The following is a guest post by Pankaj Parashar. Pankaj wrote to me about some pretty cool styled progress elements he created. I asked if he'd be interested in fleshing out the idea into an article about styling them in general. Thankfully, he obliged with this great article about using them in HTML, styling them with CSS as best as you can cross-browser, and fallbacks.
In any app that has user avatars, users should be able to change those avatars. Anything to make that easier is desirable. Many apps start with a user's Twitter avatar, Facebook avatar, or Gravatar. That's a smart move. Avatars give users a sense of ownership over a virtual space so any way to get them to have their desired avatar is good for engagement.
Let's create a page where a user can update their avatar with as little friction as possible: they just drop an image anywhere on the page and it's done.
Much like CSS3, widespread adoption for the next-gen web languages is a distant mirage. Still, it is important to stay educated on these things and even participate in these early stages while things are still malleable. Rather than re-hash everything here, here is a roundup of articles talking about the two major new "competing" formats.
There is also a new poll in the sidebar where you can cast your vote as to which one you prefer at this point, or if you just don't care.