Web Design Tips for Programmers

web I found a good article on dzone today titled Why Programmers Suck at CSS Design. The title is actually misleading, rather than focus on the why, it will actually help you create some better looking pages.

I've often wanted to write a blog entry about the same topic.

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On Tradeoffs

misc I don't think any other kind of situation pops up more in a programmers day to day work than a Tradeoff. Tradeoffs are everywhere and being able to identify and access tradeoffs I think is one thing that makes a great developer.

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CFImage Effects Library for ColdFusion 8

coldfusion I have been very busy today launching the CFImage Effects Component for ColdFusion 8.

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Tip for Resizing Your Browser Window

web Testing your web sites at lower resolution is always a good idea (no the rest of the world doesn't view web sites at 1680x1050 like web developers sometimes do). Here's a quick tip that will let you resize your browser window to a specific size.

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How to Confuse with Color

web This screen shot is taken from a Virtuozzo Power Panel, which despite my complaints here, has some nice features for managing a VPS.

As you can see they use a light shade of red for the red zone, and then red for the black zone.

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Kuler Kolors

web Adobe launched kuler on this morning. It's a tool that lets you create color swatches, and also has some community features that allow you to rate other people's color schemes. You can download the color swatches and import them into Photoshop or illustrator (ase files). Nice work Adobe.

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Usability vs User Experience

misc Here is something I hadn't ever pondered: the tradeoff between usability and user experience:

Freeways are usable, since they take you from A to B in the most effortless way. But they are also utterly boring. A twisting mountain road on the other hand is exiting. But far from usable.

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IconBuffet Free Delivery

web The Icon Buffet has a pretty cool program called Free Icon Delivery:

Once a month, IconBuffet will deliver a free collection of stock icons (a Free Delivery) to your IconBuffet account. These special icons are royalty-free for both commercial and personal use.

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How to Design a Good API and Why it Matters

coldfusion java misc Joshua Bloch has a good presentation outline called How to Design a Good API and Why it Matters. Joshua is a Principal Software Engineer for Google, before that an architect in Sun's Core Java Platform Group (he designed several of the standard java API's). Josh also wrote Effective Java.

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Yahoo UI and Design Patterns

web Yahoo has released a User Interface Library and a Design Pattern Library along with the Yahoo User Interface Blog. All very cool stuff, thanks Y!.

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Cognitive Bias

web Last week I was reading about the 5 Second Test. It's a usability test given to focus groups. You give the tester a goal, and then flash the page for 5 seconds. If the user can complete the goal the test passes.

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24 Ways to impress your friends

web I am on a roll with provocative blog entry titles today. This is not my own however, it's the tag line for the 24 ways web site.

The site started on December 1st will post on web development each day until December 24th.

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Web Design Patterns

web I must have missed this when it was first published over a year ago. Ryan Singer from 37Signals published a paper called: An Introduction to Using Patterns in Web Design.

Ryan provides a pattern for designing user interfaces, it is not about software design patterns as you might expect.

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Fresh coat of paint

web I decided to redesign my blog today, I was getting really sick of the old design, which has been up for a few years now. As you can see the new design is not too far off from the old one.

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Majority of Surfers use 1024x768 or better

web According to some stats released by OneStat only 18.23% of browsers are using 800x600 these days, down from 24.66% last year.

A whopping 57.38% use 1024x768, the rest use something higer (I'm sure there are still a few 640x480's out there viewing the web with CGA graphics card).

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Stupid, Evil, and Lazy Design

web Jack Schofield asked Jakob Nielson what is holding up progress on the web? Nielsen responded with three things:

Evil Design

"Google has made billions by putting the ads where people do want them, rather than where they don't want them."

That is an excellent point.

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New Homepage Design

misc web I redesigned my homepage last week. My goal was to help readers find some of my older posts that may be interesting.

So to start, I added a prominent search box at the top left, I simply use google's search my site for this feature.

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Performance of database tag schemas

databases Philipp Keller has done some performance test on 4 different database schemas for storing tagged items. Although his article refers to tagging bookmarks, you can tag pretty much anything.

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Designing from the outside in

misc The O'Reilly Radar has an entry Designing from the outside in - the design philosophy of 37 Signals - the design firm that created the BaseCamp Project Management suite.

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Engineering CSS

web I have a bachelors degree in Software Engineering, which is quite different from computer science, which most people assume was my degree.

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Usability Tip for Visited Link Colors

web I have been messing around with some link colors on my dealazon site over the weekend, and I noticed that visited link colors we're really important.

So my tip is don't make a visited link color darker than the default link color.

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Use Case Articles

misc Use Cases are one of the first steps of the design phase in software engineering. They are really simple diagrams you can easily make - they are easy enough to understand and create that you can show them to your customer, or boss. Use cases are also part of UML.

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Color Contrast Checker

web I just found this Color Contrast Checker web site on del.ic.ious. You just give it your foreground (text) color and background color, and it will tell you if there is enough color contrast "when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen" (W3C).

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did you hack my cf?