All Episodes

Episode 117 Transforming the Shapes with Eva Ferreira

June 30, 2016

Web pages are visually and technically a pile of boxes. By default, all those boxes are rectangles and squares. But they don't have to be any longer. With CSS we can now transform those rectangles into parallelograms, rhombuses, skewed boxes, circles, and elephants — or any shape we want. Eva Ferreira joins Jen Simmons to talk about what's possible and how to do it.

In This Episode

  • transforms
  • rotation
  • scaling
  • skewing
  • perspective
  • translation
  • clip-path
  • shape-outside
  • how CSS is born

Episode 116 Preserving the Architecture of the Web with Stefan Tilkov

May 30, 2016

There’s a lot of pressure these days to use a JavaScript framework to create every website. “Which one is best?” people ask, “Which one should I use?” Stefan Tilkov joins Jen Simmons to talk about the architectural style of the web, and how to understand to best create an application on the web. What is the role of each of the technologies available?

In This Episode

  • Constraints and Qualities of The Web
  • The Hypermedia format
  • The REST model
  • The ways that we’ve forgotten the architecture of the web before in the past
  • The three core web technologies: HTML, CSS, JS, and the separation of concerns
  • The idea that HTML is not good enough for real programmers
  • Angular, Ember, React — how does a team choose the best tool?
  • The role of JavaScript: to extend the user agent’s capabilities, and do things that cannot be done in HTML or CSS

Episode 115 Predicting the future with Rachel Andrew, Eric Meyer, and Jeffrey Zeldman

April 29, 2016

The landscape of what's possible in web page layout is changing. Jen has a theory that this change will be a big one — perhaps the biggest change to graphic design on the web in over 15 years. Rachel, Jeffrey, and Eric join her to debate if that's true or not, and to surmise what the future might bring. This special episode was recorded live at An Event Apart Nashville.

Episode 114 Laying Out the Future with Rachel Andrew

April 3, 2016

Everything about web page layout is changing. New CSS specifications will make it possible to do designs we've never seen before. Rachel Andrew joins Jen Simmons to talk about what's happening.

In This Episode

  • The radical change that's coming to layout on the web
  • Grid, Flexbox, Alignment, Multicolumn, and more
  • What we've had to do for the last 15 years because we have not had proper tools for doing layout in CSS
  • Why we started using 960 Grid, Bootstrap, Foundation and other such layout frameworks
  • What can Grid do that floats cannot do
  • How is Grid different than Bootstrap
  • What's the difference between Grid and Flexbox? Why do we have two specs for layout?
  • How can we learn all these things?

Episode 113 Standing on Turtles with Husani Oakley

February 22, 2016

Our technology has gotten really complicated. Sometimes we get so deep into our work, we lose sight of what matters. We have hundreds of choices to make — “Which tool should we use?”; “Should we change what we are doing, or stick with what we’ve got?”; “Do I keep solving this problem, or move on to the next one?” — how do we ever decide? Husani Oakley joins Jen Simmons to debate these questions and more.

In This Episode

  • Why do we get too enamored with details that don’t matter, and forget the big picture?
  • How do we find the balance between taking time to “do things right” vs making sure we keep getting work done?
  • When is it time to make a style guide, or create a deployment system, or restructure how things are organized, and when is that a waste? How can we tell?
  • When should we refactor old code — or not?
  • How can we fight the haze of getting so deep into work that we loose focus on why we are doing what we are doing?
  • The value of true diversity on teams
  • What is a full-stack developer? designer?
  • What’s a full-stack thinker?
  • How separate silos of development and design don’t work — because of the turtles
  • How collaboration works in a world where the work isn’t ever really done
  • The role of a Product Manager
  • The role of a sprint planning and a sprint review meeting as the opportunity to connect back to why we are doing this work
  • How we tend to assume that more technology, more complexity, is always better. Is it?

Episode 112 Imagining the Web of Things with Stephanie Rieger and Jonas Sicking

February 10, 2016

Talking about the Internet of Things is all the rage these days. What is it about, and why is there so much hype? Will an ecosystem of internet-connected “devices” take over our lives? What role does the web play in all this? Stephanie Rieger joins Jen Simmons to discuss. Then Jonas Sicking joins Jen for a second interview, to talk more about what how the web might be involved.

In This Episode

  • What is "The Internet of Things"?
  • How will our lives be enhanced by having the internet woven through our physical world? Will that be better?
  • What kind of devices can we expect?
  • Will we need a separate app for every 'thing'?
  • How might the web be used to connect devices?
  • What is Google doing with their Physical Web project?
  • What is Mozilla doing with their Fly Web project?
  • How can anyone create an internet-connected physical object using Bluetooth and a beacon?

Episode 111 Going Responsive with Karen McGrane

December 17, 2015

It’s clear. Responsive is the way to go. One website for all screen sizes, for all devices. But what does it take for a company with an pre-existing site or pre-existing way of working together to make the needed changes to go responsive? It's not about the media queries. It's about everything else. Karen McGrane joins Jen Simmons to talk about her new book, and to imagine an amazing future.

In This Episode

  • What does it take to revise an existing site to be responsive? What are the biggest challenges?
  • How can you get the whole team on the same page, understanding the complexity of modern web design?
  • What about responsive web design is so hard?
  • Why using PDFs generated in Photoshop to make final decisions is a lousy way to design. How a process that includes prototypes is much better.
  • How to make big changes to the work flow inside a team.
  • What we can learn from the past, the transition from analog to digital.
  • The possibilities in design that open up once we modernize our content systems and workflows.
  • The dangers of using a front-end framework.
  • What’s wrong with the industry’s current focus on style guides?
  • What does it take to design a true system of content and layout options?
  • How might we start empowering content creators with tools for true editorial design?

Episode 110 Understanding the Web with Jeremy Keith

November 17, 2015

The web is being compared to "native" a lot these days, with some even declaring the web dead. But what are the strengths web? What does it do that native can't touch? What is it we are making when we are creating something of the web? Jeremy Keith joins Jen Simmons to articulate how to understand and appreciate the web.

In This Episode

  • The qualities of the web that make it great
  • Web vs. Native
  • The web compared to CD-ROMs, Flash and print
  • How we get stuck, not expecting things to change
  • How today's choice of a tool creates tomorrow's technical debt
  • The value of 'boring' blog posts
  • The problem of self-censorship
  • Ideas for wrangling the inner critic
  • The opportunities the web has given us

Episode 109 Designing Products with Dustin Senos

November 3, 2015

Designing a successful product takes more than attention to the look & feel, or the interface architecture. Great product design happens earlier in the process, when the product itself is defined and understood. With his experience as the lead designer for Medium, Dustin Senos knows a thing or two about making a product great. He joins Jen Simmons to explain what it takes.

In This Episode

  • What is product design, and how is it different than other kinds of design?
  • Who should design the product?
  • Defining success
  • Who are you designing for?
  • How do you get to great design by exhausting your options
  • How to avoid being too clever
  • How do you convince your colleagues that taking time for this process is important?

Episode 108 Improving Humanity with Pamela Pavliscak

October 27, 2015

We often focus on improving user experience — making it easier for people to use the sites and products we create. But when do we get to focus on a bigger picture? Are we making true improvements to people's lives? Are they happier because they use our work? Pamela Pavliscak has been deeply researching this question. What does it take to improve humanity? How are different generations being affected differently? What will life look like for our children?

Episode 107 Being Tracked with Brett Gaylor

October 19, 2015

We've all known for many years that the websites we use keep track of who we are and what we are doing. Lately though, it seems like things have gotten out of control. Surveillance has gotten quite sophisticated and intrusive, and we've become more aware of what exactly we are giving up in exchange for being online. Is this a problem? How bad is it? What can we do?

In This Episode

  • What is tracking? What is being tracked? How is the data used?
  • Who cares if ads are personalized? What’s the problem?
  • Why should we care about privacy if we have nothing to hide?
  • How are these business models changing the web itself?
  • What is the role of VC funding in promoting corporate surveillance?
  • How does a data-driven system impact human creativity?
  • What are ethical concerns in collecting data?
  • Is tracking racist?
  • What about government surveillance?
  • What kind of tools exist to help us?
  • What does the future hold?

Episode 106 Focusing on Customer Top Tasks with Gerry McGovern

September 16, 2015

As soon as you have many people chiming in on the direction of a website, you get disagreements, conflicting idea, and turf wars. What about what customers want? Gerry McGovern has developed a specific step-by-step methodology for identifying what matters to your customers, focusing effort on those things, and objectively testing the performance of those tasks. Helpful and well-gathered data can quickly end debates and focus a team. Gerry joins Jen Simmons to walk through the process.

In This Episode

  • How do you figure out what matters most to your customers?
  • How can you convince your organization to deprioritize the stuff that doesn't really matter?
  • When optimizing performance, how can you measure human performance?
  • Gerry's step-by-step methodology:
  • Identifying Tasks
  • Surveying Customer Needs
  • Scientifically Measuring the Performance of Top Tasks — Success Rate, Time on Task, and Disaster Rates
  • Repeatedly Measuring Performance Over Time to Track Progress

Episode 105 Progressive Enhancement with Aaron Gustafson

August 29, 2015

Progressive Enhancement is a core principle of the web. But these days it seems a lot of folks don't quite understand what it's about. Aaron Gustafson joins Jen Simmons to break it down, and explain why and how your website should be built using the principles of Progressive Enhancement.

In This Episode

  • What is progressive enhancement?
  • How do we do it?
  • But what about supporting the old browsers?
  • But what about doing the hot new stuff?
  • Doesn’t it take longer?
  • Why in the world?
  • Ok, ok, I know I should, but how? no really, how?
  • But what about my cool JavaScript-based Web App for my awesome new startup? That doesn’t need to bother with progressive enhancement, I know it.

Episode 104 Remembering the Everyday Developer with Rachel Andrew

August 13, 2015

An inordinate amount of attention is being paid these days to complex tools chains, JavaScript frameworks, and the assumption that the web is an application platform. Has the web actually been taken over by this one flavor of site? Aren't we getting off-track when we act like nothing else exists anymore? What about the everyday developer? Rachel Andrew joins Jen Simmons to discuss.

In This Episode

  • What is all this emphasis on JavaScript being the end-all be-all of web development?
  • We keep saying “everyone is doing [such-and-such]” — really?
  • The wide diversity of kinds of websites and the different skill-sets of the people who build the web
  • "Native vs. the Web"
  • Are you supposed to know how to use everything?
  • How to keep up with all the changes
  • How things got so complicated
  • What about the people who just want to put their stuff online?
  • Which skills you definitely need
  • How the lack of core skills among developers leads to a mishmash of tools and techniques
  • Celebrating the big impact you can have when working on small projects

Episode 103 Animating the Web with Rachel Nabors

July 8, 2015

How can we use animation on the web to provide information and improve the user experience? What uses should we avoid? How should we go about thinking of animation, including built-in animation experiences that are so common we don't see them anymore? Rachel Nabors joins Jen Simmons to explore the possibilities.

In This Episode

  • The future of the web in multiple states and dimensions
  • How to decide what to animate
  • How the right animations can make an interface instantly understandable
  • What's wrong with Parallax scrolling — and what's not wrong with it
  • Six kinds of animations
  • Performance considerations when animating
  • Browser page scrolling as the first animation users experience
  • Possibilities for controlling the page load — how we might want to orchestrate loading content, rather than only focusing on speed

Episode 102 Understanding Apple Watch with Josh Clark

April 22, 2015

Apple's Watch is almost here. What does it mean to design for this space? Josh Clark joins Jen Simmons to dig in.

In This Episode

  • What will it to like to live with computers strapped to our wrists?
  • Will this be all that's being promised?
  • Technology as jewelry
  • Four kinds of watch apps: notifying, data gathering, phone-mimicking, and a new kind
  • Designing for engagement vs. returning people's attention back to themselves
  • Pre-attentive cognition
  • Wearing data and the Internet of Things
  • The responsibility of shaping behavior with our designs
  • The future of haptic feedback. Force touch and the Taptic Engine
  • Will the web exist on our wrists?

Episode 101 Structuring Content with Eileen Webb

April 7, 2015

For years, we've put content on websites by dumping text, images and video onto a page like it's one big blob. In the age of mobile, it's become painfully clear that really doesn't work anymore. Planning a content system of types and fields yields much better results. Why? How? Eileen Webb joins Jen Simmons to explain exactly what this means.

In This Episode

  • We answer a listener question about which technologies are the best ones to learn — how does a new developer manage to learn them all?
  • Architecting content structure vs. strategizing about content quality, messaging, voice and tone
  • Why content should have a rigid structure
  • Using a content audit to find patterns
  • How content structure should fits the needs of, and reflect the organizational structure of the end client
  • Collaborating with the folks who will be adding content to the website
  • Where to start
  • How to do some of this, even if the people in charge of your project aren't on board

Episode 100 Designing the Web with Jeffrey Zeldman

March 18, 2015

For episode 100 of The Web Ahead, we have Jeffrey Zeldman, the Godfather of Web Standards (or Web Design, depending on who you ask), to talk about the past, present and future of making things for the web. We debate the pros and cons of everything from parallax scrolling to data mining.

In This Episode

  • How the web standards movement changed web design forever
  • What are the current web design trends? What's next?
  • What lessons have we learned as an industry, doing things in a way that turned out to be a bad idea? What anti-patterns should we be avoiding?
  • How do we create great, even innovative design for the project on which we are working, and not chase empty trends?
  • Form v. function
  • How do we keep up?
  • How does one create great web design?
  • Are we thinking carefully about the kind of world we are creating with the work we design?
  • What are the harder conversations that we should be having?
  • What's the downside, and responsibility, of big data?

Episode 99 Implementing Responsive Images with Jason Grigsby

March 10, 2015

It's time to start using responsive images on our websites. You specify multiple files in your image HTML. Browsers download the best one for a user's screen size or context. Improve image quality. Save bandwidth. Make sites load faster. Jason Grigsby joins Jen Simmons to explain all the details.

In This Episode

  • Why do we need responsive images?
  • The HTML syntax
  • <picture> or srcset?
  • Declaring responsive images by width vs. device resolution
  • What does 'width' mean in this context
  • How to handle art direction
  • What to avoid
  • How we can start using superior image compression formats like WebP and JPEG2000 — today
  • Tools for Drupal and WordPress

Episode 98 Handling Advertising with Mark Boulton

March 5, 2015

Advertising is a major business model for the web. Yet most ads arrive from a parallel universe, an industry of CPMs, ad units, and inflexible demands. As designers and developers, how can we best work with ads on the web? Mark Boulton joins Jen Simmons to explore.

In This Episode

  • The challenges of designing around advertising
  • Cyberpunk fears of where corporate spying might take us
  • How we got to where we are
  • What's changing in web advertising — and what's not

Episode 97 Archiving The Internet with Jason Scott

February 27, 2015

The Internet Archive is a treasure trove of digitized culture — films, software, audio, websites and more. How it it being collected, and how might the Internet Archive be our best hope for preserving the history of this era, as we invent the web? Jason Scott joins Jen Simmons to talk about the challenges of archiving in the digital age.

In This Episode

  • The strange collection of digital things that is the Internet Archive
  • What will it take to save website from disappearing long-term?
  • How do certain sites get saved?
  • How can companies or people better preserve our web heritage?
  • How digital files degrade faster and have a shorter shelf life than older forms of media.
  • How that affects archiving, and increases the need to preserve as much as possible, so that later, when humanity is able to determine what is important to still have, the files do exist and are accessible.

Episode 96 Reinventing the Web in Virtual Reality with Josh Carpenter and Vladimir Vukicevic

February 18, 2015

Virtual reality technology is starting to take off. VR hardware has been steadily improving. VR films are getting a lot of attention. VR games are leveling up. But so far, virtual reality systems are closed platforms, each working with the equipment and software of one company. What could a cross-platform web of Virtual Reality look like? What might web designers do with a fully-immersive web experience? There's a team at Mozilla working on WebVR. Jen Simmons talks to Josh Carpenter and Vladimir Vukicevic to find out what they are doing.

In This Episode

  • The magic of virtuality
  • What might it mean to surf as a virtual reality space?
  • How in the world might a fully immersive web work?
  • The differences between virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality
  • How the web could be a broadcasting platform for VR films
  • The current state of VR hardware
  • Experiments at Mozilla
  • Progress on a web standard for WebVR

Episode 95 Making The Web Ahead Website with Jen Simmons

February 11, 2015

After months of work, I've launched a new website for The Web Ahead, at Hear a saga of the agony, the ecstasy, the design and the build. How? Why? On what? A lot of geeking out about tech and design and some talk about future plans, too. The inimitable Jeff Eaton switches seats and interviews me, Jen Simmons, all about it.

In This Episode

  • Reasons behind creating this website
  • Jen's design process, designing in Drupal
  • Designing the audio player
  • Transcripts and Team Web Ahead
  • The server stack and deployment process
  • Figuring out branding and typography
  • Future plans for the show
  • Growing The Web Ahead into a business
  • How you can get more involved

Episode 94 Rethinking Microsoft's Browser with Rey Bango

January 30, 2015

Microsoft announced that they will be introducing a new browser, code-named Project Spartan. Windows 10 will ship with both IE and Project Spartan, but Spartan is the future. What is happening? How is it that the oldest popular browser is going to end? Rey Bango joins Jen Simmons to tell all.

In This Episode

  • What is Spartan?
  • What's the rendering engine in Spartan? How similar is it to IE?
  • What's the web standards support like?
  • Why is Microsoft changing browsers?
  • What are the priorities for Spartan?
  • Is that the name? When is it coming out?
  • It's "evergreen"? What's that mean?
  • How long will Internet Explorer stick around?

Episode 93 Parsing Design with Andy Budd

January 23, 2015

The practice of web design has evolved tremendously over the last two decades — so much so that it can be difficult to grasp where we are at. User experience design, user interface design… so many complex pieces working together. Andy Budd joins Jen Simmons to articulate his vision of the current state of web design.

In This Episode

  • How design is valued these days
  • Agency vs. in-house design
  • Design job titles — what's what?
  • What is User Experience Design vs. User Interface Design?
  • The problem of designing by cargo cult
  • The loss of community on the web
  • Options for design tools
  • The coming importance of animation

Episode 92 Making Sense of A Mess with Abby Covert

January 15, 2015

Sadly, a lot of websites are a mess. They're rife with inconsistencies, broken links, mangled meaning, confusion and frustration. How does this happen? How do we get out of these messes? Information architecture can help. Abby Covert joins Jen Simmons to explain.

In This Episode

  • What is Information Architecture?
  • How to face a mess
  • How words are weird
  • How different people think different things about the same stuff
  • The costs of living with a mess

Episode 91 Designing for Crisis with Eric Meyer

January 9, 2015

Too often, websites are designed with only the ideal user in mind — a typical person, in great health and sound mind, happy to be on your website doing a thing. In reality we humans exist in a variety of states, including panic, fear and reacting to a crisis. How could our sites be better, considering the needs of people in crisis? What are the consequences when we don't acknowledge the impact of our design decisions? Eric Meyer joins Jen Simmons to talk about his last year and a half, what he learned, and what he's thinking.

In This Episode

  • When should we think about users in crisis?
  • What are the needs of a person in crisis?
  • How Facebook and Twitter affect human relationship with their design decisions — for better or worse

Episode 90 Engineering the Front with Claudina Sarahe

December 16, 2014

Front-end development has changed a lot. What used to be simple text in files is now a deep stack of robust engineering tools. Is this a good change? What advantages do the power tools provide, and what might we be giving up in exchange? Claudina Sarahe joins Jen Simmons to debate.

In This Episode

  • The latest techniques and tools in front-end development
  • The evolution of website-making technology over 20 years
  • When is a more complex tool chain the right choice?
  • How front-end devs share open source code through such tools
  • Gulp, Grunt, Broccoli, Bower, NPM — what they do
  • Sass, Git, GitHub, GitTower, CodeKit, even Blogger… and a whole bunch of other weird words
  • Using the Command line vs. using GUI software tools
  • A discussion of how the tech industry is changing, debating ethics and money

Episode 89 Responding Responsibly with Scott Jehl

December 2, 2014

It's clear that responsive web design is the way to build a website in today's crazy world of mobile devices, but what's the best way to do so? How can you create a responsive site that's fast and snappy? Scott Jehl joins Jen Simmons to tell us about the latest in how to do RWD right.

In This Episode

  • Progressive enhancement: why, when, how
  • Making sites load quickly
  • Using inline CSS instead of external stylesheets for the sake of performance
  • Preventing jank — problems of things jumping around as the page loads
  • Building resilient websites
  • Content order in RWD (HTML source order)
  • Pros and cons of JavaScript frameworks. Which one is better?
  • How to work with folks who aren't convinced progressive enhancement is important

Episode 88 Staying Sane with Peter Ferko

October 29, 2014

This week has been declared “Geek Mental Health Week” by Andy Clarke. He asked The Web Ahead to participate, so I invited yogi Peter Ferko to join me and talk about ways to find contentment, balance and sanity in a world that can be painful or overwhelming.

In This Episode

  • How can we find contentment?
  • Options in dealing with bad times
  • A perspective on emotions
  • How to let things go
  • Ways to think about depression and anxiety
  • What can a yoga or meditation practice do?

Episode 87 Delivering Typography with Jason Pamental

October 17, 2014

Using real typefaces on the web creates amazing design opportunities. But how do you deliver web fonts while not messing up the rest of the experience? Jason Pamental joins Jen Simmons to talk about tips and tricks for optimizing web font performance.

In This Episode

  • How to make fonts load faster
  • Pros and cons of different techniques for hooking web fonts up to a site
  • How to choose fonts that will work on different operating systems
  • How to choose a font vendor
  • How to test a font
  • Improving the experience before the font loads
  • Ways to do progressive enhancement with fonts
  • Which font formats to use when

Episode 86 Componentizing the Web with Rob Dodson

October 8, 2014

Web Components are all the rage these days — a way to create the web using chunks of code that are reusable across projects. Polymer is a polyfill for using Web Components today. Rob Dodson joins Jen Simmons to explain the current landscape.

In This Episode

  • The Web Component spec
  • Making a component to reuse
  • Interoperability and encapsulation
  • How can we use this now?
  • What is Polymer?
  • Components vs. today's libraries
  • The future of Angular, Bootstrap, Foundation, and the like
  • Accessibility and performance concerns
  • How to get involved

Episode 85 Relaunching The Early Web with Dan Noyes

October 1, 2014

The web was invented at CERN 25 years ago. To mark the anniversary, the web team at CERN has been working on a number of projects, restoring the original website, recreating the first two browsers and documenting the history of the early web. Dan Noyes joins Jen Simmons to tell all about it.

In This Episode

  • CERN and the World Wide Web
  • The climate in which the web was invented
  • Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the web
  • How Dan rediscovered the first website
  • Recreating the Linemode Browser
  • Plans to recreate the WWW browser

Episode 84 Transforming the People Problem with Paul Boag

September 24, 2014

We are currently experiencing a revolution brought on by digital technology. Changing to a digital world is not just about switching tools or building a new website; we are seeing giant shifts in how businesses operate, how companies are structured, how people buy things, how humanity communicates. Those of us who make websites are deeply affected by the tension and frustration within organizations struggling to understand this revolution. Paul Boag joins Jen Simmons to give practical advice on how to help organizations make the needed transformation.

In This Episode

  • How to get an institution to make a big strategic change, even when you haven't been asked to
  • Transforming entrenched culture
  • Convincing your bosses
  • Involving stakeholders in the design process
  • Designing by agile methodology
  • Creating ownership and buy-in
  • Rethinking the role of "the web team"

Episode 83 Wrangling Typefaces with Jason Santa Maria

September 17, 2014

Typography is a powerful way to immediately communicate the tone and voice of a site. But how exactly do you create great typography? Jason Santa Maria joins Jen Simmons to talk about his approaches to designing with type.

In This Episode

  • How to design great typography
  • How to choose a typeface
  • Type on retina screens
  • Finding a high-quality font
  • What's coming next in web font technology

Episode 82 Paying on the Web with Manu Sporny

September 10, 2014

This week, Apple announced Apple Pay — a new system for making payments using iOS devices. What about the web? What work is being done to make sending payments across the web much easier? Manu Sporny joins Jen Simmons to talk about payments, banking, identity, privacy, business models, web standards and much more.

In This Episode

  • Pros and cons of Apple Pay
  • The Web Payments Community Group's vision for a payment system on the web
  • How web developers could integrate payments differently
  • How banks impact people's lives, for better or worse
  • How the web could improve and overhaul banking internationally
  • The future of Digital Identity on the web

Episode 81 Changing the Shapes with Sara Soueidan

September 2, 2014

So far, page layout on the web has predominantly consisted of a lot of boxes stacked on top of boxes — rectangular columns everywhere. That's about to change. New specifications, including CSS Shapes and CSS Exclusions, are about to change the shape of the “page.” Sara Soueidan joins Jen Simmons to explain.

In This Episode

  • Creating non-rectangular layouts
  • The CSS Shapes Level 1 specification
  • How to contribute to everyone's learning and become an internet superstar along the way
  • The CSS Exclusions specification
  • The CSS Figures specification
  • What's newly possible in page layout?
  • The debate around CSS Regions
  • Alternatives to Regions
  • The CSS Fragmentation specification
  • The CSS Shapes Level 2 specification with SVG paths

Episode 80 The Complexity and the Humanity with Trent Walton

August 26, 2014

Web projects have become very complex in the last few years, but the hardest part isn't the technology — it's the humanity. The success or failure of big projects is contingent on leadership, vision and planning. Trent Walton joins Jen Simmons to tell tales of working on the homepage and other big projects — sharing what can go right and what can go wrong. He also talks about reviving the original 1994 version of and the importance of archiving the web.

In This Episode

  • Designing the new homepage
  • Convincing stakeholders to go responsive
  • Making websites for clients 10 years ago vs. now
  • Business leadership behind successful projects
  • Recreating the original homepage

Episode 79 Advanced Git with Tobias Günther

August 18, 2014

Git is a powerful tool for helping developers collaborate, organize, and code at their best. But like anything powerful, Git can be confusing and overwhelming. Tobias Günther joins Jen Simmons to explain how to get through the pain points. They talk about branching, team workflows, remote servers, submodules, GUI tools, and more.

In This Episode

  • Tower, a Git client for Mac
  • GUI vs CLI apps
  • Branching
  • Common Git workflows
  • Getting back to a different state of your files
  • How to handle merge conflicts
  • Remote repositories
  • Deployment mechanisms using Git

Episode 78 Offline with John Allsopp

July 30, 2014

App Cache, Web Storage, IndexedDB, and others are powerful new technologies that change the nature of the web. These technologies are mature and ready-to-use, but so far, we aren't seeing them be used very much. Why? What is possible? What could change? John Allsopp joins Jen Simmons to discuss.

Episode 77 Advanced Accessibility with Derek Featherstone

July 17, 2014

What are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to making a website fully accessible? Keyboard access and form design can make some of the biggest differences, and present some of the biggest challenges. Derek Featherstone joins Jen Simmons to explain.

In This Episode

  • Keyboard accessibility
  • Making accessibility a project requirement
  • How design is impacted by accessibility concerns
  • Accessible forms
  • To hide content, or not to hide content
  • Placeholders, viewports, zooming and much more

Episode 76 The Web Behind: Videoblogging with Jay Dedman, Ryanne Hodson and Michael Verdi

July 3, 2014

Ten years ago, a small group started an email list to figure out how to put video on the web. They ended up starting a movement, posting videos, breaking through technical barriers, and inventing a new medium. Jay Dedman, Ryanne Hodson and Michael Verdi join host Jen Simmons to tell the story in another edition of The Web Behind.

In This Episode

  • How videoblogging got started
  • Who participated on the email list
  • What is was like to put video on a website in 2003
  • The people who first figured this out and why
  • Early video file formats and codec settings
  • Early collaborative video projects and games
  • Key moments that made online video take off
  • How the proliferation of video creation and distribution tools has changed society, or not
  • The need to archive this history

Episode 75 Creative Direction with Andy Clarke

June 26, 2014

Has how we approach web design become too formulaic and rote? Are we missing the opportunity to truly communicate a site's purpose and meaning? What about web design have we lost, or maybe haven't yet found? How can we understand our work as designers when even words about our work fail us?

Episode 74 HTML Semantics with Bruce Lawson

June 18, 2014

HTML5 brought more semantic elements to HTML. How's that going? Why should developers use semantic HTML? Bruce Lawson joins Jen Simmons to discuss HTML, semantics, accessibility, ARIA roles, microformats, microdata, RDFa, web components and more.

Episode 73 DRM with Jeremy Keith and Doug Schepers

June 13, 2014

DRM has been long touted as the solution to piracy. Recently, a few browser makers and big media companies have pushed DRM technology into the web browser — while open web advocates have fought to prevent DRM on the web. What is DRM? Why and how are companies putting it into web browsers? And what solutions would be better? Jeremy Keith and Doug Schepers join Jen Simmons to debate DRM on the web.

Episode 72 Style Guides with Anna Debenham

June 5, 2014

Style guides, once the exclusive domain of print designers, are finding their way onto the web. Built out of HTML and CSS, such style guides are handy tools for the design process, for maintaining sites over time, and for making collaboration across teams much easier. Anna Debenham joins Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 71 Web Design Education with Leslie Jensen-Inman

May 13, 2014

What is the state of formal education for web design, and what might be coming in the future? Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman joins Jen Simmons to talk about her research, what's she's found, and the school she's starting with Jared Spool.

Episode 70 Data Visualization with Scott Murray

May 6, 2014

We are collecting more data now than ever, and freely sharing some datasets on the open web. Web technology provides the power for us to present complex data interactively. How can you go about a data visualization project? What tools are available? Scott Murray joins Jen Simmons to explore the possibilities of data visualization.

Episode 69 WCAG and Accessibility with Luke McGrath

May 1, 2014

Walk through the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 with Luke McGrath and Jen Simmons.

Episode 68 Customer Experience with Michael Verdi

April 24, 2014

A revamped version of Firefox is coming, with a tour of what's new. Created by Michael Verdi & team, this tour is a case study in customer experience. What is Customer Experience design and how can it help your projects?

Episode 67 SVG with Doug Schepers

April 17, 2014

SVG is one of several image formats for the web — one that has superpowers that the others don't. When would you want to use SVG & what can you do with it? Doug Schepers joins Jen Simmons to tell all.

Episode 66 Web Components with Peter Gasston

April 9, 2014

Web Components seem to be taking the JavaScript community by storm. The three parts of this technology give developers a chance to define their own HTML elements, adjust the defaults, and share with others. Learn about it all from Peter Gasston as he joins Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 65 The Future of the Web Stack with Simon St. Laurent

April 3, 2014

Now that the web has new superpowers in the form of HTML & Javscript APIs, many engineers are rushing to the web, excited to use modern programming tools on the web platform. It seems there might be an emerging trend, however, to not understand or respect the web for its strengthens, and to toss out years of known best practices in the rush. Simon St. Laurent joins Jen Simmons to ask, what is going on?

Episode 64 Accessibility with Dale Cruse

March 26, 2014

What's the deal with accessibility and why should we care? How do we make our websites accessible? Dale Cruse joins Jen Simmons to discuss what it takes to make a website for everyone.

Episode 63 The Latest in CSS with Chris Coyier

March 20, 2014

What's new in CSS? Chris Coyier joins Jen Simmons to talk about flexbox, grids, regions, shapes, and the future of layout on the web.

Episode 62 Waterfall vs Agile with Kristin Ellington

March 13, 2014

Is the web industry moving away from waterfall projects and towards an agile-ish approach? Funny Garbage COO Kristin Ellington joins Jen Simmons to discuss how she structures client projects these days, and why waterfall isn't working anymore.

Episode 61 Making Your Stuff Make Sense with Jeff Eaton

March 5, 2014

Architecting how content is structured, collected, and presented are three distinct aspects of designing a web project. Jeff Eaton joins Jen Simmons to talk about how to think through it all.

Episode 60 Web Annotations with Doug Schepers

February 27, 2014

People have been having conversations on the web since the moment the web was born. Comments, forums, linking, and more have provide ways for people to hold a back-and-forth discussion. But is that enough? There's a movement to create an annotation system for the web, one that might end up as a new web standard & feature in every browser. Learn what annotations on the web would mean with guest Doug Schepers.

Episode 59 Web RTC with Henrik Joreteg

November 1, 2013

Web RTC brings real-time communication to the web — peer-to-peer connections that can transfer data, video and audio between web users almost instantaneously. Henrik Joreteg joins Jen Simmons to explain how it works and what it means.

Episode 58 CSS Innovation with Lea Verou

October 22, 2013

Lea Verou joins Jen Simmons to talk about CSS, and tell us all about things we can do with CSS today that you might not know about already. Lea also tells us a bit about her adventure recreating the Line-mode browser at CERN.

Episode 57 Content Structure with Steve Fisher

October 15, 2013

Web designer Steve Fisher joins Jen Simmons to talk about designing content structure, and his process for working with clients to best define the essence of a site's message.

Episode 56 The Nature of the Web with Jeremy Keith

September 16, 2013

Wonder-developer Jeremy Keith joins Jen Simmons to debate comments on websites, the birth of the web, progressive enhancement, the desire for control, and much more.

Episode 55 Design Research with Erika Hall

September 4, 2013

What is design research, why is it valuable, and how can you work research into the planning of your project? Erika Hall, author of the new A Book Apart book Just Enough Research, joins Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 54 Jekyll and CMS-less websites with Young Hahn and Dave Cole

June 27, 2013

After many years of using Content Management Systems that store content in a database, there's a movement to store content in files instead. Jekyll and other tools, including GitHub, are springing up to create a new ecosystem of file-based tools. Young Hahn and Dave Cole join Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 53 CSS Animations with Val Head

June 15, 2013

CSS has three powerful specifications that can be used to animate things on the page: CSS Transitions, Transforms, and Animations. Designer and author Val Head joins Jen Simmons to explain how they work.

Episode 52 eBooks with NellieMcKesson

April 24, 2013

Electronic book formats are changing. EPUB3 and HTML5 are providing tools to create new forms of books, with richer experiences. Nellie McKesson joins Jen Simmons to explain where digital books have been, and where they are going.

Episode 51 Rendering Engines, Vendor Prefixes & Chrome Blink

April 11, 2013

Chrome recently announced they will replacing the webkit rendering engine with a new one, named Blink. What's up with that? To find out, Chris Wilson and Paul Irish join Jen Simmons to explain rendering engines and vendor prefixes.

Episode 50 Web Platform Docs with Peter Lubbers and Scott Rowe

March 6, 2013

After years of many independent sites documenting and teaching web development, the W3C and a consortium of browser makers and companies have come together to create a central resource for information about web technologies — Web Platform Docs. Peter Lubbers and Scott Rowe join Jen Simmons to talk about the project.

Episode 49 CSS Layouts with Rachel Andrew

February 27, 2013

Page layout on the web has been constrained for many years by the available technologies. But new technologies that are coming in CSS3 — flexbox, grid layout, regions, and more — promise for an interesting future. Rachel Andrew joins Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 48 The Web Behind with Danny Sullivan

February 15, 2013

Danny Sullivan joins Eric Meyer and Jen Simmons for the latest episode in The Web Behind series. Danny reminisces about the early days of web search, directories versus crawlers, the panoply of search engines in the mid-1990s, page counts as serious bragging rights, the brief period when there were search engines that only searched other search engines, the verbing of “Google,” and more.

Episode 47 The Web Behind with Jen Robbins

January 15, 2013

Jen Robbins joins Eric Meyer and Jen Simmons for another episode in The Web Behind series. They talk about the early days of web design, O'Reilly, GNN, wrestling with technology and more.

Episode 46 The Web Behind with Tantek Çelik

December 20, 2012

Tantek Çelik joins Eric Meyer and Jen Simmons for another episode in The Web Behind series. They talk about OpenDoc, Internet Explorer 5 for Mac, doctype switching, semantic data formats, and much more.

Episode 45 Web Design with Andy Clarke

December 7, 2012

Designer, speaker and author Andy Clarke joins Jen Simmons to talk about the process of web design. Andy starts with a rant about online criticism, and goes on to talk about techniques, tools and more.

Episode 44 The Web Behind with Tom Bruce

November 28, 2012

Tom Bruce joins Eric Meyer and Jen Simmons to talk about the very earliest days of the web, writing the first Windows web browser, inventing 'marquee', and taking a road trip to NCSA with Tim Berners-Lee.

Episode 43 The Web Behind with Chris Wilson

November 15, 2012

Chris Wilson joins Eric Meyer and Jen Simmons to talk about the origins of the Mosaic Browser and his work on Internet Explorer 3 and 4.

Episode 42 Internet Explorer 10 with Rey Bango

November 8, 2012

Internet Explorer 10 is out. What's new with one of the most popular browsers? How is the support for HTML5, CSS3, and new Javascript APIs? What do people who create the web need to know?

Episode 41 The Web Behind with Molly Holzschlag

November 2, 2012

Molly Holzschlag has been working on the web from the very beginning of its invention. She joins Eric Meyer and Jen Simmons to talk about those days, and what it was like to be online in the time of BBSes, Gopher, and the text-only web. They discuss accessibility, the blink tag, the Web Standard Project, how Microsoft started embracing web standards and much more.

Episode 40 Git with John Albin Wilkins

October 26, 2012

The Git version control system has become incredibly popular, with many people using it to collaborate on shared projects. John Albin Wilkins joins Jen Simmons to explain what Git is, how it works and how to use it.

Episode 39 The Web Behind with Dave Shea

October 17, 2012

Dave Shea joins Eric Meyer and Jen Simmons for the third episode of in The Web Behind series. They talk about the CSS Zen Garden, a website Dave created in 2003 which showed the world how radically-different designs could be with just CSS. Dave also reflects on the origins and lasting effects of the CSS Sprites technique he introduced to the world, and reminisces about the web design community of a decade ago.

Episode 38 Game Console Browsers with Anna Debenham

October 9, 2012

People are accessing the web from all kinds of devices these days, and will be from many more in the future. Anna Debenham joins Jen Simmons to talk about game consoles, both portable games and consoles that go with a television set, and the browsers they run. How might you want to adjust your website to work on these devices?

Episode 37 The Web Behind with Steven Champeon

October 4, 2012

In this second episode of The Web Behind series with Eric Meyer, guest Steven Champeon talks about predecessors to HTML, the webdesign-L online community, the birth of the web standards project, how he coined the term "progressive enhancement" and much more.

Episode 36 Sass with Scott Kellum

September 26, 2012

CSS preprocessors are becoming very popular very quickly. Many front-end developers are finding them invaluable for coding increasingly-complex sites. Scott Kellum joins Jen Simmons to talk about Sass and Compass, what they offer, how to get started, and why you might want to consider adding such tools to your workflow.

Episode 35 The Web Behind with John Allsopp

September 21, 2012

John Allsopp joins Eric Meyer and Jen Simmons for this first episode in our “web behind” series — a look back at where the web came from and the people who created it. They talk about early web design tools, community groups that shaped the web, thinkers from the mid-20th century who shaped ideas about hypertext, and much more.

Episode 34 The Web Behind

September 11, 2012

A special announcement from Jen Simmons and Eric Meyer.

Episode 33 Back to Basics with Jen Robbins

September 6, 2012

The web at its basics is HTML and CSS. If you want to learn these fundamentals, where do you start? Jen Robbins joins Jen Simmons to lay out a road map.

Episode 32 Web Audio with Chris Wilson

August 28, 2012

The ability to manipulate audio in complex ways as part of the web page itself is yet another piece of the puzzle for using HTML + JavaScript to create complex experiences. Chris Wilson joins Jen Simmons to explain the Web Audio API and what it can do.

Episode 31 Canvas with Rob Hawkes

August 21, 2012

HTML5 Canvas opens up a whole new world of opportunity of what a website can be. Rob Hawkes joins Jen Simmons to explain what's possible using the Canvas element and it's JavaScript API.

Episode 30 Typography with Richard Rutter

August 14, 2012

Web typography has taken off in the last few years. What is possible now? How do we create beautiful and functional type on the web? Richard Rutter joins Jen Simmons to explain.

Episode 29 Smart Responsive Web Design Implementation with Scott Jehl

August 7, 2012

Responsive web design creates a new set of development demands. How should we best implement complex sites to load quickly and meet the needs of a wide range of devices? Scott Jehl joins Jen Simmons to talk about the South Street toolset and other Filament Group discoveries of best practices.

Episode 28 Design Process with Samantha Warren

August 3, 2012

Big changes in web technology are forcing us all to look at what many have been saying for a while — the web design workflow that was enshrined over the last decade really doesn't work. The creator of Style Tiles, Samantha Warren, joins Jen Simmons to talk about workflows, design processes, and how new ideas about our tools can help us all better design websites for the modern age.

Episode 27 Content with Kristina Halvorson

July 27, 2012

How do we get good content on the web? Kristina Halvorson joins Jen Simmons to talk about the discipline of content strategy, where it came from and where it's going. We also get into fear and life and how to make change in an environment that needs it.

Episode 26 Servers with Josh Koenig

July 20, 2012

What is going on with the infrastructure that runs the web? Server stacks have changed a lot in the past 20 years. Josh Keonig joins Jen Simmons to talk about what's happening with cloud infrastructures and hosting options over the years.

Episode 25 Responsive Images with Mat Marquis

July 4, 2012

What's the best way to handle responsive images? There's been a lot of discussion flying around over the last many months, big debates and fast changes… where have we landed? What's coming in the future? Responsive Images Community Group chair Mat Marquis joins Jen Simmons to sort it all out.

Episode 24 Jobs the Web Does with Horace Dediu

June 26, 2012

How can we understand the business of the web? Horace Dediu joins Jen to talk about the web through the lens of disruption theory, discussing innovation and jobs to be done. Along the way we get into advertisement on the web, and the old website vs native app debate.

Episode 23 Maps with Alex Barth

June 22, 2012

Alex Barth joins Jen Simmons to talk about maps. What is happening with the new Apple Maps? What options for web developers and app developers are there beyond Google Maps? Where can people get map data and what tools are needed to implement maps?

Episode 22 TVs with Jason Grigsby

June 13, 2012

What does the news from this week's Apple keynote mean for the future of the web? There was no TV announcement, but what is the state of internet-enabled TVs? What can web designers and developers be doing today to support the coming TVs.

Episode 21 Process & Tools with Paul Irish

March 23, 2012

Front-end developer extraordinaire Paul Irish joins Jen Simmons to discuss work process, tools and best-practices.

Episode 20 Content Everywhere with Lyza Gardner

March 16, 2012

Author, speaker and developer Lyza Danger Gardner joins Jen Simmons to talk about how CMSes provide — or fail to provide — a platform for publishing content everywhere. How can we design & build a website that will publish everywhere and last long term?

Episode 19 Internet in Your Pocket with Luke Wroblewski

March 8, 2012

Luke Wroblewski joins Jen Simmons to talk about mobile, mobile first, mobile web — but what is mobile really anyway? How is it that these devices are changing our lives?

Episode 18 CSS with Eric Meyer

March 2, 2012

CSS is central to the web. What happening with it these days? Author and expert Eric Meyer joins Jen Simmons to talk about the past, present and future of Cascading Style Sheets.

Episode 17 Mobile Devices with Peter-Paul Koch

February 24, 2012

Mobile device researcher and expert PPK joins Jen Simmons to explain the mobile device landscape. What will we do trying to make websites for all these phones?

Episode 16 Mobile Capabilities with Jason Grigsby

February 15, 2012

What can we learn from the capabilities of mobile phones to change the web as we know it? How are we in a rut when it comes to thinking about the web, because we are coming from the desktop? Mobile web strategist and author Jason Grigsby joins Jen Simmons to discuss mobile phones on the web, old design patterns, new possibilities and more, including site performance and web television.

Episode 15 Browser Support and Polyfills with Divya Manian

February 1, 2012

When is it safe to implement all this cool new technology on your web project? Divya Manian joins Jen Simmons to talk about progressive enhancement, polyfills, collaboration, tools for developers, and the evolution of web browsers.

Episode 14 File API with Arun Ranganathan

January 18, 2012

File API spec maintainer Arun Ranganthan joins Jen Simmons to explain what new file handling capabilities will be coming to browsers soon. They also talk about the Drag & Drop API, open standards, and how the sausage gets made.

Episode 13 Education with Dan Benjamin

January 12, 2012

Dan Benjamin joins Jen Simmons to talk about how to keep up with the changing technologies of the web. Where do we learn?

Episode 12 Video with Michael Verdi

December 20, 2011

An all-you-can eat historical and technical look at web video. What's up with HTML5 and these competing codecs? How can you use video today? Where are things going in the future? Videoblog innovator Michael Verdi joins host Jen Simmons for a double-length show on video video video.

Episode 11 Touch with Josh Clark

December 13, 2011

How best to design for a touch screen? How are interfaces changing with the multitude of devices at our touch? Author, speaker, consultant and expert Josh Clark explains his insights into touch design.

Episode 10 Human Connection with Aarron Walter

December 9, 2011

How can you design something meaningful? Something that provides delight and connects people? Designer Aarron Walter joins Jen to talk about designing for emotion, what makes a great team, what it's like to get constant critical feedback, and more.

Episode 9 Grids with Mark Boulton

November 30, 2011

All about grid systems for the web — why and how. What makes a grid great? How do you create your own? What about responsive web design? Expert Mark Boulton explains.

Episode 8 iOS Design with Sarah Parmenter

November 23, 2011

Sarah Parmenter joins to talk about iOS design, web design, tools for design and more.

Episode 7 Mobile with Jonathan Stark

November 15, 2011

Jonathan Stark joins Jen Simmons to talk about web apps vs. native apps, when to use which mobile technology, how to plan a good mobile experience, touch events, and more.

Episode 6 Web Strategy with Karen McGrane

October 19, 2011

Karen McGrane talks about planning systems of flexible web content that can be used in a variety of places. And about the need for better content entry workflows.

Episode 5 Web Socket with Peter Lubbers

October 12, 2011

Peter joins Jen again to talk about the magic of Web Socket, and about SPDY & the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Episode 4 Fair Use & Copyright with Pat Aufderheide

October 7, 2011

Fair Use expert Pat Aufderheide joins Jen Simmons to explain when you can use other people's copyrighted material in your work.

Episode 3 Everything Web with Jeremy Keith

September 28, 2011

Jeremy Keith joins Jen to talk about Mobilewood, future-friendlying websites, responsive design techniques, digital preservation, HTML5 semantics, Firefox 7, and much more.

Episode 2 Responsive Web with Ethan Marcotte

September 19, 2011

Ethan Marcotte joins Jen Simmons for a conversation about responsive web design, tools, the process of designing a web site, mobile first, what the future may hold and more.

Episode 1 HTML5 with Peter Lubbers

September 12, 2011

HTML5 expert Peter Lubbers joins Jen Simmons on the inaugural episode of The Web Ahead to talk about what the heck HTML5, web apps, local storage, offline caching, and web databases are.