[webdev] Web Design Update: February 26, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Sun Feb 26 07:50:10 CST 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 36, February 26, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 36 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.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
The DOM And Screen Readers
By Gez Lemon.
"This article investigates a method of providing client-side form
validation through the DOM, and ensures that it works as expected with
screen readers. Modern screen readers work relatively well with
scripting, but it's the extra steps required to inform screen reader
users that the content has changed that needs addressing."
Non-Visual Access to the Digital Library (NoVA):
The Use of the Digital Library Interfaces by Blind and Visually
By Jenny Craven and Peter Brophy.
"NoVA's observations and other analyses of users searching for
information on the web reveal that, unsurprisingly, people who are
sighted find searching the web much easier than visually impaired
people. Furthermore, people who are visually impaired, but possess
enough sight to be able to see part of the screen (either up close or
using magnification), find searching the web easier than those whose
sight is severely impaired (i.e. those who are either totally blind or
have very limited sight). These results confirm the findings of a
parallel study conducted by Coyne and Nielsen, which estimated that
'the Web is about three times easier to use for sighted users than it
is for users who are blind or who have low vision' (Coyne and Nielsen
2001 p 5), although we would not make such explicit claims. Again, as
with NoVA, findings from this study also revealed that people using
screen magnification appeared to have a higher success rate than those
using a screen reader, although the difference was not statistically
Web Accessibility and Learning Difficulties
By Tim Fidgeon.
"...Webcredible's analysis of usability testing sessions involving
participants with learning difficulties has led to our suggesting these
guidelines when designing for these users..."
Handheld for Blind and Low-vision Users
By Matt Bailey.
"VisuaAid releases a Mainstream handheld for blind and low-vision
users. Called Maestro, the device is a compact, palm-like handheld that
offers text-to-speech technology and tactile keyboard membrane over the
touch screen, eliminating the use for a stylus. The handheld is build
in the HP iPaq Pocket PC platform and VisuaAid claims..."
Increased Accessibility for Mobile Devices
By Matt Bailey.
"While browsing the latest press releases, this release caught my
attention. 'Nuance introduces the Nuance Accessibility Suite; provides
unprecedented User Accessibility to Mobile Devices.' Now, I'm usually
skeptical of hype, especially when it is provided in the form of a
press release, but this seemed very interesting, especially when
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
By Mark Groen.
"...This tutorial is not meant to be a bible for all things css, and
indeed some of the notes I've made may even be wrong, your mileage may
vary. What it does do, is to show some methods of taking an existing
Photoshop or Illustrator mock-up or existing web page created with
tables and slices, and one way to turn it into a light weight CSS and
xhtml based document..."
Web Design: Learning Basic HTML and CSS
"Get started creating your own HTML and stylesheets!"
Intermediate HTML and CSS
"Building on your skills to create structured HTML content that can be
styled and layed out with your stylesheets"
Managing Data Exchange/CSS
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Virtual Focus Groups: Taking the Discussion Online
By Chris Haas.
"There are significant limitations to this technique: we were lucky we
were seeking input from computer-savvy college students with
disabilities, and that they were familiar with the IM process. Lucky
that they had their own accounts, which made things easier. It raised
protection of human subjects questions: how do they digitally sign a
consent form? How do we verify their identities? And it cast doubt on
our own procedures: While it takes a full minute to speak aloud our
welcome and orientation in a lab-based session, it is a full page of
lifeless text when parceled out line by line to participants online.
The process illuminated technological limitations: both Yahoo! IM and
AOL IM proved unequal to the task of reliably holding two hours of
transcript information in memory without crashing. Not everyone may
have access to scan converters for screen recording. But conducting
virtual focus groups had clear benefits: with electronic communication
the limitations of space, geography, sign-language interpreter costs,
and even scheduling fell by the wayside. Our researchers could conduct
groups at nearly any time of day or night, all at the participants'
convenience. And the software, unreliable as it was, was free."
World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia &
June 26-30, 2006.
Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
July 30 - August 3 2006.
Boston, Massachusetts U.S.A.
Flash is dead! Long live Flash!
By Phil Renaud.
"...Know what else is a primary reason standardists have come together?
The banishment of flash User Interface sites. The emerging web at the
turn of the century was something pretty scary if you're a fan of
accessibility, and verily, web usability as a whole. But, we're over
that now, right? Lengthy flash intros by the wayside, user interfaces
no longer with the same techno song pounding in the background and a
series of beeps that'd make you swear Hal 9000 was living in your PC?
Weren't those the old days? Hasn't web 2.0 saved us from the damnation
that was unusable and one-shot websites? Maybe not. Because it seems
every time I turn around, there's a new variety of the old problem.
Right now, I think that the next big usability and accessibility
problem on the web could be the rampant use of AJAX..."
Quick Explanation of the Object Literal
By Christian Heilmann.
"Answering some emails, I realized lately that the object literal
the following is gobbledegook for you..."
Show Love to the Object Literal
By Christian Heilmann.
in the past and re-discovered it in the wake of the AJAX craze you
might have been baffled by scripts that come in a new syntax."
The Document Object Model
By David Flanagan.
Ajax, Hijax and Accessibility
By Bruce Lawson.
would be well. We could ask all screenreader users to turn off
in the menus, and it's unreasonable to ask people to do that for just
your site, when the reason that the screenreaders have some scripting
capability is because 90% of the Web would be useless without it.) So a
functioning Ajax page would be very, very difficult to make
By Guyon Roche.
"To many object orientation purists, a programming language doesn't cut
the mustard unless it supports some form of class inheritance, where
one class can 'inherit' the behavior of another class. This week,
By Jagadish Chaterjee.
"This series of articles mainly lists some of the most commonly used
reuse these scripts to inject into server side controls easily..."
Gary Schar Interview: Microsoft Exec Talks IE7, RSS
By Nate Mook and Ed Oswald.
"Following a decision to release a stand alone version of IE7, browser
development at Microsoft has come fast and furious. BetaNews this week
sat down with Gary Schare, Director of IE Product Management, to
discuss the changes coming in IE7, Firefox's growth, and how Microsoft
will bring RSS to the mainstream."
Gary Share on IE7
By Daniel Glazman.
"Gary Share says only security and feature requests coming from users
drove the expansion of IE7 to WinXP. Gary Share certainly omits one
particularly important detail: Microsoft killed Netscape and it killed
it well. But a small group of completely crazy people, incredibly poor
and unorganized compared to the giant Microsoft, stood up and made a
new browser that has kicked the giant's but. Microsoft can certainly
answer strongly, they have the power, the money and the brains for
that. Not only they can do it, but they need to do it. They need to do
it because otherwise, the whole world will see it is possible to
challenge Microsoft products even when zillions of people use them,
even when they come bundled with Windows!"
Paul Dell vs Dell Computers
By Stephanie Sullivan.
"This is another one of those David and Goliath stories that always
aggravate me. Another case of the big giant shoving around the little
guy who has a smaller sword and shield in the hopes he'll just give
Avoid Within-Page Links
By Jakob Nielsen.
"On the Web, users have a clear mental model for a hypertext link:
it should bring up a new page. Within-page links violate this model and
thus cause confusion."
Jakob Nielsen and Ajax
By Tom Dell'Aringa.
"What do the usability guru and the emerging (stampeding) force that is
Ajax have to do with each other? Today, Mr. Nielsen wrote in his
Alertbox article this: 'On the Web, users have a clear mental model for
a hypertext link: it should bring up a new page. Within-page links
violate this model and thus cause confusion.' Ah, but what do we have
in Ajax applications? 'Web pages' that act like applications, which are
loaded with hyperlinks that absolutely do not navigate away from/reload
the page! Mr. Nielsen says such links break the users mental model..."
Jakob Nielsen Strikes Again on a Usability Practice and He's Right
By Kim Krause Berg.
"...end users don't like the unexpected. They hate feeling dumb. User
instructions would have been helpful, such as 'These links will take
you to sections within the page.' Then, I would have known what the
links were for, and how to use them. Jakob Nielsen writes, 'To avoid
confusing users, you must communicate exceptions to their expectations
in advance.' Exactly..."
On PHP - My Thoughts
By Mike Papageorge.
"...Herein lies the main problem: people with little or no education in
the realm of programming are programming! And these are oftentimes
people who don't understand what POST is, or GET, or even a header for
that matter. The fact is, PHP makes it easy to make a dynamic website,
just as Dreamweaver makes it easy to write HTML, and we're all familiar
with the mess that program spits out. So of course people are going to
write spaghetti code, they are going to repeat themselves, and the
result is going to be a pain the in ass to maintain and improve. I
should know, I have no formal programming education, and when I look
back on the first few scripts I wrote I cringe - well, now I laugh - at
how green I was (I also wonder how I had the knackers to charge for the
By css-discuss Wiki.
Huge listing of CSS editors.
Em Vs Percent Widths
By css-discuss Wiki.
"Both em and % are relative measures. The difference is what each is
relative to. Em is always relative to font size. % is relative to the
containing block, usually the body, a div, or a table, unless applied
to font-size, in which case it applies to the parent font-size..."
Usability for Rich Internet Applications
By by Donna Maurer.
"After struggling for years to design Internet applications around the
limitations of HTML, I have been very excited by the recent release of
a range of Internet applications with increased richness and
interactivity. Rich Internet applications (RIAs) can provide
opportunities to design much better user experiences. They can be
faster, more engaging and much more usable. However, this improvement
is not without its downside?RIAs are much more difficult to design than
the previous generation of page-based applications. The richer
interaction requires a better understanding of users and of
human-computer interaction (HCI). Although there is a lot of HCI
material and research available, it can be difficult to determine how
it applies to this new environment. In this article, I provide some
practical tips for designing usable RIAs, based on fundamental
principles of HCI."
Trust and Blame
By Whitney Quesenbery.
The more we rely on our electronic devices, the more we are trusting
them to be there when we need them and to safeguard our information and
Designing Websites for Older Users
By Tim Fidgeon
"...Although more research into the internet behaviors and preferences
of elderly users is obviously required, we would like to suggest the
XML in the Real World
By Scott Fegette.
"Learn what XML is, what purpose it serves, and how you can put it to
use in your projects..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+14: 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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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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