For a while now I’ve been beating the “empathy” drum (notes), trying to get folks in our industry to understand the importance of creating connections with the people for whom we build software, websites, etc. After all, we design and build tools to solve the needs of actual people, not some generic “user”.
Dispatches From the Internets
A while back GogOm reported on how Facebook’s decision to autoplay videos led to a 60% increase in mobile data usage. It was a business decision with the intent of increasing engagement, but it was a bad decision from a user experience. It’s a tax on users and they weren’t to happy about it.
You may be wondering Why is this a bad thing for users? They want to see videos, so we’re just giving them what they want. Well, let me share a little story.
It’s pretty amazing what you can do with CSS3 transforms these days, but I often struggle with explaining the importance of function order when I am training people on how to use them. Transformation functions are a visual thing, so they require a visual tool to fully understand them and the implications of your function order decisions.
If you know me, you know I am a pretty indecisive guy. It is not uncommon for Kelly and I to spend 15 minutes or more just trying to figure out where we want to grab a meal.
One of the biggest headaches of responsive design has been dealing with images. Thankfully our work on the Responsive
Images Community Group has resulted in a rock-solid set of elements and attributes to address all of your adaptive image needs. My company, Easy Designs, recently redesigned Nichols College’s website and that project just happened to coincide adaptive images landing in Blink (the rendering engine that powers Chrome and Opera). Naturally, we jumped at the opportunity to use them.
My good friend Jeremy is incredibly excited about the Indie Web movement and I am right there with him. I love the idea of owning your content and then syndicating it out to social networks, photo sites, and the like. It makes complete sense… Web-based services have a habit of disappearing, so we shouldn’t rely on them. The only Web that is permanent is the one we control.
I gave this speech as the closing keynote at A11yQC, a conference on Web accessibility, on 14 October 2014 in Québec City, Canada. I have published my script here as the slides can’t really convey its message on their own.
We, as an industry, tend to have a pretty myopic view of experience. Those of us who work day-to-day in accessibility probably have a broader perspective than most, but I would argue that even we all fall short now and again when it comes to seeing the Web as others do.
Last night, while we were enjoying a cool evening and a few drinks outside after day 1 of BDConf, Jeremy asked me for some clarification on the ARIA attributes I had demoed as part of my forms presentation earlier in the afternoon. In particular, he was confused by how
I’ll level with you: I used to think I wanted variables in CSS.
As a programmer, I love the idea of being able to abstract reusable bits like colors, border widths, font sizes, and the like to obviously named variables. It’s a far more DRY approach and makes maintenance far easier.