[webdev] Web Design Update: July 28, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jul 28 06:27:56 CDT 2006

- Volume 5, Issue 05, July 28, 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:

02: BOOKS.
09: PHP.
11: TOOLS.
13: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Understanding Web Accessibility
By Shawn Lawton Henry.
"'Understanding Web Accessibility' is Chapter 1 of the 
recently-published book Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory 

Can You Get the Music? A Review of Music Download Sites
By Janet Ingber.
"...Unfortunately, no single web site is totally accessible, has old 
and new music from major record labels, and uses a format that is 
compatible with all portable players and CD burners..."

Disabilities and Barriers
By Georgia Southern University.
"This section will illustrate various disabilities and how a disability 
prevents users from accessing information on the Internet. A barrier is 
defined as those parts of a Web page that are inaccessible to people 
with disabilities. In the majority of sites, barriers can be removed 
from Web pages without compromising the integrity, presentation or the 
author's "creative license" of their site..."

PDF Standards From ISO
By Leonard Rosenthol.
"...I thought I'd write a bit about some of the standards related to 
PDF from ISO (International Standards Organization)."

PDF Needs You for PDF/UA!
By Duff Johnson.
"AIIM's PDF/UA Committee needs your help!. PDF/UA (Universal 
Accessibility) is tasked with developing a Standard for accessible PDF 
with a goal of eventual adoption by the ISO."

LIFT Text Transcoder
WebAIM Thread.
Ann Jenkins: "I am wondering if anyone on this list has any experience 
with or an opinion about the LIFT Text Transcoder..." Patrick H. 
Lauke:"...quick fix, band-aid solution. If you build your pages 
properly, using standards, providing alternative content etc, then 
you've already got a text-only version...your markup itself..."

+02: BOOKS.

Kaiser, Shirley. Building Best Practice Websites: 101 Must Have 
Checklists, SitePoint, 2006.


Transcendent CSS: Creating the Aesthetic Web
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"For those folks working with Web standards, particularly CSS, the 
road's been a bit of a difficult one. We've faced a lot of challenges 
and continue to face them. But there's hope on the horizon, lots of 
hope. This hope has emerged from the hard work of many people who are 
attempting to transcend the technical problems and create great Web 
sites. Our joint goal is to create sites that are structurally sound, 
accessible, usable, and designed with aesthetic appeal for multiple 
platform use including screen, print, and wherever possible, mobile 

By Eric A. Meyer.
"...none of his individual points are on target. What his outburst does 
is remind us of the problem to which so many have grown numb, and which 
we still-for all the progress that has been made-face on a daily basis. 
Consequently, it reminds us to keep advocating for greater consistency 
between browsers, to praise the efforts of browser makers in that 
direction, and to help them correct their course when they move in the 
wrong direction-and to do so constructively, not destructively. For 
while we may gain insights from the rantings of trolls, we should never 
be so foolish as to adopt their tactics."

Dvorak Reloaded
By John Allsopp.
"You know, having got stuck into John Dvorak the other day, I kinda 
feel a little bad now. See, underneath it all, I sense his frustration 
with CSS. And I do agree both the issues of browser compatibility and 
the learning curve with a new technology can be frustrating...So here 
is a challenge for all you CSS designers: Develop a CSS redesign of 
John Dvorak's blog...The first 10 redesigns we receive, will receive..."

Correcting the 20 Pro Tips (.NET magazine)
By Emil Stenstrom.
".NET magazine is a fairly big web development magazine. I've recently 
been referenced to its articles from many separate places, and often 
found the articles to be of good quality. The last one, called 20 pro 
tips, was not too good though, so I'm going to go through and correct 
it. I'm not trying to attack the magazine here (remember 'friendly' in 
the URL), I just want people to know these things. The article consists 
of 20 points that a pro should know. Here are the points I found errors 

Styling Abbreviations and Acronyms
By Russ Weakley.
"I wrote an article on abbreviations about three years ago that 
discussed the basics of abbreviations. Aspects of the article were 
slightly misleading and I have been meaning to update the information 
for a long time. A modified version of Styling abbreviations and 
acronyms is now online..."

Open Web Design
By openwebdesign.org.
"Open Web Design is a community of designers and site owners sharing 
free web design templates as well as web design information. Helping to 
make the internet a prettier place!"

Another CSS design gallery.


Meet the Unicorn
By Olivier Thereaux.
"Why should we have to use ten different tools to check the quality of 
a single web page? We think there should be a tool to gather 
observations made on a single document by various validators and 
quality checkers, and summarize all of that neatly for the user..."

Codename UniCORN
By Jean-Guilhem Rouel and Damien Leroy.
"...The aim of our internship is to create a 'universal validator' that 
will be able to validate and check multiple things in a document 
through a single Web interface. But this is not only a merge of all the 
validators interfaces, there should be a strong link between all these 
tools to avoid inconsistency and useless job..."

Expert Usability Participants
By Alastair Campbell.
"...Usability testing, including participants with disabilities is 
almost always a good thing. However, you have to be aware of what you 
are getting if you use a panel of regular testers. Obviously I'm 
somewhat biased by being from a psychology/usability background, and 
working for a company that does full usability testing. There are some 
inherent difficulties with repeat users that should be known to 
interpret the results..."

The Ultimate Testing Checklist
By Shirley Kaiser.
"Testing plays a critical role in the development of your web site and 
its long-term maintenance. While smaller web sites-especially those 
with more limited budgets-may not need to follow the formal testing 
procedures that are required for large-scale, commercial web sites, 
every site needs to be thoroughly tested to ensure that it's 
error-free, user-friendly, accessible, and standards compliant..."

+05: EVENTS.

Introduction to Dreamweaver 8
August 22, 2006.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM US/Eastern
Live Online Seminar

Best Practices: A Closer Look at CSS and XML in Dreamweaver 8
August 22, 2006.
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM US/Eastern
Live Online Seminar

Professional PHP Development
August 24-25 2006.
London, United Kingdom

Social and Human Ideas for Technology
September 28-29, 2006.
Lisbon, Portugal

CISSE 2006
Second International Joint Conferences on Computer, Information, and 
Systems Sciences, and Engineering
December 4-14, 2006.
Virtual forum for presentation and discussion of the state-of the-art 
research, conducted online in real-time via the internet.

IEEE First International Conference on Digital Information Management
December 6-8, 2006.
Bangalore, India


JavaScript Event Tests Part 1: onmouseover
By Gez Lemon.
"This is the first part of a series of articles investigating support 
for JavaScript events in popular screen readers. This article 
investigates the onmouseover event."

Highlighting Form Fields with Unobtrusive JavaScript
By Adam Kalsey.
"I wanted to alter the appearance of a form field when someone places 
their cursor in i, an effect that you see here and there..."

Dynamic Content with DOM-2
By Apple.
The relatively recent emergence of peer-to-peer distributed computing 
and the renewed interest in real-time data exchange have stoked the 
embers of a hot topic: displaying dynamic content over the Web. 
Unfortunately, the statelessness of HTTP and the limitations of the 
rendering components of different browsers present significant 
challenges to web developers wishing to get fresh information to the 
client without sending additional requests to a server.

Javascript, the DOM and application/xhtml+xml
By Simon Willson.
Simon describes the differences when developing a javascript for a page 
served as application/xhtml+xml.

The Right Way to do Ajax is Declaratively
By Duncan Cragg.
"Don't write your interactive Web application in custom Javascript! The 
Web's Declarative nature needn't be broken just because you want 
two-way dynamic data instead of one-way documents on your site. 
Instead, write Declaratively to generic Javascripts, plugins and 
browser features such as Hijax, hInclude, XForms, SVG, XBL, etc..."


Microsoft Finds That More Screens are Better
By Ann Light.
"Mary Czerwinski...has looked into the relationship between the 
monitors that people use and their productivity at office tasks. The 
upshot of her research: bigger monitors are better, and while two 
monitors are good, three are ideal..."

Interview with Jakob Nielsen
By Matt Mickiewicz.
"Matt Mickiewicz interviews Jakob Nielsen, author of the brand new book 
'Prioritizing Web Usability,' about AJAX, usability's close link to 
keyword advertising, and some of the advertising formats we're seeing 
around the Web today. What do you think of the current implementations 
of AJAX (Google Maps, Writely, Google Suggest, Zimbra, etc.) on the Web 

Ten Questions for David Storey
By Russ Weakley.
"David Storey is the Chief Web Opener at Opera Software, based in Oslo, 
Norway. He leads a small global team, responsible for improving the 
compatibility of the web, so that it can be accessed by all. David 
talks about Web Openers, web standards, Opera9, Operas relevance in 
today's marketplace, document.stylesheets and User Agent String 

Veerle Pieters Interview
By Carolyn Wood.
"Most of us learned to make Web sites mired in 'view source' code, 
through careful self study, and from those generous souls who share 
their tips and techniques through tutorials. If you're one of the lucky 
ones, you already know of the inimitable Veerle Pieters. A Web 
uber-talent, she's been helping others with her in-depth Web design 
tutorials for years. If you haven't been
introduced, join our own managing editor Carolyn Wood as she and Veerle 
talk about process, working with clients, and of course, how to 
pronounce Veerle correctly."

Getting Emotional With Donald Norman (Interview)
By Marco van Hou.
"I believe that we now do understand how to design so that the result 
truly fits people. By 'we', I mean the design community, the design 
theorists (which is where I fit), and the university community of 

UPA 2006 Podcast
By Giles Colborne.
"Giles Colborne of the UK chapter of the Usability Professionals' 
Association just announced that a podcast containing interviews of 
people at the UPA 2006 conference is now available here. Interviewed in 
the podcast is Steve Krug, Shawn Henry, Jacob Nielsen and Larry 

UXPod - User Experience Podcasts
By Gerry Gaffney.
User experience discussions by Gerry Gaffney.


The Ultimate SEO Checklist
By Shirley Kaiser.
"Optimizing your web site for search engines should be an integral part 
of your web site project, from the very beginning to the very end. 
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be considered, and if possible, 
implemented, throughout the planning, design, development, and 
maintenance stages of your web site."

"Whilst some search engines are easy to use for the visually impaired, 
this is not necessarily true of the sites returned in the results of 
any searches carried out. This search engine gives an accessibility 
rating for the websites returned for any query entered...The 
accessibility rating is determined mainly by how user-friendly a 
website is for visitors with visual disabilities. Other factors include 
how fast loading a website is, how easy it is to navigate and clarity 
of language."

Google Accessible Search Isn't
By Ben Buchanan.
"The latest product of Google labs shows Google managing to do the 
right thing and the wrong thing at the same time: Google Accessible 
Search. It's kind of spectacular that Google can produce a search 
specifically for accessible resources and still not make a 
best-practice search form or results page..."

Google Accessibility Search
WebAIM Thread.
"(Christian Heilmann) I like the idea, but it is - possibly 
involuntarily - advertising the idea that there needs to be a 'special' 
version of any web app for blind people, which is a myth we tried to 
get rid of for years now..."

They Think It's Accessible. It is not!
By Marjolein Katsma.
"First of all, it would be more accessible if they just made the actual 
page accessible - people don't like to be treated differently - 
certainly not being presented with less functionality."

Ranking Accessible
By T.V. Raman.
"I'm penning this as a response to all who have wondered about what you 
could do make your particular Web sites rank well with respect to 
Accessible Search..."

+09: PHP.

Using XML - Part 6: Validation
By Adam Delves.
"This series has so far focused on XML technologies and how they can be 
utilized using PHP 5. A subject we have not touched upon yet, is XML 
validation. This article will explore the application independent XML 
validation standards of DTD's, the XML Schema Language and the 
XSLT-based Schematron language. I will demonstrate how to validate XML 
in PHP and demonstrate how PHP 5's XSL extension can be used to 
validate XML using the Schematron language..."


Misplaced Anger: A Rebuttal to Zeldman's Criticism of the W3C
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"...Jeffrey is wrong in his current assessment of the W3C. Clearly, 
there are a lot of reasons to dislike the organization, and surely we 
shouldn't put all our standards attention to an organization that is 
known to be filled with difficulties. But the reasons Jeffrey cites 
aren't the ones I'd choose as being up for criticism, knowing what I do 
at this point. The W3C has been more open to a new breed of interested 
people than ever before. Slowly, yes, and perhaps only in certain 
sectors. But it is only perceived as a closed system. It isn't one, but 
you have to have the initiative..."

Professionalism and Best Practice in Web Design and Development
By John Allsopp.
"...A professional web designer and developer understands best 
practices in their field, among them the use of valid HTML and CSS, the 
appropriate use of CSS and HTML (separating presentation from 
structured content, using the appropriate semantic HTML elements where 
available), and the development of accessible web content. A 
professional designer and developer uses these techniques knowledgeably 
and intelligently to develop solutions which meet their client's, 
employer's or own needs, and which meet the needs of the users of the 
sites they develop..."

Web Professional's Code of Ethics
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"Many professional organizations publish policy and ethics documents 
relating to how they as individuals treat their clients, each other, 
how they manage fees, and the kind of treatment their professionalism 
deserves in kind. In an effort to mobilize the Web community as 
professionals, and what it means to be a Web professional, I firmly 
believe that a code of ethics for our profession should arise out of a 
common group. I believe we owe it to ourselves, each other, our 
clients, and the profession's integrity and sustainability at large to 
begin a time of new professionalism for ourselves..."

Web Professionals Code of Ethics Wiki
Launched by Meri Williams.

Best Practices
By Webcontent.gov.
"The Web Managers Advisory Council, of the Interagency Committee on 
Government Information (ICGI), recommended these best practices in its 
June 2004 report to OMB: 'Recommended Policies and Guidelines for 
Federal Public Websites.' They are practices that many federal agencies 
have adopted to make their websites more citizen-centered."

+11: TOOLS.

By Alasdair King.
"WebbIE is a web browser for blind and visually-impaired people, 
especially those using screen readers. The Accessible programs let you 
access news and audio on the Internet in a simple and accessible way, 
allowing you to use podcasts, listen to the radio and read RSS and news 
with your screen reader or other access solution. Together they provide 
a way to access websites and other great things online..."

By screenreader.net.
"At ScreenReader.net we have freeware for blindness and visual 
impairment special needs throughout the world. It is free only to 
individual blind people for their personal use at home: it is not free 
to organisations...Download the Thunder ScreenReader talking software 
and your modern XP or Vista computer will be immediately usable by 
someone who can't see to read the screen."

W3C Mobile Web Best Practices Checker (ALPHA)
By Dominique Hazael-Massieux.
"...this tool is an alpha release of a Mobile Web Best Practices 

By snugtech.com.
"How does your website look on Apple Safari? Enter your URL in the box 
above and click View. SafariTest will return a screenshot of your page 
as viewed with Safari."


Evaluating Low Spatial Frequency Compositions
By Matt Queen.
"Icons that are difficult to tell apart can lead to disastrous 
consequences. Matt Queen shows us how studying the way the human visual 
system encodes information can lead to more effective icon design."

The Elements of Style for Designers
By Christina Wodtke.
"What if E.B. White had written 'Hanging Commas 99% Bad' instead of a 
gentle list of reminders for young writers? Wodtke outlines how White's 
list of 22 reminders for writing can be just what young designers need."

Site Evolution
By Paul Boag.
"...There are obvious benefits to evolving a site over time rather than 
undertaking sporadic redesigns. However, it is important to remember 
that the foundations need to be in place before you can successfully 
follow this approach. It will be hard to evolve a site that has not 
been built with this approach in mind. Ensuring content, design, and 
functionality are all maintained separately is key to the success of a 
constantly evolving website. Without those the overheads of evolving 
your site will be too high."

+13: XML.

What are Microformats?
By Tantek Celik.
Tantek's presentation slides form his 'An Event Apart' New York City, 

What Is RDF
By Joshua Tauberer.
"Joshua Tauberer updates the classic XML.com article 'What Is RDF' by 
rewriting it from scratch. Tauberer claims that RDF is more relevant 
than ever in the world of Web 2.0."

Google Exec Challenges Berners-Lee
By Candace Lombardi.
"A Google executive challenged Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee on his 
ideas for a Semantic Web during a conference in Boston on artificial 
intelligence...Google Director of Search and AAAI Fellow Peter Norvig 
was the first to the microphone during the Q&A session, and he took the 
opportunity to raise a few points...'from Google's point of view, there 
are a few things you need to overcome, incompetence being the 
first...We deal with millions of Web masters who can't configure a 
server, can't write HTML. It's hard for them to go to the next step. 
The second problem is competition. Some commercial providers say, 'I'm 
the leader. Why should I standardize?' The third problem is one of 
deception. We deal every day with people who try to rank higher in the 
results and then try to sell someone Viagra when that's not what they 
are looking for. With less human oversight with the Semantic Web, we 
are worried about it being easier to be deceptive'..."

Incompetents Revolt!
By Danny Ayers.
"I guess what I'm trying to say here is that Google appears to see data 
being distributed on the Web and under the control of individual users 
as being a threat to their own aims. They see problems unless Web data 
is in their silos. But this doesn't have to be the case, they can still 
be leaders in the interfaces to the data. i.e. don't build big DBs, 
make good mashups. In one sense at least there is potentially a big 
problem for them: the more directly addressable, first-class data there 
is on the public Web, the less people will be dependent on free-text 
search engines. No doubt they're aware of that already."

[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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