional CSS grid systems you might have used and you might be surprised at how much it differs. For example, grid areas can easily span multiple columns and rows. Respond 17: Mike Riethmuller This can be done by defining the start and end positions of a grid item.
.grid-item {
    grid-column-start: 2;
    grid-column-end: 5;
    grid-row-start: 1;
    grid-row-end: 3;
}
CSS Grid layout also offers a number of other ways this could be achieved. One of the most interesting is the grid-template-area property.  This enables us to use template strings to define grid areas on the container.
.grid-container {
    display: grid;
    grid-template-areas: "aside   main   main   aside"
    "aside   main   main   aside"
    "footer  footer  footer  footer";
}
On the grid item we can now assign a template area:
.grid-item {
    grid-area: main;
}
Neither of these examples is similar to traditional grid systems found in libraries like Bootstrap or Susy. To achieve spanning of columns and rows usually requires altering the mark-up, or using complicated positioning hacks. When encountering something new like this it’s easy to get confused and then anxious, and to attribute that to complexity. They may seem complex when you’re try to solve the wrong problems, but when used for their own unique potential, Flexbox or Grid Layout are far simpler than alternatives. I’m not saying that learning Grid Layout will be simple. In general, layout on the web is complicated, but once you’re past the initial learning curve, I think you’ll find that, like Flexbox, CSS Grid is no more complex than the layout methods we cobbled together using floats, containers and clearfix hacks. Those methods we used for so long were not even meant for layout. It’s really exciting that now, for the first time in the 20 year history of CSS, we have options that are deliberately designed to help us solve complicated layout problems. This should make things easier, but learning new stuff is hard. It takes time and can be frustrating. Not only that, when something doesn’t fit within the boundaries of our experience, it’s easy to be disappointed, confused and fall back to solving the same old problems. This process isn't new or surprising. If you watch some of the first TV news broadcasts it’s easy to see the influence of radio in the slow, clear pronunciation of words, or the often redundantly detailed descriptions of locations. This pattern has repeated with the influence of live theatre in early film, and film in animation. In each case, it has taken time and experimentation to fully discover the unique potential of the new media. This holds true for the web as well. It’s easy to see influence of print design embedded not only in our typography and visual design practices but also in the technical architecture and meta language of the web. This is something we do on small scales as well as large. It’s common to carry over perceived limitations from our past experience by falsely assuming that new technologies will work in a similar way, will solve similar problems and will have similar constraints to those we currently experience. I’ve seen this happen with the slow uptake of viewport units, people’s initial attitudes towards calc() and in treating SVG like any standard image format. I’m hopeful that with these experiences we won’t do the same again with Grid Layout. Grid, or any new feature, probably won’t solve your current problems better - it’s the answer to problems you haven’t found yet. I’m not yet sure what unique potential CSS Grid might offer us, but I can’t wait to find out." ["post_title"]=> string(49) "Give Yourself Over to CSS Grid - Mike Riethmuller" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(30) "give-css-grid-mike-riethmuller" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-20 12:48:38" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-20 01:48:38" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7293" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [7]=> object(WP_Post)#954 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7278) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-19 12:13:55" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-19 01:13:55" ["post_content"]=> string(3075) "Matthew KairysThe ‹picture› element supplies a semantic approach to dealing with responsive images on the web, yet Matthew Kairys in his presentation at Respond 16 pointed out how little use is currently made of it. Which is odd when you consider the emphasis on responsive design and the widespread browser support for such a useful element. Take 20 minutes to see how Matthew analyses the current state of ‹picture› play.    

Got your ticket for 2017 yet?

For Respond 17, we've put together a truly remarkable two-day program of international and local speakers digging into front end design and development, that we're taking in full to Sydney (4-5 May) and Melbourne (8-9 May), with a special trip to Brisbane as well (11 May). Come and join us!  

Want more?

Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list to keep up with everything happening at Web Directions. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of Scroll magazine.
" ["post_title"]=> string(49) "Video Ristretto: Picture Perfect - Matthew Kairys" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(61) "respond-16-perfect-designing-responsive-images-matthew-kairys" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-19 12:13:55" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-19 01:13:55" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7278" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [8]=> object(WP_Post)#955 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7208) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-18 12:16:54" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-18 01:16:54" ["post_content"]=> string(3777) "For closer to 20 than 10 years, I've made the argument that the quality of the code of a website (which is relatively easy to assess, compared to any sort of binary application, where code is almost impossible to assess in any meaningful way) - whether it validates, its approach to accessibility, its adoption of good practices and conventions - is an indicator of the overall approach of an organisation to the stuff you can't see. If an airline doesn't really care about getting its most visible technology - its website - right, what's going on with all its other technology? Like, oh I don't know, the technology that allows aeroplanes to travel kilometres above the earth at velocities approaching that of sound, with hundreds of people on board? As usual, very few people listened. But I have young children, so I'm used to that. However, I was reminded of this apparently quaint idea (something many adherents to a standards-based approach to web development would also have argued "back in the day") by an article titled What Web Page Structure Reveals on News Quality posted last week by Frederic Filloux, who writes frequently on the business and technology of the news media.   Imbricated HTML blocks viewed through a scanning electron microscope (CISRO Lab UK -Commons) The news media currently faces many, many challenges. Not least of these is the challenge of discerning the quality of an information source. This is what we might loosely call the "fake news" issue. Fake news is not just the traditional media's problem - it's all of ours, but especially it is a serious problem for Facebook and Google as the primary conduits of information of all kinds into many more than a billion people's lives. Human filtering simply doesn't scale to determining the veracity and trustworthiness of so many sources, so various individuals and groups are working on a project to algorithmically determine the quality and trustworthiness of a news source. Filloux described his project thus:
"The News Quality Scoring Project (NQS) is aimed at finding and quantifying 'signals' that convey content quality. The idea is to build a process that is scalable and largely automated. Incidentally, it will contribute to debunk fake news by 'triangulating' questionable sources."
That, of course, ties into my introductory observations about code quality as a proxy for a deeper sense of quality, using the HTML structure (what we today would call the design patterns) of a page as one indicator - among several others - of the quality of the site itself. It's not hard to find examples of poorly coded and marked up websites that present rubbish content on barely usable webpages. There's almost an instinct that comes into play where you know without even looking that those "gallery" style pages ("see what your favourite TV stars look like now") are going to turn out to be poorly coded. This, in turn, cuts straight to our overall perceptions of quality (terrible) and trustworthiness (none). But what about good design patterns? Can they be useful indicators of site quality? Filloux's project aims to find out." ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Code as a Signal of Quality" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "code-as-a-signal-of-quality" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-18 12:16:54" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-18 01:16:54" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7208" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [9]=> object(WP_Post)#956 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7259) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-18 10:20:26" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-17 23:20:26" ["post_content"]=> string(5665) "Our next extract from the Respond 17 Scroll magazine gives some background to keynote speaker and masterclass workshop leader Vitaly Friedman. As a regular speaker at web conferences, the Smashing Magazine head honcho is obviously a very familiar figure in our industry, but we wanted to find out how he got started and what inspired him to build his Smashing empire. Here's some of what we came up with for Scroll.

Vitaly Friedman

Respond 17: Vitaly Friedman Vitaly Friedman is a very high profile writer, speaker and workshop leader on a range of topics associated with emerging web technology. As co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, Vitaly is very strongly identified with Smashing Magazine, one of the best known online magazines focusing on web design and development. In 10 years, Smashing has grown from a small blog to one of the world’s major publishers of articles by industry experts on a just about any topic associated with web technology. Smashing has evolved in that time to also become a publisher and vendor of books (print and digital), a presenter of conferences and workshops (face-to-face and online) and maintains a list of design / programming job vacancies around the world. There’s no question that Smashing Magazine is now one of the leading avenues of professional development for people in the web industry anywhere in the world. So how did it all come about? In February this year while in Croatia, Vitaly gave a rare and lengthy video interview to local tech events organiser DaFED, in which he opened up about this.
“For me it all started 18 years ago - it makes me feel so old saying that - in 1998 or 99 when I was just trying to figure out what to do with my life. Somebody showed me the internet and that was a big new thing for me. It was really powerful for me to have that feeling that I'm able to publish content for free and make it available to everybody. I was born [in 1985] in Belarus - I grew up in Minsk - and I bought a CD which had Photoshop and Illustrator and other programs for one dollar! Everybody was talking about Photoshop but I started using Image Styler, an application that probably nobody knows because there was only ever one release, and I started using it to create images and then websites. I stuck with that until 2006 - nobody around there was using it but I mastered it, and because it was a really constrained environment it helped me master this medium and understand how to build and create websites. So, that was my start way back in 1998.”
Respond 17: Vitaly Friedman It wasn’t long before young Vitaly fell into publishing.
“I had a football blog which was all about getting scores from different ... not many people know this, but I published 28 or 29 issues, which were designed in Word Art (if that tells anybody anything). It was horribly designed and I had maybe 300-400 people subscribing to it by email, and then eventually I also got a website for it. From that point on I went from focusing on content into web design, then towards freelancing later. I don't know whether that site is still live, I don't think so because it was on free hosting - with lots of ads. It was virtualace.net if anybody wants to look it up.”
In 2000, Vitaly’s family moved to Germany and naturally he came with them.
“This was a really tough time for me because I didn't understand the language. I didn't speak German and I had no money, no friends, no social circle. I literally had to fight - like most kids brought in to a new, different environment. I felt that it was important for me to be independent so I wanted to find a way to earn my own money and not depend on my parents or my brother. I tried very hard to learn the language fast, and after a year I found myself understanding German – not being able to speak it properly, but understanding it – and I was trying to find a way to earn money and so I kind of referred back to the thing I could do and that was building websites. I wasn't a master, I was an amateur at best, but many people were experimenting and playing so I just started trying to do something in this area. I became a freelancer for web design and development.”
Respond 17: Vitaly Friedman   That's the end of this excerpt from Scroll magazine. Come and see Vitaly and the rest of the amazing line-up at Respond 17 in May. " ["post_title"]=> string(42) "Respond 17 Scroll Excerpt: Vitaly Friedman" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(41) "respond-17-scroll-excerpt-vitaly-friedman" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-18 11:17:03" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-18 00:17:03" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7259" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [10]=> object(WP_Post)#957 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7251) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-17 10:00:26" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-16 23:00:26" ["post_content"]=> string(3737) "Peter Wilson's subject at Respond 16 was performance, which sits alongside security as a major factor designers and developers have to take into account on today's web. You may have the most beautiful and useful website in the world, but if it takes too long to load, site visitors are unlikely to stick around to even see it. There are a few factors that make this so, and a few options for addressing it - not least the introduction of HTTP2. Peter's talk updates us on progress toward full implementation of HTTP2, including why it might not be as immediate a solution as hoped for. Here's our Wrap magazine summary.

Performance: HTTP2 in a 1.5 World

Peter Wilson, WordPress Engineer, Human Made

Peter Wilson

Key points

The internet is slow. Pages load slowly and users abandon them. HTTP2 is here to solve all our performance woes. Well, not quite, even on the 5% of websites that enable it, around 50% of traffic uses the older, slower protocol. It’s our job as web developers to account for both. Discover some of the techniques available to developers during this transitional period, the new catches in HTTP2 and - importantly - how to keep your visitors from giving up before your site even loads.
"Amazon discovered it would cost them $1.6 billion in sales annually were their site to slow down for a mere second."
Respond 16: Peter Wilson

Takeaways

From the truncation of the first message sent via a nascent Internet in 1969, performance issue have been with us. Currently, average page weight accessed by desktops and laptops is at 2.3Mb, while mobile pages average 1.2Mb. A typical web page takes up to 15.2 seconds to fully load, and that’s on a desktop with a fast, wired connection. Poor performance costs money. Major web traders lose millions when their web pages load too slowly. HTTP 1.1 requires many data round trips from server to browser and back again, in sequence. HTTP 2 processes multiple browser requests simultaneously, reducing load time. We need to press for HTTP 2 being used on web servers.

Caveats

Server push speeds up loading but can result in re-loading assets already present. It needs to be told to check the browser cache. HTTP 2 has increasing but not universal browser support. Use tools like WebPageTest to find out and address what’s really slowing down your page load. Currently, 90% of web servers still run HTTP 1. Even on servers running HTTP 2, 40% of site visitors still have to use HTTP 1 due to browser support. Techniques that boost performance in HTTP 1 can have the opposite effect in HTTP 2. Ultimately, we still need to consider and address our page weights, how and why we load page assets. Respond 16: Peter Wilson

Resources

@pwcc website slides " ["post_title"]=> string(61) "Respond 16: Performance - HTTP2 in a 1.5 World - Peter Wilson" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(51) "respond-16-performance-http2-1-5-world-peter-wilson" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-16 11:32:09" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-16 00:32:09" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7251" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [11]=> object(WP_Post)#958 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7239) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-14 10:30:30" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-13 23:30:30" ["post_content"]=> string(3160) "Rachel SimpsonAt Respond 16, we were fortunate to bring to Australia Rachel Simpson, UX designer on the Google Chrome team, to present on finding a real balance between usability and security. Rachel's keynote pointed out how poor some of our online security practices have been - and are still - and offered some pragmatic options available to give our users a more secure experience without sacrificing the quality of that experience. I feel we will struggle with this balance for a while yet, and it's well worth revisiting this video of Rachel's talk for some clear perspective.    

Got your ticket for 2017 yet?

For Respond 17, we've put together a truly remarkable two-day program of international and local speakers digging into front end design and development, that we're taking in full to Sydney (4-5 May) and Melbourne (8-9 May), with a special trip to Brisbane as well (11 May). Come and join us!  

Want more?

Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list to keep up with everything happening at Web Directions. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of Scroll magazine.
" ["post_title"]=> string(64) "Video of the Week: Designing Secure Experiences - Rachel Simpson" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(61) "video-of-the-week-designing-secure-experiences-rachel-simpson" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-14 09:03:43" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-13 22:03:43" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7239" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [12]=> object(WP_Post)#959 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7215) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-14 08:30:07" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-13 21:30:07" ["post_content"]=> string(4757) "Things that have crossed our desk recently, and we think are worth crossing yours, too.    

The Power of Experience Mapping

Jared Spool

I think Netflix is one of the most extraordinary companies in the world. From business strategy to devops, UI to front end development, these folks are as good as it gets. I'll write more about them one day, and why I'm so inspired by the company, but in this piece, Jared Spool looks at how at Netflix (but ideally everywhere), everyone is a designer. Everyone (for example, devops worrying about delivering those streams of video) is as responsible for the user experience as the person whose job title is "UX designer". It's caused some controversy, but I think it's right on the money. The article is about much more than just this, so just go read it!

Everyone is a designer. Get over it

Dan Burka

Satirical image of Jared Spool One of our favourite and most popular speakers over the years, Dan Burka amplified Jared Spool's argument in this follow up piece. Dan has played a key design role at Mozilla, Digg, and now as a design partner at GV, Google's VC arm. In this role. he works with hundreds of companies a year to help them with their design challenges.

AI and the Future of Journalism

Soren J Nieminen

AI has so over-promised and under-delivered for so long that I think a lot of folks are under-appreciating its impact, and the opportunities it presents today. I'll have a lot more to say about this in coming weeks and months, but in this piece, Soren J Nieminen summarises many of the findings of the very in depth Associated Press report “How artificial intelligence will impact journalism” (a free download).

Next

Watch this space, we have a lot more around this coming up around this. Including a great session at Respond focusing on conversational UIs.

The Web-Wide World

Mark Pesce

Mark Pesce has keynoted several of our events. He's a good friend, someone who shares our vision and values of what the web is, and its impact on the world. He was at the first ever WWW conference 23 years ago, and spoke to a plenary session of the just finished WWW2017 conference. This is his presentation, which is also a great read. If you care for the Web, share it far and wide.

Creating Usability with Motion: The UX in Motion Manifesto

Issara Willenskomer

We've been on the UI animation bandwagon since before it was an oxcart. Multiple technical and design sessions across a number of years (I even conducted a workshop with Pasquale D'Silva at one of our conferences). For many years, we've been seeing articles, tutorials and presentations on animation for IxD focus on Disney's 12 principles. There's a lot of value to be had in exploring these, but interactive app-like experiences are not animated stories, and so we need to consider our principles in this context. Issara Willenskomer here looks at new principles for animated UX, including value change, cloning and parallax.

Next

Watch Rachel Nabors on the State of the Web Animation at Code 2015 (and she's back at our upcoming Respond conference in Sydney and Melbourne early May). Tim Berners-Lee's original WWW proposal" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "What we're reading: 14 April 2017" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "what-were-reading-14-april-2017" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-14 09:50:08" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-13 22:50:08" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7215" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [13]=> object(WP_Post)#960 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7216) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-13 11:35:57" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-13 00:35:57" ["post_content"]=> string(5357) "Our Scroll magazine Scroll magazine contains considerably more than just profiles of the Respond 17 speakers. We look for different ways to add perspective, context and - ultimately - value to your conference experience. Sketchnotes are a terrific way of summarising conference presentations, using evocative illustrations to emphasise key points and capture some of the flavour of a talk. For Respond 17, we asked one of the best sketchnoters we know to come along and record his impressions. We feel very lucky that Matt Magain said yes. The result of that will be in our post-conference Wrap magazine, but we wanted to introduce you to Matt and his work, so we obtained permission to reproduce a summarised version of an article he wrote for UX Mastery in which he delivered 20 tips for budding sketchnoters. We've extracted a few of Matt's tips here for your reading pleasure. You'll find the rest in Scroll.

Matthew Magain

Sketchnoting 101: How to Create Awesome Visual Notes

Matt Magain will be at Respond 17 in Sydney to sketchnote the conference. In this abridged version of his UX Mastery article, he lists 20 tips for honing your sketchnoting skills.

1. Tool up

While it’s not essential to use an expensive art pen and a trendy moleskine notebook to create beautiful sketchnotes, you don’t want to start off on the back foot. Spend a few bucks on the minimum amount of stationery that gives you the best chance at creating something you’re proud of, but doesn’t weigh you down.

3. Master sketching common objects

It’s useful to have a cache of objects in your repertoire, ready to pull out as needed. In particular, if you attend tech conferences, there are certain words that will crop up time and again (think “ship”, “cloud”, “user”, “link”). Practice visual representations of these words in advance, so you don’t get flustered trying to draw them for the first time in the middle of a talk. Respond 17: Matt Magain

7. Latch onto quotes

Quotes—whether they be key phrases you hear the presenter say, or quotes by other people that the presenter uses in his talk—are often poignant summaries of a topic, and you should listen carefully for them. When you hear one that resonates or beautifully summarises the point being made, jot it down and wrap it in some fancy talking marks or a speech balloon. Respond 17: Matt Magain

10. Curate

It can be tempting to try and capture everything about the presentation. Instead, think of yourself as an art curator whose job it is to sort through the noise, and select a few standout masterpieces to include in your exhibition. Your sketchnote should not serve as a comprehensive reference—it’s a moment in time that reflects the takeaways that you found important.

15. Draw beautiful ampersands

The ampersand is a much-loved character by graphic designers. Depending on the typeface, it can be a simple, understated connector or an elaborate, eccentric statement all of its own. Being able to whip one of these out instead of your usual handwriting can really make a heading stand out. Respond17: Matt Magain

16. Use creative containers

Speech bubbles, thought clouds, sound effect containers, dotted-line rules, double-border rectangles: there are a ton of simple containers that you can add to your sketch to chunk text in a way that is visually interesting. Respond 17: Matt Magain That's the end of this excerpt from Scroll magazine. Come and say hello to Matt and the amazing line-up at Respond 17 in May. Originally published (in considerably more detail) on UX Mastery: http://uxmastery.com/sketchnoting-101-how-to-create-awesome-visual-notes/. Matthew Magain is an author, illustrator, animator, public speaker, small business owner and dad. He is Chief Doodler at Sketch Videos, co-founder of UX Mastery and UXmas, and creator of the children’s book Charlie Weatherburn and the Flying Machine. " ["post_title"]=> string(38) "Respond 17 Scroll Excerpt: Matt Magain" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(37) "respond-17-scroll-excerpt-matt-magain" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-13 11:35:57" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-13 00:35:57" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7216" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [14]=> object(WP_Post)#1313 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7210) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-12 10:00:03" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-11 23:00:03" ["post_content"]=> string(3062) "Michael MifsudMichael Mifsud is a Performance Engineer at 99designs, a core contributor to LibSass, and the Node-Sass project lead. He started the MelbCSS Meetup and is an organizer of CSSConf AU. All of which amply qualifies him to tell us how CSS Variables won't kill off Sass, but can lighten your workload. Which is exactly what Michael did at Respond 16, and that's our short video this week.    

Got your ticket for 2017 yet?

For Respond 17, we've put together a truly remarkable two-day program of international and local speakers digging into front end design and development, that we're taking in full to Sydney (4-5 May) and Melbourne (8-9 May), with a special trip to Brisbane as well (11 May). Come and join us!  

Want more?

Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list to keep up with everything happening at Web Directions. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of Scroll magazine.
" ["post_title"]=> string(47) "Video Ristretto: CSS Variables - Michael Mifsud" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(44) "video-ristretto-css-variables-michael-mifsud" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-11 21:27:55" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-11 10:27:55" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7210" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } } ["post_count"]=> int(15) ["current_post"]=> int(-1) ["in_the_loop"]=> bool(false) ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#947 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(7353) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-04-27 13:13:15" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-27 02:13:15" ["post_content"]=> string(12400) "accessibilityIt staggers me that we are still - STILL - struggling with making our web and digital products and services universally accessible. In one sense, that is just a reflection of how poorly we understand and implement accessibility in the rest of the world around us. In another sense, it is both devastating and ridiculous that we can invent glorious new digital things that are simply not usable by people who may have one or more disabilities. You could say that the web actually deals with accessibility better than the rest of the world. We, or at least the W3C, have built a set of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that have evolved from a limited checklist (WCAG 1.0) to a highly detailed set of statements that define both the principles of accessibility and how they can be implemented (WCAG 2.0). Yet that's not enough. We still need speakers at web conferences to address accessibility directly, such as at Respond 17 where several talks are accessibility-specific, and we still have to push web professionals to take accessibility into account in all of their work. It stumps me how in five years or so Responsive Web Design went from being a good idea to so ingrained that we can just about stop using the word "responsive" because all web design simply must be responsive, while accessibility still struggles to be understood let alone implemented as a matter of course. Earlier this year, a working draft was released by the W3C of WCAG 2.1, which aims to take into account recent developments in the web world, and the way people access the web. We asked our Managing Editor, Ricky Onsman - whose work with people with disabilities goes back to the 80s when he managed a purpose-specific information service in Sydney - to prepare an article for Scroll magazine that gives us an idea of what WCAG 2.1 has in store.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

By Ricky Onsman

On the last day of February this year, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released a First Public Working Draft of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Reaction from accessibility advocates was immediate and clear.
WCAG 2.1 — It’s here! After much deliberation and fine-tuning, the highly-anticipated first draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 has been released for public comment.”

Intopia: https://medium.com/@intopia/wcag-2-1-its-here-70abeca88b2f

WCAG 2.0 was released in 2008. Since then, much has changed.
“The last time guidelines for accessible web content were published by the World Wide Web Consortium, many of our readers were likely using flip phones or early talking Nokia devices. The next version will address many of the advancements in technology which have been released over the past few years including mobile apps and touch screen devices.”

Blind Bargains: https://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=16937

The W3C said in a blog post that their Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG) had been
“Working very hard looking at how to improve WCAG 2.0! To successfully iterate such a broad and deep standard has not been easy. There has been extensive research, discussion and debate within the task forces and the wider working group in order to better understand the interconnectedness and relationships between diverse and sometimes competing user requirements as we develop new success criteria. This extensive work has resulted in the development of around 60 new success criteria, of which 28 are now included in this draft, to be used as measures of conformance to the standard.”

W3C blog: https://www.w3.org/blog/2017/02/wcag21-fpwd/

While 28 new Success Criteria have been included in the draft, the Web Accessibility Initiative of the W3C advised that
“This first draft includes 28 new Success Criteria, three of which have been formally accepted by the Working Group and the remainder included as proposals to provide an opportunity for early feedback.”

WAI: https://www.w3.org/WAI/

That feedback had to be submitted by 31 March, after which the Working Draft would undergo more discussion and revision
“In addition to refining the accepted and proposed Success Criteria included in the draft, the Working Group will continue to review additional proposals which could appear formally in a future version. Through the course of the year, the AG WG plans to process the remaining success criteria along with the input we gather from the public. The group will then produce a semi-final version towards the end of this year …“

W3C blog: https://www.w3.org/blog/2017/02/wcag21-fpwd/

The W3C is scheduled to formally adopt WCAG 2.1 as a recommended standard by mid-2018. The work will then be used as a basis to start determining the requirements for Project ‘Silver’ (a codename for the third iteration of accessibility guidelines).

Intopia: https://medium.com/@intopia/wcag-2-1-its-here-70abeca88b2f

“Silver”?
“At the CSUN 2017 conference, Shawn Lauriat of Google and I [ Jeanne Spellman ] presented on the work being done in the W3C WCAG task force working on this next major upgrade of WCAG – still to be named.  Provisionally we are calling it Silver, because Accessibility Guidelines = AG = Ag, the chemical symbol for Silver.”

The Paciello Group: https://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2017/03/slides-csun17-what-comes-after-wcag-2-1/

So, that’s the process. But why do we need WCAG 2.1? And what are the new Success Criteria?
“The first paragraph of the WCAG 2.1 abstract answers the first question, and it’s very much in line with what has been called for in recent years – a greater inclusion of cognitive-related disability support and specific guidance on a range of devices including the specific naming of mobiles and tablets. To quote the abstract: “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these. These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general. The last point is a particularly good addition.  It’s often argued that accessibility is not just helpful to people with disabilities, but in fact helpful to everyone, and it’s great to see that point made in the draft.”

http://hollier.info/wcag21draft/

That was Dr Scott Hollier, one of Australia’s leading experts on digital accessibility, and he’s right to emphasise that last sentence. It is an increasing – albeit unnecessarily hard-won – understanding that making web content accessible is good for everybody. It’s good to see that in print, even conditionally. Let’s take a look at the three Success Criteria that have already been approved. Note that they can and may still be changed based on feedback and reviews. Dr Hollier again:
“There are currently three SC that have been approved by the AG WG.  They are: 1.4.11 Resize content (Level A): Content can be resized to 400% without loss of content or functionality, and without requiring two-dimensional scrolling except for parts of the content where fixed spatial layout is necessary to use or meaning 1.4.12 Graphics Contrast (Level AA): The visual presentation of graphical objects that are essential for understanding the content or functionality have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 against the adjacent color(s), except for the following:
  • Thicker
  • Sensory
  • Logotypes
  • Essential
2.2.8 Interruptions (minimum) (Level AA): There is an easily available mechanism to postpone and suppress interruptions and changes in content unless they are initiated by the user or involve an emergency. The first of these takes into account a common issue on mobiles whereby making content bigger has a habit of breaking the website as even now there’s an assumption that people are viewing websites on desktops with large screens.  With responsive design not being around much in 2008 it’s great to see an SC highlighting the need to ensure that if text is increased it won’t break things. It also addresses the presence of unwieldy scroll bars which become particularly challenging if you are using screen magnification tools on a mobile device. Graphics contrast is also a great addition, clarifying a long-standing issue with WCAG 2.0 in that the 4.5:1 Level AA contrast is quite clear, but how it specifically relates to graphics is not.  This is now addressed, along with important exceptions such as logos for images that have to have specific colours otherwise content is lost.  My only concern relates to the ‘essential’ point which could be a loophole for people to put anything they like on a website arguing the colours have to be that way, but perhaps this will be further clarified during the review process. The final point is one for which I cheer.  With ARIA support becoming more common and a greater ability for developers to take charge of assistive technologies, there’s a lot of ways the process of assistive technology such as a screen reader can be interrupted.  This SC is a logical progression of existing SC that relate to auto-updates and I hope this remains largely unchanged.”

http://hollier.info/wcag21draft/

That gives you a pretty good idea of the kinds of issues being addressed by the new Success Criteria. To sum up, here are a few key points about WCAG 2.1. 1. WCAG 2.1 does not replace WCAG 2.0. 2. There are no changes to existing Success Criteria. 3. WCAG 2.1 extends WCAG 2.0 it by proposing 28 new, additional Success Criteria for feedback and review. 4. Three of the new Success Criteria have been formally approved, but are still subject to change based on feedback and review. 5. The other 25 proposed Success Criteria will be reviewed during the course of 2017, resulting in possible approval and formal adoption by mid-2018. 6. The proposed new Success Criteria better acknowledge accessibility considerations:
  •      + associated with mobile devices, including small screens and touch interfaces
  •      + for people with cognitive or learning disabilities
  •      + for people with low vision
7. There are another 32 new Success Criteria being considered by various Working Group task forces but these do not yet meet requirements for public review. Full details of the W3C First Public Working Draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 can be found at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/.    " ["post_title"]=> string(64) "Will WCAG 2.1 Make Accessibility More Accessible? - Ricky Onsman" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "making-accessibility-accessible" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-04-27 13:14:08" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-04-27 02:14:08" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=7353" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } ["comment_count"]=> int(0) ["current_comment"]=> int(-1) ["found_posts"]=> string(2) "16" ["max_num_pages"]=> float(2) ["max_num_comment_pages"]=> int(0) ["is_single"]=> bool(false) ["is_preview"]=> bool(false) ["is_page"]=> bool(false) ["is_archive"]=> bool(true) ["is_date"]=> bool(false) ["is_year"]=> bool(false) ["is_month"]=> bool(false) ["is_day"]=> bool(false) ["is_time"]=> bool(false) ["is_author"]=> bool(false) ["is_category"]=> bool(true) ["is_tag"]=> bool(false) ["is_tax"]=> bool(false) ["is_search"]=> bool(false) ["is_feed"]=> bool(false) ["is_comment_feed"]=> bool(false) ["is_trackback"]=> bool(false) ["is_home"]=> bool(false) ["is_404"]=> bool(false) ["is_embed"]=> bool(false) ["is_paged"]=> bool(false) ["is_admin"]=> bool(false) ["is_attachment"]=> bool(false) ["is_singular"]=> bool(false) ["is_robots"]=> bool(false) ["is_posts_page"]=> bool(false) ["is_post_type_archive"]=> bool(false) ["query_vars_hash":"WP_Query":private]=> string(32) "cd15f7c06249973e2ffe0fd408452899" ["query_vars_changed":"WP_Query":private]=> bool(false) ["thumbnails_cached"]=> bool(false) ["stopwords":"WP_Query":private]=> NULL ["compat_fields":"WP_Query":private]=> array(2) { [0]=> string(15) "query_vars_hash" [1]=> string(18) "query_vars_changed" } ["compat_methods":"WP_Query":private]=> array(2) { [0]=> string(16) "init_query_flags" [1]=> string(15) "parse_tax_query" } }

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Will WCAG 2.1 Make Accessibility More Accessible? – Ricky Onsman

accessibilityIt staggers me that we are still – STILL – struggling with making our web and digital products and services universally accessible.

In one sense, that is just a reflection of how poorly we understand and implement accessibility in the rest of … Read more »

Video Ristretto: Components Without Screen-based Media Queries – Chris Wright

Chris WrightA hallmark of the relatively short history of web design and development has been the often very creative use of CSS elements meant to do one thing but made to serve some other purpose entirely.

Some might find that surprising, given … Read more »

Respond 16: Masterclass – Ethan Marcotte and Karen McGrane

As is often the case, our next major event – Respond 17 – is not only a two-day conference, but also has a third day devoted to a Masterclass workshop with Vitaly Friedman (in Brisbane, we’ll present only the workshop).

Our roster of past Masterclass workshop leaders reads like an album … Read more »

A Tale of Two Products

This is the tale of two products. Physical things that do something rather similar. Each prepares a beverage – one hot, one cold – that are consumed on a enormous scale all over the planet.

The drinks themselves have been consumed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But … Read more »

Video of the Week: Building Accessible Web Components Without Tears – Russ Weakley

Russ WeakleyOne of the things we really like about staging conferences like Respond is that we can bring to Australia experts from around the world.

Perhaps even better than that is when we can feature locals who are themselves world class in … Read more »

Chatbots? Seriously?

Some of us remember Clippy, Microsoft’s assistant in Office, now much derided as an interfering pain that never seemed to help.

clippy in action

And for years we’ve been seeing chat boxes on home pages of sites we visit, but how often have we ever used … Read more »

Give Yourself Over to CSS Grid – Mike Riethmuller

Mike RiethmullerWe invited some of our Respond 17 speakers to contribute an article on a topic not necessarily directly related to their presentation theme, but that would fit in with the general themes of the conference.

Mike Riethmuller, who is … Read more »

Video Ristretto: Picture Perfect – Matthew Kairys

Matthew KairysThe ‹picture› element supplies a semantic approach to dealing with responsive images on the web, yet Matthew Kairys in his presentation at Respond 16 pointed out how little use is currently made of it.

Which is odd when … Read more »

Code as a Signal of Quality

For closer to 20 than 10 years, I’ve made the argument that the quality of the code of a website (which is relatively easy to assess, compared to any sort of binary application, where code is almost impossible to assess in any meaningful way) – whether it validates, its approach … Read more »

Respond 17 Scroll Excerpt: Vitaly Friedman

Our next extract from the Respond 17 Scroll magazine gives some background to keynote speaker and masterclass workshop leader Vitaly Friedman.

As a regular speaker at web conferences, the Smashing Magazine head honcho is obviously a very familiar figure in our industry, but we wanted to … Read more »

Respond 16: Performance – HTTP2 in a 1.5 World – Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson’s subject at Respond 16 was performance, which sits alongside security as a major factor designers and developers have to take into account on today’s web.

You may have the most beautiful and useful website in the world, but if it takes too long to load, site … Read more »

Video of the Week: Designing Secure Experiences – Rachel Simpson

Rachel SimpsonAt Respond 16, we were fortunate to bring to Australia Rachel Simpson, UX designer on the Google Chrome team, to present on finding a real balance between usability and security.

Rachel’s keynote pointed out how poor some of our … Read more »

What we’re reading: 14 April 2017

Things that have crossed our desk recently, and we think are worth crossing yours, too.
 
 
The Power of Experience Mapping
Jared Spool
I think Netflix is one of the most extraordinary companies in the world. From business strategy to devops, UI to front end development, these folks are as good as it … Read more »

Respond 17 Scroll Excerpt: Matt Magain

Our Scroll magazine Scroll magazine contains considerably more than just profiles of the Respond 17 speakers. We look for different ways to add perspective, context and – ultimately – value to your conference experience.

Sketchnotes are a terrific way of summarising conference presentations, using evocative illustrations to emphasise … Read more »

Video Ristretto: CSS Variables – Michael Mifsud

Michael MifsudMichael Mifsud is a Performance Engineer at 99designs, a core contributor to LibSass, and the Node-Sass project lead.

He started the MelbCSS Meetup and is an organizer of CSSConf AU.

All of which amply qualifies him to tell us … Read more »