The Best of the Internets

Why Computer Programmers Should Stop Calling Themselves Engineers

I have been grappling with a lot of the concerns this fantastic article raises. In particular, this bit resonated with me:

Would-be “engineers” are encouraged to think of every project as a potential business ready to scale and sell, rather than as a process of long-term training in disciplines where concerns for social welfare become paramount. Engineering has always been a well-paid profession, but computing is turning it into a type of speculative finance rather than a calling.

It’s a generalization, but it’s also a trend I’ve been seeing. I’m also on the fence regarding licensure and continuing education credits. I think they could do a lot to improve the state of the Web without destroying the wonderful DIY nature of its accessibility.

Less Content Marketing, More Quality Content

I’ll just let Gerry say it:

If there has been a constant in my 20+ years of consulting with websites it is that most websites produce far too much low quality ego content. This is true for both commercial, government and non-profit websites.

  • Telenor of Norway deleted almost 90% of their pages. Conversions went up by 100%. Support requests went down by 35%
  • The Norwegian Cancer Society removed almost 90% of their content and saw extremely positive results.
  • The US Department of Health deleted 150,000 of their 200,000 pages. Nobody noticed.
  • Columbia University of Chicago deleted 97% of their pages. Student application inquiries went up by 80%
  • Liverpool City went from 4,000 pages to 700 on their website. Support requests went down and online reporting went up.

Clear, well-written content is appreciated (and actionable) by your users.

Panels and Panel Sets

This is an interesting proposal for generic panel and panelset (and paneltitle) elements that would function well for marking up accordion, tabbed, and carousel interfaces.

How Our CSS Framework Helps Enforce Accessibility

I love this post so much. The tab example is pretty much identical to the approach I’ve been using for a while now.

By making our selectors tied to proper semantic choices, we limit the likelihood that poor decisions will be made in HTML and covered up by CSS and JavaScript (which also introduce additional dependencies we aren’t guaranteed will make it to our users).

Read it. Ruminate on it. Implement it.

Accessibility Requires App Developers to Consider Every End User

There’s a ton of great info in this article, but this one little bit is definitely worth calling out:

Android app developers know that there are over 24,000 devices in the marketplace that can potentially run their app. The number of end users that can be reached is staggering and that sheer volume of individuals means that app developers tailor their build for the majority of users and not the minority. iOS developers don’t have the same level of device fragmentation but there are over 1.5 billion apps in the App Store and (again) millions of end users to think about.

Now consider that this is focused purely on native apps and not products delivered on the Web. We should do everything in our power to deliver positive experiences to our users while simultaneously recognizing that it is impossible to deliver the same experience to each of them.