[webdev] Web Design Update: August 30, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Aug 30 15:35:05 CDT 2007

- Volume 6, Issue 10, August 30, 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: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Why the Alt Attribute May Be Omitted - A HTML5 Proposal
By Lachlan Hunt.
"The problem being addressed is what should be done in those cases 
where no alt text has been provided and is virtually impossible to 
acquire. With the current requirement for including the alt attribute 
in HTML4, it has been observed that many systems will attempt to fulfil 
the requirement by generating alternate text from the images metadata. 
Flickr, for example, repeats the images title..."

The HTML 5 Image Element
By Gez Lemon.
"The img element in the current HTML 5 draft doesn't include the 
longdesc attribute, and the alt attribute will no longer be a required 
attribute...This is the crux of the issue - if something is not used 
correctly that aids accessibility, the answer isn't to drop the 
feature. The answer is to encourage tool vendors to make it easier for 
those features to be used, and educate users to want to use those 
features. It is difficult to describe complex images with flat text in 
an alt attribute. The longdesc attribute provides a way that enables 
screen reader users who are totally blind to have equivalent access to 
content. That is why it is better to keep the longdesc attribute."

Investigating the Proposed alt Attribute Recommendations in HTML 5
By Steven Faulkner.
"The current draft HTML 5 specification has removed the requirement for 
an img element to have an alt attribute...The effects upon 
accessibility of allowing the omission of the alt attribute are not 
well understood, it is not evident from arguments produced so far that 
omitting it under certain circumstances will not have an adverse effect 
upon the accessibility of images. From the results provided here, it is 
strongly suggested that encouraging omission will reduce the 
accessibility of images even under conditions where the quality of the 
alt text is poor. Before changing the status of the alt attribute from 
required to optional and before including recommendations about where 
and when it is to be omitted, more research must be completed into how 
user agents deal with the absence of the alt attribute and how this 
affects the end user. In particular it appears that no AT or user 
testing was done prior to the change being committed to the 
specification draft, so it must be carried out now to ensure that 
damaging changes are not agreed to in a state of ignorance."

Email Discussion Thread on 'Investigating the proposed alt attribute 
recommendations in HTML 5'
at WebAim.

Putting the User at the Heart of the W3C Process
By Jonathan Chetwynd.
A transcript with mp3 file from talk given at the CETIS Accessibility 
SIG Meeting 24th July 2007.

5 Steps To Reworking A Legacy Site
By Mel Pedley.
"Many articles and tutorials on developing an accessible site do tend 
to assume that you have the luxury of starting with a blank sheet. 
However, in practice, many developers are faced with large legacy sites 
that are in dire need of an accessibility makeover. They may not even 
be able to develop a replacement site behind the scenes but, instead, 
have to deal with improving accessibility levels on the existing site 
that is being actively used."

Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act
By Marucco, Stoddard, Ferenbach, and  Walsh.
"The Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) became 
law on August 20, 2007, requiring Illinois agencies and universities to 
ensure that their web sites, systems, and other information 
technologies are accessible to people with disabilities..."

Accessibility, Availability and Affordability
By Christopher Phillips.
"Of these three, which is the largest obstacle to the free and open 
flow of online information? Consider the following: A 12-year old boy 
in Western Africa has learned how to read Braille. He has also recently 
received an inexpensive laptop as part of a corporate initiative to 
save the world..."


CSS at Ten: The Next Big Thing
By Hakon Wium Lie.
"Ten years ago, Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos gave us typographic control 
over web pages via CSS. But Verdana and Georgia take us only so far. 
Now Hakon shows us how to take web design out of the typographic 
ghetto, by harnessing the power of real TrueType fonts..."

Please Do Not Use CSS Frameworks
By Jonathan Christopher.
"...At their surface, frameworks seem like a great thing; 
unfortunately, that's not the case. A big problem with frameworks is 
when up and coming developers attach themselves to a framework as 
opposed to the underlying code itself. The knowledge gained in this 
case surrounds a specific framework, which severely limits the 
developer. Beyond that, much of the code in frameworks can be 
considered bloat. Whether it be in a server side language framework or 
JavaScript library, there is often a large percentage of code that will 
never be executed. While not a major issue server side, this can 
greatly degrade the performance of a client side framework such as a 
JavaScript library. There are other issues attached to the use of 
frameworks, but I'd like to be clear in my support of the idea..."

Adding Embedded Images to a Web Page
By Mike Cherim.
"...You probably haven't considered some of what I've offered herein 
prior to now. The rules I've outlined are pretty simple and hopefully 
make sense. It's not hard to apply these rules, and some of them I feel 
really enhance the accessibility and usability of the site. It's not 
hard to embed images on a web page. And applying these simple tricks 
does not make it hard. Yet, it does make it better in my opinion so if 
you've gotten anything new from this article, hopefully you'll apply it 
on your next project."


Defining a Site in Dreamweaver CS3, Basic Tab
By Paul Davis.
A step by step guide to setting up a site in Dreamweaver CS3 using the 
Basic tab."

Defining a Site in Dreamweaver CS3, Advanced Tab
By Paul Davis.
"A step by step guide to setting up a site in Dreamweaver CS3 using the 
advanced tab."

+04: EVENTS.

IDEA Conference
October 4-5, 2007.
New York, New York, U.S.A.

Techshare 2007: Access to Information
October 4-5, 2007.
London, United Kingdom

Barrycon - The Creative Suite Conference
October 15-20, 2007.
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Adaptive Path - UX Intensive
November 12-15, 2007.
Vancouver, Canada

Web Design World Boston 2007
December 10-11, 2007.
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.


Introduction to HIJAX
By Ivan Pepelnjak.
"Deploy an interactive AJAX application while still supporting visitors 
with older browsers."

Private JavaScript Variables
By Jesse Skinner.
"I find myself needing to generate unique IDs in JavaScript a lot 
lately. Mostly this happens when I'm creating a lot of elements 
dynamically and I need to assign some unique ID to them so that I can 
find them later. And I need to do this because I've realized that 
storing pointers to elements in JavaScript uses a LOT more memory than 
just storing the ID of an element and finding it later with 
getElementById(). So anyway, what's a good way of generating unique 


Andy Clarke Interview
"Andy Clarke, also known as 'Malarkey', has been working on the web for 
almost ten years. Andy is the founder of the North Wales-based web 
design agency Stuff and Nonsense that is famous for designing highly 
effective web sites, e-commerce stores and web applications. Andy is a 
hardcore web accessibility advocate ? he regularly writes about 
creating beautiful, accessible web sites on his personal site And All 
That Malarkey, and speaks at conference and workshop events worldwide. 
Andy is the author of the best selling Transcending CSS: The Fine Art 
of Web Design book, a member of the Web Standards Project and is also 
an Invited Expert to the W3C's CSS Working Group. Jeffrey Zeldman 
called him 'a triple talent for' for Andy's creativity and sharp skills 
and knowledge of coding and design techniques..."

Feature Frenzy - 10 tips to getting feature creep under control
By Frank Spillers.
"Why the (feature) frenzy? Historically, marketing says "software sells 
with more features" (or perceived features). There is a psychology 
(especially true in the United States) that the more you get when you 
buy something, the better the purchase decision. Unfortunately, added 
'bells and whistles' might feel like a better deal, but can turn into a 
nightmare when you (or your user) sit down with the software and use 
it. A few words about features Features..."

Japan Working to Replace the Internet
By newlaunches.com
"Japanese communications minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that Japan 
will start research and development on technology for a new generation 
of network that would replace the Internet, eyeing bringing the 
technology into commercial use in 2020..."


Who Shot the Serif? Typography Terms
By John Boardley.
"One of the reasons for starting I Love Typography was that I felt 
there just wasn't enough being said about the topic. Secondly, and more 
significantly, I always found it difficult to quickly locate 
typographic resources. The long-term aim of this blog is to be such a 
resource, a one-stop-shop for everything about typography, from 
terminology to new typefaces, from inspirational examples of type to 
choosing the best font for the job, whether that be on- or off-line..."


Getting A Form's Structure Right: Designing Usable Online Applications 
(Part 1)
By Afshan Kirmani.
"Although I have focused solely on financial applications, this does 
not mean that you can't use these strategies to improve the usability 
of the forms outside of the banking domain. As usability practitioners, 
we need to first and foremost understand the user's intentions and 
expectations, in order to provide an online experience that 
accommodates them.'"

[Section one ends.]


+09: 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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