[webdev] Web Design Update: October 26, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Oct 26 06:25:21 CDT 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 6, Issue 18, October 26, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 18 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.
13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Accessibility: Making It All Worthwhile
By Jack Pickard.
"Sometimes being someone who is committed to web accessibility feels
like it's not a good thing. You get the feeling people feel you're some
kind of zealot (even if you aren't); you get the feeling that other
people think that when you raise the issue of accessibility you're
being awkward or causing problems, that it's something unwanted, that's
an extra chore you're forcing them to add on to their developments.
That's not what I feel, but it's what I sometimes think other people
Alternative Text for Images: the ALT attribute
By Estelle Weyl.
"For a webpage to validate and be accessible, all images must have a
value for the alt attribute, even if that value is empty..."
Avoid the Hidden Barriers - Presentation Download
By Bim Egan.
"At Techshare 2007 I had the honor of being allowed to speak on one of
my hot topics within the field of web accessibility. The presentation,
on how to avoid some of the hidden barriers that make web sites
difficult for disabled people who don't have the benefit of screen
readers was well received, (phew), and I promised to make it available
as a download..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Branding Your CSS Stylesheets
"I am not sure this is only a fad that has following in the web
standards community; since CSS is part of their world. What am I
talking about? Designers that add the color scheme of their personal
website to their stylesheets. What motivates them? Let's scratch the
surface a little bit..."
Doing it with (User) Style
By Derek Featherstone.
"...I created some user styles for both the WCAG Guidelines and the
WCAG Checklist to make them easier to read at-a-glance, I made the
numbers for the checkpoints bigger, added in some line-height and
removed anything else I thought got 'in the way' of me being able to
reference them quickly and efficiently..."
Liquid Faux Columns With Background-Size
By Peter Gasston.
"Until the Advanced Layout and Grid Layout modules are implemented, we
have to get by with the existing tricks of the trade. One of those is
the use of faux columns, a background image which simulates
equal-height columns. This is a good technique, but the drawback is
that it only works with fixed-width columns..."
CSS Floats to Display Columns in Any Order
By Christopher Schmitt.
"With my publisher's permission, I'm sharing the following excerpt from
my latest book, CSS Cookbook, Second Edition, which discusses a neat
trick for designing multi-column layouts in any order..."
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Group Usability Testing: Evolution in Usability Techniques
By Laura L. Downey.
"This paper introduces a formative method called 'group usability
testing.' It involves several to many participants individually, but
simultaneously, performing tasks, with one to several testers observing
and interacting with participants. The idea for group usability testing
arose as an answer to limited time resources and the availability of
many users gathered together in one place. The approach is described
via a case study. Data characteristics, benefits and drawbacks of group
usability testing are discussed. Additionally it is compared/contrasted
with individual usability testing, co-discovery, task-based focus
groups, and cooperative usability testing."
Expanding Usability Testing to Evaluate Complex Systems
By Ginny Redish.
"This essay discusses ways that usability professionals can expand
usability testing to evaluate complex systems, such as intelligence
gathering and medical decision-making, that do not lend themselves to
more traditional laboratory-based usability testing. In the essay,
Redish explains what complex systems are, why they don't lend
themselves to traditional usability test methodologies, and what other
techniques are available for gathering and analyzing the data. The
essay also discusses the importance of involving domain experts in the
design of the test to ensure that both the components and the system as
a whole are being adequately tested."
Usability Studies and the Hawthorne Effect
By Ritch Macefield.
"This paper provides a brief review of the Hawthorne effect, a
discussion of how this effect relates to usability studies and help for
practitioners in defending their studies against criticisms made on the
basis of this effect."
Making Usability Recommendations Useful and Usable
By Rolf Molich, Robin Jeffries, Joseph Dumas.
"This paper evaluates the quality of recommendations for improving a
user interface resulting from a usability evaluation. The study
compares usability comments written by different authors, but
describing similar usability issues. The usability comments were
provided by 17 professional teams who independently evaluated the
usability of the website for the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York. The
study finds that only 14 of the 84 studied comments (17%) addressing
six usability problems contained recommendations that were both useful
and usable. Fourteen recommendations were not useful at all. Sixteen
recommendations were not usable at all. Quality problems include
recommendations that are vague or not actionable, and ones that may not
improve the overall usability of the application. The paper suggests
characteristics for "useful and usable recommendations," that is,
recommendations for solving usability problems that lead to changes
that efficiently improve the usability of a product."
Paris Web 2007
November 15-17, 2007.
By Cristian Darie, Bogdan Brinzarea.
candidate for implementing the concept of a class from traditional
Accelerated DOM Scripting with Ajax, APIs and Libraries
By Jonathan Snook.
both a blessing and a curse: it's great to have variety, but how do you
know which one to choose for which purpose? The venerable Jonathan
Snook makes it look easy with an excerpt from his upcoming book,
Accelerated DOM Scripting with Ajax, APIs and Libraries."
The Artisan and the Mass-Producer
By Patrick H. Lauke.
"Creating web pages is not the exclusive domain of those hardcore
enough to hand-code anymore. WYSIWYG editors, blogging tools, content
management systems and CSS frameworks have helped lower some of the
technological entry barriers. Does this spell the end for the
traditional craft of the web 'artisan'?..."
HighEdWebDev Presentation Materials
Michael Dame's powerpoint presentation was called 'The Tragedy at
Virginia Tech: Crisis Communications on the Web'.
PPK on the Professionalization of Frontend Engineering
By Eric Miraglia.
A Yahoo video. "Peter-Paul Koch (PPK) is one of the best-known figures
in the world of front end engineering because over the years he has
tirelessly tilted against the windmills of browser quirks."
By Yahoo Design Pattern Library.
"Problem Summary: The user needs to be able to navigate up (towards the
root page) and have an understanding of where she is in relation to the
rest of the site..."
By Yahoo Design Pattern Library.
"Problem Summary: The user needs to navigate through a site to locate
content and features and have clear indication of their current
location in the site..."
Generic Arrays in PHP
By Maarten Balliauw.
Maarten Balliauw a couple ways on how to implement an ArrayObject
supporting generics in PHP5.
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Omitting alt Attribute for Critical Content
By W3C HTML Working Group.
"Issue: The img element in the current HTML 5 Editor's Draft allows
instances where critical content may have no alt attribute, not just a
null alt attribute for eye candy, but no alt attribute for critical
content...Alternate text is essential for accessibility. There needs to
be a markup solution to indicate whether or not the alternate text of
an image is critical to understand the content - omitting such an
important attribute is ambiguous, and doesn't help anyone. The problem
is differentiating between ignorant and intentional lack of text. At
the moment a missing alt is generally an indicator of ignorance (not
knowing or caring to add alternative). A null alt either means the
author knew enough to not want to put an alternative in (e.g.
decorative/spacer image), or it was automatically put in for
them...Status: Open Issue..."
What's a Pattern?
By Yahoo Design Pattern Library.
"A pattern describes an optimal solution to a common problem within a
Comment on the Stick (Standards Enforcement) Approach to Accessibility
By Sharon Perry.
"Headstar's eAccess Bulletin has the scoop on Accessibility Ultimatum
Proposed for UK Government Websites. Sources claim that government
websites will be penalized by being stripped of their 'gov.uk' domain
names if they don't meet the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines) AA rating. At the moment, this is still only a draft
proposal but if ratified, would mean that all existing government sites
would need to have the AA rating by December 2008..."
By John Allsopp.
"MRI is a free cross browser tool that lets you test selectors with any
web page. Selectors, particularly complex ones can be difficult to get
exactly right - MRI lets you experiment with them on any web page
(local or online, static or dynamic)."
Passive Voice Is Redeemed For Web Headings
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Active voice is best for most Web content, but using passive voice can
let you front-load important keywords in headings, blurbs, and lead
sentences. This enhances scannability and thus SEO effectiveness."
7 Critical Considerations for Designing Effective Applications
By Jared M. Spool.
"Our user, a world-traveling executive with a fondness for the finer
things in life, showed tremendous interest in WhiteTie's brand new
personal concierge service. While visiting WhiteTie's web site, the
executive carefully reviewed the content to learn more about how the
service worked and what she'd get for her (very pricey) annual fee..."
XForms Thick Clients
By Jack Cox.
"Jack Cox explains an approach to building XForms client applications
that work in a disconnected environment."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+13: 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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