[webdev] Web Design Update: August 10, 2005

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Wed Aug 10 06:33:21 CDT 2005

- Volume 4, Issue 07, August 10, 2005.

An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design 
and development.


SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:

04: COLOR.
07: FLASH.
12: PHP.
14: TOOLS.
17: XML.

18: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Zoom Layouts (references)
By Joe Clark.
"I didn't invent the zoom layout, but I have popularized it, and this 
page is a repository of information on the topic."

Accessibility: It's Just About Customers
By Mike Butcher.
"The debate about building web sites which are fully accessible to 
disabled people is being framed in the wrong way, according to industry 
figures at a Netimperative event this week."

Automated Testing - How useful is it?
By Grant Broome.
"There are a few good tools on the market for assessing potential 
technical flaws in the accessibility of a website. The author shares 
his experience of working with a number of these tools and asks the 
question 'How useful is automated testing?'"

Automated Accessibility Testing
By Mel Pedley.
"There has been a great deal of discussion recently on the role of 
automated accessibility testing software. Much of the discussion has 
centred upon whether these tools are really useful and whether they do 
more damage than good..."


EDUCAUSE Web Administrators Constituent Group.
"This EDUCAUSE constituent group discusses the use of the Web as both a 
productivity and a public relations tool for institutions. Topics of 
discussion may include Web site design, development, and maintenance; 
Web policy issues; training, templates, and support for Web page 
publishers; building site consistency and cohesiveness; and providing 
Web?based services to university employees and students. It is designed 
for Webmasters, Web project managers, Web administrators, Web 
designers, and others who are responsible for their institution's Web 
presence. This group meets at the EDUCAUSE annual conference and uses 
the electronic discussion list to discuss issues throughout the year."


Identifying Classy Semantics
By Faruk Ates.
"In response to Andy Clarke's Ghost Town Markup post, I wrote an 
article on the id and class attributes and their semantic value, 
entitled Identifying classy semantics."

Help The CSS Working Group With Backgrounds and Borders
By Kevin Lawver, AOL's representative to the CSS Working Group.
"At our last CSS Working Group meeting, I volunteered to ask the design 
community what y'all want as far as backgrounds and borders go. We 
spent some time talking about the CSS3 Backgrounds & Borders module and 
we need some feedback (because none of us are designers). If you're a 
designer, is this what you want? Is there anything missing from the 
module that should be there? Is there anything there that shouldn't be?"

CSS An Introduction - Part Six: The Basics of Positioning
By Adrian Senior.
"In this, the sixth tutorial in the beginning CSS series, we are going 
to look at positioning our page elements with CSS..."

Still Throwing Tables
By Douglas Bowman.
"On the one year anniversary of the article: Throwing Tables Out the 
Window, I thought it appropriate to reveal some behind-the-scenes info 
regarding the Microsoft example discussed in the article...."

That's Why It's Called Beta
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"I woke up this morning to find countless emails and IMs pouring into 
my accounts
asking me about the IE 7 beta..."

IE7 CSS Updates
By Dave Shea.
"The first IE7 Beta is out. Yes, there are CSS improvements. No, 
they’re not going
to change the world."

Standards and CSS in IE
By Chris Wilson.
"I'm very happy that we've shipped IE 7 beta 1. I wanted to make it 
clear that we know Beta 1 makes little progress for web developers in 
improving our standards support, particularly in our CSS 

+04: COLOR.

How To: Design for Color Blindness
By Matt Bailey.
"If you are using color-based charts and graphs to convey important 
information, you need to take into account that about nine to twelve 
percent of the male population suffers from some form of color 
deficiency. Some estimates place the level of color blindness as high 
as 20% among the white male population. However, less than one percent 
of women suffer from color blindness..."


Hotspots and Hyperlinks: Using Eye-tracking to Supplement Usability 
By M. Russell.
"This article discusses how eye-tracking can be used to supplement 
traditional usability test measures. User performance on two usability 
tasks with three e-commerce websites is described. Results show that 
eye-tracking data can be used to better understand how users initiate a 
search for a targeted link or web object. Frequency, duration and order 
of visual attention to Areas of Interest (AOIs) in particular are 
informative as supplemental information to standard usability testing 
in understanding  user expectations and making design recommendations."

Leading Web Usability Evaluations to WAUTER
By Sandrine Balbo, Steve Goschnick, and Derek Tong.
"The WWW is now ubiquitous, and yet its usability is still of major 
concern. Usability testing methods are able to identify flaws prior to 
the launch of a site. However, their application typically involves 
direct observation, requiring availability of participants and 
evaluators in a synchronized manner. This, in turn, implies tight 
schedules with little leeway for flexibility. In this paper, we present 
WAUTER (Web Automatic Usability Testing EnviRonment), a suite of open 
source tools to assist in web usability evaluation, capturing and 
comparing intended vs. actual use of a web site. WAUTER harnesses web 
user visits to do so and is also intended to support remote evaluation."

Evaluating the Usability of Educational Websites for Children
By S. Naidu.
"This study examined the usability of educational websites for 
children. Children ages 7 - 11 performed seven search tasks with one of 
three websites. Overall, participants, especially those less than 10 
years of age were not very successful. Terminology, number and 
organization of links, location of information above the fold, and 
length of individual pages all influenced performance on the tasks."

+06: EVENTS.

Sharing the Secrets of Web Accessibility
September 1, 2005.
London, United Kingdom

September 14, 2005.
London, United Kingdom

K.M. World and Intranets 2005
November 15-17, 2005.
San Jose, California U.S.A.

+07: FLASH.

Unobtrusive Flash Objects (UFO) v1.0
By Bobby van der Sluis.
"UFO is a DOM script that detects and embeds Flash objects. It contains 
several features and best practice techniques that other scripts 
currently don't have. UFO is inspired by Geoff Stearns' FlashObject."

J.K. Rowling Site Goes Accessible Flash Route
By Jeffery Zeldman.
"Yesterday the JK Rowling site relaunched in an accessible Flash 
version designed by Lightmaker Group in collaboration with Macromedia, 
the RNIB and the RNID. Usability testing by partially sighted test 
subjects helped fine-tune the site..."

By Bob Regan.
"Today, JK Rowling launched a new, accessible version of her site at: 
www.jkrowling.com. The new version of the site sets the standard for 
accessibility in Flash. I love this site. Jo Rowling and the guys at 
Lightmaker deserve tremendous credit for this project. It was the 
result of a collaboration between Lightmaker, the Royal National 
Institute of the Blind and the Royal National Institute for Deaf and 
Hard of Hearing People. More than any other site, it shows what can 
happen when high end designers partner with accessibility experts."

Zeldman on Rowling
By John Dowdell.
"I read Jeffrey's post yesterday, about the "accessible Flash for Harry 
Potter" site, and thought its objections a little strange..."

Wild About Harry
By Matt Bailey.
"However, all of this does make one simple point. At the core of any 
marketing effort, designing for accessibility at the beginning of a 
project will prevent additional costs or additional losses in the 


16 Years of Paper Prototyping
By Jared M. Spool.
"Despite amazing advances in prototyping technology, paper prototyping 
is still one of our favorite tools for gaining quick insights on new 
designs. As we look back at how we've used this technique over the last 
16 years, we can see that it has adapted well to the new demands from 
today's design process."


Best Practices: Implementing Javascript for Rich Internet Applications
By Austin Govella.
"1.) Separate Behavior from Content and Presentation; 2.) Provide 
progressive enhancement; 3.) Code for flexibility; 4.) Alter content as 
little as possible; 5.) Document output, parameters, and dependencies"

Image previews with DOM JavaScript (and PHP if wanted)
By Christian Heilmann.
"Sometimes it might be a good idea to give visitors an insight of what 
is lurking behind a link. Normally this is achieved via a thumbnail, 
but what about inline links? This article explains how you can enhance 
a link with a class named “preview” pointing to an image via DOM 
JavaScript. The enhanced link has a small clickable icon that will show 
a preview of the linked image. If you have PHP with the GD library 
enabled, it even creates the preview on the fly."

The Power of JavaScript: Operators
By Michael Youssef.
"We have discussed the very basics of Javascript. Until now, we have 
not written much code. There's still much more to knowing and learning 
to master the basics of Javascript. In this article, we talk about how 
we can perform arithmetic operations, comparison operations and 
increment/decrement operations using Javascript operators."

The Power of Javascript: Operators continued
By Michael Youssef.
"In the last article we talked about some of the unary and binary 
operators available in Javascript, namely the arithmetic operators, the 
comparison operators and the increment/decrement operators. In this 
article we continue our discussion of the Javascript operators; we will 
discuss how computers represent data, and bitwise operators."

AJAX: A Fresh Look at Web Development
By Edmon Begoli.
AJAX enables a dynamic, asynchronous Web experience without the need for
page refreshes. Find out how this combination of technologies that you
already know and love can reinvent your Web development.

What Every Webmaster and Web Developer MUST Know About Ruby on Rails 
and AJAX
By Matt Lightner.
"I wrote this article today because it has become evident that there is 
a huge gap between the knows and the know-nots when it comes to Ruby, 
Rails and AJAX. This article provides a cursory look at three of 
today’s hottest web development terms."

The JavaScript Diaries: Part 7
By Lee Underwood.
In our last installment we began our study of objects by looking at how 
to create custom-made objects using the Object() constructor. We will 
continue that study by taking a look at browser-based objects. While 
there are several browser-specific objects, we will concentrate on the 
more common objects that are compatible with most browsers.


Technology Special Report: An Oral History
Remembering Netscape: The Birth of the Web
By Adam Lashinsky.
"Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband, 
where few people have even heard of IPOs. That was reality just a 
decade ago. The company that changed it?bringing us into the Internet 
age?was a brilliant flash in the pan called Netscape. For the tenth 
anniversary of its IPO, FORTUNE recruited dozens of players to tell the 
story of the startup in their own words..."

Top 10 Web Fads
By Molly Wood.
"Internet phenomena...the following 10 Web fads still make us laugh, 
make us wonder, or make us feel guilty enough to update our blogs."

Louis Rosenfeld Interview: Learning to Haggle:
Moving information architecture from design to implementation
By David Moore.
David Moore talks to information architecture expert Louis Rosenfeld 
about the problems with search features, why CMS Silver Bullets don't 
work, and why information architects need to be better at horse trading.


NavOptim Coding: Web Navigational Construction to Minimize Navigation 
By Xiaoying Kong and David Lowe.
"Web applications have rapidly become critical to the interaction that 
organisations have with their external stakeholders. A major factor in 
the effectiveness of this interaction is the ease with which users can 
locate information and functionality which they are seeking. Effective 
design is however complicated by the multiple purposes and users which 
Web applications typically support. In our earlier work we described a 
model for evaluating the overall navigation entropy of a Web 
application which provides a measure of the weighted effort required of 
users. In this paper we describe a navigational design method aimed at 
minimizing this navigational entropy. The approach uses a theoretical 
navigational depth for the various information and service components 
to moderate a nested hierarchical clustering of the content."

+12: PHP.

Object Interaction in PHP: Introduction to Composition
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"Composition is an important concept in PHP. It occurs when an object 
creates another object; that is, the first object completely possesses 
the second object. In this article (the first of two parts), Alejandro 
Gervasio explains composition, and shows some examples to illustrate 
his points."

PHPBuilder.com: 10 Tips That Every PHP Newbie Should Know
By Jeffery Vaska.
"I wish I had known these 10 tips the day I started working with PHP. 
Instead of learning them through painstaking process, I could have been 
on my way to becoming a PHP programmer even sooner! This article is 
presented in two parts and is intended for folks who are new to PHP."

By David Mytton.
"I was excited to read the AJAX: Usable Interactivity with Remote 
Scripting article by Cameron Adams in the hope of finding out  a lot 
more about AJAX, particularly how to actually use it! The article is 
very good, but is written as a usability guide rather than a technical 
'how to' about how to use AJAX within your own applications. Granted, I 
haven't looked much, but tutorials for making use of AJAX with PHP seem 
to be lacking (do you know of any good ones?). So I went to Google and 
searched to see what I could come up with, hoping I'd find some kind of 
stuff Ruby has."


Meeting Microsoft
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"Since the announcement of the WaSP / Microsoft Corporation Task Force 
we've had two face to face meetings. The first was held in Portland, 
Oregon at WebVisions ‘05. WaSP members DL Byron and myself met with 
Microsoft’s liaison to the Task Force, Brian Goldfarb. In this meeting, 
we brainstormed potential strategies and discussed how WaSP can be of 
greatest assistance to Microsoft as it makes its products more 
standards compliant."

Seven Benefits of HTML Validation
By Herman Drost.
"You may not bother with html validation or writing simple and clean 
code when designing your web site. Later you may find your site is slow 
loading, appears incorrectly in the main browsers and does not rank 
well for the major search engines..."

+14: TOOLS.

By Benjamin Adam Howell.
"IYHY is an attempt to fix the mobile web today instead of one or five 
years from now. If you sign-up IYHY will keep a running, editable list 
of your 'mobile bookmarks'. If you don't sign-up, that's cool too, IYHY 
will just strip all the crap from a web page and give you the good 
stuff when you're on the go -- the content."
Additional info on IYHY:


How to Find Out the Text Size Setting in IE
By Robert Nyman.
"If you're reading this, you're probably interested in making your 
CSS-controlled layouts em-based, to be able to adapt the font, width of 
elements etc to the text size setting the user has in his/her web 


Contrived Consistency
By Jack Shedd.
"One of the key tricks in interface design is understanding that 
difference between functional consistency and aesthetic consistency. 
Aesthetic consistency can be defined as every element looking 
identical. Buttons all look the same, windows all look the same, 
sliders, et al are perfectly identical application to application. 
Functional consistency can be defined as every element of similar or 
exact look behaving in the same predictable way. Click on a button 
performs an action. Pop-up menus allow you to make a choice...The 
important consistency of an interface is functional consistency. This 
is far more important than mere aesthetics."

Have You Got Too Many Websites?
By Gerry McGovern.
"Too many websites are nearly always a bad idea. Getting your customer 
to remember one web address is more than enough of a challenge."

Human-Centered Design Considered Harmful
By Donald Norman.
"Human-Centered Design has become such a dominant theme in design that 
it is now accepted by interface and application designers 
automatically, without thought, let alone criticism. That's a dangerous 
state - when things are treated as accepted wisdom. The purpose of this 
essay is to provoke thought, discussion, and reconsideration of some of 
the fundamental principles of Human-Centered Design. These principles, 
I suggest, can be helpful, misleading, or wrong. At times, they might 
even be harmful. Activity-Centered Design is superior."

+17: XML.

RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0, Compared
By Tim Bray, Paul Hoffman, Sam Ruby, and Rob Sayre.
"People who generate syndication feeds have a choice of feed formats. 
As of mid-2005, the two most likely candidates will be RSS 2.0 and Atom 
1.0. The purpose of this page is to summarize, as clearly and simply as 
possible, the differences between the RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 syndication 

[Section one ends.]


+18: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?

Accessibility Information.

Association Information.

Book Listings.

Cascading Style Sheets Information.

Color Information.

Dreamweaver Information.

Evaluation & Testing Information.

Event Information.

Flash Information.

Information Architecture Information.

JavaScript Information.

Miscellaneous Web Information.

Navigation Information.

PHP Information.

Sites & Blogs Listing.

Standards, Guidelines & Pattern Information.

Tool Information.

Typography Information.

Usability Information.

XML Information.

[Section two ends.]



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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

[Issue ends.]

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