A List Apart: web design ideas worth YOUR weight in gold!

by Lee Hopkins on September 8, 2007 · 1 comment

in Uncategorized

A List Apart logoA List Apart is one of those sites that seems to wander in and out of my focus, depending on the projects I’m involved in at the time.

Having just configured a new Bloglines account for a specific project, I thought I’d add some of Bloglines’ ‘suggested feeds’, one of which is A List Apart.

In my feed reader tonight (and ALL worth a read!):

Put Your Content in My Pocket, by Craig Hockenberry, all about designing your website so that it shows up in the iPhone in a credible way, rather than looking like a dog’s dinner, which many sites do (especially SpamArrest).

Says Craig:

“Apple is well on its way to selling ten million mobile Internet devices by the end of 2008. Besides being a great phone, the iPhone also includes a sophisticated new Safari browser. This version is touted as “the most advanced web browser on a portable device” and from what I’ve seen, it deserves this accolade.

So what does this mean for you? Millions of visitors accessing your content on a small display with very high resolution. At some point in the near future, you’re going to want to take a look at your current site design to make sure that it looks good and works well on this new device and its Mobile Safari browser.”

CSS @ Ten: The Next Big Thing, by Håkon Wium Lie. CSS is ten years old this year. Says Håkon:

“Consider the fine designs in the CSS Zen Garden [a truly wonderful site and source of great inspiration - Lee]. What makes them so exciting to look at?

In part, it is the variety of fonts. Fonts convey design messages and create effect, and while in traditional print design there are a plethora of fonts available, fonts have been in limited supply on the web. Web designers depend on ten or so universally available fonts for their designs, and are reduced in large part to using Verdana and Arial over and over again.

A typical CSS Zen Garden design, on the other hand, uses a hand-picked font to render text and aligns the glyphs to a pixel-perfect degree…”

Håkon then goes on to describe how to use all those wonderful fonts that the ZenGarden designers find in your own designs!

Better Writing Through Design, by Bronwyn Jones. She has wise words of wisdom on the strategic and tactical use of wordsmiths when visually designing sites:

“Ideally, you should work with a writer from day one to design the voice of the copy in conjunction with the visual language of the site. And getting a writer involved early can help you solve lots of other problems—from content strategy issues to information architecture snags. Remember that writers are creatives too, and they are, in many cases, the keepers of the content your design ultimately serves.”

She goes on:

“While you’re sketching designs, jot down a quote or two. Collect tear sheets of words as well as images. Shoot rough video of someone you think would make the perfect spokesperson. Remember that by introducing your narrator persona, you’re creating an expert peer your users will come back to for advice, information, and inspiration.

That’s worth spending some time on. It also makes the actual business of copywriting much easier. Learn the language, then tell your story—not the other way around.”


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