I can't turn on the TV, surf the web, or peer into my Twitter feed without stumbling into another year-end wrap-up of 2010. These dime-a-dozen contrivances abound like the proverbial lemming to the cliff (lemmings don't really do that, it's also a contrivance). However, there have been enough of some quality that I think they bear mentioning. So here's my own trite year-end cliché.
Jeffrey Zeldman collects many of his articles in a list below a narrative full of links to outside sources. His focus is on, predictably, web standards and manages to hit the salient points without a wandering review full of self-congratulatory hullabaloo. Read his post 2010: The Year in Web Standards.
Media Access Australia, a member of the W3C WAI and Australia's media accessibility not-for-profit, has an article running through everything the WAI and its groups have accomplished this year with some information on what might be in the works for 2011. Personally, I was hoping for some more detail on the WAI-ARIA progress, something causing those trying to implement it with HTML5 some headache. Given that the Australian government is mandating WCAG AA compliance over the next few years, they are kind enough to include a link to their own article on the topic. Read the scoop at The W3C web accessibility initiative — 2010 year in review.
The Yahoo! Accessibility blog doesn't take a look back at accessibility, but instead talks about resolutions to make for the new year. Among those resolutions it suggests we should all make in order to create a more accessible web are: adding captions to videos, creating structure for your web pages (hooray for proper heading nesting!), account for keyboard users, and learn to use a screen reader. It's only been a day, but the post is sadly lacking in feedback. You can, of course, add your own by visiting the post: What are Your Resolutions for an Accessible 2011?.
If you like your web accessibility tips with some curious intro music & audio quality, without all that troublesome reading, you can grab the WebAxe podcast reviewing the year in accessibility. If you are willing to sit through 32 minutes of audio (skip the first four minutes, or jump to eleven minutes for the year in review), there are some juicy nuggets in there. Even better, just follow the links on the post and read through the transcript. There are some good bits about
alt text, the
longdesc attribute, colorblindness, HTML5, and other bedtime reading for the kids. Grab the podcast, transcript and, most importantly, the links at Podcast #87: Web Axe 2010 Year in Review.
Two sets of predictions for the coming year come from Mashable and ReadWriteWeb. Mashable's is more of a list of prediction lists and ReadWriteWeb has its staff give predictions for the coming year. Why Mashable gives its number as 95+ and not just 96 makes me wonder if they got lazy with counting. At least ReadWriteWeb mentions what its team got wrong last year (along with a link).
If you saw my recent kvetching over the demise of Brightkite, which caused me some stress as I worked to extract over 4,000 posts and images, then you hopefully wondered the same about your own presence on the web. In a not-quite-thorough-but-at-least-well-timed post from Mashable you will find some tips for archiving your data from some of the more popular services (Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, etc): HOW TO: Back Up Your Social Media Presence Before the Ball Drops.
While reading through lists of the year, I found one that got some references from good sources, but really left me unimpressed. I figure I might as well start of the new year with a little friendly disagreement, so I'll review. The 5 Biggest Interface Screw ups of 2010 seemed to be stuck in a time warp, hitting items that are actually quite old (as in, from the 1990s). Its list:
- Splash Screens: I wrote about this in 1999 (also at my site), and I was already late to the party. This is not unique to 2010,
- "Click here" links: In 1996 Jakob Nielsen recommended against that practice, echoed later by the W3C WCAG in 1999.
- Unclear dialogue boxes: I found some of my first examples of this, and diatribes against it, in Bruce Tognazzini's 1992 book, Tog on Interface.
- Fanciness over usefulness: His example is a computer desktop interface based in a real-world metaphor. It may be the worst example in 2010, but it's a repeat of the 1995 Microsoft BOB interface of confusion targeted at neophyte users.
- Poor button placement: The author's point is really about mobile UIs, which is at least recent simply because consumer-oriented touch interfaces are relatively new. I'll allow this one, even though it's clearly based on the failure to apply Fitts's law, which dates back to 1954.
Now that I've satisfied my ego by taking shots at an easy target, I wrap this up with a contribution from the old man of pointing out the terrible, Web Pages That Suck: Worst Websites of 2010: The Contenders and Worst Websites of 2010: Group 2 Contenders.
Happy new year.