The Best of the Internets

Open Source Style Guide

A fantastic overview of best practices for running an open source project on Github from the folks at 18F. Covers everything to naming your project to writing READMEs to reporting issues.

Text Justification and Accessibility

Worth noting:

Justifying text can present problems for people with Dyslexia, where the extended spaces between words and sometimes letters within words can create what’s been termed “rivers of white”, referring to the spaces of white that can visually dominate the text.

Google+: A Case Study on App Download Interstitials

No big surprise: The app-promoting interstitial drove users away to the tune of 69%. And so…

Based on these results, we decided to permanently retire the interstitial. We believe that the increase in users on our product makes this a net positive change, and we are sharing this with the hope that you will reconsider the use of promotional interstitials. Let’s remove friction and make the mobile web more useful and usable!

How Google Designs for the Blind

While not hugely in-depth, this is a good piece for a broad audience on why accessibility matters. It also talks about some of the ways Google is working to make accessibility part of their culture.

The Web We Have to Save

This is a wonderful celebration of the hyperlink and the beauty of the decentralized web in a world of social media sites vying to keep us in their walled gardens. Hossein Derakhshan’s perspective is an interesting one as he’d been in prison (for blogging) since 2008.

Nearly every social network now treats a link as just the same as it treats any other object — the same as a photo, or a piece of text — instead of seeing it as a way to make that text richer. You’re encouraged to post one single hyperlink and expose it to a quasi-democratic process of liking and plussing and hearting: Adding several links to a piece of text is usually not allowed. Hyperlinks are objectivized, isolated, stripped of their powers.

This Conspiracy Theory Says Ad Tech Companies Deliberately Keep Web Pages Loading Slow Because They Make More Money That Way

Ad companies profit, users suffer. This is ridiculous.

Basically, his theory is, when a reader clicks to read a story, the page calls for bids from advertisers on the ad space available. This bidding is supposed to take place in a few milliseconds. But, my correspondent says, ad tech companies hold open the bids much, much longer, so more bids come in, driving up the price. Publishers hate this because it makes pages load really slowly, giving readers a terrible experience. But it’s hard to stop because everyone — publisher included — is taking a cut of the winning bid. So publishers and ad tech companies actually have an incentive to make pages load slowly.