Showing posts from April, 2015

How-to: Make a drop-down list in Excel

If you're wanting data validation in spreadsheet forms and template documents, a drop-down list remains the most common way to achieve it. Skipping over the question why am I covering a Microsoft product when there's a perfectly good LibreOffice alternative, let me just say; 'because someone asked me.'

How-to: Protect your web downloads. Not.

I started this under the banner “Web-accessible e-publications NOT as PDF's” in light of the membership products discussion that happened this morning. Thinking about the delivery of web-accessible e-publications (our bread-and-butter) which are NOT downloadable and NOT printable for certain classes of registered web users, this is as much of a minefield today as fifteen years ago in a previous life. This is all about balancing ease of access and customer service against the admin/IT cost of providing material via a robust delivery mechanism. Before you ask, I have no recommendation at this point.

How-to: Use Dashes and Hyphens on the web

A note for the  punctuationally-challenged. There's a brilliant article on A List Apart: The Trouble With EM ’n EN (and Other Shady Characters) by Peter K Sheerin from way back in October, 2001, now sadly marked " This article, while brilliant for its time, is now obsolete." However the topic doesn't go away and we're still struggling, not only with the style guide but how to render these shady characters for the web when there are all sorts of technical issues. First of all, what’s the Difference Between an Em Dash, En Dash & Hyphen? And what has happened to them online?

How-to: Meet Web Accessibility Guidelines

Two things converged this week; we are revising our in-house style guide which necessarily includes print and online, whilst on the development front, I have a team (well, Dave, actually - it's always a 'Dave') producing wireframes and mockups for our web-based CRM front end. Accessibility remains a hot topic. It never ends and complacency is our worst enemy. Which led me to revisit the Web Accessibility Guidelines , particularly the section on making content readable and the wisdom contained therein:

Review: Codes that Changed the World (BBC R4)

Aleks Krotoski explores the history of programming languages. The history of computing is dominated by the hardware; the race for speed and power has overshadowed how we've devised ways to instruct these machines to do useful tasks. All this week on BBC Radio 4, Aleks Krotoski tells the story of the languages that have been used to talk to machines. Krotoski, journalist and presenter of the Guardian Tech Weekly Podcast and soon the seventh series of The Digital Human, looks at computer programming languages in five 15-minute shows. Presented in the style of BBC-Popular-Science-Lite, these are whistle-stop tours for the mildly interested lunchtime listener.