Sarah Horton and Steve Faulkner – HTML5 Accessibility

Sean Carmichael

August 20th, 2014


[ Transcript Available ]

A Podcast for Everyone artwork

Web accessibility takes place on a foundation of technologies, the most common of which are developed and maintained by the Worldwide Web Consortium, or W3C. Its success is dependent on how well these underlying technologies support accessible user experiences. Fortunately for us, people like Steve Faulkner devote much of their time to ensure technology specifications, such as HTML5, include the hooks that make it possible to build an accessible and enjoyable user experience for everyone. Including people who use assistive technologies, such as screen reader and screen magnification software, and different display and interaction modalities, such as user stylesheets and keyboard navigation.

The web was created with accessibility as part its framework. Steve’s focus is to ensure accessibility remains a fundamental component of the web’s foundational technologies. Steve is co-editor of the HTML5 specification. He has been closely involved in other W3C specifications development, including the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) specification. In this podcast Steve joins Sarah Horton to tell us about:

  • The current status of the HTML5 specification
  • How WAI-ARIA and HTML5 work together to support accessibility
  • How accessibility is integrated into specification development
  • What it’s like to work on a W3C specification

Steve Faulkner has been working in accessibility since 2001, first with Vision Australia and currently with The Paciello Group (TPG), where he is Principal Accessibility Engineer. He is involved with several W3C working groups, including the HTML Working Group and the Protocols and Formats Working Group, and is author of the helpful resource, Techniques for providing useful text alternatives. He is also creator and lead developer of the Web Accessibility Toolbar, a resource for evaluating web accessibility.

Recorded: June, 2014
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UIEtips: Principles Over Process – Four Core Tenets for How to Work as a Team of One

Jared Spool

August 13th, 2014

As a solo UX design practitioner, you may think setting up a specific process is best to get others within your organization on board. But that’s not necessarily the case. In today’s UIEtips, we offer an excerpt from Leah Buley’s book UX Team of One. Leah covers four principles to follow to achieve success as a the sole UX designer within an organization.

Are you a lone UX designer at your company trying to figure out how to get others on board with the UX process? At the UI19 Conference in Boston, October 27-29 Leah’s workshop UX as a Team Sport will show you how to involve peers, bosses, and users in the design process. Learn more about her workshop.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Principles are deceptively simple; they’re just statements, really. They are a way for you to articulate a vision for what your user-centered approach should ultimately entail. Principles can apply to not just what you make, but also how you work. Think of the following principles as core tenets for how to work as a team of one. With startling consistency, the most happy and successful teams of one explain that it’s their mindset, not just their methods, that keep them going.

Read the article: Principles Over Process – Four Core Tenets for How to Work as a Team of One.

How have design principles improved the end result of your UX project? Leave us a note below.

A Human-Centered Design Process

Lauren Cramer

August 12th, 2014

Better collaboration skills matter

If you think you might find yourself on a team planning UX strategy—or on a team planning anything, really—this workshop is brimming with information that will turn you into a skilled collaborator.

A human-centered design process

  • Focus: Conducting research with the right people within budget and time constraints
  • Buy-in: Participate in and facilitate discussions in a way that moves things forward
  • Results: Design for the customer to create effective products and happier teams

Leah Buley

Leah Buley
has insights that will leave you inspired to tackle even the trickiest parts of being on a team. She’ll share these game-changers in UX as a Team Sport, her full-day workshop at the User Interface 19 Conference, October 29 in Boston.

In Leah’s workshop, you’ll learn to:

  • Establish a realistic strategy
  • Get buy-in from upper management on human-centered design approach
  • See the touchpoints your customers experience

If you’ve ever heard Leah talk, you know how intoxicating her presentation style is and how well she understands this topic. Leah’s workshop will transform how you see collaboration.

Register for UI19 by August 31 with promotion code BLOGUI19 and you’ll get $300 off the 3-day conference price.

Explore Leah’s and 7 other workshops

Kim Goodwin – Silo-busting, Scenario-driven Design

Sean Carmichael

August 8th, 2014


[ Transcript Available ]

Kim Goodwin

Lately, Jared Spool has been mulling over what he defines as deliverables and artifacts in the design process. The idea is that deliverables are more authoritative and complete, whereas artifacts are more conversational and exploratory. Scenarios are an important part of the design process and Jared was curious where they might fit in. So he enlisted Kim Goodwin to chat about it in this podcast.

Kim is the VP of User Experience at PatientsLikeMe. She’s also an author and expert on personas and scenarios. She believes that where you are in the design process defines whether scenarios are a deliverable or an artifact. The size and culture of your team is also a factor. A smaller team has less of a need for formal deliverables.

However, in larger organizations scenarios and personas serve as a great way to get everyone involved in the same frame of mind. Bringing stakeholders to interviews with users at the start of the design research helps solidify that the personas used to inform the design are shorthand versions of real people. This gives you a solid foundation to move forward with the design.

Attend a daylong workshop with Kim at UI19

Kim’s UI19 workshop, Using Scenarios to Solve Design Problems, in Boston October 29 will delve into journey mapping, then create scenarios that identify and help resolve design issues.

Register with promotion code KIMCAST and get $300 off the current conference price.

Explore Kim’s workshop

Recorded: June, 2014
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Defining a UX Design Strategy – Our August 28 Virtual Seminar

Adam Churchill

August 8th, 2014

Establishing a realistic strategy is a creative endeavor based on analysis and results in a practical plan. Of course, it also can be a frustrating, ambiguous process fueled by pipe dreams and personal opinions. So what characteristics lead to concrete elements that will actually work for your team?

In our August 28 virtual seminar, Defining a UX Design Strategy, Jim Kalbach shows you how to remove fuzziness from design discussions and inspire consistent action from diverse personalities.

You’ll learn to:

  • Define what strategy is and isn’t
  • Use the UX Strategy Blueprint
  • Develop a repeatable framework for decision‑making
  • Pitch your UX strategy to others

If your strategy discussions feel more like political battles than progressive team-building, join us on August 28.



Leah Buley – UX as a Team Sport

Sean Carmichael

August 7th, 2014


[ Transcript Available ]

Leah Buley

User experience is rarely something you do completely alone. Even if people on the team don’t necessarily focus on UX, they could be indirectly acting in favor of it. Sometimes it comes from a lack of understanding exactly what user experience is or means. People with different approaches and skillsets can be valuable assets when incorporated into the larger human centered design focus.

Though Leah Buley is the author of UX Team of One, she believes it’s uncommon that there is a superhero UX professional who flies into the room and saves a project. More often it’s a collaborative endeavor. You have to get the entire team involved in the process. Once the value of UX is apparent, you can exercise the collective skills and intelligence of the group and all work toward a better experience for a customer or user.

Part of the responsibility of the UX professional on the team is to constantly frame decisions made in the context of what will be best for the users. Facilitation is an important skill in general for the user experience field. Introducing the theories and practices into the larger team will get everyone moving in the same direction and working collaboratively.

Attend a daylong workshop with Leah at UI19

Leah’s UI19 workshop, UX as a Team Sport, in Boston October 29 will orient your team to customer needs so you can build the “right thing at the right time.”

Register with promotion code LEAHCAST and get $300 off the current conference price.

Explore Leah’s workshop

Recorded: June, 2014
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UIEtips: Introduction to Design Studio Methodology

Jared Spool

August 5th, 2014

In this week’s UIEtips, Will Evans outlines how a Design Studio works and why it’s a critical component to collaborative design.

If your team has been practicing some form of Agile or Scrum, it likely has a very loose definition of an MVP, a Minimal Viable Product. Fortunately, Will is also presenting a seminar on this Thursday, August 14. Learn more about his seminar, Minimizing Design Risk with The Minimal Viable Product.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Design Studio is conducted in a highly interactive, fast-paced team setting following a methodology commonly used in architecture and industrial design, but with some important twists. It has been called the “Iron Chef,” of ideation. It can be intense, focused, and chaotic at times, but those lucky enough to have participated understand the power and effectiveness of this tool.

Read the article: Introduction to Design Studio Methodology.

How has collaborative design helped you and your team accomplish your goals? Leave us a note below.

Dan Saffer – Big Considerations from Microinteractions

Sean Carmichael

August 1st, 2014


[ Transcript Available ]

Dan Saffer

User Experience is really all about delighting your users. You want them to accomplish tasks with ease and not encounter any roadblocks that are a direct result of your design. Many of the delightful things about an app or interface go unnoticed because they are the tiniest of features. These microinteractions can set the tone for your users and dictate the feel and performance of your design.

Dan Saffer is an expert on microinteractions. In fact, he wrote the book on it. He says that microinteractions essentially operate based on triggers, rules, feedback, loops, and modes. For example, when you engage a scrollbar, how fast does it scroll? Or when you click a volume up button, what percent increase is each click?

Just think of a car. In the broadest terms, a car is a car. But the styling of the interior, leather seats, placement of cupholders, and how the in car stereo system works all help differentiate one car from another. These are often subtle differences, but as with microinteractions, these small differences are crucial to the overall feel and experience.

Attend a daylong workshop with Dan at UI19

Dan’s UI19 workshop, Designing Microinteractions, in Boston October 29 will help you design those often-overlooked UX elements—like microcopy, form controls, and system defaults—to increase your user engagement.

Register with promotion code DANCAST and get $300 off the current conference price.

Explore Dan’s workshop


Recorded: June, 2014
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UIEtips: Developing a Right Feeling for Designing with Type

Jared Spool

July 30th, 2014

You know that feeling when you look at a web site and think everything looks just right? It flows well, there’s a nice balance of white space, and it’s pleasing on the eyes. Perhaps you may not realize it but it’s likely that the type plays the dominant role in this. Today’s article looks at three steps to make you more comfortable when designing with type.

If you struggle with determining the right type to design with, then Tim Brown’s UI19 workshop Designing with Type is perfect for you.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

There are lots of creative activities that are refined using feel as the guide. Master chefs combine ingredients, not in exact amounts, but because they have a feel for what will taste great together. Seasoned musicians can play the right notes at the right time for the right length, because they know what will sound right.

Interestingly, anyone can develop these feelings. It takes study and practice because it’s a learned skill. The experienced designers we talked to didn’t always know how to design with type. But how do you learn it?

Read the article: Developing a Right Feeling for Designing with Type.

How did you learn typography? Leave us a note below.

Laying out the costs to your boss to attend the User Interface 19 Conference

Lauren Cramer

July 29th, 2014

There are likely two main pieces of information your boss needs to decide whether or not to send you to the User Interface 19 Conference (in Boston, MA October 27-29). Costs and benefits.

In this second post of our 2 part series, we’ll cover the costs. The first post covers the benefits of attending.

There’s no way around it, conferences can be expensive. You need to consider more than just the registration fee when presenting the costs to your boss.

Breakdown of costs

We summarize this information in a table at the bottom.

Registration – The current price is $1,995. But if you use the promotion code BLOGUI19 by August 15, you’ll get a $300 discount. The next price jump goes to $2,289 starting Sept. 12 (Depending on the circumstance, we’ve been known to give greater discounts. Contact us at

Hotel arrangements – We’ve secured a special group rate of $269.00/night plus tax at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. This is the conference hotel, so by staying here, you’ll avoid daily transportation costs.

There are other hotels in the surrounding area at various prices. Explore additional options at or Be aware that hotel rooms booked on these sites may not refund you if you cancel. To keep your cost down, you’ll want to find a hotel within walking distance of the Renaissance.

Flights – Flight cost varies depending on day of week, location, and number of stops. Flying out of a major hub typically gives you more airlines, times, and non-stop options. However, non-stop flights are often more expensive.

Save yourself money by looking into flights that have a stop. If possible, look at flights that have you leaving on a Saturday. Often flights and hotels are cheaper when there’s a Saturday night stay involved. You may actually save yourself money by coming a day early, and Boston is a fun city to explore.

Do your homework and use sites like Hipmunk or Kayak to compare flights.

Transportation to and from Boston’s Logan airport – There are a number of ways to get to the hotel. Taxi will be your most expensive option being about $30 each way. The least expensive option is the T (Boston’s subway system) at $2.65 and it drops you off 1/2 block from the hotel.

Food – Your conference registration includes breakfast all three days, mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack and beverage breaks, lunch on Tuesday, and a reception with food on Tuesday evening. You’re on your own for lunch on Monday and Wednesday plus all your dinners during the conference.

Expect to spend an average of $8-12 for lunch and $12-20 for dinner.

Time out of the office
This is the most difficult cost to calculate. Though there’s a cost for you being out of the office, you need to think about the costs to the company of not going to the conference. Does the current team have the skill set to complete the project? Will the conference provide you the skills needed to move a project forward with less labor? Can you finish the project sooner with these skills? As they saying goes, “be careful not to be penny wise, pound foolish.”

Summary of expenses

Here’s a chart with your average expenses. The hotel cost is for the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.

West Coast Mid-West East Coast
Conference Fee (with promo code BLOGUI19 and sign up by 8/5) $1,695 $1,695 $1,695
Hotel Cost (3 nights and tax) $920 $920 $920
Flight (average) $500 $300 $275
T ride to and from the airport $5.30 $5.30 $5.30
Food $80 $80 $80
Total $3,200 $3,000 $2,975


Ideas to save on some expenses

There are a few ways to save some money.

1. Book your flight ASAP. The closer you get to the date of the conference, the higher the flight costs. Look for one stop options to lower the cost.

2. Be sure to take the T instead of a taxi.

3. Share a hotel room

4. Register by August 15 with the promotion code BLOGUI19 and save the $300.00.

Read part 1 - Convincing your boss to send you to UI19. It covers the benefits of attending.