[webdev] Web Design Update: November 21, 2008
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Nov 21 06:26:12 CST 2008
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 7, Issue 21, November 21, 2008.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 21 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.
07: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
11: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
This is How the Web Gets Regulated
By Joe Clark.
"As in finance, so on the web: self-regulation has failed. Nearly ten
years after specifications first required it, video captioning can
barely be said to exist on the web. The big players, while swollen with
self-congratulation, are technically incompetent, and nobody else is
even trying. So what will it take to support the human and legal rights
of hearing impaired web users? It just might take the law, says Joe
Guidelines for the Description of Educational Media
"The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) was part of a U.S.
Department of Education grant awarded to the Described and Captioned
Media Program (DCMP) of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) to
define guidelines for media description of educational materials."
Description resources available to teachers and parents. "Developed
through a partnership between the Described and Captioned Media Program
(DCMP) and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), the Description
Key began as recommendations, suggestions, and best practices culled
from an extensive literature search and meta-analysis [PDF] in 2006.
AFB assembled an expert panel in media description and education for
children with visual impairments to help evaluate media description
strategies for educational material. The list of recommended practices
was then subjected to a consensus review process by these leading
experts, resulting in a reduction from 204 to 63 critical indicators.
This work was opened to an extensive public review in the spring of
2008 that invited comments and rankings of each indicator's importance.
The expert panel met a final time in July 2008 to review these public
comments, the rankings, and to discuss each indicator before adopting
the final document presented here. (For a more detailed look at how
(and why) the Key was developed, please read AFB's 'Background of the
The Way of the Accessibility Wiki
By Henny Swan.
"I'm not sure why but 2008 has been the year of the wiki in
accessibility circles. As the field of accessibility has got more vast
and complex so have people's need for detail and areas of specialty
making it almost impossible to stay on top of everything. This can be
quite bewildering for anyone trying to build accessible web pages,
especially when knowledge is spread around countless blogs and forums,
so wiki's really do seem like the way forward. But are we in danger of
spreading ourselves too thin?..."
Development of the Accessible Information and Communications Standard:
Where We Are Now
By Government of Ontario.
"On November 17, the Ontario government released the proposed
Accessible Information and Communications Standard for a 60-day public
review period. A standards development committee, composed of
representatives from the disability and business communities, developed
the proposed standard..."
Differences Between the WAI Standards Developer and User Perspectives
By Brian Kelly.
"...In is not in scope for people at WAI to address the resource
implications of conforming with their guidelines, the complexities of
implementing the guidelines or to consider alternatives ways in which
accessibility challenges can be addressed. If these issues are
out-of-scope for WAI, then there's a need for the issues to be
addressed by the user community. And this will include addressing
these difficult issues. It is the user community to decide when the WAI
guidelines may be the best way of providing accessible services, when
other solutions may be relevant and to ensure that cost-effective and
sustainable solutions are provided..."
Embedding Time-Aligned Text into Ogg
By Silvia Pfeiffer.
"As part of my accessibility work for Mozilla and Xiph, it is necessary
to define how time-aligned text such as subtitles, captions, or
annotations, are encapsulated into Ogg..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Aural CSS Notes Updated Following Tests With Opera Voice and FireVox
By Jon Gibbins.
"Opera with Voice and the FireVox extension for Firefox both claim to
support some of the CSS 3 Speech module properties. Following some
quick tests on Windows, Opera 9.62 seems to work reasonably well, but
the latest FireVox appears to have broken support..."
Tables: The Next Evolution in CSS Layout
By Kevin Yank.
"Crafting CSS layouts is tricky. In this article, Kevin Yank introduces
CSS tables (which, once IE 8 is released, will be supported by all
major browsers). They promise to make CSS layouts much easier for
Terrific Tables with CSS
By Jonathan Snook.
"HTML tables have gained a new lease of life in the CSS era, now that
they have been freed from misuse as a layout element. In this article,
Jonathan demonstrates how you can use CSS to create exciting, colorful
tables, which will work successfully across browsers, as well as taking
a peek at what the future holds."
The Web, What's in a Colour?
By Adrian Rayfield.
"The Web is a colourful medium and colour plays an important role in
all Web sites. Colour can draw your attention to certain areas of a
page, clearly showing navigation and links, as well as make the site
look more inviting..."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
User Research Friday
By Lane Halley.
"One thing I was really listening for was how people actually use
research to do design. In my practice as an interaction designer, I
find user research to be extremely important. I'm a strong advocate of
ethnographically-inspired fieldwork...because it helps me understand
how people really work and think."
The More the Merrier?
Mariana Da Silva.
"When it comes to deciding how many users to recruit for user testing,
nobody seems to agree on an ideal sample size...Of course, in any case,
the more the merrier, but this is only possible in a world where
resources, such as time and money, are infinite. In the real world, we
compromise, and the trick is in being able to achieve a good balance
between rigor and value."
Sample Size Oddities
By Steve Baty.
"It might seem counterintuitive, but the larger the proportion of a
population that holds a given opinion, the fewer people you need to
interview when doing user research. Conversely, the smaller the
minority of people who share an opinion, the more people you need to
By Mike Smith.
"This page records a history of milestones in the development of the
HTML language (in the two forms of the language understood by most
current browsers), from the publication of the HTML4 recommendation on
through to the publication of the first public working draft of the
Ideal UX Team Makeup: Specialists, Generalists, or Compartmentalists
By Jared Spool.
"...What makes an effective UX team is the completeness of the skill
set across all the members. The roles of individuals are secondary -- a
team with generalists will always be more flexible than a team of
specialists. Specialists help when the local economic conditions
support their being there. Yet, specialists have general knowledge, so
they can be flexible and interact with the rest of the team in a
Four Internet Design Considerations Every Client Should Know
By Tedd Sperling.
"The Internet is a medium unlike any other. The Internet provides new
and exciting opportunities in product presentation and ways to attract
and cultivate customer's interest. Tapping the true power of the
Internet lies in understanding the difference between the Internet and
all other mediums and then using those differences to promote business
in new ways..."
10 Advanced PHP Tips To Improve Your Programming
By Glen Stansberry.
"...This tutorial is aimed at people who are just past the beginning
stages of learning PHP and are ready to roll up their sleeves and get
their hands dirty with the language. Listed below are 10 excellent
techniques that PHP developers should learn and use every time they
program. These tips will speed up proficiency and make the code much
more responsive, cleaner and more optimized for performance..."
PHP Tip: Classes Aren't Derived From stdClass
"Many OO languages have the concept of a single base class from which
all other classes are explicitly or implicitly descended. For example,
Ruby, Java and .NET all have Object. It's a very common belief that PHP
implements stdClass as a base class for all objects, but this is in
fact not the case."
+07: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
HTML 5, the Markup
By Karl Dubost.
"...Mike Smith has extracted the parts of HTML 5 related to the content
model. This document is aimed at people who would like to focus on the
content model, be reviewers, authoring tools implementers,
HTML: The Markup Language
By Mike Smith.
"This specification describes the fifth major version of the HTML
vocabulary. It provides the details necessary for producers of HTML to
create conformant HTML documents. By design, it does not describe
related APIs nor attempt to describe how consumers of HTML are meant to
process HTML documents..."
What HTML 5 is and What it is Not
By Scott Loganbill.
"An update by the working group behind HTML 5 defined what HTML 5 will
not do this week, both putting a limit on HTML 5's seemingly endless
ambitions and also suggesting we may someday see a final version of the
By Adrian Bateman.
"There's an interesting debate going on in the W3C HTML working group
about whether well-formed HTML is important in the specification
process for HTML5..."
More on Developing Naming Conventions, Microformats and HTML5
By Andy Clarke.
"Not quite a lifetime, but it was way back in May 29th 2004, on my
retired blog And All That Malarkey, when I surveyed forty designers'
sites "to see what conventions they used for common page elements like
headers and banners, navigation, content and footers" (the results at
How to Learn HTML5
By Kroc Camen.
"Once you have made a decent HTML4 site, then you will look at the
HTML5 specification, and it will make sense-you will know what to do
The March of Access Control
By John Resig.
"The web is changing. Historically it's been painfully easy to request
resources from remote locations (such as stylesheets, scripts, images,
and loading pages in iframes) - but this has brought along a whole
world of security issues that browsers are continuing to try and
This Week in HTML 5 - Episode 13
By Mark Pilgrim.
"The big news this week is a major revamping of how browsers should
process multimedia in the <audio> and <video> elements."
Improve Your Typography with 'Typographic Contrast'
By Ross Johnson.
"Having just spent a week in various countries through out Europe I
found myself studying the design techniques of thee various different
cultures as well as how it compares to that of the US. Interestingly
enough I found myself able to look at the typography of design
completely independent of the message (as I did not know the language).
This is an oddly effective way to see what techniques of displaying and
using type were effective, for what reasons, and why..."
Business Case for Deleting Content
By Gerry McGovern.
"The more you delete, the more you simplify. The more you simplify, the
more you increase the chances of your customers succeeding on your
People Are From Earth, Machines Are From Outer Space
By Don Norman.
"Norman's law: The number of hours per day spent maintaining our
equipment doubles every 18 months..."
PDF Manuals: The Wrong Paradigm for an Online Experience
By Mike Hughes.
"I'm not down on every use of PDF files online. Campus maps, article
reprints, and my aunt's Christmas letters all work quite well as PDF
files. What I want to challenge in this column is the use of PDF files
for distributing user assistance online, in the form of large books."
Agile Development Projects and Usability
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Agile methods aim to overcome usability barriers in traditional
development, but pose new threats to user experience quality.
By modifying Agile approaches, however, many companies have realized the
benefits without the pain..."
Designing Tables for Usability
"...We want to achieve tables which are more scannable, with data that
is easily findable, more aesthetically-pleasing and also easier to
style using CSS...."
Error Message Design Showcase
"An important part of designing any kind of registration or login form
is how you handle when things go wrong ? a required field is missed or
data is entered incorrectly..."
Why Did SMIL and SVG Fail?
By Brian Kelly.
"...I think it is clear that W3C have failed to deliver a solution
which is being widely deployed. Now this may not be of concern to W3C
- they may regard their role as simply developing standards and are
happy to leave it to the marketplace to adopt or reject the standards.
However as user organizations we can't take this stance. So we will
need to ensure that we have learnt form the failures of well-promoted
standards to have any significant impact. Or perhaps we should simply
be prepared to wait for a longer period for new standards to gain
impact. Perhaps we may find greater take-up of SMIL and SVG, with the
mobile market providing the arena for the standards to demonstrate
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+11: 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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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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