The Best of the Internets

Online Hate Is a Deadly Threat. When Will Tech Companies Finally Take It Seriously?

I am 100% in favor of social media platforms taking a proactive stance against online harassment, bullying, threats, and the like. Sadly, few are doing much (if anything about it).

Tech companies also need to make their content moderation training materials publicly available so anti-hate advocates and the public can make sure the trainings accurately reflect what we need to feel safe on these platforms. Recent leaks of moderation materials have shown these documents to be woefully inadequate – one leak of a Facebook manual featured passages lifted straight from Wikipedia. When asked for comment by one media outlet, Facebook directed it to the “community standards” document the company released to the public. A $500 billion company such as Facebook should have higher standards than a college freshman rushing to finish a term paper.

Smart Bundling: How to Serve Legacy Code Only to Legacy Browsers

While this approach is total overkill for pretty much anything I build, if you have a lot of JavaScript, especially JavaScript that uses newer language features, you might consider taking an approach like this. IT ensures the broadest level of support for your app without penalizing more modern browsers by making them download polyfills and transpired code they don’t need.

Great work!

Hard Costs of Third-Party Scripts

Dave has an excellent round-up of considerations when looking at your reliance on 3rd party scripts (or any 3rd party resources, for that matter). Most are hidden and all have a serious effect on download performance, UI responsiveness, and, ultimately, user experience.

The Web is an undependable place, so this shouldn’t be very surprising.

Font Style Matcher

If you use web fonts, you’ll want to provide a complementary fallback font that won’t cause text to move around a whole lot when the webfoot is loaded. To help you make an informed decision, you need a good tool to compare your options. In fact, you need this tool.

Thank you Monica!

How to Program Your Job

This is a truly interesting piece about automating your job, looking at it from the perspectives of several developers (and some generalized workers who learned to code) who automated their job’s mundane tasks. There are a lot of big questions here. Perhaps the biggest is What is the true value of work?

Unbuttoning Buttons

This is a deep dive into how to un-style a button. In other words, how to make a button look like a link. It isn’t something you’d want to do all the time, but it does have its usefulness in select situations.

Thanks for putting this together Scott!

All Technology Is Assistive

There is so much to love about this piece, especially this bit:

Honestly — what technology are you using that’s not assistive? Your smartphone? Your eyeglasses? Headphones? And those three examples alone are assisting you in multiple registers: They’re enabling or augmenting a sensory experience, say, or providing navigational information. But they’re also allowing you to decide whether to be available for approach in public, or not; to check out or in on a conversation or meeting in a bunch of subtle ways; to identify, by your choice of brand or look, with one culture group and not another.

Making a persistent, overt distinction about “assistive tech” embodies the second-tier do-gooderism and banality that still dominate design work targeted toward “special needs.” “Assistive technology” implies a separate species of tools designed exclusively for those people with a rather narrow set of diagnostic “impairments” — impairments, in other words, that have been culturally designated as needing special attention, as being particularly, grossly abnormal. But are you sure your phone isn’t a crutch, as it were, for a whole lot of unexamined needs?