[webdev] Web Design Update: February 2, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Feb 2 06:33:00 CST 2007

- Volume 5, Issue 33, February 2, 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:

09: PHP.
11: TOOLS.
14: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Summer Internship at Google, Inc: Accessibility Experiences
By A.D. Shaikh and P. Strain.
"This paper summarizes some of the major lessons learned about 
conducting usability tests with visually impaired participants while 
working as interns at Google, Inc. The lessons were in four major 
areas: (1) recruitment and scheduling, (2) preparing the usability lab 
for testing sessions, (3) using think-aloud protocol with screen 
readers, and (4) helping observers to get the most out of the test 

The Hard Facts About Heading Structure
By Kevin Yank.
"...Because assistive technologies like screen readers allow users to 
navigate through a document by its heading structure, your headings 
need to form a sensible structure independent from the rest of your 
document markup..."

Web Accessibility Presentation
By Dennis Lembree.
Dennis Lembree's presentation on web accessibility from the January 
meetup for Refresh Detroit. Topics included the definition of the term, 
general issues, guidelines and law, and advocates.

Proceedings Web Accessibility Capacity Building Institute
Proceedings are available for the Web Accessibility Capacity Building 
Institute (CBI), held November 29 - December 1, 2006 in Seattle.

Writing an Accessibility Statement
By Leonie Watson.
"The article explains the use and importance of accessibility 
statements, and provides a template for download."


Css Collection
By Meryl Evans.
"I've been ironing the kinks (still has a few left) and polishing up 
CSS Collection. It's a showcase of good quality sites using CSS for 
layouts. As I sort the previously submitted sites into categories, 
you'll be able to see examples in categories that interest you or just 
browse the screen shot thumbnails. There are many CSS galleries and we 
all have similar features. One thing that makes CSS Collection stand 
out is that it's the first gallery (May 2001). The gallery is a great 
way to get inspiration. I find when I'm struggling to come up with 
design ideas and suggestions, I browse through the gallery and look for 
specific features. Not copy the site ... but look for examples of well 
done buttons, navigation and so on."


CSS Design Basics with Dreamweaver - Part 3: Margins and Padding
By Adrian Senior.
"Learn how margins and padding values affect your design layouts and 
how you can set your margin values to maintain a consistent 
relationship between your elements..."


Eye Gaze Patterns While Searching vs. Browsing a Website
By S. Shrestha and K. Lenz.
"This article discusses users' visual scan paths of web pages 
containing text and/or pictures while conducting browsing and searching 
tasks. User performance on three usability tasks on an e-commerce 
website is described. Results show that users follow a fairly uniform 
scan path when browsing through pictures, and a more random path while 
specifically searching through them. Additionally, users appeared to 
follow Nielsen's F pattern (2006) while both browsing and searching 
through text-based pages."

A Review of Morae for Usability Testing
By S. Shrestha.
"TechSmith's Morae is a powerful tool that is useful for any usability 
study. Its simplicity, efficiency, cost effectiveness and portability 
has redefined the data collection process and allows researchers to 
focus on the user experience rather than the data collection tools. 
This article discusses some of the features of this tool and proposes 
some enhancements to make it even more powerful to usability 

Behind the Mirror - Usability Testing Musings (Day One)
By Chris Heilmann.
"I spent the day today in some usability testing of a product I am 
involved in at the moment. We sat in a small room with coffee, soft 
drinks and far too many chocolately nibbles and watched people through 
a one-way mirror remark on our wireframes and try to solve tasks given 
to them. I've done this in the past, but had a bit of a break in 
between, so it was fun coming back to it. The most interesting part is 
that in the year or so I have been out of that loop not much changed..."

Testing Incentives: The Best Way to Pay
By Cliff Anderson.
"Recently, I informally surveyed the members on a popular usability 
listserv to see how other usability professionals compensate their 
participants. I heard from 37 respondents. Here's how you compensate 
your participants, by the numbers."

+05: EVENTS.

AbilityNet Training
February 5, 2007.
February 19, 2007.
March 5, 2007.
London, United Kingdom

IUE 2007
Internet User Experience
February 19-22, 2007.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.

Human Factors International Training
February 19-March 2, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
March 19-30, 2007 in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
May 7-18, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
July 30-Aug 10, 2007 in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
August 13-24, 2007 in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
September 17-28, 2007 in Minneapolis, Minneapolis, U.S.A.

Portal Conference 2007
June 5-8, 2007.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

E-Learn 2007
World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate,
Government, Healthcare, & Higher Education
October 15-19, 2007.
Quebec City, Canada


WAI-ARIA Live Regions
By Gez Lemon.
"Many of the accessibility issues associated with AJAX will be solved 
by the live regions concept from the WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility 
Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications) suite. Live regions 
allow assistive technologies, such as screen readers, to be informed of 
updates without losing their place in the content..."

A Note About Event Bubbling
By Peter-Paul Koch.
"Just now I delivered a project during the making of which I noted a 
feature of event bubbling that, though totally logical, came as a 
surprise to me. No doubt someone else will be surprised, too, and may 
even be able to use it in a project..."

Create Data Structures with JavaScript Arrays
By Tony Patton.
"The JavaScript array object provides powerful support for assigning 
multiple data values to one variable, but you can also use it to 
utilize stack and queue data structures in an application. Get more 
information about JavaScript stacks and queues."

Learn JavaScript Before Tasting the Library Kool-Aid
By Roger Johansson.
"...Unfortunately it seems that when libraries or frameworks enter the 
room, best practices regarding usability, accessibility, and 
unobtrusive scripting are very easily thrown out of the window. In most 
cases this is not the fault of the libraries themselves, but of badly 
written demos (which will be copied and used as-is, no matter what you 
say), lack of documentation, and developers who use the libraries and 
their accompanying demos recklessly, without considering the 
consequences...whether you swear by libraries or not, make sure that 
all your JavaScript is accessible and unobtrusive, and remember that 
You cannot rely on JavaScript being available. Period."


Streamlining the Design Process with Paper Prototyping: An Interview 
with Carolyn Snyder
By Ashley McKee.
"Ashley McKee recently sat down with Carolyn Snyder, author of Paper 
Prototyping, and founder of Snyder Consulting, to get answers to some 
of the most pervasive questions surrounding paper prototyping."

Access 2.0 Interview - Richard Cranfield
By Paul Crichton.
"Richard Cranfield has dyslexia. It is often called the 'hidden 
disability' because it can go undiagnosed despite the problems that it 
causes with reading and writing. For web developers, too, it presents 
challenges on how they design pages, and unlike other accessibility 
issues, relatively little material is available to help. For example, 
whilst most are aware that contrast is an issue, not everyone knows 
that an off-white background can be better than white, or better even 
the yellow on black as established as the typical 'high visibility' 
colour scheme by Betsy..."


The Importance of Link Highlighting
By Grant Broome.
"...This all really boils down to two things: 1. Make sure that all 
links are visible when they receive focus. 2. Create links that 
highlight when they receive focus..."

Don't Be The Weakest Link
By Paul Boag.
"Paul Boag discusses some of the accessibility and usability issues 
around the way we style up the humble hypertext link..."

Is There an Example of a Scalable Taxonomy?
By Joshua Porter.
"I'm not happy with any taxonomy, really. I can't think of a single one 
that works well for me, let alone works perfectly. Even a site with as 
simple a taxonomy as Apple.com confuses me, with some links on the 2nd 
level nav (like software and hardware) that are clearly a wider scope 
than those on the top level. I have to remember that this is the case 
when I want to find the software page?I have to remember the taxonomy, 
which to me is a mark of a poor one."

Scalable or Usable Taxonomies
By Donna Maurer.
"Joshua Porter has an interesting blog post titled "Is there an Example 
of a Scalable Taxonomy?". What I found interesting is that the title is 
about scalability, and he links to some interesting articles about 
scalability (comparing taxonomies with folksonomies in the main), but 
his examples are about usability. These are quite different things..."

+09: PHP.

The Building Blocks: Data Types, Literals, Variables, and Constants - 
Part 3
By Ellie Quigley.
"In the last part of this series, we look at creating constants with 
the define() function, the constant() function, predefined and 'magic' 

PHP Tutorial
By w3schools.
"PHP is a powerful server-side scripting language for creating dynamic 
and interactive websites. PHP is the widely-used, free, and efficient 
alternative to competitors such as Microsoft's ASP. PHP is perfectly 
suited for Web development and can be embedded directly into the HTML 
code. The PHP syntax is very similar to Perl and C. PHP is often used 
together with Apache (web server) on various operating systems. It also 
supports ISAPI and can be used with Microsoft's IIS on Windows. Start 
learning PHP..."

Introduction to PHP Classes (OOP)
By phpfreak.
"Learn how to use PHP Classes for Object Oriented Programming"

Operators In PHP
By fastcreators.
"...Today we are going to discuss different types of operators used in 

PHP MySQL Tutorials
By brainbell.com.

Loops In PHP
By haroon.
"Let's move towards our today's lecture which is about Loops..."


Adobe to Release PDF for Industry Standardization
By Adobe.
"Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced that it intends to release 
the full Portable Document Format 1.7 specification to AIIM, the 
Enterprise Content Management Association, for the purpose of 
publication by the International Organization for Standardization 

Calling Your Bluff on PDF
By Joe Clark.
"A common lie reiterated by standards ideologues is that HTML is an 
open standard while PDF is proprietary..."

HTML Standards Process Returning from the Grave: Comment-17195
By Maciej Stachowiak (Apple).
"We declined to participate in the XHTML2 Working Group because we 
think XHTML2 is not an appropriate technology for the web..."

Working Together for a Better Web
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"I'm excited to announce that I've signed on with the Internet Explorer 
team on a contract basis to work on standards and interoperability 

Former WaSP Interoperability Advocate Hired by Microsoft
By Scott M. Fulton.
"The lady who in September 2005 called Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's 
claim in a Business Week article that his company would eventually 'win 
the Web' "deplorable in the light of what the Web means to the world, 
to users, to designers and developers and to put it into Microsoft 
parlance, customers," now finds herself working for him..."

+11: TOOLS.

Conference Schedule Creator
By Dmitry Baranovskiy.
Easy timetable generator using correct table markup and microformats.

DOM Tool: Mr T Edition
By Muffin Research Labs.
Mr. T talks to you about your bad syntax :-)
"...Let us hope it encourages developers to pay more attention. In 
order to trigger an error try using inline style or event handlers (or 
use <a style="color:red" onclick="foo();" href="#">link</a>). While 
Stu, must remain the default Mr T is available in the options. Any 
suggestions for more characters? Perhaps the hair of Christian Heilmann 
might make an appearance."


The Effect of Typeface on the Perception of Email
By A.D. Shaikh, D. Fox, and B. Chaparro.
"This study investigated the effect that a font has on the reader?s 
perception of an email. Based on a previous study by Shaikh, Chaparro, 
and Fox (2006), a sample email message was presented in three fonts 
(Calibri, Comic Sans, and Gigi). The three chosen fonts represented a 
high, medium, and low level of congruency for email messages. The least 
congruent typeface (Gigi) resulted in different perceptions of the 
email document and its author. However, no significant differences were 
found between the moderately and highly congruent fonts."


Comparing the Usability of Three Dual Language School Websites
By S. Naidu, V. Hinkle, and S. Shrestha.
"This study evaluated the usability of three websites for 
Spanish-English Dual Language K-8 schools. Twelve participants (6 
parents, 6 teachers) reviewed and performed tasks on the three public 
school websites. Site usability was determined through both objective 
and subjective measures, including task completion time, first-click, 
total number of pages visited, task success, perceived task difficulty, 
user satisfaction, and overall ranked preference. Results indicated 
that one site was preferred more than the others by both user groups 
and resulted in more efficient search behavior. Clear navigation, link 
terminology, and proper use of both languages were found to be critical 
factors contributing to the sites' usability."

You Only Get Three Seconds to Make an Impression
By Des Traynor.
"People have forgotten that the most important thing on a website is 
the content."

Enhance Your (Page) Performance!
By Christian Heilmann.
"One of the biggest obstacles to tackle in web site and web application 
design is the initial response time of the product. There is a common 
feeling among web users that things just don't happen fast enough..."

Mapping Your Website Redesign Strategy
By Maish Nichani.
"...The Eliminate, Reduce, Raise and Create framework by INSEAD 
professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne is a popular technique for 
analyzing business strategy. They have written an entire book -- Blue 
Ocean Strategy -- on this technique. We're going to borrow a page from 
it and map our redesign strategy..."

The Changing Face of University Websites
By Maish Nichani.
"...In a recent project for a local university, I looked at the pages 
of 25 universities, mostly from the US, UK, Australia - the countries 
that local students look to for higher education studies. In this 
respect, the sample size being terribly small, I cannot say for certain 
that what I've learned is taking place universally. But the areas of 
change are so fundamental (and exciting) that I just had to write about 

The End-User Manifesto
By Hugh Macleod.
"Hugh Macleod has posted an end-user manifesto for web and application 
design, originally created by Danny V. The first five items: 1. Don't 
waste my time. 2. Help me do the right thing. 3. Respect my decisions. 
4. Design well, and guide me to make the right decisions by that 
design. 5. Don't lie to me - if I see something in front of me, then I 
should be able to act on it unless the interface tells me I can't."

Good Headings Help, Bad Headings Hurt
By Caroline Jarrett.
"Medium frequency headings (about every 200 words): the best. Low 
frequency headings (about every 300 words): in the middle. High 
frequency (about every 100 words) and No headings: tied for the worst, 
with 'No headings' slightly ahead."

By Ginny Redish.
"...headings need to make connections to the user. Single nouns or noun 
phrases that have no people and no verbs in them do not do well as 
headings. However, this does not mean that questions are always the 
best type of heading..."

Creating Effective Headings
By arconics.com
"On the Web, you live or die by your headings. A good one makes it 
easier for surfers to find your text, and much more likely that they 
will read what you have written. A bad heading ensures that few, if 
any, users will find your text at all, and that those who do will be 
less likely to read further. During this lesson, you will learn an 
efficient process for creating effective headings, plus eight quick 
rules. You will also work through a series of exercises and assignments 
to hone your skills..."

+14: XML.

XForms in Firefox
By Elliott Rusty Harold.
"Using the experimental Mozilla XForms extension, you can process 
XForms in your browser today. While not yet deployed widely enough for 
use on the public Internet, XForms may be suitable for some intranet 
applications. This article demonstrates basic XForms processing as 
currently supported by Firefox and the Mozilla XForms plug-in."

Simple Web Syndication with RSS 2.0
By Nilpo.
"RSS was originally created in 1999 by Netscape as a channel 
description framework for their My Netscape Network. MNN was a portal 
system that allowed end users to selectively view new content from 
their choice of content providers. RSS was created as a means of 
gathering that content. Since its creation, RSS has been updated and 
expanded to handle a much wider range of content with a far broader 
range of uses."

[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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