As I use Piwik to analyze and monitor the traffic on my site I thought about a way to combine both to monitor the load time of my site. After some testing, I came up with the following solution. Continue reading →
I am currently redesigning my website and therefore also the navigation. There are loads of different navigation pattern and I made many myself in the last years. However, I searched for a different solution again as none of the patterns I know offers the following points I had in mind:
On small screens, all menu items should be easily reachable
Important menu items should always stay in the beginning
tl;dr If you want to use input type=”email”, be aware that international email addresses (containing Umlaut, non-latin characters…) are not supported (expect from Firefox 26 upwards) and you may exclude users using such an email address from using your service. So, think twice and be careful using it!
According to a survey by Peter-Paul Koch input type=”email” is the most used advanced input type. Which makes sense in my opinion as almost every site using a form also has a field for email. So, at a first glance it seems perfect to use it, browsers who support it will validate it, some mobile browsers (Safari and others) will add the @ sign to the bottom right of the keyboard and most importantly, if a browser doesn’t support it, it falls back to type=”text”. Continue reading →
Initially, I wanted to find a way to lazy-load background images, but all my tests confused me completely and I thought I should better move on with my daily tasks. Some days later, however, I was reading an article on medium.com and while the page was loading I recognized that the big background image was not appearing until the page has loaded completely. And there it hits me, is there a way to prioritize the loading of a background image so it will be shown earlier? So, I set up some more test and found out there is indeed a solution for it. Continue reading →
Some weeks ago I saw a great example of a login form with a lovely extra. On this login site, once the password field is focused, the owl, sitting on top of the form, hides her eyes, showing that the password can not be seen by others and therefore is private. I had to grin the first time I saw it and I am still impressed by the perfect association with privacy. Continue reading →
This reminded me about an idea I had some months ago. The idea is to have a classic tweet link (http://www.twitter.com/share) at the bottom of the page and once you select a text, the text gets highlighted and you see a share button above the text. Continue reading →
For a recent redesign we mananged to reduce the page size to under 500kB for almost every part, expect the sections where we included a dynamic map. The size of an average dynamic map was about 600kbB, thus we had to find different ways to show a map and came across Static Maps, which turned out to be the perfect solution for us.
Static Maps are relatively lightweight, can be customized and are the ideal candidate for progressive enhancement. Continue reading →
For most websites I build these days I have to integrate a map, mostly as a bonus for the contact page. Until now I simple used an Iframe loading a Google Map with the desired address centered. This however comes with a cost, even a realativeley small map loads ~600 KB (See this example of a 400×200 map).
That’s why I searched for a way to show the address in a visual way without loading unnecessary data and stumbled across Static Maps. Showing the example from above as a static map, we save ~550 KB, which is fantastic for news for performance. Continue reading →
Almost every day I get emails like “Hey Michael, on site bla.com something looks odd” or “Hello, can you please fix the site bla.com, it looks strange on my computer”. Well, sometimes they are more detailed “Bug Reports” than the ones mentioned, but nevertheless, without getting more details about the OS, Browser, … I mostly couldn’t help them in the first step.
So I used to respond them, asking what Browser, Browserversion, OS… they are using to reproduce the error they wanted to tell me, but I soon realized that it’s really hard for most people to provide me with all the details and very time consuming for me to ask again and again. Continue reading →
From time to time people ask me on which devices and with which browsers I usually do testing. Simple answer: It depends – There are just too many aspects involved to give a straight answer. Nevertheless, within the last months I defined myself a basic test setup, which works out really well so far. It consists of four parts – Mockups, Design, User Interface and Final Check.
To get a first glimpse how the site should look like I usally start by producing Mockups with HTML and CSS. This part is taking place completely in the desktop browser, I prefer Firefox, because I love the “Responsive Design” feature. I usually test them starting from about 280 – 320px up to ~ 1600px. I try to spend not to much time in details in this step, it’s really just to get a basic idea.
2012, the year where reponsive Images got mainstream and became the rockstar of many dramas just ended some time ago and I am sure you are looking forward to 2013 for the next “responsive Image affair”. I have never planned to attend this show, but just today, while walking through Berlin, I couldn’t think of anything else.
Why do we deliver images based on the maximal window width and NOT on the actual available container width? Continue reading →
What an attention-grabbing title, isn’t it. Actually it’s how the web works, belief it or not. Just to be clear, I don’t talk about websites looking different on different browsers, OS, screen resolution – whatever, a website looking different is actually a great thing, every website should look diverse on different platforms. Point.
What I mean is, that every single website out there is broken in one or another browser, just because you will never ever be able to test on every single browser still in use. At the latest after looking at this diagram of web browsers it should be clear, even if you only want to test on all browsers released in the past 3 years, 24 hours a day won’t be sufficient.
Over the last weeks I became somehow frustrated with the HTML input type “url”. While going through registration forms, I often got the error message “Please enter a valid url” after filling in www.justmarkup.com.
As a developer, I immediately looked at the source code and was not surprised to find that they used the required attribute in combination with type=”url”.
<label for="url">Url:</label> <input type="url" required aria-required="true" name="url"/>
To be honest I never really liked my old design but at that time I just wanted to push it live, so I can start blogging and show something off. After several month of doing nothing I finally had the time to rebuild everything from scratch. This year I learned a lot about building websites, how to test, optimize and build for different devices. This site is not at all perfect and probably, like in my opinion every other page, will never be, but right now I am totally happy delivering it, as it is. If you have feedback, good or bad, I would be very pleased if you yould either Tweet me or write me an Email.
This post is all about setting up and using tools and extensions, useful for testing your Responsive Design. I work with Ubuntu, so most of the instructions will be for Ubuntu, but I guess everyone else will get the idea.
The current Firefox Nightly comes with a fantastic tool for testing your Mediaqueries. They call it “Responsive Design View”, and you name it, it’s for testing a site on different screen resolutions. With this tool you can easily resize your site both vertically and horizontally or choose one of the redefined screen sizes to test the most common ones. Sooner or later this tool will be build in Firefox Stable, but until then you can download Firefox Nightly, which runs site by site with the stable Version.
Furthermore you can install Firefox Fennec, downloadable on mozilla.org. There you will find handy install instructions, to get it running within minutes. I don’t use Fennec that often anymore, as I use Firefox Nightly now for testing initial mockups, but it’s a great browser for testing “touch”, as there is, for example, no hover event. Continue reading →
As soon as the new Ipad was released, many people started thinking about the best way to serve high-resolution images to it.
Apple itself implemented this technique, which has not been thought through, mainly because of the increased total size. When surfing apple.com with your shiny new Ipad you have to download 2.13MB instead of 502.90K, or in other words 4x the size. This may be fine if you are using WIFI or LTE (which is not usable at all in many countries), but not for people surfing on low bandwidth. Continue reading →
While we, as developers, think about best ways to serve images to different devices and resolutions or about how we can adapt the navigation to various screen sizes, many people get more and more annoyed by the mobile “experience” they have to deal with.
An URI is unique and everywhere the same, isn’t it?
Dear websites, every time you redirect me to your “mobile” site and just cut off the path of my URL, a kitten dies.
Thomas Fuchs puts it in a nutshell, it’s just a pain in the ass if you don’t serve the content the user wants to see. This users will think twice the next time before clicking your link and of course will never ever share your link. So, if you don’t have the requested content available on your mobile site, do yourself a favour and show the user your “normal” site instead. Continue reading →
As it happens a lot that you get a link from a friend saying “Look at this cute cat” and once you open the picture you actually get to see a “big pink dog”, I went on and tested some of the most visited news sites in Germany to see if it’s possible to share a specific image out of a gallery just by copying the URL from the address field.
We all do our best to test our sites in lots of different browsers, screen resolutions and input/output devices. But to be honest we just can’t test everything.
Unless you have the opportunity and money to sit in front of a 42″ or even bigger screen you are not able to test your design on big screens. Scaling down your browser window is easy, but increasing it over your max. resolution available is just impossible. Continue reading →
Let’s say you are thinking about a relaunch of your site. One of the first things you may do is checking your Analytics Data to get a feeling what Browser, OS, Screen resolutions, Plugins, … your users actually use.
After finishing your evaluation you may define which browsers you have to support definitely and on the other hand which browsers you may just ignore as they only count for ~ 1% of your visits.
Don’t trust them
At the moment the whole world (ok maybe only we frontend guys) speaks about responsive design. If we divide the opinions we come up with three approaches.
1) People who don’t care at all about responsive design and just continue coding like the years before.
2) Frenetic elation – people trying to convince everybody to use it now.
3) People who remark criticism about responsive design.
IE will never be dead
Starring at your statistics with the hope old IE’s won’t appear anymore will not happen in the near future. Of course every frontend developer will have a giant party if the world of browsers would only consist of up to date browsers providing the same experience.
Waking up from the dream we have to realise that there are not only different browsers, but also different screen sizes, people using all sort of input and output devices and so on. Continue reading →
The simplest form of showing an animated Loading… has been around since the early days of Internet Explorer. The marquee element and his counterpart the even worse blink element has never been part of the w3c specifications because of their terrible usability and accessibility. Continue reading →