This week there’s an IndieWebCamp going on in Brighton. I’ve set up a hashtag search on Twitter to look at later.

Some interesting stuff coming through from Jeremy Keith about web actions. Also I had to jump back on IRC to garner some assistance as the ‘Social’ WP plugin stopped working when I updated to WordPress 4. Now trying out brid.gy (we’ll see how is works with this post).

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I remember attending SXSWi 2008, mingling with the cool kids at the ‘Great British Boozeup’, swapping favorite websites with a couple of people. I asked another attendee if she’d ever visited Netdiver? It’s so good. Always something cool I enthused. Oh, I’m glad to hear that. I’m Carole Guevin — That’s my site.

Doh!

I can’t believe that was 6 years ago now. You see, before then my morning routine meant visiting my favorite 20 sites individually each morning to see if anything had been updated, Netdiver was always top of my list. But, like a lot of other things, it fell by the wayside.

These day’s I’m only just dusting off my RSS feeds and getting back into the habit of reading them. One of those feeds was Zeldman.com, where I saw that Netdiver is back!

Now Netdiver has reclaimed it’s spot in my Feedly as something I check all the time. You should take a look too.

One of my photos was selected for the curated Levis® Commuter™ x VSCO Grid™. I think that’s cool :-)

I really like using the VSCOcam app on my Nexus. It lets me control the filters and settings a lot more than stock one’s baked in to Instagram, Google, etc. They also have a magazine and community which is a nice extra. Though I don’t put as much as I should on my grid, these partnership with brands along with a specific preset is very cool intro.

This year marked the second RustbeltRefresh conference and the organizers gathered another great line-up of local, national, and international speakers.

Here's some of my notes and photos from the "single day dedicated to web design and front-end development".

Karen McGrane

I've had the pleasure to watch Karen present at the IA Summit before. She's a great speaker and has a ton of insight on one of the growing issues we face with the web today – Content.

Karen

Give up the shared hallucination that we have control

  • Look into the Google Communications Group
  • "NOBODY IS READING YOUR PDFs!" – Big 'blobs' of locked content. Very expensive to liberate.
  • As the diversity of devices grows so does the importance of 'content modelling' and not only how things are displayed but also how they are read aloud.
  • Check out the NYT Innovation Report.

You can view her slides for 'Content for a Zombie Apocalypse' on SlideShare.

Matt Griffin

Matt basically won the animated GIF competition in his presentation. He talked about wireframing within the browser (small screen first natch') and using that code to overlay your styles etc. This meant, for some projects, there wasn't a lot of code changes.

  • "Swoop & Poop!"
  • Collaborative sketching
  • Small deliverables, more frequently

The agency he created, Bearded, has it's own starter kit you can grab from GitHub. He is also making a documentary about the web.

As I had a meeting over lunch I missed some of the presentations before and after, so little notes, but what I saw was very informative.

Jen Myers

Jen spoke about 'shepherding unicorns' and how we sorely need more mentors in our industry. This is something I heard quite a bit at this years IA Summit. She spoke about she wouldn't be the answer-bot if her students needed help, rather guide them to solving the issue by asking them questions.

Jenn Lukas addressing the audience

Jenn Lukas

Jenn is just full of excitement and energy about web design and this comes through in her presentation.

She spoke about what goes in to make 'The Developers Ampersandwich' focusing on web typography, icons, and ARIA roles to name a few.

You can find a lot of links she mentioned on her Nerdary post.

Tim Kadlec

Tim started his talk about performance by relating a story of getting lost with his family looking for the perfect Xmas tree.

It's all about thinking of things that could happen between A to Z. Performance equals panning and the same goes for the lack thereof. It should be something baked in and not an afterthought. He gave some interesting facts about the impact of performance like Amazon losing 1% sales for every 100ms of latency.

A great linked he shared was http://webpagetest.org/

Rachel Nabors

Rachel took us through how she created 'Alice in Videoland' for Adobe's Creative Edge magazine. It's a nice take on Alice in Wonderland and the interactive "book" uses HTML & CSS for it's animations.

Jeremy Keith

If you've been in this industry for any amount of of time you know of Jeremy. It's always great to see him present and this was no exception. He wanted to change our minds. He showed us the arrow in the FedEx logo as well as ducks all wear dog masks. That it's Tony Danza, not Tiny Dancer. And that there's certain parts of the web that are fault tolerant (HTML & CSS) and parts that are not (JavaScript).

Jeremy, with David Siegel's pivotal book

All stuff that we know. Personally, professionally, and as an industry en-masse. But then he laid down the challenge.

Do websites need to look the same in every browser? NO!

Then why do we, as an industry, spend so much time retrofitting JavaScript, creating shims and hacks to run in these old browsers?

If you are still hacking sites together to get it to look right in IE8, you're part of the problem.

With that Jeremy laid down the gauntlet. It's time as professionals to stand up. The first website was, and still is responsive. It can be viewed on all browsers using any device unlike some modern ones that completely fail if JavaScript doesn't run.

It's our job to educate people not to use an old and broken browsers. Build for the future.

Looking forward to next year

As with 2013's RustbeltRefresh conference the organizers did a fantastic job. I'm looking forward to next year's in September. And you should too.

Since having the meeting about being RIF‘d to my last official day at Progressive I’ve been using LinkedIn pretty heavily.

It’s been great to send an initial call out to all my connections, sharing my resume/profile and letting then know I was now looking for another opportunity. Also good for getting introductions to their connections too.

The one downside is seeing the profile views. That first week they skyrocket. And when you see someone you look up to in your industry view your LinkedIn profile, after emailing their company, you do that little intake of breath. “Really? They looked at me!”, then nothing. That’s when it starts getting a little depressing. The profile views drop after the first week or so and you’re back to chasing links.

But back on the plus side, I’ve had a fantastic amount of support, help, and encouragement from everyone I’ve connected with. You are all awesome.

I’m still looking for that company where I can call home. So if you are in need of a User Experience/Information Architect position, I can help.

Due to a “Reduction in Force” my position of Web Architect for Progressive is no more.

I only found out this morning, so I’ve got to update my resume & My LinkedIn page, but hit me up if you’re looking to fill a #UI #UX #IA #Web #HTML #CSS role.

And thanks to everyone on Twitter sending support and links. I appreciate it.

Last week I saw a tweet from Jared Spool to Dan Brown about a new book on eye tracking. Quite a few others joined the conversation, so I asked

@brownorama @jmspool Why the downer on eye tracking?

I’ve used eye tracking as part of projects before and, I felt, got some interesting results. After some more tweets  I added

@jmspool OK, but if the heat maps display that no one looks at a certain area, can you use that to debunk agendas? /cc @brownorama

In response Jared gave 6 important points to consider:

  1. Heat map settings vary on sensitivity settings. What are the settings?
  2. ET only measure focal gaze. There’s more to vision than center focal points.
  3. ET doesn’t take into account peripheral vision. Do you every see anything out of your peripheral vision?
  4. ET only record based on recorder resolution. Not every point of focal gaze is registered. What’s missing?
  5. ET’s are known to have significant errors in data collection. Missed data. False positives.
  6. ETs are notorious for reporting data differently for different users. Are you comparing apples to apples?

and ended with

So, tell me again what your heat map actually is telling you when it suggests “no one looked at that area”?

Which, considering the 6 points, is a fantastic point. Now, the example I was thinking of, we ran the same page template past 5 participants. Each participant saw the template used on different pages of a flow, so I feel the “apples to apples” answer was yes. The blank area was the far right of the page. It was only “looked” at when we removed the graphical borders and reduced the gutters between it and the main content. To me this was expected as I believed we were consistently seeing banner blindness in effect. To some others in the room it was ‘eye-opening”.

Maybe the whole attitude of using ET to check if someone “saw” something is wrong. Jared’s second & third points nail this. They saw it, if only in their peripheral vision. Maybe it has more to do with the user assembling the environmental markers available to them and deciding that these particular cues don’t help them in making the map needed to complete what they need to do.

On Twitter Angela Robertson added this to the thread

@jmspool @davidmead I too want details on its non-value.  UX may be over it, leadership just discovered it…

Which, like most things in our industry, is true. I’ve lost count of how many times I hear “journey maps” in meetings now compared to just 6 months ago.

I’ve never used ET as the sole basis to initiate change or justify a project. We have two fantastic HFI certified UX/Usability professionals who run the Tobii equipment and keep me honest by pairing this with interviews, screenshots, video/audio recordings and their own notes to give a well rounded assessment of the user sessions we conduct, both in and out of a lab setting. This is just one data point, of many, which is open to interpretation and should be balanced with your research as a whole.

I think Jared’s 6 points have tweaked my view on ET. I still feel it has value as one tool of many in my toolbox. The same as wireframes, paper mockups, server logs, interviews, or Chalkmark sessions.

Thoughts?

 

Thanks @t :) I’ve never considered using Medium in that way before. I do use Draft, by Nathan Kontny. It’s an online tool that I’ve found works well and integrates with other online spaces like Google Drive, etc. MS Word is what we have at my 9-5.