[webdev] Web Design Update: December 11, 2008
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Dec 11 15:26:42 CST 2008
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 7, Issue 24, December 11, 2008.
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.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
A New Era for Web Accessibility: WCAG 2.0 is Finalized
By Shawn Henry.
"WCAG 2.0 was published today as a final Web Standard 'W3C
WCAG 2.0 is Official - But is That All You Need to Make a Site
By Henny Swan.
"...If you really want to make your site accessible then you need to
not only reference the WCAG 2.0 guidelines but also: Use open web
standards. Avoid proprietary technologies. Ensure your site validates
Website Accessibility and the Economic Downturn
By Ted Page.
"I want to focus principally on the many business benefits of
accessible websites and why exploiting these makes more sense than ever
before - not despite - but because of the current economic climate..."
Technology Helps Shatter Limits of Disability
By Meris Stansbury.
"NCTI conference urges developers, educators to find tools that ease
disabilities--and increase chances for success..."
Legislation Makes Texas Web Designers Do Due Diligence
By Jordan FeRoss.
"...Under House Bill 2819 (79th Regular Legislative Session), state
agencies are required to ensure that disabled person have the same
access to electronic information resources as those who are not
Accessibility Testing Tips and Tools Presentation
By Henny Swan.
"I thought I'd post my slides here for you to have a look through. They
give an overview of testing methodologies as well as point to some
tools and some examples of how to test images, heading structure,
keyboard accessibility and so on. I've added in links and references
where possible so that it can work as a stand alone tutorial but if you
do have a question let me know."
Eating an Elephant: Lost in the Supermarket
By Chris Hofstater.
'I'm all lost in the supermarket, I can no longer shop happily, I came
in here for a special offer, guaranteed personality?' The Clash
24ways.org: A Sacred Cow?
By Steven Clark.
"the same site produced by someone of less stature would be caned"
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
The IE6 Equation
By Jeremy Keith.
"It is the destiny of one browser to serve as the nemesis of web
developers everywhere. At the birth of the Web Standards movement, that
role was played by Netscape Navigator 4; an outdated browser that
refused to die. Its tenacious existence hampered the adoption of modern
standards. Today that role is played by Internet Explorer 6..."
Re: The IE 6 Equation
By Jens Meiert.
"Alas, I'm afraid there are three issues (not just the two I briefly
mentioned in my comment that never appeared) with Jeremy's
In the Woods - 15 CSS Tricks That Must be Learned
By Drew Douglass.
"As web designers and developers, we have all come to learn many css
tricks and techniques that help us achieve our layout goals. The list
of these techniques is an ever expanding one, however, there are
certain tricks that are essential to achieve your goal. Today, we will
review 20 excellent css techniques to keep in mind when developing your
Best of CSS Design 2008
By Nick La.
"Last December, I posted a list of the best designs in 2007. Now, it is
time for - Best of CSS Design 2008 (a new list of 50 websites
hand-picked from Best Web Gallery)..."
Adapting Dreamweaver CSS layouts to display:table rules
By Virginia DeBolt.
"With the upcoming release of IE8, which will support CSS display:table
and other table related display properties, I'm expecting changes in
the way web pages are laid out. I just finished an intensive experience
with Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 and the built-in CSS layouts that come
prepackaged with the product. Naturally, my mind veered in the
direction of those layouts. Okay, the truth. Actually, I've been having
visions of Stephanie Sullivan (who created the Dreamweaver CS4 built-in
CSS layouts) madly adapting all those page layouts to add display:table
Building Scalable Websites with Dreamweaver CS4
By Chris Converse.
"Learn about the core concepts that help ensure your site's long-term
Web With Molly
January 1-February, 2009.
Managing Design Projects
February 5, 2009.
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
+05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Easier Page States for Wireframes
By Richard Rutter.
"When designing wireframes for web sites and web apps, it is often
overlooked that the same page' can look wildly different depending on
its context. A logged-in page will look different from a logged-out
page; an administrator's view may have different buttons than a regular
user's view; a power user's profile will be more extensive than a new
Testing ARIA User Input Control's Navigation Support
By Steve Faulkner.
"Assistive technology such as screen readers provide keyboard short
cuts for navigating the content of web pages. For user input controls
such as radio buttons and edit boxes the user can navigate the controls
sequentially using assigned 'form field' or 'form control' navigation
YUI Theater - Todd Kloots: 'Developing Accessible Widgets with ARIA'
By Eric Miraglia.
"...In this talk, delivered at Yahoo! on December 3, 2008, YUI engineer
and accessibility specialist Todd Kloots introduces you to ARIA and
provides some insights gleaned from his work in bringing ARIA support
to a host of YUI widgets..."
Code Talks Wiki
regions and other Web 2.0 wizardry?
Yes, via a new standard from W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative. The
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) specification provides
a way to pepper page markup with the additional accessibility
information needed by users of assistive technologies such as screen
Introduction to WAI ARIA - available in Spanish and French
By Henny Swan.
"Accessibility genius Gez Lemon recently published An Introduction to
WAI ARIA on Dev.Opera...The article is now available in both Spanish
A Logic Named Joe
By Dann Berkowitz
"At dinner this evening my younger son asked me a question to which I
did not have a ready answer - and as usual my response was to inform
him that if he is still interested after dinner we will look up an
answer on the Internet. He agreed, paused for a moment, and asked me
how the Internet knows all this stuff..."
By Joel Spolsky.
"...Using timesheets as a performance metric can lead to only one
thing: bad data in timesheets...."
20 Signs You Don't Want That Web Design Project
By Jeffery Zeldman.
"Most clients are good clients, and some clients are great clients. But
some jobs are just never going to work out well. Herewith, a few
indicators that a project may be headed to the toilet. Guarantee: All
incidents taken from life..."
Interview with John Resig, jQuery Creator
By Ara Pehlivanian.
jQuery. In this interview, John talks to Ara Pehlivanian about the
Web Forward (Video)
By Douglas Crockford.
web forward we need to look back - to the days of the great browser
wars when innovation lit up the web. Standards have stagnated, and only
a new browser war can break us loose..."
An Introduction to Screen Readers (video)
By Victor Tsaran.
"Victor Tsaran is an accessibility engineer at Yahoo! who focuses on
developing best practices for the creation of websites that work well
with screen readers. In this video, he provides an introduction to some
of the things that work well in the world of screen readers and others
that fare more poorly."
An Introduction to Screen Magnification Software (video)
By Karo Caran.
"Karo Caran takes you on a tour of screen magnification software --
tools used by partially sighted users to enhance their experience of
screen-based user interfaces. Karo shows you the basic toolkit and then
applies those tools to some typical web sites to give you some
perspective on how she uses magnification software while she browses
How Web is Different from Print
"Of all the things that make the Web different from print, linking is
the most important."
Designing The Holy Search Box: Examples And Best Practices
By Gyorgy Fekete.
"On content-heavy websites, the search box is often the most frequently
used design element. From a usability point of view, irritated users
use the search function as a last option when looking for specific
information on a website. If a website's content is not organized
properly, an efficient search engine is not only helpful but crucial,
even for basic website navigation. In fact, search is the user's
lifeline to mastering complex websites. The best designs offer a simple
search box on the home page and play down advanced search and
Don't Commit That Error
By Travis Swicegood.
"It's easy to get caught up in testing patterns, frameworks, and other
'correct' ways to handle testing, but we often overlook some of the
simple things PHP can do to make sure we aren't making basic mistakes.
This article covers one of those overlooked tools: php -l. Running the
PHP executable from the command line with the -l tells PHP to check the
syntax of the provided PHP file, or 'lint' the file..."
By Matthew Weier O'Phinney.
"...But what happens when you hit a snag? Say, for instance, the code
isn't doing what you think it should; then what do you do?..."
Commenting on Commenting
By Eli White.
"Everyone knows the standard programming mantra 'Document your code'
(though some people seem to still not follow it), but today I want to
talk specifically about three types of documentation that can exist for
a project, and how each of them is important."
The Wonderful World of "includes"
By Tedd Sperling.
"The most important technique I found in doing web development over the
last 15 years has been knowing how to use the "include()" statement. If
you can grasp how to use php-includes, then it will simplify your
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
W3C Validators in Jeopardy
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
As many folks who follow the W3C are aware, financial and bureaucratic
issues have challenged the organization for many years. But one thing
the W3C has held steady with is its validators, which are regularly and
freely utilized by Web designers and developers world over.
Will 2008 Prove the Year the Web Grew Up?
By Bruce Lawson.
"If the tit-for-tat tantrums of the Microsoft-Netscape browser wars
were the web's pimply adolescence, then the dot-com bust of 2000 was
its traumatic entry into adulthood. Perhaps 2008 will turn out to be
the year the web grew up, says Bruce Lawson."
Elements of an EmotionML 1.0
Marc Schroder, Editor.
"As the web is becoming ubiquitous, interactive, and multimodal,
technology needs to deal increasingly with human factors, including
emotions. The present Final Report of the Emotion Markup Language
Incubator Group provides elements for an Emotion Markup Language
striking a balance between scientific well-foundedness and practical
applicability. The language is conceived as a "plug-in" language
suitable for use in three different areas: (1) manual annotation of
data; (2) automatic recognition of emotion-related states from user
behaviour; and (3) generation of emotion-related system behaviour..."
Re: proposed change to dialog example in HTML5 section 4.6.26
By Gregory J. Rosmaita.
"...the means of conveying EmotionML is limited only by one's
imagination; using CSS-Speech, one can set a voice change or aural icon
to express the emotional state; visually, one could have EmotoinML
expressed using an emoticon or an iconic equivalent (as happens on some
wikis to identify external, mailto, and other non-http-request links);
one could use CSS' :before to indicate that the following line is a
lie; the exposition method offered by EmotionML, therefore, is FAR
morerobust, and far more specific, than using SPAN to indicate
emotional states; or you can ignore it as a red herring or wishful
Ian Hickson on Editing HTML5 (Video)
By Marcos Caceres.
"During TPAC, Lachlan caught up with Ian Hickson (Hixie), editor of the
HTML 5 specification. Hixie discusses the tools he uses to gather and
respond to feedback, which is fundamental to the open development of
the standard. Hixie clarifies the whole 'when will HTML5 be ready?!'
thing and gives us some details about what part of the spec he is
working on now..."
Web Standards: Where the ROI is
By Molly Holzschlag.
"...Web designers and developers seem to talk a lot about 'Web
Standards', but what about the people who sign the contracts and pay
the bills? Are Web Standards just another tax that businesspeople are
being asked to pay, or is there truly sustainable business value in
adopting Web Standards? Why is Microsoft investing so heavily in
improving Web Standards support in our line of products. We asked Molly
to write this article to succinctly explain the business value of Web
Standards to business decision makers..."
This Week in HTML 5 - Episode 15
By Mark Pilgrim.
"...The big news this week is the disintegration of HTTP authentication
from HTML forms (which was last week's big news). As I predicted, the
proposal generated a healthy discussion, but a combination of security
concerns and concerns about tight coupling ultimately did in the
By Stoyan Stefanov and Nicole Sullivan.
"Smushit.com is a service that goes beyond the limitations of
Photoshop, Fireworks and Company. It uses image format specific
non-lossy image optimization tools to squeeze the last bytes out of
your images - without changing their look or visual quality. You'll get
a report of how many bytes you can save by optimizing your images and
all the changed images as a single zip for download."
Typography and Accessibility
By Craig Nugent.
"...The challenge then for the designer is to meet the criteria of
typography and design while creating user centered functionality ie
resizable text on demand. Is it possible to reconcile typographic
criteria with accessibility requirements? Well almost. Let's look at a
solution I use frequently, though it's not without compromise..."
For and Against Standardizing Font Embedding
By Bert Bos.
Co-inventor of CSS, has a detailed summary of the issues around font
embedding and standardization.
@font-face in IE: Making Web Fonts Work
By Jon Tan.
Who, what, where how and when of Web fonts
The Nielsen Guide to Spelling
By Joe Clark.
"...Nielsen's posting does what his postings usually do - gives no firm
advice and leads into an ad for a seminar his company is running. It
also mixes up the issues of spelling and word choice. Fundamentally,
the posting reiterates the lie that there is such a thing as an
international English. There isn't - not in speech and not in
Don't Put the Weather on the Intranet Homepage
By James Robertson.
"...There's probably no real harm in including the weather on the
homepage, as long as it doesn't get in the way of more important
features. Consider it a low priority, however, and focus on more
important improvements to the usability or usefulness of the intranet
[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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