Web Usability

Usability rules the Web. Simply stated, if the customer can’t find a product, then he or she will not buy it.

The Web is the ultimate customer-empowering environment. He or she who clicks the mouse gets to decide everything. It is so easy to go elsewhere; all the competitors in the world are but a mouseclick away

– Jakob Nielsen, Designing Web Usability

Strange Pronunciation

buoy. Though this book does not normally address matters of pronunciation, and though it is intended primarily for users of British English, I cannot resist pointing out to my fellow Americans, and any who may be influenced by them, that the increasing tendency to pronounce this word boo-ee is mistaken and misguided. Unless you would say boo-ee-ant for buoyant, please return to pronouncing it boy.

– Bill Bryson, Troublesome Words

Speaking English

More than 300 million people in the world speak English and the rest, it sometimes seems, try to. It would be charitable to say that the results are sometimes mixed.

Consider this hearty announcement in a Yugoslavian hotel: “The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid. Turn to her straightaway.” Or this warning to motorists in Tokyo: “When a passenger of the foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet at him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigour.” Or these instructions gracing a packet of fast food from Italy: “Besmear a backing pan, previously buttered with a good tomato sauce, and, after, dispose the cannelloni, lightly distanced between them in a only couch.”

– Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

Two Columns, a Header, and a Footer

I have spent a large part of the day working with CSS. Thanks to the excellent examples at and bluerobot I was able to get the site looking how I wanted. However, some time last week, I had removed the footer because it wasn’t appearing at the bottom of the page. After I had completed the work I was doing today it occurred to me that I might be able to put the footer back in (I had moved the footer information to a menu in the header which I didn’t really like). I couldn’t get it working. All because I had to use absolute positioning for one of my columns. Maybe tomorrow, when I’m more awake, I’ll be able to understand this and make my footer work the way I want it to.