[webdev] Web Design Update: March 19, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Sun Mar 19 07:51:03 CST 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 39, March 19, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 39 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.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
15: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Evaluating Website Accessibility Part 2, Basic Checkpoints
By Roger Johansson.
"This is the second article of three in a series of articles explaining
how to perform a website accessibility evaluation."
PAS 78: Guide to Good Practice in Commissioning Accessible Websites
By Bruce Lawson.
"The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) is an independent body
established in April 2000 by Act of (United Kingdom) Parliament to stop
discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people.
In April 2004, it conducted a formal investigation into the state of
web accessibility in the UK, discovering that 81 percent of sites
failed to uphold the simplest WCAG recommendations (level A). As a
direct result of this rather shocking finding, the DRC then
commissioned the British Standards Institute (BSI) to produce Publicly
Available Specification (PAS) 78, which outlines good practice in
commissioning websites that are accessible to and usable by disabled
The Financial Benefits of Web Accessibility
By Mel Pedley.
"Web accessibility is often seen as the socially acceptable 'Right
Thing To Do' but for any company with one eye on it's bank balance,
this is unlikely to be sufficient reason to invest in a site re-design.
Ok - so there's also the potential for litigation under the UK
Disability Discrimination Act but, given that no cases have, as yet,
been publicly prosecuted, the over-riding corporate attitude seems to
be 'Let's see what happens'."
Usability and Accessibility Market Worth £115m in 2005
"Increased understanding of commercial benefits of usability and
accessibility to boost UK market spending to almost £150m by the end of
2006, according to the internet research publisher E-consultancy..."
Removing Road Blocks to Accessibility
By Peter Abrahams.
"Several recent surveys have shown that the majority of websites are
not fully accessible. This sorry state of affairs can be explained by
various road-blocks in the development process..."
Enable User Customization
By Skills For Access.
"Given that there is such a range in accessibility needs, there's no
one colour scheme, font style, size or page layout that is 100%
accessible to 100% of the population. The most effective way of making
an interface accessible to the widest possible audience is to produce
it in a way that can be easily changed by someone to suit their own
access requirements, for example to provide a more readable page for
someone with dyslexia, or to enlarge the text size for someone with a
mild visual impairment. People with limited manual dexterity may also
benefit from the ability to enlarge text, and thus the clickable area
of text hyperlinks."
Optimize for Keyboard Access (and other non-mouse input devices)
By Skills For Access.
"A mouse is often assumed as being essential to control and interact
with a web resource. Yet some people may have difficulty using a mouse,
or may be unable to use a mouse and thus use an alternative input
device such as a switching device, joystick or gesture-recognition
device. Others may be using a device that does not have a mouse, or are
using a mouse that doesn't work very well. So to be optimally
accessible, HTML documents need to be operable without relying on the
use of a mouse as an input device."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Mollio CSS/HTML Templates
By Pete Ottery.
Mollio is a simple set of html/css templates. The aim was to create a
set of page templates that use css for layout as well as some sample
basic content which has also had some css applied. It's definitely a
work in progress. More sample content and layouts are planned to be
added. Get involved, suggest and contribute ideas via the Mollio Google
Understanding CSS and Methods for Hack Management
By Tiffany B. Brown.
Tiffany's South by Southwest presentation slides.
By Dave Shea.
Dave Shea's 2006 South by Southwest presentation on how to solve
certain CSS problems.
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Focus Groups - How to Run Them
By Tim Fidgeon.
"Focus groups are fundamental as an input into any web design decisions
- find out how to plan and successfully run them."
XTech 2006: Building Web 2.0
May 16-19, 2006.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Coverage of SXSW 2006
This page has links to South by Southwest conference video coverage and
+05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Change Architecture: Bringing IA to the Business Domain
By Bob Goodman.
"As information architects, we are not just architecting information;
we are using information to architect change. Bob Goodman shows us how
we can use business and management techniques to help us be more
effective agents of change."
Four Modes of Seeking Information and How to Design for Them
By Donna Maurer.
"Information-seeking behavior varies from situation to situation. Donna
Mauer explores different ways in which users look for information and
offers tactics for accommodating them."
By Lee Underwood.
powerful when interacting with Web pages using the Document Object
Model (DOM). If you've ever wanted to learn the basics of DOM
scripting, have a look at this review."
Tip: Using CSS and Dynamic Classes to Avoid Loops
By Chris Heilmann.
By Phil Windley.
Willison's ETech session.
By Jagadish Chaterjee.
arrays. This is the third article in the series. It mainly concentrates
on working with multiple arrays effectively.
SxSW Notes: WaSP Annual General Meeting
By Stuart Colville.
"JZ (Jeffery Zeldman): Welcome to the WASP first annual meeting. I left
the wasp in 2002/2003, it's been in very good hands since then. In
1998, a bunch of us founded the Web Standards Project (Steve Champeon
Dori Smith Chris Kaminski), as we were upset about incompatibilities
between browsers. Not realizing 90% of the benefits, but just out of
wanting to code different versions for different browsers. Glenn was
the face of the WASP. Posture towards companies - Microsoft - was
aggressive. I guess it was like just being 14 years old: we wanted to
stick our fingers up and scream at the world..."
The Next Web?
By Simon St. Laurent.
"Simon St. Laurent steps up to ask which of the competing visions for
the next stage of the Web's development have borne fruit, including the
latest contender: Web 2.0 and AJAX."
A Study of Website Navigation Methods
Thomas S. Tullis, Ellen Connor, Lori LeDoux, Ann Chadwick-Dias, Marty
True, and Michael Catani.
"In the midst of a project during which we overhauled an internal
website, we ran into some issues in deciding on a navigation method for
the redesigned website. We want to share with you our approach to
selecting an appropriate navigation method for the site. Our client
favored a style that we predicted would create usability issues; we
favored a style that the client wasn't overly fond of. Therefore, we
decided to conduct a usability study and let users choose for us!"
When You Need to Localize and Categorize
By Christian Donner.
"The creation of a localization taxonomy can become a significant piece
of an entire CMS implementation project, particularly when your
regional offices are in control of their local taxonomies and want to
serve local customers in the best way. As you have seen, the concepts
available for simple application localization are insufficient for the
localization of complex international content. To get it right, you
must be prepared for a substantial amount of analysis and the price tag
that comes with it."
Websites Reflect True Face of an Organization
By Gerry McGovern.
"The technical writers could find the content really quickly. That's
because they understood the labyrinthine structure that was used to
organize the product groups. In fact, this structure was logical if
looked at from the point of view of the organization. The structure
that works well to organize internal activities is rarely the structure
that will make life easy for the customer. Complexity never really goes
away. It just gets shifted around. Staff in a particular section get to
know and be comfortable with a particular structure. It becomes easy
for them. For them to create a structure that is customer-focused
requires a lot of work and effort. It's like this: making life simple
for the customer usually means making life more complex for the
SxSW Notes: Web Standards and Search Engines: Searching for Common
By Stuart Colville.
"MH (Molly E Holzschlag): As someone who advocates standards and
semantic markup it's intriguing to me that in using html semantically
this helps search engines find content..."
The Case For Search Analytics
By Hurol Inan.
This is an excerpt chapter of the e-book 'Search Analytics, A Guide to
Analyzing and Optimizing Website Search Engines'. The chapter begins,
"Do you know your website's top 20 or 100 keywords? They are more
important than you probably think. McDonald's restaurants, for example,
began offering a healthy menu after enough people asked for it at the
counter. They would almost certainly have done the same if they had
noticed the keyword phrase 'healthy options' entered regularly on the
Iterators in the Simplest Sense: An Accessible Implementation in PHP 4
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"In this first article of a series, Alejandro Gervasio explains the
core concepts of Iterators in PHP, concentrating most of his efforts on
the subject's practical side."
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
The Buzz is Black
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"On March 13, 2006 at SxSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, WaSP unveils a
Opera 9.0 Fully Passes ACID2 Test
By Rob Malda.
"Rytis writes 'Opera has just become the second browser after Safari to
be able to pass completely the famous ACID2 test. Mark Wilton-Jones is
running a little article on the history of the Opera and ACID tests. Of
course, it includes a screenshot of Opera 9 showing the nice happy face
saying "Hello world!'."
SxSW Notes: How to Convince Your Company to Embrace Standards
By Stuart Colville.
"Web developers the world over understand the benefits that
standards-based development provide, but how do you get management or a
client to understand as well? A small band of committed geeks got AOL
and Time Inc. to embrace Web standards, not only in the Development
organization, but also throughout the company - including Design and
Senior Management. Come learn how they did it, and how you can do it
By Jona Fenocchi and Mike Cherim.
"GrayBit is an online accessibility testing tool designed to visually
convert any full-color web page into a grayscale rendition for the
purpose of visually testing the page's perceived contrast."
Don't Letterspace the Lower Case Without a Reason
By Richard Rutter.
"A man who would letterspace lower case would steal sheep, Frederic
Goudy liked to say. The reason for not letterspacing lower case is that
it hampers legibility. But there are some lowercase alphabets to which
this principle doesn't apply. Moderate letterspacing can make a face
such as lowercase Univers bold condensed more legible rather than less."
The Truth About Google's So-Called 'Simplicity'
By Donald A. Norman.
"The truth about Google? It isn't simple...I am sick and tired of
hearing people praise its clean, elegant look."
Introducing User-Centered Design
By Free Usability Advice.
"Question: I am the only Information Architect plus Designer in an IT
Solutions company. I am also fresh out of college. How can I introduce
some processes to work with the programmers / coders who are working on
5 Ways To Make Sure That Users Abandon Your Forms
By Eric G. Myers.
"All I wanted to do was schedule a service appointment for my car. As
many of you will recall, I will avoid talking to a human if I can when
engaging in these types of tasks. So, I did what ever red-blooded Geek
would do and I went to the dealership's web site. Please don't write me
to tell me what an idiot I am for taking my car to the dealer for
service. This particular dealer (which shall remain nameless because
I'm going to dog them in a minute) actually has a fabulous grip on
customer experience. In person."
By Jeff Atwood.
"...You may have trouble selling usability improvements - but I don't
think you'd have any trouble selling a three to five fold increase in
Serving XHTML With the Correct Mime type using PHP
By Neil Crosby.
"A lot of websites nowadays make sure that they validate to XHTML 1.0
or 1.1 standards. At least, they think they do. The sad fact is, that
unless the correct mime type is being used, no browser will actually
process your carefully put together XHTML as XHTML. Instead, it's
treated as tag soup, just as if you'd used any other doc type to
identify your page..."
[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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