The Best of the Internets

Web Devvy Ways to Practice Gratitude and Empathy

A great post from Chris Coyier:

I’m starting to think empathy really is one of the most valuable skills (if you can call it a skill) that you can have. If you can put yourself in another persons shoes, you can imagine what it’s like to use the things you make. That gives you mad UX skills. It means you can write a damn fine support email. You can make a meeting worth having. You can communicate clearly, because you can imagine what it’s like to receive that communication.

Empathy is where it’s at. Check out his list for ways to increase your “devvy” empathy.




On Use of the lang Attribute

Adrian has put together a great overview of why lang is important and how many sites are using it. Here are a few takeaways:

  1. VoiceOver on iOS uses the attribute to auto-switch voices.
  2. VoiceOver can speak a particular language using a different accent when specified.
  3. Leaving out the `lang` attribute may require the user to manually switch to the correct language for proper pronunciation.
  4. JAWS uses it to load the correct phonetic engine/phonologic dictionary — Handy for sites with multiple languages.
  5. NVDA (Windows) uses it in the same way as VoiceOver and JAWS.
  6. When used in HTML that is used to form an ePub or Apple iBooks document, it affects how VoiceOver will read the book.
  7. Firefox, IE10, and Safari (as of a year ago) only support CSS `hyphens: auto` when the `lang` attribute is set.

Thanks for putting this together Adrian!



How We Use Progressive Enhancement to Improve Our Email Templates

Great stuff from some folks who know an awful lot about email:

If there’s a medium that lends itself to progressive enhancement, it’s email. Given the contexts in which email content is parsed and displayed (and will be in the future), it pays to consider content first and independently from the presentation.

Traditionally, email designers have taken all sorts of scrappy approaches to ensuring that text in email “looks the same across all clients”. Your Gmail experience should be the same as your Outlook experience and so-forth. I’d argue that “reading the same across all clients” is vastly more important and that when possible, visually lovely flourishes should be added, for the environments that support them.




Browsers, Services and the OS – Oh My…

Christian Heilmann’s take on yesterday’s IE announcement, including a bit of historical context and a look toward the future of browsers killing stand-alone apps.

For me, however, the whole thing was a bit of an epiphany about browsers. I’ve always seen browsers as my main playground and got frustrated by lack of standards support across them. I got annoyed by users not upgrading to new ones or companies making that hard. And I was disappointed by developers having their pet browsers to support and demand people to use the same. What I missed out on was how amazing browsers themselves have become as tools for end users.


Yawn, “IE6 Must Die”, Yawn…

Way back in 2010, Kyle Simpson proposed that a new version of IE should live beside an older version to allow the new IE to prosper while the old one remains stable for enterprises that require its proprietary features:

The IE (Consumer Edition) would at its heart be a very different browser than the IE (Platform Edition). Instead of releasing once every couple of years, IE-CE could release every couple of months. IE-CE could ditch all that legacy JScript extension junk (and ActiveX!) and fully conform to open web standards. They could embrace SVG, canvas, video, CSS3, and all the other amazing things that IE9 is only barely now giving us a glimpse of. Microsoft could stop being the joke of the open web community, stop playing catch up, and actually take the lead in helping innovate in the consumer browser space.

And all the while, they could keep (and from time to time, back-port to) IE-PE stable and reliable for the Platform world. IE-PE would be Microsoft’s proprietary extensions on the open-web consumer browser experience. IE-PE would serve the needs of corporations and sysadmins by giving them stability and security and not be bothered by all the “noise” of the rapidly changing consumer browser market.

I wonder if he called it. Will “Project Spartan” live alongside IE11? I guess time will tell.