[webdev] Web Design Update: March 20, 2009
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Mar 20 06:12:54 CDT 2009
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 7, Issue 38, March 20, 2009.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 38 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Accessibility Support (II)
By Olga Revilla.
"So, after you have read my last post, you will probably wonder which web
technologies are accessibility supported and which not. And the answer
is? nobody knows, not even the WAI! Now, the consultancy best phrase: 'it
depends'. How is this possible after 5 years of WCAG 2 developing? Well,
some reasons for this vagueness..."
How Can I Determine If a Web Technology is 'Accessibility Supported'?
By Olga Revilla.
"Let's assume that nobody knows which technologies are and aren't
accessibility supported. Now what? Well, the WAI has tried to bring a
definition, not very clear, but a definition after all..."
The Way We Use the Technology Determines its Accessibility Support
By Olga Revilla.
"Remember these categorical clauses? 'Don't do your web in Flash because
it will not be accessible' or 'Avoid PDF, because a blind person won't be
capable to read it'. Industries participant in the redaction of the new
guidelines have adopted a tougher line protecting their products from
legal barriers. So that's why there is no mention to which technology is
accessible and which not, because it depends on the way that they are
Corporate Websites and the Case for Accessibility
By Helen Baker.
"As more and more companies provide and actively encourage their
stakeholders to access corporate information online, accessibility is
becoming an even greater issue. Accessible websites benefit everyone,
both visitors and business. But research shows that many corporate
websites are still failing to reach even minimum accessibility
Acronym/Abbreviation Best Practice
"I'm struggling a bit with how best to expand acronyms and abbreviations.
Any insight you can provide would be valuable. Which of the following do
you believe is the best approach"
Untangling the Web
By Janet Ingber.
"A New Way to Find Old Friends: A Review of the Accessibility of
Happy Birthday, World Wide Web!
By Marco Zehe.
"...I consider access to information just like anyone else to be a right
I have as a human being, and the web is the only independent means of
doing so. If anyone would try to take that away from me, I promise that
I'd prosecute them to the full lawful extent possible...rather than
whining about Bespin not being accessible, and pushing the developers
into the defensive by reflexively yelling before thinking things through,
we should get our act together and find out a way to make it accessible
soonish! Bespin is a chance, not an evil deliberate move to exclude
people with disabilities."
By Joe Clark.
"Every six months, somebody writes a new story about captioning that gets
a dozen facts wrong. This time it's Sue Ellen Reager's turn. She makes so
many mistakes she should go to work for Aberdeen Captioning, the scrappy
little company that suppresses the comments I post correcting their
AccessForAll to eLearning
By Martyn Cooper.
"In the last ten years there has been a burgeoning of systems for web
based delivery of educational content, activities and services..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Unique Pages, Unique CSS Files
By Chris Coyier.
"I received a question the other day from someone who was curious how I
handle multiple different page styles and layouts across one site with
CSS. It's a very common scenario I think. For example, you have a
homepage that is different from your blog post pages that is different
from your about page that is different from your contact page..."
Performance Impact of CSS Selectors
By Steve Souders.
"A few months back there were some posts about the performance impact of
inefficient CSS selectors. I was intrigued - this is the kind of browser
idiosyncratic behavior that I live for. On further investigation, I'm not
so sure that it's worth the time to make CSS selectors more efficient.
I'll go even farther and say I don't think anyone would notice if we woke
up tomorrow and every web page's CSS selectors were magically
Performance of CSS Selectors is Irrelevant
By Jens Meiert.
"...if you like to have a 'black or white' interpretation of Steve
Souders' recent research. Currently we've still got few yet a few more
numbers than before backing up what we always suspected, that merely
optimizing selectors is kind of micro-optimization, micro-optimization
that might for example..."
Site Compatibility and IE8
By IE Blog.
With the release of IE8 seemingly imminent, and with many developers
still not testing their sites with IE8, the IE team has detailed of how
IE8's compatibility mode is not necessarily identical to IE7 saying, "We
strive to make Compatibility View behave as much like IE7 as possible,
but we do make exceptions. Many of these exceptions enable improved
security and accessibility features immediately, even for sites that have
not yet migrated to IE8 Standards Mode."
CSS3 Panel Slides from SXSWi
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
"These are the CSS3 panel slides from SXSW Interactive. A the moderator,
I apologize to the 40+ people who could not get into the room. It was a
really informative and fun panel, so we've made these slides available to
the public at large to extend that information. David Baron, Mozilla
(XHTML format). Sylvain Galinau, Microsoft (PDF format for download).
Hakon Wium Lie, Opera (HTML format)."
A Nice Chat with Adobe about Dreamweaver
By Tom Arah.
"Following my recent post, I'm Sorry but Dreamweaver is Dying and the
ensuing online discussions/abuse, I was summoned for a chat with the
headmaster - Devin Fernandez, senior product manager for the web products
April 6, 2009.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
HighEdWeb Regional Conference
April 23-24, 2009.
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.
WAI-ARIA: Accessible Rich Internet Applications Basics
By Estelle Weyl.
"ARIA stands for Accessible Rich Internet Applications. With the
proliferation of internet applications, there has been an increase in the
WAI-ARIA role support - How the browsers stack up
By Steve Faulkner.
"For the roles defined in WAI-ARIA it is expected that browsers expose
the role values via an accessibility API, on the Windows platform the
information is usually exposed using the Microsoft Active Accessibility
(MSAA) Application Programming Interface (API)..."
WAI-ARIA Role Support, part 2: How the Mac browsers stack up
By Steve Faulkner.
"For the roles defined in WAI-ARIA it is expected that browsers expose
the role values via an accessibility API, on the Apple OS X platform the
information is exposed using the Mac OS X Accessibility Protocol. "
Video of Tim Berners-Lee's TED Talk
"In February, W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee spoke at TED 2009 about the
Semantic Web and linked data (see slides). The video of his TED talk is
Obama's Groundbreaking use of the Semantic Web
By David Peterson.
"In a revolutionary move, Obama's administration is set to utilize next
generation web technologies to bring an unprecedented level of
transparency to government. In this case it will shed light on how the
roughly US $800 billion dollar economic stimulus will be spent."
Remembering the Day the World Wide Web Was Born
By Larry Greenemeier.
"What drove Tim Berners-Lee to imagine this game-changing model for
information sharing, and will its openness be its undoing?"
The Death of Web Development and Design, and What to do Next.
By Marco van Hylckama Vlieg.
"...Old school web development is dead. Long live old school web
What to Know, What to Learn
By Robert Nyman.
"Let's talk about what we should know and learn, shall we?..."
Social Networks 'Are New Email'
By Darren Waters.
"Status updates on sites such as Facebook are a new form of
communication, the South by SouthWest Festival hears."
How to Deal with Jerk Programmers
By Scott Berkun.
"...there are four assets you have: charm, ability, roles and allies..."
Sites Without Menus: Do You Really Need a Main Nav?
By Dustin Boston.
"Is Navigation Useful? Jakob Nielsen posed that question in an Alertbox
article from 2000. He came to the conclusion that users look straight at
the content and ignore the navigation areas.' In essence, navigation is
not as important as most designers make it out to be..."
Breadcrumbs In Web Design: Examples And Best Practices
By Jacob Gube.
"On websites that have a lot of pages, breadcrumb navigation can greatly
enhance the way users find their way around. In terms of usability,
breadcrumbs reduce the number of actions a website visitor needs to take
in order to get to a higher-level page, and they improve the findability
of website sections and pages. They are also an effective visual aid that
indicates the location of the user within the website's hierarchy, making
it a great source of contextual information for landing pages..."
The ABC's of PHP II - What do I need to make it work?
By Peter Shaw.
"In this part of the series I'm going to show what you need in order to
start developing using PHP..."
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
A living, open curriculum based on standards and best practices, designed
to teach students the skills of a web pro.
By Sam Ruby.
"...No concrete action is asked for today, again, this is just a level
set. Blocking Last Call until consensus is reached and supporting the
publishing alternative documents as Working Drafts will be important down
the line. Note: it is not important which spec 'wins', just that there is
enough competition to keep everybody honest. ARIA is an exemplar."
HTML5 Canvas Accessibility Issues
By ESW Wiki.
"The new canvas element is used for rendering dynamic bitmap graphics on
the fly, such as graphs, games, et cetera. HTML5 currently lacks
mechanisms to add accessibility hooks for content produced using this
element. The vision impaired are currently shut out based upon their
disability and/or use of a specific technology (screen readers). A
fallback solution is essential for the vision impaired. If <canvas> is
really needed, then accessibility should be incorporated into the design
and the specification should include an appropriate fallback strategy..."
Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones...
By John Foliot.
"...If HTML5 is to achieve the oft stated goal of 'accessibility just
happening', then you must set the conditions for that to actually happen
- and 'suggestion' alone falls very short in this regard. This is not
about setting impossible conditions for authors to meet, it is about
establishing systems that actually do ensure that accessibility happens.
I've said it before and I will say it again: accessibility *MUST* be
foundational, it cannot simply be a bolt-on solution applied at the 11th
Thoughts Towards an Accessible Canvas
By John Foliot.
"a basic problem: there is no standard for applying and conveying this
alternative, or 'fallback' content, and so authors are left trying to
guess what to do...."
If It Fails for Some, It Should Fail for All
By Mark Pilgrim.
"On the topic of <canvas> accessibility..."
Thoughts Towards an Accessible Canvas - Comment
By Martin Kliehm.
"I would propose to make the child objects available in the DOM where
they can receive any ARIA enhancements you can possibly bolt on by
scripting. It is true that currently is just a flat bitmap that you can
save as PNG or data URL, but when creating shapes and contents in a
canvas, why shouldn't you be allowed to add semantics at the same time?
But a prerequisite would be browsers mapping those child objects to the
DOM, and perhaps using the RDF features of the XHTML role module to
expand the available roles by textnodes or things to describe 3D image
galleries or future progressive UIs I can't imagine at this time."
On Flash Killers
By John Dowdell.
"There is no 'HTML5 standard', only a process which might potentially
lead to a Recommendation"
The Evolution and Future of HTML
By Roger Johansson.
"...Once I realized that it would not be about fixing the Web I pretty
much lost interest..."
<section> is not just a "semantic <div>"
By James Graham.
"HTML 5 introduces new elements like <section>, <article> and <footer>
for structuring the content in your webpages. They can be employed in
many situations where <div> is used today and should help you make more
readable, maintainable, HTML source. But if you just go through your
document and blindly replace all the <div>s with <section>s you are doing
A Lecture about HTML5
By Henri Sivonen.
"I was invited to give a lecture about HTML5 on a course titled WWW
Applications at the Department of Media Technology of Helsinki University
"Conditional-CSS allows you to write maintainable CSS with conditional
logic to target specific CSS statements at both individual browsers and
groups of browsers."
Serif Fonts Vs. Sans Serif Fonts: A Working Case Study
By Alyssa Gregory.
"The standard style for most content on the Web is sans serif fonts, such
as Arial or Verdana. And this is sensibly the case for a number of
reasons: sans serif fonts are easier to read on-screen, they look pretty
good when their size is reduced, and they tend to retain their visual
appeal across different platforms and browsers..."
Usability Body of Knowledge Project
By Usability Professionals' Association.
"The UPA has initiated a long-term project to collate a comprehensive
Body of Knowledge for the usability profession, which will provide an
authoritative source of reference and define the scope of the
Web Form Elements
By Christopher Schmitt.
"For SXSW Interactive 2009, I was fortunate to be on the Designing Our
Way Through Web Forms panel with Kimberly Blessing from Comcast
Interactive Media and Eric Ellis from Bank of America. We covered a lot
of ground in the panel. three mini-presentations and a q+a. My main
contribution to the panel was covered in Web Form Elements
(presentation): a brief look at how CSS and browsers display form
Getting a Form's Structure Right: Designing Usable Online Email
By Jeff Parks.
"I had the opportunity to speak with Afshan Kirmani on her article...We
talk about the design of an online web based application. Part 1 of the
series focuses on the web based form where the user experience is
critical before the user enters the application. The various aspects
include a good entry point into a form which determines if users stay or
leave. The beginning of every form is most important as details like
usability set your apart from your competitors."
25-Point Website Usability Checklist
"I've been thinking a lot lately about my process. Experience is a
powerful thing, but it's rare that we really sit down and try to map out
what we know. A while back, as part of my 5-point Website Clinic, I
developed a 25-point website usability checklist - a way to create some
method out of my madness and make sure that I don't forget anything
critical when I'm working with a new client..."
Removing Poor Quality Content Increases Customer Satisfaction
By Gerry McGovern.
The Microsoft Office Online content team has found poor quality content
to be like weeds in a garden. Left unchecked it smothers the quality
Your End Users Shouldn't Have to Know Technology
By Robert Nyman.
"Don't demand of your users to know what Flash is, or to try and turn
Flash to enhance your web site on top of a solid base. Don't harass your
users, they deserve a seamless experience."
[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.]
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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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