[webdev] Web Design Update: June 16, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jun 16 06:25:16 CDT 2006

- Volume 4, Issue 52, June 16, 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:

03: COLOR.
09: PHP.
11: TOOLS.
13: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


WCAG 2.0 Quick Reference
By W3C.
"A (draft) summary of all WCAG 2.0 requirements (success criteria) and 
techniques sufficient to meet them."

WCAG 2 - What a Whopper!
By Jack Pickard.
"...They (WAI) have the basis of something that could be a very good 
document, but it's not there yet. Don't feel you can't have further 
public revisions if necessary. The document can and should be saved, 
but it shouldn't be used as it currently stands, otherwise I for one 
will be using the unofficial WCAG 1.0 guidelines as produced by Joe 
Clark and his secret Samurai."

WCAG 2.0 Revisited
By Lachlan Hunt.
"Joe Clark has kindly responded to some the many questions I raised in 
my last article. Specifically, he responded to the issues of 
validation, the baseline, multimedia; abbreviations, jargon and 
pronunciation, and the WCAG Samurai. I still don't fully agree with him 
regarding validity, though I fully understand and accept his point of 
view. He has satisfactorily responded to the issues regarding 
multimedia and full-text alternatives, but I still have some questions 
about the baseline. Before I discuss these issues further, there's just 
one thing I'd like to clear up..."

This Just In: I Run a 'Movement'
By Joe Clark.
"One's esteemed colleague Lachlan Hunt inaccurately accuses me of 
engaging in a 'movement against the WCAG Working Group'..."

Even Academics Can't Understand It
By Joe Clark.
"Further on a topic that my non-technical readers assuredly don't care 
about, WCAG 2: Even academic researchers with Ph.D.s cannot follow the 
damned thing..."

Accessibility Testing
By John S. Britsios.
"Accessibility testing for web sites is a service that can provide much 
more than the standard point-by-point testing techniques of most 
automated services..."

Accessibility Lifecycle
By Alastair Campbell.
"This article outlines which aspects of accessibility can be checked at 
each stage of development, with a focus on where automated tools should 
fit in. Some knowledge of web accessibility is assumed. If this subject 
is new to you, please read an introductory article on web 
accessibility. The target audience is people who manage medium to large 
web site projects."

Five Assistive Technologies for the Web
By Leonie Watson.
"Leonie Watson of Nomensa introduces some popular assistive 
technologies for the Web: head and mouth wands, speech enabled 
websites, screen magnifiers, voice recognition software and the 
browser; and gives a brief summary of the design issues each brings 
with it."

Letter to the MS Society on Accessibility
By Bruce Lawson.
"Web Accessibility is a human rights issue rather than a technological 
problem. And history shows us that human rights issues are never 
resolved until the people who are losing out become vocal in demanding 
their rights. In the USA, disability lobbying groups have pursued AOL, 
Southwest Airlines and most recently, Target. But in the UK, nothing 
much has happened. It could be that most websites here are perfectly 
acceptable. Ahem. More likely, it could be the case that going to the 
law is stressful, complicated and expensive. It could also be that 
people with disabilities may not know their rights to the Web. So when 
there was an article in the magazine for the MS Society about using a 
computer accessibly, I wrote the following letter which was published 
in the May/June edition..."


CSS-Based Tabbed Menu
By Michal Wojciechowski.
Recipe for a CSS-based tabbed menu.

CSS Tables Verses Layout Tables
By Alastair Campbell.
"It's been something that designers have wanted better control of ever 
since CSS started to be considered the best way to layout HTML pages: 
table style grids."

An Easy Way to Remember CSS Comments
Debbie Thuillier.
"The syntax for a css comment is somewhat difficult to remember. I know 
I always had trouble until I thought of an easy way to remember..."

+03: COLOR.

Accessibility Tripwire - Beware Defaults
By Mark Sheppard.
"One of the most common and annoying accessibility barriers I come 
across in my daily browsing is the failure of web designers to specify 
font or background colors on their websites..."


Dreamweaver 8 Does Not Launch
By Adobe.
"Issue: Some users are reporting that Dreamweaver 8 does not launch. 
The common characteristic is that the splash screen appears 
momentarily, then the application closes. Some users report being able 
to launch Dreamweaver 8 two or three times before experiencing the 
problem, while some users were never able to launch Dreamweaver 8. 


Eyetracking: Worth The Expense?
By Jared Spool.
"...Eyetracking is fun to watch and produces cool output. It can serve 
as a good demonstration that users approach designs differently than we 
imagine. But can we find a useful place in our research process that is 
worth all the hassle and expense? I'm still not convinced."

+06: EVENTS.

An Event Apart Seattle
September 18, 2006.
Seattle, Washington U.S.A.

2006 Euro IA Summit
European Information Architecture Summit
September 30 - October 1, 2006.
Berlin, Germany

User Interface 11 Conference: Enriching the Experience
October 9-12, 2006.
Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A.

Hands on CSS - Sandy Clark
October 10, 2006.
New York, New York U.S.A.

2006 DC PHP Conference
October 18-20, 2006.
Washington, DC  U.S.A.

October 23-26, 2006.
Las Vegas, Nevada  U.S.A.

Web 2.0 Conference
November 7-9, 2006.
San Francisco. California U.S.A.


Dynamic Accessible Web Content Roadmap
By W3C.
"The Dynamic Accessible Web Content Roadmap addresses the accessibility 
of dynamic web content for people with disabilities. The roadmap 
outlines the technologies to map controls and events to accessibility 
APIs, including custom controls. The roadmap also outlines new 
navigation techniques to mark common web structures as menus, primary 
content, secondary content, banner information and other types of web 
structures. These new technologies can be used to improve the 
accessibility and usability of web resources by people with 
disabilities, without extensive modification to existing libraries of 
web resources."

The JavaScript Diaries: Part 14 - The Math Object
By Lee Underwood.
"This week we look at the Math object, a JavaScript object used to 
perform mathematical operations such as obtaining the values of 
predefined mathematical constants. It can also be used to generate 
random numbers."

LoJAX (Low-technology AJAX)
By James Edwards.
"LoJAX is a re-creation of the window.XMLHttpRequest object, designed 
for low-specification and legacy browsers..."

Ajax Use Patterns
By Peter-Paul Koch.
"Well, my previous entry Is asynchronous communication really being 
used? has certainly elicited some interesting comments. The answer was 
a resounding "Yes"; and the replies allow me to take a first stab at 
defining a few Ajax use patterns. We'll encounter four Ajax use 

The JavaScript Library World Cup
By Dan Webb.
"Love them or loathe them, JavaScript libraries are making a huge 
impact in the area of DOM Scripting. As AJAX matures, and the 
complexity of the scripts required to support its expanding use 
increases, it becomes much less feasible to produce custom code from 
scratch for every project."


Webstock Conference Recordings
By Webstock Team.
"There's a wealth of wonderful stuff there, including Doug Bowman on a 
common structure for webpages, Ben Goodger on Firefox and Tony Chor on 
IE7. The Darren Fittler presentation - using the web as a blind person 
- is pretty much all you need to convince people of the importance of 
accessibility. And see Russ Weakley blather on about tagging."

Web Design Podcasts from Boagworld.com
Host Paul Boag.
These podcasts "cover all things relating to web design and web 
development. Whether you are a web site owner, designer or developer 
hopefully this show has something for everybody. Each episode includes 
news, review and hints and tips, all presented in the light hearted 
style of podcasts like diggnation." Offerings include an interview with 
Andy Budd, developing a site structure, accessibility, SEO,

Accessibility Interview (Andy Budd)
By Net magazine.
"I was recently interviewed for an article on accessibility in this 
month's .Net magazine. Here is what I had to say..."

The Importance of a Customer-Centric Design Approach: An Interview with 
Gerry McGovern
By Christine Perfetti.
"Gerry McGovern is a world-renowned content-management expert and 
author of the books, 'Content Critical' and 'The Web Content Style 
Guide.' User Interface Engineering's Christine Perfetti recently talked 
with Gerry about the importance of a customer-centric approach to 
design. Here is what Gerry had to say about his experiences..."

+09: PHP.

PHP Tutorial: Introduction
By Vince Barnes.
"Welcome to the HTML Goodies PHP Tutorials!  This series is a new 
series that is in development right now. This tutorial series is a 
little more advanced than our HTML tutorials.  The assumption is made 
that you already have an understanding of HTML and basic web design. 
For this reason this is not a good starting point for the new designer, 
but is instead a place for one with a little experience to spread their 
wings and expand their design horizons.  Check back here often to see 
the progress of the series. We'll have you writing PHP code very soon! 
The following sections are available now..."

The Basics of Serializing Objects in PHP
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"Object serialization in PHP is very easy, and can be used for a 
variety of different purposes. It can be used to perform some fairly 
complex operations, in fact. This article, the first of a three-part 
series, introduces you to object serialization and a number of the 
tasks for which you can put this approach to use....What should you 
expect from this series? By the end of it, you should be equipped with 
a decent knowledge of how to serialize/unserialize objects without 
losing their methods and properties during the transition, as well as 
constructing persisting and session objects, and much more..."

An Introduction to Test Driven Development with PHP
By Dennis Pallett.
"This article will introduce you to the concept of Test Driven 
Development, and demonstrate it with a simple example project."

The Problem with PHP
Joshua Barrett.
"...Rails is a framework, PHP is a bunch of bricks. You figure it out."

In Praise Of PHP
By Andreas Roell.
"PHP has been able to stand its ground as a consistently implemented 
server-side scripting language. PHP is a general-purpose scripting 
language that is ideally suited for web developers, and can be easily 
embedded into HTML."


Real Hackers Don't Use CSS
By Emil Stenstrom.
"When you, as a standardist, talk to hackers about standards, keep in 
mind that they are good at what they do. There's a reason they are 
doing it a certain way and it works. Just throwing out a 'Tables are so 
96' won't bite; you need to be smarter than that. Don't forget that you 
where once in the same seat, and use the same arguments that made you 

Standards in a Nutshell
By Natalie Jost.
"I was thinking the other day about how to best explain web standards 
to someone unfamiliar. I've heard the podcasts, read the discussion, 
I've read Zeldman's book a couple of times now, and when I think about 
it all my head hurts a little for those people who are just finding web 
standards for themselves. People take way too long explaining what web 
standards means. It's about accessibility, usability, semantic markup, 
blah blah blah... yep, it's all those things, but in a nutshell, what 
is it? What's the starting point, the springboard for beginners? It's 
simply separating your content, your design, and your behavioral 
aspects of your site. So I drew this out..."

What is Semantic Markup and Why Should You Care?
By Virginia DeBolt.
"The word semantic gets tossed around a lot in connection with web 
design. A comment from someone made me realize I had overlooked 
discussing what that means here on Web Teacher. I use the word logical 
quite often instead, although I am not in a majority by talking about 
the logic of HTML tags as relating to semantics..."

Web Patterns: Q and A with John Allsopp
By Luke Wroblewski.
"Following up on part one of the Design Patterns conversation, I 
recently had the pleasure of speaking with John Allsopp about Web 
patterns. John is the lead developer of the Style Master CSS Editor and 
founder of Webpatterns.org, a site focused on the intersection of 
design patterns and Web development. In John's own words: 'The purpose 
of identifying patterns is to use them in our work as designers, 
information architects, and developers.' We chatted about doing just 

+11: TOOLS.

Clean CSS
By Jeff Finley.
"CleanCSS is a powerful CSS optimizer and formatter. Basically, it 
takes your CSS code and makes it cleaner and more concise."

By brianapps.
"Sizer is a freeware utility that allows you to resize any window to an 
exact, predefined size. This is extremely useful when designing web 
pages, as it allows you to see how the page will look when viewed at a 
smaller size. The utility is also handy when compiling screen-shots for 
documentation, using Sizer allows you to easily maintain the same 
window size across screen grabs."

The Color Wizard
By Colors on the Web.
"The Colour Wizard lets you type in the value of your colour and get an 
automatic return of that colour's complementary colour, split 
complementary colours, analogous colours, chromatic variations, shade 
and tint variation and saturation variation."

rendr 2
By greg taff.
"I've been tinkering with a rapid html prototyping tool for sometime 
and have finally fixed a critical bug that was making it a pain to use 
for large bits of markup. I now feel its good enough to share."

Photosensitive Epilepsy Analysis Tool (PEAT)
By Trace.
"The Trace Center's Photosensitive Epilepsy Analysis Tool was developed 
to provide a way for web developers to identify potentially seizure 
inducing material. Download the beta version free and try it out."


Oh, That Kind of Better...On the Trade-Off Between Feature-Laden and 
By Kath Straub.	
Kath Straub "looks at the disparity between what consumers think they 
need and what they can actually use."

No Instruction Necessary, Part 1
By Andy Rutledge.
"...at every step in the design process we have to be in the habit of 
asking ourselves if there is a reasonable possibility that instructions 
for basic use are necessary. Ideally, instructions for use are 
superfluous and indicate poor design. This isn't always so, but it is 
generally so, especially when we're talking about fundamental interface 
function issues. Website design presents us with all sorts of 
opportunities for crafting good and bad affordance. These opportunities 
run the gamut, from simple universal elements, like site navigation, to 
more context-specific, esoteric and playful elements, like those found 
in game sites or viral ads..."

By Adam Kalsey.
"Your intuition is based on your experiences. Just because your new UI 
is intuitive to you, that doesn't mean it's intuitive to your users. 
They have different experiences and therefore different intuitions."

Eight Problems That Haven't Changed
By Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger.
"... 1) Links that don't change color when visited; 2) Breaking the 
back button; 3) Opening new browser windows; 4) Pop-up windows; 5) 
Design elements that look like advertisements; 6) Violating Web-wide 
conventions; 7) Vaporous content and empty hype; 8) Dense content and 
unscannable text".

Email Newsletters: Surviving Inbox Congestion
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Newsletter usability has increased since our last study, but the 
competition for users' attention has also grown with the 
ever-increasing glut of information...Feeds are a cold medium in 
comparison with email newsletters. Feeds do not form the same 
relationship between company and customers that a good newsletter can 
build. We don't have data to calculate the relative business value of a 
newsletter subscriber compared to a feeds subscriber, but I wouldn't be 
surprised if it turns out that companies make ten times as much money 
from each newsletter subscriber. Given that newsletters are a much more 
powerful and warm medium, it is probably best for most companies to 
encourage newsletter subscriptions and promote them over website feeds."

Making the Customer CEO
By Gerry McGovern.
"...The websites that succeed are customer-focused. The websites
that fail use organization-speak and are technology-centric.
It's as simple as that..."

+13: XML.

The 7 (f)laws of the Semantic Web
By Dan Zambonini.
"When it comes to the Semantic Web, you might call me a disillusioned 
advocate. I've been dipping in and out of the technologies for the last 
5 years or so, but am increasingly frustrated by the lack of any 
visible progress..."

[Section one ends.]


+14: 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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