Articles, rants, news & other writing.

This is a collection of the articles I’ve written over the past 8 years, I’ve edited and tidied them up for clarity. I also got rid of a lot of older, less relevant (read: stupid) articles. I’m going for clean, and quality.

Convert CSS to SCSS

One of the things i’m doing at the moment (very slowly) is converting all my CSS to SCSS. I find the maintainability so much better – today i found a tool to convert existing CSS to SCSS. Not bad.

Gmail iOS app – Now supports push

Google finally got around to updating their iOS app – it now supports push. Since I’ve blogged a bit about Sparrow recently, I figured I’d give everyone a quick update on where my iOS mail usage is currently sitting.

Snapguide – iOS Interface Design

So, a few weeks ago I came across Snapguide. It’s a great howto and guide app for iOS. The thing that really struck me about this app is how well thought out the interface is. iOS is a great platform for building apps to consume content, however content creation is somewhat limited. The only apps that really do a good job of content creation are simple, one step creation apps (like: Instragram, Facebook etc). Where you only create one piece of content, and you provide minimal information.

Section vs Div – HTML5 and Semantics

​So, this week I’ve been teaching web design at Shillington College in Sydney. Today we had an interesting discussion about <section> vs <div> for marking up regions on a page in HTML5 – in our case: particularly the main content region (which previously we style as <div id=”content”>. The debate stemmed from the (somewhat obsessive) idea that <div>’s are evil.

Responsive Web design and microcopy

I often harp on about how responsive web design is MORE than just adaptive CSS layouts. I believe that we should be building websites that contextually respond to the device/screen size in question.

Quick tip: Grounding a site design in Google Chrome

As Google Chrome’s market share grows it has become necessary (in my pedant’s eyes) to acknowledge that some people will be viewing your site without a status bar and subsequently with no grounding or footer space. In order to combat the unsightly finish this gives to a site, I have decided to include a border-bottom: 3px solid #ccc; in the body style for the new Outside In Media site –

A minor issue, but also easily fixed.. so check it out.. and maybe you might want to use it in the future.

Django, Nginx and Memcached

On a VPS (with the usual sparse memory allocation), it’s important to minimise memory usage wherever possible. The Django FCGIs for got completely annihilated by a few weeks ago – leading me to explore caching and optimisation options.

Is code validation important in web design?

Something I’ve noticed recently which makes me wonder about people’s understanding of how web design works is the designer/developer obsession with validation. I’m definitely not the first to realise this (i’m pretty sure i read an article not so long ago at – where Jeff made the same point), but i’ve been surfing the web a bit this weekend, and noticed how rampant this issue really is.

Target=_blank kills usability

Adding a target=”_blank” attribute to an A tag has long been seen as a way to keep users on your site. This logic is fatally flawed (i was under the impression that this was commonly agreed upon, however i’ve had to argue the point with a few people recently).  Firstly, what does target=”_blank” do? this attribute makes a link open in a new window (or new tab in some more modern browsers) – the thinking used to be that the user was therefore STILL on your site as well. However this concept breaks the standard usability in the browser: the back button stops working – often times leaving the user confused. Furthermore, advanced users will automatically use CTRL/APPLE click to open links in new tabs anyway, so this functionality has no real purpose. Keeping a copy of your site open as well as the link that your user wants to see was often seen as leading to longer visit times on your site – however this statistic means nothing if there is a window in front of your site that is showing the user different content. Also, if a user clicks on an external link from your site and they don’t want to come back and keep reading your content, then you having sneakily left a copy of your site open behind the link they clicked is more likely to irritate them than help them – and the last thing you want to do is irritate your audience. So don’t target links to...