links for 2010-01-23

  • What’s the point of semantic markup if users will never know or even care about it? There are a number of good answers, of course. Developers like web pages created with semantic markup because that makes it easy to add presentational and behavioral layers to the underlying structural code, and because it means future maintenance gets easier. Beyond that, however, developers can make such semantic markup useful for site visitors by exposing that information with a variety of easy to use tools. Here are some examples of such tools that turn semantic information, in the form of microformats on a web page, into something useful for a site visitor with nearly no extra effort required.
  • I'm an idiot. Last week, someone commented on a post I wrote for SEOMOZ's YouMOZ service that they'd like a Google Analytics Cheatsheet. I wrote back "OK, I'll do it." Guess what? Google Analytics has a ton of features. And even more tricks and hacks that folks have developed over the years. So this 2-page cheat sheet, which took 3 days and nights to pull together, is a tiny sliver of the whole system. But it does cover the stuff that I'd want my staff to use. You can download it for free, no strings attached: Version with links: The Google Analytics Cheatsheet Printer-friendly version: The Google Analytics Cheatsheet, Printer Friendly
  • Custom Visualization
  • Use your mouse to click and drag around the video to change the view. You can also zoom in and out. Pause and explore at any time by pressing the play/pause button under the video to stop and look around. The video below was shot on Monday, January 18, at 9:52 a.m. EST in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
  • Owning a web server that has its own SSL certificate from a registered Certificate Authority (so it won't trigger any browser warnings) does have its advantages. However, the price of a certificate issued by Verisign or a similar vendor usually tends to put a quick end to such fanciful ideas. Israeli vendor StartSSL offers free SSL server certificates that are valid for a year. Since StartSSL's root certificates are already included in all the mainstream browsers, opening a certificate from the vendor doesn't trigger any error messages. This article gives examples of all the steps required to add StartSSL certification, from signing up with StartSSL to integrating the certificate into an Apache web server under Linux. The only requirement for obtaining a certificate for a domain is that a user must be able to receive emails to an administrative account (postmaster, hostmaster or webmaster). There are no additional checks to verify whether the user actually owns the respective domain
  • Twitter has become very popular and has turned into a tool that a lot of websites have used to connect with their customers and promote themselves. A great, and now popular, way to show those who visit your website that you have an active Twitter account is to add a Twitter feed to it. In this post I will show you how to add a custom Twitter feed to your website, providing you with code and styling tips (don’t worry… it is actually very easy). Twitter provides you with various free widgets that are easy to integrate with your website for those who are not capable of easily designing anything custom, but if you can, try to go the custom rout of creating (or having someone create for you) a custom looking feed.
  • Despite any financial recession and economic stress, online purchasing continues to grow. Expansion of the market and evolving technology that simplifies our daily lives help to set the pace of e-commerce design. Customers want the shopping process to be quick and easy, and merchants want to increase sales by making their stores attractive and popular. Thus, e-commerce design tends to combine a look and usability that is at once unique and eye-catching. In this post, we showcase 35 attractive online store designs. One of the trends we observed from this collection is a minimalist design style. Small details and accents (e.g. unobtrusive background patterns, icons, pictograms and typography) reflect a brand’s spirit and match the character of its products. Some websites, though, are unconventional, rich in visual effects. Please note that the selection of stores featured in this showcase was based more on design aesthetics than usability. But we made sure that the websites included her
  • The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (Late night TV show) official NBC page features headlines and videos!
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    links for 2009-12-03

  • Writing for the web is a challenge. There are usually word length restrictions, the fact that users scan rather than read every word, and sometimes style guides to adhere to. There are enough writing tips online to keep you reading for longer than you probably desire. Here are 1o tips that have been the most useful to me: Know your audience This sounds obvious but is often taken for granted. The only way you can write relevant copy that is targeted at the right audience in the right tone of voice, is to understand who that audience is. Depending on where your audience are located, you may have to include local expressions or if writing for a wide audience be specific with things such as dollars. If it is US dollars then say so. If it is Cardiff in Wales then say so as there is also a Cardiff in New Zealand and other countries.
  • Colour is a powerful tool when it comes to design. It’s fun to work with and when you get it right it can really make a design. I’m no colour expert so I’m not going to bore you with any theory but having worked with colour for a long time I there are a few really simple tips I’ve picked up along the way. Editor’s note: We’ll be covering topics like Typography, CSS3, HTML5, Microformats and how to work with clients at The Future of Web Design Tour. Tickets are only £59.
  • When you type into your browser's address bar, you expect nothing less than to be taken to Wikipedia. Chances are you're not giving much thought to the work being done in the background by the Domain Name System, or DNS. Today, as part of our ongoing effort to make the web faster, we're launching our own public DNS resolver called Google Public DNS, and we invite you to try it out. Most of us aren't familiar with DNS because it's often handled automatically by our Internet Service Provider (ISP), but it provides an essential function for the web. You could think of it as the switchboard of the Internet, converting easy-to-remember domain names — e.g., — into the unique Internet Protocol (IP) numbers — e.g., — that computers use to communicate with one another. The average Internet user ends up performing hundreds of DNS lookups each day, and some complex pages require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading.
  • Well, the latest installment of the Twilight series is breaking box office records all over the place. I contributed to that as I saw it with a packed house on Saturday afternoon. How could I resist, after having so much fun at the first one last year? It was an interesting experience, as my audience had a maniacal cackler who almost provided more entertainment than the movie itself. Before I get to my detailed review (I am educated in film so expect serious criticism), I want to mention the movie's soundtrack. I think a lot of indie rock fans were up in arms over some of the bands on there. I don't know, I don't put much stock in the whole "selling out" concept, and I've been listening to it and there really are a lot of great tracks. Thom Yorke, BRMC, Grizzly Bear, Editors…. um, uh… oh geez.
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