[webdev] Web Design Update: May 2, 2008
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri May 2 06:24:06 CDT 2008
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 6, Issue 45, May 2, 2008,
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 45 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
WCAG 2.0 Candidate Recommendation Ready to Test Drive
By Shawn Henry.
"The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group is
excited to announce the publication of WCAG 2.0 as a W3C Candidate
Recommendation on 30 April. WCAG 2.0 explains how to make Web sites,
applications, and other content accessible to people with disabilities,
and many elderly users..."
HTML5 Alternative Text, and Authoring Tools
By Gez Lemon.
"There is still strong debate about whether or not the alt attribute
should be a required attribute for the img element in the HTML5 draft
on the W3C's XTECH mailing list. The argument is currently focused
around what authoring tools should do when the author doesn't provide
alt text...the real issue is that some members of the HTML5 working
group want authoring tools to conform to HTML5 so they can demonstrate
how successful HTML5 is, or they have a vested interest in an authoring
tool that doesn't conform to WCAG - not the other way around."
HTML5 and alt: The Editors New Clothes
By Steve Faulkner.
"...What we don't need from the editor is more Google code statistics
and a bit of pseudo scientific prose, dressing the statistics up as
facts to support his argument. What is required from the editor to
back up his claims? A proper scientific study that is based on
scientific method. Research with firm aims and objectives stated up
front, with an agreed methodology..."
508 and Higher Ed
By Jon Whiting.
"The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE), a
partner, is currently involved in a project to help educational
institutions improve the accessibility of their online content. As part
of the project, I recently conducted an evaluation of 100
randomly-selected web pages, each from a different higher education
institution website. The pages were evaluated for Section 508
compliance. The results were a little surprising. . .only three of the
one-hundred pages complied with Section 508. Although more details will
be submitted for publication soon, I wanted to share some of my results
and opinions with the WebAIM community..."
Being Internet Disabled
By Jack Pickard.
"A phrase you might have come across, if you've looked into disability
issues at all, particularly as they relate to the web, or you've looked
at the topic of web accessibility is people who are sometimes termed
alt Attributes Authoring Practices
By Karl Dubost.
"There has been a lot of discussions around alt attributes on HTML WG
Presentation Layer Accessibility
By Frederic Welterlin.
"...As this white paper has shown, Web accessibility can be achieved
with small yet effective adjustments to development methodologies.
Until standardization between screen reader manufacturers becomes more
prevalent, as it did with Web browser manufacturers, true accessibility
for the Web will remain a moving target. In the meantime, it is still
important to define the role of accessibility in the software
development cycle in terms of client expectations and end user
satisfaction. This requires the participation of not only developers,
but also user experience designers, program managers, and quality
assurance testers. Like all successful Web product launches, teamwork,
communication, and understanding will produce results that will meet
traditional accessibility needs while providing content accessibility
to the maximum number of Internet-enabled devices and systems."
Q&A about the WCAG Samurai Errata
Posted by Jeffrey Barke.
"From the NY Web Standards Meetup, with answers by Joe Clark."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
The Plague of Outline:0
By Jared Smith.
"The use of outline:0 or outline:none is not recommended. In almost all
cases, this CSS can be removed from links with absolutely no impact on
the layout or functionality of the site, but with the result of
CSS Variables: Coming Soon to a Browser Near You
By Scott Gilbertson.
"Ever wished you could use variables in your stylesheets? Well, what
may be the number one most requested feature for the next generation of
CSS, finally has a formal proposal. The spec, put forth by Apple's
David Hyatt and Daniel Glazman of Disruptive Innovations, would allow
web designers to use variables in stylesheets..."
Font is Dead, Vive le Style
By Karl Dubost.
Ian Hickson, one of the two editors of HTML 5 specification has sent
this message this morning on HTML WG mailing-list. 'Summary: <font> is
gone, style="" is made global.'
How to Organize Your CSS Code: the 'Killer' CSS Structure
By Stefan Mischook.
"In a nutshell: css code should be divided up into at least 4 separate
Starting with CSS and Bug Fixing Tips
By Veerle Pieters.
"I receive a lot of e-mail per day and some of them are from people who
want my help on CSS or if I know why certain things don't work or show
up in IE 6 or 7 etc. If I could help fix their problem? In a lot of
cases I need to e-mail back that the code they're using is full of
errors and that they're using old school techniques (tables for
layout), inline styling etc. So the first tip here is, learn about Web
Standards and learn about coding with CSS for layout. There are a lot
of good books out there to learn this from the start. This is the basis
of good web design..."
Why the Class Name 'Wrapper' is so Common
By Emil Stenstrom.
"...CMS:es have no idea of what kind of content people will store in
them. Their main business goal is to make something generic, that
doesn't assume semantics..."
Dreamweaver for GoLive Users: Part One
By Sheri German.
"...In this first installment in the series, you will set up the site
definition and file structure for the "music history" site in both
Designing Web Content that is Accessible To Users With Cognitive
May 7, 2008 from 3-4 PM Eastern Daylight Time.
Enterprise 2.0 Conference
June 9-12, 2008
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Web Accessibility Training
June 11-12, 2008.
Logan, Utah, U.S.A.
Developer Beware: Using Flash to Detect Screen Readers
By Steve Faulkner.
"The facility to detect some Assistive Technology by using Flash has
been around since ActionScript 1.0 and Flash Player 6. The method has
usually been referred to as a way to detect screen readers'.
Unfortunately this method, using the ActionScript
Accessibility.isActive method, is not a 'screen reader' detector..."
Stop using Ajax!
By James Edwards.
"1. I'm not saying Ajax is bad, I'm saying it's immature. 2. I'm not
saying never use Ajax, I'm saying don't use it for the sake of it, and
try to avoid it for now, instead sticking to accessible alternatives"
Are Ajax and Accessibility Mutually Exclusive?
By Marco Zehe.
"...So, Brothercake, I invite you to get up to speed on ARIA and what
it can do. Get in touch with me or other ARIA developers, learn, and
then spread the technology yourself with projects you support. I
strongly believe that you'll be helping the accessibility community
much more in that fashion than ranting or giving out hopeless calls
like 'Stop using Ajax'."
Event Compatibility Tables
By Peter-Paul Koch.
"Today I unveil my most ambitious update to the DOM compatibility
tables: the Events compatibility tables. All in all I think I spent two
weeks' of work on them; testing all common events not only in common
situations, but also in unusual ones. A quick test of basic browser
support for W3C and Microsoft events completed this series of tests."
An Interview with Jakob Nielsen (podcast)
By Gerry Gaffney.
"Gerry Gaffney conducts a wide-ranging interview with Jakob Nielsen."
By Jeremy Keith.
"I've made a recording of the Open Data keynote I delivered at the
Accessibility 2.0 conference last month. You can download the MP3
directly from the Internet Archive. Or you can subscribe to the
articles RSS feed as a podcast..."
Right-Justified Navigation Menus Impede Scannability
By Jakob Nielsen.
Users scan lists by moving their eyes rapidly down the left edge. Menu
items that are right-aligned make scanning more difficult.
User Interface Implementations of Faceted Browsing
By Mike Padilla.
"Faceted browsing is a powerful navigation tool for content dense
sites--but not all browsing is alike. Mike Padilla explains the
importance of remembering the users' needs when creating this
alternative to search to avoid pushing your audience down a path you
Learn Regular Expressions in PHP
By Akash Mehta.
"Love them or hate them, regular expressions are here to stay. When it
comes to quickly dealing with large blocks of data, batch processing
operations or screen scraping, regular expressions are often the most
effective solution. There's just one problem, though - learning them
can be as hard as learning a new language altogether. Here's how to get
off to a flying start."
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Open Data and Accessibility
By Jeremy Keith.
"The talk is called Open Data, a long-zoom view of accessibility based
on this stated premise: It is my contention that what is good for
digital preservation is good for accessibility. I've published the text
in the articles section. I'll also record a sound file and post that
The Accessibility of the Date-Time pattern in Microformats
By Mike Davies.
"Jeremy Keith erupted into a hissy fit during the panel session of
AbilityNet's Accessibility 2.0 conference yesterday. His venting
revolved around earlier accessibility criticism of the microformat's
adoption of the abbr element as a way of attaching machine-readable
dates to written dates, for example in the calendar microformat.
Unfortunately, Jeremy dodged the real accessibility issues of the
date-time microformat pattern, instead preferring to create a straw
man, and boisterously batter it to smithereens with his wooden sword.
That is his choice, but it doesn't help to alleviate the accessibility
issues of the date-time microformat pattern..."
hAccessibility, One Year On
By Bruce Lawson.
"Andy Mabbett reminded me that it's been a year since James Craig and I
published hAccessibility- a look at the accessibility problems inherent
in some unsemantic design patterns used in some microformats..."
Do We Really Need Microformats?
By Robert Nyman.
"A lot of web developers, at least over the years, seem to have fallen
for Microformats. Naturally, the given question then is: do we really
Swedish National Guidelines for Public Sector Websites
By Peter Krantz.
"The Swedish National Guidelines for Public Sector Websites takes an
integrated approach to usability, accessibility and standardization.
The purpose of the Guidelines is to support the procurement,
development, and maintenance of a website by a public administration so
that it offers equal opportunity usage for all citizens. The 2006
version has now been translated to english..."
Conforming target Attribute
By Lachlan Hunt.
"One of the biggest annoyances on the web, and something I really hate,
is popup windows. It frustrates me, and many others, whenever a site
attempts to forcibly open a new window for any reason whatsoever. So,
it may be surprising to hear that the target attribute has actually
been made conforming in HTML5, even though it was non-conforming in
HTML 4.01 Strict, and that this is a good thing. There are in fact
several valid reasons for making it conforming, which I will attempt to
Kotatsu - a simple html table generator
By Alexander Kaiser.
"It's been a long time since I've used Dreamweaver for web development.
I only find myself missing it when I need to create a table, especially
when I want to have all cells in a particular column have a class. (I'm
well aware of <colgroup>, I just don't subscribe.) So I created a tool
to help create a table and throw in column classes quickly. I gave it a
name so I can put it out there and let others use it, too."
Web Typography: Tell Me What You Want
By Jason Cranford-Teague.
"The W3C is getting ready to set the new standards for typography on
the Web, and we need your help..."
eXtreme Type Terminology - Part 4: Numerals and Punctuation
By Paul Dean.
"...The Roman alphabet came equipped with its own numbering system, and
Roman numerals still have their uses. They are commonly seen, for
instance, on clock faces, in movie credits, and on the pages of a book
which precede the introduction and the text itself. The letters M D C L
X V and I, used in combination and sometimes with a bar over the
letter, Roman numerals can signify all whole or natural numbers. Well,
everything but zero (0). The zero was invented in India, and it has
maintained the same form, generally a circle but sometimes just a dot,
Don't Be Afraid of Serif Fonts
By David Rodriguez.
As the practice of Web design ages, some common rules and "best
practices" inevitably embed themselves in the craft. Among these are
the processes for using specific types of semantics when coding your
site, like using divs as hooks in your X/HTML for your CSS, and making
your page beautiful and functional that way. Another is to ensure
readability of your site by choosing a proper number of fonts
(generally, no more than three or four, and for the minimalist, one or
two). More important than that is the type of font you choose.
Average Web Page Size Triples Since 2003
By Andrew B. King.
"...Within the last five years, the size of the average web page has
more than tripled, and the number of external objects has nearly
doubled. While broadband users have experienced faster load times,
dial-up users have been left behind. With the average web page sporting
more than 50 external objects, object overhead now dominates most web
page delays. Minimizing HTTP requests by using CSS sprites, combining
graphic effects to CSS while still retaining attractiveness, has become
the most important skill set for web performance optimizers."
Sustainability and the User Experience
By Jonathan Follett.
"Whether we're designing the user experience for a digital product or a
physical one, as UX professionals, we are uniquely positioned to
influence the behavior of other people, for good or ill. Our employers
or clients charge us with responsibility for not only defining a design
problem from multiple perspectives, but also finding solutions that are
better than the ones that came before..."
The Redesign Must Die Talk
By Louis Rosenfeld.
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+14: 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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