What is ‘Conversational Web Design’ ?

Coding is the tip of the Iceberg

I love to learn all about the technical side of web development. It seems that knowing how to use all those cool tools and languages is really only one step of the Web Developers work flow though. At least unless you enjoy sitting in a dark corner all day I guess.

I’ve also looked into Graphic Design and Aesthetics which are important aspects to consider, but of late I have hit upon another really big area of study for an aspiring Web Developer.

Usability

I’ve finally gotten around to reading two oft’ recomended classics ‘Don’t make me think!’ and ‘Letting go of the Words’   I’m learning all about why planning and using conventions are so important on the Web . Clever functionality, flashy design, and style  must be constrained in order to promote usability and allow the site to server its purpose.

Web users are often in a rush and are looking for specific information. Unlike with a printed document, Web has the interactive ability to ‘teleport’ people to the information they need.

Good web sites should be conceptually  like a load of index cards. Each card is endowed with a byte size bit of information. The navigation, structure and search facilities must allow people to find what they are after.

Accessibility is really a combination of good usability and adhering to best practices. People using assistive devices will have ten times more trouble sorting out a poorly designed site.

A Telephone call, not a Filing Cabinet

When people access web sites you can think that they are starting a conversation with the sites owner. Wow, I never though of it like that… even though  I worked in customer support for ten years !

By using personas and scenarios designers can understand the typical flow of interaction a user might go through. Above all, remember that your competitor is often only one click of the back button away !

 

Marketing

Here is one more gem I have found recently. It’s a really good course called Critical Business Skills for Success  

The course covers Strategy, Marketing, Organisation Behaviour and Finance/Accounting

The finance and accounting part is a bit much perhaps, however I really enjoyed the rest of it. Particularly  the section on Marketing is relevant to Web development, mainly for business related sites of course.

Web sites are no longer an optional asset for companies I guess . Having a bad, annoying or generally sub optimal site is arguably worse than not having one at all though !

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Dummies Books for Dummies

 

I got a bit bored with my Drupal adventure to be honest, so I went searching for something else to learn about. Here we go, a pretty good adventure story from the venerable Barry Burd on Android development:

I have read a huge book on ‘Java for Android’ but I think this fun to read volume is going to teach me a whole lot more.

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It takes a good knowledge of what you are writing about to be able  to get the point accross in 1 page instead of 10. It’s also a reasonably fun book to read, even the chapter on XML was fun! 🙂

I really need to download the code for this and have a proper play 🙂

 

 

 

 

More.js books too

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Well it’s been a while since I read the ‘Definitive Guide’ but here is a not quite so hefty a  tome that might perhaps be considered the ‘readers digest’ version of that classic. I does seem to cover a lot of what was in the 2011 David Flanagin book ( I wander if there is an update coming ?) There is not really a lot of new stuff here to be honest, but it’s a great review. Actually I’ve not read the sections relating to the modern day Angular like JS frameworks… that’s pretty new I guess. Still not a bad book and supposedly partly written by the guy who made JQuery.

 

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