Usability & Accessibility

Usability Heuristics Explained - Whatwasithinking UKI bumped into a former student of mine this evening – pleasant surprise. We had a quick chat about work and life, and he asked me if there was a quick way to explain the Usability Heuristics to someone in his company that would not involve a lot of reference material.

“Heuristic evaluation” means identifying usability problems with your website by checking the website (layout, design, outer template, content) against 10 so-called best-practice guidelines published by Jakob Nielsen. Even after reading these “10 commandments of usability” you may end up a little confused as to what they mean and how to relate to them in the real (web) world. So let’s have a look at them… Continue Reading

Usability & Accessibility, Web development

10 reasons to learn web standardsI was just talking to an acquaintance of mine (a php developer) about website design when we started discussing accessibility and usability. His response was:

Accessibility and Usability? Is that this web standards stuff people are all so afraid of? Nah f*** that, who needs to learn those anyway.

Well, so why are web standards beneficial, here is my top 10… Continue Reading

Usability & Accessibility, Web Design, Web development

FireFox extensions roundup February 2009 - The Best FireFox extensionsThose of you following me on twitter know I tend to spend a bit of time every couple of days in finding new extensions for FireFox (and sometimes Thunderbird) which are making my life as an Information Architect, Web Designer or Project Development Manager easier. These extensions may be some all of us have been using for ages but never really realised we had them installed, or some we really wanted to see or use for some time, but never really spent the time researching whether these extensions are actually available. This is the list of February…
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SEO

How to sell SEO - whatwasithinking.co.ukToday I closed my 11th SEO proposal. This may not sound very impressive (and it isn’t a high profile client either), but it does to me, not only because it adds a few more numbers for the account handlers, but because it means that my sales strategy works (11 out of 11 closed) and that the data I am showing and preparing is useful.

One of my followers on twitter asked me what my trick is, so I thought I’d write down what is helping me close a sale, in the hopes it might prove useful for some of you.

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Information Architecture, Usability & Accessibility, Web development

FireFox extensions for Usability, Accessibility and SEO expertsMy day to day work consists of a lot of time spending on the internet, looking at web presences of current clients, prospective clients and their (and our) competition. My tool of the trade being FireFox 3 (especially considering that IE seems to have a little problem). I am using a number of addons which really help my work-flow in the fields of usability, accessibility, SEO and occasionally information architecture.

I was asked by a couple of fellow twitter users to divulge my plugin list, and since I keep track of them myself at times I thought this post would come in handy for everyone.

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Web development

On Google Chroms - the new browser for the masses - Whatwasithinking.co.uk Google just launched its beta of Google Chrome, the in-house browser that is said to “combine a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.” The browser comes with a lot of interesting features such as a new tab look, a neat address bar giving you the options to search for keywords or auto-completing (even partial) web addresses, anonymus web surfing, web application shortcuts and the ability to isolate browser tabs in case anything goes wrong.

So let’s have a closer look at the browser compared to the competition… Continue Reading

Information Architecture, Usability & Accessibility, Web Design

On Link usability - the art of keeping call to actions consistent Not so long ago I was asked by a client, if it was possible to change a couple of sections within their site as they just updated their product structure: the client was expanding their products to list two more categories. To make them stand out, their marketing team was thinking of using different colours throughout the main content area so that is looks much more consistent, which included changing all link colours and buttons to these new colours.

As a designer you have probably faced a similar situation before – can I or can I not change the link colours on certain pages to keep a consistent look and feel?

Yes, you can, but you shouldn’t ever. Here is why… Continue Reading

Rants, Usability & Accessibility, Web Design, Web development

Please display PDF links properly! - Whatwasithinking.co.ukOver the last couple of months I have been working on a great number of design, usability and accessibility reports for clients of mine. Some of the sites I worked on are pretty good, and all you can recommend is maybe tightening up their call-to-actions or look at a couple of points of Section 508 to validate properly. Then there are some that need a bit more help than that. That is natural, some of the sites have been up for years and could do with a new design or will need some more development work.

But what gets me going of late is the inability of some websites to display their PDFs properly…

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