Contingency Design

Contingency design refers to the design and implementation of features that serve to help a user along when things go wrong with the application or website they are using. A very basic example would be a well thought out error page. Some more ideas and examples are discussed in the articles below.

Pulling in 3rd party data to your website? Be sure to shield yourself from 3rd party problems.

This post comes a bit late in the whole web 2.0 cycle. I feel that it bears repeating because I have come across sites that don't follow some basic principles when pulling in 3rd party data from sites such as flickr, twitter et. al. APIs and data portability The blessing of popular and easy to... Read more »

Amazon throws user satisfaction out the window?

Note: Some bits edited and added a few hours after posting, mostly things I mention in the comments below. The time/volume limited sale I buy a lot of stuff online, from plane tickets to books to electronics and gifts for friends back home. While I tend to have a happy experience for the most part... Read more »

Your Mail May or May Not Have Gotten Through, or, Defensive Communication

The situation You blog. People find your blog interesting, you get traffic. You get comment spam, you get e-mail spam. You run spam filters to keep your inbox clean. You've become popular amongst your peers. They send you e-mail. Maybe they hear back from you, maybe they don't. Your peers are... Read more »

A little 404 Error Document Magic

While monkeying around with an error document for a clients site, I accidentally discovered a neat solution to a problem we were having. While rather specific to the situation, I thought I'd post it up here as maybe someone could extend it in other directions, or maybe there are other ways to solve... Read more »

Caching: Work the Server and Client Side, and Everyone Benefits

The progression The beginning When I first started designing sites, they were static, table based brochure sites consisting of 'not-very-many' pages. These sites tended to cache quite well on the client side once downloaded, and as such, client-side caching was never a problem. As time past... Read more »

Users, Contingency Design, Clients etc...

Keith over at Asterisk, and Jason at 37signals, both recently posted about their efforts at trying to get stuff done on the web. While Jason outlines an example of good contingency design, Keith provides what amounts to a list of things that we should keep in mind when designing sites. In his list,... Read more »

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The latest from my personal website,

SiteUptime Web Site Monitoring Service

Sitepoint's web devlopment books have helped me out on many occasions both for finding a quick solution to a problem but also to level out my knowlegde in weaker areas (JavaScript, I'm looking at you!). I am recommending the following titles from my bookshelf:

The Principles Of Successful Freelancing

I started freelancing by diving in head first and getting on with it. Many years and a lot of experience later I was still able to take away some gems from this book, and there are plenty I wish I had thought of beforehand. If you are new to freelancing and have a lot of questions (or maybe don't know what questions to ask!) do yourself a favor and at least check out the sample chapters.

The Art & Science Of JavaScript

The author line-up for this book says it all. 7 excellent developers show you how to get your JavaScript coding up to speed with 7 chapters of great theory, code and examples. Metaprogramming with JavaScript (chapter 5 from Dan Webb) really helped me iron out some things I was missing about JavaScript. That said each chapter really helped me to develop my JavaScript skills beyond simple Ajax calls and html insertion with libs like JQuery.

The PHP Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Like the other books listed here, this provides a great reference for the PHP developer looking to have the right answers from the right people at their fingertips. I tend to pull this off the shelf when I need to delve into new territory and usually find a workable solution to keep development moving. This only needs to happen once and you recoup the price of the book in time saved from having to develop the solution or find the right pattern for getting the job done..