Posts Tagged ‘Web2.0’

Web Standards

As I researched this week’s topic of Web Standards I was struck by how important they are going to be to me in my future of interactive media and web design.

Designing with Web Standards is going to separate the true professionals from the friend of a friend who knows a bit of HTML. Web Standards are definitely going to be in our future as web designers, I can see the handwriting on the wall. So, I better take control of my learning and make sure that I become very familiar with the Web Standards.

Web Standards are vital to your design for the following reasons:

1. Findability – can a search engine parse your whole site and can consumers find your site? If your design is having to rely on the error correction of a web browser, how much information is lost or hidden from the search engines? Instead of spending tons of money on Search Engine Optimization, why not a least start-off with a site that the search engines can parse.

2. Interoperability – can your website be translated to different platforms seamlessly? Can your design go from the web to mobile to printer effortlessly?

3. Longevity of your design – by using Web Standards, a designer insures the longest possible life for that particular web site. As technology changes, many of the older formats or pieced together formats will no longer be able to be accessed. This trend is only going to accelerate.

4. Legacy – even after the designer is gone, maintenance and alterations to the system will be less time consuming and less costly to the business if the design adheres to Web Standards.

5. Accessibility – by designing with Web Standards, the designer is at least headed in the right direction with web accessibility. While the W3C admits that Web Standards are not a guarantee of accessibility to those with disabilities, it is a great start. Already there are laws on the books about making your site accessible to disabled persons here and in Australia, (with Europe not far behind.) The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is about to be re-released and I am sure that there will be a section in there about web sites. From my understanding of the revisions to the ADA – everything is being thrown in there, including the kitchen sink – but I digress…

I now realize from my research that I will need to know and practice the web standards in my design. I might as well learn the correct way to design right from the start and then it will become ingrained and I will always use the standards without thinking. Learning something the correct way the first time saves a lot of frustration down the road. If I don’t learn the standards now, I will only have to constantly stop and rethink everything instead of just automatically doing the design.
An example of this is my fellow handbell ringer, we will call him “Bob.” Bob started in our handbell choir 10 years ago in the very deep bass. Our conductor is very treble-focused so she pretty much ignored Bob and let him figure out how to ring on his own. Needless to say Bob picked up a lot of BAD habits – he didn’t know any better, Bob did what he could figure out how to play. Contrary to what it looks like, there is an art to ringing a handbell and there are also many things you just don’t do as it looks bad (handbell ringing is very visual) and it can make the bell sound weird. Two years ago, Bob was moved “up” the bell table to play next to me. Now he is in “sight” of our conductor who is now correcting Bob left and right. Bob is really irritated and frustrated at the constant correction, and many times he falls back on his bad habits instead of playing correctly – it is just human. He is slowly getting better, but I think he would be enjoying the new position a whole lot more if he knew how to play correctly in the first place – again I digress…
I know that I may run into a legacy situation or the oddball problem that may require a unique work around, but if the foundation of what I do is always grounded in Web Standards, then I know that I will be creating the most professional and, in the long run, cost effective design for my client. This is one of the major factors in setting me apart from the mediocre web designers out there.

Comments, questions, tips on playing handbells? Please let me know…

Resources:
The Future of Web Standards – This is a chapter from Jeffrey Zeldman’s book, Designing with Web Standards, 3rd Edition. I got a lot of my information from this chapter and I think this book is definitely going to end up in my library – especially since it was just updated this year.

The Web Standards Project – again a very good article.

W3C QA – How to Achieve Web Standards – interesting Q and A about web standards from the W3C.

Why Should a Web Site by Compliant with Standards? – lightweight blog about Web Standardsow

Mashups

Open Mashup Alliance (OMA)

The Open Mashup Alliance is a consortium “that promotes the adoption of mashup solutions in the enterprise through the evolution of enterprise mashup standards like EMML.” Through the support of open source code and the use of EMML, the OMA hopes to eliminate vendor lock-in and make the development of enterprise mashups more lucrative and viable. I think that without the standardization of EMML and the move toward open source code under a Creative Common License propelled and supported by the OMA, the usage of enterprise mashups will not reach its expected increase of tenfold by 2015. The future of computing for business is going to include mashups and just like web standards set by the W3C, hopefully the OMA will be able to influence companies to join the proposed mashup standards. Companies like HP, Intel and Adobe have already signed to support the OMA, but many more companies are going to have to join before standardization becomes a reality. And as we all know, there will always be the hold outs that want to keep their developments proprietary, but I don’t think that mindset is really going to work for companies in the world going forward.

Business Intelligence and Mashups

In this article, Lorraine Lawson brings up the issue with mashups and business. Many businesses have invested in Business Intelligence mashups and are not happy with the results. The issue seems to be the user not the technology. In a quote from IDC analyst, Dan Vessett, “The core issue here is not one of BI failing. Technology is almost never the issue. It’s the ability for IT to create and/or align the right technology for the needs of the business users.” I agree. This comes back to something we discussed in class, the need to know your client’s users and know them very well. What information do they want and what is the best solution to get the user the required information? Lawson also brings up the idea of delighting you users by going above and beyond. I agree with this philosophy 100%, probably from my many years of working for Disney where we were taught to exceed guest expectations. This is one reason the Disney Parks stand out from other theme parks, the exceeding of guest expectations. I think we need to take this philosophy into the design industry with us, whether we are designing mashups, web sites, or apps for the iPhone. Ultimately when we exceed the user’s expectations, we will most assuredly exceed our client’s expectations.

Enterprise Mashups

This article brought up to me the potential for conflict between the non-developer who goes off and makes a mashup and the IT department. While the non-developer is quickly solving a business need, without taking up valuable resources of the company and by-passing the bureaucracy of getting a project prioritized and funded, they could be attempting to access data that needs to be secure. The IT department needs to have some governance over the mashup to insure security of the data and also to insure legacy. There will need to be some sort of documentation of what was created so if that employee leaves the company, other people can improve or revise the existing mashup as new information and technology is created. I could also see the potential , depending on the corporate culture for a particular company, for the IT department to feel threatened by the non-developer’s creation of a mashup and for there to be “turf wars” in the world of corporate politics

Widgetbox
This is a site to create and find widgets.

Programmable Web
Great inventory list of APIs with reviews.