The Best of the Internets

Availability

I’m with Stuart Langridge, “progressive enhancement” (as a word) turns a lot of people off. I guess that’s partly why I named my book Adaptive Web Design. It seemed more broadly appealing to build a web that adapts to any browser (and is thereby available to everyone).


Vorlon.JS

Extensible remote browser debugging via node.js. ’Nuff said.


The Ryanair Approach to Progressive Enhancement

Air travel is a great real-world analogy for progressive enhancement. Kudos to Christian for coming up with it!

Progressive enhancement is not about adding more work to your product. It is about protecting the main use case of your product and then enhance it with new functionality as it becomes available. Google is a great example of that. Turn off JavaScript and you still get a form to enter information in and you get a search result page with ads on it. This is how you find things and Google makes money. Anything else they added over time makes it more convenient for you but is not needed. It also offers them more opportunities to show you more ads and point at other services.



Hamburger Icon: How These Three Lines Mystify Most People

A good overview of why the “hamburger” can’t stand alone.

“I did multiple tests,” says James Foster, a web developer based in New Zealand, who has surveyed users’ interactions with the button over the course of many months. “The results all came out the same—the icon is not as clear to some users as developers and designers think it is.”

Adding the word “menu” underneath the three lines increases the button’s use by 7.2%, according to Foster’s tests.

Putting the hamburger inside a box, so it looks like a button, increases use by 22.4%.

Switching the lines for the word “menu” makes 20% more people click, Foster found.


Designing for (and With) Color Blindness

An interesting look at color blindness from Aaron Tenbuuren, a designer living with it. He offers some great examples of good design for color blind users from Trello, Google, and more.

[W]hen designing apps, we should not look at individual colors and ask if they are ‘visible’, but rather look at groupings of colors, and see if they are distinguishable. Even then, we may require more visual aids to make sure that users will not mistake one color for another.


Why Don’t You Code for Netscape?

Still one of my favorite examples of reduced support improving usability (emphasis mine):

By contrast, the method used here at A List Apart (XHTML for structure, CSS for layout and design) ensures that every reader has access to the site’s text, but allows the design to “disappear” if the browser can’t handle it. No 4.0 browser can handle it.

We assume that those who choose to keep using 4.0 browsers have reasons for doing so; we also assume that most of those folks don’t really care about “design issues.” They just want information, and with this approach they can still get the information they seek. In fact, since we began hiding the design from non–compliant browsers in February 2001, ALA’s Netscape 4 readership has increased, from about 6% to about 11%.