15 CSS Properties You Probably Never Use (but perhaps should)

On seomoz, Matthew Inman points to 15 rarely used CSS properties, and why you might want to be aware of if you don’t already use them. I have to admit to only using a handful of these, and not with any regularity.

  1. clip
  2. visibility
  3. text-shadow
  4. content
  6. counter-reset and counter-increment
  7. marks
  8. page-break-before and page-break-after
  9. orphans and widows
  10. font-size-adjust
  11. font-stretch
  12. font-variant
  13. caption-side
  14. table-layout
  15. empty-cells


Commercial graphic design is not self-expression

Chuck Green offers some advice to designers who see a lot of uniformity in look and feel or sameness of style in their graphic design projects. His point is that design is not artistic expression and that designers need to be able to focus their work on solving problems rather than merely layering their point of view and style over their solution. He argues that the ability to devise different approaches to different problems is difficult, but that designers should attempt this while keeping their opinions at bay.


User Interface Implementations of Faceted Browsing

Mike Padilla offers up a description of facets and their use on web sites for browsing and filtering. He defines the types of interactions or behaviors that are typically found on sites with faceted browsing, describes what happens in terms of the system when you apply filters, and shows some examples of faceted browsing in use on sites including my favorite, Nike.com.


nForm UX Trading Cards

nForm’s user experience cards describe UX tools, methods, and approaches. These are illustrated descriptions of what the term is and why you would use it. The trading card metaphor just means that they the descriptions are pithy. Leave them on your conference table for customers to skim while you’re getting them coffee.


6 Screenshot Utilities You Should Know About

Screenshot Utilities You Should Know About

I use different screen capture utilities depending on the type of screen I’m trying to grab. Some are great for a quick and dirty capture of a page I want to send someone. Others are good for annotating an interface I want to post to a web page. And still others are best for archival screen capture or for interfaces with video. Below are the 6 screenshot utilities that Mac users should know about. Don’t skip over the first one, because there’s a tip in there you might not be aware of.

  1. Apple Screen Capture (Mac)
    The built in screen capture tools provided by the Mac allow you to capture full screen (Command-Shift-3) or portions of screens (Command-Shift-4). The PNG images are then placed on your desktop named as Picture-1, etc. Adding Control (Control-Command-Shift-4 or 3) places the screenshot in your clipboard so you can paste right into Photoshop.
  2. Skitch (Mac, free)
    Skitch is an excellent screen capture tool from Plasque, the makers of Comic Life. The tool provided a twitchy interface for quickly capturing screens, annotating, and uploading to a photo site like Flickr, to it’s image portal, or to your FTP directory. This tool is easy to use, and I would argue provides greater flexibility and control than Apple’s built in tools in terms of file naming, screen selection, and editing. The only downside of this tool is that it doesn’t capture complete windows requiring a scroll below the fold.
  3. Jing (Windows and Mac, free)
    Jing is a screen capture utility from Techsmith, the makers of PC screen capture tool SnagIt, and video capture tool Camtasia. The tool copies the simple flow that makes Skitch so succesful, but adds video capture (exported as Flash/SWF) to the mix. As with Skitch, Jing doesn’t capture complete scrolling windows.
  4. Screengrab for Firefox (Windows and Mac, free)
    If you use Firefox, Screengrab is a handy extension that makes it easy to save or copy (to clipboard) a complete web page, a selection, or only visible portions of the browser window. A small icon is installed in the status bar of your browser, so whenever you see a page you want to grab, you can select your save/copy options, and the directory where you want the PNG to go.
  5. SnapWeb (Mac, Commercial)
    SnapWeb is a tool I’ve used for several years to grab complete pages including content below the fold. This is essentially a slimmed down browser that give you a lot of control over how you’re saving files—you choose from multiple formats, browser dimensions, and file naming preferences. It takes a few more steps to use this tool, but it’s proven the most effective at grabbing trickier Flash sites.
  6. Tasty Apps’ Web Snapper (Mac, Commercial)
    Web Snapper is a nice tool you can use with Safari that allows you to queue up screens you want to capture, and either save off one at a time, or using the Web Snapper window. The application allows you to capture pages in their currently viewed state so you can snap DHTML layers or Flash elements. One very nice feature is that you can save off all those screenshots into a multi-paged PDF. Love it. To trigger the capture so you can capture interactive elements on hover, you can invoke the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift-E.

And finally, a supporting cast member…

  • Backdrop (Mac, free)
    Jing and Skitch will take screencaptures of individual windows (on Skitch, use CMD-Shift-5 and click the window) and put them on a white background. But if you want to capture several windows, you probably want a clean background. Backdrop is an application that simply fills the background with solid white.


  • Little Snapper from Realmac Software came onto the scene, and now I can recommend this above all the others. Aside from my Firefox Screengrab utility, this one is turning out to be the most useful to me because it lets me organize and tag my screenshots in the desktop software, and save them to the online QuickSnapper service. Excellent piece of software and well worth the $40.

Nokia Productions

Nokia are beggining a co-creative film project about music that will call for the contribution of film clips taken with mobile phones. The site resembles most video portals, Each video page includes a video player, sharing tools, favoriting and tagging. Finally Jumpcut’s video editing/mixing tool is provided when you click the “Remix Movie” link. This allows you to reorder clips and apply effects and transitions.


Timeframe: A Javascript Control For Date Ranges


Stephen Celis' Timeframe javascript library allows you to create a calendar that allows users to select date-ranges by first clicking a start or end date, and then clicking the other end of the range. The range is shown as you expect in desktop calendar applications with a filled bar between the dates. Hover over the range and click the X control to delete. Nice.