[webdev] Web Design Update: November 21, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Wed Nov 21 15:32:42 CST 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 6, Issue 22, November 21, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 22 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
08: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
11: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Use the Label Element to Make Your HTML Forms Accessible
By Roger Johansson.
"There are plenty of articles and tutorials that describe how to create
accessible HTML forms out there. Despite that it is common to come
across forms that do not use a single label element and forms that use
label elements but do so incorrectly..."
Cherished Lies of the Blind
By Joe Clark.
"New year's resolution for 2008: Every blind person with an interest in
technology should vow never to reiterate these lies."
An Example of Automated Accessibility Testing
By Joe Dolson.
"...On the whole, I find the Functional Accessibility Evaluator to be
quite interesting and to provide good value. It's a great
natural-language approach to identifying potential accessibility
problems. However, despite this, the automated nature of the testing
exposes numerous of the standard difficulties with any kind of
automated results. Namely, at any point where they deviate from precise
guidelines, they expose private bias on the issues; and they are not
capable of making fine distinctions between pass and fail."
Business Reasons for Web Accessibility
By Dennis Lembree.
"An accessible web site decreases costs, increases sales, and increases
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
CSS3 and the Death of Handheld Stylesheets
By Russell Beattie.
"...By choosing to default to non-handheld views, I have to agree with
Phil that Opera seems to have given up the fight on this particular
battle, and is instead banking on more sites using CSS3 instead..."
How Many CSS Properties Can You Name in 5 Minutes?
What's Not to Love About CSS Frameworks?
By Jeff Croft.
"Over the past several weeks, I've been bombarded (in e-mail, in
person, and over IM) with questions about CSS frameworks. I guess I
wrote the book on this topic (and contributed, if inadvertently, to one
of the most notable CSS frameworks out there), so it's completely
understandable people would come to me with these questions. The
question almost always sounds something like this..."
Adobe Spry 1.6 Improves Standards Support, Adds Progressive Enhancement
By Roger Johansson.
"...Spry 1.6 has in fact improved support for both Web standards,
accessibility and progressive enhancement..."
Spry and Web Standards
"The 'Web 2.0' world presents a leap forward in web functionality and
user experience. The bar has officially been raised, and the rapid
adoption of Ajax is proof that "next-generation" web interfaces are in
high demand. In many ways, this trend is an "of course" moment. Of
course Google Maps is the way that mapping is supposed to work. When
you first experience, when first experienced, make you wonder why it
took so long to be. While the underlying technologies of Ajax have been
around for a while now, the recent explosion of Ajax-powered pages and
applications has brought to light some limitations of XHTML, browsers,
assistive technologies and standards."
Progressive Enhancement with Spry
"...This document will give examples of how to use the various
components within Spry in a progressive enhancement scenario and
introduce some techniques and utilities that will hopefully make it
Separating Behavior from Structure - Unobtrusive Spry
"...This document will give you a brief introduction of the
aid with separating behavior from structure..."
"Code validation is gaining more importance these days. HTML coders and
their clients want to know that their code is done correctly. While the
debate over standards and validation is a large one, the Spry team has
taken steps to ensure that Spry pages will pass W3C validation."
Hash Those Passwords
By Pete Freitag.
"Spry recently had an embarrassing security breach, in which several
email addresses and passwords were stolen..."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Personas vs. User Descriptions; Apples vs. Tomatoes
By Jared Spool.
"In my mind, Christopher is clearly confusing Personas with User
Descriptions. User descriptions are what-we-think-we-know-now writeups
of who uses our design and why. Personas, on the other hand, are
carefully researched and crafted personalities we create to focus the
The AxsJAX Framework for ARIA
By Gez Lemon.
"Charles L. Chen and T. V Raman announced an open source framework
called AxsJAX. The framework inserts ARIA properties into web
applications to make them accessible to assistive technologies."
AxsJAX Frequently Asked Questions
By Howard Feldman.
hacking with this article. This time around, he tackles dynamic tables,
switching out form elements, and putting prompting text in text boxes."
Understanding Web Design
By Jeffrey Zeldman.
"We'll have better web design when we stop asking it to be something
it's not, and start appreciating it for what it is. It's not print, not
video, not a poster-and that's not a problem. Find out why cultural and
business leaders misunderstand web design, and learn which other forms
it most usefully resembles."
Web Customer Rejects Silo Mentality
By Gerry McGovern.
"Organizations have an overwhelming desire to own and control. Even
within organizations, each unit/department is constantly trying to
prove that it is important."
"As a studio matures, one of the nicest benefits is in the luxury of
actively 'choosing' which projects to engage in and which ones to pass
on. In our first years of business, I would have scoffed at such a
notion, but after some experience, we've learned that some business
isn't worth having. The worst kind of business, in my humble opinion,
is that which beckons in the form of an RFP. For those who aren't
familiar with RFPs ? I can't imagine many who aren't ? the acronym is
derived from 'Request For Proposals'. Talk to most experienced design
managers and they'll feel similarly: RFPs simply don't work when it
comes to purchasing design services..."
Bruce Tognazzini on Human-Computer Interaction
"Bruce Tognazzini was Apple's 66th employee, developing the company's
first usability guidelines and founding its Human Interface team.
Almost thirty years later, he's a principal at Nielsen Norman Group and
still making his feelings known when companies commit design errors.
Here, 'Tog' gives us a variety of thoughts on interface design,
freedom, the future of computing, the iPhone's place in world history
and why he travels around in a 400 sq ft motorhome while towing a 4x4
and two Segways..."
Dilbert Does Usability
By Peter J. Meyers.
"...One of these days, we network engineers, security specialists,
designers, marketers, SEOs, and usability folks need to wake up and
realize we all need each other..."
Improving the Usability of Within-Page Links
By Bruce Lawson.
"...None of the techniques above can be classed as advanced, but in
combination they show that good document structure combined with CSS
reinforcement. Users with screenreaders get no visual reinforcement, of
course, but the most poplar screenreaders already prefix within-page
link with an announcement of "this page link" so the user understands
the context. And, of course, those people using older, less advanced
browsers are not disadvantaged in any way."
Search Engine Spam
By Frederick Townes.
"Most of us think of spam as junk email. Search engine spam is
different. Search engine spam is any means of manipulating search
engine spiders to artificially boost a website's page rank or
positioning on search engine results pages. In other words, search
engine spam is any tactic employed by site owners to fool search engine
spiders. Not a good idea..."
+08: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Keep Browser Lock-Out a Thing of the Past
By Roger Johansson.
"...even if your site uses technology that is not supported by all
browsers, don't actively prevent people using other browsers from
entering. Build your website with web standards and progressive
enhancement in mind instead..."
How to Size Text in CSS
By Richard Rutter.
"It's a tug-of-war as old as web design. Designers need to control text
size and the vertical grid; readers need to be able to resize text. A
better best practice for sizing type and controlling line-height is
needed; and in this article, Richard Rutter obligingly supplies one."
Text Sizes and Screen Resolution
By Mel Pedley.
"According to clickdensity, there appears to be a link between user
screen resolutions and text size settings..."
Web Form Design Best Practices
By Luke Wroblewski.
"In my Web Form Design Best Practices talk at User Interface 12 in
Boston, MA, I walked through the importance of Web forms and a series
of design best practices culled from live to site analytics, usability
testing, eye-tracking studies, and best practice surveys. My Slides
from the talk..."
Procedures: The Sacred Cow Blocking the Road
By Mike Hughes.
"Users do not remain in online Help for long periods of time. So, not
only must Help topics be modular and self-contained, elements within
topics must be directly accessible and self-contained as well.
Procedural information must accommodate a reader, for example, who has
already figured out how to complete steps 1 through 4 before ever going
to Help and would be discouraged from continuing to read the Help if
she felt she must wade though instructions on how to do stuff she has
already done or information she already knows."
Trust in the Little Things
By Steve Baty.
"When we embed a link in our content, our aim is to encourage visitors
to explore beyond the bounds of the information on the current page by
following the link we've provided. By doing so, we provide both a
richer experience for visitors and greater value to them through their
relationship with us. However, abbreviated URLs do have some
[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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+ 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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