What's new?

Hey there! Been a while. What's new?

I haven't been updating this space for close to a year now — but what a great time it has been, full of learning and creating.

FIRST OFF: For a long time, it has bothered me that some of my favorite sites don't have the best user experience to match their incredible content.

Such sites are run by entrepreneurs (busy, results–driven people), and often operate under all sorts of constraints — financial, human resource, experience, etc. These websites suffer from what they don't know they don't know — that investment in usability and an integrated, multi–disiplinary web strategy can pay off enormously on the bottom line.

The web development field is a fascinating place to be, full of conversations about cutting–edge web design, user experience, marketing, and content strategy. However, these conversations mainly stay within the professional circles and a certain type of client: large, corporate entities with the budget and manpower to afford the best practices; and the occasional tech–savvy start–up.

Meanwhile, many sites that feature unique, valuable, and authoritative content — run by people who actually have something to say — often remain on the sidelines. That is because having a website is low–barrier; but to have the best possible site — to rise above average – demands resources and expertise that aren't available to every small web team.

That's not good enough. What such teams need is a "Best Practices 101", a state–of–the–art primer on the crucial aspects of running a website that is clear, jargon–free, holistic, and actionable.

I've been writing a book — Successful Website DNA — to be such a guide:

The best workbook for a busy, content–driven, entrepreneurial web team possible, EVER. Period.

I have a deep interest in Design, Usability, Information Architecture, and Website Optimization. The more I learned about these topics, the more I realized how far most sites are from implementing all the radically effective stuff these disciplines have to offer. There's no better way to learn about something than experimenting with it in one's own backyard; and trying to explain it to someone else. That's what Successful Website DNA is all about.

SECONDLY, my recent experimentations with Ruby, Lisp, and Responsive Web Design have yielded a number of insights; these will be featured on the blog, one at a time. Here are just some tasters for content that's in the works:

  1. How to protoype your app effectively using a "data & functions" approach.

  2. Some experiments in combining multi–column layouts (enabled by the CSS3 multiple columns specification) with Responsive Web Design.

  3. A library of modular layout recipes — things you can drop in your layout — to illustrate some of the layout patterns I describe in Successful Website DNA.

  4. Between proofs and tests — simple but effective rules of thumb for writing quality code.

  5. Solving a programming puzzle, with the emphasis on problem–solving strategies driving code.

  6. A new category — Curateda repository of stuff from around the web that merits attention and study.

  7. How to put on 10 pounds of muscle while writing JavaScript.

(OK, I'm kidding about the last one).

As Nathan Ford reminds us, an expert is someone who compulsively shares what he or she learns. The take–away? Don't wait until you're an expert to write, talk, and share about your areas of interest. Initiate intense study, and grow into experthood through sharing your lessons.

So stay tuned; I'm going to do just that.