Here are some of the articles we have been reviewing during the month We hope you find them as interesting as we did. [Note: these links will all open in a new browser tab.] Don’t forget to let us know what else you would like to see in terms of current professional trends in web design and development. Here are the categories of what we encountered during February:
- Web Development Trends
Here is an interesting read – 10 modern layouts in one line of CSS. These include sidebar says, the pancake stack, the 12 span grid and much more. Let us know what you think of these.
If you are curious where CSS is going, consider the high definition CSS color guide. With Chrome 111, there is support for CSS Color 4 gamuts ( size of something) and color spaces (this is explained in much ore detail in the linked article). This means there is 50% more colors in supporting browsers.
Native CSS nesting may also be finally arriving (in Chrome 112, for example). Bryce Wray provides a nice overview of recent experiments with this.
Web Development Trends
As professionals, we are always working with clients. We thought it might be helpful to share a horror story or two each month. Obviously, there are lessons to be learned. However, the fact that we have been using web technologies over three decades and still see some problems repeating means we are not fully learning these lessons.
Case in point. I was helping a client with a WordPress site. They had recently purchased a plugin and were experiencing difficulty in using the enhanced features which came with the upgraded plugin (freemium model is still very popular, isn’t it). Specifically, I was asked to investigate why all the added functionality remained greyed out despite having paid for the upgrade. To keep the story short, one had to click on the greyed out item to “load” the enhancement. Took yours truly about an hour to figure that one out. Lesson we should all have learned by now – there are standard design patterns which must be followed. To show something as greyed out means it is not active and not available. Breaking a pattern which has been in use for well over a decade causes unnecessary consternation. A simple explanation that one must click on an item to activate it might have sufficed (instead of wasting the time of multiple individuals).
As if that wasn’t enough, when helping another client, I needed to contact technical support for a WordPress plugin. Believe it or not, the individual who was trying to help me quickly asked for my username and password so they could access the site as an administrator to see what the problem was. Ummm, NO. Ok, they then asked if I could create a separate administrator account for them to use so they could see the site. Ummm. NO again. Think about this from a security perspective – if you allow someone (who you don’t know) administrative access to your site, you have handed over the data and capabilities of the site to a stranger. Would you gladly hand your car key fob to a stranger who asked for a ride to the store while you were waiting for the light to change? Maybe if your car was making a strange noise? Same concept. Never, ever, provide such access no matter how severe you think the problem is with a WordPress plugin. If you need that much help, it is time to find an alternate plugin. Shame on the vendor in this case for even allowing an employee to make such a request.
OK, readers, that is enough on the horror stories for this month. Do you have something you would like to share which tops these horror stories. Please let us know in the comments (or send us an email to our membership email at the top of the page). We are always interested in what you liked and would like to see in future articles. Just let us know that as well.
In case you missed these…
We recently published additional information about the proposed Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act. We encourage you to review this post to keep up to date with what is happening regarding website accessibility.
Curious about security (especially passwords), please review our passwords and psychology article.
We also announced our 2023 web design and development competitions (including that we are recognized as a SkillsUSA Official Partner.
We are always what you find interesting and what you would like to learn more about. Please provide comments below so we can better address what you find most interesting.
It has been some time since I posted some thoughts on the current state of web technologies. A lot has happened during recent months. Let’s focus on several key areas:
- web accessibility,
- and CSS.
More areas may be the focus of subsequent articles. Stay tuned. As always, we at Web Professionals Global are interested in what you think. Let us know in the comments or contact us directly.
WCAG 3 has been released as a draft (published in December, 2021). Latest editors draft updated as of July, 2022. The approach is iterative with content ranging from temporary (just a placeholder for future content) to mature (ready for publication). This version is somewhat evolutionary in that it will be easy to understand and provide guidance. A key differentiator is that this version has a broader scope (beyond web content). I encourage you to view the above links and consider helping develop the next version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Of course, there is also a new ARIA authoring practices guide website. Lots of patterns and resources. Check it out.
As web professionals, we should remind ourselves (and our clients of some fundamental tactics which help mitigate these sorts of attacks.
At a minimum, never act on anything that purports to have an extreme sense of urgency. That is what malicious individuals want. Act before you have a chance to think about the implications. It is also good practice to never click on links in emails or text messages. Instead, open a browser and type the site directly (or use a reliable search engine). Lastly, only install updates from trusted sources (and use the traditional channels where those updates are distributed).
Remember the days of aural style sheets (yes, they were a thing). Of course, no browsers supported them. However, a recent article (October, 2022) has raised some hope for me again. Why we need CSS speech is the article. What are your thoughts about CSS speech? Again, reach out to us in the comments.
Of course, there are many enhancements in the works for CSS. These include items such as:
- The ability to nest selectors is presently in the works. This is possible a good way to organize your CSS code. Of course, no browsers yet support this.
- Cascade layers (which give authors the ability to group their CSS and affect how the cascade applies). The linked article should give you a much better understanding. This is like nesting selectors, but much more. Is this feature ready for prime time? No, but you might want to start learning about them.
- CSS subgrid allows for styling on a page to inherit the parent’s grid styling. MDN has a nice overview with examples. That is the reference linked at the start of this bullet.
Mark DuBois, Executive Director
Web Professionals Global (a.k.a. World Organization of Webmasters)
by Steve Waddell | Nov 22, 2021 | Industry News
Anyone who has been around websites for some time will remember that “webmasters” once did it all. Webmasters were the ones who created, managed and hosted websites, acting as a one-stop shop for all things related to the internet. It is why our organization was created as the World Organization of Webmasters, and retains that formal business name to this day.
Over the years, as people moved away from the term webmaster to more specific job roles such as web designers and web developers, we adopted the Web Professionals Organization name. However, we have never forgotten our roots and have always maintained a webmaster certification pathway.
Today we have certifications including web design, web animation, e-commerce, WordPress, web and mobile apps, web technologies, web game design, remote working and many more. While these certifications grew rapidly and still remain popular, we are now seeing a resurgence in people interested in becoming certified webmasters. In fact, recent recipients of the Web Professionals Organization Webmaster certification include a student in Brazil.
Why become a webmaster?
Admittedly, most websites today are more of a team event than websites in the 1990s and 2000s. However, the growth in the interest in webmastering is due to the fact that websites are so much more complex than back then. It’s important that someone understand how all aspects of a website fit together to keep it optimized. The webmaster is like the captain of a ship, understanding the interconnectedness of all the crew and their responsibilities. Because of this, the role has been growing again in recent years.
The role of a webmaster
Webmasters have a broad understanding of all the technologies that come together to make a website work. They also understand how to identify where improvements can be made and how to take advantage of new web trends to improve the effectiveness of websites. They are concerned with all aspects of the company’s web presence. Like a great captain, they watch everything and are constantly looking for ways to improve. Webmasters cannot tell their boss, “That isn’t my department,” because pretty much everything is their department.
They monitor website performance for design, speed, accuracy, and functionality. They oversee marketing efforts, outreach campaigns, and content creation, and even handle information technology work including server administration. And they constantly maintain, update and improve their websites.
Webmasters have a wide range of skills including graphic design, SEO, HTML, WordPress, content writing, marketing and much more. Some webmasters have multiple clients and manage multiple websites at once, while others work for a single company or organization. Having both left-brain (technical) and right-brain (artistic) strengths is extremely beneficial for webmasters to execute their jobs well.
Interested in pursuing a career as a webmaster?
This career pathway demands professionals who are technically savvy yet can think on their feet about adapting to and meeting customer and client needs. They are essentially a blend of a tech nerd and a skilled marketer. If you like the idea of knowing that your choices have a real everyday impact on a company’s future, you might want to explore becoming a webmaster. Reach out to us today to learn more about the certifications the Web Professionals Organization offers and how we can help you achieve your professional goals. It’s never too late to continue to develop your skills or even make a career change into one of the many exciting and growing web careers.
by Steve Waddell | Jul 26, 2021 | Cyber Crime, Industry News
The Internet of Things, also commonly known as IoT, has been one of the hottest tech topics in recent years. IoT devices have a wide range of applications for both commercial and personal purposes including home security, supply chain control, motion detection, energy management, home appliances, health surveillance, and much more. There are an estimated 36 billion IoT devices worldwide, with that figure expected to climb to 75 billion by 2025. Today, it is already a $200 billion industry. Let’s look at some of the statistics and trends driving IoT in 2021 and beyond.
5G Cellular Driving IoT Growth
5G technology has become one of the primary drivers of the IoT, and this will continue in the coming years. By 2024 there will be almost 2 billion 5G cellular subscriptions, and it is estimated that 63% of mobile device subscriptions in North America will be 5G.
New Devices Coming Online
The seemingly exponential growth of both commercial and residential IoT devices will continue as internet-connected devices including televisions, medical sensors, watches, bike locks, alarm systems, microwaves, smoke alarms and even tennis rackets are created and utilized. 127 new devices are connected to the internet every second.
Vehicles and IoT
Research suggests that internet-connected devices will become the norm in the next few years. Nearly 70% of vehicles around the world will be connected to the internet by 2023. In the U.S. the figure will be even higher, with an estimated 90% of vehicles connected to the internet.
Smart Cities Investing in IoT
Cities that embrace new technology like IoT and artificial intelligence will continue to pull away from other cities that have not invested (or don’t have the resources to invest) in this new technology infrastructure. The top 600 smart cities are expected to make up 60% of worldwide GDP by 2025.
IoT and Cybercrime
Research suggests that it takes only an average of five minutes for an IoT device to be attacked after it has connected to the internet for the first time. While the IoT holds great promise for consumers, it also presents new opportunities for cybercriminal attacks.
Despite the rise in cyber attacks in the IoT, businesses have not fully caught on to how to defend against such attacks. 48% of businesses that use IoT can’t tell when they experience network breaches. This presents an urgent need for developers who know how to spot and defend against network compromises.
Business Investment in IoT
Companies have quickly recognized how beneficial IoT technology can be to everyday operations and are expected to invest $15 trillion in IoT technology by 2025. There are a number of cities as well as companies like health care providers and manufacturers that have invested in IoT technology for the future to stay ahead of the curve.
The Future of the IoT Market
Various reports have suggested that the IoT could be worth $4 trillion, $5 trillion, or even $10 trillion in the next several years. Although the projections differ, they are agreed on one thing—there will be rapid and prolonged growth in the market.
It’s clear that the IoT isn’t going anywhere. Companies in a variety of industries will be in need of trained and skilled web developers and designers who know how to most effectively harness IoT technology to deliver consumers with the technology experiences they are looking for. The Web Professionals Organization is dedicated to all professionals who utilize the internet each and every day as the IoT continues to expand.
by Mark | Jul 1, 2021 | Cyber Crime, Industry News, State of the Web, Web Security
This month, I thought it appropriate to post some of my thoughts concerning web and security. Unless you have been unconscious for a while, you have seen so many news articles about ransomware attacks on various corporations. Since many readers work with clients (both internal and external), here are some of my thoughts regarding security. The sad thing is that most of these attack vectors are nothing new. They have been employed for some time, yet some people still fall victim.
I am focusing on what you can do as an individual. Obviously, this is a very large topic and I am just touching on some of the highlights as I see them. I look forward to your comments and encourage further discussion in our member Slack channels where we can focus on more specific items).
- Passwords should be long and complex. If in doubt, length wins over complexity. Consider using passphrases.
- Passwords should be changed on a regular basis. You decide on what is comfortable for you.
- Passwords should never be reused on more than one site. Never. There is no reason why you need to do this.
- If you can’t recall passwords, use a password vault. There are a number of alternatives. Just make certain it is secure and your passwords are updated in the vault as you change them.
- Passwords should never be shared with others. Never. If there is some unusual situation where another must access your information, change your password, give that party the new one, then change the password again once the need for their access has passed. Frankly, I can not think of any situation where this is warranted, but…
- Never open links included in email messages. If you receive a link to a website (such as a banking site), open a browser and type the URL. It is so easy to spoof website addresses these days. That is why you should manually enter any site URL where you are required to authenticate.
- Unless you are expecting an attachment from someone, never open email attachments. Never. This is where most malware gets started. I recommend using some form of online storage (which is virus checked) if you must share documents these days.
- Whenever possible employ two factor authentication as part of your login. In a nutshell, there are three ways to prove you are who you say you are – something you know (like a password), something you posess (like an authentication app), and something you are (like facial recognition or fingerprints). I recommend using the first two in combination since it is very difficult to change your bio-metrics.
- I recommend activating the feature found on modern mobile devices which only allow for incoming calls from those in your list of contacts. Anyone else must leave a voice message. Most scammers rely on a sense of urgency to get you to take an action you would typically not do (for example, say “yes” or share a password. Review the voice message and only call back if you are certain you need to speak with the individual leaving the message. Most scammers will likely not even leave a voice message. I assure you, the sheriff’s department will never call you to let you know they are coming to arrest you. It is best to delete similar junk.
I know this list is not complete, and should be obvious to readers. However, it never hurts to review the basics periodically. Always apply a healthy dose of skepticism when anyone contacts you and asks you to take action. The more immediate their request, the greater the likelihood it is a scam.
by Mark | Jun 1, 2021 | Industry News, Web Professional Trends
As we begin another month, here are my thoughts regarding what is happening in our industry.
This month, my thoughts center around longevity. Hope you find this information useful. In case you are curious, I built my first web page in 1992 (yes, 29 years ago). It no longer exists, nor does the company where I built it at.
I am already looking forward to your comments.
My colleague and friend, Tom Green, recently posted an article on LinkedIn.com about this last acceptable prejudice.After you review the article, let’s start a discussion in our Slack #general channel about this topic. What are your experiences? Does Tom’s article resonate with you? Why or why not?
Eric Meyer reflects on 25 years of CSS. Has it really been that long? If you have a moment, please post a comment reflecting on your first use of CSS. Consider a discussion in our Slack channel as well. What are your thoughts on the past 25 years of CSS.
Speaking of longevity, WordPress turned 18 in May. Isobel Weston has a great overview article at NameCheap. From a simple blogging platform to a technology which powers nearly 41% of the WWW these days. And it only took 18 years to get to this point. Makes me wonder what the next 18 years hold for this technology.
Annual Web Competition with SkillsUSA
Speaking of longevity, this year marks the 19th year for our national web competition held in conjunction with SkillsUSA. Our first year (2004) was a demonstration contest. This year will mark our first large scale virtual competition. We did a smaller competition in 2020 as the pandemic raged. This year, we have over 20 teams competing at secondary and post-secondary levels. Winners will be announced near the end of June at the above site.
I am curious – now that you have read this far, what information would you like to see next month? Please tell us via the comments.