[webdev] Web Design Update: September 15, 2005
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Sep 15 06:22:03 CDT 2005
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 12, September 15, 2005.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 12 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
07: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
11: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
15: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Accessibility and the Value of User Testing
By Tina Holmboe.
"This article will attempt to sort out some of the issues regarding two
fundamentally different methods of evaluating accessibility: automated
assessments and user testing. It will also debunk two common myths
regarding the former method, and clarify some issues normally
overlooked in regard to the latter."
Quiz 5.2.13: Speaking Form Labels
By Bob Easton.
"Handling form labels has been on one of my back burners for a long
time. This week, both Shannon and Becky found an anomaly based on a
suggestion in the WCAG 2.0 CSS guide, item 5.5. There, it shows several
examples of coding form labels which are hidden from visual display..."
Braille Displays and Web Forms
By David Poehlman.
Regarding WAI 10.4: default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and
text areas David says, "Yes, filled edit boxes are still necessary
because many users are running combinations of technologies that will
not provide an indication which is not there. A space simply will not
work either because it shows up as nothing much the same as nothing in
the field at all."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
By css-discuss Wiki.
Links to detailed discussions of many hacks and their possible
To Hack Or Not To Hack
By css-discuss Wiki.
"The topic of whether or not to use CSS hacks is often hotly debated,
and could be thought of as a Holy War. Since Holy Wars are by their
nature long winded and boring let's keep this one tucked away on its
own page where it won't bother anyone who doesn't want to be bothered."
Good CSS Hack
By css-discuss Wiki.
This document outlines some qualities of a 'good' CSS hack.
By css-discuss Wiki.
This document suggests workaround methods that avoid true hacks.
CSS Hacks and Server-Side Code
By Stuart Langridge.
"Scott Isaacs, one of the Microsoft web chaps, is complaining about CSS
hacks. His proposed solution is to, instead of applying CSS hacks to
make a browser do what you want, instead have details of the users
browser inserted into the HTML element either by server-side or
client-side script. So, if you visit a page using IE6.0, it would add
class="ie m6 d0 win" to the HTML element; using Firefox 1.06 on Linux
it would add class="firefox m1 d06 linux", and so on. Then, in your
stylesheet, use these hooks to apply style for specific browsers. I
think that this is not a good idea, and heres why."
Latest Macromedia Studio May Not Merit an Upgrade
By Dennis O'Reilly.
"Macromedia has overhauled its Studio 8 Web suite, but many of the
changes are outside the individual applications. Overall, the $999
suite features tighter integration. If you work primarily in just one
of the suite's big-name programs (Dreamweaver 8, Flash Professional 8,
or Fireworks 8), however, you'll likely find few reasons to upgrade
from Studio MX 2004."
By Marius Zaharia.
"Prepare yourself for the new XML and XSL features and tools in
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
By D. Keith Robinson.
"This is something I wrote a few years back, in September 2003 to be
exact. I recently had a lengthy discussion with a few folks about the
use of personas in design and figured it was worth republishing. The
value of personas in Web design is certainly debatable, but I've found
them very useful, if for nothing else then using them to help pull your
clients and stakeholders into a discussion about the people what
interact with your designs. As well, they can be use for many other
things aside from informing Web design and can be a great way to pull
business and user goals together. So, to the post..."
Persona Non Grata
By Dan Saffer.
Ever since Alan Cooper's 1999 book The Inmates are Running The Asylum
was published, everyone is mad for personas. They've permeated the
highest and deepest levels of organizations, and have become a standard
interaction design tool. Whole projects are now built around creating
them, and there's a feeling that once you get a half dozen or so, your
design problems will be solved. Presumably, your personas solve them
Macromedia MAX 2005
October 16-19, 2005.
Anaheim, California, U.S.A.
World Usability Day
World Wide Event
November 3, 2005.
Validity, Accessibility, Flash: Choose Two
By Matt May.
If you're a Flash developer, and are using the accessibility features
of the authoring tool to make your Flash objects directly accessible,
you'd probably like to be sure that users of the supported browsers and
screen readers can use those features. But common techniques for
embedding Flash while still using valid HTML, which is not as easy as
it seems, appear to cause trouble when it comes to reaching those
+07: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Getting IA Done, Part II
By Joshua Kaufman.
"Back in June, I presented my best advice in Getting IA Done, Part I.
At the end of the article, I asked Digital Web Magazine readers to send
me their favorite tips to publish in Part II. I've included most of the
submissions in this column. A big thanks goes out to everyone who sent
me ideas?you make this column Information Architecture for the People."
"Every time I hear someone talking about AJAX, I get a little
concerned. I haven't written much about it here because of the fact
that I wanted it to mature a little before jumping on board. It's
matured enough, and now I'll chime in with my two cents. As soon as I
hear the word AJAX, a particular quote from Jurassic Park flashes
through my head. "They were so busy worrying about whether or not they
could, they didn't stop to think if they should."
Remote Scripting with AJAX, Part 1
By Cameron Adams.
"In this two-part series, Cameron Adams demonstrates the advantages of
using remote scripting with the AJAX XMLHttpRequest protocol to create
web apps and improve website functionality. Here in part one, he
creates an example application that shows how to implement
XMLHttpRequest. Stay tuned for part two next week, where he'll show how
to create a usable interface for the example app."
Remote Scripting with AJAX, Part 2
By Cameron Adams.
"In part one of this two-part series, Cameron Adams created an example
application that showed how to use remote scripting to implement the
AJAX XMLHttpRequest protocol. Now, in part two, he shows how to create
a usable interface for the example app."
State of Ajax: Progress, Challenges, and Implications for SOAs
By Dion Hinchcliffe.
"A lot of bits have been pushed around the blogosphere on the topic of
Ajax over the last few months..."
By Lee Underwood.
"In this installment we look at the methods that are associated with
the window object and how they work. Until now, we've been learning how
to build the framework of our scripts but now we'll start to see things
your Web sites."
Web Applications: A Team Effort
By Cody Lindley.
"This article considers building the 'ideal' web team, explaining both
the archetypal roles needed and the requisite people that can best fill
those roles. In a future column, I will discuss some of the fundamental
processes that help take a web project successfully from planning to
Is the Web's Love Affair With PHP Over?
By Gavin Clarke.
"If Evans Data Corp (EDC) is to believed, then some big names in
enterprise systems have been rash in their support for open source
scripting language PHP. This last eight months saw Intel, SAP, Oracle
and IBM all support PHP, with investments or product backing through
partnerships with PHP king Zend Technologies. However, EDC's survey has
found PHP, along with scripting cousins Perl and Python, is seeing
drastically reduced adoption among developers in Europe, the Middle
East and Africa (EMEA). Use of PHP has dropped by a quarter in EMEA
during the last 12 months to just under 28 per cent while 40 per cent
of developers said they have no plans to evaluate or use PHP."
Are There Enough Bodies to Satisfy PHP's Love Affair
By John Lim.
"...PHP will continue to be popular with startups, and small and medium
sized companies. But in the corporate world, I think growth will be
The Voice of Reason in PHP
By John Lim.
"Here's one good reason why I still put my faith in PHP. As a developer
with over a million lines of PHP code to maintain, I don't want the
headache of keeping up to date with the latest gee-whiz features that
break backward compatibility. PHP5 is great because by sticking to a
few simple rules, I have code that runs well on both PHP4 and 5. Rasmus
Lerdorf was brainstorming the other day and suggested some wholesale
changes for PHP6. I presume the post was just to test the waters, but I
was frightened to see so many of the brilliant programmers (who design
and develop PHP internals) were keen on breaking backward
compatibility. Fortunately, I found the biggest voice of reason was
Writing 'Learning PHP 5'
By David Sklar.
"Developers often write open source software in public, but what about
developers who write about open source software? Do they build tools?
How do your favorite books come about? David Sklar explains how he
wrote Learning PHP 5."
+11: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Comments to U.S. Copyright Office
By Holly Marie Koltz.
"Yesterday, Tim Berners Lee (W3C) hand and web delivered formal
comments, World Wide Web Consortium Comments on Copyright Office
Proposal to Use Single-Vendor Web Service to the United States
Copyright Office regarding the proposed pre-registration system."
Selector Builder Preview Version
By Daniel Glazman.
"I am releasing a v0.1 standalone version of the CSS3 Selector builder
through Disruptive Innovations. It's available here and it allows you
to write a CSS3 selector in a human-friendly way. Warnings: 1.) Tristan
Nitot reported problems using Deer Park; please use Firefox 1.0.6. 2.)
The code is not free, and you're not allowed to copy the code elsewhere
w/o prior written authorization. 3.) Yes, I know, some CSS3 simple
selectors are missing. 4.) There's no sanity control on the textboxes.
Much Ado About Sex and Web Sites...Or Why It's Still Important to Know
Who Your Users Are
By Kath Straub.
Kath Straub looks at recent research on the effect of designer gender
on Web site design.
"Its a very minor and subtle change, but its a good example of being
careful when labeling buttons. Different words can have very subtle
implications that could cause confusion or hesitation. Usability is
about making sure that your application does what your users expect it
to do. When your button tells them exactly whats going on, it helps
set that expectation clearly and succinctly."
Programmers are People, Too
By Ken Arnold.
"Programming language and API designers can learn a lot from the field
of human-factors design."
Quality, Not Quantity: Delivering Value From Web Content
By Gerry McGovern.
"Maintaining the quality of your content is critical to the long term
success of your website. That involves establishing rigorous pre and
post publication editorial processes."
A Really, Really, Really Good Introduction to XML
By Tom Myer.
This is a excerpt from By Tom Myer's new book "No Nonsense XML Web
Development with PHP". "In this chapter, we'll cover the basics of XML
- essentially, most of the information you'll need to know to get a
handle on this exciting technology. After we're done exploring some
terminology and examples, we'll jump right in and start working with
XML documents. Then, we'll spend some time starting the project we'll
develop through the course of this book: building an XML-powered
content management system..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+15: 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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