[webdev] Web Design Update: August 10, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Aug 10 06:20:39 CDT 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 6, Issue 07, August 10, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 07 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
12: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Accessibility of Instructional Web Sites in Higher Education
By Kay Lewis, Diane Yoder, Elizabeth Riley, Yvonne So, and Sarah
"A collaborative program offers assessment and consultation to
instructional Web site developers for Section 508 compliance..."
Microformats and Accessibility
By Jim O'Donnell.
"...I wonder, though, if this transformation isn't better performed by
the web browser itself, then sent to the screen reader to be read?..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
CSS Cheat Sheet: Inheritance, Cascade, Specificity
By Zoe Gillenwater.
"Even seasoned CSS developers need a quick refresher course in CSS
concepts and techniques from time to time. This CSS Cheat Sheet is
designed for just that need. Use it as a reference on topics that
you've already learned about in-depth but need a few reminders on. If
you're still a beginner to CSS, use it to learn the nuts and bolts of
working with CSS, then use our other articles, listed at the end of
this one, to extend your learning and practice your new skills. This
Cheat Sheet reviews how the fundamental CSS concepts of inheritance,
cascading and specificity work."
Little CSS Print Stylesheet Tip
By Jason Fried.
"I've seen printer stylesheets designed a variety of different ways.
But any way you slice it, the most common element in a print stylesheet
is usually the display: none; rule. Printer sheets are usually about
printing less rather than printing more..."
6 Keys to Understanding Modern CSS-based Layouts
By Jonathan Snook.
"Much of CSS is pretty straightforward and, I suspect, quite easy for
most people to grasp. There's font styles, margin, padding, color and
what not. But there's a wall that people will run into... that point
where a number of key elements need to come together to create a solid
CSS-based layout that is consistent cross-browser..."
CSS: List Boxes
By Mike Cherim.
"This 'List Boxes' experiment was more difficult than I thought it
would be. One of the most pernicious challenges was aligning them
horizontally. To do this the list items must be displayed inline. Yet,
they must be blocked. Using inline-block wasn't an option. What I ended
up doing initially was to use positioning relative to the ul itself,
but that created other problems because it was taken out of the natural
content flow. I ended falling back on a more common/traditional float
so the content would respect it. It's still removed from the flow, yet
it's not because the shell-contained elements share the parent so it
still works. In order to do this I ended up having to create said
parent: the shell div did the trick."
By Olav Frihagen Bjorkoy.
"Blueprint is a CSS framework, which aims to cut down on your CSS
development time. It gives you a solid CSS foundation to build your
project on top of, with an easy-to-use grid, sensible typography, and
even a stylesheet for printing."
CSS Layouts: The Fixed. The Fluid. The Elastic.
By Mike Cherim.
"Which Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) layout is best? All have their
quirks and their unique pros and cons. Is one more accessible than the
other? More usable? What are the drawbacks and how are they dealt with?
Is one easier to create than the other? Is there an evil, inaccessible
layout? I suspect some will say yes to this, but I'm not going to. I
like them all and feel all are suitable if steps are taken to ensure
easy usability and equal accessibility. All are part of a web site's
presentational layer, so most of the accessibility relies on the
extractable semantics and proper usage of the underlying mark-up. What
follows is my take on the rigid fixed, the adaptable fluid, and the
expandable elastic layouts..."
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Usability Testing: Be Sure to Test Content as Well as Navigation
By Ginny Redish.
"Too many usability tests focus only on finding information ? not on
how the information itself works for people..."
A Bit of History of Usability Testing - and Why It's Not So Expensive
By Ginny Redish.
"Early usability testing (in the 1980s, mostly for software interfaces)
had its origins in two traditions that called for large numbers (and
therefore much money). First, it was modeled on academic psychology
studies where having enough people to reach statistical validity was a
critical factor. Second, the goal was usually 'validation' ? testing
once at the end just before release with the goal of showing that all
was well. But those were not the right models..."
During a Usability Testing How do You Know If Users are Telling You the
By John Rhodes.
"I've been trying to figure out ways to tell if users are actually
giving me good data or not. What I mean is that if you're doing
usability testing, don't you want to know if users are actually telling
you the truth? Don't you worry about data integrity?"
Using Research to End Visual Design Debates
By Nick Myers.
"...If you've ever had to present visual design to a group, you
probably have your own collection of similar horror stories. But why is
it that a group of otherwise level-headed adults can't seem to have a
productive meeting about visual design? The short answer is that in the
absence of clear context about what they are evaluating, most people
don't know how to objectively evaluate visual design, so they rely
instead on subjective intuition..."
WebAIM Web Accessibility Training
October 24-25, 2007.
Logan, Utah, U.S.A.
Accessibility in Flash Bug and Issue List
By Niqui Merret
"This is a short list of issues and bugs that I have come across when
working towards accessible Flash sites. These are all focused on the
Flash Player in the Browser. This is not complete and I hope that if
you have come across an issue that you could leave a comment. I will
keep adding to this list as I find more issues and will, happily remove
items that are fixed. If there are any known workarounds please leave a
comment. These issues prevent Flash from being as Accessible as it
By Christian Heilmann.
"One of the beautiful things of PHP is its wealth of array methods.
yourself having to write own methods or patch the existing ones. One
method I especially cherish is array_unique() which returns a new array
that has all the duplicates filtered out. This is easy to write in
By David Flanagan.
you've come to the right place. This three-part article series starts
by showing you how to obtain XML documents. It is excerpted from
Collaboration with Development is a Handshake, Not a Handoff
By Scout Addis.
"Does your organization ever question where design starts and
development begins? Scout Addis draws from his experience on a recent
14-month design project to describe techniques for how best to achieve
a great product through close collaboration."
Jeffrey Zeldman: King of Web Standards
By Jessie Scanlon.
"As a pioneer of standards-based design, he helped put an end to the
browser wars and made Web sites available to all."
10 Ways to Orientate Users on Your Site
By Jonathan Webb.
"...no matter what their ultimate goal is, your site visitors need to
intuitively find their way around. Too often, general website
navigation and orientation disappears or changes on internal pages. In
fact, with websites this point is even more pertinent as users can just
'evaporate' and leave your site, instead of being forced to drive
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Involving People with Disabilities in the Standardization Process
By John Gill.
"The booklet is both a good primer on the standardization process in
general, the ways in which standardization can impact accessibility,
and a discussion of the mechanics of being involved in a
standardization effort as a person with a disability (along with notes
for those setting up standards meetings on what you should do to enable
Fixing The Web - Part 1
By Belus Technology.
"The Web is about 17 years old. For its first 10 years, Web technology
evolved at breakneck speed. But for the last 7 years, Web technology
hasn't changed much at all. Is this a problem? There are clear benefits
to having a stable development environment, but is Web technology
stable or stale? Without innovation, will the Web suffer the same fate
as any technology that becomes outdated because it fails to keep pace
with users' needs? The Web certainly performs adequately as an
information source, but how well does Web technology itself work? To
answer this question, let's looks at some problems with the Web:"
The Craft of HTML
By Karl Dubost.
"...HTML validation is not a goal. HTML validation is a mean..."
The Veteran's Charge
By Eric A Meyer.
"...The fact that optimizing pages for an iPhone makes the development
of such specialized pages attractive in no way excuses lockout of other
users. I might be willing to entertain the argument if the iPhone's
browser were some specialized non-web contraption. It's not. It's a
full-fledged XHTML+CSS+DOM browser that happens to lag a bit in some
implementation areas and won't run some plugins..."
New Elements in HTML 5
By Elliotte Rusty Harold.
"Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) 5 introduces new elements to HTML for
the first time since the last millennium. New structural elements
include aside, figure, and section. New inline elements include time,
meter, and progress. New embedding elements include video and audio.
New interactive elements include details, datagrid, and command."
"OptimalSort is card sorting done online."
Feature Richness and User Engagement
By Jakob Nielsen.
"The more engaged users are, the more features an application can
sustain. But most users have low commitment -- especially to websites,
which must focus on simplicity, rather than features."
Home Page Design
By Daniel Szuc.
"It is time to review a company home page design. There are a number of
stakeholders involved in home page design, and each of them wants a
piece of the home page real estate. Are there questions you can ask
before approaching home page design that can move it beyond the
influence of specific stakeholders in the company toward a common
vision? Are there tips to consider when designing a home page? This
article will help you better understand how to approach home page
Above the Fold Problems and Content Placement
By Meryl Evans.
"The above the fold myth says not to worry about content above the fold
(the screen before scrolling) and when the fold matters. I disagree..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+12: 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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