Some excellent, thought provoking articles in this edition of The Smashing Daily. We have articles about default privacy settings, innovation, long-term thinking, user interface design, but also some great, inspiring stuff about CSS, screen readers, mobile, and a free book. Enjoy!
There’s a setting in more and more modern browsers with which the user can indicate that they do not want to be tracked by advertisers or other curious folk. Microsoft is going to implement this feature in IE10 and it’s going to turn it on by default. They do this because they think that if most people were asked, the answer would be that they would not want to be tracked, so that should be the default option. Other browser makers (like Mozilla) believe that this setting needs to be specifically set by the user, and needs to be actively checked. For once, I completely disagree with Mozilla and totally agree with Microsoft.
Here’s an excellent, long essay by Scott Anthony about what you need to do, as a business, to create a culture of innovation. Some great tips about recognizing and stimulating innovators, and about the right leadership needed to create an innovative culture. You and your boss should definitely read it.
An interesting project: in 2001 Jeffrey Zeldman published a book for print designers who want to switch to the Web. It’s now out of print, but Dale Cruse thinks it’s still an interesting book, so he convinced Jeffrey to give it away as a free eBook. Now it’s published online as a website, using current Web technologies. Nice!
In May 2012, WebAIM did a large international survey among screen reader users. Some very interesting results are in there. For example, browser usage for people who use screen readers is different, as they use IE much more than people who don’t use screen readers. But there’s many more other interesting things in there.
Long-term thinking is not often found on the Web, but there are some projects out there if you look for them. One of these projects has just finished, it’s the presentation of Samuel Pepys’ diaries maintained by Phil Gyford. Jeremy Keith wrote a bit about it and gave the diaries some context (with lots of links). Absolutely worth your time.
I think I used the CSS clip property once (or maybe twice) in my career as a Web developer. It’s quite rare, but quite nice too, if you know what it does and how it works. Louis Lazaris explains and shows us a nice animated example.
Quite a long but still very interesting read, is this article by Joshua Porter about 20 principles of user interface design. There are some excellent thoughts in there. I especially like this one, which many designers sometimes forget: “The act of designing interfaces is not art and they are not monuments unto themselves“.
If you have a few minutes to spare, be sure to watch this video in which Jason Grigsby gives some very good answers to questions about mobile design, the mobile Web, mobile opportunities and more.
Here’s a nice experiment with a trampoline-like touch screen that enables you to produce quite some interesting things, actually. I think this would be great to play around with.
For previous Smashing Daily issues, check out the Smashing Daily Archive.
Vasilis van Gemert is the Principal Front-end Developer at Mirabeau in The Netherlands and a board member of Fronteers. His aim is to close the gap between design and (front-end) development. He believes the excess of knowledge he has can be better used by others, by more creative and smarter people. You can follow him on Twitter.
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