[webdev] Web Design Update: July 3, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Jul 3 06:29:17 CDT 2008
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 7, Issue 01, July 3, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 01 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.
06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Why PDFs Suck!
By Henny Swan.
"PDFs get a rough press when it comes to accessibility and
understandably so as most PDFs on the web today are not accessible. I
thought I'd turn the spotlight on the much maligned thorn in many a web
site owners side, and look at some of the reasons why PDFs are
inaccessible. What follows is a list of some of reasons behind why PDFs
suck that are not about the technology itself but how we (the web
designer, the content author, the content commissioner, the manager,
the policy maker) use it and what we can do to start changing PDFs on
Accessibility of Visual and Auditory Captchas
By Web In Sight.
"Welcome to the Accessibility of Visual and Auditory Captchas web
survey. We are conducting this study to determine the usability and
accessibility of captchas on the web. A captcha is a computer-generated
challenge-response test that is intended to be easily solved by a
human, but difficult for a computer to solve. Captchas are often used
to prevent automated software from performing unauthorized actions,
like creating user accounts or downloading software..."
Poetry, Punctuation, Markup; Screen Readers
By Jon Gibbins.
"...I've done some brief tests of poetry with screen readers to see how
these two semantic constructs are handled..."
Opinion - Web Accessibility. Life In the Post-Guideline Age.
By Julie Howell.
'...If we really want equality on the web, it strikes me that we must
adopt the language that businesses are using when they talk about
creating websites that maximize profit. Right now, businesses are
really interested in how the web can quickly deliver return on
investment through increased sales. They are looking to web usability
techniques to achieve the creation of excellent user experiences for
everyone because they know this leads to increased sales. We need to
make sure that businesses understand that disabled people have a right
to excellent user experiences too and to view disabled people as simply
another target audience. If we can do this, our goal of online
inclusion and equality really could become reality."
Spam vs. Accessibility
By Joe Dolson.
"...I'm not aware that there's any solution which has 100% success at
differentiating humans from bots. Any barrier put in place to spam will
also create a barrier for somebody. However, this is a decision that
must be made for any site: when you're receiving thousands of spam
messages a day through an insecure contact form, is it better to stop
the occasional human or massively reduce your daily spam-killing time
commitment? Ultimately, there isn't a real answer. Spam is too great of
an issue to simply ignore. However, any time you create a CAPTCHA - of
any sort - just remember this: provide an alternative. If you provide a
phone number to those who have failed your little test, they may be
able to reach you. If somebody needs to reach you, make it possible:
even if they'll have to write you a letter in order to post a comment
on your blog."
Update on the ADA
By Cyndi Rowland.
"There have been some confusing messages coming out recently regarding
changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). WebAIM readers
may want additional information so they can provide comments and
feedback on an issue that continues to be conspicuously absent from the
ADA, namely the Internet. Let me review what has happened in the past
couple of weeks. "
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
CSS Nesting Specifics - When CSS Misbehaves
By Niels Matthijs.
"There are plenty of css bugs one can write about. Some are worth
tracking because they are annoying and have a huge impact on our every
day work, others are interesting because they haven't received too much
attention yet. But most interesting are the ones that allow us to touch
upon deeper, underlying problems. This article will focus on a css
issue that will allow us to do just that..."
CSS Variables News
By Daniel Glazman.
"Dave Hyatt and I are finalizing a new version of our CSS Variables
specification based on both readers' feedback and implementation..."
Flexible Layouts: Challenge For The Future
By Dirk Jesse.
"This article is a guest post written by Dirk Jesse, the developer of
YAML (Yet Another Multicolumn Layout), an (X)HTML&CSS framework which
explains his motivation for YAML in the last paragraph of the article.
This article is supposed to initiate the discussion about the need for
more flexible layouts in modern web design and explain why flexible
designs are still important - even despite the Full Page
Zoom-functionality implemented in most modern browsers."
Creating Scalable Layouts
By Craig Grannell.
"Craig Grannell is a master of getting around varied screen sizes and
resolutions that affect how users view websites. This issue, he shows
you a flexible method..."
From Pixels to Print
"Print stylesheets are an excellent way of providing refined content to
your readers without having to maintain multiple versions of the
HTML vs CSS part 3, Heading Headaches
By Niels Matthijs.
"In this article I'll be continuing my quest for leaner css at the
expense of slightly more convoluted html. I hope last week's example on
navigation lists was clear enough as to remove any remaining confusion.
Today we'll be looking at html headings (<h1> - <h6>) and why they are
such a drag to style..."
Nifty Navigation Tricks Using CSS
By Rachel Andrews.
"...an article that is still popular for beginners looking to create
visually interesting site navigation elements that are based on
Breaking Out of the Box With CSS Layouts
By Jina Bolton.
"...example of what can be done to dispel the myth that all CSS layouts
Warning: This Secret CSS Technique Will Surprise You!
By Alex Walker.
"...just when you thought you'd seen everything that could be done with
CSS, Alex, comes up with this crazy effect."
Fancy Form Design Using CSS
By Cameron Adams.
"...consistently the most popular article on SitePoint, month upon
month upon month"
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
10 Measures for Continuous Website Maintenance
By Jens Meiert.
"Website maintenance and quality assurance mean the backbone of high
quality offers of information, and they represent the difference
between an amateurish or professional approach to web design and
development. Consequently, guidelines for quality web design define
maintenance and quality assurance as important process ingredients
which have to be applied continuously. But let's see what this really
means for our work..."
London, United Kingdom
The Ajax Experience
September 29 - October 1, 2008.
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
User Interface 13 Conference
October 13-16, 2008.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
SWF Searchability FAQ
"...Adobe is providing optimized Adobe Flash Player technology to
Google and Yahoo! to enhance search engine indexing of the Flash file
format (SWF) and uncover information that is currently undiscoverable
by search engines..."
Improved Flash Indexing
By Ron Adler and Janis Stipins.
"We've received numerous requests to improve our indexing of Adobe
Flash files. Today, Ron Adler and Janis Stipins - software engineers on
our indexing team-will provide us with more in-depth information about
our recent announcement that we've greatly improved our ability to
+06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
More on Wireframes
By Chris Baker.
"Since composing my last post on wireframes I came across a couple of
articles on the subject which reinforce the point of needing to keep
wireframes simple - in terms of what they are for as well as how they
An Activity-Theory-Based Model To Analyze Web Application Requirements
By Lorna Uden et al.
"Few proposals for modeling and developing Web applications, deal with
how to properly elicit and represent Web application requirements. Web
applications introduce unique characteristics such as navigation that
are not properly considered at the requirements level. In this paper,
we seek to improve on improve on existing methods through the use of
cultural-historical activity theory."
By Christophe Porteneuve.
"Every wonder who you really are? Congratulations! You have a lot in
ARIA Slider, Part 3
By Hans Hillen.
"After covering a basic ARIA slider as well as a more complex slider
component, we will take a closer look at how a slider can be used to
create a more obscure but very powerful widget: the double slider (or
'range slider'). We will discuss what to think about when creating a
double slider, and what changes to make to your slider's ARIA
Building and Managing Virtual Teams
By Chris Nagele.
"I constantly get the same question, 'How do you manage a virtual team
and actually get stuff done..."
Luke Wroblewski On Web Form Design (Interview)
By Reshma Kumar.
"...how do we ensure that in creating web forms, we get them right? I
am speaking with Luke Wroblewski, Senior Principal at Yahoo! and author
of a new book 'Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks'..."
By Daniel Egeberg.
"Writing PHP applications is pretty easy. Most people grasp the syntax
rather quickly and will within short time be able to produce a script
that works using tutorials, references, books, and help forum forums
like the one we have here at PHP Freaks. The problem is that most
people forget one of the most important aspects that one must consider
when writing PHP applications. Many beginners forget the security
aspect of PHP..."
Three Quick Tips To Make Your PHP Understandable
By Nick Miller.
Producing code that clearly conveys a developer's intent is key to any
well written application. That not only applies to PHP, but every
programming language. Developers who emphasize the creation of legible
code tend to create applications which are easier to both maintain and
expand upon. After seven years of programming in PHP I've worked on a
variety of projects where well organized and legible code were set
aside for numerous reasons. Some of those reasons include time
constraints, lack of experience, lost enthusiasm, misdirected
pre-optimizing, and the list goes on. Today we'll look at three simple
methods which are commonly ignored by developers for some, if not all
of the reasons described above."
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Removing Microformats from bbc.co.uk/programmes
By Michael Smethurst.
"...Unfortunately there have been a number of concerns over hCalendar's
use of the abbreviation design pattern...Until these issues are
resolved the BBC semantic markup standards have been updated to prevent
the use of non-human-readable text in abbreviations..."
By Patrick Lauke.
"...Here's hoping that high-profile announcements like the BBC's (and
those less public, but nonetheless significant ones) will help create
some momentum and a concerted effort to find a robust substitute for
ABBR. And, once that's happened, can we finally take this flawed design
pattern out of circulation, educate the early adopters of microformats
about the new and improved pattern(s), and move on to bigger and better
ABBR Pattern Accessibility
By Alastair Campbell.
"...The bottom line is that the BBC's decision to ditch hCalendar is a
reasonable one, and every UK/US organization has to (by law) consider
the accessibility of what they produce. For me it's similar to the
table accessibility issues with HTML5. Although using multiple layers
of headings (and other 'edge cases') are difficult to do without more
complex markup like header/ids, it has to be possible to achieve it
accessibly. Even if it doesn't pave a cow-path, or it is difficult for
any regular developer, it has to be possible. Otherwise large
organizations will have to look elsewhere when producing that type of
content (e.g. PDF)."
Better CSS Font Stacks
By Nathan Ford.
"One aspect of designing for the web that almost immediately offends
designers is the lack of fonts that are considered safe to use. While
it is true that there are only a handful of web safe fonts, the ones we
do have at our disposal can be quite powerful and diversely useful. On
top of that, CSS gives us a nice little thing called a font stack..."
Extreme Usability: How to Make an Already-Great Design Even Better
By Jakob Nielsen.
"The 1% of websites that don't suck can be made even better by
strengthening exceptional user performance, eliminating miscues, and
targeting company-wide use and unmet needs."
Designing Ethical Experiences: Understanding Juicy Rationalizations
By Joe Lamantia.
"Designers rationalize their choices just as much as everyone else. But
we also play a unique role in shaping the human world by creating the
expressive and functional tools many people use in their daily lives.
Our decisions about what is and is not ethical directly impact the
lives of a tremendous number of people we will never know. Better
understanding of the choices we make as designers can help us create
more ethical user experiences for ourselves and for everyone."
The State of the UX Community
By Jonathan Follett.
"Over the past three decades of computer/human interaction, we've seen
digital technology evolve from a curiosity to a convenience to an
integral part of our everyday lives. For UX professionals, the demand
for our skill sets and the opportunities to practice seem only to grow,
whether we be designers or developers, usability specialists or
information architects, working in fields as diverse as Web, mobile,
desktop, and embedded software systems. The UX professions are at a
stage that could very well be a tipping point where the rapid rise of
digital devices, services, and connectivity converge to create a
massive need for UX professionals. The mobile space alone could
generate demand that we can only begin to imagine."
Interaction Design - It's All About the Subtleties
By Jared Spool.
"Pop-ups have earned a bad reputation, mostly because design teams
often use them to distract users with unwanted advertising. However, a
well-designed pop-up with useful information can add real value to a
Why Does the OK Button Say OK?
By Gerry McGovern.
Words are critical to task completion on websites and in applications.
Yet they are still chosen carelessly."
Reduce Bounce Rates, Fight for the Second Click
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Different traffic sources imply different reasons for why visitors
might immediately leave your site. Design to keep deep-link followers
engaged through additional page views."
The Future of Usability is Mobile
By John S. Rhodes.
"About 10 years ago I would have told any new usability specialist to
spend time learning about the Internet. I might have even encouraged
would have made these recommendations because the web ushered in such a
profound change. These days, I would not talk about the web that
Usability and Security: Unlikely bedfellows?
By Mrudula Kodali.
"Any website that requires users to logon or provide sensitive
information (e.g. credit card details) has to have some level of
security. With people getting more and more overwhelmed with the number
of usernames, passwords and PINs they have to remember, it's becoming a
challenge to ensure that online security remains usable and safe. This
month's feature article provides some top tips to help your customers
remember their passwords and continue using your website in the
Should Links Open In New Windows?
By Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz.
"No, they shouldn't..."
[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.]
+ SUBSCRIPTION INFO.
WEB DESIGN UPDATE is available by subscription. For information on how
to subscribe and unsubscribe please visit:
The Web Design Reference Site also has a RSS 2.0 feed for site updates.
+ TEXT EMAIL NEWSLETTER (TEN).
As a navigation aid for screen readers we do our best to conform to the
accessible Text Email Newsletter (TEN) guidelines. Please let me know
if there is anything else we can do to make navigation easier. For TEN
guideline information please visit:
+ 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
More information about the Webdev