[webdev] Web Design Update: December 14, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Dec 14 06:30:22 CST 2007

- Volume 6, Issue 25, December 14, 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:

09: TOOLS.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Instructions for Commenting on WCAG 2.0 Documents
By WCAG Working Group.
"The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group invites 
you to review the second WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft published on 
11 December 2007. WCAG 2.0 explains how to make Web sites, 
applications, and other content accessible to people with disabilities. 
Please submit any comments on the following document by 1 February 
Instructions for Commenting on WCAG 2.0 Documents:

WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft
By Jared Smith.
"WCAG 2.0 has been recommended for Last Call. While this will be the 
second last call for the document and (by my count) the 13th formal 
draft since January 2001, the document is currently shaping up rather 

Is WCAG 2.0 Almost Done?!
By Shawn Lawton Henry.
"...Is it better for web accessibility overall for the community to 
continue to debate, or is it better to polish and accept WCAG 2.0? ...I 
say, onward. And I hope that the community can also soon say go forward 
with WCAG 2.0..."

OZeWAI Presentations

Headwand in Action
By Russ Weakley.
"Roger Hudson and I recently had the please of interviewing Judith who 
has cerebral palsy. In the video below, Judith talks about her passion 
- Second Life. This video was used in a presentation at OZeWAI on Web 
2.0 and accessibility..."

Introducing AIA (Accessibility Interoperability Alliance)
By Andrew Kirkpatrick.
"A group of IT and assistive technology companies have formed a group 
designed to address engineering challenges around accessibility issues. 
The group's name is the Accessibility Interoperability Alliance, or 
AIA. Adobe is part of this group because it is important to have 
improved methods to provide straightforward interoperability between IT 
products and assistive technology tools..."

Accessibility 2.0: How Accessible are UK Newspaper Websites?
By Laura Oliver and Oliver Luft.
"This is the first article in a series of 10 looking at the 
accessibility of UK newspaper websites..."

None of the Papers Have Grasped the Fundamental Difference Between the 
Internet and Print
By Richard Warren.
"...The result is a collection of cluttered pages that are not very 
user-friendly and make little, or no, concession to disabled users..."

CSS for Accessibility
By Ann McMeekin.
"CSS is magical stuff. In the right hands, it can transform the 
plainest of (well-structured) documents into a visual feast. But it’s 
not all fur coat and nae knickers (as my granny used to say). Here are 
some simple ways you can use CSS to improve the usability and 
accessibility of your site. Even better, no sexy visuals will be harmed 
by the use of these techniques. Promise..."


Case-Insensitivity in CSS
By Elika Etemad (fantasai).
"Case-insensitivity in CSS is currently not precisely defined. The 
meaning of 'case-insensitive' is pretty obvious in ASCII, but it's not 
so obvious in Unicode. Some characters map differently based on the 
locale, some characters can't round-trip a case mapping operation so 
you get different matches depending on whether you map to lowercase, 
uppercase, or 'case-fold' case, etc."

Back To The Future of Print
By Natalie Downe.
"By now we have weathered the storm that was the early days of web 
development, a dangerous time when we used tables, inline CSS and 
separate pages for print only versions. We can reflect in a haggard old 
sea-dog manner ('yarrr... I remember back in the browser wars...') on 
the bad practices of the time. We no longer need convincing that print 
stylesheets are the way to go1, though some of the documentation for 
them is a little outdated now..."

Matrix: HTML 4 Elements and CSS 2 Properties (Beta)
By Jens Meiert.
"Neat overview of HTML 4.01 Strict elements and CSS 2.1 properties plus 
additional remarks. Created by Adrian Christen, converted by me, and 
kindly asking for feedback."

Creating Sexy Stylesheets
By Jina Bolton.
"Being a CSS expert is more than just memorizing selectors. It's also 
working to improve the maintainability and efficiency of your 
stylesheets, planning for the future and mastering your workflow. In 
this article Jina Bolton gives 10 CSS tips culled from surveys with 12 
top designers."

Do We Still Need Bulletproof Layouts?
By Blair Millen.
"Am I alone in thinking that the new pagezoom feature that will 
accompany Firefox 3 is an unwelcome addition? Having used this 
zoom-everything feature in Internet Explorer 7 and Opera for a while 
now and I can safely say I hate the results. The problem is that, as 
you zoom in, the page quickly expands to unreadable proportions, you 
get a horizontal scrollbar, pixelated images and more often than not a 
page that is near impossible to navigate round, especially with just a 
keyboard. And what does this mean when it comes to producing 
bulletproof layouts?..."

Collected CSS Wisdom: 9 Points of Debate
By Chris Olberding.
"Over the years I've come to adopt many practices while working with 
xhtml/css and I thought it might be of use to others to document some 
of them and of use to me to open things up for discussion..."


Personas of Persons with Disabilities
By Christopher Phillips.
"I recently presented on disability awareness in building accessible 
websites to a group of interaction designers. At the end, I was asked 
about examples of a specific person with a disabilities as well as 
design considerations for that person. This is what I found..."

+04: EVENTS.

Compostmodern 08
January 19, 2008.
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Interaction 08
February 8-10, 2008.
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.

Computing, Communications and Control Technologies (CCCT 2008)
June 29 - July 2, 2008.
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC '08)
September 16-20, 2008.
Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany.

Human-Computer Interaction 2009
July 19-24, 2009.
San Diego, California, U.S.A.


JavaScript Internationalisation
By Matthew Somerville.
"...or: Why Rudolph Is More Than Just a Shiny Nose..."

Javascript Based Encryption
By Gareth Heyes.
No this isn't a lame post on how I explain to encode your Javascripts 
:) It's something I've done for a bit of fun really, I wanted to figure 
out a way to pass data across the network encrypted with Javascript and 
have it automatically decrypted. I doubt this technique would ever be 
used in the real world because the key is passed between windows in 
plain text.

I Learned to Stop Programming and Love the DOM
By Christian Montoya.
"Yesterday I added a couple features to Construct, my visual layout 
editor based on Blueprint and powered by jQuery, which I first 
announced here. It was at version 0.2 and I was happy with what I had; 
you could add containers and columns, move around with keys or the 
mouse, expand and contract containers, etc. A decent start to a 
grid-based tool. The next step was adding the ability to delete 
containers and columns. This had me a bit concerned, and it started to 
show that my current implementation was not very robust. As best as I 
can explain it, this is what I was doing: I treated the layout as an 
array of arrays, with a counter for the containers and an array of 
counters for the columns in the containers. I gave an ID to every new 

Choosing a JavaScript Framework
By Roger Johansson.
"If you've read my article Learn JavaScript before tasting the library 
kool-aid you may think that I am completely opposed to using JavaScript 
frameworks or libraries, but I am not. I use them when they will help 
me achieve a better end result. I'm not particularly attached to one 
specific framework, however. So far I have ended up using YUI, jQuery, 
and DOM Assistant, mainly depending on the project requirements and 
what suits other members of the project team. Of those three, DOM 
Assistant is by far the easiest for me to use. It is also the smallest 
and the one with the least number of features (though a number of very 
useful additions are in the works). Maybe there is a connection, I 
don't know..."

Unobtrusively Mapping Microformats with jQuery
By Simon Willison.
"Microformats are everywhere. You can't shake an electronic stick these 
days without accidentally poking a microformat-enabled site, and many 
developers use microformats as a matter of course. And why not? After 
all, why invent your own class names when you can re-use pre-defined 
ones that give your site extra functionality for free?..."

Javascript for Hackers, part 2
By Gareth Heyes.
"In my second part of Javascript for hackers I shall be showing how 
pointless it is to ban the use of document, location etc within form 


10 Tips for Successful Development Projects
By Blue Flavor.
"When you're juggling four active projects, talking with clients and 
debugging thousand-line classes, being a developer can be stressful at 
times. Luckily, by planning a little here and there and working on your 
process, things can be much more manageable..."

10 Ways To Get Design Approval
By Paul Boag.
"...How can you get the client to sign off on your design? Below are 10 
tips learnt from years of bitter experience..."

The Key to Success is Failure
By Hannah Donovan.
"Hannah Donovan, Last.fm's head of creative, provides five tips for 
building a successful web application. Her top tip? Make mistakes..."

Interactions 08 in the Garden of Good and Evil
An Interview with Dan Saffer
By Chris Baum.
"...Dan discusses the context of the organization, how the conference 
emerged and formed, what the conference will be like, and how one might 
get a flavor even if attendance is not an option."


The Collaborative Web
By Gerry McGovern.
"...Every link that is built on the Web strengthens the Web and 
strengthens all of us involved in the Web. Nobody is in charge of the 
Web. We all are. And we all can link."

Improving Your Process: Sitemaps and Design Preparation
By Jonathan Christopher.
"Sitemaps aren't exactly a popular topic for conversation as of late. 
Given the improvements both in site architecture as well as search 
engine intelligence, it seems as though sitemaps have taken a backseat 
as far as priority is concerned. I've written specifically about 
sitemaps and whether or not they're applicable today. With client work, 
I'm constantly asked for a sitemap to be implemented before the launch 
of the site. More often than not, the site navigation itself is as 
detailed as any sitemap can get, but there are still many people 
expecting to see a page dedicated to outlining which documents are 
available on a website..."


Opera Files Complaint - An Open Letter to the Web Community
By Hakon Wium Lie.
"...Opera has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission to 
force Microsoft to support open Web standards in its Web browser, 
Internet Explorer. We believe that Microsoft has harmed Web standards 
by refusing to support them; Microsoft often participates in creating 
Web standards, promoting them, and even promising to implement them. 
Despite their talent, however, they refuse to support Web standards 

Opera Files Antitrust Complaint with the EU
By Opera.
"Urges Microsoft to give consumers a genuine choice of 
standards?compliant Web browsers."

ISSUE-24 (ogg-delete): Request to delete 'should support Ogg' clause 
before publishing FPWD [HTML 5 spec]
By Mikko Honkala; Issue tracked by Michael Smith.
"we see benefit to publish a first WD of the HTML5 spec. To avoid any 
patent issues we request deletion of the following clause from the spec 
before it is published. We support publication under the condition this 
change is made."

Removal of Ogg Vorbis and Theora from HTML5: An Outrageous Disaster
By Manuel Amador.
"Nokia and Apple have privately pushed to give Ogg the noose treatment 
(and so far succeeded) in HTML5. This destroyed all hope of having free 
(as in freedom) media embedded in HTML5 in an interoperable way..."

Removal of Ogg is Preposterous
By Ian Hickson.
"...Apple, Nokia, Microsoft and other large companies have stated that 
they will not support Theora purely based on the requirement in the 
spec. Having or not having this requirement in the spec thus makes no 
difference to independent authors. In the meantime, having this 
requirement is causing difficulties for those of us actually trying to 
find a true solution to the problem. I assure you that your needs are 
not being forgotten. Indeed, the very first requirement now listed in 
the spec is directly related to catering for independent authors..."

Summary of the Video (and Audio) Codec Discussion
By Dave Singer.
"I was asked to write up the discussion on codecs we had. Here are my 

Video Element and Ogg Theora
By Chris Double.
"...The issue seems to have gained some attention since the position 
paper Nokia submitted to the W3C Video on the Web workshop which made 
it clear they didn't want Ogg included. The reference to Theora and 
Vorbis has since been removed from the WHATWG specification and 
replaced with the wording..."

Theora vs. h.264
By Eugenia Loli-Queru.
"A lot was said lately about the Vorbis/Theora vs h.264/AAC situation 
on the draft of the HTML5. As some of you know, video is my main hobby 
these days (I care not about operating systems anymore), so I have gain 
some experience on the field lately, and at the same time this has made 
me more demanding about video quality. Read on for a head to head test: 
OGG Theora/Vorbis vs MP4 h.264/AAC. Yup, with videos. And pictures..."

What I'd Like to See in HTML 5
By Nicholas Zakas.
"There's been a lot of discussion around HTML 5, what it should be, and 
what it shouldn't be. Crockford's post outlines his perspective on 
things in typical Crockford-fashion. I also have my own ideas about 
what I'd like to see in HTML 5. I shared this internally at Yahoo!, but 
thought I'd put it out there for others to see as well..."

HTML5 Timeline
By Anne Van Kesteren.
An HTML5 timeline marketing effort.

IE and Standards: Chris Wilson Talks
By Kevin Yank.
"At Web Directions South this year, I had a chance to talk with Chris 
Wilson, who needs no introduction. He's the Platform Architect for 
Internet Explorer at Microsoft..."

+09: TOOLS.

By favikon.com.
Upload images, crop them, and create favicons.


Typesetting Tables
By Mark Boulton.
"Tables have suffered in recent years on the web. They were used for 
laying out web pages. Then, following the Web Standards movement, 
they've been renamed by the populous as `data tables' to ensure that we 
all know what they're for. There have been some great tutorials for the 
designing tables using CSS for presentation and focusing on the 
semantics in the displaying of data in the correct way. However, 
typesetting tables is a subtle craft that has hardly had a mention..."

Typographic Contrast and Flow
By Nick La.
"As you have probably know, most online readers don't read line by 
line, instead they scan (from one point to another). For this reason, 
designers create typographic contrast and flow by emphasizing certain 
text. Contrast is important because not all the content within a page 
have the same value, some have greater significance than the others. By 
creating contrast, you can direct the reader's attention to the 
important messages and at the same time enhance the visual appearance. 
Here are seven basic methods on how you can create typographic 


Fixing Bugs is Not Equivalent to Fixing Design
By Russell Wilson.
"I love cigars. I smoke about 1 per month as a treat. That may seem 
like nothing, but I really enjoy it. About 2/3 of the way through a 
good Rocky Patel, there is a moment of clarity. Greens become greener, 
blacks become richer and edges become sharper. A little Laphroaig 
doesn't hurt either. It is usually at this point that I come to some 
realization. Tonight that moment was defined by frustration regarding 
misconceptions of software design..."

Does Usability Actually Sell Anything?
By Bryan Eisenberg.
"Recently my ClickZ colleague Sean Carton asked, 'Are Usability Experts 
Any Use?' I've written before about the need to go beyond usability and 
focus on persuasive architecture. Nevertheless, Sean's column struck a 
very public nerve. In recent threads on the I-Sales and I-Design lists, 
Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering (UIE) posted that he felt 
several people somewhat misrepresented his position about the value of 
design and usability..."

Assessing Your Team's UX Skills
By Jared Spool.
"'I didn't realize it required so many different skills,' the 
newly-appointed user experience (UX) team manager told us. 'I mean, it 
seemed so straight forward when we came up with the idea, but once we 
got into it, we kept realizing all the things we didn't know how to 
do.' Unfortunately, this isn't the first time we'd heard this from a 
manager. In fact, we hear it quite often. Managers embark on a project, 
say a redesign of a critical internal application, only to realize 
their team, proficient in a few skills, doesn't have the breadth of 
skills necessary to develop a quality experience. The result is an app 
that works, but frustrates the users because it doesn't quite meet 
their needs..."

Web Writing Exercises Part One
By Sheri German.
In this series, we'll explore that topic of writing for the web in 
depth. Each article's download folder will include copy that you can 
use to experiment with the featured concepts. It will also include my 
interpretation of how to effectively present the copy. According to 
statistics, 79% of readers scan text on web pages rather than read 
every word. Therefore, in this first article, we'll look at how we can 
help readers more easily scan text by using effective headings, 
hyperlinks, bolded phrases, and lists."

Information Design for the New Web
By Ellyssa Kroski.
"...Information design for the New Web is simple, it is social, and it 
embraces alternate forms of navigation..."

[Section one ends.]


+12: 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.]



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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.]

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