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Decision Engineering News

Programmer Checks: Testing Web Pages

Published: 2006-06-06

In 2006 a majority of web sites have poor markup. Browsers are designed to accommodate this, so most users never notice. Site owners who attempt to automate web content management probably do notice. (They find automation harder than expected.) Programmers who create this content, via their code, often have no way to check markup quality. This article describes a simple, low cost way that some programmers can use to improve the situation.

Technical Quality of a Web Site

Published: 2005-11-14

Judging technical quality of a web site is easy, if you know how. These notes give examples of how a user might judge a site and the tools he might use.

The visitor has a real appreciation of how web sites are built and forms his opinion from more than the words and looks. The article illustrates how he looks beneath the surface, inspecting markup, stylesheets and script.

Visualising the rating of a web site

Published: 2005-10-18

Working with Personas is easier when you can envisage what your visitor is thinking, compare it, see the impact of a change and explain that to others. Graphs help do that. (These examples represent the opinion of the visitor and illustrate his thinking process.)

Through your Visitor's eyes

Published: 2005-09-06

When designing and refining a web site, a roadmap can save a lot of effort. Part of that roadmap is envisaging how your user actually sees the site. It makes sense for that to guide how you develop and test the site. An example of a persona that does this.

Setting up a Persona

Published: 2005-08-24

Describes some of the things you might like to include in a Persona. This persona is used to measure the quality of the site. Like a real visitor the site is not judged just by looks or just by the writing, but a combination of both and more.

Using a Customer Persona

Published: 2005-08-24

The idea of a customer persona, for web design.

I've found it useful to define a single idealised user when creating a web page or web site. By addressing your words and design to that one person, writing and design are easier. In addition new ideas are easier to accept or reject, when evaluated against the persona.

ClickOnce Update

Published: 2005-07-20

Revised: 2006-02-21

An update on notes about using Click Once technology? The technology promises to offer simple desktop type programs easily installed over the Internet. For my purposes the technology within .NET 2 looks appropriate. A low cost analysis of data till February 2006 suggests that it might be 2011 before this is viable for a general audience. For a specialist audience it could be sooner. (Product and OS releases could change the picture.)

Are Web Sites a convenient fiction?

Published: 2005-06-01

Web site owners often think of their site as a single entity. However many visitor are only interested in one page, they don't look at anything else. If you following through that thought, it could change the way you think about web design. You might need to have a target user or persona for each page!

Encoding Markup for XML Content Managers

Published: Sep 2004-09-13

Text that is repeatedly put through a web based content management system can get badly mutilated. If that text is treated as XML the mutilation can be fatal.

While investigating this I established the best encoding (numeric entities) to use and discovered a few problems that I hadn't been aware of.