Design, SEO, Lots of Food for Thought Today
There’s plenty of fascinating reading around at the beginning of the week. Here are just a few for inspiration and helpful info:
- Jeffrey Zeldman’s Lecture notes online post leads to plenty of helpful tips for Designing with Web Standards and Accessibility and Section 508. Also available are notes from previous lectures on CSS and the move from HTML to XHTML.
- Using XHTML/CSS for an Effective SEO Campaign
by Brandon Olejniczak is A List Apart’s latest article where you can learn some tips to improve your search engine rankings with some simple but effective ways to improve your site’s readability for search engines.
- Designing for Search Engines and Stars is a tutorial I wrote for Digital Web with lots of tips for improving your site with search engines, too. Although the tutorial is over 2 years old now and some of the website examples are gone or outdated, most of the tips are still just as valid today as they were two years ago.
- Pixelsurgeon Cured
Clagnut’s XHTML and CSS markup redo of Pixelsurgeon’s recent interview with Super Furry Animals.
Richard Rutter of Clagnut is back after some time off with plenty of interesting things to say, including comments from others about Todd Dominey’s new tasteful and beautiful design for the PGA Open Championship being too gray “Which is like saying you don’t rate Ferraris because they are red - completely ignoring the inherent beauty and engineering prowess.” I also agree with Richard’s thoughts about the appropriate use of Flash for a site like this. Nice work. I didn’t check it out for accessibility needs yet, though, so I can’t comment on that part.
The above comment about their new design being too gray reminds me of some correspondence over the weekend with someone who mentioned a “zap colors bookmarklet to make pages more readable” who also wrote at being “amazed at how much easier it is to read most blogs after I zap the colors.” Some folks may cringe to think of someone zapping their designs like that, but one of the beauties of reading on the Web is the flexibility like this, too. Personal weblogs often use colors and overall design more creatively than a newspaper- or magazine-based site or more conservative commercial sites, of course.
Additionally, there’s a huge range of readability needs. I’ve seen many people in their 20s wanting smaller font sizes, such as a 10-pixel size for the main content, while people over 40 may prefer or need larger font sizes, many have some form of color blindness, and many have other visual needs that require larger font sizes, more contrast, or something else. And then there are screen readers, voice browsers, and accessing the Web via cell phone or PDA. There are also government guidelines and requirements and other accessibility issues.
One of the many challenges of designing for the Web is the wide range of variability with browsers, screen resolutions and the actual window sizes people use, how monitors and other displays implement colors, personal preferences, and the ability of the user to change one’s own experience by using a customized style sheet and other settings available within browsers and computers, such as that bookmarklet to zap colors.