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Swing Development Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Posted by VoeD in Design, Implementation, Miscellaneous, Testing, Thoughts.
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This should be on the first page of every usability and/or software development book: (Not sure the image is of whose copyright though)


Amazon.com: To tab or not to tab? Monday, May 29, 2006

Posted by VoeD in Design, Thoughts.
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A lot of publicity has gone over Amazon.com's new Ajax-enabled Book Reader. Ajaxian's article is here and I suppose you can find lots of similar coverage on the new feature in other Ajax sites as well as the normal bunch who write about these stuff: Slashdot, Techcrunch, etc. Although, probably not much lime light was shed when the British Library (at least I don't remember so) had a Macromedia Shockwave book reader, called and trademarked Turning the pages, of various original works like from Leonardo da Vinci, Lewis Caroll, Jane Austen, etc (some are even hand written). And for that matter, not many people has heard of Project Gutenburg.

But this post is about Amazon, and not the rest (in keeping things related to my project hehe). I first noticed this in Steve Krug's book (which is still burried amongst the many boxes in my room): Amazon was one of the best examples for using tabs to realize web site navigation. When I say best example, I meant it in the same way Steve Krug did, Amazon's tabs was a success and they maintained a high level of usability in those tabs to help users navigate through their website.

But over the years, (the picture above was neither most recent nor quite recent) their business expanded and with that so did their website:

There is even one with three rows of tabs (I saw an image of such in Steve Krug's book – I wish I can just take a photo of that and paste it here haha) and silly as it is (and it was actually taken down after a few weeks) its still tabs and still usable. And a few (weeks? months? a year?) ago it was still quite managable I might say… (Notice the "See more stores" link)

But just take a look at the "tabbed" website now (Notice the "See all XX product categories" link):

I traced the change back to this post in Bigfatsite.com (in 2005 or so). I won't be surprised if Amazon gets rid of the tabs sometime soon? Or hey.. I dont actually have an Amazon account. So probably they customize the tabs according to customer. But not everyone goes to Amazon to shop I suppose (I go there to check what a book looks like and what people think about it). Then again, the change was indeed in 2005 and its been a year since then. I guess its a step to cure the so-called tab cancer. I wonder why I never noticed the change in their tabs design till now. Hmmm…

CSS VS Tables Sunday, May 28, 2006

Posted by VoeD in Articles, Bookmarks, Design, Thoughts.
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In my research, I collated (with the help of Veerle's blog) some articles on CSS-based design VS HTML table tag-based design.


Graceful Degradation of Ajax Sunday, May 28, 2006

Posted by VoeD in Articles, Design.
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Ryan Campbell of Particletree wrote a great article on the Graceful Degradation of Ajax. While reading on Dan Cederholm's book, Bulletproof Web Design, on the degradation of web site with no support for CSS especially with the flourishing of mobile devices accessing content over the internet these days, this idea actually came up to me: Graceful Degradation for Ajax. Particletree laid down the hows and whys for this quite elegantly in the article.

Essentially, by utilising the noscript element as well as by following a graceful development cycle, such an ambition is indeed possible (for any Ajax Weblication?). This is not surprising actually, the same principles apply for CSS based designs. We start with a good structure and have all the presentation and visuals details laid down on top of the structure later on. But this paragraph hardly does justice to the article; more details can be found in the article.

Interface Design Quotes Sunday, May 28, 2006

Posted by VoeD in Design, Thoughts.
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I found this list of Interface Design Quotes on Luke Wroblewski's web site. Some of my favourites:

“A picture is worth a thousand words. An interface is worth a thousand pictures.”
Ben Shneiderman, 2003

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Steve Jobs, 2003

“The perfection of art is to conceal art.”
Quintilian, 95

“Design is the art of gradually applying constraints until only one solution remains.”