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Journal

Should I use the HTML title attribute?

People have used the HTML title attribute to achieve a native “tooltip” effect for many years. However accessibility experts have recommended that we should avoid this practice, and here I summarise my research on the topic.

Forthcoming DJ gig on Radio Buena Vida 19/11/222

I’ve been stockpiling good records for a while and it’s time they got an airing. I’ll be playing a few on Radio Buena Vida, Saturday 19/11 at 4–5pm. Tune in or even come hang out in the café, if you’re in the hood.

Nordhealth’s Design System

There’s so much to admire in Nord Health’s Design System and specifically its reference website.

Full disclosure

Whether I’m thinking about inclusive hiding, hamburger menus or web components one UI pattern I keep revisiting is the disclosure widget. Perhaps it’s because you can use this small pattern to bring together so many other wider aspects of good web development. So for future reference, here’s a braindump of my knowledge and resources on the subject.

Choosing a date - we want to know your use cases (a discussion re. gov.uk design system)

We want to find out if adding a 'date picker' component to the Design System is a good idea.

We're currently looking for: examples of date pickers in services: screenshots, prototypes, links to live services; use cases: explanations of why a 'date picker' was used in a service instead of a 'date input', or something else; research: how well 'date pickers' tested with users to complete different tasks.

How to build an accesssible autocomplete

At work there are plans afoot to reconcile various differing Autocomplete implementations into a single, reusable component. So far there’s been a written audit presenting all instances and how they differ in functional and technical respects. There’s also been design work to identify visual commonalities and avoid future inconsistencies. I’d now like to add another perspective: an investigation into which HTML materials and (if necessary) ARIA supplements are appropriate to ensure we build something accessible and resilient.

Using schema.org to describe your content

I’ve been using schema.org for a few years now, but haven’t yet logged any notes and usage advice. Schema.org gives websites a practical, structured data approach for communicating the meaning of their content in finer detail than they could with native HTML alone. Google etc can then parse this and use it in their interfaces to offer users a richer view of your data.

The organisation of work versus the job itself

Here’s a half-formed thought (the sort of thing personal websites that nobody else reads are perfect for). As a web developer, something I’ve noticed when interviewing candidates and hearing how they do things, or when I myself am being assessed in expectations reviews is that our industry seems obsessed with discussing the organisation of work. You know – PR review protocol, agile ceremonies, organising a Trello board, automation, linters. All of which is really important, of course. But the amount of airtime that gets leaves me frustrated. What about the actual job?

Are responsive strategy, web typography, layout, interactive JS components, animation (to name but a few very high-level topics) not interesting, complex and impactful enough as to warrant a higher percentage of the conversation? I want an insight into other folks’ knowledge of and opinions on how best to build things, and feel it gets relegated behind organisational topics.

Or do people just see the nitty-gritty stuff as the domain of enthusiasts on Twitter and personal blogs, or as “implementation details” that are secondary to the organisation of something – anything – that will “get the job done”?

As I say, a half-formed thought and probably just reveals my leanings! But writing it helps me gather my thoughts even if I eventually decide I’m in the wrong.

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