Tags: words



Shuffleboard At McMurdo (Idle Words)

Maciej’s first report from Antarctica is here. Put the kettle on and settle in for a grand read.

How Literature Became Word Perfect | New Republic

An engaging look at the history of word processing, word processed by Josephine Livingstone.

what3words | Addressing the world

In this English language alternative to latitude and longitude coordinates, the Clearleft office is located at:


Atomic Classification | Trent Walton

There is one truism that has been constant throughout my career on the web, and it’s this: naming things is hard.

Trent talks about the strategies out there for naming things. He makes specific mention of Atomic Design, which as Brad is always at pains to point out, is just one way of naming things: atoms, molecules, organisms, etc.

In some situations, having that pre-made vocabulary is perfect. In other situations, I’ve seen it cause all sorts of problems. It all depends on the project and the people.

Personally, I like the vocabulary to emerge from the domain knowledge of the people on the project. Building a newspaper website? Use journalism-related terms. Making a website about bicycles? Use bike-related terms.

Most importantly, make the naming process a collaborative exercise, as outlined by Alla and Charlotte.

The Pain With No Name · An A List Apart Article

This rousing call-to-arms by Abby the IA makes a great companion piece to her interview on The Big Web Show.

Using System Fonts in the Browser

We have some new font keywords that are basically shortcuts to using the system fonts on a device. This article explains the details.

Simplified JavaScript Jargon

An A-Z of JavaScript jargon (although some of the “explanations” could do with de-jargonifying themselves).

“100 Words 100” by Kyle Halleman • Nineteen Twenty-Seven

Kyle Halleman completed one hundred days of writing one hundred words. Respect! I know how hard that is.

Have a read from the first entry onwards.

A Good Writer Is a Good Thinker

The web – by its very nature – foregrounds the connections between different clusters of knowledge. Links link. One article leads to another. As you make the journey from destination to destination, all inevitably connected by that trail of links, you begin to tease out understanding.

It’s this drawing together, this weaving together of knowledge, that is the important part. Your journey is unique. The chances of another pursuing the same path, link by link (or book by book), is – statistically – impossible. Your journey leads you to discovery and, through reflection, comprehension. You see the connections others haven’t, because your journey is your own.

Use the words normal people use

When you’re struggling to write something that sounds clear and sounds human (two of the essential basics of a good blog post, I’d argue), just use the words normal people would use. The best way to find out what those words are is to try talking the thing through to someone who doesn’t know anything about it. Remember what you just said, then write that.

Fan Is A Tool-Using Animal—dConstruct Conference Talk

Maciej has published the transcript of his magnificent (and hilarious) talk from dConstruct 2013.

Web Design - The First 100 Years

A magnificent presentation from Maciej that begins by drawing parallels between the aviation industry in the 20th century and the technology industry in the 21st:

So despite appearances, despite the feeling that things are accelerating and changing faster than ever, I want to make the shocking prediction that the Internet of 2060 is going to look recognizably the same as the Internet today.

Unless we screw it up.

And I want to convince you that this is the best possible news for you as designers, and for us as people.

But if that sounds too upbeat for you…

Too much of what was created in the last fifty years is gone because no one took care to preserve it.

We have heroic efforts like the Internet Archive to preserve stuff, but that’s like burning down houses and then cheering on the fire department when it comes to save what’s left inside. It’s no way to run a culture. We take better care of scrap paper than we do of the early Internet, because at least we look at scrap paper before we throw it away.

And then there’s this gem:

We complained for years that browsers couldn’t do layout and javascript consistently. As soon as that got fixed, we got busy writing libraries that reimplemented the browser within itself, only slower.

It finishes with three differing visions of the web, one of them desirable, the other two …not so much. This presentation is a rallying cry for the web we want.

Let’s reclaim the web from technologists who tell us that the future they’ve imagined is inevitable, and that our role in it is as consumers.

Nicole Fenton | Interface Writing: Code for Humans

The text of Nicole’s excellent talk on writing helpful, human microcopy.

Jeremy Keith wrote 100 words for 100 days - Colin Devroe

I’m quite touched by this—I had no idea anyone was paying that much attention to my 100 words project.

Jaime Caballero on Instagram: “Live blogging by @adactio. He almost didn’t make it for his 100 words challenge.”

When you’re out celebrating at the end of Responsive Day Out and realise it’s just a few minutes to midnight and you haven’t published your 100 words yet.

Nicholas Lindley: 100 Words: Day 1

This is nifty—Nicholas is also going for the 100 words exercise that I’ve been doing.

Thomas Byttebier - The best icon is a text label

A look at the risks of relying on a purely graphical icon for interface actions. When in doubt, label it.

LukeW | Showing Passwords on Log-In Screens

Luke continues to tilt against the windmills of the security theatre inertia that still has us hiding passwords by default. As ever, he’s got the data to back up his findings.

The Secret Life of Passwords - NYTimes.com

A fascinating look at how the humble password gets imbued with incredible levels of meaning.

It reminds me of something I heard Ze Frank say last year: “People fill up the cracks with intimacy.”