[webdev] Web Design Update: November 30, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Nov 30 06:28:28 CST 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 6, Issue 23, November 30, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 23 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.
04: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Fieldsets, Legends and Screen Readers
By Steve Faulkner.
"...Due to the nature of the advice in UAAG 1.0 and its implementation
in JAWS (legend text being announced before a controls label text),
developers should be mindful of the length of legend texts, as lengthy
legend texts have been found to make forms difficult to use. Another
potential pot hole is the JAWS behaviour when headings are included
within a fieldset. In this case JAWS will typically use the heading
text in place of the legend text, this is a quirk or bug, which can
lead to unexpected and problematic consequences. This needs to be fixed
in JAWS, but until it is, perhaps the use of headings within fieldsets
should be minimised. The fieldset and legend elements are well
supported by many user agents. While it is helpful to have knowledge of
some of the quirks and failings of particular user agents, the poor
support in software such as Window Eyes must not stop developers using
these elements or accessibility practitioners recommending their use.
Their use can make it easier for a wide range of disabled users to fill
out forms. In order to improve accessibility for all disabled users,
web standards must be adhered to so that developers can code for
accessibility with confidence. It is the assistive technology vendors
job in these cases to fix their implementations."
One Reason Why Section 508 Isn't Working
By Mike Paciello.
"An area of accessibility that I have been deeply involved in for the
past 18 months is the TEITAC (Telecommunications and Electronic and
Information Technology Advisory Committee). By the way, it's pronounced
'Tie Tac' not 'Tea Tack'. TEITAC consists of 42 member organizations
including government, industry, consumer and international (EU, Canada,
Japan, and Australia) representatives. In short, the charter of this
committee is to revise the US Federal Section 508 and Section 255
laws. Section 508 involves information technology and Section 255
involves telecommunications. With technology convergence increasingly
becoming the norm, is it any wonder why this committee was asked to
revise both standards?at the same time???"
Manual for Apple VoiceOver in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
By Roger Johansson.
"Apple's screen reader, VoiceOver, comes bundled with Mac OS X (yes,
it's free) and has received a number of updates in Mac OS X 10.5
Leopard. The updates include a new voice, Braille support, and improved
navigation and searching..."
Change the Way You See Disability
By Aardman Animations.
"Discover the world of Aardman's Creature Discomforts and change the
way you see disability." (Hat tip to Gez Lemon)
Jeffrey Frey on Accessible Podcasts
By Dennis Lembree.
"Dennis speaks with Jeffrey Frey and discusses accessible podcasting,
guidelines on audio/video web accessibility, and Jeff's role at Rice
Icons, Symbols and Cognitive Disabilities
By Christopher Phillips.
"...Perhaps one day there will be an open system that will facilitate
the collection and use of symbols in everyday tools. Until then, here
are some other project/ideas that are exploring the use of symbols..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
CSS3 Media Queries Instead of the Media Attribute
By Emil Stenstrom.
"...Media queries are a way to check the capabilities of a user-agent
instead of checking what kind of media type it claims to be. This makes
a lot of sense to me..."
Introduction to Safari CSS Reference
Official documentation covering the CSS properties supported by Safari.
Future-Proof Your Web Site Design by Planning Your CSS In Advance
By Christian Watson.
"...Let's take a look at the more common page elements a future-proofed
site should plan for..."
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
A Structured Process for Transforming Usability Data into Usability
By Jonathan Howarth, Terence S. Andre, and Rex Hartson.
"Much research has been devoted to developing usability evaluation
methods that are used in evaluating interaction designs. More recently,
however, research has shifted away from evaluation methods and
comparisons of evaluation methods to issues of how to use the raw
usability data generated by these methods. Associated with this focus
is the assumption that the transformation of the raw usability data
into usability information is relatively straightforward. We would
argue that this assumption is incorrect, especially for novice
usability practitioners. In this article, we present a structured
process for transforming raw usability data into usability information
that is based on a new way of thinking about usability problem data.
The results of a study of this structured process indicate that it
helps improve the effectiveness of novice usability practitioners."
Clustering for Usability Participant Selection
By Juan E. Gilbert, Andrea Williams, and Cheryl D. Seals.
"User satisfaction and usefulness are measured using usability studies
that involve real customers. Given the nature of software development
and delivery, having to conduct usability studies can become a costly
expense in the overall budget. A major part of this expense is the
participant costs. Under this condition, it is desirable to reduce the
number of participants without sacrificing the quality of the
experiment. If a company could use a smaller participant pool and get
the same results as the entire pool; this would result in significant
savings. Given a participant pool of size N, is there a subset of N
that would yield the same results as the entire population? This
research addresses this question using a data-mining clustering tool
called Applications Quest."
+04: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Intranet Information Architecture (IA)
By Jakob Nielsen.
"In analyzing 56 intranets, we found many common top-level categories,
labels, and navigation designs, but ultimately, the diversity was too
great to recommend a single IA."
By Victor Lombardi.
"In my keynote talk at the 2007 IA Konferenz in Stuttgart, Germany this
month, I argued we need to create fewer artifacts and more tools. We're
already doing this, but it's easy to get stuck in a
make-more-web/mobile-sites rut and that could lead to irrelevance."
By Roger Johansson.
"One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing
not seem to spend any energy at all on considering how to do that.
Instead they choose to blindly forge ahead and assume that everybody
This Was @mediaAjax 2007
By Chris Heilmann.
His slides and thoughts on the conference.
@media Ajax 2007
By Peter-Paul Koch.
"This entry discusses the conference and gives links to my slides and
@media Ajax 2007
By Stuart Langridge.
"Finally returned from @media Ajax 2007, and I had a great time. I was
a presenter, talking about How To Destroy The Web, which I thoroughly
enjoyed doing. My slides are here..."
@media Ajax - The Presentations
By Robert Nyman.
"As promised in my @media AJAX - Journeys and stories post (now updated
with pictures!), this one will focus on the presentations during the
By Chris Heilmann.
"This is a step-by-step description accompanied by code examples of the
By Joseph Smarr.
A set of slides from a talk given by Joseph Smarr, Chief Platform
Architect at Plaxo, at Oscon.
ECMAScript 3 Regular Expressions: A Specification That Doesn't Make
By David Andersson (Liorean).
"So, what was that A quick JS quiz for anybody who think they know
regex thing that I posted all about? It was about a flaw, a nonsensical
behavior that the ECMAScript specification makes standard. Let me
expand a bit on what ECMAScript 3 does wrong..."
By James Payne.
In this tutorial we are going to go through each one and learn how to
use them to create more dynamic web sites. So slap on your seat belts
and get your helmets ready. This is gonna be an action-packed
many rules set by publishers and editors. This is a great thing as it
keeps us authors on our toes and makes us understand more about how
much work successful publishing really is. However, it can also be
terribly annoying, especially when older idioms just stick. One of them
shortcut notations. Now, if you are 'the average developer', please
give me 5 minutes of your time to get through the following, you'll
understand a lot more code out there and also spend a lot less time
writing your own scripts."
Giant Global Graph
By Tim Berners-Lee.
"...I'll be thinking in the graph. My flights. My friends. Things in my
life. My breakfast. What was that? Oh, yogurt, granola, nuts, and fresh
fruit, since you ask."
In Defense of Eye Candy
By Stephen P. Anderson.
"Bottom line? Visual design is more than styling. It is function. And
not only because it communicates, but also because it makes us feel.
And between feeling and communication, people find things easier to
Don Norman Interview: Tech Design with Thought
By Candace Lombardi.
"If anyone knows a thing or two about designing for human-computer
interaction, it's Don Norman, professor at Northwestern University,
author of 'The Design of Future Things', and co-founder of the Nielsen
The Web's Future: Peering into the Crystal Ball
By Kristin Vincent.
"In the future, we will see modules on the page that are triggered to
appear dynamically as a result of user actions. These modules will
contain content from multiple sites. The number and arrangement of
modules on the page will be rules based, and the possibilities will be
infinite because designers can't possibly predict or plan for the
series of user actions that will kick off different combinations on the
page. Joshua Davis, the first speaker at the conference, talked about
the idea of computational design in art, where he builds design rules
and elements of randomness into a program and then runs the program to
create artwork. But I'm speculating about a new implementation of
computational design that was not influenced by programmatic
randomness, but by actions performed by users. And instead of creating
art, this would create new transactional e-commerce or learning spaces.
Building the UX Dreamteam
By Anthony Colfelt.
"...Aimed at managers and those involved in the hiring decision
process, this article looks at the facets of UX staff and offers ways
to identify the skills and influence that will tune your team to
deliver winning results..."
Consensus is For Losers
By D. Keith Robinson.
"...I've been designing for years now and it's become crystal clear to
me that the very best designs, based on just about any standard of
quality you can think of, are not, ever, done by committee..."
Slideshows From Parisweb 2007
Collecting for Design
By Matthew Smith.
"'Genius,' Thomas Edison once said, 'is 1% inspiration, and 99%
perspiration.' While we can't help with the latter, one way to oil your
creative gears is to maintain a collection of inspiring design. Join
Matthew Smith on a scientific journey of discovery? all for the sake of
a simple navigation bar."
Introduction to PHP Programming
By PHP Catalyst.
Topics covered in the tutorial include: the basics of PHP, variables
and data types, expressions, functions, scoping, and strings/arrays.
Dangers of Remote Execution
By PHP Discovery.
"...PHP has numerous ways to execute raw PHP code unless you the
programmer stops it. Best way in preventing these methods is making
sure you check the input of what your users are inputting, and making
sure you escape all malicious actions that a hacker,cracker, kiddy
scripter might want to do to your website..."
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
HTML Design Principles, First Public Working Draft
By Anne van Kesteren and Maciej Stachowiak, editors.
"Publication as a Working Draft does not imply endorsement by the W3C
Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or
obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite
this document as other than work in progress."
Post your comments to:
mailto:public-html-comments at w3.org
W3C Seeks Community Support for HTML Design Principles (First Public
By HTML Working Group.
"The HTML Working Group has published the First Public Working Draft of
HTML Design Principles. This document describes the set of guiding
principles used by the HTML Working Group for the development of HTML5,
expected to define the fifth major revision of the core language of the
World Wide Web. These design principles are an attempt to capture
consensus on design approach in the areas of compatibility, utility,
interoperability, and universal access. Learn more about the HTML
HTML Activity Statement
"HTML is the family name for the group of languages that form the
lingua franca of the World Wide Web..."
Email Standards Project
"The Email Standards Project works with email client developers and the
design community to improve web standards support and accessibility in
In All Fairness - Internet Explorer Still Stinks
By Kevin Yank.
"This is the story of how SitePoint tried to give Internet Explorer a
fighting chance...and it lost anyway..."
Google Can't Code
By Joe Clark.
"Why do some of the least competent HTML coders on the planet work for
Markup Map for hCard Microformat
By Christopher Schmitt.
"Knowing what elements are available in the hCard microformat is
important when trying to apply CSS rules. The main problem is that
there are so many elements it's easy to get tripped up on how to best
styling an hCard..."
CSS Editor Bookmarklet for IE
By Steve Faulkner.
"For times when CSS styles need to be tested, on the fly, in Internet
Explorer, the CSS editor bookmarklet can come in handy. It was
originally developed from the test styles bookmarklet by Jesse
Ruderman. When Internet Explorer 7 came along it ceased to work, but
after much fiddling around I was able to get it working in IE 7. The
CSS editor has the same functionality as the 'test styles' function on
the Web Accessibility Toolbar."
One More Time: No text-Resize 'Widgits'
By Joe Clark.
"One disagrees with his esteemed colleague Grant Broome, who believes
text-resize 'widgits' (that's not how it's spelled) really should still
be used. His reasons?..."
Web Form Design: ZIP Codes and Locations
By Luke Wroblewski.
"People need to parse every question a Web form asks them, formulate
their response to that question then enter their response into the
space the form has provided. The best way to speed up that process -of
Screen Resolutions and Better User Experience
By Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz.
"...Don't optimize your web designs for your personal convenience.
Don't guess blindly; instead try to estimate the profile of your
visitors and leverage your design accordingly. In most cases you can
improve the user experience by keeping the width of your layout at most
1000px. Design for your visitors, even if it means that your design
looks terrible on your high-resolution wide-screen laptop."
Thinking Web, Not Website
By Gerry McGovern.
"The Web is the network. The Web is the organization. Your website is
not important. Reaching your customers is."
Meta-Usability: When the Method is Not the Message
By Kath Straub.
"Kath Straub looks at the gap between what researchers study and what
practitioners want - and the gap between what practitioners present and
what clients want to hear."
7 Critical Considerations for Designing Effective Applications, Part II
By Jared M. Spool.
"Our user, a regular business traveler trying to quickly book a flight,
was reviewing a selection of flight options supplied by USAir.com.
While there were plenty of flights, the user felt these weren't meeting
her needs -- either the flight arrived too late or made risky
connections. Thinking leaving a little earlier would give her better
flights, the user tried hitting the back button only to receive an
The Joys of Consistent Web Practices
By Mike Cherim.
Ever since I have been flying the web developer pennant in my
occupational corner I have been trying to develop my own best practices
based on existing web standards and accessibility requirements, and
then applying them consistently. My goal is to gain the ability to
perform a task the same way time and time again without having to think
about it, meanwhile ensuring my works conform to standardized usability
practices to guarantee at least satisfactory experiences for my site's
users. Consistency, after all, can be a very good thing for everyone.
Let me explain..."
The Fine Line Between Security and Usability
By Sunnet Beskerming.
"Finding the right balance between security and usability is difficult
for any software developer. Recently a set of issues were disclosed
where it was apparent that Microsoft had worsened the security
situation for their users based on the software provided with Windows,
or based on their response to reported problems."
We Know Security and Usability are Orthogonal - Do You?
By Sunnet Beskerming.
"...While a greater understanding of secure development practices and
security as a part of the design process means that more applications
are being created without needing to sacrifice usability for security,
many users have been conditioned into thinking that a tightening of
security means reduced usability. If you still think that is not the
case, consider two recent examples that have affected both Apple and
[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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