[webdev] Web Design Update: March 16, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Mar 16 08:04:40 CDT 2007

- Volume 5, Issue 39, March 16, 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:

03: COLOR.
06: FLASH.
09: PHP.
11: TOOLS.
14: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Accessibility in Interaction Design
By Openlearn.
"In this unit we will discuss what we mean by 'disability'. We will 
analyses some common impairment and disability groups, considering 
people with visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical 

Building Better Websites by Understanding Blind Users Browsing Behavior
By Johan Desilva.
"...I went to a JAWS screen-reader demonstration with the aid of John 
who is a registered blind. Meeting John has helped further my 
understanding of building websites for users like himself. John has 
been using the internet ever since the first release of JAWS and now 
teaches a variety of screen readers to novice users..."

Multiple Web Accessibility Assessments
By Donna Smillie.
"There are three main methods of assessing the accessibility of a 
website: 1. Automated testing. 2. Expert human review. 3. End user 
testing. Each has its benefits and drawbacks..."

I Saw a Mouse! Where?
By Mel Pedley.
"Not everyone uses a mouse to navigate. Not everyone can. And that is 
something we all occasionally forget. Sure, we know that visually 
impaired and blind users navigate by keyboard, but what about all of 
those people who can see perfectly well but cannot use a mouse for 
numerous reasons. What do they use? And how does this impact us, as web 
designers, if at all?..."

The 'Accessibility Backlash' - It's a Good Thing!
By Julie Howell.
"...While there is a backlash accessibility will remain on the agenda. 
So let's be sure we contribute to the debate at every opportunity. The 
greatest threat to the accessibility movement is lack of passion. 
Passionate debate will bring about change. A 'disability backlash' is 
very good news for disabled people. Long may it continue!"

Technology is the Last, Best Hope for Accessibility
By James Edwards.
"...technology is the last, best hope for accessibility. It's not like 
the physical world, where there are good, tangible reasons why some 
things can never be accessible. A person who's blind will never be able 
to drive a car manually; someone in a wheelchair will never be able to 
climb the steps of an ancient stone cathedral. Technology is not like 
the physical world - technology can take any shape. Technology is our 
slave, and we can make it do what we want. With technology there are no 
good reasons, only excuses..."


CSS for Deprecated HTML Attributes: Part 1
By Emma Sax.
"When HTML 4.0 was introduced some attributes became deprecated. 
Browsers continued to support them to ensure older sites continued to 
display correctly, and developers were urged to stop using them in 
favor of more flexible alternatives such as CSS..."

CSS for Deprecated HTML Attributes: Part 2
By Emma Sax.
"Let's get straight into it with link, alink and vlink. I'll also cover 
clear, size and noshade..."

CSS for Deprecated HTML Attributes: Part 3
By Emma Sax.
"...In this final part I will be mopping up width, height, bgcolor and 

Debug CSS with CSS
By Michael Kennedy.
"When coding my tableless web sites I sometimes will use a few lines of 
CSS code to help me debug the layout..."

+03: COLOR.

Coloring Your World - Part 1: Color Basics
By Derrick Ypenburg.
"Part of our job as professional communicators is to work with color 
every single day, whether it is starting from scratch to create a 
unique logo and color scheme for a client, sending a multitude of 
colors from a website out to the world, or ensuring a Pantone color 
match is adhered to. I love color and I thought it was time to discuss 
the basics of color for those of us who struggle with it, don't quite 
understand the basics, or are just stuck in a rut. As well, I luckily 
work with a print designer as my business partner, so I've come to 
learn about bringing the world of print and multimedia together and 
would like to share that with you on a basic level as well. In this 
first part of a three part series, let's go through the color basics."


Content Analysis Heuristics
By Fred Leise.
"Many Web professionals consider content inventories critical parts of 
most projects. Are there certain specific things to look for during a 
content inventory? Fred Leise definitely thinks so. He proposes a set 
of content analysis heuristics and discusses how to utilize each one."

+05: EVENTS.

Cooper U Interaction Design Practicum
April 16-19, 2007.
May 15-18, 2007.
San Francisco California, U.S.A.

+06: FLASH.

CC for Flash
By National Center for Accessible Media.
"NCAM has developed a Flash component that can be used to display 
captions in a Flash video player. These captions are read from external 
files formatted in the W3C's DFXP format which can be created with 
MAGpie, NCAM's free captioning application. CC for Flash also imports 
Apple's QTtext format for use within the application. QTtext files can 
be created by professional caption authoring tools, or as an output 
from CaptionKeeper or MAGpie. Any content can display captions in Flash 
using the CC for Flash component with a QTtext file or a DFXP file..."


A View from Inside: A Major Assistive Technology Player Shares Some 
Industry Secrets (Chris Hofstader Interview)
By Deborah Kendrick.
"...Consumers who are blind do tolerate it because, in his opinion, 
they have accepted what Hofstader views as the most outrageous lie in 
the assistive technology industry, namely, that the industry is too 
poor to fix problems and make better products and that there simply is 
not enough profit in this small market to do as much as talent may 
allow. It is a big fat lie, Hofstader stated, and immediately did 
rapid-fire verbal calculations to illustrate his point..."

Thoughts on an Interesting Interview with Chris Hofstader, Formerly of 
Freedom Scientific
By Peter Korn.
"...and while I completely agree with him that this and other things he 
cites are myths, I don't completely agree with him as to the 'real 
reasons' for the quality and stability of AT products (especially 
screen readers), and the price of products..."

Coverage of SXSW 2007


Improving the User Experience with In-Page Navigation
By Maish Nichani.
"...When used appropriately in-page navigation can enhance the 
readability and learnabilty of the text. But as noted, although there 
are benefits, the lack of easy authoring environments makes this only a 
geek-add-on at best."

+09: PHP.

PHP Security Tip Number 6
By Cal Evans (editor).
"The topic of writing secure applications in PHP covers more than just 
writing good PHP code. Most applications make use of a database of some 
kind. Many times, vulnerabilities that affect the entire application, 
are introduced when building the SQL code."

PHP Security Tip Number 7
By Cal Evans (editor).
"When using session_regenerate_id() to protect against session fixation 
it's usually a good idea to remove the old session ID."

PHP Security Tip Number 8
By Cal Evans (editor).
"Within PHP security topics, there is always more than one way to 
accomplish a task. Many times it's by combining tactics that we achieve 
the best security."

PHP Security Tip Number 9
By Cal Evans (editor).
"Sometimes it's the simplest ideas that are the most powerful. This one 
sounds simple but I'm always surprised at how few people understand and 
actually implement this idea."

PHP Security Tip Number 10
By Cal Evans (editor).
"Even when doing everything correctly, it's still possible to build PHP 
applications that are insecure. Security requires constant vigilance. 
One thing you always have to keep your eye on is any script or form 
that sends an email based on use input."


WaSP Street Team
By Web Standards Project.
"The WaSP Street Team is about you. No, not all the other YOUs reading 
this but YOU you, in your actual skin. The idea is that together we 
create a number of tasks - challenges if you will - to help the 
promotion of web standards in your local community. Things that will 
help get the word out to the businesses, educational institutions, web 
shops and individuals who live and operate directly near you. As a 
central group it's hard for us to reach those people, but as a 
distributed team, it's easy."

Semantics in HTML
By John Allsopp.
"These three, quite substantial articles, written in early 2007, 
attempt to address the issue of semantics in HTML in detail. What 
really is 'semantics' in the context of the web, and more importantly 
HTML? Where does the semantics of HTML come from? Where will further 
developments to the semantics of HTML come from?"

Presentation Layer Best Practices
By Frederic Welterlin.
"...Web Standards and Accessibility-based development should not be 
regarded as just additional tasks to be implemented -- it is really a 
design approach that starts right from the beginning. Ideally, 
presentation layer developers should be brought into the design phase 
early on to work with visual and interaction designers in helping to 
create a user experience that is compelling and dynamic for those 
browsers that can handle it (progressive enhancement), while still 
providing logical content structures for those browsers that cannot 
(graceful degradation)."

+11: TOOLS.

Code Formatter
By Ed Eliot.
"Prepares code snippets for inclusion in a blog post. Code is formatted 
with line numbers, indentation is preserved and special characters are 
replaced with entities where necessary."

Quick Highlighter
By Veign.
"...create a webpage from your source code."


Web Typography Sucks
By Richard Rutter.
Richard and Mark Boulton's South by Southwest presentation slides.

True Prime
By Joe Clark.
Joe Clark's clarification on prime and double prime.

Problems with Font Rendering on Macs
By Richard Rutter.
"...Firefox, Safari, Opera and Camino may render even the same font 
differently. This is because there are (at least) five different 
formats of fonts: TrueType-Mac, TrueType-PC, PostScript-Type 1, 
OpenType-PostScript and OpenType-TrueType. I'm not au fait with the 
technical differences between formats, but the differences in rendering 
between browsers is shocking..."

Helvetica (Video Clips)
By Veer.
"Veer presents excerpts from Helvetica, a feature-length independent 
film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It 
looks at the typeface (celebrating its 50th birthday this year) and 
also  how type affects our lives."


10 High-Profit Redesign Priorities
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Several usability findings lead directly to higher sales and increased 
customer loyalty. These design tactics should be your first priority 
when updating your website."

Usability, Aesthetics, Emotions and the User Experience
By Sascha Mahlke.
"Sascha Mahlke aims is to better understand how people experience 
technology. While acknowledging the importance of usability, his 
research also addresses non-instrumental qualities (aesthetic and 
symbolic aspects) and emotional responses. In this article, Sascha 
reports on a series of studies he has conducted. In Study 1 using real 
products, he looks at whether usability assessment and aesthetic 
response correlate with the emotional response and overall judgment of 
a product. In Study 2, he reports on a controlled experiment that 
sought to reveal dependencies between usability, aesthetics, emotional 
response and overall judgment of a product. In Study 3 he explores the 
influence of context on various aspects of the user experience."

Instructional Text in the User Interface: Some Counterintuitive 
Implications of User Behaviors
By Mike Hughes.
"User assistance occurs within an action context--the user doing 
something with an application--and should appear in close proximity to 
the focus of that action--that is, the application it supports. The 
optimal placement of user assistance, space permitting, is in the user 
interface itself. We typically call that kind of user assistance 
instructional text. But when placing user assistance within an 
application as instructional text, we must modify conventional 
principles of good information design to accommodate certain forces 
within an interactive user interface. This column, User Assistance, 
talks about how the rules for effective instruction change when 
creating  instructional text for display within the context of a user 

Dueling Interaction Models of Personal-Computing and Web-Computing
By Matthias Muller-Prove and Frank Ludolph.
"...This extra mental effort causes problems because humans do not pay 
attention to the surrounding context once they are focused on their 
activity; they lose sight of the fact that they work in a browser and 
transfer their experience with desktop applications to build 
expectation on using web applications. In many cases this is the reason 
for errors and sometimes even loss of data. Recent progress in web 
technology enables the designers to deliver rich and interactive user 
experiences. E-mail and calendaring are examples for applications that 
are available for the desktop and the web. This will fuel the conflict 
between desktop and web even more, as the tasks become more 
indistinguishable in still different interaction contexts."

+14: XML.

Reevaluating XSLT 2.0
By Kurt Cagle.
"I recently wrote a blog about the directions that I saw with XML, and 
while it has proved to be fairly popular, it has also generated a fair 
number of comments that really need their own more detailed 
examination. One of these, and one that I've been planning to write for 
a while anyway, has to do with my comments about XSLT 2.0 increasingly 
being used as a 'router' language, replacing such applications as 
Microsoft's BizTalk Server..."

Teaching XSLT New Tricks with EXSLT
By Michael Day.
"Following on from Kurt's detailed reevaluation of XSLT 2.0, I thought 
that I might share an example of what you can do in XSLT 1.0 with the 
assistance of EXSLT, a useful set of extension functions that are 
supported by most XSLT implementations..."

[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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