Monday, November 21, 2005

Vaspers on Veen

Jeffrey Veen is the first blog I will examine in my 7 Blogs 7 Days project.

Veen is the Director of Product Design at Adaptive Path.

[QUOTE from Jeffrey Veen blog, About page]

Jeffrey Veen is an internationally sought-after speaker, author and consultant.

He is a founding partner of Adaptive Path, a user experience consultancy focusing on the impact of design on business.

Previously, Jeffrey served as the Executive Interface Director for Wired Digital and Lycos Inc., where he managed the look and feel of HotWired, the HotBot search engine, and others.

In addition to lecturing and writing on Web design and development, Jeffrey has been active with the World Wide Web Consortium's CSS Editorial Review Board as an invited expert on electronic publishing.

He is also a columnist for Webmonkey, the author of the acclaimed books "The Art & Science of Web Design" and "HotWired Style: Principles for Building Smart Web Sites".

In 1998, Jeffrey was named by CNet as one of the "First Annual Web Innovators".

Jeffrey previously worked as the managing editor and creative director of South Coast Community Newspapers, and has been active in the Internet community since 1987.

He is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and lives in San Francisco with his wife, Leslie.

"Drafts: What's in your folder of shame?"
by Jeffrey Veen


the habit of starting posts, writing a paragraph or two, and then trailing off. We started comparing the lingering headlines in our "Drafts" folder...:
The things where you’ve just thought of the title, but written nothing to back it up?

The momentary points of self-deluded genius that in the cold light of day you thought better of?

So I took a deep breath, opened up my Drafts, and had a look. Sure enough, an accurate record of interesting ideas that never really existed:

  • Cyclical Optimism and the "New" Internet
  • Content Types in Blog Tools
  • 54x11
  • Process and Stupidity
  • How often should you post?
  • Not Synonyms
  • The Experience of Time
  • Why is checked luggage so hard?
  • Self-centered design
  • Someone is reading your feed
  • Bending Towards Our Users

So what's in your Drafts folder?


Here is the comment I posted in reply:

Save as Draft?

That's so Old Media, so 1980s.

Reminds me of the IBM Selectric memory typewriter.

A blog is all about spontaneity, sharp tongues, and fast web publishing. While I'm all for fact checking and research, we cannot have much passion for months old drafts.

Say as much as you feel inspired to say on a topic, then call it a post, and launch it.

I save as draft only when I am adding material to the textual or image content, not because I'm "working [indefinitely, interminably] on the article".

I never have anything in draft. It all gets published, about one to four posts per day, at my various blogs.

Jeffrey Veen will be appearing at Web Design World conference, Boston, MA, December 12-14, 2005.

Here is a list of topics to be covered:

[QUOTE from Web Design World site]

Designing with Web Standards
Jeffrey Zeldman

[STREIGHT: I use Zeldman designed blog templates.]

Web design’s first decade proceeded without the benefit of standards to control visual layout, document structure, and interactive behavior.

The result was sites that worked for some people but not others, took forever to load, hid their subject matter from search engines, and contained data that could not be accessed by screen readers and mobile devices. Web standards solve these problems and more.

Jeffrey Zeldman, author of Designing With Web Standards and group leader emeritus of The Web Standards Project, will explain where the standards come from, how to work with them, and how they solve some of the biggest problems facing web designers, developers, managers, and users today.

About Interface
Kelly Goto

Interaction design is no longer limited to the web.

As design migrates from the web to mobile devices we carry and interact with on a daily basis, our approach to design and development must also shift past our somewhat limited U.S-based thinking and into a global perspective.

In this enlightening session, design ethnographer and Web veteran Kelly Goto discusses the evolution of Web, handheld, and product interfaces and their cultural impact.

Learn how companies are utilizing ethnographic-based research to conduct rapid, immersive studies of people and their lifestyles to inform the usefulness and viability of interfaces both online and offline.

Rich Interface Applications:
Sampling the Possibilities

Kim Weller

Designers and interface designers have long been frustrated limited by the constraints of HTML and primitive browsers.

The picture has gotten brighter.

With new technologies, such as AJAX, Flex, and Laszlo, you can create interfaces that look and feel more like applications and less like the Web sites of old--without sacrificing accessibility and other critical needs. Popular sites such as Google Maps, Flickr, and Gmail are changing users' views of what's possible.

In this session, you'll see more examples as we set the stage for our in-depth look at the interface possibilities behind what's often called "Web 2.0."

You'll see what works now, learn what pitfalls to avoid, and take home valuable tips for putting Web 2.0 technologies to work for you.

Developing AJAX Applications
Joe Marini

AJAX has become a hot topic in the web design community, and for a good reason: AJAX enables you to create Web applications that have nearly the look, feel, and responsiveness of desktop applications.

However, there's also a fair amount of confusion to accompany the buzz. In this session, you'll learn about the origins of AJAX and its main technical underpinnings—and you'll find out how to build your own pages that take advantage of the power of this development methodology.

Designing for Real User Behavior
Steve Mulder

What if we knew how people actually scan and read Web pages?

Or what types of page elements people are more likely to notice? Or when they really scroll or use search features?

Thanks to recent research and a ridiculous number of usability tests, we know a lot more than we used to. Find out about key user behavior patterns that will make a difference in how you design Web pages. When you design for real user behavior, your site feels more intuitive—and your end result is more successful.

Finding Things My Way: Faceted Navigation
Steve Mulder

Web navigation is evolving. Instead of forcing users into a rigid site structure we define, faceted navigation design enables users to create their own structure and their own paths through a site.

Creating a more flexible navigation system puts more control in the user's hands, which results in improved findability and better business results. Discover why facets are taking over the web, what it means for Web site navigation, and how to make a faceted interface that's intuitive and usable.

No More Tables: CSS Layout Techniques
Douglas Bowman

[STREIGHT: I use Bowman designed blog templates.]

Creating complex multi-column layouts used to mean having to nest multiple HTML tables—a technique that's cumbersome and introduces accessibility and compatibility problems. You've heard it's possible to eliminate those layout tables by using Cascading Style Sheets, but you haven't made the jump yet.

In this session, CSS guru Doug Bowman will walk you through the steps of a real-world conversion. Learn the advantages of doing away with tables, and see how to avoid common pitfalls.

Fine Typography on the Web
Dave Shea

With a technological revolution and 500 years of typographic tradition under our belts, why in the world has the Web been stuck with Verdana and Arial for so long?

There are now multiple ways to include custom fonts in an HTML document, and each has its advantages and drawbacks.

In this session, from the creator of the renowned CSS Zen Garden, you'll learn about these methods, see how to implement them, and find out when and why they make sense for your projects.

Textism: Writing, Editing, and Preparing Text for the Web
Jeffrey Zeldman

Chances are good that your Web site has words on it. Chances are even better that these words aren't doing all they could to help your users or your organization achieve desired goals.

This session will change that; it's a soup-to-nuts guide to putting the text back in hypertext. Zeldman will start by examining ways to write for the people who use your site: tone, vocabulary, and the three b's (brevity, brevity, brevity). Not a writer? Not a problem!

You'll learn how to tell usable copy from the junk your colleagues shovel at you, and how to tactfully request text that works—or edit the junk you get into usable form.

And for the designers in the house: a proper measure (or why liquid design isn't all it's cracked up to be), text preparation, and ways to get proper quotes and apostrophes, whether you're hand-coding pages or using a content-management system.

[STREIGHT: Dense blocks of text are not web-friendly. Break them up, as I have done here, into several spaced paragraphs to facilitate user skimming and scanning.

Use more bullets and asterisks, lists, bold subs, a photo of each presentor, with thumbnail of books authored.]

Creating Beautiful Interfaces with CSS
Douglas Bowman

Drop-down menus and sophisticated interface elements have traditionally been implemented using JavaScript and kludgy coding workarounds that often don't work. It's increasingly practical to deliver rich, beautiful, functional interfaces using semantic markup and CSS.

Learn how modern markup can deliver great Web interfaces that are fast and reliable.

Deconstructing... You!
Kelly Goto, Steve Mulder , Jim Heid

Top Web designers join Conference Chair Jim Heid in critically evaluating several of our attendees' sites.

Bring your pencil!

Your site may be among the ones we examine in this lively wrap-up session.

The Iterative App: From Discord to Design
Kelly Goto

Between the diverse demands of clients, bosses, engineers, and designers, Web application design has reached a new level of frenzy and discord.

You know what we mean, and so does Kelly Goto, who has refined Web process and project management to an art form.

In this session, she takes you through the application development process. Learn the behind-the-scenes techniques behind rapid prototyping, and see how to enhance your current process to include iterative usability testing cycles.

You'll also discover how to verify development requirements before you code by employing PDF prototypes and HTML click-throughs.

With a collaborative mindset and the proper process in place, design and engineering teams can work together and launch the "iterative app" successfully.

Strategic CSS Project Management
Dave Shea

Who's in charge: you or your Cascading Style Sheets?

Authoring a simple CSS file for a static page is easy enough, but the story gets complicated when you're talking about multiple pages and varying layouts across an ever-changing site driven by a content-management system.

Factor in the management of browsers and their quirks—and teams of people and their quirks—and it becomes obvious that a sound project-management strategy is necessary to make the most of your code.

Learn how to gracefully deal with legacy browser issues, handle layout and file management demands, and manage team coordination when building Web sites with CSS.

XML for Designers: From Syndication to Web Services
Joe Marini

XML has become a common technology in everyday Web development.

In this session, you'll learn how XML works, what it's good for (and not good for), and what you need to know about it as a designer to put it to good use.

You'll see how XML can be used to separate content from layout, drive dynamic interfaces, and be transformed for display in different ways, and how it enables modern Web services to function.

Better Interfaces with CSS, JavaScript, and the DOM
Joe Marini

Today's modern, standards-compliant browsers provide designers with vastly improved capabilities for creating rich user interfaces.

In this session, we'll examine ways of using CSS and JavaScript together to create pages that are responsive, intuitive, and more usable.

See how these technologies can allow users to control display properties like fonts and colors, create forms with better navigation and validation, and build pages with features like in-place editing, table formatting, and data sorting and filtering -- and that don't need to round-trip back to the server.

We will also examine ways to make use of these technologies so that even if the user disables them, the page content remains accessible.

Dreamweaver 8 Tips and Secrets
Angela Buraglia

Like previous releases, Dreamweaver 8 offers a long list of brand-new features. Indeed, each Dreamweaver release brings so much to discover that most people can't spare the time to explore every nook and cranny.

Major enhancements are usually well marketed, but the little details that can't be described in a simple marketing blurb can easily go undiscovered.

In this session, you'll hear about the little gems that get little, if any, publicity. You'll get a firm grounding in Dreamweaver 8's new capabilities, and you'll learn how to use them get your work done more efficiently.

The ColdFusion Connection:
Development with Dreamweaver

Daniel Short

Dreamweaver 8's database functionality makes it easier than ever to create dynamic, data-driven Web sites.

Haven't yet taken the data-driving plunge? It's time to start.

In this session, Dan Short ( will teach the how and why of dynamic development by building out a full-featured blogging system using Microsoft Access and ColdFusion.

Learn how to connect to the ColdFusion server through RDS, build out record sets using the bindings panel, and create a full admin interface for the blog—all in one hour.

All of this will be accomplished using Dreamweaver 8's built-in database functionality and tools you already have at your disposal.

Customizing Dreamweaver
Angela Buraglia

Dreamweaver is well known for its extensibility, with hundreds of free and commercial extensions available from the Macromedia Exchange and various extension developers.

This session takes away some of the mystery behind extensions by showing you how to create a few easy extensions of your own.

Learn how to customize Dreamweaver to help fit your workflow and make you more productive than ever. There are even a few hidden features tucked away in Dreamweaver that you'll learn how to reveal. It's easier than you think, and the productivity benefits are huge.

Flash 8: What's New, and How to Use It
Robert Reinhardt

Macromedia Flash 8 is one of the biggest updates in the history of the program.

Don't be left behind.

In this tip-packed session from the lead author of the best-selling Flash Bible and ActionScript Bible series, you'll learn how to take advantage of core features of Flash Player 8, including FlashType, the new On2 VP6 video codec, filters and blend modes, the FLVPlayback component, SWF metadata, and more.

Delivering Video with Flash
Robert Reinhardt

Flash is a more viable platform for Web video than ever before.

In this session, Robert Reinhardt shows how to effectively use Flash Video and add video to Flash projects.

Learn about available encoding, playback, and hosting options. See the difference between the Sorenson Spark and On2 VP6 codecs, and learn how to integrate video clips with the Flash 8's new FLVPlayback component.


I quote all this material from the promotional site, to give you an idea of what topics are hot in User Experience Web Design, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Web Standards, and Information Architecture.

of Jeffrey Veen blog:

(1) Clean, uncluttered, simple blog by an Information Architect/User Centered Web Designer.

(2) No "search site" functionality. No information architecture is so good that a site search tool is not necessary. Site search empowers users to be able to navigate a site on the user's own terms.

(3) No "recent posts" link, but when I clicked on "More..." at bottom of home page, I went to a page of posts by category, which was unexpected and a bit jarring.

(4) Last 5 posts:

* Clay Mankin, 1955 to 2005

* Drafts: What's in your folder of shame?

* Polar Heart Rate Monitors: Gimme my data!

* 2006 Tour de France route announced

* Invitation Nation: Getting into all the new Web apps

It seems Jeffrey is blending his interests within one blog. His sidebar blog categories are: cycling, information architecture, personal, software, technology, travel, web design.

I wonder why he doesn't start separate blogs for the separate interests.

While I feel blogologically that sprinkle in some personal interests in a business/professional blog is okay infrequently, trying to create a Blended Blog is doomed to leave many readers feeling dissatisfied with frivolity in place of practicality.

(5) Older posts are closed to comments, but this is not stated on the blog, you must attempt to post a comment, and get an error message. This is not the best way to handle this situation. Avoid making your users feel like they made a mistake, error, or unauthorized act.

(6) Sidebar assessment:


Cycling (23)
Information Architecture (14)
Personal (59)
Software (9)
Technology (71)
Travel (33)
Web Design (62)


ABOUT ME [w/9 subs!]





(7.) General impression of a tasteful personal blog, rather than a business or professional blog. Minimalistic design and limited interactivity options makes the blog seem small, slight, not substantial.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

1 comment:

carrie said...

i don't save as draft either. i've been momentarily tempted to do so, but i always think: no, a blog should be spontaneous. of course there are different levels of spontenaeity, but... my blog is supposed to be off the cuff.

i've also been thinking more about the idea of breaking up long chunks of text, because i, too, like to skim over stuff.