[webdev] Web Design Update: January 26, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jan 26 06:19:01 CST 2007

- Volume 5, Issue 32, January 26, 2007.

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:

10: PHP.
12: TOOLS.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Getting Started with Practical Web Accessibility
By Jukka 'Yucca' Korpela.
"This document presents the practical basics of accessibility. It can 
be read as a standalone primer, or used as the basic material for a 
short course. After finishing it, you will know a useful set of rules, 
the reasons behind them, and how to apply them in authoring..."

Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
By Wikipedia.
"Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, was enacted 
by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Pub. L. No. 105-220, 112 Stat. 
936 (Aug. 7, 1998), and is codified at 29 U.S.C. 794d..."

Accessibility for All to Services and Terminals for Next Generation 
By COST219ter Initiative.
"...The purpose of this book is to give the reader an overall picture 
of the current situation with the latest trends in products and 
services that can be used by as many people as possible including 
people with disabilities and older people..."


Quick CSS Mockups with Photoshop
By Casper Voogt.
"It may seem like we're trying to party like it's 1999, but rest 
assured, we're not. Casper Voogt shows us a way to use Photoshop, 
ImageReady, and slices to produce mockups that utilize clean XHTML and 

Upcoming CSS3 Support in Opera
By David Storey.
"SS3 development work is going full steam ahead for most browsers. At 
Opera this is no exception. Most people don't have the privilege of 
testing out our latest internal builds, which will go into a future 
release of our browser, so I thought I'd share with you some of the 
great work our developers have been up to in regards to CSS3. A lot of 
work is going into selectors, and there is a quite extensive list of 
extra support added to those already implemented in Opera 9.1. New in 
the latest builds include..."

Using CSS to Style Thumbnails and Captions
By Thierry Koblentz.
"The challenge: captions must be centered underneath their image; 
captions may contain up to three lines of text; elements must flow 
(number of image/caption pairs in a row depends on the width of the 
parent container); thumbnails may be of various widths; text resizing 
must not break the layout; markup must be semantic (no structural 
hack);  markup must be "hook free" (no ID, no CLASS); CSS must be plain 
and simple (no filters, no Conditional Comments); must be 


CSS Design Basics with Dreamweaver - Part 1: Learning About Doctype
By Adrian Senior.
"Understand the importance of setting a correct doctype and how to 
prevent your web pages from dropping into "quirks" mode."

CSS Design Basics with Dreamweaver - Part 2: Styling (X)HTML Elements
By Adrian Senior.
"Learn how to use Apply styles to HTML tags that exist within your web 
pages and learn shorthand and longhand CSS."


Usability Heuristics for Web Development Teams
By Lisa Herrod.
"Often when clients have a relatively low budget for usability testing, 
or a short amount of time in which to conduct it, an 'expert' or an 
'heuristic' review will be run by an experienced usability 
practitioner. There are slight differences between the two, with the 
expert review entailing a less formal evaluation process than the 
heuristic review. But all things considered, they're pretty much in the 
same ballpark time wise- So I suppose that means cost wise too."

Do Not Do a Usability Test Now!
By Derrick Parkhurst.
"...With all of these potential problems, what have we learned? We have 
learned that we need to spend more time on design of our usability test 
before we learn anything about usability. Do Not Do a Usability Test 
Now!. Sometimes cheap (or free) can cost you more in the long run than 
paying up front."

Dissenting Opinion
By Kevin Godby.
"...I'd like to present my ideas on what a usability study is for, 
improve upon the development process presented by Derrick Parkhurst, 
and argue against some specific points he made...Many of the problems 
mentioned above should be addressed in the design phase of the project 
and the solutions should be established well before the user testing 
phase begins."

+05: EVENTS.

Designing Accessible Web Sites
February 13 or April 12, 2007.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

HTML: Basics
February 15 or March 27, 2007.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

HTML: Beyond the Basics
April 17, 2007.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Dreamweaver 8: Creating Basic Web Pages
February 20 and 22; March 28 and 30; or April 24 and 26, 2007.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Web Design and Development
April 3-5, 2007.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Dreamweaver 8: Cascading Style Sheets
April 11, 2007.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Institutional Web Management Workshop 2007 (IWMW 2007)
July 16-18, 2007.
York, United Kingdom.


Paper Prototyping
By Shawn Medero.
"As interfaces become ever more complex and development schedules seem 
to get shorter and shorter, you may find it useful to give up your 
user-interface modeling software for awhile in favor of something 
simpler. All you need is paper, pens, scissors, and your imagination..."


Event-Driven Web Application Design
By Christian Heilmann.
Christian Heilmann explains a method of building web apps by using 
events. It lets code to be more modular and maintainable. He also helps 
close the gap between the framework-based approach to development and 
web standards.

YUI Theater: Douglas Crockford, The JavaScript Programming Language
By Eric Miraglia.
"Douglas Crockford provides a comprehensive introduction to the 
JavaScript Programming Language. I've shared on YUIBlog and in the YUI 
Theater two presentations created by Yahoo! JavaScript Architect 
Douglas Crockford ('Advanced JavaScript' and 'An Inconvenient API: The 
Theory of the Dom'). Today I'm happy to announce that Douglas's more 
foundational talk 'The JavaScript Programming Language,' is publicly 
available on Yahoo! Video. In this presentation, which is meant to be 
the beginning of the three-course sequence (followed by 'Theory of the 
DOM' and then 'Advanced JavaScript'), Douglas explores not only the 
language as it is today but also how the language came to be the way it 
is. It's always worth pointing out that ideas and perspectives are 
Douglas's own and that the many egregious flaws in video graphic 
craftsmanship are mine. Files are available from Yahoo! Video (Flash) 
or as iPod-compatible .m4v files..."

The JavaScript Environmentalist
By Jonathan Snook.
"As a JavaScript developer, you are in many ways an environmentalist. 
JavaScript is a language unlike most other languages. For when it comes 
to JavaScript development, we must consider the mantra of the 
environmentalist: Reduce, reuse, recycle..."

Explaining Ajax, Transcribed
By Jeremy Keith.
"...I had the presentation transcribed and I've posted it in the 
articles section. Don't forget: the RSS feed of the articles section 
itself doubles up as a podcast..."

Adobe Spry and Obtrusive, Inaccessible JavaScript
By Roger Johansson.
"In these days of JavaScript framework mega-hype it is nice to see 
'Progressive enhancement' at least being mentioned (though pretty well 
hidden) in the documentation for Adobe's Spry framework. However, just 
like Jeremy Keith notes in Spryjax, the example is not what I would 
call progressive enhancement. Sadly, the demos and examples I have 
looked at reflect this - they do not use progressive enhancement at 
all, and they definitely do not degrade gracefully. In addition to 
that, many examples contain invalid HTML by the way of custom 

Improving Ajax Applications for JAWS Users
By Gez Lemon and Steve Faulkner.
"Popular screen readers use a virtual buffer to allow users to interact 
with web content, whereby the virtual buffer provides a mechanism for 
screen reader users to interact with web content. This article uncovers 
undocumented behavior in JAWS 7.1 and later, which allows web 
developers to build Ajax applications that update the virtual buffer 
without any interaction from the user..."

Improving Accessibility for Today's AJAX - To Hack or Not?
By Bob Easton.
"...I want to ask about a proposed technique, but first the set up..."


Interview with Doug Bowman
By John Allsopp.
"...our newest columnist John Allsopp interviews influential designer 
Doug Bowman about the current state of web design, his expectations for 
2007 and his return to speaking at Web Directions North, coming up in 
February in Vancouver, BC."

Meet the Professionals - Molly E. Holzschlag Video Interview, Part 1
By Kazuhito Kidachi.
"Interview with the experts in various fields who play an important 
role in the world of Web.
In this episode, we talked with Molly E. Holzschlag who is the current 
leader of WaSP. She is working vigorously to spread and to raise 
awareness for Web Standards. Filmed in Sydney, Australia,September, 

Meet the Professionals - Molly E. Holzschlag Video Interview, Part 2
By Kazuhito Kidachi.


Words that Work: Search Words Versus Website Words
By Gerry McGovern.
"Do people search using basic, simple, old words? But when they arrive 
at a website are they moved to action by more emotive, sophisticated 

+10: PHP.

Data Types, Literals, Variables, and Constants - Part 2
By Ellie Quigley.
"This week we look at valid names, declaring, initializing and 
displaying variables and mixed data types. We conclude this section 
with an introduction to form variables."

PHP Programming Basics
By haroon.
"This article is the first of a series of PHP guides that aim at 
teaching you the basics of PHP programming..."

Dynamic XML with PHP
By Ben Robinson.
"In this article I will show how to generate dynamic XML documents with 
Object-Oriented PHP. Before I get started, let's get right to the heart 
of this functionality. Although the code may look fancy, being packaged 
up inside objects and inheritance, the key elements of this 
functionality rest in the mysql_list_fields() and mysql_num_fields() 

Convert XML to JSON in PHP
By Senthil Velayudham, Edward J Pring, and John Morar.
"With the growing popularity of Web 2.0, a new data interchange format 
called JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is emerging as a useful way to 
represent data in the business logic running on browsers. Learn how 
PHP-based server programs can convert XML-formatted enterprise 
application data into JSON format before sending it to browser 


HTML Standards Process Returning from the Grave
By Maciej Stachowiak from the Safari team at Apple.
"...On the new HTML Working Group Chart, we have voted to support it 
with minor changes, and plan to participate. Here are our proposed 

New W3C HTML Working Group Chaired by Microsoft
By Roger Johansson.
"...I am very uncomfortable with a Microsoft representative being the 
chair of what is possibly the most important Working Group of the W3C, 
and definitely the most visible one.."

Bill Gates on Web Standards: Huh?
By Roger Johansson.
"Judging by his answers, Bill Gates does not really know what Web 
standards are, or why they are important. Not very surprising, but a 
bit disappointing. It would have been fantastic if he had been able to 
give straight, honest, and positive answers to Molly's questions. 
Especially considering that the new W3C HTML Working Group will be 
chaired by Microsoft. Microsoft seems extremely concerned about 
providing tools that make things easy for application programmers. Why 
is it so hard for them to realize that Web developers are also 
important? Bill tries to belittle those who are skeptical about 
Microsoft and Web standards"

Microsoft's Commitment to Web Standards
By Jesper Ronn-Jensen.
"...The biggest issue is not IE's commitment to web standards, but 
Microsoft and it's developer tools' commitment to web standards. And 
no, recent support for xhtml validation does not make your tools 
entirely focused on web standards. I have seen recent books bought by 
colleagues at work, where every piece of HTML is table based layouts, 
FONT tags, all capital tags, etc. So there might be a commitment on the 
strategic level, but it's very badly executed. I'd really appreciate if 
you post a comment with any examples you stumble upon..."

Charity Organization
By Anne Van Kesteren.
"...I wonder how many other people actually think the W3C is some 
charity organization. It isn't. I'd say the W3C is mostly driven by 
commercial entities..."

Microsoft Makes Accessible and Standards Compliant HTML Email Impossible
By Roger Johansson.
"...HTML email, when created by people who know what they are doing, 
was heading in the right direction with regards to semantics and Web 
standards. But Microsoft just made anything but the simplest designs 
impossible to achieve without resorting to really dirty, old-school 
tricks. Well, they didn't really do that, but because of Outlook's huge 
market share that is the practical result of their decision..."

Adding hCard to Your Site With Microformats
By Bence Kucsan.
"Microformats are a new and simple to implement way to handle your 
existing data on your website, to enable its exchange with web apps 
like Google Maps or flickr or even with desktop apps like Mail or 
Outlook. Sweet..."

+12: TOOLS.

Demographics Prediction
By Microsoft.
"You can use adCenter technology to predict a customer's age, gender, 
and other demographic information according to his or her online 
behavior-that is, from search queries and webpage views. General 
Distribution is the breakdown by age of MSN Search users-based on a 
one-month MSN Search log-regardless of search query used. Predicted 
Distribution is the predicted breakdown by age of MSN Search users for 
a single search query, based on the adLabs predictive model."

By Userfocus.
"Most people use Microsoft Excel to analyses the results of usability 
tests, but did you know you can use it to collect the data too? This 
Excel Workbook allows you to measure task completion rates, analyses 
questionnaire data, and summarize participant comments. It even 
includes a timer so you can measure time-on-task. Amongst other 
changes, this new version includes printing enhancements,improved data 
analysis and alternative usability questionnaires."


Indent or Center Verse Quotations
By Richard Rutter.
"Verse is usually set flush left and ragged right, and verse quotations 
within prose should not be deprived of their chosen form. But to 
distinguish verse quotations from surrounding prose, they should be 
indented or centered on the longest line..."


The Improving Online Customer Experience
By Mark Hurst.
"...compare how hard it is to find your most basic, important 
information on your site, versus on Wikipedia. If Wikipedia is easier, 
you might reconsider your options. And enough talk about colors 
creating an emotional experience. When people go online to answer a 
question, they don't care what color, typeface, associated graphics, or 
website domain is showing on the page. They just want a quick and easy 

Simplicity > Clarity > Being Understood: Mark Rothko, etc.
By Matt Linderman.
"...As they gained maturity and experience, these great artists 
recognized the power of stripping down their ideas. The more powerful a 
concept is, the less you need to dress it up. Simplicity > clarity > 
being understood."

The Laws of Simplicity - Law 1: Reduce
By Todd Warfel.
"I've recently finished a great book by John Maeda titled The Laws of 
Simplicity. In his book, Maeda covers 10 laws of simplicity. The first 
law is Reduce - the simplest way to achieve simplicity is through 
thoughtful reduction. Sounds pretty simple, right? Maeda is quick to 
point out, however, that you must be careful of what you remove. It's 
not as easy as simply stripping things out, but instead removing what 
isn't critical to the product or service..."

You Say You Want a Resolution
By Jason Santa Maria.
"The topic of screen resolution in web design has once again reared its 
ugly and multifaceted head. Jeremy Keith and Roger Johansson still say 
'nay.' Well, I'm saying 'yay,' with some conditions. I know many people 
take a hard-lined approach to this, saying that fixed-width 1024px 
sites are wrong most, if not all, of the time. This post is not meant 
to once again pose the tired questions of 'What base resolution should 
we aim for?' or 'Can we all start designing for 1024px?,' instead I 
want to throw an opinion for wider sites into the mix. Don't get me 
wrong, I'm not for a 1024px web from now on, just that 1024px can be 
right under certain conditions. (For the sake of brevity and clarity, 
I'll refer to these sites respectively as 800px and 1024px though I 
realize that the 'live' area is less.)..."

Web Usability
By Mel Pedley.
"Anybody can design and put up a web site. It's even claimed that there 
are more web pages than there are people in the world! Given the sheer 
number of sites out there, the ultimate goal should be to have an 
effective site..."

[Section one ends.]


+15: 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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