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Looking beyond the obvious

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Smashing Mag has a roundup of 10 usability findings and guidelines, most of which do make sense. But a quick look through the comments provides a warning that not all the tip roundups that show up on the various web design ezines and then get referenced endlessly on twitter and other blog posts should be taken at face value.

Take the one for instance on placement of labels in relation to fields in a form. The Smashing Mag article points to one article that declares it should be this way. A commenter, Juan Lanus, who evidently knows a little more on the topic provided a link to a discussion on the same topic where some people who've really researched the topic weigh in. Look for the comment by Caroline Jarrett, author of "Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability". Caroline says that she'll contact "Dr Kathryn Summers of the University of Baltimore [who] is definitely the expert in designing forms for people with low literacy." And in a follow-up comment, she reports back Dr. Summers' advice.

It's definitely worth the time to read for those who are interested in the subject of usability and provides the perfect illustration of why a site like IXDA may be much more useful for web designers to peruse and hang out at rather than Smashing Magazine.

And sure enough, the advice given in the quick tip is not entirely accurate. There's more to be said ... whole books' worth, evidently.

Mozilla Labs' Bespin

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Warning: This is definitely geek material. The people at Mozilla Labs have a marvelous vision and they've put out the first alpha release for the rest of us to poke at, play with and contribute to (if you have the skills).

Imagine being able to sit down at any computer anywhere and have access to your entire coding environment and collaborate with anyone else anywhere simultaneously. That's what Bespin does.

This video walks through Bespin and some of its features.



There's more information available at the Mozilla Labs site and if you're so inclined, you can register and take Bespin for a spin yourself. I should note that this is an alpha release so it's not ready for prime-time use but its potential for long-distance collaboration is really interesting.

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Looking beyond the obvious
Smashing Mag has a roundup of 10 usability findings and guidelines, most of which do make sense. But a quick…
Mozilla Labs' Bespin
Warning: This is definitely geek material. The people at Mozilla Labs have a marvelous vision and they've put out the…