[webdev] Web Design Update: May 11, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri May 11 06:13:46 CDT 2007

- Volume 5, Issue 47, May 11, 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:

05: FLASH.
08: PHP.
10: TOOLS.
13: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Help Keep Accessibility and Semantics in HTML
By Roger Johansson.
"This is a call to action directed at all standardistas and 
accessibilitistas. If you think accessibility and semantics are 
important and should be improved in the next version of HTML, you need 
to act. What is currently going on in the W3C HTML Working Group is 
very disappointing and something I never expected to see when I joined 
it. I was naive enough to think that everybody joining the HTML WG 
would be doing so out of a desire to improve the Web. Unfortunately, 
that does not seem to be the case...All in all, my impression so far is 
that unless things change, the next version of HTML will do nothing to 
improve the Web. All it will do is make things easier for browser 
vendors and ignorant web developers. The rest of us may be better off 
sticking to HTML 4.01 Strict...If you have an interest in improving the 
accessibility of HTML, want more semantic and less presentational 
markup, and are good at arguing your case, please consider applying for 
HTML Working Group membership by following the Instructions for joining 
the HTML Working Group. Do it now. The longer you wait, the harder it 
will be to change the unfortunate direction things are going in."

Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design
By Shawn Lawton Henry.
"...a new book that helps developers include accessibility in designing 
websites, software, hardware, and consumer products. It focuses on 
including real people with disabilities throughout the design process, 
to develop effective accessibility solutions efficiently. What's really 
cool is that the entire book is available online..."

Top 5 Roadblocks to Web Accessibility
By Karl Groves.
"...1. Dependence upon client side scripting to present navigation or 
important content. 2. Improper use of markup/Invalid markup 3. Device 
dependence. 4. Lack of/improper use of alternative text for graphic and 
multimedia elements. 5. Improper creation of forms..."

Captioning Video Gets Easier
By Paul Crichton.
"Video is now everywhere on the web, so it is great to be able to 
report on a couple of closed captioning tools that could help to 
transform watching video online for the hearing impaired. Dotsub is a 
tool that allows people to add captioning to video...Project ReadOn has 
a different approach to closed captioning. Their website is like 
YouTube, and you access all the videos from that central location. But 
the biggest difference is that Project ReadOn provide the captioning..."

Responsibilities in Accessibility
By Alastair Campbell.
"...The W3C has defined what to do for accessibility at each 'end' 
(i.e. client side or web site), but there is quite a lot of overlap, 
and scant advice on who should be responsible for what. I'm going to 
try and show who's responsible now, and where things should go..."

Interview with Judy Brewer and the WCAG WG
By Jared Smith.
"Following a conversation with Judy Brewer from the W3C back in 
February, Jared Smith had the chance to interview her and submit some 
probing questions to the WCAG Working Group about what's happening with 
WCAG 2.0. See the interview with Judy Brewer and the WCAG Working Group 
over at WaSP..."

Lawyer Warns that PDFs Fail on Accessibility
By David Meyer.
"PDF documents on Web sites and Intranets need to be accompanied by 
accessible HTML or text versions if they are to comply with disability 
legislation, a leading technology lawyer has claimed."

HTML Email: Accessibility
By Stephanie Deschamps and Jean-Marc Bassin.
"Considering that the HTML email WG will try to define new common 
grounds for HTML-based emails, we aim at providing a tentative state of 
the art and list of minimal requirements as seen from an accessibility 
point of view..."

The Barrier of Foreign Words
By Mike Davies.
"...One universalist in particular, Jack Pickard, would like you to 
believe that foreign words are easy to spot and do not need a change in 
language to be marked up for a given piece of text to be accessible. 
The real world usage of language provides sufficient evidence to 
demolish that argument. In short, he says WCAG Checkpoint 4.1 (clearly 
identifying the change of natural language in a document) isn't 
necessary to remove an impossible barrier to accessibility...."

Accessibility In My Own (Foreign) Words
By Jack Pickard.
"I noted earlier today that Mike Davies from Isolani has picked up on a 
piece I wrote in October last year called Be Accessible, Don't Meet 
Guidelines, in which I tried to argue that WCAG was not infallible, and 
that it was more important to recognize the real-world accessibility 
needs of website users than it was to comply with every WCAG 

Be Accessible, Don't Meet Guidelines
By Mel Pedley.
"Some time ago, Jack Pickard published a very interesting piece in 
which he questioned whether too much emphasis was being placed on sites 
failing 1 or 2 WAI checkpoints. Having had this article drawn to my 
attention only recently, I felt he had some very good points to make 
and that, overall, it is exactly this kind of web accessibility 
discussion we need. Lip service to any set of binary checkpoints is Bad 
and, far from undermining the accessibility arguments, playing Devil's 
Advocate from time to time can only strengthen - not weaken - the case 
for all sites to be as accessible as possible..."


CSS Hover Effect
By Veerle Pieters.
"I would like to share some insight on a piece of CSS I've used for the 
homepage for a website a while ago that I've built together with Roger 
Johansson. I'm talking about the hover effect on the 4 tabbed boxes 
shown on this page..."

70 Expert Ideas For Better CSS Coding
By Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz.
"We've taken a close look at some of the most interesting and useful 
CSS tricks, tips, ideas, methods, techniques and coding solutions and 
listed them below. We also included some basic techniques you can 
probably use in every project you are developing, but which are hard to 
find once you need them. And what has come out of it is an overview of 
over 70 expert tips, which can improve your efficiency of CSS-coding. 
You might be willing to check out the list of references and related 
articles in the end of this post."


Dreamweaver CSS3 Help Resource Center
By Adobe.

Features Fortify Dreamweaver CS3 Upgrade
By David Sawyer McFarland.
"With its combination of accurate visual design, excellent CSS tools, 
and strong site-management features, Dreamweaver continues to be the 
premier Web-design program. If you're not on an Intel Mac, don't need 
the fancy user-interface widgets offered by the Spry framework, and 
don't have trouble with your CSS layouts, you may not find the CS3 
debut that enticing. However, if you're using an Intel Mac, are hoping 
to ease the frustration of building CSS-based Web layouts, or want to 
add responsive user-interface controls such as complex, multi-layered 
drop-down menus, Dreamweaver CS3 is quite a worthy upgrade."


When Observing Users is not Enough:
10 Guidelines for Getting More Out of Users' Verbal Comments
By Isabelle Peyrichoux.
"...Observational and verbal data are more reliable in combination than 
when used separately."

+05: FLASH.

Captioning Flash Video with Captionate and the Captioning-Supported 
FLVPlayback Component Skins
By Michael Jordan.
"The FLVPlayback component skins with captioning support make it easy 
to provide captions for Flash video without having to write a lot of 
ActionScript code. The skins were originally developed to display 
captions embedded in FLV (Flash video) files using Captionate, but they 
will also display captions embedded in specially formatted Flash Video 
Encoder or ActionScript cue points. This tutorial teaches you how to 
add captions to your Flash video files using Captionate or cue points, 
and how to display those captions in a Flash movie using the 
FLVPlayback component and the FLVPlayback component skins with 
captioning support."


The No-Knead Approach to Information Architecture, 4 of 5
By Lou Rosenfeld.
"...Now comes the fun part, Step #3: determine each audience's primary 
tasks and information needs. Duh. I realize that this sounds painfully 
obvious. But can you describe -- with even minimal confidence -- the 
major needs that each of your primary audiences wants from your site? 
It boggles the mind how few people responsible for web sites and 
Intranets -- Web masters, managers, product developers, information 
architects -- have a reasonable answer..."


Educate Your Stakeholders!
By Shane Diffily.
"Who decides what's best for a website? Highly skilled professionals 
who work with the site's users and serve as their advocates? Or 
schmucks with money? Most often, it's the latter. That's why a web 
designer's first job is to educate the people who hold the purse 

Stand and Deliver
By David Sleight.
"You've got thirty seconds to sell your work to the well dressed 
nemesis who's paying you. Handle the next few moments gracefully, and 
the project will be one you can be proud of. Flub an answer, and you 
can kiss excellence goodbye. Are you prepared? Can you deliver?"

10 Steps to Create a High-Quality Website
By Jens Meiert.
"...This article outlines - without attempting to be comprehensive - 
the ten most important steps to create a good website. A checklist to 
be collected and shared..."

+08: PHP.

Edit and Enhance Your Images
By Paul Hudson.
"Paul Hudson illustrates how to warp, stretch, rotate and improve your 
existing artwork using PHP, saving your artists hours of work in the 

Code Like A Girl
By Kathy Sierra.
"...I think 'girl code' is quite a compliment. Because caring about 
things like beauty makes us better programmers and engineers. We make 
better things. Things that aren't just functional, but easy to read, 
elegantly maintainable, easier--and more joyful--to use, and sometimes 
flat-out sexy. A passion for aesthetics can mean the difference between 
code that others enjoy working on vs. code that's stressful to look at. 
And whether we like it or not, most of the world associates an 
appreciation for beauty more with women than men (especially geek men). 
Women may have a genetic advantage here..."

Is PHP Insecure?
By Alistair 'Woolie' Wooldrige.
"Its quite a common occurrence to hear that PHP has been described as 
'Insecure'. You will hear this among many developers that choose not to 
use PHP. However, this bad light has been created by it's users. Let me 


Forward Towards the Past
By Tommy Olsson.
"I'm reading worrying things about the discussions about the next 
version of HTML, known as HTML5. It looks to me as if things are going 
in the wrong direction..."

Results of HTML 5 Text, Editor, Name Questions
By Dan Connolly.
"...while the survey results don't show consensus, it seems that we 
have a critical mass of support and a feasible means to address the 
remaining objections over time. We are resolved, then, that the W3C's 
next-generation HTML specification be named "HTML 5" and to start 
review of the text of the HTML 5 and WF2 specifications, and we welcome 
Ian Hickson and Dave Hyatt as editors..."

Future of the Web Page
By Chris Lilley, Dave Raggett, Bert Bos, Michael Cooper, and Arun 
Slides from sessions at the WWW 2007 conference.

Six Months Later: The New HTML Working Group
By Kevin Yank.
"Unlike most W3C working groups, the new HTML working group's charter 
welcomes the scrutiny and participation of the general public. Anyone 
can join the working group, post to the mailing list, chime in on 
teleconferences, and vote on what goes into the final spec."

Browsers Will Treat All Versions of HTML as HTML 5
By Roger Johansson.
"...as soon as a Web browser claims to support HTML 5, it is required 
to treat all content served as text/html (which means all HTML and 
nearly all XHTML) as HTML 5. I'm not sure if I think that is actually a 
good thing or not, but it does explain what 'Don't Break The Web' 

An HTML5 Conformance Checker
By Henri Sivonen.
"Master's thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements 
for the degree of Master of Science in Technology..."

HTML 5 Shall Not Murder Web Standards
By Sean Fraser.
"...Web Standards philosophy and principles cease when advocacy ceases. 
The W3C HTML WG has to cater to authors, web developers, UAs and 
Everyone else who will use HTML5. Error handling will continue to make 
Web Standards Life difficult. Nonconforming content on other sites has 
not harmed me; error handling precludes harmfulness for User Agents. 
That's that. Regardless. I'll continue pontificating and practicing Web 

Microformats: What They Are and How To Use Them
By Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz.
"...One of the new terms on the horizon is Microformats...formats, 
which make it possible to create meta-content which can be not only 
read, but also understood by machines (which was the basic idea of 
Semantic Web, which is not Web 2.0). This post is supposed to give you 
an idea, what Microformats actually mean, which advantages they have 
and how you can use them to enrich your content and make it more 
visible and understandable for search engines..."

+10: TOOLS.

PHP Code Beautifier
By tote-taste.
"This tool is designed to beautify PHP code, applying most of the PEAR 
standard requirements to it. It can even process really scrambled 
scripts, e.g. all code in one line, and thus may help you to get 
scripts into a more readable form."


The Technology of Text
By Kevin Larson.
"If you're reading this article on your computer, there's a good chance 
you won't get all the way to the end. Not because you won't find it 
utterly fascinating (trust me!), but because it will be hard on your 
eyes. It's not sentimentality that makes most people prefer reading 
books and magazines to squinting at their laptops. The quality of 
computer text is awful. It doesn't have to be. The chief problem is the 
low resolution of computer screens. The color LCD screens on most 
laptops and desktops today have a resolution of only about 100 pixels 
per inch. You need at least two or three times that many pixels to 
begin to approach the quality of the printed page. The output of even a 
cheap laser printer is six times as good. What's more, screen 
resolutions have hardly budged in the last several years..."


Hidden Functionality - Hints And Affordance
By Jesper Ronn-Jensen.
" Many of today have extremely advanced features and functionality. But 
the trend towards simpler, slicker user interfaces points towards 
hiding some of the functionality. Hiding functionality is - in my point 
of view - a very good thing for usability. A usable website (or 
application) is: easy to use, easy to learn, hard to make errors in..."

When ROI Isn't Enough: Making Persuasive Cases for User-Centered Design
By Colleen Jones.
"Basic concepts from the fields of rhetoric and argumentation are 
useful tools for UX professionals who realize that the ROI argument 
does not fit all situations. These tools apply to a wide range of 
circumstances, whether arguing for organizational support of a UCD 
process or defending a specific UCD decision for a product user 
interface. Rhetoric offers a persuasive mind set, raising awareness of 
our audiences and the range of persuasive appeals. This awareness 
informs the strategy and language we use in our cases for UCD. 
Argumentation emphasizes structure, ensuring the content of the 
case-its reasoning-is thorough and rational. Equipped with these tools, 
UX professionals can become powerful influencers for UCD."

Thin Slicing: Inside or Outside the World of User Experience?
By Susan Weinschenk.
"...Susan Weinschenk...looks at research showing that users make quick 
judgments on very little information and how this affects the design of 
the online experience."

+13: XML.

Adobe to Discontinue Adobe SVG Viewer
By Adobe.
"Adobe has decided to discontinue support for Adobe SVG Viewer..."

SVG Please?
By Dave Shea.
"I recently stumbled over a little piece of information that, while 
quite stale, still seems widely underreported in the places I hang out. 
Adobe announced some time last fall that its SVG Viewer is dead and 
gone as of January 1, 2008. Is anyone really surprised? Given that SVG 
was Adobe's meager foothold in the web-based vector market, easily 
dwarfed by Flash, and given that Adobe now owns Flash, continuing to 
produce a competitor seems a little self-defeating from a business 
perspective. It's been more or less inevitable since the completed 
merger that this day would come. But it comes at an interesting time. 
Or, more like an inconvenient time. Recent versions of Firefox have 
natively supported SVG since version 1.5. Opera 8 added support as 

[Section one ends.]


+14: 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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