[webdev] Web Design Update: September 28, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Sep 28 06:22:47 CDT 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 6, Issue 14, September 28, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 14 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.
11: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Virtual Worlds Open Up to Blind
By Geoff Adams-Spink.
"...IBM believes that virtual worlds are going to be the next big
evolution of the web and if this happens...it's not right for blind
people to be missing out on what the rest of us have available."
Ten Quick Tests To Check Your Website For Accessibility
By Trenton Moss.
"...There are a number of basic tests you can make to address some of
the main issues that provide a good start in increasing accessibility
to your site visitors..."
Companies, Courts Debate Whether ADA Applies to Web Sites
By Sherry Karabin.
"Does the Americans with Disabilities Act apply in cyberspace? Without
clear guidance from the courts, companies are deciding for themselves.
Pressured by advocacy groups, some businesses have already taken steps
to make their Web sites more accessible to the disabled. But other
companies have said that while they'll voluntarily alter their sites,
they aren't required to do so by the ADA..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
User Agent Style Sheets: Basics and Samples
By Jens Meiert.
"CSS budgets for default formatting of documents by the more or less
known user agent style sheet concept. It means that a web browser, for
example, doesn't just present a line of text when it's fed with an HTML
document that has no styling information attached, but instead serves
it using minimal formatting..."
Using Cascading Style Sheets on Your Web Site
By Rob Johnson.
"Cascading style sheets give you more control over the appearance and
presentation of your pages. Using cascading style sheets, you can
extend the ability to precisely specify the location and appearance of
elements on a page and create special effects. You can specify
individualized style sheets for specialized browsers and output
devices. Another advantage of using cascading style sheets on your Web
site is the ability to reuse them across multiple pages. And by using
an external style sheet, you can quickly change all the styles on your
site by altering a single style sheet. This makes updating and
maintaining your site much easier..."
Color, Filters, and Other Style Sheet Properties
By Danny Goodman.
"Continuing with our multi-part series on style sheet properties, this
fourth part of the series covers color, filters, and more..."
Floats, Fonts, and Other Style Sheet Property References
By Danny Goodman.
"In the latest part of our continuing series on style sheet properties
you'll learn about floats fonts and more."
Setting the Default Style Sheet language on Your Web Site
By Karl Dubost.
"...If you want to set up a default style sheet language for your Web
site, there are a few choices..."
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
How Do Users Really Feel About Your Design?
By Paul J. Sherman.
"Perhaps you've done contextual inquiries to discover your users
requirements and understand their work flows. You may have carried out
participatory design sessions, usability tested your design, then
iterated and improved it. But do you know how users really feel about
your design? Probably not..."
Usability Tests with 30 Observers
By Jared Spool.
"Often times, the clients we're working with have never conducted a
usability test before. Since it's not part of the regular process,
almost no one in the organization has been exposed to watching users.
We've found it's critical to the adoption of testing in the
organization for people to quickly see the benefits. We've also found
there's no better way to show the benefits of testing than to observe a
test firsthand. Because there's a large number of design agents and
stake holders involved and often a small number of available tests to
observe, we can find ourselves in a situation where we need to have
many observers in one session. It's not unusual to have 30 or more
observers sitting in a single usability test. Here's how we pull it
Practical Usability Testing
October 3-4, 2007.
Des Moines, Iowa U.S.A.
User Focus, 2nd Annual User Focus Conference
October 12, 2007.
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
The Science and Art of Effective Web and Application Design
October 23-25, 2007.
Des Moines, Iowa U.S.A.
Putting Research into Practice
November 6-7, 2007.
Des Moines, Iowa U.S.A.
D.C. PHP Conference 2007
November 7-9, 2007.
Washington D.C., U.S.A.
By Jesse Skinner.
debugging :) But I did figure out a technique which you can use to
switch a page in and out of debugging mode..."
Evidence-Based Website Management
By Gerry McGovern.
"...Opinion, emotion and gut instinct are dangerous things when it
comes to managing websites. Invariably they lead to creating websites
that are organization-centric and full of vanity publishing. These
sorts of decisions are compounded further when senior managers get
involved, who often have no deep experience of Web, thus making their
opinions even more likely to be wrong."
Hat Heads vs. Bed Heads
By Keith LaFerriere.
"Every team and office includes people with potentially conflicting
personalities and working styles. By applying the right relationship
management techniques, you can calm tension, communicate more easily,
and run your projects more efficiently. Keith LaFerriere shows us how."
Search Optimization, Accessibility, and Images: Best Practices
By Joe Dolson.
"One common suggestion concerning the search optimization of images is
to use the alt attribute to place keywords relevant to the image
Becoming PHP 6 Compatible
"If you want to make use of PHP 6 when it comes, you're going to have
to write your new scripts so they are compatible, and possibly change
some of your existing scripts. To start making your scripts PHP 6
compatible, I've compiled a list of tips to follow when scripting..."
7 Reasons I Switched Back to PHP After 2 Years On Rails
By Derek Sivers.
"I spent two years trying to make Rails do something it wasn't meant to
do, then realized my old abandoned language (PHP, in my case) would do
just fine if approached with my new Rails-gained wisdom."
"Calibri is a typeface that's part of Microsoft's Cleartype Font
Collection. It was developed especially for e-mail, text messaging, and
website use and it shows as it's been gaining popularity among online
users for the last couple years. It's the new default typeface for
Office 2007 and is packaged with Vista (and Office 2007)..."
John Maeda: Simplicity Patterns (video)
By Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED).
"The MIT Media Lab's John Maeda lives at the intersection of technology
and art -- a place that can get very complicated. Here, he talks about
paring down to basics, and how he creates clean, elegant art, websites
and web tools. In his book Laws of Simplicity, he offers 10 rules and 3
keys for simple living and working -- but in this talk, he boils it
down to one simply delightful way to be."
Reading Revisited: Evaluating the Usability of Digital Display Surfaces
for Active Reading Tasks
By Meredith Ringel Morris, A.J. Brush, and Brian Meyers.
"A number of studies have shown that paper holds several advantages
over computers for reading tasks. However, these studies were carried
out several years ago, and since that time computerized reading
technology has advanced in many areas. We revisit the issue of reading
in the workplace, comparing paper use to state-of-the-art hardware and
software. In particular, we studied how knowledge workers perform
reading tasks in four conditions: (1) using paper, (2) using a
dual-monitor desktop system, (3) using a pen-enabled horizontal display
surface, and (4) using multiple tablet computers. We discuss our
findings, noting the strengths and shortcomings of each configuration.
Based on these findings, we propose design guidelines for hybrid
horizontal + vertical systems that support active reading tasks."
The Help Landscape: A Mile Wide and 30 Seconds Deep
By Mike Hughes.
"Two questions any writer must deal with are: 'What do I write about?'
and 'How much do I say about it?'. Essentially, these questions deal
with the scope and the depth of a document. Technical communicators
have a tendency to want to document a topic as completely as possible,
and we carry this instinct with us when we architect and write Help
files. In this column, I challenge that prevalent instinct and offer an
alternative way of thinking about the scope and depth requirements of
Help systems. The benefits of this approach are, I hope, better Help
for users and, for our clients and employers, a more efficient use of
technical communicators time. First, I'll discuss three principles that
underpin my perspective, then I'll give some practical advice about
writing Help that people will actually use."
10 Usability Nightmares You Should Be Aware Of
By Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz.
"...In this article we take a look at some of the usability nightmares
you should avoid designing functional and usable web-sites. At the end
of the article you'll also find 8 usability check-points you should
probably be aware of..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+11: 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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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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