The Best of the Internets

Thinking About Permissions on the Web

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about privacy and permissions both generally and in web browsers and our product that rely on them. I very much appreciated this perspective from Sally Lait.

[M]y personal preference is generally to continue as normal, and then to use whatever’s being requested as an enhancement, as a natural part of whatever task I am hoping to do, at a time that makes sense to me rather than having it pushed on me out of context or at a time that doesn’t make sense.

This is true for me as well. I hate going to a new site only to be immediately bombarded with requests to see my location or send me notifications. It makes your site appear desperate, socially-awkward, and a bit sociopathic.

I definitely believe there’s room for improvement in terms of how browsers relay requests for permission. Personally, I’d love to see permission requests require an accompanying link to the section of that site’s privacy policy covering how the information being requested will be used. Sure, most users probably won’t click on it, but having to provide something might make some developers think twice about it (and more directly tie these requests to the site’s governing entity from a legal standpoint).

Designing a Textbox, Unabridged

This is a super-detailed post about building a textarea with feedback about how much you’ve written in it, relative to the defined maxlength. There are some great recommendations here, especially:

  • Start with sensible helper text;
  • Use JavaScript to smartly enhance the experience; and
  • Always provide a non-JavaScript fallback.

I gave similar advice in a piece I wrote for Web Standards Sherpa a few years back.

Web Developer Representation in W3C

One thing I’ve always felt was missing from the W3C process was input from real web designers and developers. Sure, a handful of us have been tapped to join specific workign groups as “invited experts,” but they have been few and far between. And few designers and developers have the piles of cash laying about that are required to join the W3C.

Over the years, I’d hoped to see an organization like the World Organization of Webmasters or the Web Standards Project—both of which I helped steer in some capacity­ at varying times—would step up an fill this suprising gap, but alas that never happened. And so I am so thankful to see the Fronteers folks (a web design community in the Netherlands) considering formally joining the W3C to fill this role. And I’m even more excited that Rachel Andrew is their first choice to act on our behalf.

I’m hopeful the Fronteers community will vote in favor of this so we can get a few of our own advocates on key committees.