Digital Philosophy

I hate Netflix’s search field.

I hate Netflix’s search field. I hate that it’s small and doesn’t look anything like a text entry field or a clickable button; it’s not immediately clear what one needs to do to interact with it. So you click the general area where the word Search is (at least there’s a hover state), it expands to reveal the text entry field, which, fortunately, is already where your cursor is, you can type what you’re looking…Continue Reading →

Responsive means never fixing a widow

If you’re designing a responsive piece (website, email, etc) and you’re trying to design it so that a particular line of text sits nicely on one line, you are doing digital wrong. If you are not letting text flow and wrap naturally, you are designing wrong. Different devices/browsers/platforms will display text at different sizes, and different screen sizes will cause different wrapping of text to occur. We have to embrace this, not resist it. Trying…Continue Reading →

Back slash versus forward slash

I hear people using these wrong all the time. Here’s a mnemonic device to help keep them straight: think of “forward slash” and “back slash” in terms of them leaning in the direction you’re typing. You type to the right, so when you enter a “/” it’s leaning forward, toward the end of the line, and when you enter a “\” it’s leaning backward, back toward the beginning of the line. Easy! So, urls use…Continue Reading →

My secret for Twitter click-throughs

I made up a Twitter technique a while back that’s worked wonders for getting people to click on the links in my tweets and get them into my website(s). It’s so insanely simple it’s almost stupid. Here it is: Whenever I want to tweet anything important, I tweet two things in a row. Seriously. That’s it. I made up this technique while tweeting to promote my Paris website. If I had a new article to…Continue Reading →

Using Vimeo for video on websites

Since web developers have been working to make websites device-compatible in the last few years, we’ve run into a lot of challenges with regards to hosting videos on our sites. Years ago, before the iPhone changed everything, the best way to get a video onto a website was to format the video as an .flv (Flash video) file and build a custom Flash video player (in .swf format). 99% of users had the Flash plugin…Continue Reading →

Responsive website semantics: let’s avoid discussing multiple “versions” of a site

Let’s be careful when discussing responsive websites to never describe them as having multiple versions. Let’s always talk about the desktop layout or the desktop view, the mobile layout or the mobile view, but never the desktop version or the mobile version. A responsive site is one site that has multiple views, or variable layouts, depending on screen size. I’m a stickler for this kind of semantics, because it’s extremely important that we use the…Continue Reading →

Semantics: Veeva and iRep

If you’ve been in meetings with me, you might wonder, why does Manning always say “Veeva iRep” instead of just “Veeva?” There’s a reason. Veeva is a software company, and iRep is their iPad presentation platform, i.e. just one of their products. (Other Veeva products that we work with include Vault, Approved Email, etc.) A lot of folks — our clients and our colleagues — refer to the iRep platform as Veeva. This is inaccurate….Continue Reading →

Semantics: overlays versus pop-ups

An overlay is a box or content area that appears overlapped onto a website. It exists within the same window as the website, so it doesn’t have an address bar at the top. It typically has a transparent color that masks out the full-screen page behind it. Overlays are built with javascript (often jquery) and are widely compatible across browsers and devices. They can contain any kind of content; text, graphics, links, etc. They often…Continue Reading →