[webdev] Web Design Update: July 7, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jul 7 06:25:59 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 02, July 7, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 02 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ 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
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
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?..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
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.
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."
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.
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
+05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
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."
An Introduction to OOP in PHP
"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)
"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
"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's Framework is a PHP alternative to Ruby on Rails and Django
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
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
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?..."
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."
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.]
++ 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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