[webdev] Web Design Update: April 2, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Sun Apr 2 07:41:39 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 41, April 2, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 41 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.
12: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
17: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Using Combined Expertise to Evaluate Web Accessibility
This document "explores how to conduct higher quality evaluations of
Web site accessibility by combining diverse kinds of expertise from
Evaluating Website Accessibility: Part 3, Digging Deeper
By Roger Johansson.
"In this final article of the series I will explain some aspects of
website accessibility that are difficult to test with automated tools
and require more time and/or experience to evaluate manually. Some of
the checkpoint descriptions in this article assume you have read the
first articles, so if you haven't read them, please do so before you
Public Money on Inaccessible Web Sites
By Derek Featherstone.
"If public sector web sites are required to be accessible, shouldn't we
be requiring the same of sites that are built with public funding?"
Jodi Awards Celebrate Accessible Museum and Library Web Sites
By Chris Hofstater.
"...The concept of the Jodi Award for accessible museum and library web
sites should grow to something with an International stature. Learning
about these particular sites in the UK gave me some cool web sites to
look at but, more so, provides an example for how museums and libraries
no matter of location can make themselves entirely usable by people
with disabilities. I recommend that everyone sends this BC article or
the original to any museum web site they would like to see improved as
all six can serve as templates for accessibility excellence."
Further Mesh Nonsense
By Joe Clark.
"...And really, the Pied Piper of Ajax, Jason Fried, is principally
responsible for this mess. I'm getting a bit tired of having to remind
the leader of the pack and his Opera-style fanboys that accessibility
isn't an option (add 'anymore' if you wish). Is Basecamp used in Italy,
the United Kingdom, or Germany or within the U.S. federal government?
Then I hope your expert witnesses are better than I am, because you're
going to be facing a human-rights tribunal or a lawsuit..."
Government Sites Fail Web Tests
By the British Broadcasting Corporation.
"Some 60% of UK government websites contain HTML errors, according to a
study by the University of Southampton..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Create a Teaser Thumbnail List Using CSS: Part 1
By Zoe M. Gillenwater.
"Teaser thumbnail lists are those lists of items made up of a title,
short description, and thumbnail. They're often used to provide short
teasers that link to more information about the products, articles, or
sections of the site being listed. This tutorial will go over one way
to structure the XHTML and CSS to create such a list that maximizes
flexibility for the site owner and accessibility for the end user. The
resulting list will feature a fixed-width, grid-like design, with the
thumbnails aligned to the left and the title and description for each
item sitting to the right. All with only 18 lines of CSS!
IE7 Improvements and Bug Tracking
By Eric A. Meyer.
"Microsoft's Markus Mielke shares a cutting-edge CSS design in IE7,
confirms the currently-available beta is 'layout complete', and then
stuns the crowd with news of a forthcoming public bug database for
Layout Complete Announced at MIX06
By Markus Mielke.
"...the real goal of this (IE7) demo was to push the envelope of
standard based design using only the fixed HTML (the images you see on
the page are actually background images to not change the semantics of
the HTML) provided by CSS Zen Garden and CSS (no script involved)..."
By Drew McLellan.
"Part of the remit of the Dreamweaver Task Force is to work with the
online Dreamweaver community to encourage and assist in the adoption of
web standards. Whilst a lot of our effort has been to work alongside
Macromedia to help shape the support for standards within the
Dreamweaver product line (after all, there's no point us tell you guys
to use standards if the tool makes it hard to do so), there are some
things it's not reasonable to expect the Dreamweaver engineers to
tackle right away."
Building Your First Page in Macromedia Dreamweaver 8
By Tom Negrino and Dori Smith.
"After you've set up your local site, you can begin filling the site
with pages. To do that, you'll need to create a page, give it a title,
add some content to the page, and save it. To check your work, you
should view the page in one or more Web browsers before you upload it
to your Web server. Luckily, Dreamweaver makes it easy to view your
work in different browsers. This chapter will help you get started
building your website in Dreamweaver."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Eye Tracking Web Usability
By Dan Farber.
"User interface guru Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group is on
the road, giving seminars based on a recently completed an eye-tracking
study that indicates how users consume Web pages?such as where people
start browsing on a page, whether they have banner and text link
blindness, where users look for navigation, how they react to different
text types, relative attention allocated to text vs. pictures and more.
I caught up with Nielsen via phone in New York to talk about the
The 20th BCS HCI Group conference in co-operation with ACM
September 11-15, 2006.
London, United Kingdom
Flash, DHTML Menus and Accessibility
By Stephanie Sullivan.
"It's not uncommon to hear developers complaining that their DHTML
menus, when triggered, have dropped behind the Flash movie below
+07: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
IA Summit Presentation: We Are Not Alone
By Jared Spool.
Jared shares the details of his presentation.
Team Size and Individual Responsibilities
By Mike Rundle.
"So in closing, I think that information architecture is a skill, not a
profession. However I also think that design, usability knowledge,
XHTML/CSS coding, backend development, and the rest of them are all
skills and not professions, so I'm not singling anyone out."
Information Architecture Research Agenda
By Keith Instone.
"Here is an overview of my points, with links to background information
I compiled in preparation for the panel, as well as some of my notes."
A Forgotten Prototype Technique: Comics
By Jared Spool.
"Comic strips, even poorly drawn ones ( the only kind I can do), allow
us to focus on the experience the user has with the design and get
feedback during the early concept and discovery stages, where the broad
brush strokes are being worked out. Teams can evaluate the strips with
real users and collect rich information which will guide every
subsequent of the design process. It's a powerful technique that I'm
surprised we don't see used more often."
By Lee Underwood.
"Now that we know about the different types of arrays, we'll learn how
to manipulate them in order to make them more functional. This week
we'll look at the properties and methods that are commonly used for
most coding situations."
From DHTML to DOM Scripting
By Christian Heilmann.
"I just published a new longer article (40 pages) trying to explain the
differences between DHTML and DOM scripting. The article explains what
DHTML, the DOM and DOM scripting is and shows how to create a web page
with dynamic elements like tabs, a slide show and a big product shot in
My New Favorite Loop
By Jim Rutherford.
that doesn't use the standby Array.length property to determine the
number of iterations..."
Cascading Style Sheets Doctoral Thesis
By Hakon Wium Lie.
For those who love historical information or wonder why certain CSS
decisions were made, here is Hakon Wium Lie's doctoral thesis. He is
one of the original authors of CSS 1.0 and the current CTO of Opera.
Robert Nyman, Jonathan Snook and Dustin Diaz - A Triple Interview
By Johan Van Den Rym.
"What binds the three together? Professional web developers running a
weblog about webdesign, coding tips related to client-side scripting
PHP, etcetera), usability, webstandards, accessibility and web trends."
Red Route Usability
"Important roads in London are known as 'red routes' and Transport for
London do everything in their power to make sure passenger journeys on
these routes are completed as smoothly and quickly as possible. Define
the red routes for your web site and you'll be able to identify and
eliminate any usability obstacles on the key user journeys."
Using XML: A PHP Developer's Primer, Part 2
By Adam Delves.
"In the first part of this series, we took a look at how PHP 5 can be
used to manipulate and parse XML files. In this installment, we are
going to focus on Ajax, one of the most useful and topical applications
of XML. Initially, we are going to introduce Ajax and learn how to use
the XMLHTTP object provided by most modern web browsers to create a
live email validation form. Then we will pick up where we left off with
the theme of XML and introduce XSLT, which we will use to transform our
library XML from the previous article into valid XHTML code."
Using XML: A PHP Developer's Primer, Part 3
By Adam Delves.
"In our last article, we touched the surface of Ajax by developing a
simple email validation application. In this article we are going to
delve deeper into Ajax and explore how XSL can be used on both the
transform XML data into XHTML."
+12: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
By Dave Shea.
"...I had a chance to sit down with Markus Mielke of the IE team and
find out what precisely we can expect of rendering updates in IE7. It's
likely that any praise of Internet Explorer will still be controversial
for now, but it's well-earned. Hear me out..."
Acid2 Supported in Opera One Year Later
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"Opera 9 passes Acid2, next step for Opera is mobile, and preliminary
mumblings about Acid3 have begun."
Supporting Web Standards
By Heidi Voltmer.
"...Considering the success of the Web Standards Project, it is now
time for all designers and developers to implement standards fully such
as HTML, XHTML, XML, and CSS when building websites. Building pages
with these standards will ensure that sites are accessible to those
with disabilities, display properly in the next version of web browsers
like Internet Explorer 7.0, and are easier to develop and maintain..."
Why Size Doesn't Matter in Setting Web Standards
By Daniel Champion.
"Better Connected is a significant report for local authority web
managers and their teams. With its key findings based on real user
testing and expert input from the RNIB, it provides a unique
opportunity for us to gauge the progress of our sites relative to those
of other authorities..."
Background Image Maker
Typography and the Web [Update 2]
By Paul Bader.
"What I'm talking about is 'Justified Text on Webpages' and I tell you
why I think it needs to be banned from the web..."
Improve Usability for Older Users
By Tim Fidgeon.
"A growing portion of the population is over 60 -- and online! Tim
reveals his first-hand research into the ways people aged 60+ use the
Internet, and what it means for designers and developers."
Heart Surgery for Dummies
By Gerry McGovern.
"...Most websites still don't treat their content seriously. They often
give the role of 'putting up' content to junior staff. If they do hire
content professionals, they rarely give them the appropriate support
and authority. These professionals often end up in needless and
counterproductive conversations with egoistic authors. It's time to
put content professionals (editors) in charge of running websites. The
dictatorship of the author leads to vanity publishing and filler
content. The organizations that succeed on the Web will be those who
recognize that quality writing and
editing are specialist skills."
Is Ugly the new Black?
By Jared Spool.
"Basically, the argument is simple: look at PlentyOfFish.com,
MySpace.com, and Craigslist.com and you find examples of how 'ugly
sites' can succeed while many pretty sites have failed. Therefore, the
argument continues, ugly is the new black..."
Ugly Design Getting Too Much Credit
By Paul Scrivens.
"...It never was about the ugliness of a site, it was about its
usability, community and a couple of other things..."
The Role of Aesthetics in Design
By Tom Chi.
"...So simply put, ugly!=good, but ugly doesn't hurt that much until
your market is mature enough for people have choices by which to
exercise their aesthetic and user experience preferences..."
Understanding XForms: The Model
By Kurt Cagle.
"This is the second in a series of articles I'm writing about the
ongoing XForms implementation in Mozilla Firefox..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+17: 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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