[webdev] Web Design Update: October 27, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Oct 27 06:26:41 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 18, October 27, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 18 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.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
15: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Barrier-Free Web Design, a.k.a. Web Accessibility 2.0
By Roger Johansson and Tommy Olsson.
"Both authors of this article belong firmly in Camp 1. We believe in
building websites with no unnecessary barriers, thereby making the Web
accessible to as many people as possible. In this article we attempt to
explain why we believe that is important and why we do not think
including everybody risks excluding people with disabilities."
Accessibility In Trouble 6: Misrepresentation
By Mike Davies.
"...Web accessibility, protecting the civil rights of disabled people
to participate online, is being devalued by web accessibility 'experts'
and 'evangelists' out to raise their own profiles, and justify their
Creating Accessible PDFs Using Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional
By Greg Pisocky.
Can WCAG 2.0 be Simpler?
By Vladimir Popov.
"The new WCAG 2.0 standard draft sparked a hot discussion around web
accessibility and the standard direction. The main issue is how to make
it simpler and easier to understand for web developer community. The
author investigates some WCAG 2.0 success criteria and explains, why
they should be solved by improving technology of user agents."
Stuff WCAG, Let's do It Ourselves!
By Jack Pickard.
"...So, what do we think should be mandatory for public sector
websites, at least in the UK? Well, here's my opinion..."
Don't Provide an Accessibility Statement
By Peter Krantz.
"When I surf the web I see more and more sites providing an
accessibility statement. Googling for 'accessibility statement' returns
over twelve million pages. What do these statements contain? Why would
you want one? Who reads them? This article will try to make two points:
1. accessibility statements are often pointless and 2. you are better
off with a 'site help' if you think your target audience need it..."
CAPTCHA Usability: Humane Alternative to CAPTCHA
By Jesper Ronn-Jensen.
"...Since W3C wrote about 'inaccessibility of CAPTCHA' almost a year
ago, a new technique has emerged..."
Web Captioning and Education
By Jared Smith.
"This article was written to set the framework for the Web Captioning
and its uses in Education webcast. It provides an overview of
captioning technologies, implications for education, and ideas for
Deaf Web Users Fear Being Left Behind
By Andrew LaVallee.
"...The absence of online captions has emerged as a hot topic in the
deaf community. The media providers say they are held back by
technological hurdles, and point out that online distribution of TV
content is still in its infancy. But advocates for the deaf and hard of
hearing say the lack of captions is a slight, since most programs have
already been transcribed to comply with Federal Communications
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Top CSS Tips
By Jonathan Snook.
"I thought I'd share some of my habits when it comes to doing CSS work
and let me warn you, some of what I have to say is probably a little
controversial. But what's life without living it on the edge..."
Useful Tips for Writing Efficient CSS
By Roger Johansson.
"Jonathan Snook has posted a few great CSS coding tips in Top CSS Tips.
Several of them come down to personal preferences, and it seems my
preferences differ a bit from Jonathan's in some cases, so I thought
I'd go through his tips and note my take on each of them..."
Tip: Want to Write CSS for a Handheld?
By Virginia DeBolt.
"...My advice for now is to make lavish and liberal use of display:
none for nonessential parts of your pages and make sure your color
contrast is going to work on a small screen. Check your pages with CSS
switched off to make sure they linearize sensibly (good semantic HTML
is the underpinning of everything no matter what kind of device you're
designing for). Provide skip navigation links or other navigation aids
to make the pages easier to work through..."
Use Of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
By Brian Kelly.
"This document reviews the importance of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
and highlights the importance of ensuring that use of CSS complies with
Five Simple Steps to Designing with Colour
By Mark Boulton.
"Designing with colour is perhaps the element of graphic design which
is the most difficult to get right. Why? Well, because it is the most
subjective. For some, a palette of dark gray with splashes of bright
pink will be just great; to others it would just be all wrong. Too many
designers, whether schooled in colour-theory or not, end up making
subjective decisions about colour and then when it comes to explaining
those decisions to a client, things begin to unravel.This first post in
the series will be dealing with looking at tone and the value of
limiting your palette..."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
By Emma Tonkin.
"Heuristic evaluation is a method of user testing, which enables a
product to be assessed in order to identify usability problems - that
is, places where the product is not easy to use. It is a discount
('quick and dirty') method, which means that it is cheap and requires
relatively little expertise..."
Interactive Heuristic Evaluation Toolkit
In Depth CSS XHTML Techniques with Eric Meyer
December 7-8, 2006.
London, United Kingdom.
UIE (User Interface Engineering) Web Application Summit
January 21-23, 2007.
Monterey, California U.S.A.
ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) 2007 Conference and
January 24-27, 2007.
Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
6th Creativity and Cognition Conference
June 13-15, 2007.
Washington, D.C. U.S.A.
The Rise of Flash Video, Part 2
By Tom Green.
"Part One of Tom Green's series traced Flash video's rise to prominence
on sites such as YouTube and MySpace (the article fortuitously
appearing on the day Google's purchase of YouTube was announced). Now,
in part two, Tom, a well-known authority on Flash, tackles what may be
the biggest question about Flash video-its quality-and then touches on
digital rights management (DRM), and video as content."
FLV Playback skins with Captionate Captioning Support
By Andrew Kirkpatrick.
"Providing captions in Flash just got easier. Adobe is making skins for
the FLVPlayback component available for use. The skins were crated by
Michael Jordan and are being provided by Adobe for developers to use.
To use these skins..."
Bonsai - A Loopless Tree Menu Using Event Delegation
By Christian Heilmann.
"As a response to all the libraries out there advocating lots of
methods to retrieve collections of elements to loop over or attach
other methods to I just wanted to remind people that looping is slow
and sometimes not really needed. As a proof I set up a 13 lines
hierarchical tree menu script that does not need any loop at all..."
Event Delegation versus Event Handling
By Christian Heilmann.
Print to Preview
By Pete McVicar.
"Going from the browser to the printer has always been a bit of a
guessing game. In this article, Pete McVicar shows us a method for
providing users with a reliable print preview."
Introducing Key Concepts for Form Validation with the DOM
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"If you're looking for ways to validate the data submitted on your web
forms, you'll be interested in this article. It's the first in a series
that explains how to use the DOM to supplement your server-side
Extending Prototypes of Built-In Objects
By David Andersson (liorean).
"You should never, ever, under any circumstances extend
Object.prototype with new members unless you own all the code in the
entire production environment...You should avoid, if at all possible,
extending Array.prototype with new members...In general, Array objects
should be used for their array-like behavior. If all you want to get is
a way to map keys to values, use an Object object instead..."
Using a Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut
By Ian Lloyd.
"...my questions are 'why is it necessary to have all these scripts for
a lowly login screen' (possible answer: it's just to preload them into
cache on a simple screen) but more importantly, why not just use a
simple form as demonstrated earlier? Why use that proverbial
sledgehammer to crack that nut? One of the arguments against using, or
a bookmark sharing site should (in theory) work quite nicely on these
Ajax and Accessibility: You're Doing it Wrong (Hijax)
By Rob Cherny.
"...The server-side code you've normally used can be simply tweaked to
support returning a subset of data. I've used this to great success
several times. You'll love it. Remember, scripting and Ajax should
'enhance' an application, unless you can get away with more for valid
have a valid reason, you're always going to want to use server-side
validation as well, however the client can save you time and energy if
it supports the features you're after."
Accessible Ajax, A Basic Hijax Example
By Rob Cherny.
"After posting my article, "Ajax and Accessibility: You're Doing it
Wrong (Hijax)", Jeremy Keith, the fellow who coined the term, actually
posted asking about working examples. Well, I didn't have any that I
could share off hand, but I posted a few things which were in the same
spirit of working Accessible Ajax, or Hijax. Thinking about it more, I
figured, well, it's pretty easy, I'll just slap together a sample. So
away we go..."
AJAX Accessibility Overview
By Becky Gibson.
Internet that allows the incremental update of portions of a Web page
without reloading the entire page. This has great performance benefits
and provides a medium for developing rich Internet applications.
and AJAX on the Web. This article introduces AJAX and discusses some of
the accessibility issues and best practices..."
Quiz: AJAX - Automatically Move Focus?
By Bob Easton.
"...What about the people who use screen magnifiers? What if the target
area is beyond the field of view of the screen magnifier? The same for
people with low vision who have bumped up text size. What are the
ramifications of moving the page relatively large increments to expose
the new focus? Is this a good user experience?..."
Shirley Kaiser Interview
By Meryl K. Evans.
"Two prolific and experienced women of the web join forces for this
week's issue. Shirley Kaiser, author of the new book Deliver First
Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, created websitetips.com in
1996, and she's learned a lot about web design and development in the
years since then. Shirley talks about charging clients, tackling
redesigns, testing sites, and other practical matters, as she's
interviewed by Meryl K. Evans, well-known content maven and frequent
contributor to Digital Web Magazine.
Long Tails and Short Queries: An Interview with Amanda Spink
By Christina Wodtke.
"Why haven't we figured out search yet? Amanda Spink talks with
Christina Wodtke on why searchers still can't ask a useful question of
a search engine, and how Google may be part of the problem rather than
part of the solution."
Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Web Accessibility and Pragmatism
By Bruce Lawson.
"At last, the podcast audio and transcript of the talk Patrick Lauke
and I gave at Geek In The Park."
By National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE).
"NCDAE produces audio Webcasts on a quarterly basis. Each Webcast
includes panelist from industry, education, and government that discuss
questions about various aspects of accessibility and distance
Preparing a Website for SEO Success
By Mike Cherim.
"Building a website and wanting it to be found and indexed by search
engines, like most things in life, requires a little preparation. In
this article I will offer some suggestions on what developers need to
consider and do..."
Enhancing Web Site Navigation Using The LINK Element
By Brian Kelly.
"This document provides advice on how the HTML <link> element can be
used to improve the navigation of Web sites."
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
The Semantic Code
By Abhijit Nadgouda.
"I had been introduced to the concept of Semantic Markup much earlier.
But it is one of the things that is not a technical necessity, so I
remained at the surface for a long time. I recently got chance to delve
into the whys and hows that I would like to share with you, or rather
discuss with you. Semantic Markup, by itself, is a vast subject, we
will focus on the web design subset of it for the purpose of this
article, lets call it Semantic HTML..."
Bulletproof HTML: 37 Steps to Perfect Markup
By Tommy Olsson.
"This article highlights and answers some of the most frequently asked
questions about HTML. HTML is the foundation of the Web, and both
developers and designers need to understand it."
Introduction to Microformats 2
By Andy Mitchell.
"Microformats are small and gentle syntactic touch-ups for your web
pages. They have one major purpose: to make your data readable by both
man and machine. They are the technical diplomats of the Web; allowing
the same piece of data to be shared among many applications and people.
What is more, they do this in an easy and pragmatic way..."
Where Microformats will Take Us
By Andy Mitchell.
"This article is about gazing into the crystal ball, to see what kind
of Web will be possible when microformats can be found in the vast
majority of web pages..."
Following the WSG Microformats Event
By Stuart Colville.
Presentations and podcasts from a Web Standards Group Microformats
"GRDDL is a mechanism for Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects
of Languages. It is a technique for obtaining RDF data from XML
documents and in particular XHTML pages..."
Semantic Web Data Integration with hCalendar and GRDDL
By Dan Connolly.
XML Conference and Exposition 2005 presentation slides.
By Tantek Celik.
"This user interface, and the code behind it, is provided as an example
for the benefit of microformat open standards developers, and to
demonstrate the clear one to one correspondence between microformat
fields and microformat code. The code generated by this interface may
be used for semantic web pages, structured blogging, or any other
application that requires markup that is simultaneously human
presentable and machine readable."
Typography School (Video)
"Veteran graphic design/typography and letterpress teacher from the
London College of Printing: David Dabner talks... giving an insight
into the principles of design, creative letterpress and why computers
make students sloppy..."
Productivity and Screen Size
By Jakob Nielsen.
"...Skilled performance almost never happens on the Web, because users
constantly encounter new pages; that is, they spend most of their time
pondering options and trying to understand the content that's being
presented. This is why most websites should lay off the fancy
drag-and-drop features and focus on the simplest possible interaction
techniques that are common to all sites. If your site works the way
people are used to working, they can concentrate on your
content...Here's how to estimate productivity improvements: Involve a
broad spectrum of representative users (not just experts). Have the
users perform representative tasks (not just a few low-level
operations). Don't tell users how to do the tasks; observe their real
What Your Website can Learn from Starbucks
By Gerry McGovern.
"A fast, convenient website gains customers. A poorly designed website
loses customers. I want to buy a new laptop. I used to buy IBM
ThinkPads and was really happy with them. Lenovo took over the
ThinkPad range. Last year I went to the Lenovo website. I was a loyal
customer. I wanted to buy from them. The website was awful. I went to a
UI Conf: My Higlights from UI11
By Jesper Ronn-Jensen.
Jesper Ronn-Jensen's notes from the User Interface 11 conference.
Sending XHTML as text/html Considered Harmful to Feelings
By Brad Fults.
"Ian Hickson wrote a piece awhile ago called Sending XHTML as text/html
Considered Harmful. He introduces several main points against sending
XHTML documents with a text/html MIME type, which, I believe, are
wholly unconvincing. I'll comment on or refute each of his points
RSS and Atom in Action: News Feed Formats
By Dave Johnson.
"The most popular news feed format is RSS, but the formats have forked
into two opposing camps which don't agree on what the RSS letters stand
for. Clarity will dawn as you learn about the history of RSS, the RSS
fork and the most widely used RSS formats."
Creating a Custom RSS Feed with PHP and MySQL
By Kris Hadlock.
"RSS has become the standard technology for syndicating information to
large audiences. Many people have something to say, but its finding the
right audience for your voice that matters. A great place to start is
by creating your own RSS feed and adding to it as often as you can."
[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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