While I was gone...

Written by Adrian Holovaty on October 21, 2002

The Columbia Missourian's Web site, columbiamissourian.com, redesigned its home page in a completely CSS-based layout. Not a single layout table to be found. Bravo! More on this later; I'm told they're still fixing some kinks, as is to be expected.

Web design guru Jeffrey Zeldman also redesigned his site in all CSS. And Opera's site (home of the Opera Web browser) made the CSS leap last week -- as did Wired News, in case you haven't heard.

Wired News designer Douglas Bowman wrote about reaction to the site's redesign and how easy it is to make design tweaks now that the site is CSSified.

In "All the News That's Fit to PDF," Robin Sloan of Poynter.org examined those awkward newspaper "electronic editions" we've been seeing -- digitized versions of print-edition layouts. (See my previous thoughts and reader discussion on this topic.) Robin concludes that PDFs are a fine way of showcasing print designers' work, and an easy way for smaller newspapers to put at least something online. But they're no substitute for well-designed Web pages in their own right. (Disclaimer: The article quotes me.)

Federal Computer Week reported "only a handful [of government agencies] have spent the energy necessary to make sure their Web sites are accessible and useful. And so far, they haven't had a lot of help."

MSNBC.com made a few navigation changes, uh, sometime in the past few days. The announcement isn't dated.

Craig Saila, an outstanding journalism/technology blogger, agreed to ping weblogs.com regularly. Thanks to that, I've added his weblog, Living Can Kill You, to this site's blogroll (which uses data from weblogs.com and blo.gs to order sites by last-updated time).

Mozilla 1.2 beta was released. It has a new feature, link prefetching, which will automatically download and cache the "next" page, as defined by the Web page's creator. I have mixed opinions on this; more later.

Information architecture expert Louis Rosenfeld presented several "effective, low-cost techniques for making the case for investing in user experience design." My favorite: Show decision makers a videotape of confused and frustrated users. That's bound to get them thinking about user interfaces.


Posted by Ben on October 21, 2002, at 7:21 p.m.:

With regards to your comments on link prefetching I too have a point to raise. As I mentioned previously link prefetching has the potential to speed up users browsing of sites, however as someone who has to pay for my own hosting I am concerned about the potential for increased bandwidth costs for sites which implement this navigation scheme.

I think in general speeding up the users browsing experience is important but Mozilla should have restricted it to the "Prefetch" relationship rather than inclusing the "Next" relationship as well. At least then content authors would be making a conscious chice to allow prefetching of content that may never be visited.

Posted by Simon Willison on October 21, 2002, at 9:28 p.m.:

I had a whinge about prefetching the other day, in particular the treatment of the rel="next" attribute, only to be pointed to this page of the HTML4 spec which specifically suggests that user agents use the rel="next" attribute as a hint to pre-download content. Ho hum.

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