[webdev] Web Design Update: October 12, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Oct 12 06:22:47 CDT 2007

- Volume 6, Issue 16, October 12, 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:

03: COLOR.
08: PHP.
09: TOOLS.
12: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Is This the Test Case We've All Been Waiting For?
By Ian Lloyd.
"Summary: Target case now open for class action and every blind person 
in the U.S. who has tried to access Target.com can become a 

Is the Target Lawsuit Frivolous?
By Mike Cherim.
"Last week all hell broke loose. For web accessibility there was a 
triumph of sorts. And in the world of web-is-money-first a small blow 
that is feared to mushroom into a costly problem. Some Internet 
merchants may feel they have better things to do than to acknowledge 
and cater to the needs of a 'small' user group like the disabled ? 
specifically the blind in the Target case (to learn more, links are 
provided later in this entry). Some people feel this lawsuit is 
frivolous and that private businesses should be left to decide on their 
own whether or not they accommodate these small user groups. Others, 
meanwhile, think the lawsuit is a good move and quite necessary."

Update on the Target Accessibility Lawsuit
By Roger Johansson.
"...requiring websites to be accessible does not make building them too 
expensive or create an artificial barrier to entry. Neither does it 
mean websites have to be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator 
or that you cannot use images, Flash, JavaScript, or Ajax. What it does 
mean is that people who design and program websites need to be aware of 
modern best practices in web design and development. Which we all 
should anyway, since it's part of our job."

Support And Educate
By Mel Pedley.
"Grant Broome has recently expressed some reservations over the 
suggestion that site developers abandon text-sizing widgets in favor of 
educating users instead. He's worried that this approach is overly 
biased.  Personally, I don't see this discussion as a particularly 
biased view. More of a natural maturing within the web accessibility 
development sector..."

Breaking CAPTCHAs
By Mel Pedley.
"One of the myths surrounding CAPTCHAs is that they offer 100% 
protection against the abuse of web site facilities by automated 
systems. That's a reassuring idea but is it really true in practice?"

Why I Hate Online Captioning
By Joe Clark.
Speaking notes from An Event Apart available

Alternative Text for Complex Graphics
By Zoe Gillenwater.
"Providing alternative text for images, a web accessibility 
cornerstone, is usually accomplished using the alt attribute. However, 
sometimes the amount of information that an image conveys is huge, much 
more than is useful in an alt attribute. For instance, charts, graphs, 
maps and diagrams can contain great amounts of information that would 
take several hundred words to adequately convey. While there's no limit 
on the amount of characters you can place in an alt attribute, they are 
meant to be kept very short and cannot contain additional (X)HTML 
markup within the attribute value itself. This can really limit your 
ability to adequately describe complex images. In this article, you'll 
learn a few ways to get around these limitations of the alt attribute 
to provide appropriate text equivalents for complex graphics in 
alternative ways..."

Mexico Signs First Manifesto on Usability and Accessibility for Mexican 
Government Websites
By Luis Carlos Aceves.
"...first Manifesto on Usability and Accessibility for Mexican 
Government Websites was created and signed. It collected ideas from 
participants and experts of UA web 2007, and was signed by 23 Mexican 
states and 3 municipalities..."


Bottom Margins of Paragraphs and Lists
By Marko Dugonjic.
"Creating the perfect vertical space on the screen is easy. With a few 
lines of CSS, you'll have a great typography foundation for your web 
site. Let's begin..."

Text-Shadow, Photoshop Like Effects Using CSS
By css3.info.
"CSS3 finally eliminates the need for Photoshop when all you want to do 
is a simple shadow..."

+03: COLOR.

Using Color in Information Display Graphics
By National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
"This site provides a guide to color design for information 

+04: EVENTS.

Yggdrasil 2007
October 15-16, 2007.
Lillehammer, Norway


The Information Architect as Change Agent
By Matthew C. Clarke.
"...In this article I argue, with a bit of logic and a bit of 
experience, that IAs can do their jobs better if they understand 
organizational change management, even if they don't need to be change 
management specialists. I'll also suggest a variety of concepts and 
practices that can (hopefully) help IAs in their change agent role, and 
I promise to throw in something entertaining as well..."


jQuery Crash Course
By Nathan Smith.
"When it comes to the thorny subject of JavaScript libraries, picking 
the right one for you can be a difficult decision. File size or 
features, animations or AJAX, global namespace pollution or... whatever 
the opposite of that is. Digital Web columnist Nathan Smith thinks he's 
found his ideal partner in jQuery, and takes to the sky to prove it."

Roll Out Your Own JavaScript Interfaces
By Dustin Diaz.
There are times when using a JavaScript library is called for. Building 
large web applications that use a wide array of utility functions that 
help aid in developing multi-tiered class systems, advanced UI 
components, complex event models, and heavy use of DOM scripting 
helpers. Yep. Those are all great.
However, there are other times when you don't need all that. And often 
what we end up doing is just importing a few of our favorite functions 
as globals, and work off those. But what ends up happening in this case 
is that we lose the particular style that these libraries offer. For 
instance, I'd still like to be able to do something like this without a 


Today's Web 3.0 Nonsense Blogstorm
By Tim O'Reilly.
"If Web 2.0 was so hot, how about Web 3.0?..."

Thinking Outside the Web, PodCast and Transcript
By Christy Dena.
"The following is a presentation recorded at the Australian Museum on 2 
August 2007 for the Web Standards Group. The presenter was Christy Dena 
speaking on "Thinking Outside the Web: How the Entertainment Industry 
is Integrating All Media and Why". Christy is a Universe Creator & 
Transmodiologist. She is an industry strategist, mentor, designer and 
PhD researcher of cross-media entertainment. Currently Christy runs 

Ambient Personalization, PodCast and Transcript
By Scott Parsons.
"The following is a presentation recorded at the Australian Museum on 2 
August 2007 for the Web Standards Group. The presenter was Scott 
Parsons speaking on Ambient Personalization: Applying what we can learn 
about a user's (and groups of users) behavior, to improve their 
experience of a site. Scott Parsons is an experienced - user experience 
and web design professional who has worked in NZ, UK and Australia for 
many media and advertising companies. He specializes in usability and 
user centered design, while keeping up with future trends and web 
design techniques."

+08: PHP.

PHP 4 End of Life Draws Near
By Paul Davis.
"PHP.net announced (a while back) that PHP 4 is at end of life and will 
end all support by the end of the year (2007). If you are still using 
PHP v4 and haven't considered an upgrade, now would be a good time to 
do so..."

Improved Error Messages in PHP
By Jeff Moore.
"...One more reason to ditch PHP 4 and go php 5."

+09: TOOLS.

Font Tester
By fonttester.com.
"Font Tester is a free online font comparison tool. It allows you to 
easily preview and compare different fonts side by side with various 
CSS font styles applied to them..."

Designer Plaything
By Matthew O'Donoghue.
"A tool designers and clients to experiment with different typography 
and colour combinations on a web page as well as check for colour 
accessibility level."

PHPform - Create HTML Form in Seconds
By appnitro.
"Create a HTML form in seconds."


Downloadable Fonts - Safari now supports CSS @font-face rules
By Dave Hyatt.
"WebKit now supports CSS @font-face rules. With font face rules you can 
specify downloadable custom fonts on your Web pages or alias one font 
to another..."

Fonts in Your Face
By Jon Hicks.
"...First problem, yes this will mean some people will specify 
unreadable/unsuitable type for body copy, but what's new? It simply 
means that there will be a wider variety of unreadable fonts to choose 
from. Secondly, and this is the real sticking point, font licensing..."

A Type In the Right Direction?
Dan Cederholm.
"...While this certainly could be true for many, it doesn't mean that 
web designers can't become good typographers ? especially when given 
the chance with more of a variety of typefaces to work with. The worry 
that all web pages will be suddenly ruined with crappy free fonts 
everywhere overshadows the fact that some good can come out of the 
ability to at least have a choice to use those crappy (and/or potential 
useful) fonts. Give us all a chance, eh?..."

The Resurrection of Downloadable Web Fonts
By Roger Johansson.
"...I can see how useful this can be, though I do worry that many will 
not be able to use this tool responsibly. Then again, that applies to 
most tools."

Arial Versus Helvetica
By John Boardley.
"...Today we're going to de-robe two popular typefaces, namely Arial 
and Helvetica - faces that are often confused, and often the subjects 
of mistaken identity. But first let me re-introduce you to these two 
popular faces..."


Visualizing Fitts's Law
By Kevin Hale.
"In preparation for the redesigns and overhauls we implemented in 
Wufoo, I took some time to revisit a few HCI (Human-Computer 
Interaction) fundamentals with the hopes of gleaning something new out 
of the decades of research dedicated to making interfaces easier to 
use. One thing that surprised me was how most of the material was 
pretty dense, heavily geared towards mathematicians it seemed and 
written in the impenetrable language of the academic elite. You'd think 
that if they'd really wanted to make an impact (especially on 
designers), they'd create documents that were a bit easier to digest."

Landing Page Confusion
By Adam Lapp and Bob Kemper.
"...So, how does having more than one objective to a page affect its 
performance? The experiments in this brief are consistent with a large 
body of research conducted over a long period of time in concluding 
that pages that are focused on one primary objective significantly 
outperform those that do not."

30 Usability Issues To Be Aware Of
By Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz.
"...In this article we present 30 important usability issues, terms, 
rules and principles which are usually forgotten, ignored or 
misunderstood. What is the difference between readability and 
legibility? What exactly does 80/20 or Pareto principle mean? What is 
meant with minesweeping and satisficing? And what is Progressive 
Enhancement and Graceful Degradation? OK, it's time to dive in..."

Intranet Usability Shows Huge Advances
By Jakob Nielsen.
Measured usability improved by 44% compared to our last large-scale 
intranet study. The new research identified 5 times the previous number 
of intranet design guidelines."

Splash Pages: Do We Really Need Them?
By Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz.
"Yes, sometimes we do. Should we use them? No, we probably 
shouldn't...users literally can't stand them, because splash pages 
usually take a long time to load and provide (almost) no navigation 

+12: XML.

Shorttags - the odd side of HTML 4.01
By Olivier Thereaux.
"HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0? The choice between the two popular ways of 
authoring for the web seldom yields a clear answer: after all, the two 
languages share the same semantics, and the differences are mostly 
about the writing style. Advocates of the XHTML style will hail the 
potential of XML for transformation and processing. Advocates of HTML 
4.01 will generally reply that Internet Explorer, as of today, does not 
recognize the preferred media type for XHTML. As a result, most people 
serve XHTML in a way tantamount to serving tag soup to browsers: in 
that logic, using HTML 4.01 is the actually 'strict' choice. Both are 
quite correct, but for anyone authoring (X)HTML by hand, there is one 
very good reason, often overlooked, to prefer the XHTML syntax to the 
'classic' HTML one: shorttags..."

[Section one ends.]


+13: 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.]



WEB DESIGN UPDATE is available by subscription. For information on how 
to subscribe and unsubscribe please visit:
The Web Design Reference Site also has a RSS 2.0 feed for site updates.


As a navigation aid for screen readers we do our best to conform to the 
accessible Text Email Newsletter (TEN) guidelines.  Please let me know 
if there is anything else we can do to make navigation easier. For TEN 
guideline information please visit:


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.]

More information about the Webdev mailing list