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ARIA is Spackle, Not Rebar

Much like their physical counterparts, the materials we use to build websites have purpose. To use them without understanding their strengths and limitations is irresponsible. Nobody wants to live in an poorly-built house. So why are poorly-built websites acceptable? In this post, I’m going to address WAI-ARIA, and how misusing it can do more harm than good. Materials as technology In construction, spackle is used to fix minor defects on interiors. It is a thick paste that dries into a solid surface that can be sanded smooth and painted over. Most renters become acquainted with it when attempting to get their damage deposit back. Rebar is a lattice of steel rods used to reinforce concrete. Every modern building uses it—chances are good you’ll see it walking past any decent-sized construction site. Technology as materials HTML is the rebar-reinforced concrete of the web. To stretch the metaphor, CSS is the interior and exterior decoration, and JavaScript is the wiring and plumbing. Every tag in HTML has what is known as native semantics. The act of writing an HTML element programmatically communicates to the browser what that tag represents. Writing a button tag explicitly tells the browser, “This is a button. It does buttony things.” The reason this is so important is that assistive technology hooks into native semantics and uses it to create an interface for navigation. A page not...

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How to Use Restful Web APIs in Python

This tutorial will introduce you to web APIs and teach you how to use the requests Python library to fetch and update information in web APIs. You will also learn how to interact with the Twitter API as a working example. Introduction to Web APIs An API (Application Programming Interface) is a framework for building HTTP services that can be consumed by a wide variety of clients. Web APIs use HTTP protocol to handle requests between the client and the web server. Some of the most common APIs that enable developers to integrate and use their infrastructure include: Google...

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“almost everything on computers is perceptually slower than it was in 1983”

Good rant. Thankfully it’s a tweetstorm not some readable blog post. 😉 I think about this kind of thing with cable box TV UX. At my parent’s house, changing the channel takes like 4-5 seconds for the new channel to come in with all the overlays and garbage. You used to be able to turn a dial and the new channel was instantly there. You’d like to think performance is a steady march forward. Computers are so fast these days! But it might just be a steady march backward. Direct Link to Article — Permalink “almost everything on computers is perceptually slower than it was in 1983” is a post from CSS-Tricks...

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Maximizing The Design Sprint

Following a summer of Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and other superhero blockbusters, it’s natural to fantasize about having a superpower of your own. Luckily for designers, innovators, and customer-centric thinkers, a design sprint allows you to see into the future to learn in just five days what customers think about your finished product. As a UX consultant and in-house design strategist, I have facilitated dozens upon dozens of design workshops (ranging from rapid prototyping sessions to, of course, sprints)....

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Working With Tables in React, Part Two

Overview This is part two of a two-part series about React-Bootstrap-Table. In part one we created a simple React application using react-create-app, added React-Bootstrap-Table, populated a table with data, worked with columns, styled the table, and selected rows.  In this part we’ll continue the journey by expanding rows, adding rows, deleting rows, and covering pagination, cell editing, and advanced customization. Expanding Rows This is one of the coolest features of React-bootstrap-table. When displaying tabular data, there is often additional data you may want to see on one or two rows, but you can’t display all the data for all...

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