[webdev] Web Design Update: June 2, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jun 2 07:35:16 CDT 2006

- Volume 4, Issue 50, June 2, 2006.

An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design 
and development.


SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:

09: PHP.
11: TOOLS.

13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


WCAG 2.0 Last Call - Extended Deadline 22 June 2006
By Judy Brewer.
"Please note that the deadline for comments on WCAG 2.0 has been 
extended by three weeks. The new deadline is now Thursday 22 June 2006 
instead of 31 May 2006, to allow more time due to the wider attention 
that this Last Call Working Draft is receiving. We thank early 
commenters for the numerous constructive comments that the Working 
Group has already received; the Working Group is already working on 
your comments. Please also note the following clarifications with 
regard to the review process..."

WCAG 2.0 Comments
By W3C.
"The following pages include various options for searching and viewing 
comments received during the WCAG 2.0 Last Call review period."

WCAG 2.0: When I Want a Beer, Don't Give Me Shandy
By Bruce Lawson.
"...The ideal of WCAG 2 is measurable, testable guidelines that are 
technology-agnostic, and will therefore not date so quickly. This is a 
noble ideal, but the realization is flawed. While WCAG 2 doesn't seem 
to be inherently evil, its message is diluted, both substantively (no 
requirement for valid code, tables are explicitly allowed for layout) 
and by excessive verbiage and jargon. Like shandy, it's not an 
unpleasant drink, but it doesn't hit the spot like a nice pint of 
bitter does - and that's what I was hoping for..."

Call for Response from the Web Standards Project
By Joe Clark.
"As I have documented, WCAG 2 turns its back on other standards 
published by the World Wide Web Consortium and authorizes tables for 
layout and nonstandard sites. It is apparent that WCAG Working Group 
representatives from large corporations are a significant factor in 
WAI's decision to remove the requirement for valid HTML that was 
present, if ignored, in WCAG 1. Products from those companies - IBM, 
SAP, Oracle - are simply incapable of producing valid HTML."

Abandon All Hope
By Joe Clark.
"Were you hoping, as I faintly was, that the head of the World Wide Web 
Consortium and the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, might 
bring the WCAG Working Group to heel and make them produce something 
vaguely usable in the way of accessibility guidelines? Well, you can 

Formal Objection to WCAG Claiming to Address Cognitive Limitations
By Gez Lemon.
"Lisa Seeman's objection to WCAG's claim that WCAG 2.0 will address 
requirements for people with learning disabilities and cognitive 


Maintainable CSS
By css-discuss Wiki.
"Tips and links to articles on creating maintainable stylesheets..."

Element Width
By css-discuss Wiki.
"One of the most common misconceptions about Cascading Style Sheets, 
and also one of the most controversial points about it in certain 
circles, is its definition of the property width. The CSS definition of 
width is that it defines the width of the element's content area. Any 
padding or borders are added to that width, as are margins..."

Style Sheets 'Made' Easy
By Lee Underwood.
"One of the biggest problems many people have in setting up a Web site 
is creating the cascading style sheets (CSS). The proper method for 
designing a good site is to use HTML for structuring the pages and CSS 
for styling the content on the pages, but what if you don't know how to 
create a style sheet, or don't do it that often?"


A Dreamweaver 8.0.2 Updater
By Tom Green.
"Last week before heading off to TODCON I did my due diligence and 
installed the Dreamweaver 8.0.2 updater. Later that evening one of the 
partners for whom I had done a video tutorial asked me where I had put 
it. Turns out I thought she was finished with it and I had pulled it 
down. Being the great guy that I am, I opened Dreamweaver and used the 
Put feature of the Dreamweaver 8 Files panel to upload it. This is 
where things get interesting..."

What I Learned at TODCon 8
By Kim Cavanaugh.
"I've had a few days to reflect on the things that I took away from the 
latest rendition of The Other Dreamweaver Conference, aka TODCon, and 
it looks like we're heading into a period of new innovations, 
uncertainty, and great potential on the web. If you're an independent 
web developer new revenue streams are opening up for you, and more 
decisions than ever have to be made on where you might want to take 
your business. Even if you aren't working for yourself, there are 
enough trends and changes heading your way that now is a good time to 
sit up and take notice. In this article, I've summarized what I see are 
the emerging trends, interesting developments, and other factoids 
gleaned from the sessions, hallway conversations, and late night 
conversations that define TODCon."

Introducing CMX Jumpstart San Francisco
By Sheri German.
"We are pleased to introduce CMX JumpStart San Francisco, a great first 
CSS layout for students and experienced developers alike. Structured to 
be as hack free and straightforward as possible, this may be just the 
JumpStart for you if you have been holding back on CSS layouts so far. 
Like all JumpStarts, it uses valid XHTML and CSS as its foundation and 
is 508 and WAI compliant. This two-column, fixed-width layout, 
described rule by rule in the documentation article, makes a great 
learning tool."


Using Eye Tracking to Compare Web Page Designs: A Case Study
By Agnieszka Bojko.
"A proposed design for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 
Web site was evaluated against the original design in terms of the ease 
with which the right starting points for key tasks were located and 
processed. This report focuses on the eye tracking methodology that 
accompanied other conventional usability practices used in the 
evaluation. Twelve ASCO members were asked to complete several search 
tasks using each design. Performance measures such as click accuracy 
and time on task were supplemented with eye movements which allowed for 
an assessment of the processes that led to both the failures and the 
successes. The report details three task examples in which eye tracking 
helped diagnose errors and identify the better of the two designs (and 
the reasons for its superiority) when both were equally highly 
successful. Advantages and limitations of the application of eye 
tracking to design comparison are also discussed."

Business-to-Business (B2B) Usability
By Jakob Nielsen.
"User testing shows that business-to-business websites have 
substantially lower usability than mainstream consumer sites. If they 
want to convert more prospects into leads, B2B sites should follow more 
guidelines and make it easier for prospects to research their 

Remote Interviews
By DeeDee DeMulling.
"Remote interviews are contextual inquiry sessions without the context. 
It is not as good as being there, but it is better than guessing or 
only talking to subject matter experts..."

STC (Society for Technical Communication) Learning Session
By Suman Kumar.
"I conducted a session last Saturday on Think Aloud Usability Testing 
in the Bangalore STC Learning Session. Download (PowerPoint) 

Mobile and Handheld Usability Testing - Why It Matters
By Tim Fidgeon.
"The number of people accessing the web through mobile and handheld 
devices is growing at a dramatic rate. As such, mobile phone and PDA 
usability testing may be crucial to your business as the way in which 
users interact with these devices is as yet relatively unknown."

+05: EVENTS.

ICWE 2006
The sixth International Conference on Web Engineering
July 10-14, 2006.
Menlo Park, California, U.S.A.

Webcredible Workshops
June and July, 2006.
London, United Kingdom

e-Access '06
September 14, 2006.
London, United Kingdom

Paris Web 2006
September 21-22, 2006.
Paris, France

Web Directions
September 26-29, 2006.
Sydney, Australia


Making Ajax Work with Screen Readers
By Gez Lemon.
"The accessibility community is understandably concerned about the 
accessibility of client-side scripting, in particular using 
Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax) to produce Rich Internet 
Applications. Steve Faulkner of Vision Australia and founder member of 
the Web Accessibility Tools Consortium (WAT-C) and myself on behalf of 
The Paciello Group (TPG) have collaborated in an effort to come up with 
techniques to make Ajax and other client-side scripting techniques 
accessible to assistive technology. The Web Accessibility Initiative's 
Protocols and Formats working group directly address the issue of 
making rich Internet applications accessible, and we borrow some of 
their concepts to investigate methods of ensuring that Ajax 
applications work with leading assistive technology products. The bad 
news is that it isn't possible to make Ajax work in every known 
assistive technology, in the same way that it isn't possible to get 
Ajax to work with older browsers, but we explain the fundamental 
issues; how to inform users of assistive technology that a change has 
taken place, and how they can interact with the content. To illustrate 
our findings, we summarize the behaviour of popular screen readers."

Object-Oriented Javascript
By Tim Huegdon.
"Following on from my earlier post, 'Object-Oriented Concepts,' it's 
time we started to have a look at some examples of execution. I'm going 
to start with Javascript because I believe this to have widest appeal - 
PHP, as a server-side language, is probably of interest to fewer 
developers so I'll cover it later. So without further ado, here's how 
to objectify your javascript..."

Manipulate Time and Date Values with JavaScript's Date Object
By Tony Patton.
"One of the trickier aspects of development is working with time and 
date values; it seems like each language or platform has its own 
format. With Web development, you can utilize server-side code to 
manipulate dates, or you can utilize JavaScript's Date object. In 
today's column, we take a closer look at this object."

Better JavaScript Debugging in 15 Minutes
By Jim Rutherford.
"I have created a 15 minute screencast that will show you how to Debug 
JavaScript with Firebug. I cover a number of concepts such as using the 
console, interactive debugger and timer features of the Firebug 
extension for Firefox. If you haven't tried Firebug yet, I'm sure that 
this screencast will convince you to make it a part of your JavaScript 
coding workflow."


Expert Voices (Interview): Peter Morville on Why Information 
Architecture Matters
By CIO Insight.
"So it's very difficult to isolate the information architecture from 
the other elements of the user experience. You could certainly do that 
in a research lab, but in the real world all of these factors work 
together. It's quite possible to do a beautiful information 
architecture redesign but completely destroy the experience by messing 
up the graphic side of things."

Dogmas Are Meant to be Broken: An Interview with Eric Reiss
By Liz Danzico.
"Is there a need for a Strunk and White of usability principles? Boxes 
and Arrows talks with Eric Reiss about sites designed by the neighbor's 
kid, how we didn't get Web 1.0 right, and the Web Dogma '06."


Exploring User Mental Models of Breadcrumbs in Web Navigation
By Angela Colter, Kathryn Summers, Cheri Smith.
"Breadcrumbs are a common Web site navigation element, yet little is 
known about whether users notice, use and understand what they are. We 
surveyed 4,775 sites to determine how many use breadcrumbs and what 
conventions exist, then conducted usability tests to explore user 
mental models of breadcrumbs."

Free Choice and The Usability of Links
By Kim Krause Berg.
"...Why does underlining words that don't link anywhere matter? The 
first reason is convention. Or, another way to say it - conditioned 
behavior. We know that since the beginning of Internet time, a 
procedure was invented to signal a way to get from point A to point B. 
Most probably that direction is an underlined word that when clicked, 
changes color and even if not clicked, often is a different color from 
the rest of the content. It may even be a different font face and size. 
And, it's underlined. It takes the visitor somewhere else..."

+09: PHP.

PHP Roadmap
By James Murphy.
On WebProNews.com a PHP roadmap has been posted - a comprehensive look 
at what PHP is and how it's evolved. First they look at what PHP has to 
offer, then how it's evolved, and finally a comparison of PHP to 
several other languages, including Perl, Java, and Cold Fusion."

Using Comments
By Christopher Jason.
"If you've ever had to work through another programmer's code to 
complete a project, you probably understand the importance of 
commenting code. This quick tutorial shows the 3 different ways to 
comment your code in PHP..."


On Quality Education
By Holly Marie Koltz.
"...As more students become aware of web standards and web best 
practices before they enter a college or a university program, they are 
going to start looking closely at your programs and will also look at 
educational options. If your institution does not offer what they want 
or need, they may enroll elsewhere. Students have already been asking 
about good choices on mailing lists and forums for several years. The 
standards web community is well aware of the substandard educational 
issues. It is the year 2006 and there is no reason to be instructing 
practices and methods of 1996, or backwards and outdated materials. 
Students who are paying for a degree and education should receive a 
quality education...Educators need to update their knowledge and 
skills, and those educators who have updated need to have the ability 
to make changes in programs or update the learning material. 
Administration and departments should support and encourage these 
changes. Institutions should help instructors update..."

WSG Meeting PodCasts
By Web Standards Group.
Includes many people and topics like Gian Sampson-Wild and Bruce 
McGuire talking about WCAG 2.0, John Allsopp discussing web patterns, 
Cameron Adams on AJAX, and Roger Hudson and Russ Weakley on page source 
order and accessibility.

Design Patterns: Part 3
By Luke Wroblewski.
"...So what is a design pattern? We've used one definition: 'A design 
pattern is a repeatable design solution, that's been tested, reviewed, 
and verified.' I think the essential part of that definition is the 
'repeatable design solution' part - we'll talk about some of the 
challenges with testing, reviewing, and verifying later in the 
conversation. But repeatable solutions give a pragmatic answer to the 
question: if it's a solution that's been useful in more than a few 
situations, it's worth writing up as a pattern. If it's been documented 
well enough that another designer can use it for a different problem, 
it is a design pattern..."

Design Patterns: Part 4
By Luke Wroblewski.

+11: TOOLS.

Web Accessibility Checker (for WCAG 2.0)
By Adaptive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) at the University Of 
"This is an experimental service provided by the Adaptive Technology 
Resource Center (ATRC) at the University Of Toronto. It is a model 
system that demonstrates how web pages can be checked for accessibility 

Functional Accessibility Evaluator
By Center for Instructional Technology Accessibility.
"The Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE), formerly called the Web 
Accessibility Management Tool (WAMT), analyzes web resources for markup 
that is consistent with the use of CITES/DRES HTML Best Practices for 
development of functionally accessible web resources that also support 

Accessibility Extensions for Mozilla/Firefox
By Center for Instructional Technology Accessibility.
"The Mozilla/Firefox Accessibility Extension makes it easier for people 
with disabilities to view and navigate web content. A toolbar provides 
easy access to navigation, styling, and keyboard enhancement 
functionality. Developers can use the extension to check their 
structural markup from the browser window to verify that it matches the 
page content. The Accessibility Extension helps authors to meet these 
kinds of accessibility practices that are so important for the browsing 
experience of all users and vital to those with special needs."


How to Create User Friendly Web Sites
By Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger.
"Excerpted from Prioritizing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Hoa 
Loranger...As technology continues to improve and more users have 
high-speed access, multimedia Web sites are becoming more prevalent. 
Done well, video, animation, and sound can enrich the user experience 
and delight audiences. Implemented inappropriately, multimedia is 
repellant and reduces your site's value. In this chapter, we'll discuss 
strategies to help you avoid common pitfalls and use multimedia to your 

Older Adults and Web Usability: Is Web Experience the Same as Web 
By Ann Chadwick-Dias, Donna Tedesco, and Tom Tullis.
"...Preliminary results in our labs demonstrate a positive correlation 
between opportunities for collaborative learning and Web expertise, as 
well as a negative correlation between opportunities for collaborative 
learning and age. These results support the need to reassess how best 
to measure Web expertise and how we might improve Web interaction for 
older adults..."

[Section one ends.]


+13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?

Accessibility Information.

Association Information.

Book Listings.

Cascading Style Sheets Information.

Color Information.

Dreamweaver Information.

Evaluation & Testing Information.

Event Information.

Flash Information.

Information Architecture Information.

JavaScript Information.

Miscellaneous Web Information.

Navigation Information.

PHP Information.

Sites & Blogs Listing.

Standards, Guidelines & Pattern Information.

Tool Information.

Typography Information.

Usability Information.

XML 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

[Issue ends.]

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