Information on changes and updates to the IET website. Also features information on digital and online issues.

Latest Posts

Our eyes naturally follow human gaze, so make sure people in your images look towards your calls to action.
Posted by John Day on Oct 17, 2013 2:19 GMT
A few things to consider when writing for the web. read more...
Posted by Edward Oliver Higgins on Aug 9, 2013 10:07 GMT
Why everything you're doing is wrong. read more...
Posted by Edward Oliver Higgins on Aug 2, 2013 9:01 GMT
Some incredibly interesting facts about external links. read more...
Posted by Edward Oliver Higgins on Aug 2, 2013 8:56 GMT
Here in the IET's Digital Services team, we've long known how people read websites: they don't. read more...
Posted by John Day on Aug 1, 2013 1:16 GMT
Words are powerful things and should not be underestimated when it comes to web-based interaction.  The words and language used in these interactions have a subliminal effect on the users of your web page, ultimately affecting how they interact with and use your content.

Ambiguous phrases such as "click here" and "read more" have long been dismissed by best practice guides, but what you should replace them with has not always been clear.

I just read an interesting article called The Grammar of Interactivity by Jonathan Richards, Interactive Editor on the Guardian, about the language used for website interactions, such as buttons.  In fact, his article predominantly refers to buttons, but the same principle applies to links in general.

It's a really good read and well worth it.
Posted by John Day on Feb 26, 2013 2:39 GMT
Anil Dash has an excellent post on the eveolution of the web and how things used to be called The Web We Lost. In it he makes some interesting points on how the profit motive has led to creation of closed eco-systems. He shows how open systems and standards made some interesting things possible, which are just not possible now.

 

 We've lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we've abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they've certainly made a small number of people rich.

But they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilites of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be.


The argument he makes is more nuanced than the standard "open source good, proprietary bad". But the rise of closed networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc do raise some interesting questions about the basic structures and philsophy around web development.

H/T Kottke.org
Posted by Stewart Love on Dec 17, 2012 4:42 GMT
Posted by Stewart Love on Dec 17, 2012 4:42 GMT
With it being Chrstmas I've decided to help IET members with a present idea. I just found out about this cool open source electrical engineering kit for the young, and young at heart, called the Arduino. They describe their prodcut as:

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

So it seems to me to be the eqivalent of a Raspberry Pi for electrical engineering.

They have a series of excellent turorial videos on YouTube which are really good at both telling you how to make things on the product as well as explaining the basic concepts of electrical engineering. As someone who know enough about electrical engineering to write it on the back of a stamp in marker pen, I certainly learned a lot.



So for all of you IET members looking for a christmas gift for you children/grand children this has to be high on your list. Remember you should buy it, not because they want it, but because its good for them.


Posted by Stewart Love on Nov 30, 2012 2:41 GMT
User testing is an extremely important element of any web project and an on-going method to make sure you are fixing those things on your website that really affect how people use it. We do regular user testing sessions here at the IET. Its important to test users using the actual product, as opposed to just telling you how they use it, because people will tell you different things to what they actually do. Also people want to be helpful so when you ask them questions they don't want to appear rude by telling you that a key facet of your new product is rubbish.

Well it seems that the people at 3 Sheets Research have found a way to make sure user testers really tell you what they are thinking. They have combined user testing with booze. If you really want to see how easy it is to use your new product, give it to a user all hopped up on goofballs and see how they get on. Like this lady testing the new Windows 8 operating system after tequila:




Posted by Stewart Love on Nov 9, 2012 10:21 GMT
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Most Recent Comments

That could mean a lot of looking down!
My top 5 web gripes too....! ;o) Especially web pages of centre aligned coloured text in all different heading sizes...
Utterly pointless but great fun!
I, too, appreciated the irony there, James! However, at least there is sufficient teaser to provide some context in...

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