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Weblog Entry

Link Tuesday

June 15, 2004

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable, it’s time to clear out the backlog of links that usually make it into the Dailies.

VisitorVille is a whole new level of server-side stats; think SimCity for web traffic. Your site is represented as an isometric city, and your visitors are the pedestrians and automobiles that roam its streets. Philipp Lenssen shares his impressions of the service, which are favourable. §

In Exercise in Customer Experience, Mark Hurst compares the customer experience of a theme restaurant, a dentist’s office with a Star Trek motif, and a flashy e-commerce site that spent all of its money on image. Strange bedfellows these designers make, but Hurst effectively illustrates that understanding what the customer expects is the key to success. §

User testing? Free beer! Erik Burns advocates café testing as a quick, easy, and cheap way of gaining valuable user feedback. Great idea. §

AIGA symbol signs, free of charge — designed for airports and large international events where there may be more than one common language spoken, AIGA released the original set 30 years ago and have expanded it over time. Now the entire set is downloadable and ready for use in your work. §

The Dangers of Judging Web Designs Superficially — Joshua Porter thinks we’re all a little too quick to offer a throwaway opinion. It’s difficult, if not impossible to know ahead of time all factors involved in someone else’s work when you’re not on the team; while constructive criticism can be helpful, perhaps there is a line to be drawn. Joshua believes superficial commentary “lowers expectations and creates a market where looking good is the same as being good.” Interesting perspective. §

WCAG and the Myth of Accessibility — in perhaps an inaccurately named (and overly contentious) article on what he sees as an overall dismissal of cognitive disabilities on the web, Kevin Leitch sets out to raise awareness of the issue which he has certainly accomplished. The article is long, and the comments are longer, but it’s worth your time to read them all. The more you know… §

:hover emulation for IE5+ — Janos Horvath offers a variation on the popular CSS :hover menus meme, this one compatible back to IE5 and presumably quicker than other solutions that end up parsing an entire CSS file for :hover instances. Downside: an extra class is needed in the markup. Not a bad tradeoff though, and worth investigation. §

How to survive creative burnout — former Microsoft program manager Scott Berkun offers advice on pulling yourself out of a creative rut. My advice? Change your scenery. A new route in to the office does wonders for your outlook when you get there. §

Cutaway Technical Illustrations — What 720 hours of illustration gets you. (Besides creative burnout. See above.) Amazing. §

The real reason you should care about web standards. — Design By Fire on the benefits of a competitive market. §

Fireworks and XML — Andy Clarke demonstrates using an XML control file to automatically generate the various headers and graphical text items for your site through Fireworks. Now this is a reason to use Fireworks if I’ve ever seen one, thanks Andy. (somewhat related — today’s A List Apart article, Dynamic Text Replacement) §

Firefox 0.9 is hot off the grill. 1.0 is just around the corner. §

Reader Comments

Peter Zignego says:
June 15, 08h

In Exercise in Customer Experience, Mark Hurst compares the customer experience of a theme restaurant, a dentists office with a Star Trek motif, and a flashy e-commerce sent that spent all of its money on image.

e-commerce…site? :)

karinne says:
June 15, 08h

That VisitorVille is pretty funny stuff! :D

Dave S. says:
June 15, 08h

Thanks Peter, fixed.

ray says:
June 15, 09h

my brain cramped imagining myself putting all that detail into the cruise ship cutaway


Phil says:
June 15, 10h

That cutaway was amazing, and the last design by fire article very interesting. Nice links.

Susanna says:
June 15, 11h

Thanks for the link to the article on surviving creative burnout. Very timely. I’ve tried some of the things mentioned there, as well as some that aren’t (do something in a less familiar medium), and tomorrow I may try the new route to work trick. At some point, something’s gotta give: either my creativity comes back or I have to go back to school.

arjenvr says:
June 16, 01h

Firefox 0.9 has a lot of improvements, one of which is the better handling of themes and extensions. The related Mozilla Update site could arguably use a little Shea treatment though :)

June 16, 03h

Regarding the :hover HTC mimic, I’m biased, obviously, but I think the Suckerfish methodology (which was the first to mimic the :hover pseudo-class as far as I know) is far superior.

And how’s about this? :hover AND :active AND :focus and even :target (woo!) in IE! -

John says:
June 16, 03h

The :hover mimic page also contains this, which is more interesting, I think:

And Patrick, the suckerfish dropdowns don’t work for IE if one is using image replacement for the dropdown links, so I’m probably going to give this new method a whirl.

June 16, 03h

John - forget about the dropdowns - you can use the Suckerfish methods to mimic pseudo classes and apply them however you want. At the end of the day, the Suckerfish script produces exactly the same results as that HTC method mentioned here, it just does it in a better way.

Marty DeAngelo says:
June 16, 05h


I’ve used StuffIt to get into most .SEA archive files. It’s kind of hit or miss, I’m assuming depending on the software used to create the .SEA to start with.

Hope that helps.

John says:
June 16, 05h


But I don’t want to forget about the dropdowns - it’s a problem for me. :)

I can’t get IE to work using the Suckerfish method when the pseudo-class is being applied to elements that use have image replacement applied to them. The only way I’ve found to get dropdown menus at from elements with replaced images at all is with a structure like this:

But this means that even if I apply a class of “over” to the div or the li, it breaks- the div is interfering with JavaScripts application of the temporary class.
That means I have to use text-only menus.

You might be right that this new method won’t work either, but I suppose I ought to give it a try. :)

June 16, 08h

@#7: Too bad about the new default theme… Too mac-ish for a windows-machine, too windows-ish for a mac, and just horrible for gnome/linux. Fits right in there with KDE/linux, though, as it’s already horrible to look at ;)

June 16, 11h

Any recommendations for a good program for Windows or Linux for opening .SEA files? The AIGA signs archive is in that format (instead of zip, gzip, or something more standard for the rest of us) for some unusual reason.