DonnaM » Web standards

Web standards

Website user experience & CSS workshop

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I’m very excited to announce that I’m teaching a new workshop with Russ Weakley. It’s called “Website user experience & CSS workshop: Designing for usability, building for the future“. It will be run in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, in late March and April.
I’m teaching the day on user experience, and Russ is teaching on CSS, which is lucky for you as I’m pretty good at ux and Russ is awesomely good at teaching CSS.

I’m really looking forward to it – I’ve wanted to go to one of Russ’ tutorials for a couple of years. And I love teaching user experience design for the web – I’ve spent a lot of time doing it, and a lot of time thinking about what I’ve learned and how to best share it.

I hope to see you, or your colleagues, there. Please pass details on to anyone you think may benefit.

Workshop description

A hands-on workshop with user experience expert, Donna Maurer, and CSS
expert, Russ Weakley.

Over two full days you will build detailed websites layouts from the ground up – starting with page layout, navigation and form design; and ending with clean markup and elegant styling using XHTML/CSS.

Day 1: Planning and designing the user experience – Donna Maurer

On day one you will plan and design a website – focusing on the user experience: designing the navigation, page layout and forms.

You will:

  • learn techniques to understand your users, and prepare user scenarios
  • understand your content with content analysis methods
  • create an effective and usable site structure (information architecture)
  • design a range of navigation methods
  • create page layouts for content, home, index and special pages
  • design simple forms

For each step, Donna will outline the fundamentals and show examples from small and large website projects. But most of the time will be hands-on -you work on your own project, ask questions and discuss with the group.

Day 2: Building beautiful sites using CSS – Russ Weakley

On day two you will build your website from the ground up – starting with structural markup, adding accessible markup and then styling your layout using CSS.

You will learn:

  • how to create well structured, accessible markup
  • the basics of CSS including rule sets, selectors, shorthand rules, inheritance and the cascade.
  • how to structure efficient CSS files
  • how to create a full CSS layout from a flat graphic mockup
  • how to deal with browser issues including specific browsers such as IE5,IE6 and IE7.
  • how to create a resolution dependent layout
  • how to create CSS for printing and hand held devices


Canberra – Monday 31 March and Tuesday 1 April

Melbourne – Thursday 3 April and Friday 4 April

Sydney – Monday 28 April and Tuesday 29 April

Brisbane – Thursday 1 May and Friday 2 May


More information and registration here:

Andy Clarke is an information architect

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Who knew? I always thought Andy Clarke was a great visual designer and CSS dude. But what I didn’t know was that he’s a closet information architect.

I attended his workshop today at Web Directions. In this, and in his book (Transcending CSS), he spent a big chunk of time talking about meaning and structure – about identifying meaningful content chunks, using semantic naming for pieces of content and using microformats to make small pieces of content more usable.

I know this isn’t usually considered to be information architecture, but I personally think it is. What is more IA than analysing content, finding meaning and creating macro and micro-structures? That sounds like IA to me.

Andy talked about the idea that ‘designers’ should be involved in the development (or at least planning) of code structures. I think this is a perfect place for IA folks to also be involved (if they are involved in a project) – to best figure out how detailed content chunks can be used. But I don’t think this is only an IA role – it is important that everyone thinks at the broad level of communication design and the detailed level of communication execution.

And it was a fantastic workshop, wonderfully supported by The Jam & Paul Weller.

10 questions for me

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Ten questions for Donna Maurer

In which I talk about why I love IA, why I hate usability, the importance of thinking, some sage advice and a book plug.

Webstock presentations are available

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

My presentations from Webstock are ready, in as many formats as you can hope for (audio, streaming audio, video, streaming video).

I haven’t watched or listened to them yet, but will do so in the next day or two and will let you know whether they make sense to listen to, or whether you need to watch the video or go through the slides while listening. The second one (usability for rich internet applications) will certainly be something you need to see, not listen to (and I don’t think the hilarious bits will make any sense without seeing it).

Web patterns & web semantics

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

John Allsop, over on ‘dog or higher‘ has written a great article about web patterns and web semantics.

His article goes beyond just looking at patterns for web design, and recognises that not only do we have a set of stuff we could emerge into patterns, but the strength may be in making it also semantically meaningful (maybe he doesn’t say that, might be my interpretation.

Anyway, I think it is interesting, and he is going to be following it up with a community project, site etc. Go read it: WebPatterns and WebSemantics.

Canberra WSG – Inaugural meeting (and I’m speaking)

Friday, October 21st, 2005

The first Canberra Web Standards Group meeting will be held on Friday 11 November between 4-6pm.

There are two fabulous speakers ;)

  • Dean Jackson from the W3C will be talking about the WC3 and its role and relevance today.
  • I will be talking about designing usable rich internet applications (using technologies like AJAX).

Where: National Library of Australia
Venue: Training Room AB
When: Friday 11 November
Time: 4-6pm
Cost: Free