[webdev] Web Design Update: October 20, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Oct 20 06:23:00 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 17, October 20, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 17 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Designing for Dyslexics: Part 1 of 3
By Mel Pedley.
"This is the first in a series of three articles examining the specific
learning difficulty known as dyslexia and how web design can impact the
ability of those afflicted to access information on web pages..."
More Americans Than Ever Face the Threat of Blindness from Aging Eye
By The Eye Digest.
"The leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the US are
primarily age related eye diseases. Cataract affects nearly 20.5
million Americans age 65 and older. About 2.2 million Americans have
been diagnosed with glaucoma, and another two million do not know they
have it. More than 1.6 million Americans over age 60 have advanced
macular degeneration. Diabetic retinopathy affects more than 5.3
million Americans age 18 and older. The number of Americans with
age-related eye disease is expected to double within the next three
Accessibility or Help Links?
By Alastair Campbell.
"You see a lot of links on sites which are for 'Accessibility', to
provide both help for those with accessibility issues, and state what
levels of accessibility the site is aiming for. However, I believe that
this content should be split up between two different pages."
Access Keys, Limited Practical Value
By Alastair Campbell.
"...Access keys are keyboard shortcuts that are intended to help users
who have difficulty in using pointing devices such as a mouse. They are
intended to simplify navigation for people using special devices such
as screen readers by delivering quick access to important links. Users
that can view a full web page already have this quick access because
important links can be made to stand out on the page using numerous
visual methods. In terms of accessibility, the idea of the access keys
does not deliver..."
OpenOffice.org and Accessibility Part 1: Writer
"OpenOffice.org is a free, open source office suite, often compared to
Microsoft (MS) Office. Writer is OpenOffice.org's word processor
application. While there may be some concern over the accessibility of
Writer as an application, in terms of document accessibility, it seems
that OOo Writer and Microsoft Word have almost the same abilities and
Beware the Kalends of November
By Carroll Tech.
"...IE 7 is going to come out via Automatic Updates. So why is that a
problem? It's not, as long as you are running the latest version of
your screen access software. And that is the kicker: Given the high
cost of assistive technology - screen readers in particular - there are
tons of users who aren't. They cannot afford to. How many of these
users are going to go ahead and install IE7 when prompted to do so,
only to discover that web browsing no longer seems to work correctly?
While I hope I am mistaken, I suspect quite a few..."
Dyslexia, Disability and Teaching Accessibility
By Jack Pickard.
"...Schools, colleges and universities should be emphasizing to all of
their students that accessibility is not an optional bolt-on. It's an
integral part of web design...To this end, I'll re-iterate that while I
don't want you copying information from this site without permission,
depending on who you are and what you want to use it for, I may be
happy to grant permission - go ahead and ask!..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Image Replacement and Voiceover
By Alastair Campbell.
"There was a question on the Voiceover list recently about links just
being read out as 'link' on a particular site: freeverse. It turned out
to be due to an image replacement technique...If you are going to hide
text that you intend to be read out for screen readers, then it is best
to move it rather than set it not to display (or not be visible,
another CSS property)..."
Pure CSS Dropdown Menus, Take 2
"...Keyboard users can go from one top level item to the next without
having to go through the nested links (the enter key toggles the
sub-menus). Regarding pointing devices; I went with vertical sub-menus
rather than horizontal ones (avoiding diagonal paths) and I added a
10px cushion all around the sub-menus...."
Converting the Santorini JumpStart to Use Two Columns Instead of Three
By Heidi Bautista.
"The Santorini JumpStart - 18th in our ongoing series - provides you
with a simple 3-column fluid layout. But what if you wanted just two
columns? No problem. This article shows you exactly what you need to
change. And it's only three things! Isn't it nice when things are
simple for a change? That's the whole idea behind our JumpStarts. If
Santorini doesn't meet your needs, be sure to check out our other
Favorite Extensions: Part 1 - Tom Muck's Sniplets
By Adrian Senior.
"We all have our favorite extensions and I'm no exception. Some people
collect them and have extensions for everything whether they use them
or not, and some folks have just a few. I fall into the latter
category. In this vocational series I thought I would catalogue some of
the extensions that I use on a regular basis. Extensions that speed up
my productivity are a particular favorite of mine and Tom Muck's
Sniplets extension is one such tool that I use a great deal. It isn't a
commercial extension, it is absolutely free, costs nothing but your
time to download and install it.
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Eyetracking a Navigation Bar -- how many elements are read? Well, it
By Greg Edwards.
"...making a change to a web page can have a huge effect on how people
look at unchanged areas of the page (and, we can track that)... don't
go reading all sorts of stuff into this blog entry beyond that...
Web Captioning and Its Uses in Education Webcast
October 25, 2006.
2:00 PM Central Time.
Boycott Bad-Design Contest '06
Entry Deadline November 3, 2006.
Usability Matters "is holding this competition for identifying
Bad-Designs as part of our activities towards the World Usability Day -
SXSW (South by Southwest) Web Awards: Uncovering the Best New Sites
Entry Deadline December 15, 2006.
"Welcome to the SXSW Web Awards, the competition that uncovers the best
new internet sites..."
+06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Metrics for Heuristics: Quantifying User Experience, Part 2
By Andrea Wiggins.
"An information architect's evaluation of user experience is often
highly subjective and gains value with an evidence-based understanding
produced by web analytics. User testing and web analytic data are
currently the only ways to verify the heuristic assumptions upon which
a website is redesigned."
Douglas Crockford Does the DOM on Video
By Christian Heilmann.
months, one of which being Douglas Crockford explaining the DOM as an
inconvenient API to work with. While his slides have a splendid 'Silent
Movie' style to it (white text on black background), they tend to be a
bit overwhelming when you don't get his explanations alongside them.
Well, <farnsworth>Good News, everyone!</farnsworth>: his sessions have
now been made available as small half hour videos on the web..."
Douglas Crockford's Wrrrld Wide Web
By Douglas Crockford.
Access to BlogLines Restored to Blind Users
By Darrell Shandrow.
"...the programmers at BlogLines have pushed out changes that have once
again restored accessibility of the service to blind and visually
impaired Internet users. In fact, these changes serve to make a portion
of the service even more accessible than it had been in the past. The
following modifications have been made..."
Bloglines Listening to its Users?
By Ian Lloyd.
"...The good news is that the people at Bloglines (or Ask.com,
depending on how you view it) do listen to its audience, and the
navigation tree in the left pain - I mean 'pane', sorry, Freudian slip!
- is now working properly for screen reader users..."
Deconstructing Web Applications: An Interview with Hagan Rivers
By Christine Perfetti.
"Hagan Rivers is a recognized pioneer in the area of Web Application
Design. Hagan worked on some of the very first web based interfaces and
she continues to push the envelope of web application design in her
current role as a partner at Two Rivers Consulting. UIE's Christine
Perfetti recently had the opportunity to talk with Hagan about some of
the biggest challenges in the web application space..."
10 of the More Useful PHP Network Information Functions Explained
"...This listing of 10 of PHP's more interesting and useful
network-related functions (Table A) provides a starting point for your
journey through PHP's network programming capabilities and gives you
insight into an area most Web developers don't usually enter.
Explanations and usage examples are used to indicate when and how each
function may be used..."
Assist Future Developers by Writing Comments and Clean Code
By Tony Patton.
"I have preached about documenting code countless times with fellow
developers, but I recently unearthed a strange fact: Many developers
written documents or code comments not only helps you, but it also
provides future guidance for developers working with the code..."
Overloading and Object-Oriented Programming with PHP 5
By George Schlossnagle.
"Last week, we discussed design patterns and polymorphism. This week,
we examine overloading and more. This article, the last of four parts,
is excerpted from chapter two of the book Advanced PHP Programming,
written by George Schlossnagle."
Inserting and Displaying Information From a Database
"This is a very simple example of inserting an entry in a mysql
database, using PHP. This script will also show a simple example of
listing the entries in your field..."
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
The Business Benefits of Web Standards
By Paul Boag.
"This presentation introduces you to a web design approach called 'Web
Standards'. It aims to explain exactly what web standards are and why
they provide huge business benefits that will increase the exposure of
your site, attract new audiences and make the running of your website
considerably more efficient. In short we will explain how web standards
will improve your return on investment."
By Eric A Meyer.
"...I still hold that certification is much too premature for our
field. Even if we could wave a wand and create a good set of
certification criteria in the next week, it would be out of date within
a year. Anything that wouldn't go out of date that quickly would be so
basic as to make a mockery of the whole idea of certifying someone as
competent in the field...The deeper problem is in deciding what
constitutes professional competence...In all this, though, the people
who are interested in creating a professionals' organization will have
to answer a fairly tough question. Given that both the World
Organization of Webmasters and HTML Writers Guild already exist and
offer certification, why aren't they more widely known or highly
regarded, and how will any proposed organization do better? What will
make it better or more influential?"
"...Online file conversion no installation, no virus and spywares..."
The Web is Not Print
By Colin Lieberman.
"Does a degree from a top school mean that a person can design good
websites? Maybe. Good designers can create compelling layouts that are
visually effective, but there are key differences between the web and
print media that I don't think schools are communicating. This article
is an attempt to fill in the gaps-to clarify how the web is different
from print media; to help designers make decisions that work online."
Why Award-Winning Websites Are So Awful
By Gerry McGovern.
"...The Web is a functional, practical place. A great website drives
the customer to act. It uses clear, substantial language, rather than
clever, meaningless words...The shiny surface wins awards. Real
substance wins customers."
What Makes a Good Web Site?
By Chris Heilmann.
"It is about content...It is about sharing...It is about access...It is
about communication...It is about availability...It is about
patience...It is about knowing your audience...It is about playing to
your strengths...It is about offering instead of pushing...It is about
keeping it simple...It is about advertising without annoying...It is
The Paradox of Choice
By Luke Wroblewski.
"...When people have no choice, life is miserable. As you start adding
options, you increase well being. However, you reach a point where the
curve flattens out and there are diminishing marginal effects. At a
point in the curve, satisfaction drops and you are worse off than when
you were neutral. The goal is to find the sweet spot on the curve."
Security vs. Usability: No One's Winning
By Rodney Gedda.
"Experts say wretched usability is scaring crypto newbies away..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+13: 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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