[webdev] Web Design Update: December 7, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Dec 7 06:31:49 CST 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 6, Issue 24, December 7, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 24 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
08: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
10: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Voiceover 2 - A WebDev+s Guide
By Alastair Campbell.
"VoiceOver, the screen reader for Apple's OS X, has undergone a major
update. This article looks at the new functions, and what that means
for people browsing websites. I am not looking at VoiceOver in general,
just how different aspects of web pages affect the experience when
IBM Contributes Framework to Eclipse Foundation
"Open source community to adapt IBM Technology to make Web 2.0 content
accessible for people With disabilities..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Choose an Accessible Image Replacement Method
By Roger Johansson.
"...What surprises me a little is that I still see people using
image-based techniques that do not work at all for people browsing with
images off. One of the tests I perform when checking sites for
accessibility and universality is to simply turn off images in my web
browser. In some cases that makes text disappear because an image
replacement has been used that does not account for people with CSS on
and images off..."
I Don't Hate CSS but CSS Hates Me
By Reinhold Weber.
"...What drives me most nuts is how the promise of CSS is crippled by
all the hacks needed to do anything really useful with it. Many
designers are very clever in finding all these ways to do
what-should-be-ordinary things that will mostly work over a variety of
browsers and browser versions, but all those hacks shouldn't be
necessary. And the legacy of junk they'll leave in our sites is
horrible to think about. Who really wants to come back in 2 years and
try to maintain or clean up all those hacks when there is a new set of
(probably equally buggy) browsers to code for."
Zooming Backgrounds in Internet Explorer 7
By Stephanie Sullivan.
"...So don't give up hope on the fabulous faux column technique just
because IE7 has some issues. Continue to use it all you need to -- just
keep the above parameters in mind to decide what you need to do in your
JumpStarts Fix: IE7 Zoom Body Background Image Bug
By Adrian Senior.
"This is a fix for all JumpStarts [and any other web page design] that
use background images set against the body tag..."
By Tommy Olsson and Paul O'Brien.
"Welcome to the SitePoint CSS Reference! We've worked hard to make this
the most detailed and up-to-date reference on the subject available..."
A CSS Walkthrough
By Christian Montoya.
"This CSS walkthrough was written by Christian Montoya for those
interested in learning CSS. The final outcome of this tutorial will be
a complete one-page design suited to handle various forms of content
and featuring a few extra details..."
Functional Testing of Websites
December 12, 2007.
Time: 1:30 - 2:30 (CST) Chicago Local Time
Registration: (The webcast is free, but registration is required)
Gel 2008 Conference
April 24-25, 2008.
New York, New York, U.S.A.
By Brendan Eich.
"...Standards often are made by insiders, established players, vendors
with something to sell and so something to lose. Web standards bodies
organized as pay-to-play consortia thus leave out developers and users,
although vendors of course claim to represent everyone fully and
fairly. I've worked within such bodies and continue to try to make
progress in them, but I've come to the conclusion that open standards
need radically open standardization processes..."
Beyond Ajax: Software Development, Two Years from Now
By Esther Schindler.
"Ajax and rich Internet applications are today's big development
challenges. But what about tomorrow?"
Capturing Caps Lock
By Stuart Langridge.
"One of the more annoying aspects of having to remember passwords
(along with having to remember loads of them) is that if you've got
Caps Lock turned on accidentally when you type one in, it won't work,
and you won't know why. Most desktop computers alert you in some way if
you're trying to enter your password to log on and you've enabled Caps
Lock; there's no reason why the web can't do the same. What we want is
a warning - maybe the user wants Caps Lock on, because maybe their
password is in capitals - rather than something that interrupts what
they're doing. Something subtle..."
On Experts and Expertise
By Andy Budd.
"We currently live in a world dominated by experts. You only have to
open a newspaper or switch on the television to see experts giving
pronouncements on everything from parenting to the economy. In a world
of multifarious complexities, the need for such experts is clear. We
need experts to filter the huge flow of information and simplify it
into something more digestible..."
Providing Context for Ambiguous Link Phrases
By Gez Lemon.
"It's not unusual to stumble upon ambiguous link phrases on web pages
(phrases such as, 'Click here', 'More', and so on). Some screen readers
allow users to gather a list of links from a page, but these types of
link phrases are usually meaningless when read out of context. This
article demonstrates a technique that allows ambiguous link phrases to
be rendered visually in a page, whilst making sense to screen readers,
and other non-graphical devices, that might render the links out of
10 Ways to Orientate Users on Your Site
By Jonathan Webb.
"Imagine you're driving along and due to a road closure you have to
follow those conspicuous yellow detour signs. You're now on an
unfamiliar road, but because of the signs you confidently proceed,
comfortable in trusting the arrows to tell you where you need to go..."
PHP Advent Calendar
By Chris Shiflett.
"Welcome to the PHP Advent Calendar. If you are unfamiliar with the
format of an Advent calendar, Wikipedia has a pretty good description.
The PHP Advent Calendar is similar in spirit to the Perl Advent
Calendar, a tradition the Perl community has sustained for several
years. Each day, starting today and ending on Christmas Day, a member
of the PHP community will be sharing a PHP-related tip or trick..."
Auto Loading Classes in PHP 5
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"Undoubtedly, the release of PHP 5 has had a remarkable impact on the
way that object-oriented applications are developed nowadays. This
highly-improved model has provided PHP programmers with features that
were only present in mature object-based languages, like Java and C++,
but now, fortunately for you and me, they are generously offered by
this powerful server-side scripting language..."
An Introduction to the Art of Unit Testing in PHP
"...Unit Testing is often seen as an arcane, time consuming task -
which it sometimes can be! But the point of spending time writing tests
is to improve the quality of your source code so it has fewer overall
bugs, many of which are detected early, a continual testing process to
prevent new changes from changing the behavior of older code, and to
provide confidence that your code can be depended on. There are other
benefits too, and we'll detail these later..."
+08: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
A Preview of HTML 5
By Lachlan Hunt.
"Who's afraid of HTML 5? Not Lachlan Hunt! As both a front-end web
developer and a contributor to HTML 5, he tells us what we can expect
from the emerging markup specification, whose goals include more
flexibility and greater interoperability."
Semantic HTML 5? Pfft.
By Jonathan Nicol.
"...How ironic then, that the new HTML 5 header and footer elements
describe content based on where it appears on the page, rather than
what it means."
HTML5 Needs a CarterPhone
By Sam Ruby.
"...what we really need here is a radically open standardization
process. The two standards are quite different, so different solutions
may be in order. In the case of HTML5, I believe that a smaller spec
which focuses on two things: fixing HTML4 (including things like well
defined error recovery), and setting the basis for separate (often
overlapping) groups to work on things like canvas. No, I'm not
suggesting that canvas needs to be in a namespace, but just that the
rules for extending HTML be written down."
HTML5 Authoring Guidelines, Editor's Draft
By Lachlan Hunt, editor.
"This document illustrates how to write HTML 5 documents, focusing on
simplicity and practical applications for beginners while also
providing in depth information for more advanced web developers..."
Why HTML 5?
By Shawn Medero.
"In response to the publishing of the HTML Design Principles Gary
McGath asks, 'What bothers me most is that the document doesn't say
anything about why there should be an HTML 5 at all.'...Simon Pieters,
from Opera Software, answers..."
HTML 5: Doctype to Version
By Karl Dubost.
"It would help the HTML validators, syntax checkers to identify the
intent of the author. It would also make it easier for writing
converters. It would also ease people who wants to jump from HTML to
XML back and forth."
HTML5 and CSS3 are Doomed for Disaster
By Kyle Neath.
"...if you're a real-world-developer, you should quickly realize these
technologies were doomed from their inception. They will never become
the language of the web..."
Conversation with Bill Gates about IE8 and Microsoft Transparency
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
Yesterday I was once again honored to have the opportunity to speak
directly with Bill Gates at Mix n Mash about issues pertaining to
standards and the upcoming IE8. Concerned about a lack of forthcoming
information to the designer and developer community regarding IE8 and
Web standards, I asked Bill if he could, in the spirit of a more open
Microsoft, find out what was going on. Here is the transcript of our
conversation (with some repairs where the transcriptionist couldn't
hear), along with a photo of the fantastic Mix n Mash crew.
The Semantic Web In Action
By Lee Feigenbaum, Ivan Herman, Tonya Hongsermeier, Eric Neumann and
"Corporate applications are well under way, and consumer uses are
Failed Redesign: Metrolinx
By Joe Clark.
"This new site cost what, $150,000 including software licenses? It
doesn't comply with any accessibility guideline you could name and is,
in practice, inaccessible. Who wants to launch a human-rights
complaint? Those seem to be turning out well lately..."
Every Website is NOT Different
By Gerry McGovern.
"Every time I hear someone say that 'every website is different' I want
to rush outside, grab an ancient oak, rip it up by its roots, swing it
wildly and lop the top off the nearest mountain."
The Perpetual Super-Novice
By Paul J. Sherman.
"In this column, I want to further explore one of the issues I
mentioned in my inaugural column. I call it the problem of the
perpetual super-novice. What is this? Simply put, it's the tendency of
people to stop learning about a digital product--whether it's an
operating system, desktop application, Web site, or hardware device..."
The Repertory Grid: Eliciting User Experience Comparisons in the
By Michael Hawley.
"Chances are that, if you do user research, you conduct a fair number
of user interviews. When conducting interviews, our training tells us
to minimize bias by asking open-ended questions and choosing our words
carefully. But consistently asking unbiased questions is always a
challenge, especially when you're following a participant down a line
of questioning that is important, and you haven't prepared your
questions ahead of time. Also, if you do a lot of interviews, you might
fall into a pattern of asking the same types of questions for different
studies. This might not bias participants, but you can bias yourself if
you always investigate the same types of issues. Finally, are you sure
you are asking the right questions? Your interview questions might be
relevant to you and your project team, but are they the questions that
will get at important issues from a user's perspective?..."
Usability Is Not a Verb
By Scott Berkun.
"I started my career in usability, but switched within a year for a
management role on the same project. Why? I realized that usability is
not a verb. For all the data and advice I gave my smart team, I was
dependent on them to make decisions. I realized my effectiveness in the
cause of ease of use would improve dramatically by taking a management
role on the development team, rather than an advisory one..."
Designing For Flow
By Jim Ramsey.
"Ask a web designer what makes a site great, and you're likely to hear
"ease of use." Jim Ramsey begs to differ. Web applications in
particular, he tells us, work best and engage most profoundly when they
challenge users to overcome difficulties."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+10: 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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