[webdev] Web Design Update: April 13, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Apr 13 06:31:56 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 43, April 13, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 43 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
10: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Accessibility Tips for Website Construction
By Patrick Kennedy.
"We all know accessibility is important, but precisely how does one
make a website or intranet more accessible? Often what is needed is a
pragmatic view, based on real experience, to reveal what is really
important and what should be tackled first."
Alt Text is an Alternative, Not a Tooltip
By Roger Johansson.
"It seems like there is a bit of confusion among many web developers
and browser vendors surrounding the use of the alt attribute (yes, It's
alt attribute, not alt tag) to provide alternative text for images and
other non-textual elements..."
Active Discrimination Policy
By Gez Lemon.
Paul Boag Podcast on Accessibility Guidelines
By Patrick H. Lauke.
"In this weeks show we get 'down and dirty' with web accessibility,
including a step-by-step tutorial into the WAI guidelines."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Using Firefox to Wage a Class War
By Virginia DeBolt.
"It turns out that family relationships between ancestors and
descendants are as important in CSS as they are in real life.
Understanding the power to select descendant elements to minimize both
your CSS and your HTML pays off in lighter document weight, less
bandwidth required to serve up pages, faster downloading, and improved
accessibility. Using the Firefox add-on Web Developer Toolbar to
examine pages can help show you the way to achieve these goals."
CSS - Auto-height and margin-collapsing
By Minz Meyer.
"...If you are working with CSS on a regular basis, you might have come
across this behaviour. As did I. And if you are like me, you might have
found a solution that works around it. But I have to admit that I never
really understood what was happening..."
By Minz Meyer.
"...I really do not like using CSS hacks, but sometimes you just can't
avoid them, at least not if you code for IE. But the above mentioned
method is sufficient to me, allows handling of the different hacks in
different files, doesn't litter your main stylesheets and is completely
By Blair Millen.
...It's a must-have item for any self-respecting accessible website...
um; well... really, it's a just bunch of links; but what a BRILLIANT
bunch of links they are! The Accessibility Navbar sits at the top of
the document (immediately after the <body> tag) thus giving prominent
access to the important options a first time visitor may need. This
article shows how to create and implement the Accessibility Navbar into
your website, including how to: 1) Create the HTML for your
Accessibility Navbar, 2) Implement a style sheet switcher, 3) Detect a
mobile device and send an appropriate style sheet, 4) Create a low
vision style sheet, 5) Consider other options you have in making your
By Russell Beattie.
"...the coolest part is every single page has an associated handheld
media-type stylesheet associated with it to make browsing via mobiles
that support it (i.e. Opera mobile) faster, easier, more pleasing and
generally more efficient...I used Opera's web browser to take the
screen shots because you can hit shift-f11 and get into "small screen
rendering" mode, and browse around like you were using a mobile, which
is good to test things out. But I normally use FireFox as my main
browser which doesn't have this functionality built in. But the cool
thing is that my favorite FireFox plugin, the Web Developer Extension,
has included a small screen view in its menu, so you can check out how
your site would look in a mobile browser, and if you have a handheld
style sheet, it'll pick it up as well. It's not as good as Opera's
because it does stick between pages, but it makes tweaking the design
using the CSS editor sidebar really easy."
April 27-28, 2006.
Building Beautiful Websites with CSS (with Dave Shea)
May 11, 2006.
Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.
Professional CSS XHTML Techniques (with Eric Meyer)
May 12, 2006.
London, United Kingdom
Getting Started with Rails (with Geoffrey Grosenbach)
May 25, 2006.
New York, New York U.S.A.
Introducing DOM Builder
By Dan Webb.
"It's always seemed a bit wrong and dirty to use innerHTML to
manipulate or add content to a page..."
Usability by Hand, AJAX and Efficiency
By Thoman Baekal.
"Take drag and drop shopping carts, where you drag product in or out of
the space reserved for your cart. This sure looks fancy. But, it is
more than 1000% slower to drag and drop, than to simply click an 'Add
to Shopping Cart' button. Specifically it takes 0.2 seconds to click on
any target, and 2.4 seconds to drag and drop."
Mastering Ajax, Part 1: Introduction to Ajax
By Brett McLaughlin.
is an outstanding approach that helps you transform clunky Web
interfaces into interactive Ajax applications. The author, an Ajax
expert, demonstrates how these technologies work together -- from an
overview to a detailed look -- to make extremely efficient Web
development an easy reality. He also unveils the central concepts of
Ajax, including the XMLHttpRequest object."
By Brett McLaughlin.
"In this article, you'll begin with the most fundamental and basic of
all Ajax-related objects and programming approaches: The XMLHttpRequest
object. This object is really the only common thread across all Ajax
applications and -- as you might expect -- you will want to understand
it thoroughly to take your programming to the limits of what's
possible. In fact, you'll find out that sometimes, to use
XMLHttpRequest properly, you explicitly won't use XMLHttpRequest. What
in the world is that all about?"
By xajax Wiki.
Xajax is an open source PHP Library for building ajax based
Round-up of 30 AJAX Tutorials
By Max Kiesler.
This is a very comprehensive list of Ajax tutorials and resources that
ranges from beginner to advanced.
Making AJAX Navigation Optional
By Christian Heilmann.
"I just put up a proof of concept for the AJAX chapter of my book. For
years I have ranted about DHTML multi level menus simply assuming that
every user wants to have every page in the sitemap as an item in the
navigation. My idea was to make the..."
Don't Neglect the title Attribute
By Jon Christopher.
"If it is one thing that I find myself forgetting when initially
marking up a document, it is to make effective use of the title
attribute in anchors. I think the title attribute is one of those
things that gets pushed aside due to the fact that it is seen as
tedious by some. I also feel that a good number of developers may not
realize the impact it may have on a variety of things relating to your
document. Not only will it help with the usability and accessibility of
your document, but also give your search engine optimization a good
Using AJAX with PHP and mySQL
By Bill Bercik.
" The purpose of this article is to demonstrate through a series of
baby steps just how easy it is to use the XMLHttpRequest object. In
order to complete this tutorial you should have some basic PHP, MySQL
examples is so basic that if you do not have PHP experience, it may
still be possible for you to look at the PHP code and apply the
functionality to your weapon of choice, be it PERL, ASP, or JSP."
Handling Dates and Times in PHP and MySQL
By Dennis Pallett.
Handling dates and times in PHP and MySQL can be a tricky task at
times, and that's why in this article Dennis Pallett discusses the
date/time problem, and gives a solid solution.
Digg PHP's Scalability and Performance
By Brian Fioca.
"Several weeks ago there was a notable bit of controversy over some
comments made by James Gosling, father of the Java programming
language. He has since addressed the flame war that erupted, but the
whole ordeal got me thinking seriously about PHP and its scalability
and performance abilities compared to Java. I knew that several hugely
popular Web 2.0 applications were written in scripting languages like
PHP, so I contacted Owen Byrne - Senior Software Engineer at digg.com
to learn how he addressed any problems they encountered during their
meteoric growth. This article addresses the all-to-common false
assumptions about the cost of scalability and performance in PHP
By Oliver Steele.
you just need to pop in an expression here and there before adding it
to your project, it's a handy tool.
Time to Change Your Fonts
By Rachel McAlpine.
"...commonsense dictates that there are only three fonts worth
considering for routine business documents. Why? Because the big three
are easy to read on a screen."
The Paper Of Record Goes Long
By Jared Spool.
"The New York Times has redesigned their home page...Apparently, the
designers at NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, and CNN.com have discovered what
we've known for years: Users are quite willing to scroll!"
This Boring Headline Is Written for Google
By Steve Lohr.
"JOURNALISTS over the years have assumed they were writing their
headlines and articles for two audiences - fickle readers and
nitpicking editors. Today, there is a third important arbiter of their
work: the software programs that scour the Web, analyzing and ranking
online news articles on behalf of Internet search engines like Google,
Yahoo and MSN."
Your Website is for Your Most Important Customers
By Gerry McGovern.
"Most websites suffer from over-ambition. They try to do too much with
few resources. They think they can answer every question."
Thumbnail: Jakob Nielsen
By Clifford Anderson.
"A final concern is that 'websites still don't write for the web. Very
few people worry about the actual information they put up. When we run
studies, we find that's what users really care about. More than ten
years of finding the same in every study, and you still have that
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+10: 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.]
+ SUBSCRIPTION INFO.
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.
+ TEXT EMAIL NEWSLETTER (TEN).
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:
+ 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
More information about the Webdev