Good Accessibility Talk to Watch (Video)

This is worth your time. It’s a talk by Monika Piotrowicz of Shopify. I like her instruction to use basic HTML whenever possible instead of putting something else in to overrule the semantics. Her explanation of ARIA is excellent.

The close captions aren’t great. They were generated automatically rather than from a transcript, but they do appear if you need them.

Hat tip to Dennis Lembree who shared this on Google+, which is where I first saw it.

Useful Links: Hate your CMS? Student Reps, Mobile Guidelines

I am so angry at computer

The Real Reason People Hate Their CMS brings up a lot of points worth pondering.

Adobe spreads the love on campus. If students are willing to become Adobe student reps they can get free Creative Cloud memberships.

The BBC Mobile Accessibility Standards and Guidelines (pdf) are available in draft form. Listen to this very interesting interview with Henny Swan, BBC accessibility specialist, about how the guidelines were created.

Useful links: UX Video, remote control, Instagram video, mobile #fails

How to Fail at UX in 3 Steps is a very short video, but it makes strong points.

Where will this lead? Microsoft shows off a wall of 200 Windows Phones you can control remotely.

In case you’re already deeply committed to Instagram’s new video service, here’s How to Embed Instagram Video on Your Website.

Mobile Web Problems and How to Avoid Them is a series of problems collected by Brad Frost and Jen Simmons over the last few months. You see screen shots of the problem and get tips on how to avoid the errors.

Useful Links: Mobile Tips, Wireframes, Prepare for the End

Mobile Website Design: 30 Pro Tips at Creative Bloq makes some excellent points and has some graphics that look helpful to use in a classroom. This graphic, for example, in tip 15.

content stacking wireframe

In keeping with that wireframe image, take a look at this inspiring collection of wireframe sketches from various designers. UI & Wireframe Sketches for Your Inspiration.

July 1 will be the end of Google Reader. Are you prepared? I’ve been using Netvibes after trying it out along with Feedly for a week long trial period. Netvibes won. Here’s a list of 12 alternatives to Google Reader. Just a reminder that there are links in the sidebar so that you can subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog using what ever reader you love the most.

Binge Viewing, the Second Screen, and the Future

This is how I watch TV

I read an excellent article by Neicole Crepeau called Re-thinking the future of TV in the Age of Binge. The article made some interesting points about binge viewing and also about the increasing use of a second screen.

Since the readers of this blog are the people who make the web sites and apps that constitute the second screen, I think this topic is of importance to web educators and web developers.

My Binge Watching Habits

I love binge watching. I do it all the time via Netflix or On Demand. Recently I’ve watched season one of The Fall – twice. I also watched season one of Orphan Black – twice.

In case you aren’t familiar with either of these series, The Fall is a mystery drama starring Gillian Anderson as a police detective and Jamie Dornan as a serial killer. It’s subtle and nuanced and rich with detail. It’s like reading a good mystery instead of watching a TV series. The two main characters are mirror images of one another – one good, one evil – both meticulously obsessed with what they are doing. The performances are brilliant, the characters fascinating.

Orphan Black is a sci fi story about clones, with an underlying theme of nature vs. nurture. Tatiana Maslany plays the clones – 7 of them so far in season one – in an amazing performance that is truly a master work. She should get every acting award for her performance(s) as the various clones. The technical trickery that goes on so that she can be on screen as two or three different characters at one time is pretty impressive, too.

So I’m loving the characters, I’m loving the story lines, I’m loving the fact that I can watch every episode of a series in a matter of hours or days. I love binge watching.

What else am I doing while watching?

With these two particular programs I’m looking at for more information about the actors and writers and directors. I’m pursuing lines of thought like – Matt Frewer, bet he’s the bad guy, and hmmm, he was just in Eureka, and, yeah, he was Max Headroom. This division of attention probably explains why I’ve watched both these series twice. I miss things while I’m off interacting with the second screen.

Not all the second screen action happens during an episode. Between episodes, I might go to YouTube and look for interviews with the actors. I might read reviews of the shows. I might go to the web site of the network hosting the show and look for behind the scenes video or photos or interviews.

The App Connection

I mentioned the SyFy app a few days back. I use it when watching shows on the SyFy channel. One of the shows (Defiance) that the app syncs with also has an online game that ties in with the show.

I’ve seen other shows advertising their apps and urging viewers to download the app and sync in for more behind the scenes info while watching. I think this is going to be more and more common to the point where every network is going to feel the need for an app that lets viewers interact in real time with what’s on the screen.

Second Screen Conversation

Twitter, of course, has always been the go-to spot for sharing comments about what you’re watching. Now the apps are providing access to this kind of interaction built-in. It might include Twitter and other sources. The app might filter for specific parts of a conversation, such as tweets from the actors. The point is, a conversation is encouraged and there’s an attempt to keep it in the silo of the app or the game or the website.

The Future of Web Education

All this change in the way we experience TV means a huge job market for anyone who can develop apps, or games, or auxiliary materials on a web site to complement a TV program. And that means web education needs to be on-the-spot with instructions for building apps, building connections, building all the complementary information that can help promote a TV show.

And what about the people making the ads and producing the ad content? What about the marketing people who need to be able to talk intelligently with app makers or web developers about how to make ads work in this new environment? What about all those social media experts who will be needed? That sounds like a whole lot of new job opportunities.

Yes, things are changing. Are web educators preparing students for the future? I hope we are.

5 Great Web Teacher Tips


If you read Web Teacher posts via an RSS feed, you may forget that there is a page on the blog where I track a list of most of the posts I categorize as Web Teacher Tips. Here are 5 of the best ones brought back to your attention.