[webdev] Web Design Update: January 22, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Sun Jan 22 08:01:19 CST 2006

- Volume 4, Issue 31, January 22, 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:

10: PHP.
12: TOOLS.
15: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Let Them Eat Cake: Accessibility and Usability, Brought Together 
Through the DOM and CSS
By Aaron Gustafson.
"There has been a growing debate lately, pitting accessibility against 
usability. My feeling is that if you can make a page more usable 
without making it less accessible, by all means do so; do not let your 
inability to translate certain usability enhancements into accessible 
functions or features restrict your use of those enhancements. As long 
as the enhancements do not restrict accessibility, go for it. As many 
of you know, with JavaScript and the DOM, we have the ability to 
control every element on a well-structured webpage. It is my feeling 
that, using the DOM, we can improve the usability of a page without 
restricting its accessibility. Sprinkle in a little CSS and we have the 
recipe for a wonderful experience all around, regardless of the 
browser, platform or device being used."

Audio Transcription For Podcasts: JC Human vs. CastingWords.com
By Robin Good.
"Robin Good reviews two audio transcription services to see how they 
compare. He submitted the same 30-minute podcast two both services and 
posts the results."

The Accessibility Hat Trick: Getting Abbreviations Right
By Colin Lieberman.
"...Colin Lieberman tells how to pull AAA accessibility out of your hat 
when the W3C kills acronym, Microsoft ignores abbr, and JAWS hates dfn."

Google Petition Concerning CAPTCHA
By Matt Bailey.
"Well, I can't say that I'm surprised about this one. Pardon the pun, 
but you could 'see' this coming. The Blind Access Journal is rising up 
to ask Google to give them access. For years, blind users have been 
frustrated at the inability to be a part of Google's growing services. 
It was a slap in the face to the Blind community when Google celebrated 
Louise Braille's birthday by using a Braille logo. The Braille Google 
logo was simply the last straw..."

Correction: The following article was incorrectly credited in our 
December 21, 2005 issue. Karl Dawson not Mike Cherim is the author.

How Useful are Accessibility Evaluation Tools?
By Karl Dawson.
"To assess and discuss the benefits and limitations of using an
automated evaluation tool to assess the technical accessibility of a
large, standards-compliant website driven by a Content Management
System. I've broken this research into several areas: [1] The
Usefulness of Automated Tools [2] Limitations of Automated Tools, [3]
Quality control at the bench."


CSS 2.1 Selectors, Part 1
By Roger Johansson.
"Among the first things you learn about when you start out with CSS are 
selectors. Selectors are obviously a fundamental part of CSS, but few 
developers use them to their full potential. While you can get a lot 
done with just the type, ID, and class selectors, there are many more."

CSS 2.1 Selectors, Part 2
By Roger Johansson.
"This is the second part of a three-part article series that explains 
the selectors that are available in CSS 2.1. Part 1 is about the more 
basic stuff like type selectors, class and id selectors, the universal 
selector, and simple selectors."

CSS 2.1 Selectors, Part 3
By Roger Johansson.
"This is the third and final part of a three-part article series that 
explains the selectors that are available in CSS 2.1. Part 1 is about 
the more basic stuff like type selectors, class and id selectors, the 
universal selector, simple selectors. In Part 2 I explained 
combinators, combined selectors, grouping, and attribute selectors."

CSS 3 Selectors Explained
By Roger Johansson.
"...If we look a little further ahead, there are even more powerful 
selectors waiting to be implemented and used in CSS 3. Many of the CSS 
3 selectors have already been implemented in modern browsers, but in 
general support is far too patchy for developers to rely on these new 
selectors. However, there are cases where they can be used to add nice 
forward enhancing features, so I think taking a look at how the new 
selectors in CSS 3 work can be useful...."

Invasion of the Body Switchers Version 2.1
By James Edwards.
"Invasion of the Body Switchers (IOTBS) is an efficient object-oriented 
style sheet switcher, which offers independent switching of multiple 
media types, and supports an unlimited number of options and controls. 
It works in all modern graphical browsers except Mac/IE5 (with 
javascript enabled), and is available in a range of modes and 

Managing HTML and CSS to Keep Clients Happy and Avoid 'Disaster' - Part 
By John Gallant and Holly Bergevin.
"This article is meant for the coder who is becoming comfortable with 
tableless design, but must deal with other members of a site design 
team, or a client, who doesn't grasp CSS as well as you do. Suddenly 
your well-working CSS layouts are getting folded, spindled, and yes, 
even mutilated! The horror! If you are unprepared, a long slow train of 
'difficulties' may await you. We've been there, done that, and we are 
going to tell you all the little things that we learned the hard way..."


Applying CSS from Screen to Print to Handheld -
Part 2: Layout and Background Images
By Adrian Senior.
"In Part 2 of this tutorial, you will prepare your design elements for 
the basic layout of the page. This is necessary before you can complete 
the CSS work in Part 3. In this part, you will complete the #header 
div, set a background image against the body element, and create the 
#innerwrapper div and its background image."

Applying CSS from Screen to Print to Handheld -
Part 3: Columns and Footer
By Adrian Senior.
Create the columns and footer for the site.

Applying CSS from Screen to Print to Handheld -
Part 4: Navigation and Main Content
By Adrian Senior.
"In Part 3 of this tutorial, you completed the transformation of your 
design's structure from a table layout to a CSS layout. In this part, 
you will add content to your design, using CSS to style elements within 
the page. You will do this by treating each element within the design 
as a separate entity, and you'll target each of these elements directly 
from the CSS file by writing our selectors in such a way that they map 
to specific elements in specific containers."


Change It Up!
By Mandy Lowey.
"Not every upgrade comes with a big budget, so you have to work with 
what you've got. Here are a couple of ways you can work with an 
existing UI to give it a new look and function."

+05: EVENTS.

Think! Creating eLearning Courses That Work
February 18, 2006.
Minneapolis, Minnesota U.S.A.

TODCon 8: The Other Dreamweaver CONference
May 19-21, 2006.
Orlando, Florida. U.S.A.

CADUI 2006:
6th International Conference on Computer-Aided Design of User Interfaces
June 5-8, 2006.
Bucharest, Romania


Visio - The Interaction Designer's Nail Gun (2nd edition)
How to use Visio for rapid prototyping
By Henrik Olsen.
"This is a second edition of the article on using Visio for rapid 
prototyping for the web. The new edition includes a new and improved 
version of the GUUUI Prototyping Tool for Visio 2003."


Accessibility of AJAX Application: Part 1
By Jared Smith.
In Part 1-Accessibility Issues, Jared Smith addresses the following 
questions: 1. What is AJAX?; 2. Why AJAX?; 3. Why not AJAX? He also 
offers a list of resources related to the accessibility of AJAX.

JavaScript Coding Style
By Dan Webb.
"It seems like every JavaScript hacker has their own way of laying out 
scripts. Some just use lists of functions and a few global variables, 
others use classes very heavily and some use objects to give some kind 
of namespacing to their scripts. It seems like there are as many coding 
styles as there are JavaScript programmers but in other languages 
coding styles are much more consistent. I've been thinking a lot 
recently about the pros and cons of script structuring techniques 
because I'd really like to settle on one standard for all my own (and 
Vivabit's) code to aid readability and maintainability."


Lou Rosenfeld Eats His Own Dog Food
By Liz Danzico.
Liz Danzico interviews Lou Rosenfeld over at Boxes & Arrows.

Web 3.0
By Jeffrey Zeldman.
"...I take a fair and balanced look at Web 2.0..."

Why Zeldman's Web 3.0 Misses the Mark
By Joshua Porter.
"...There's a big difference between ideas and the people who wrongly 
abuse them. To me, it looks like Jeffrey doesn't like the people who 
evangelize Web 2.0 as being the greatest thing since sliced bread, the 
cure for headaches, and the best get rich scheme since Ponzi. Dash of 
Ajax, pinch of Ruby on Rails, and you're about to flip. Of course, 
Zeldman is right about this: everyone is sick of these people. But 
there are also groups of people who are much more sane than that, and 
who follow Web 2.0 reasonably, pointing out that it's not about the 
technology or the get-rich schemes, but about creating useful 
applications for real people..."


Source Order, Skip Links and Structural Labels
By Roger Hudson, Russ Weakley, and Lisa Miller.
"Is page source order important to screen reader users? Recently, the 
idea of placing the informational content of a web page before the 
navigation has gained some currency. This paper reports on our research 
into the relevance and importance of page source order, skip links and 
structural labels for screen reader users."

'Back to Top' Links Considered Harmful
By Jukka "Yucca" Korpela.
"Web pages often contain links to the start of the page, typically 
named 'Back to Top' and possibly accompanied with icons such as an 
arrow pointing upwards. This document explains why such usage is bad 
practice, especially for accessibility reasons. It also discusses the 
techniques creating such links in a manner that minimizes the damage."

A (Slightly) Better Technique For 'Back to Top' Links
By web-graphics.
"Until recently, I never had the occasion to employ links that scroll 
the browser viewport back to the top of the page. When a client 
requested them however, I had to look up how to make them. I didn't 
like the options I found..."

Site Maps and Site Indexes, Revisited
By Jared Spool.
"Before the holidays, I generated blogosphere fervor when I mentioned I 
think it's a potential waste of valuable development resources to 
construct and maintain site maps and site indexes. Several people left 
excellent comments which I never had the chance to address until now, 
so let me see if I can clarify my thinking."

Image Links vs. Text Links
By Jared Spool.
"...Our finding was when users clicked in image links they were just as 
likely to succeed or fail as when the clicked on text links. There was 
no statistically-meaningful difference. Our inference from this was a 
well-designed image link will work as well as a well-designed text 
link. A poorly-designed image link will fail as often as a 
poorly-designed text link. Since image links are significantly harder 
to design 'well', our recommendation to clients has been to favor text 
links. They are more efficient to create and manage and produce the 
same results. We also concluded, from this same research, that there 
are three different types of images that can appear on a page..."

+10: PHP.

Back to Basics: PHP and Arrays
By Dennis Pallett.
"No more Ajax, Tags, Web 2.0 or anything else: it's back to basics with 
this article on Arrays in PHP"


Internetworld Gets Web Standards All Wrong
By Robert Nyman.
"This post is mostly applicable for Swedish readers, but I believe most 
of you in other countries stumble across this fairly frequently too..."

+12: TOOLS.

Online Accessibility Check
By etre.
"Check the compliance of your website with a number of leading 
accessibility guidelines using our automated online page check."

TENbot Tool
By David Burke.
"Convert online newsfeeds in Really Simple Syndication (RSS) format to 
the Text Email Newsletter (TEN) standard developed by E-Access Bulletin 
publishers Headstar. The TEN Standard allows easy navigation for screen 
reader and print impaired users. TENbot, aimed primarily at web site 
owners, has been designed by David Burke of UK technology firm Daden..."

ROR Sitemap Generator
By rorweb.com.
"This free tool will crawl your website and generate a ROR Sitemap with 
up to 1,000 URLs for ALL search engines, not just Google..."


CSS Typography
By Garrett Dimon.
"You don't often see 'CSS' and 'typography' used in the same 
sentence-and for good reason. Traditional typography is a very subtle 
and beautiful form of design, with thousands of variations and choices. 
Unfortunately, with CSS that's not quite the case. Don't lose hope just 
yet, though. CSS can do more than you might think. With font embedding, 
the widespread adoption of sIFR and a slew of image replacement and 
JavaScript techniques, there are numerous ways of avoiding the 
typographic limitations of the Web. Unfortunately, these methods aren't 
trivial to use and each has its own limitations. So we'll focus on 
embracing our options within the boundaries of CSS..."


Web Users Judge Sites in the Blink of an Eye
By Michael Hopkin.
"Potential readers can make snap decisions in just 50 milliseconds. 
Quickly now: like what you see? Like the look of our website? Whatever 
the answer (and hopefully it was yes), the chances are you made your 
mind up within the first twentieth of a second. A study by researchers 
in Canada has shown that the snap decisions Internet users make about 
the quality of a web page have a lasting impact on their opinions..."

Defining the User Experience
By Mike Kuniavsky.
"The definition I came up with is that, in a nutshell, the user 
experience of a product is everything that's not human-computer 
interaction. It's everything that affects how someone interacts with a 
tool--whether it's software, hardware, a service, or whatever. To me, 
this meant that I had to deal with all of the squishy, abstract things 
that good cognitive psychology and computer science-trained designers 
like me try not to deal with: business goals, emotions, relationships, 
branding, etc."

The Art of the Incremental Redesign
By Jeffrey Veen.
"...There will always be a place for innovation, of course. But maybe 
there's value in reconsidering the redesign for a more measured, 
iterative approach. Maybe it's time to slow down just a little."

+15: XML.

Migrating from HTML to XHTML and XML: Part 2/2
By Char James-Tanny.
"...validating your XHTML files, migrating from XHTML to XML, possible 
XML standards, creating your own standard, validating your XML files, 
and creating an XML to HTML transform."

Don't Invent XML Languages
By Tim Bray.
"The X in XML stands for 'Extensible'; one big selling point is that 
you can invent your own XML languages to help you solve your own 
problems. But I've become convinced, over the last couple of years, 
that you shouldn't. Unless you really have to. This piece explains why. 
And, there's a companion piece entitled On XML Language Design, in case 
you do really have to..."

 From the Top: MIME and Content Negotiation
By Karl Dawson.
"Content negotiation at its simplest is a conversation between your web 
server and a user agent (browser, search engine bot etc) to determine 
the preferred format or version of a resource to serve. In this, the 
second in my article series 'From the Top' I will introduce you to the 
web (head) waiter that knows how to correctly serve your web page to a 
user agent..."

[Section one ends.]


+16: 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.]



WEB DESIGN UPDATE is available by subscription. For information on how 
to subscribe and unsubscribe please visit:
The Web Design Reference Site also has a RSS 2.0 feed for site updates.


As a navigation aid for screen readers we do our best to conform to the 
accessible Text Email Newsletter (TEN) guidelines. Please let me know 
if there is anything else we can do to make navigation easier. For TEN 
guideline information please visit:


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.]

More information about the Webdev mailing list