[webdev] Web Design Update: May 11, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri May 11 06:13:46 CDT 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 47, May 11, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 47 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.
06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ 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..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
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
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."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
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."
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
+06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
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..."
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
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
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..."
PHP Code Beautifier
"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."
Adobe to Discontinue Adobe SVG Viewer
"Adobe has decided to discontinue support for Adobe SVG Viewer..."
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.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+14: 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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