[webdev] Web Design Update: March 7, 2008
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Mar 7 06:22:39 CST 2008
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 6, Issue 37, March 7, 2008.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 37 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Screen Readers Lack Emphasis
By Steve Faulkner.
"Using the semantic elements strong and em does not convey any useful
information to users of JAWS or Window Eyes under typical browsing
conditions. While it is good to know this, it is not a reason to not
use these elements to convey meaning. Accessibility is not just about
people with vision impairment, it's about all user's with disabilities,
and web standards is not just about accessibility. This is merely
another example where screen reader vendors are not serving their
customers well. As these tests only cover 2 of the screen readers
available, it would be interesting to know if other products exhibit
the same lack of support. so please test with your favorite screen
reader and leave a comment with the results."
The Four Principles of Web Accessibility
By Mike Cherim.
"...These principles are the foundation of web accessibility and the
beginning of the WCAG 2.0. Without any one of these principles access
will be denied to someone. It is from these four principles that the
twelve guidelines and their success criteria are derived and defined.
Here is my interpreted overview..."
Comparing Tagged PDFs from Office and Acrobat
By Alistair Campbell.
"After my initial disappointment with the Office 2007 plug-in for
creating PDFs, I've had some discussion with the Microsoft team, and a
chance to do a bit more testing. This post compares the conversion of a
simple Word 2007 document with the Office plug-in, Acrobat 8.1, and
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Specify a Maximum Width for em-based Layouts
By Roger Johansson.
"As someone who likes to bump up text size a notch or even two on many
sites, I often notice that this behavior is not something that web
designers in general anticipate. However, layouts do tend to be a
little bit more robust now than a few years ago, at least at a moderate
increase in text size. That's good, though I think in many cases it is
just a matter of luck that nothing gets obscured as text size is
increased. One technique that can easily make reading a site a lot more
uncomfortable is using an elastic, or em-based, layout such as the one
I use here..."
CSS: Pushbutton Links
By Mike Cherim.
"With this Pushbutton Links experiment I made real, working pushbuttons
out of ordinary links. This can be done with any link. Is this retro?
Yeah, maybe it is, but it's still cool..."
Planning Your Stylesheet - The Definitive Guide
By Brigitte Simard.
"Don't let your stylesheet files get out of control - follow these
guidelines right from the start and you'll easily be able to manage and
update your CSS files."
Simple CSS: Removing the Underline from Links
By David Rodriguez.
We frequently get responses and e-mails from viewers, and I see it
requested all the time in user forums and elsewhere around the web: how
do you remove the underline from links in your Web page?
reForm: CSS Form Design Template for Any Layout
By Joe Lippeatt.
"This post describes a form element layout technique that will shrink
and grow with the available space. This allows designers to create 2
and 4 column form layouts without breaking the design. It also allows
the user to resize their browser window and change font size without
rendering the form unusable."
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Measuring Satisfaction: Beyond the Usability Questionnaire
By David Travis.
"Most usability tests culminate with a short questionnaire that asks
the participant to rate, usually on a 5- or 7-point scale, various
characteristics of the system. Experience shows that participants are
reluctant to be critical of a system, no matter how difficult they
found the tasks. This article describes a guided interview technique
that overcomes this problem based on a word list of over 100
adjectives. We also include a spreadsheet to generate and randomize the
Web Design World Chicago
May 5-7, 2008.
Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.
May 6-7, 2008.
Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
HOW Design Conference
May 18-21, 2008.
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
TODCon (The other Dreamweaver Conference)
June 6-8, 2008.
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.
June 12-13, 2008.
+05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Paper Prototyping Video
By Joe Arnold.
AJAX Accessibility for Websites
By Brigitte Simard.
existing technologies to create highly interactive web applications.
AJAX allows portions of the page to be updated without having to
refresh and reload the entire page. It can increase site performance
significantly and provide cutting edge user interfaces. Unfortunately
it can also be a source of concern for delivering fully accessible web
By Andy Rutledge.
"As designers, we're wrongly perceived as custodians and exponents of
creativity. This matters because business currently overvalues
creativity. To avoid the inevitable backlash, we must lead our clients'
Design is in the Details
By Naz Hamid.
"Stop worrying about how good a designer you are, and start worrying
about the myriad tiny details that can elevate your work from passable
Things Every Web Designer Should Know
By David Rodriguez.
"If you're a new designer or you're already building pages and need to
up your game, read on. These are the things that every Web designer
Shawn Henry Interview
By Bryan Crump.
"Shawn Henry talked with Bryan Crump for Radio New Zealand National
while in New Zealand for Webstock 08. They talked about the potential
for the Internet to enable people with disabilities to participate more
actively in everyday life and business; the work of the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI); and including
accessibility from the begriming when developing technology."
The Externalities of Search 2.0
By Michael Zimmer.
"Web search engines have emerged as ubiquitous and vital tools for the
successful navigation of the growing online informational sphere. As
Google puts it, the goal is to "organize the world's information and
make it universally accessible and useful" and to create the "perfect
search engine" that provides only intuitive, personalized, and relevant
results. Meanwhile, the so-called Web 2.0 phenomenon has blossomed
based, largely, on the faith in the power of the networked masses to
capture, process, and mashup one's personal information flows in order
to make them more useful, social, and meaningful. The (inevitable)
combining of Google's suite of information-seeking products with Web
2.0 infrastructures - what I call Search 2.0 - intends to capture the
best of both technical systems for the touted benefit of users. By
capturing the information flowing across Web 2.0, search engines can
better predict users' needs and wants, and deliver more relevant and
meaningful results. While intended to enhance mobility in the online
sphere, this paper argues that the drive for Search 2.0 necessarily
requires the widespread monitoring and aggregation of a users' online
personal and intellectual activities, bringing with it particular
externalities, such as threats to informational privacy while online."
Getting Rid of the Headers Already Sent Error
"The 'Headers Already Sent' error is incredibly common, and I receive
many many questions from all over about what it is and what caused it.
So let's clear all of this up once and for all."
Turn Text Files into Pull Down Menus
By Tiffany B. Brown.
"I developed this PHP function for a project I'm working on. I'm
posting it here in case I need it again, or in case you find it
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Acid3: Putting Browser Makers on Notice, Again.
By Drew McLellan.
"It's been three years since we told browser makes that we want to see
them smile, but now we wanna hold their hand..."
Microsoft's Interoperability Principles and IE8
By Dean Hachamovitch.
"We've decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the
most standards compliant way it can. This decision is a change from
what we've posted previously..."
Microsoft Expands Support for Web Standards
By Ray Ozzie.
"Company outlines new approach to make standards-based rendering the
default mode in Internet Explorer 8, will work with Web designers and
content developers to help with standards behavior transition..."
Reactions to Microsoft's Reversal on Version Targeting:
Celebrate, C'mon! IE8 Standards Mode To Be Default
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
IE8: Standards Mode by Default
By Shelley Powers.
IE 8 Will Use Standards Mode as the Default Rendering
By Robert Nyman.
IE Team Changes Its Mind on IE8 Default Behavior
By Peter-Paul Koch.
Internet Explorer 8 Standards-Compliant by Default
By Stuart Langridge.
By Eric A. Meyer.
Microsoft Backflips on Browser Version Targeting
By Matthew Magain.
Microsoft Rethinks IE8's Default Behavior
By Aaron Gustafson.
Microsoft Reverse Versioning Decision in IE8
By Mel Pedley.
Surprise of the Year: IE8 will use Standards Mode by Default
By Roger Johansson.
Unbreaking the Web
By John Resig.
Principles and Legality
By Eric A. Meyer.
A Guide to Web Typography
By John Boardley.
"...First, it's worth noting that Typography is not just about choosing
a font, or even distinguishing one typeface from another. In recent
experiments, trained Monkeys were able to correctly identify Helvetica
90% of the time..."
Twelve Things Most Sites Need - Part I
By Mike Cherim.
"There are a plethora of Websites out there, each one unique in its
design, its content, markup, features, functionality, and in myriad
other ways. Yet, despite these differences, there are specific needs
that should be met with near consistency, Internet-wide, regardless of
the site. Let's take a look at twelve of these common denominators.
Below are the first six. They appear in the order in which I thunk 'em
up. They're just numbered so you can refer to them more easily..."
Culture, Internationalization and Usability
By Joanna Bawa.
"Although usability engineering as a profession has been developed in
the western countries for over twenty years, its development in other
parts of the world like China remains relatively unknown. The study
reported in this paper seeks to compare the practice of usability
professionals in the United Kingdom, Germany and China. It focuses on
the development of interactive products for local markets and for the
other markets. The major objective of this research is to have an
initial understanding of usability practice for each country..."
Company Name First in Microcontent?
By Jakob Nielsen.
Typically, you should deemphasize your company's name in links, but a
new guideline recommends front loading the name for search engine links
under certain conditions."
3 Important Usability Challenges for Designing Web Apps
By Jared Spool.
"Web-based applications are different from content-based web sites
because the users are involved in a transaction. In our work
researching the usability of a content-based site, we focus on how
users will find and react to the information. However, with web-based
applications, there are many other considerations we account for..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
Cascading Style Sheets Information.
Evaluation & Testing Information.
Information Architecture Information.
Miscellaneous Web Information.
Sites & Blogs Listing.
Standards, Guidelines & Pattern Information.
[Section two ends.]
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+ SIGN OFF.
Until next time,
Laura L. Carlson
Information Technology Systems and Services
University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth, MN U.S.A. 55812-3009
mailto:lcarlson at d.umn.edu
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