[webdev] Web Design Update: January 16, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Mon Jan 16 08:48:35 CST 2006

- Volume 4, Issue 30, January 16, 2006.

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:

06: FLASH.
11: PHP.
12: TOOLS.
14: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Accessibility in the User-Centered Design Process
By Shawn Lawton Henry and Mary Grossnickle Martinson.
"Accessibility in the User-Centered Design Process is an online book 
developed to assist usability professionals in incorporating accessible 
design practices into the user-centered design process..."

Usability and Accessibility in 2006
By Peter Abrahams.
"Having recently set up the new Accessibility Practice at Bloor it 
seems only right that I should stick my neck out and make some 
predictions for 2006..."

Visually Impaired User Weighs In on Assistive Technology Debate
By Scott Sede.
"...If someone were to ask my opinion of what the best solution for 
this situation is, I would say that states should invest in open source 
AT, including technologies that use OpenDocument. If the states gave as 
much fiscal and developmental attention to production of AT 
applications as they had paid for JAWS and MAGIC, we would now have a 
viable and productive open source system affordable to all visually 
impaired and blind users..."


The Many Uses of the Malleable em
By Zoe Gillenwater.
"Most people first encounter the em unit as a way to size text using 
CSS. This article will show you how to do just that. But, there's more 
to the em unit than just font sizing. It can be used as a length unit 
on any property that takes a length. You'll learn how to use the em 
unit as length for margin and padding to create pages that scale more 

Two Column Page Layouts With CSS
By Russ Weakley.
"In this lesson, you will learn how to position a two-column page 
layout with a header and a footer. This method involves floating them 
both because it is the most reliable method across most modern 

Introduction to the CSS Box Model - part one
By Hurricane.
"All elements on a web page are contained within rectangular boxes with 
properties that we're able to manipulate directly via the use of CSS. 
This gives us precise control over their dimensions and, therefore, 
their impact upon their surroundings. We can set the size of the area 
used to contain the contents, via the width setting, the width of the 
borders around the box, the amount of space between the contents and 
the border, and the amount of space between the borders of one box and 
those of its neighbors. The precision that's possible to achieve with 
these settings gives designers a fine degree of control over the layout 
of the web pages they create. So what are the settings, and how do we 
use them?..."

Introduction to the CSS Box Model - part two
By Hurricane.
"In part one we looked at the CSS box model, how it works, and how we 
can manipulate it to achieve our design aims. In this article we need 
to look at what can go wrong when, despite its simplicity, a browser 
doesn't know how to use the model correctly, and how we can compensate 
for it."


Databases and Dreamweaver MX 2004
By Jen and Peter de Haan et al.
"This article the first of two parts looks at the different database 
applications available for use with ColdFusion. It is excerpted from 
chapter two of the book em ColdFusion Web Development with Dreamweaver 
MX 2004, written by Jen and Peter de Haan et al."

Backing Up Site Definitions in Adobe Dreamweaver
By Jolantha Belik.
"Have you ever looked for missing remote server names, user names, and 


Myths and Measurements: Evaluating the ROI of Design
By Steve Calde.
"Few people disagree with the notion that products are better when they 
are designed before being built. Yet why do so many companies remove 
design from the project schedule? Steve Calde debunks the 
misperceptions that lead business-decision makers to think that design 
adds costs to product development, when in fact they can't afford not 
to spend money on research and design."

+05: EVENTS.

notacon 3
Communication and Hacker Culture
April 7-9, 2006.
Cleveland, Ohio U.S.A.

MySQL Users Conference
April 24-27, 2006.
Santa Clara, California U.S.A.

The Third International Cross-Disciplinary Workshop on Web 
Accessibility (W4A 2006)
'Building the Mobile Web: Rediscovering Accessibility?'
May 22, 2006.
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

+06: FLASH.

Open Flash?
By Dave Shea.
"Total speculation alert. I don't want anyone to read further into this 
than what I say, since I have no insider knowledge. But I was just 
re-reading a post of my own from December, Macromedia No More, and one 
paragraph particularly jumped out at me this time 'round."

Lynda Weinman on What's Next for Flash in 2006
By Lynda Weinman.
"With Macromedia and Adobe united as one, what's to become of Flash? 
Lynda Weinman, founder of lynda.com and the Flashforward Conference & 
Film Festival, takes a peek at her crystal ball and shares some of her 
predictions for 2006."


Paper Prototypes
By Jensen Harris.
"Often people ask us 'how did you come up with the ideas for the Office 
12 user interface?'..."


For Many AJAX is Not Degrading, But it Must
By Thomas Vander Wal.
"...Degrading is a Good Thing: Part of my problem with much of the push 
towards AJAX (it is a good, no great thing that XMLHTTPRequest is 
finally catching on). But, it must degrade well. It must still be 
accessible. It must be usable. If not, it is a cool useless piece of 
rubbish for some or many people..."

By Jeremy Keith.
"...Both viewpoints are valid. The value of Ajax lies in-between. It 
lies in the ability to appreciate the power that comes with being able 
to make asynchronous requests to the server without a page refresh, 
while at the same time always bearing in mind that you are still 
dealing with documents. If that's your mindset, then building Ajax 
applications that degrade gracefully becomes a no-brainer..."

Fixing the Back Button that AJAX Broke
By Mike Davies.
"One of the common disadvantages of AJAX is that it typically breaks 
the expected back button functionality. AJAX breaks one of the 
fundamental rules of the World Wide Web: one URL refers to one 

Getting Back to Web Basics
By Jeff Atwood.
"...Clever JavaScript on your web page does not exempt you from good 
web design. Instead of spending all this time exerting maximum 
cleverness to transcend the weaknesses of the web medium, It might be a 
better idea to play to the web's strengths - such as speeding up how 
fast your pages load, or avoiding recent ill-advised design trends. And 
whatever you do, don't break the freaking back button."


Effective Websites - The Responsibility of the Whole Organizations
By Sarah Burton-Taylor.
"Building an effective website is often seen exclusively as the job of 
the web team, and viewed as a design or technical issue. However, 
having worked with many different organizations, we would argue that 
often what stops them improving their website is the organization 
itself. Developing an effective website often requires organizational 
change: it requires a culture where people at all levels in the 
organization adopt behaviour that make a 'good user experience' an 
important goal. If the organizations is not focused on providing a good 
user experience, then the web team will be unable to build an effective 


Search Engines as Leeches on the Web
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Search engines extract too much of the Web's value, leaving too little 
for the websites that actually create the content. Liberation from 
search dependency is a strategic imperative for both websites and 
software vendors."

Evolutionary Information Seeking: A Case Study of Personal Development 
and Internet Searching
By Jarkko Kari.
"This article explores one question: what does Internet searching have 
to do with personal development? Personal development means that 
individuals improve their own abilities, skills, knowledge or other 
qualities by working on them. The paper reports on a qualitative case 
study, in which a single participant was interviewed and her Web 
searches observed. Information search strategies seemed to form a 
spectrum of developmental sophistication. Four major types of 
relationship were found: a) the Internet in the context of development; 
b) development in the context of the Internet; c) development affecting 
Internet use; and, d) Internet use affecting development. There were 
some informational phenomena which exhibited regression, the converse 
of development."

+11: PHP.

Will the Zend Framework Save PHP?
By Richard Davey.
"As we embrace the changes that 2006 will bring to the PHP community, I 
can but only wonder about what is to become of PHP 5. Talk and debate 
over PHP 6 is already a hot topic, and despite being in a stable 
release for over 2 years PHP 5 has failed to see any significant kind 
of adoption rates, lingering at an astonishingly low 4.2%. Will PHP 5 
be the version that everyone 'skipped', or could the Zend Framework be 
its savior?"

A (Lengthy) Look Back at PHP in 2005
By Derick Rethans.
"Well, here it is, the end of another year and it's times like these 
that it's always fun to take a look back to where we've come from and 
how far we've made it on various projects. The PHP community has come 
so far from those early days of January, and I thought I'd take my own 
look back via some of the news posts that I've made over on 
PHPDeveloper.org in the past year (almost 2000 of em) and see which 
ones stuck out. So, bear with me on this - I know I'll miss a few of 
the buggies, but I'm going to try to highlight things in each month 
that really effected the community as a whole."

+12: TOOLS.

By Eric Smith.
"Create complex html forms without using tables for layout..."


MIT's Homepage: Preposterous or Ingenious?
By Joshua Porter.
"Our friends at MIT have an unusual approach to their homepage. They 
change it every day, so much so that it looks completely different from 
the day before...They do what would seem preposterous to the 
'consistent look and feel' crowd. (I can almost hear marketing and 
design teams cringe.) On the other hand, MIT does provide consistent 
change, showcasing content that folks might not have known about..."

Early and Often: How to Avoid the Design Revision Death Spiral
By Dave Cronin.
"A critical component to the success of an interaction design project 
is close collaboration with clients or stakeholders. Without careful 
planning and structure this type of collaboration can turn into a 
significant barrier to project success. Dave Cronin's article, 
originally presented at the DUX 2005 design conference, discusses the 
strategies and methods Cooper has adopted to get maximum benefit as a 
consultancy from clients' feedback and expertise while maintaining 
creative momentum and achieving deadlines."

Ten Tips For Writing For the Web
By Lea Sadler.
"1. Write for a reason. Get to the point. One of the basic references 
for Web design is Steve Krug's, Don't Make Me Think. My book for Web 
writers (not yet available in stores) will be called, Don't Make Me 
Yawn. The Great Democracy that is the Web has spawned far more spam and 
yammer than thoughtful prose. Don't fall in love with your own voice. 
Make sure every word supports the message..."

Designing User Experiences for Applications Versus Information 
Resources on the Web
By Leo Frishberg.
"The relatively recent adoption of user-focused design practices by the 
Web design and development community-including personas, participatory 
design, paper prototyping, and the like-highlights important 
distinctions between the user experiences of desktop applications and 
those of information spaces. With the growing desire for usable Web 
applications, these distinctions become more topical and important to 
understand. Though the process of designing and creating application 
and information space user experiences for the Web is virtually the 
same-even if the deliverable design documents may differ-their user 
experiences are fundamentally and profoundly different. For designers, 
business analysts, marketing consultants, and others who are sincerely 
interested in delivering the best user experiences online, 
understanding these distinctions can reduce the cost of design and 
improve the likelihood of user acceptance."

+14: XML.

Is Microsoft's XML Format About Openness or Control?
By tadelste.
"Richard Stallman is right. Proprietary software is ultimately about 
dividing and controlling users. As if there were no other evidence of 
this, Microsoft's stance on XML document formats is plain enough. If 
the light in your head hasn't come on yet, I suggest you go get a new 
bulb. Think about it. If Microsoft were genuinely interested in 
interoperability, they would have happily joined the OpenDocument TC at 
OASIS, and helped to define the format."

[Section one ends.]


+15: 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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