[webdev] Web Design Update: July 7, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jul 7 06:25:59 CDT 2006

- Volume 5, Issue 02, July 7, 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:

04: FLASH.
08: PHP.
10: TOOLS.
13: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Text Equivalents Overview
By Jon Gunderson.
"Images and graphics are an important part of web sites and most web 
developers are concerned that their web resources are visually 
appealing to users. There is often a misconception that the use of 
graphics and accessibility are at odds with each other. For many types 
of disabilities, graphics actually enhances the accessibility of web 
resources. The accessibility of web resources really has nothing to do 
with the graphical effect the author envisions and has everything to do 
with the markup used generate that graphical effect or content..."

The Moving Target of Accessibility
By Matt Bailey.
"I'm working on a large government accessibility project, and it is one 
of the most eye-opening and challenging projects I've been on. Not so 
much because of the work involved, but because of the attitudes and the 
attempt to totally comprehensive in meeting accessibility standards."

Web Accessibility Soon Mandatory in Europe?
By Jo Best.
"The 25 European Commission member states and nine accession countries 
have all signed up for a plan that could make accessibility in 
e-procurement mandatory..."

Circus of CAPTCHA's
By Matt Bailey.
"Now that Google has changes its policies and added an accessible 
alternative, I thought that others would fall in line. Wow, was I 
wrong. In the past few weeks I have been overwhelmed with CAPTCHA's as 
I have opened accounts at many social media sites. One of the most 
egregious was at Yahoo..."

Text Only Sites
By Leonie Watson.
"...If an organization is serious about their reputation and quality of 
service, if they want to be cost and resource effective over a 
sustained period of time and if they want to be an example of social 
responsibility -- the single site approach is simply the only choice."

An Overview of WCAG 2.0
By Matt Heerema.
"The WCAG WG is going to publish WCAG 2.0 as a formal recommendation 
later this year. I love the revisions and the new approach they are 
taking. It is a much more practical and accessible (pun intended) set 
of guidelines, more of a philosophy of how to make pages, than 
mechanical rules. This article is an attempt to digest and summarize 
the guidelines."

Why Design Accessible Web Sites?
By Nicole Sullivan.
"An accessible and non-accessible site can look exactly the same to a 
non-disabled user. It can be difficult then to understand what the fuss 
is all about. Why is it important to consider accessibility when 
designing and planning online assets?..."


Control Block Formatting Context
By Zoe Gillenwater.
"In order to become a skilled CSS developer, you need to understand the 
underlying concepts of CSS that make it work and not just how to 
produce certain visual effects. The 'block formatting context' is one 
of those concepts that drives how CSS affects your page without you 
even knowing it. Most of the time, you don't need to worry about it; 
it's just something that's going on behind the scenes that you don't 
need to get involved with. Sometimes, however, the lack of a new 
context can make elements interact in undesirable ways. The primary 
reason for setting a new context is to keep cleared elements inside a 
main content div from clearing floated sidebars. We'll use this problem 
as a case study for how to establish new block formatting contexts and 
to see what their effect is on the other elements around them."

Can You Hear Me Now?
By Joshua Briley.
"One thing rarely mentioned in CSS discussions is the topic of aural 
style sheets. It can be assumed that limited user agent support is the 
culprit for limited discussion on the topic, but rest assured, support 
is on the way. Aural style sheets can add more of a human element to 
audibly presented sites. No longer should visitors have to listen to 
mechanical, lifeless presentations. Below is a discussion on current 
user agents, linking aural styles to your documents, and utilizing 
several properties and values."

Style Me Challenge: Call for Entries
By Virginia DeBolt.
"The Style Me Challenge invites designers to create the CSS for an 
XHTML page. I had a similar Style Me exercise in my first book, and 
want to expand it for my  new book, Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS. 
The new book is due out from Wiley Publishing in the Spring of 2007. 
There will be a full color insert in the book where I plan to showcase 
some of the designs created for a new Style Me Challenge. If your CSS 
design is chosen for the book, your name and a link to your website 
will be included, as well as a brief description of you or your design 
business. In addition to the free publicity, you'll get a copy of the 

Tutorial: Coding a Layout
By Erratic Wisdom.
So, you've designed your next site but you're having a little trouble 
turning your lovely PSD into a coded layout. This tutorial should help 
you learn how to analyze either a new template, or even your current 
layout to find the best way to code it.

CSS Galleries
By Nick Dunn.
"...CSS Galleries makes your life easier by aggregating the major 
design showcases into one simple RSS feed..."

Inline Styles Won't Solve Your Problems...But Maybe It Can Save Your 
By Natalie Jost.
"The issue of inline styles came up recently in regard to something in 
the stylesheet not working right. Instead of fixing the problems in the 
stylesheet, it appears there are people resorting to inline styles to 
'fix' their troubles by overwriting the stylesheet. This bothers me for 
a lot of reasons, but I have a feeling it's pretty common."

+03: EVENTS.

User Experience Week 2006
August 14-17, 2006.
Washington, D.C. U.S.A.

Information Architecture for Large Enterprises (Louis Rosenfeld)
September 14, 2006: Chicago, Illinois  U.S.A.
September 28, 2006: Washington, D.C. U.S.A.
October 19, 2006: Seattle, Washington  U.S.A.

Web Usability Workshops (Steve Krug)
September 15, 2006: Chicago, Illinois  U.S.A.
September 29, 2006: Washington, D.C. U.S.A.
October 20, 2006: Seattle, Washington  U.S.A.

+04: FLASH.

Unobtrusive Flash Objects (UFO) v3.20
By Bobby van der Sluis.
"Better standards compliancy by using W3C DOM methods and the object 
element instead of innerHTML and the embed element where possible, code 
optimization and bug fixes. Go get it!"

IE Security, JAWS, and Flash Issues
By Andrew Kirkpatrick.
"By now, almost everyone has heard about the IE Security Update and how 
it impacts ActiveX control interaction. With the release of JAWS 7.1, 
there are additional reasons to make sure that you add the HTML Object 
element in the way suggested at the Active Content Developer Resource 


Gliffy.com Moves Wireframing Online
By Garrick Van Buren.
"Gliffy is a browser-based, Flash-drive diagramming tool, with the feel 
of a desktop app (i.e. fast and has both 'File' and 'Edit' menus). I 
spent a little time with it today and am quite impressed. Far more 
enjoyable to use than Visio or ConceptDraw."

Hand-Crafting Prototypes in Visio
By Henrik Olsen.
"If you are the happy owner of a tablet computer or a pen tablet you 
can hand-draw prototypes on your computer. In this article we'll look 
at what hand-sketching is good for and how to built hand-drawn 
prototypes in Visio.


Ten Questions for Gian Sampson Wild
By Russ Weakley.
"Gian Sampson Wild talks about accessibility, WCAG 2.0, cognitive 
disability, Baseline, valid code, AAA and opening shopping malls."

CSUN Accessibility Sessions Audio Now Available
By Peter Korn.
"After a disappointingly long delay, I'm happy to report that audio 
from our two Orca sessions at the CSUN (Conference on Technology and 
Persons with Disabilities) Conference on Technology and Persons with 
Disabilities, and the Open Document Format Accessibility panel 
discussion, are now available for your listening pleasure. They are 
encoded in Ogg Vorbis format, which is an open source audio compression 
and encoding system that to my ear sounds a lot better than MP3 when 
compressed to the same or even smaller bit-rate. Ogg Vorbis players are 
available for most every platform, and the latest players for Windows 
like WinAmp can play them automatically."

@media 2006 Presentations
"Presentation audio and video from @media 2006, Europe's foremost web 
design conference...You can now download the first of the @media 2006 
podcasts - 'A Decade of Style' by Eric Meyer. We will be releasing a 
new podcast every Monday."


Do Links Need Underlines?
By Jared Spool.
"When the designers switch back and forth, between having some links 
underlined but others not be underlined, that makes even more work for 
users. Work that doesn't add any real value. We think the visual design 
element of the underline is not required, but it is cruel to make users 
work extra hard because you can't decide."

Creating Accessible Navigation Bars
By Jon Gunderson.
"Navigation bars and other groupings of links are important to 
represent in HTML markup so that users can easily identify the 
navigation bars and skip over or move to them. By providing a 
distinctive label with the title attribute for each grouping, users can 
also identify the purpose of each navigation bar."

+08: PHP.

An Introduction to OOP in PHP
By phpdeveloper.
"Okay, show of hands out there - who else is tired of the boring old 
car analogies when it comes to talking about object-oriented 
programming in PHP? I have to admit; even I got a little sick of 
reading them after a bit...So, here we go with something a little bit 
different - hopefully it'll turn out to be something useful for all of 
you developers out there trying to wade through the wide world of 
object-oriented programming with PHP..."

Classes and Objects (PHP 4)
By php.net.
"A class is a collection of variables and functions working with these 

Object-Oriented Features New To PHP5
By Peter Lavin.
"This chapter is excerpted from 'Object-Oriented PHP: Concepts, 
Techniques, and Code'."

A Simple Sessions Tutorial
By phpdeveloper.
"Developers just starting out with PHP have a pretty easy time getting 
the basics down, but there are a few things that can take a little time 
to get ones head around. I just looking around the PHP community, I've 
noticed a bit of a barrier when it comes to getting aquatinted with 
sessions. So, to help overcome this bump in the road, here's a brief 
introduction to sessions - what they are and how they can help you..."

Zend Framework
By Zend.
Zend's Framework is a PHP alternative to Ruby on Rails and Django 


Why Web Standards Matter (Case Study)
By Jesper Ronn-Jensen.
"Project managers often have a hard time understanding web standards 
and why they matter. In this case, my arguments made a perfect business 
case for the managers of a particular project. Recently I was called 
out to debug some javascript code that did not perform. There was 
really not a big problem in Firefox, but Internet Explorer hung using 
20 seconds or more each time the script was activated by the user. It 
was one of those applications where you click on a little plus to 
expand a list of units in a subgroup. The list that caused the trouble 
contained 1,416 rows. The subgroup was invisible and already rendered. 
On click a display style property changed from display:none to 
display:block. Unfolding the list took 19 seconds in IE. WHAT?..."

+10: TOOLS.

By Ian Lloyd.
"A web developer's time-saver - lets you paste in a list of 
words/phrases (separated by carriage returns) and converts to an 
XHTML-compliant <select> list."


Microsoft's Forgotten Monopoly
By Hakon Wium Lie.
"...The time has come to break the Microsoft monopoly on fonts..."


Is Reading on the Web Really Different?
By Caroline Jarrett.
"...It turns out that genre is the key. People read blogs differently 
from news sites. They read search engine pages differently from cartoon 
sites. They read sports results pages differently from e-commerce 
pages. They don't read things that look like adverts no matter what the 
'advert' really is and no matter where you place it. But they do 
transfer reading behaviors from screen to print and back again. For 
example: reading a middle-of-the-road, illustrated paper newspaper like 
'USA Today'. It's got a nice big picture on the front and a headline. 
You glance at the picture but read the headline. What happens on an 
illustrated news website? It's not all that different: headlines and 
captions are where eyes fix first..."

Complexity Delivers Short-Term Gain But Long-Term Pain
By Gerry McGovern.
"...Simplicity will be a difficult sell in the short-term.  Complexity 
catches the eye. It is in the use of the thing that  simplicity shines."

History of the Button Blog
By Bill DeRouchey.
"Tracing the history of interaction design, software/web design and the 
future of environmental design through the humble button."

CEOs and Usability
By John S. Rhodes and Daniel Szuc.
"Talking to a CEO about usability can be wonderful or terrifying. The 
difference between raging success and total failure comes down to 
understanding exactly what the CEO needs to know and then adjusting 
your usability message to fit. This article explains how to understand 
various contexts, and in turn, how to position your usability message."

+13: XML.

Current Issues with Microformats
By Emil Stenstrom.
"...Even though microformats are basically trying to make it easier to 
parse the web (an idea I like) I'm not sure this is the right way of 
doing it. Human and robot content are most often different things and 
mixing those in the same document could mean you end up with a mess. I 
have not touched upon all the extra elements microformats add to the 
HTML but that's also a sign that we're moving the wrong way. If the 
authors of microformats want their formats to spread they need to fix 
the two issues above. The two suggestions of improvement I made above 
would make me consider using them. Right now I don't feel it's worth 

[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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