Information technology, gadgets, social media, libraries, design, marketing, higher ed, data visualization, educational technology, mobility, innovation, strategy, trends and futures. . . 

Posts suspended for a bit while I settle into a new job. . . 

Entries in Web (6)


The Web at 25

Particularly for those of us in the business, Pew's reports often fall into the well-everybody-knows-that category, but they're nonetheless important captures of key developments and usually full of good data

The birth of the "World Wide Web" -- now, just "the web" -- is conventionally dated to Tim Berners-Lee's March 1989 paper proposing a "distributed hypertext system."

The Pew Research Internet Project, accordingly, has just released the first of several reports commemorating the web's 25th anniversary. 

FEBRUARY 27, 2014

The Web at 25 in the U.S.

The overall verdict: The internet has been a plus for society and an especially good thing for individual users


About This Report

This report is the first part of a sustained effort through 2014 by the Pew Research Center to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Lee wrote a paper on March 12, 1989 proposing an “information management” system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the Web.  He eventually released the code for his system—for free—to the world on Christmas Day in 1990. It became a milestone in easing the way for ordinary people to access documents and interact over a network of computers called the internet—a system that linked computers and that had been around for years. The Web became especially appealing after Web browsers were perfected in the early 1990s to facilitate graphical displays of pages on those linked computers.

It thus became a major layer of the internet. Indeed, for many, it became synonymous with the internet, even though that is not technically the case. The internet is rules (protocols) that enable computer networks to communicate with each other. The Web is a service that uses the network to allow computers to access files and pages that are hosted on other computers. Other applications that are different from the Web also exploit the internet’s architecture to facilitate such things as email, some kinds of instant messaging, and peer-to-peer activities like internet phone calling through services like Skype or file sharing through torrent services.

Using the Web—browsing it, searching it, sharing on it—has become the main activity for hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Its birthday offers an occasion to revisit the ways it has made the internet a part of Americans’ social lives.

This first report looks back at the rapid change in internet penetration over the last quarter century, and covers new survey findings about Americans’ generally positive evaluations of the internet’s impact on their lives and personal relationships. In the coming months, the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project in association with Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Project will further mark the 25th anniversary of the Web by releasing eight reports about emerging trends in digital technology that are based on surveys of experts about the future of such things as privacy, cybersecurity, the “internet of things,” and net neutrality. We will also explore some of the economic change driven by the spectacular progress that made digital tools faster and cheaper. And we will report on whether Americans feel that the explosion of digital information coursing through their lives has helped them be better informed and make better decisions.

Continues at link. 

Pew offers several forms of the report, including the complete report and this Summary of Findings

The World Wide Web turns 25 on March 12, 2014. It is one of the most important and heavily-used parts of the network of computer networks that make up the internet. Indeed, the invention of the Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee was instrumental in turning the internet from a geeky data-transfer system embraced by specialists and a small number of enthusiasts into a mass-adopted technology easily used by hundreds of millions around the world.

Internet use 1995 - 2014The Web’s birthday provides an occasion to take stock of the impact of the rapid growth of the internet since its invention and the attendant rise of mobile connectivity. Since 1995, the Pew Research Center has documented this explosive adoption of the internet and its wide-ranging impacts on everything from: the way people get, share, and create news; the way they take care of their health; the way they perform their jobs; the way they learn; the nature of their political activity; their interactions with government; the style and scope of their communications with friends and family;  and the way they organize in communities.

The summary continues at the link above; here are the key figures. 



Web Design

I just came across this very rich resource for finding ". . . free and paid tutorials, courses, instructor-guided courses, and reference material."

Highly recommended.


These Web "Features" Must Die

Here is a welcome piece in Mashable about annoying, passe, or just plain useless web "features" or design elements. 

My least favorite elements are

  • needlessly presenting sites as slides (Business Insider is notorious for this), instead of long scrolling pages or, at least, regular old "next pages" (like TNW),
  • the below-mentioned photo carousels (e.g. Fast Company's Co.DESIGN, Co.EXIST, Co.CREATE, Co.LABS), and, also mentioned below, 
  • automated pop-ups (e.g., 

12 Outdated Web Features That Need to Disappear in 2014


We've all been there — yelling at a computer screen or particular website because the antiquated design prevents you from getting where you want to go.

But outdated features on your company's website can do more than annoy — it can cost you potential clients or customers.

To figure out what exactly agitates users the most, we asked 12 entrepreneurs which website features small businesses should avoid (or get rid of) at all costs. Here's what they had to say:

The piece goes on to cite:

  1. Irrelevant elements. (Clutter is always bad.)
  2. Flash intros
  3. Photo carousels
  4. Large hero images. (But see here.)
  5. Stock photos 
  6. Animated GIFs
  7. Autoplay videos
  8. Automated pop-ups
  9. "Hello, world" blog posts
  10. Sidebars
  11. Reloading pages 
  12. M. sites (mobile sites, of the form m._____.___) 

Web Design in 2014

Amber Leigh Turner in TNW (The Next Web) publishes an excellent slide show about trends in web design in 2014. 

10 Web design trends you can expect to see in 2014

Sunday, 29 Dec '13

December is always a great time to look back on the year that was and the new year that is soon to come. There are many exciting things that 2014 has in store for us who live, work, and produce the World Wide Web we love and cherish.

#4: Heavier focus on mobile

Last year, we looked at the 10 Web design trends for 2013. Many of the trends that were spotted last year are still around today and will undoubtedly take off into 2014. After all, that’s why they are called trends and not fads, as trends tend to stick around for a few years while fads are only hot for a very short time.

So while 2014 is knocking on the door, let’s look ahead and see what kind of new(ish) Web design trends we can look for and be inspired by come the new year.

Slides at link above. 

As a user, I happen to really appreciate #6: Long scrolling sites -- that just works for me. 

 #6: Long scrolling sites



Mining Web for Drug Adverse Effects

The New York Times is among media reporting on a study by White et al in JAMIA (Journal of the Medical Informatics Association) -- 

J Am Med Inform Assoc doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001482 

Brief communication 

Web-scale pharmacovigilance: listening to signals from the crowd 

Ryen W White1, Nicholas P Tatonetti2, Nigam H Shah3, Russ B Altman4, Eric Horvitz1 

+ Author Affiliations
1Microsoft Research, Redmond, Washington, USA
2Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
3Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
4Departments of Bioengineering and Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA 

Correspondence to Dr Ryen W White, Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA 98052, USA; 

Received 9 November 2012
Revised 8 January 2013
Accepted 13 January 2013
Published Online First 6 March 2013 

Abstract (emphasis added) 

Adverse drug events cause substantial morbidity and mortality and are often discovered after a drug comes to market. We hypothesized that Internet users may provide early clues about adverse drug events via their online information-seeking. We conducted a large-scale study of Web search log data gathered during 2010. We pay particular attention to the specific drug pairing of paroxetine and pravastatin, whose interaction was reported to causeThe New York Times hyperglycemia after the time period of the online logs used in the analysis. We also examine sets of drug pairs known to be associated with hyperglycemia and those not associated with hyperglycemia. We find that anonymized signals on drug interactions can be mined from search logs. Compared to analyses of other sources such as electronic health records (EHR), logs are inexpensive to collect and mine. The results demonstrate that logs of the search activities of populations of computer users can contribute to drug safety surveillance.

Full JAMIA article available via you local library

The New York Times story -- 

Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Are Found Using Internet Search Data, Study Finds


Published: March 6, 2013 

Using data drawn from queries entered into Google, Microsoft and Yahoo search engines, scientists at Microsoft, Stanford and Columbia University have for the first time been able to detect evidence of unreported prescription drug side effects before they were found by the Food and Drug Administration’s warning system.

Using automated software tools to examine queries by six million Internet users taken from Web search logs in 2010, the researchers looked for searches relating to an antidepressant, paroxetine, and a cholesterol lowering drug, pravastatin. They were able to find evidence that the combination of the two drugs caused high blood sugar.

The study, which was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association on Wednesday, is based on data-mining techniques similar to those employed by services like Google Flu Trends, which has been used to give early warning of the prevalence of the sickness to the public.

The F.D.A. asks physicians to report side effects through a system known as the Adverse Event Reporting System. But its scope is limited by the fact that data is generated only when a physician notices something and reports it.

Full article continues at link