DIY Standing Desk

I like to stand. Not for any specific reason, just in general. If I’m left to my own devices when eating at home, I’ll stand in the kitchen or walk around the house while eating (much to wife’s chagrin). Pretty much anywhere I can get away with standing over sitting, I will. Maybe it’s because for my entire professional career, I’ve had to sit for 8-10 hours every day, that when I wasn’t “at a computer”, I opted to stand. So four years ago when I started reading about the health benefits of standing, I took to it immediately.

Terrible Trends

Web design goes through trends. Web development goes through trends. It happens. We find something that works, or we see something we like, and it gets copied and propragated around the web. I’ve lamented some practices such as scroll-jacking, and commented about how ineffective carousels can be. I’ve never done the former, the latter… way too many times. But there are recent trends centered around trying to get a visitors information, interaction, or increasing ad impressions that have become downright frustrating. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I’m to the point that if a site employs one of the following “trends”, I will leave immediately and not come back.

Social Media Click Stats

Today Luke Wroblewski asked: “What % of page views or visitors click on the Twitter or Facebook button on a page? Who’s willing to share some data?”. I shared some initial stats in the conversation, but I figured I’d pull some actual percentages to share with the dear reader.

The 13 Foot Website

A photo from BDConf San Diego (July 2013) has popped up here and there on the web in the months following, most recently in An Event Apart Flickr set. Quite often, as in this case, it is lacking context around what’s actually being depicted. The photo shows a responsive website printed out at the width of an iPhone. The reason it’s notable is because the result is a rather long website. However, this depiction of the site doesn’t actually get served to mobile devices.

Lessons learned from my first semester of teaching

About a year and a half ago I started researching the web development offerings at Notre Dame and found that there wasn’t a basic web development course. There were courses covering web design, javascript, mobile application development, and others, but nothing that covered the basics of getting into semantic HTML, CSS, and RWD. Taking a bit of a chance, I reached out to several departments to see if any of them would be interested in a new course. I received a fairly quick response from the Computer Applications Program and we quickly put together a plan to offer a course titled “Introduction to Web Development”.

From 2.4 MB down to 400 KB

It’s been fairly well documented that the average size of webpages has been growing by leaps and bounds, with images making up the majority of the size. Based on my own stats for 160+ HigherEd responsive sites, images account for 73% of the total download. And when you’re dealing with a long-form page like www.ND.edu, images can account for even more (92% to be exact). In a situation like this, finding ways to cut down on the number of images, or deferring the loading of images, can result in a huge impact on not just the download size, but load-time as well.

Tools of the Trade

As a developer, I’m always interested in finding new tools. Often this comes from chatting with other developers and finding out what they use and why. In the spirit of this, below are the tools I use a daily basis in case it helps someone else find somethig useful.

Flash is Dead. Long Live Flash!

If you’ve been doing web development for a while, you’ve no doubt worked with Flash. It was amazing in its heyday, allowing us to do things we couldn’t do with vanilla html/css/javascript. But like many technologies in the web, it was abused and used it ways it shouldn’t have, or were just plain obnoxious (Flash splash pages anyone?). But it wasn’t until the iPhone shipped without Flash support that most of us started to doubt its longevity.

Podcasts

In a recent discussion on Twitter, I was asked which podcasts I listen to. Since the list wouldn’t fit into a 140 character tweet, I figured I’d post the list here in case it would help others find new shows.