via @devinsays A small package of PHP + JS that “Automatically adapts your existing HTML images for mobile devices. No mark-up changes needed. Just drop it in and forget about it.”
Archives for August 2011
Wow, this is a helluva read. Adding it to Instapaper.
A beautifully simple interface for filing and working with tickets. I want this.
It’s time for another installment of the State of the Hostile Web, a series that I’ve never officially started, yet have many entries examples of user-antagonism to highlight.
I don’t know about you, but for me, I immediately heard Kenny Rogers. Maybe that’s because I was born and raised in Texas, but that’s besides the point. This was a crystal clear opportunity to blast the Internet with a reminder of the awesomeness that is The Gambler.
To ensure I got it just right, I did a quick search for the lyrics, and the first site to pop up is called LyricsFreak (they don’t get any link love from me – you’ll see why), which displays the words in all of whiskey-soaked glory. But when I go to cut-and-paste them (you can call it lazy – I call it efficient), nothing is selectable. At all. The normal click-and-drag to highlight doesn’t work and the right-click menu is taking the day off.
I was perplexed. I was annoyed. But I also know a little bit about these here Web pages, so I figured that I would just view the page source to disable the code that was blocking me, or I might copy the lyrics from there.
…and I stopped dead in my tracks, confronted with this:
On a warm summer 's evenin' on a  train bound for  nowhere,
That’s the very first line of the song: “On a warm summer’s eve on a train bound for nowhere”.
Beyond disabling all of the standard methods for copying a bit of text, Lyric Freaks encoded every single character of the song.
Part of me understands that their goal is to not have other people copy their database in bulk. Assuming they paid for the transcription, it has value to them that they want to protect in order to make some money . I get that. I’m a happy little capitalist myself.
But this practice has instantly made the site useless to me, when there is a sea of lyric sites available. Beyond that, any developer can tell you that this won’t make the least bit of difference to someone specifically scraping the Lyric Freaks site to snag their content. None.
So, the people who actually use their service, see, and hopefully click, their ads and tell others to visit are hamstrung.
Which I used oh so cleverly in under 140 characters:
This is a very long blog post that boils down to the fact that LyricFreaks has lost site of what’s important, hurting prospective users before they even have a chance to turn them into fans. All this in an attempt to protect something, using a method that won’t work, making the Web a little less friendly and a little less usable.
User-hostile practices do not work on the Internet. Your site or service is one among many competitors, and it won’t take long for a competitor to eclipse your work, so do yourself a favor and build solutions that reward the user for visiting instead of making their day harder in an attempt to protect a castle made of sand.
“Compass and Sass without all the hassle… a cross-platform app that delivers the power of Sass and Compass to the hands of web designers.”
A collection of “off-the-grid-for-little-kids videos and other smart stuff” compiled by @riondotnu and her three year old. The videos run the gamut, as noted on the site:
“There’s just so much science, nature, music, arts, technology, storytelling and assorted good stuff out there that my kids (and maybe your kids) haven’t seen. It’s most likely not stuff that was made for them…
“But we don’t underestimate kids around here.”
They now provide free developer access – 5,000 calls to their sentiment analysis API/day.
Worth reading if you work on or with APIs at any level.
Peter Steen Høgenhaug has posted the results of a usability test focused “aimed at exploring how little documentation you could leave in a CMS, and still have even the most non-savvy person use it with no issues”. This lead him to discover how few people make the connection between an icon of two links in a chain with the act of creating a hyperlink to another page. It’s a quick read and a fascinating study of the cognitive association, or lack thereof when trying to extend real world imagery to represent online actions.
It would be interesting to see a study focused on users who are familiar with content management systems, to see if they find this to be an issue. Without a great replacement, we may need to rely on discovery and learning for this association.
This reminds me a lot of my previous post . So, posing the same question as we did there – what would be a good replacement? I haven’t been able to come up with a great iconic substitution and am leaning ever so slightly, toward simply using the word Link. I’m sure there’s something better though.
What do you think, is it worth changing? If so, what should it be?
An app that autocompiles .less files into CSS. I like this idea much more than having JS do the work on the front-end, or for that matter, having the server-side scripting language like PHP or Python compile it.
A “folding” grid for responsive design. An interesting solution to accomodate the use of grids within responsive Web designs. Now to think up a new project to try it out…
“feature complexity — scope — is always the cost multiplier, not user experience. There aren’t debates about experience or how far to take it. The user experience simply has to be up to base standard in order to ship, no matter how trimmed down the feature is.” I agree 100% – without a consistent experience, you can’t trust the results gleaned from your minimum viable product.
A great breakdown on how to switch the order that the content and navigation is displayed based on the browser size, using CSS. A key component to truly responsive Web sites and apps.