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Longform Writing

Evergreen articles, fleeting thoughts, and other random prose.


Use Inline Help Text

While I firmly believe that the length of your instructional text is almost always inversely proportionate to the usability of your product, I also believe that the right help text at the right place and time can be invaluable to the usability of a web…

Semantic Tables

Now that “table” has become a bad word and many people have eliminated them from their repertoire, I wanted to shine a little more light on this misunderstood, but well-intentioned, piece of markup. Everybody is familiar with table, tr, and td tags, but…

Instructions not Needed

If it needs instructions or you have to explain it, there’s room for improvement.

Usable Form Validation

Today’s error messages are a huge improvement of the error messages of latter years, however they still have a long way to go. I’ve put together the following list of the most common problems with error messages. Disclaimer: You should always use both…

Don't Use 'Clear' or 'Reset' Buttons

The vast majority of cases where forms offer a button to reset the form would be better off foregoing the button entirely.

Clearly Label Those Buttons

I was thinking today and realized just how many different conversations I’ve had with people about buttons. What should the text be? Where should they be placed? Should they be regular HTML buttons or images? What about reset buttons? We’ll start with…

Make Footers Usable

If people scroll to the bottom of a page, shouldn’t we provide useful links and content to help them decide where to go next?