Buzz Archives: Usability
Fancy giving your site a hardcore usability test? Then why not involve people with disabilities in your testing. Not sure where to start? Then check out Just Ask: integrating accessibility throughout design. This free online book, written by Shawn Lawton Henry from W3C in her spare time, looks at all you ...
By Henny Swan | December 8th, 2008
- Call-to-action: Save the UT Accessibility Institute
The University of Texas is closing its Accessibility Institute today. Non-profit Knowbility has started a petition to save it. Though you may not have heard of the Accessibility Institute, you have been influenced by its work. Its late founder, Dr. John Slatin, was the former co-chair of the Web Content Accessibility ...
By James Craig | August 29th, 2008
- Detecting when good fonts change size
Designing for the web is challenging enough, but when you need to take into account scaling font-sizes, it can quickly become a nightmare. The common wisdom is to design your pages to accomodate fonts two sizes up and two sizes down from the default, but with this new script from two clever Yahoo! blokes, your can get way more clever.
By Aaron Gustafson | September 12th, 2006
The recent discussion of plug-in implementation, here and elsewhere, points to broader issues that affect everyone who is invested in web standards adoption.
By Ben Henick | August 18th, 2006
- Inspired by Accessibility.
Accessibility and usability inspires innovation. Embracing and using standards and recommendations allows for more innovation. It's time to quit thinking that embracing accessibility stifles growth or causes limitations. Many years ago, I was inspired by accessibility and innovations. I began my work and advocacy of web standards and accessibility items well ...
By Holly Marie Koltz | March 31st, 2005
- How We See Web Pages
The Poynter Institute has posted their EyeTrack III study, a fascinating look at how people view web pages facilitated by a technology that allowed researchers to track participants' eye movements as they surfed. Hat-tips: Dan Gillmor and Steve Reubel via Robert Scoble
By Chris Kaminski | September 9th, 2004
- The Value of Samaritanism
Inspired by the Odeon debacle, former WaSP extraordinaire Jeffrey Zeldman holds forth on the value of good samaritans who build accessible, standards-compliant versions of popular web sites for free. Zeldman also gives an excellent analysis of the accessibility and usability problems with Odeon's official site and how samaritan Matthew Somerville addressed ...
By Chris Kaminski | July 28th, 2004
- What’s the point… an over-emphasis on technique?
Jason Fried of 37Signals suggests gingerly that too much attention is being paid to the minute details of Web site implementation, and in doing so he rang an alarm bell loudly enough to distract me from severe personal distress. He explained, as part of a SXSW Interactive recap: “I’d like ...
By Ben Henick | March 23rd, 2004
- A Guide to Small-Screen Web-Dev
Read it, read it again. Save it. Print it. Highlight key points. (there are many) The End-All Guide to Small-Screen Web-Dev by Heidi Pollock (webmonkey, 5 Mar 2004)It takes one gigantabig tutorial to teach you how to build sites for all those itty, bitty devices.One of the better pieces (I have encountered) that ...
By Holly Marie Koltz | March 12th, 2004
- Code As I Say, Not As I Do
The World Wide Web Conference is entering its thirteenth year, preparing for yet another round of action-packed W3-related developer events and presentations. Funny thing, though: their site's woefully invalid, inaccessible, and well nigh unusable. Littered with alt-bereft images and deprecated HTML, one wonders just how such a self-described prestigious series ...
By Ethan Marcotte | March 11th, 2004
- IE Navigation Just Got Better
We've had the ability to add navigation options via the link element for accessibility purposes for some time now. But as with so much of what ails, user agent adoption has been slow in coming, especially for Internet Explorer. Users of Mozilla may already be familiar with the Site Navigation Bar, ...
By Molly E. Holzschlag | February 22nd, 2004
- ReUSEIT Results
The ReUSEIT contest results are in. In the contest, folks were challenged to create usable, accessible, standards-based redesigns of usability pundit Jakob Nielsen's useit.com web site. Some of the designs are pretty cool, my personal favorite, Minimal Jakob, ranked in the top ten. I like this particular design mostly because ...
By Molly E. Holzschlag | November 16th, 2003
- Standards and Usability
The W3C and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have issued a call for papers for the NIST Usability Workshop. The workshop is interested in the usability of W3C specifications, how W3C specs affect the usability of software based on them, and how to improve the overall usability of the web.
By Jeffrey Zeldman | September 19th, 2002
The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards which ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.
By Aaron Gustafson | March 1st, 2013
Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality.
When The Web Standards Project (WaSP) formed in 1998, the web was the battleground in an ever-escalating war between two browser makers—Netscape and Microsoft—who were each taking turns “advancing” HTML to the point of collapse. You see, in an effort to one-up each other, the two browsers introduced new elements and new ways of manipulating web documents; this escalated to the point where their respective 4.0 versions were largely incompatible.
Realizing that this fragmentation would inevitably drive up the cost of building websites and ran the risk of denying users access to content and services they needed, Glenn Davis, George Olsen, and Jeffrey Zeldman co-founded WaSP and rallied an amazing group of web designers and developers to help them push back. The WaSP’s primary goal was getting browser makers to support the standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
In 2001, with the browser wars largely over, WaSP began to shift its focus. While some members continued to work with browser vendors on improving their standards support, others began working closely with software makers like Macromedia to improve the quality of code being authored in tools such as Dreamweaver. And others began the hard slog of educating web designers and developers about the importance of using web standards, culminating in the creation of WaSP InterAct, a web curriculum framework which is now overseen by the W3C.
Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality. While there is still work to be done, the sting of the WaSP is no longer necessary. And so it is time for us to close down The Web Standards Project.
Many (if not all) of us are continuing to work in the world of web standards, but our work is now largely outside the umbrella of WaSP. If you are interested in continuing to work on web standards-related projects along with us, we humbly suggest you follow these projects:
- A List Apart – The magazine “for people who make websites” is run by WaSP founder Jeffrey Zeldman and is a consistent source of forward-thinking articles and tutorials.
- HTML5 Doctor – A solid resource and discussion forum on all things HTML5, brought to you by Bruce Lawson and his team.
- W3C Community Groups – If you have a passion for a specific web technology, you can help make it better by participating in one (or more) community groups. In particular, you might be interested in one of these: Core Mobile Web Platform, Responsive Images, Web Education, and Web Media Text Tracks.
- WebPlatform.org – A fantastic web standards resource, providing up-to-date documentation, Q&As, tutorials & more. Chris Mills, Doug Schepers, and a number of other standards advocates are involved in this project.
- Web Standards Sherpa – An educational resource founded by WaSP which continues to operate under the leadership of Chris Casciano, Virginia DeBolt, Aaron Gustafson, and Emily Lewis.
- Web Standards + Small Business – An outreach project started by WaSP that educates small businesses about why they should care about web standards. This project is overseen by Aaron Gustafson.
The job’s not over, but instead of being the work of a small activist group, it’s a job for tens of thousands of developers who care about ensuring that the web remains a free, open, interoperable, and accessible competitor to native apps and closed eco-systems. It’s your job now, and we look forward to working with you, and wish you much success.
Nota bene: In the near future, we will be making a permanent, static archive of webstandards.org and some of our other resources like WaSP Interact to preserve them as a resource and to provide a record of our 15-year mission to improve the web.
Bruce Lawson and Steph Troeth contributed to this post.
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