[webdev] Web Design Update: May 19, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri May 19 06:28:48 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 48, May 19, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 48 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.
06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
The Quagmire of Web Accessibility
By Chris Hofstater.
"The other day, a comment posted to B.C. (Blind Confidential) pointed
out that I had side stepped a question about automated testing tools
that could simulate a specific screen reader. This caused me to think
about automated test tools and the problem of screen readers in
ONOFF: Another Failed Redesign
By Roger Johansson and Robert Nyman.
"...this makes us wonder: how hard can it be? It's only HTML coding
we're talking about, not rocket science. But apparently HTML is much
more difficult than the people who built this site realize. ONOFF's
accessibility claim has no merit. If we talk about the term
accessibility in a broader sense, it's just pathetic that people can't
navigate to their website without adding a www prefix..."
More Than a Set of Rules:
Consider Human and Social Factors Alongside Technical Guidelines
By Glenda Watson Hyatt.
"...creating an accessible website means simply following a set of
rules. Unfortunately, it is not quite that straightforward, not quite
It's Possible to Provide Long descriptions for Dynamically Generated
By Stan Berman.
"Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to
give disabled employees and members of the public access to information
that is comparable to the access available to individuals without
disabilities. Static images on the web, such as pictures or logos, can
generally be easily described with an Alt tag (for a short description)
or a longdesc (for a long description). Even a small number of graphs
can be described in a similar fashion. But how does one handle a large
number of graphs that are generated dynamically, or 'on the fly', based
on criteria selected by the user?"
Cornerstones of a Successful 508 Program
By Fred DiFiore.
"Creating an accessibility program can be challenging. I think,
however, you will find that challenging does not equate to impossible."
CAPTCHA: The FAQs
CAPTCHAs are Gotchas for Some Users
By Glenda Watson Hyatt.
"The International Telecommunications Union estimates nearly 80% of all
email in the United States is spam. CAPTCHAs are increasing in
popularity as a way to combat this abuse of internet resources.
However, CAPTCHAs are gotchas for many people..."
Developing a Customized Business Case, Making Anti-Robot Tests:
Accessible, Sharing Accessibility with Newbies
By Shawn Lawton Henry.
"The web is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life:
education, employment, government, commerce, health care, recreation,
and more. It is used for receiving information as well as providing
information and interacting with society. Therefore it is essential
that the web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal
opportunity to people with disabilities. An accessible web also
benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
CSS 2.1 Properties Reference
By Cultured Code.
"We have created a web reference that aims to present the 95 CSS 2.1
properties and their possible values in a clear and easy to navigate
which makes it possible to present all the information in a single
compactly sized window. The reference can be navigated with mouse or
keyboard and behaves as responsive as a desktop application."
CSS 'Float' Makes Watery Site Usable
Rally Competitor Wins Big with Water Sports Nonprofit
By Erik Fruin.
"...I've described here just a few of the ways our team found to push
the envelope of accessible design. I encourage you to try out these
techniques to see if they meet the needs of your audience before you
add them into your next project."
I Vote Conditional Comments
By Jonathan Christopher.
"Many developers agree that CSS hacks are not the way to go.
Personally, I am on that side of the fence and have been for a long
time. I will spend time reworking the style of a document so that it
will be cross-browser compatible with no CSS hacks in place. I do this
because using CSS hacks is taking a step back..."
Persistent Page Indicator
By Stephanie Sullivan.
"When developing Web sites using good principles of usability, it is
good practice to use an indicator showing what page the person is on as
they surf through your site. Some people use bread crumbs as well as a
persistent page indicator (many times like the down state of the
button) indicating that "you are here." This page indication can be
achieved by simply placing a class on the proper navigation item (and
changing the item it's placed on from page to page). However, when
using server-side includes, templates or library items in Dreamweaver,
since the same menu is used on each instance of the page, it can be a
more challenging process. Don't worry though -- CSS and the descendant
selector handle the challenge quite nicely. Come along as we walk
through the steps needed to create this effect."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Variability in User Performance
By Jakob Nielsen.
"When doing website tasks, the slowest 25% of users take 2.4 times as
long as the fastest 25% of users. This difference is much higher than
for other types of computer use; only programming shows a greater
Are You Using the Wrong Web Metrics?
By Gerry McGovern.
"Do you base success on measuring the volume of visitors and page
impressions? Such measures may in fact reflect the
failure-rather than the success-of your website."
Card Sorting for Navigation Design
June 8, 2006.
London, United Kingdom
Web Design World Seattle
July 10-12, 2006.
Seattle, Washington U.S.A.
The 24th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication
October 18-20, 2006.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina U.S.A.
Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future for All
November 3-8, 2006.
Austin, Texas U.S.A.
+06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Recyclable Information Architecture
By Nick Finck.
Nick discusses XHTML wireframing and use and reuse of deliverables.
By Richard Cornford.
"Closures are one of the most powerful features of ECMAScript
AJAX is Cleaning Up
Rich Web Applications Amplify Accessibility Needs
By Kelsey Ruger.
"There is no doubt that AJAX is going to change the way we use the web.
It is highly likely that the W3C, browser manufacturers, screen reader
vendors, and developers will all have to make changes to help AJAX
reach its full potential. It'll require good common sense, but as the
old saying goes, sometimes common sense just isn't that common."
Hijax: Progressive Enhancement with Ajax
By Jeremy Keith.
Here are Jeremy's slides form at XTech 2006.
Communicating Design Concepts Without Getting Skewered
By Steve Calde.
"Communicating your team's design vision before diving into details is
a crucial - and challenging - milestone. In this article, design
communicator Steve Calde describes some strategies for successfully
presenting an early-stage design and getting the appropriate level of
By Tristan Louis.
Tristan Louis has a six part article on a of trends that will influence
the events of the next 10 years.
Podcast: Web 2.0 Show - Episode 18 - Eric Meyer
By Josh Owens.
"...we sat down and talked with Eric Meyer about book writing, css, and
running events like An Event Apart."
Will the Standards Battle Ever be Won?
An interview with Molly Holzschlag.
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Microsoft, IE and the Web Standards Project
By Chris Wilson.
"...From ten years of experience in championing standards and web
development inside Microsoft, I think it's actually critically
important that the reasons for supporting standards in our products -
particularly IE - be business ones. Business reasons stand the test of
time. Pure altruistic 'ethical' reasons are hard to defend to
shareholders. I personally believe there is a business case for
implementing standards, and I consider it my job, among other things,
to make that case internally..."
Microsoft and Internet Explorer vs. Web Standards
By Roger Johansson.
"...let me explain why I'm not exactly shouting out my support for
Microsoft now that Internet Explorer is finally being updated..."
Total Validator (Firefox extension)
By Andy Halford.
"Perform multiple validations and take screen shots in one go rather
than using separate tools. This 5-in-1 validator uses the online Total
Validator service. Provides true HTML validation using the official
DTDs. So you no longer have to put up with mistakes in the W3C
validator and tools such as Tidy which interpret the standards
incorrectly. Also performs accessibility validation, checks for broken
links, spell checking, and takes screen shots so you can validate your
pages with different browsers."
By Andy Halford.
Free online version of the tool listed above.
Website Spell Check
By Andrew B. King.
"Our new free spell checking service scans your site for spelling and
grammatical errors and sends you a free report. We've teamed up with
TextTrust to offer webmasters this free trial of their website scanning
service. To demonstrate the new service we provide a sample report of a
spell-checked WhiteHouse.gov site."
More on Starting with the Intranet Homepage
By James Robertson.
"Iain Barker's article this month on starting with the homepage has
generated some excellent discussion and debate. First there was Peter
Van Dijck who suggested that starting with the homepage will send us
straight to politico-hell. To quote: 'I have a lot of respect for
James, but that's the WORST advice ever. Starting with the homepage is
a direct road to political hell in any company..."
Why the Tech Industry Needs to Change Its Language
By Jonathan Follett.
"...Descriptive language has never been seriously considered as an
asset in the world of high tech. At best, it has been an afterthought,
a layer added to better market products to consumers. However, if this
is to be the decade for design and innovation, if we are to humanize
high tech, we need to first address the issues of language so that all
those people out there-the ones 'using' high-tech products-will know
what in the world."
Why XHTML Can Save Internet Explorer
By Kurt Cagle.
"...One thing that I realized, however, was that the Internet Explorer
team has an amazing opportunity if they seize it now. Through a number
of circumstances, one piece of technology that was never incorporated
into the IE browser was a module capable of handling XHTML. Now, this
may seem to be a fairly trivial omission - XHTML isn't exactly blazing
through the commercial sky yet as a must have technology (though its
getting there) - but I've come to believe that in fact XHTML may be the
key to one of the biggest problems that they face with IE - the problem
of vendor legacy..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+13: 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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