Understanding Web Design

Zeldman discussing effective web design.

Author and Happy Cog founder Jeffrey Zeldman answers the question: what does a web designer need most? Skills and knowledge of software, of course, but empathy—the ability to think about and empathize with your user—is by far the most important. Go HERE to see this excellent presentation.


Google Chrome – Yet another browser enters the arena.

Wellp, I’m sure everyone’s heard, but in case you haven’t, we have another competitor for Mozilla Firefox and Internet explorer.

You can download Google Chrome at

Some of the neat features include:

  • one bar for searching AND typing in urls,
  • a very skinny tab and title bar combination,
  • a set of commonly used pages immediately viewable when you open a new tab,
  • independently-run tabs…that is, there’s no way for one tab to crash the entire browser,
  • Google’s new V8 JavaScript engine,
  • and use of WebKit to render webpages.

Here’s a quick picture in case you’re a little interested, but not interested enough to install it.

Google's new browser, Chrome.
Google Chrome

IE8 Beta 2

IE8’s Beta 2 has done away with the “Emulate IE7” button of the first Beta, and in it’s place is “Compatibility View”, which is invoked with the broken-document button in the toolbar.

IE8 Compatibility View Button
IE8 Compatibility View Button

It’s interesting to note that  when it comes to Intranets, IE8 defaults to this compatibility setting.

Compatibility View Settings
Compatibility View Settings

One assumes Microsoft’s reasoning behind this is that they believe that the typical Intranets are not usually known as bastions of standards-based web design, and tend to be given the lowest priority in an organization. Has anyone ever worked at a place where you had full Intranet functionality on a non-IE browser? There must be some out there. I know that there are some state colleges in Florida that have banned IE from the workplace – I wonder what their Intranets look like?


Video for the day

Weezer \"Pork and Beans\" video

Video from Weezer: Pork and Beans (NOTE: click image to play in new window)

Mike Houghton emailed this video to me recently. Seeing it spurred some thoughts on how Weezer took a simple idea and created something from it. In this case Weezer has taken a simple thought – “I’m going to do what I want to do, I ain’t gotta prove a thing to you” – and made a catchy little song with an amusing, light video.

I’ve been interested for a while now in how others take a simple idea and make it spring to life. I’m sure that we all have inspirational moments where if we could just somehow “catch” them and “own” them, maybe something worthwhile (or at least thought provoking) could come from them.



Alton Kelly

While reading some of the obits for the late Alton Kelly, I reflected that his work and the work of his peers in San Francisco made use of the same kind of eclectic adaptation and cross-cultural borrowings as the music of the time. The SF Gate story mentions the use of the public library by Kelly and partner Stanley “Mouse” Miller to find inspiration. While the artists were in the libraries, the bands in San Francisco listened to anything and everything; check out this set from radio station KPMX one night in 1967 when it was guest-hosted by two guys named Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia.

I found a nice selection of what look like all pre-1970 posters here (note that two of the posters are for concerts by the also recently deceased Bo Diddley).