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A List Apart, for people who make websites
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JavaScript’s ability to access and modify elements on the page is undeniable, and the Document Object Model is an essential component of that. In this excerpt from Mat Marquis’ new book, JavaScript for Web Designers, Mat shows us how to manhandle the DOM to get better results from our scripts.

http://alistapart.com/article/javascript-for-web-designers
In an excerpt from JavaScript for Web Designers, Mat Marquis talks about the power and purpose of the DOM.
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Design to the data. That’s the mantra of modern, research-driven web designers. But blindly accepting statistics and studies at face value is delusional at best, irresponsible at worst. Former journalist and current design specialist Dan Turner says be a skeptic. And don’t let fear of math, or innumeracy, stop you from running the numbers. Unexamined data can lead to costly mistakes. (Hint: Tripling your page views doesn’t mean much if you started with one visitor.)

http://alistapart.com/article/why-we-should-all-be-data-literate
If you’re data illiterate, there’s a good chance that your designs—based on the data you don’t understand—will be rubbish.
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To communicate like a grown-up, take a lesson from your inner child. Anne Gibson argues that business interactions could benefit from fairy-tale constructions—start at the beginning, get to the point, and don’t forget to tie up loose ends.

http://alistapart.com/article/once-upon-a-time
Business communications benefit from better, tighter delivery—a technique we learned from fairy tales, Anne Gibson reminds us.
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Type on the web has come a long way since the beginning of the decade. We now have literally thousands of fonts at our disposal to use on our sites. But the same faces—the Futuras, the Gothams, the Proxima Novas—crop up everywhere. Jeremiah Shoaf encourages us to break out of our cognitive ruts and explore the wealth of typographic diversity at our fingertips.

http://alistapart.com/article/the-rich-typefaces-get-richer
The same typefaces crop up everywhere on the web. But why? Jeremiah Shoaf thinks the answer might lie in cognitive biases.
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We’re hardwired to respond to stories—to parse them, to invent them, to translate our world into landscapes and characters. Applying a twist to “narrative architecture,” Donna Lichaw deconstructs how we weave stories into our products. The real trick, she says, is to do more than tell stories; it’s to design our products to be the story.

http://alistapart.com/article/the-users-journey
Translate analytics into product paths with narrative structures. New excerpt from Donna Lichaw’s The User's Journey.
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Times (and job titles, and platforms) have changed. Agile has the potential to liberate content strategists from obsolete ways of working, and developers and designers can help. Brendan Murray identifies four key areas—iteration, product, people, and communication—where designers and devs can find common ground with their content counterparts and usher them into to an agile world. The open and collaborative approach of modern agile development is a framework within which content work can refine itself, test, and learn. 
Brendan Murray persuasively argues that agile development is a framework within which content work can flourish.
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Measuring user experience can seem like a vague, touchy-feely process with amorphous results. Where’s the value? Managers can’t always get their arms around concepts like “better” or “simpler” or “faster.” Gerry McGovern says that’s why it’s important to have a tool like the Task Performance Indicator, which gives reliable, actionable metrics that can be revisited over time.

http://alistapart.com/article/task-performance-indicator-management-metric-for-customer-experience
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Managers beginning active searches for content specialists frequently have little understanding of what their companies need beyond a title, cautions Jennifer Bassett. Hiring managers at agencies, brands, and startups would do well to hire based on the type of work they want to focus on. And if they’re not sure what type of work that is, talking with a real live content strategist is an excellent place to start.

http://alistapart.com/article/help-we-think-we-need-to-hire-a-content-strategist
“Are you sure you need to hire a content strategist?” asks Jennifer Bassett. Maybe, maybe not! Let a strategist help you decide.
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You spent a lot of time and money putting a human face on your market research. You created a dream-user and pledged to design with this persona in mind. But something happened. Now, your user persona is dying a lingering death. Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek explains that user personas—those darlings of user-centered design—require care and feeding to remain vital, and valid.

http://alistapart.com/article/resurrecting-dead-personas
Your users evolve, which mean your user personas should evolve as well.
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Timely. I found out today that I was one of the user personas for one of my clients. Wouldn't want to be killed off through negligence.
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User testing doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming—and it should never be skipped entirely if you don’t have “permission” to do it. Injecting real feedback early and often affects how we design our work, communicate, and even present concepts to the client. Testing should be a habit, even when it doesn’t seem possible. It just requires a little ingenuity.

http://alistapart.com/article/never-show-a-design-you-havent-tested-on-users
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Our markup too often remains a snarl of divs, our CSS a chaos of classes. Tim Baxter urges us to move beyond that. We can use real objects now instead of abstract representations. We can write CSS to support our markup instead of the other way around, and both can be more semantic and meaningful. The browser support is there; the standards are in place. Only habit is stopping us.

http://alistapart.com/article/meaningful-css-style-like-you-mean-it
Tim Baxter encourages us to move beyond the “measles of markup” to write rich, semantic HTML and CSS. Only habit is stopping us.
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Despite the rise and fall of Flash on the web, designing with animation has fiercely stirred us for decades. And yet nothing compares to its latest surge of evolution. Rachel Nabors lays out the array of tools and techniques that are fundamentally reframing our ideas about animation, and looks ahead to see where this path is taking us.

http://alistapart.com/article/web-animation-past-present-and-future
On all fronts, web animation is undergoing an explosive evolution, reframing what it means to design for the web.
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Since 1998–the design magazine for people who make websites.
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For People Who Make Websites

A List Apart (ISSN: 1534-0295) explores the design, development, and meaning of web content, with a special focus on web standards and best practices.

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