Tag Archives: Web


Standard Web Standards will be on an indefinite hiatus starting today. I’ve mentioned in another blog of mine that I plan to focus on new and different things this 2010 and writing actively in this blog is one of the things I plan to do less of.

I believe that the Web Standards war has been won already. The war I’m referring to is the adoption of proper technologies on the presentation and markup of web pages. I’m convinced that web professionals today see proper XHTML & HTML is a must and designing websites with CSS is now the norm. A few years back, it was a huge plus to design along those lines; now it’s the way things are. While this blog ventured into User Experience, Usability, and Internet Matketing themes more, the lessening content about web standards is perhaps an indicator that the Web Standards war is all but over.

With an admission that the Web Standards war of the last decade is finished, I believe that this blog has accomplished its major mission– I’d like to believe that this blog has been made a little dent in changing web designers’ minds about web standards.

What’s next for me? I plan consolidating my blogging activity this year. My areas of focus are Screensucked (my movie reviews blog) and Big Lakers Fan. If you notice, I’m putting my attention on lighter topics and entertainment, which I find extremely easy to write for. My writing about the web will now be moved to  BloggingPro (which covers blogging topics) for the time being.

My other area of focus will be my community and evangelism work. Since I’m the Mozilla Philippines Community Leader, expect more updates on that site, especially about Mozilla’s work on open web standards. If you ask me, most of the web standards stuff will be appearing there. I also started to be the Twitter person of the Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO). :)

On the usability and user experience front, I’m doing a lot if it right now that writing about it may be fatiguing. I may come up with a site on this exclusively in the future. :)

I owe a lot to this blog that I can’t find it in me to shut it down completely. Who knows? When the next web standards crisis arises, this blog will make a comeback. šŸ˜€

Friendster Revamps: Now What?

Friendster just launched a new look and feel that makes it look more like a site that belongs to the new decade. But is it enough?

Friendster’s steady decline decline and getting leapfrogged by competitors MySpace and Facebook are well-documented and this latest move can be seen as a way to increase its value since there are talks that Friendster is about to be acquired by an Asian firm.

Now, what about the redesign?

The new design sports a 3-column template, changed from a 2-column design. From my perspective, this decision was sparked by better advertisement placement. The new design is able to place a large rectangle ad in a more prominent position in the right-side column. This change seems to be a nod to Facebook’s 3-column layout.

Another thing worth noting is the addition of the “Activity Stream,” or the list of updates presented in reverse chronological order. This feature is quite common in major social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) but it feels more like the one in Multiply.

Visiting the other sections of the site, there’s little departure from the original design as the photos, friends, and profile areas looks very much alike the old design. The addition  of an expanded games section may be hint to where Friendster is going.

As the grand-daddy of social networking sites, Friendster is trying to play catch up with Facebook in terms of the look & feel and features. But given Friendster’s prominence is South East Asia, it remains to be seen how the folks from the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia would react to the redesign.

3 Ways to Improve Your Web Usability Mojo

In cult favorite films like Rocky or The Karate Kid, the hero underwent a training regimen that improved their skills that enabled them to succeed. (Well, Rocky in the first film lost). But thank goodness that it doesn’t take a massive training like that to improve your knowledge on web usability.

Web designers and developers can do three simple steps to improve their working usability skills:

  1. Know Your Users – This step puts almost everything into context. By using any available method to elicit feedback from the target users, you can have a better what they really need to do effectively on the website.
  2. Design For the Users – Upon having a better idea what the users need,  the next step is to make it more easy for them to complete their tasks. Let’s take an online store for example: Place critical links in easier to access areas and make prioritized buttons like checkout or emptying the cart more conspicuous.
  3. Test! – A wise man said that simple testing beats zero testing any day, so try to test your design. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate lab set-up, but having an open mind get weird and unexpected from a user helps.

By doing those the simple things, your web usability will definitely be better. How much better? Well, that’s up to you. :)

My Y4IT 2009 Talk: Web Usability & User Experience Design

As I said in my previous post, I was invited to speak at the 2009 Y4IT Conference held at the University of the Philippines – Diliman in Quezon City and my talk was held yesterday.

Although it was my third year in a row to speak, it was my first time at the big stage. My talk, “Web Usability & User Experience Design,” was held at the University of the Philippines Theater and that capacity of that venue, by my estimate, is 3,000. Last year, I was at the UP Film Institute’s Cine Adarna, a place with at least 1,000 seating capacity. But regardless of the venue, both places were crowded and extra seats had to be provided to accommodate all the attendees.

As far as my talk went, it was pretty OK. I didn’t get nervous since there as an intermission my Pinoy Dream Academy finalist Liezel Garcia before I went on stage. The energy of the crown was pretty positive as I started. And this was helpful as I wasn’t feeling 100% at that time.

One thing I learned in presenting to large audiences is that the start has to be great. And with a crowd that was at least 3,000, I knew my start had to be better than great.

So I started to loosen up on stage and addressed the audience very casually (the attendees were primarily college students in their junior and senior years). Interestingly, I started off by telling the crowd that my talk was about, gasp, love.  Anyways, I got their attention and proceeded to transition to the meat of my talk: web usability and user experience design.

The most frustrating part about my talk was that when I asked the audience who did web projects in school, a very small, and I mean small, amount raised their hands. I could only see the negative in this. Either a) the audience wasn’t listening to me, or b) Information Technology students in the Philippines today are NOT into doing any web design or development. If the reason was the first, it meant I failed to do the necessary research about the audience and if it was the second, it meant that the future of web design in the Philippines doesn’t look good.

I also got feedback from a blogger who was part of the audience that the slide deck in Powerpoint that I used was great. (Although he was not convinced the audience was ready for my talk). But in anycase, any type of feedback is welcome. :)

Over-all, the experience of speaking before 3,000 people about usability was a blast. I hope the audience learned a thing or two about web usability and user experience design and I get to do this again next year. šŸ˜€

Speaking at the 2009 Y4IT Conference

I’ll be speaking again at the Philippine Youth Congress in Information Technology (aka the Y4IT Conference). I’ve had talks in Y4IT 2007 and Y4IT 2008, and for the 2009 edition, I’m going back to basics.

The themes of my last two talks were about Web 2.0 (Social media, user generated content) and I figured either I take the notch up or blaze a new trail and I chose the latter. Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about Web Usability and User Experience Design– two topics that I know pretty well and topics that are closer to my heart.

To be honest, I avoided talking about usability in the last two years because I felt I wanted to stretch my wings a bit, but now I feel that I need to remind the young IT college students again about the value of web usability.

So, for everyone who’ll be attending the Y4IT Conference tomorrow, expect the same nice talk from me on a very interesting topic. :)

This year’s Y4IT conference is full of very interesting topics and catchy titles and here are some that caught my eye:

  • Developing Web Toys - Mr. Luis Buenaventura II
  • Marketing Through Social Networks - Mr. J. Angelo Racoma
  • IT in the Early Grades- Ms. Sabrina Par
  • The 7 Habits of an Effective Developer - Mr. Chuk Munn Lee
  • The Next 5 in 5: Predicting Innovations  - Mr. Lope Doromal, Jr.
  • Love in Cyberspace - Prof. Cherrie Joy Billedo
  • Creating Dynamic Web Application Using ASP.NET 3.5 - Ms. Alezandra Nicolas
  • Democratizing Innovation Using the Web - Mr. Mark Ruiz
  • Empathic Computing: Innovations and Challenges – Dr. Merlin Teodosia Suarez
  • Innovation on the Web -Mr. Jay Trinidad
  • Internet Romance - Mr. Jayvee Fernandez
  • To Tumble, to Twitt; to Twitt: Perchance to Plurk: Ay, There’s the Rub - Mr. Juned Sonido

I Will Mark You as Spam

This blog has been getting a lot of spam lately, so I’ve been putting the clamps on the virtually all comments. However, what problem that has risen is that I’ve risked tagging the real comments as spam.

Last month, I’ve mentioned that identity theft in blog comments have infested by blog and it has been a losing battle. What I did was to loosen the comment moderation, but the identity theft still persisted. šŸ˜” I guess people are trying to abuse the Top Commentors plugin I’ve installed in the past but I’ve now disabled. (Heck, is that plugin even still supported?)

After much consideration, I’m giving the border-line spammy comments the benefit of the doubt but outright labeling the comments that steal the identities of the other commenters. The reason I’m really miffed by this is that a good portion of the folks who posted comments here prior to the spam comments a re people I personally know.

So, to all those who will be trying to post comments as someone else, I will mark you as spam, as simple as that.

How NOT to Run an Online Store

I’ve been on the look-out for a nice wireless presenter for the last few weeks since I’m having several talks and classes in the coming month. I shopped online for my brand of choice (a Logitech Cordless Presenter), and I looked at several options online.

My search for the wireless presenter brought me to known sites like eBay, Amazon, and even Alibaba.com. I would have finished my quest for the wireless presenter earlier had a) the shipping costs were not more than the item cost, and b) the online retailers were shipping to the Philippines. (Argh!)

After weighing the relevant costs and my urgency to get the item, I decided to buy from a local retailer. So I looked at a few online stores and found that PC Express, one of the big PC retailers in the Philippines, carried the Logitech Cordless Presenter. I was quite happy when I saw that they had a stock of the presenter in their online store, so I proceeded to put it in my online shopping cart.

However, my fortunes took a bad turn after I clicked the “Add to Cart” button:


WTH?!? This is the reason my eCommerce hasn’t hit mainstream in the Philippines– the retailers themselves can’t get it right. šŸ˜”