[webdev] Web Design Update: October 13, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Oct 13 06:35:37 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 16, October 13, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 16 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
11: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
15: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Web Accessibility Testing
By Jim Thatcher et al.
Chapter 13 of the new book, Web Accessibility: Web Standards and
Regulatory Compliance, by Jim Thatcher, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Richard
Rutter, Christian Heilmann, Cynthia Waddell, Michael R. Burks, Shawn
Lawton Henry, Bruce Lawson, Mark Urban, and Patrick H. Lauke, published
by Friends of Ed, July, 2006.
Accessibility at Educational Institutions
By Matt Bailey.
"ZDNet Education reports on the struggle American universities and
colleges have experienced in reaching for website accessibility.
According to a Hannon Hill study, only 17 of 124 tested American
institutions of higher education were in compliance with the WCAG. This
is sad. Having worked at a couple of colleges, I know that concern with
accessibility was nowhere near the level it needed to be: a lot of lip
service, little action. If there is any single category of websites
which has a critical need for accessibility, it's education. Yet these
institutions are definitely lagging behind..."
Working with Others: Accessibility and User Research
By Maurizio Boscarol.
"Could accessibility guidelines and practices be improved by greater
emphasis on user research? Maurizio Boscarol thinks the answer is
Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory
"TEITAC is a federal advisory committee providing recommendations for
updates of accessibility guidelines issued under section 508 of the
Rehabilitation Act in 2000 and under section 255 of the
Telecommunications Act. TEITAC members represents over forty industry,
disability groups, standard-setting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, and
government agencies, among others. More information about TEITAC is
available at the Access Board web site."
Too Much Accessibility - accesskeys
By Bim Egan.
"One of the worst culprits for creating what I call 'too much
accessibility' is the accesskey attribute. Of course, it has its place
in the accessible web author's toolkit, but when implemented by someone
who doesn't know how other keyboard shortcuts work, it can be a
Be Accessible, Don't Meet Guidelines
By Jack Pickard.
"...Do use WCAG as a useful starting point. Do learn about how users
with disabilities, and users with different assistive technologies use
the web. Do test your site with assistive technologies, emulators and
as many real people as you can get your hands on. Do seek to make your
sites as accessible to everyone as is possible...Don't treat WCAG as
infallible. Don't think that because WCAG isn't infallible, it isn't
extremely useful. Don't break the WCAG checkpoints unless you know
exactly what you're doing and why you're doing it. Don't beat someone
over the head with an accessibility stick just because they fail a WCAG
checkpoint: check that this will actually make their site inaccessible
to some users first, and only then beat them over the head with an
More On Dyslexia
By Mel Pedley.
"A number of questions were raised following Does W3C Get Its Contrasts
Wrong?. The following was originally posted as a comment follow-up,
but, since it's rather long, I've re-posted it here...The issue with
contrast is sometimes referred to as 'Scoptic Sensitivity Syndrome'.
Those who suffer from this sensitivity find high contrast text
difficult or impossible to read. But because most 'generic dyslexics'
suffer from more than one specific difficulty to varying degrees, it's
difficult to find accurate figures as to how many 'generic dyslexics'
suffer from specific Scoptic Sensitivity."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
The Form Garden
By Veer West.
"A CSS Stylesheet Collection for Web Forms."
Identifying Text-Only Nodes with CSS
By Alastair Campbell.
"Floating ideas onto the CSS working group can be a frustrating
experience, possibly almost as frustrating as seeing the same questions
come up every few months! I think I may have made a mistake in terms of
asking about this idea, by doing so within a thread about parent
In Search of the Missing Run-In Value
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"Molly E. Holzschlag encourages you to take advantage of little-known
CSS values, such as run-in display, before they disappear..."
By Heidi Bautista.
"Santorini is structured to be as hack-free and straightforward as
possible. So, if you've been looking for a relatively pain free way of
getting started with CSS layouts this may be just the JumpStart for
you. The source PNG included with Santorini is pretty simple too in
that it doesn't have any complicated images that you need to slice up
and shoehorn into the design. What you get with Santorini is a starter
page that uses valid XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS 3 markup and follows WAI
and Section 508 accessibility guidelines making it ready for you to
customize to suit your own requirements."
Texas Computer Education Association's
Educational Technology Research Symposium
February 7-9, 2007.
Austin, Texas U.S.A.
March 21-23, 2007.
CHI (Computer/Human Interaction) 2007
ACM SIGCHI Computer/Human Interaction conference
April 28 - May 3, 2007.
San Jose, California U.S.A.
UPA 2007 Conference
Patterns: Blueprints for Usability
June 11-15, 2007.
Austin, Texas U.S.A.
The Rise of Flash Video, Part 1
By Tom Green.
"In Part One of a two-part series on Flash Video, the immensely
qualified Tom Green gives us a spirited and insightful account of the
rise of Flash from a face in the crowd to the dominant video format of
choice for giants like YouTube and MySpace. If you are thinking of
adding Flash video to your web design skill set, this series is the
place to start."
+06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
IA for Web Developers Presentation
By Thomas Vander Wal.
"My recent presentation at Web Directions South on Information
Architecture for Web Developers is now here live online. I am using
SlideShare from Uzanto, which is Rashmi Sinha and Jonathan Boutelle in
the Mountain View, California and others in India."
Today's AJAX and DHTML Best Practices
By Bob Easton.
"As AJAX has risen, we have also read frequently that it's not very
accessible. We have a few choices: Shrug, don't worry about it, and let
people with disabilities cope with the current state of affairs. Accept
the pronouncements that it's not accessible and go back to our pre-AJAX
methods (and let the world pass us by). Or, learn why some AJAX
techniques are not accessible how we might make progress. If you're
interested in the third choice, keep reading..."
Accessibility Is Seldom Just Up To The Interface Developer
By Robert Nyman.
But when we talk about dynamic updates on the web page, or some AJAX
calls, there has to be some fallback when the web server can return
different states of the web page. For instance, just some text for the
AJAX call, or the complete web page + the new content for
are under the impression that this will take just one minute more to
develop, they will refuse and stop any such attempts whatsoever. In my
mind, it shouldn't take any longer at all, but it's about building a
back end correctly from scratch. If you haven't, of course it will take
more time. And once the whole web site is delivered with numerous
accessible. So, build it wrong day one and you will definitely pay in
the long run..."
Understanding Ajax: Getting Started
By Joshua Eichorn.
"What makes Ajax possible is the communication layer with the server.
XMLHttpRequest is not suitable, hidden IFrames and cookies can also be
used. Both will be examined here."
Using DOM Methods Rather Than innerHTML to Wrap All Children of a Node
into a New Element
By Thierry Koblentz.
"..Unfortunately, innerHTML is a proprietary property and it is said
that it should be avoided at all cost (or at least for many reasons).
The problem with this advice is that it doesn't really come with a
solution and until now I had been able to find out a simple way (using
only DOM methods) to do what innerHTML does so easily..."
By Lee Underwood.
can calculate the days between dates, show new items on your Web site,
object and learn how to utilize it in our scripts."
Tackling Automatic Field Focus Usability Issues
By Christian Heilmann.
"One of my greater annoyances on the web is sites that automatically
focus a form field when the page has loaded. Supposedly this should
make it easier for you to use the product, as you are to log-in
anyways, but there is one real problem with this..."
By Jack Slocum.
"You may not know it, but almost every site you visit that uses
it's true. Don't believe me?"
By Ayman Hourieh.
on the surface, it shares syntactical similarities with Java and C, but
some offer techniques to simulate features found in C-like languages
(such as assertions or static variables), others are meant to improve
performance and explore some of the more obscure parts of the web
By Maryam and Robert Scoble.
"Dori Smith - credited with getting Robert to blog and the author of
again (so is her 24-inch Dell monitor)."
Ten Questions for Peter-Paul Koch
By Russ Weakley.
Russ talks to PPK about "Quirksmode, browser detect, 'ppk on
Subtraction: Selling Jeffrey Zeldman on Selling
By Khoi Vinh.
"Khoi Vinh interviews Jeffrey Zeldman prior to the latter's AIGA NY
talk next week."
World Usability Day - An Interview with Elizabeth Rosenzweig (Podcast)
By Gerry Gaffney.
"Elizabeth Rosenweig is principal of Bubble Mountain Consulting...I
spoke to her in her capacity as Director of World Usability Day ...Why
do we need a World Usability Day, and will it make the world a better
place? How can you get involved? Find out from Elizabeth!"
Web Directions South 2006
Podcasts and speaker notes.
Accessible Search Now has Advanced Search Features
By T.V Raman.
"Ever since we launched Google Accessible Search in July, one of the
most oft-requested features has been the addition of advanced search
capabilities similar to those available on the main Google Search page.
In response, we've added an advanced search link at
http://labs.google.com/accessible in order to refine your searches in
various ways. The order of results will continue to take the
accessibility of the search results into account. Here are the types of
advanced queries you can perform..."
Introduction to Object Oriented Programming in PHP4
"In this tutorial you will learn about OOP. OOP is short for Object
Oriented Programming, and by coding in OOP it means that you will
primarily use objects as much as possible. PHP5 introduces a new object
model which changes PHP's handling of objects. The object model was
completely rewritten for better performance and more features. PHP5's
object model is backwards-compatible with PHP4's object model. There is
one thing you must know: PHP4 do not support the PHP5 way. Since most
hosting companies use PHP4 I will focus on the PHP4 way to do it. I
might write another tutorial for PHP5's object model. In this tutorial
I will explain the basic things that is mostly used, so if you already
have a basic understanding of OOP, this tutorial might not be
interesting for you."
Part 2: User-friendly Contextual Navigation with Simple PHP Includes
By Shirley Kaiser.
"Building on the previous post, User-friendly Contextual Navigation
with Simple PHP Includes, I thought I'd take things one small and
simple step further by using PHP once again, this time to add a CSS
class for the current page. Then it's easy to use this CSS class to
create a helpful visual cue within your navigation..."
+11: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Global Authoring Practices for the Mobile Web
By Luca Passani.
"This document gives general guidelines for web developers and content
authors who are searching for directions to help create sites for the
The ALA Primer: A Guide for New Readers
By Erin Lynch.
"New to A List Apart? Welcome! ALA's own Erin Lynch suggests a few good
places to start reading..."
The ALA Primer Part Two: Resources For Beginners
By Erin Lynch and ALA Staff.
"...The following websites comes from ALA staff recommendations. Many
of these are the sites that we've used - and still use - to improve our
own skills. We hope this list can serve as a starting point for a
larger collection of resources for fledgling web designers and
CSS Validator Colour Warnings Are Not Errors
By Roger Johansson.
"It's quite common for CSS authors to think that the warnings the CSS
Validator reports are errors. This is especially true for the warnings
'You have no color with your background-color' and "'You have no
background-color with your color'..."
Color Contrast Analyser: An Alternative Analyser
By Mel Pedley.
"Why 'alternative'? Because I believe that the standard analyzers that
apply the W3C thresholds place too much emphasis on high contrasts. Why
is high contrast a problem? It can make pages difficult to read for
many people with dyslexia. So, what's different about this Analyser? As
well as using the W3C thresholds, it uses the Hewlett Packard Color
Difference threshold which, at 400, is 20% lower than the corresponding
W3C figure. It also provides a 'high contrast' warning if the colour
difference exceeds 600."
Web 2.0 Validator
By 30 Second Rule.
Automated web tool that scores your site based on a 'set of Web 2.0
The Story Behind the Web 2.0 Validator
How to Convince a Client They Don't Need a Splash Page
By Matt Inman.
"...Splash pages are the pages that the user sees before they actually
get to a website; typically, they're flash and offer some kind of
introductory animation. The user clicks "Skip Intro" or "Enter Site"
and from there is taken to the site. Splash pages can also exist
between pages on the same site. Clients love to request them and these
are the arguments I use to shoot them down..."
2007 Will Be A Big Year For RSS
By Richard MacManus.
"With Microsoft's IE7 just around the corner and the other big Internet
companies upgrading key information management products, 2007 is going
to be the 'make it or break it' year for RSS..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+15: 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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