The single easiest improvements you can make to the usability of HTML Forms is to correctly use LABELs. And it helps all users, not just a subset. Its also a nice application of Fitt’s Law
s Use the label element to make your HTML forms accessible | 456 Berea Street
When checkboxes and radio buttons have properly associated labels, the label text will also be clickable, thus making the target area much larger and easier to hit. This obviously has usability benefits for all users.
We’re guilty of using guesses/gut feelings when putting a site together. Nielsen reminds us that even a few data points can help make better design decisions.
Guesses vs. Data as Basis for Design Recommendations (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox)
The general guideline is to use relative font sizes that let users resize (if they know how), but to display big and legible text as the default. This conclusion is based on numerous observations that show that many older users don’t have the skills to resize fonts.
Good to see someone is finally asking their users to upgrade to IE6. I hope more websites start ignoring support for IE6 soon, since its such a headache to cater to. Of course, each will have to make its own cost-benefit decision, but we’re pretty close to the point that for most sites, supporting IE6 isn’t worth the time and effort. Just let your page degrade, and provide an avenue for users to upgrade.
Comedy Central New Site Dev Blog: Hey Hey! Ho Ho! IE6 Has Got To Go!
Why? Microsoft wants you to. IE6 has many issues with security and display. Comedy Central wants you to. Once you upgrade to FireFox (Windows or Mac), or IE7 (Windows), you’ll get faster download times, smoother animations and better looking pages.
37signals lists 7 good reasons to avoid using Photoshop to create mockups for web sites or applications. I’ve found this practice utterly annoying for all the reasons that they mention but I don’t see it going away soon. Sadly most “web designers”, yes-that’s an intentional set of quotes, are much more fluent in creating Photoshop files than they are workign in CSS and HTML. Also, invariable, the designer throws in some widget, extra functionality, or weird, artsy border that is nigh on impossible to recreate in one browser, much less all major web browsers.
2 Photoshop gives you too many tools to focus on the details. When you use Photoshop you can’t help but pay attention to the details. The alignment, the specific colors, the exact shapes, the little details that may matter eventually but they certainly don’t matter now. The start is about the substance, not about the details. Details are for later.
From reading "Design doing":
Speaking personally, all of my favourite web designers have one thing in common: they know how to write HTML and CSS
I’m still surprised by how little HTML + CSS many "web" designers actually know.
A post on 37 signals, where someone asked "Do I need a designer to make pretty?"
That said, having good visual design skills is pretty hard. There’s a whole set of right-brain skills that can be harder to excercise, hone, as you can clearly see on my sites.
Some people like fully justified text. I guess it brings another layer of perceived order to an otherwise chaotic universe. If you choose to implement it on a web page, be warned that legibility suffers due to the crude justification algorithms implemented in browsers.
But even with sophisticated page layout software, justified text blocks often suffer from poor spacing and excessive hyphenation and require manual refinement. This level of control is not even a remote possibility on Web pages. The most recent browser versions (and CSS) support justified text, but it is achieved by crude adjustments to word spacing. Fine adjustments are not possible on low-resolution computer displays and are impractical to implement in today’s Web browsers. Also, Web browsers are unlikely to offer automatic hyphenation any time soon, another "must" for properly justified text. For the foreseeable future, the legibility of your Web documents will suffer if you set your text in justified format.
Sandy found this gem, which probably applies to more professions than just Web Designers. Working with clients such as these can be really trying, but what can you do to get through it?
If Architects Had to Work Like Web Desginers…
Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.