Two workshops today at the Future of Web Design conference: Real-World Accessibility for Web Designers with Derek Featherstone and Design Secrets of Digg with Daniel Burkha. It was tough to narrow down to these two - all of the sessions looked great - but I chose these for important reasons. [I’ll be adding more about Daniel’s talk in the next day or two - it’s too much to cover now!]
I’ve traded a few tweets over the past day or two on the subject of good books for web professionals. I use that term to avoid ‘designer’ - as that seemed limiting or possibly a bit arbitrary. I think that information architecture, understanding business requirements and translating them into web site features and functionality, usability/user exerience, interaction design and visual design are all distinct enough that they can be a specialization unto themselves.
Drupal is a quite capable platform, and I've used it quite a lot, both for work and for personal projects. Its Achilles heel though is the admin interface - with ultimate flexibility comes a lot of configuration choices. While the simple solution is to tell the client 'just don't look at that stuff' - it's not ideal, and can be intimidating. Enter some key modules: jstools, form_store and formfilter.
I was a bit annoyed with Drupal when I started working with it about a year ago. Much of the annoyance stemmed from my own inexperience with the platform, but a lingering issue is regarding META tags and Drupal's lack of native support for creating them dynamically. Eventually I found the 'nodewords' module, which does a nice job.
I've been trying to keep up a good habit: reading more about not just what I do, but about other creative disciplines. Having heard Hillman Curtis speak at the FOWD conference on election day, I'd put his MTIV book on my 'wish list' on Amazon. I hadn't worked my way down to it but got a prompt from someone in the office, saying it was an absolute must. So I picked it up and couldn't put it down. I read through it over a weekend and it has made a huge impression on me, and given me a huge refresh in the inspiration department.
After seeing how much attention my last post on Drupal and accessibility got, and how much time we've been spending with it I realized that we've developed something really worth sharing: a lot of experience with Drupal and accessibility, and a bag of tricks and good practices to go along with it. So I've decided to write more on the topic and hopefully develop a resource for others struggling with the same issues.
Well, the FOWD conference was last week and I have to say that it was absolutely the best (work-related) two days I've spent in a long time. Everything about it was just fantastic (apart from leaving at 4:30am on Monday to get to the workshops starting at 9). Workshops with Paul Boag and Armin Vit were great, lunch in between with Paul Boag, Steve Smith and Dan Mall was really nice as well. Tuesday's conference was just packed with great presentations, and the after-party (and the 'in-between-the-conference-and-afterparty' stop at the bar next door) was a blast.