[webdev] Web Design Update: June 16, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jun 16 06:25:16 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 52, June 16, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 52 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
05: EVALUATION & TESTING.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
WCAG 2.0 Quick Reference
"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
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
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
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..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
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
"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..."
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
"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.
+05: EVALUATION & TESTING.
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."
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.
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
"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
By Lee Underwood.
perform mathematical operations such as obtaining the values of
predefined mathematical constants. It can also be used to generate
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
By Dan Webb.
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
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..."
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
"...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."
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
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
By Jeff Finley.
"CleanCSS is a powerful CSS optimizer and formatter. Basically, it
takes your CSS code and makes it cleaner and more concise."
"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."
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)
"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
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..."
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
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+14: 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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