[webdev] Web Design Update: July 10, 2009

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jul 10 06:27:22 CDT 2009

- Volume 8, Issue 02, July 10, 2009.

An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design 
and development.


SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:

06: FLASH.
10: PHP.
13: XML.

14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Accessible Information Technology and Web Bill in Minnesota with 
Implementation Funds Passed and Signed by the Governor
By Gregg Vanderheiden.
"The new law requires that the state adopt 508 Standards and Web 
Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Guidelines and establish an 
advisory committee that will make hardware, software, products and 
Websites accessible without causing an undue burden (too much cost  not 
technically feasible) to the state..."

Response to Questions about Accessible Lecture Capture Solutions
By Pat Brogan.
"My understanding is that most of the lecture capture systems are not 
compliant because of
some of the database issues. but their output is or can be made to be 
compliant through captioning. The consequences of not buying the most 
compliant system can be economic penalties. This generally focuses on 
the use of the tool itself--can a disabled person use the lecture 
capture system? The second and more important aspect is--Is the content 
the system generates compliant? For the lecture capture vendors, this 
means that one can navigate with tools other than a mouse, users can 
control content navigation and flow. But the big challenge is to really 
make the content accessible, the audio and video need to have synced 

High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community Colleges
By The High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community 
"California community colleges have a legal responsibility to provide 
equal access to video resources for students, faculty and staff who are 
deaf or hard of hearing. This is often most easily accomplished through 
closed captioning of video resources..."

12 Tools To Check Your Site's Accessibility
By Sean P Aune.
"When you design any web site, one of your first goals is to make sure 
you get as many visitors as you can, but have you checked the true 
accessibility of your site? Can a color blind person read it? Are all 
of your scripts cooperating? Your colors may look nice together, but is 
the contrast different enough that it is all legible?  Well, those 
questions are exactly what these 12 tools are designed to help you 
answer, and it certainly may never be a bad idea to run more than one 
to make sure they are all telling you the same thing..."

Don't Just Tick Boxes
By Mel Pedley.
"Meeting the diverse needs of your site's visitors is likely to mean a 
great deal more than ticking off individual accessibility checkpoints."

Web Accessibility and the Law
By Joseph C. Dolson.
"The state of legal requirements and protections concerning the 
accessibility of websites is far from uniform. Many countries have some 
form of web accessibility laws in place, but the extent of those laws 
is radically variable. Furthermore, as many websites serve multiple 
countries, the question of jurisdiction can become a tricky aspect of 
accessibility law. It's well beyond the scope of this article to 
discuss the exact limits of web accessibility law around the globe, but 
I do aim to discuss the ramifications and philosophies of these laws 
for your web-based business."

More Fun With The tabindex Attribute
By Becky Gibson.
"Back in November, 2007 I blogged my results of testing the tabindex 
attribute in several browsers. I recently retested with the latest 
versions of the browsers and included Safari 4. Luckily the recommended 
methods for working with the tabindex attribute do not change. Here is 
the updated version..."

Advocates for the Blind Sue Arizona State U. Over Kindle Use
By Marc Beja.
"The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the 
Blind are suing Arizona State University for its use of the Amazon 
Kindle to distribute electronic textbooks to students, saying the 
device cannot be used by blind students..."

Four WCAG 2.0 Guidelines That Could Improve Readability For All 
By Mary Donnelly.
"I often hear how accessibility can help everyone. One of the most 
common examples I've heard is that sidewalk ramps not only help people 
in wheel chairs but they also help people rolling luggage, strollers, 
hot dog carts, grocery carts, etc. Along the same lines the WCAG 2.0 
guidelines listed below are by far some of my favorite because they can 
improve content in a web site for everyone. These guidelines should not 
only be applied to accessibility, they should also be applied to style 
guidelines and user interface guidelines for a site."

InDesign Accessibility Best Practices
By Andrew Kirkpatrick.
"InDesign authors often ask about generating accessible PDF files. To 
help respond to this, we worked with David Blatner of 
InDesignSecrets.com to combine our accessibility experience with his 
deep knowledge of InDesign so that we could produce a document that 
would be useful to InDesign authors interested in accessibility..."


Technically Women
"Technically Women comprises a group of women from all walks of 
business. This blog presents our unique views on how technology is 
shifting our world. The women are business owners, marketers, 
evangelists and leaders. The idea for Technically Women stemmed from a 
?'women and leadership?' piece penned by Dennis Howlett, which brought 
several of these women together to share their unique views on the 
current state of business. We decided to keep the conversation going 
and bring in some additional voices..."


CSS Effect: Space Images Out to Match Text Height
By Zoe Gillenwater.
I've been on my soapbox a lot lately, so I decided it was time to step 
down for a bit and do a nice, non-controversial CSS tutorial..."

Handheld Media Type, RIP?
By Jens Meiert.
"Website authors don't use handheld as it's barely supported; mobile 
device suppliers don't support handheld because it's barely used..."

CSS Fundamentals: Containing Children
By Jeffrey Way.
"I've received multiple requests for simpler CSS tutorials that teach 
the tricky fundamentals. This will serve as the first entry in a series 
that will receive new additions sporadically each month. Today, we'll 
be reviewing the overflow: hidden, and clearfix tricks to force a 
parent div to contains its children."

CSS line-height - A Simple Step-by-Step Presentation
By Russ Weakley.
"Here is another presentation I gave at a company training session 
recently - this time on CSS Line-height (which is far more complex than 
it first appears). A simple, step-by-step presentation on CSS 
line-height covering how to apply various line-height values, as well 
as line-height and the inline box model..."

CSS Depot
By Adrian Lazariuc.
A brand new web gallery.

Using the Golden Ratio in Liquid Web Page Designs
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"At first glance some basic principles of graphic design like the 
Golden Proportion and the Rule of Thirds seem to have nothing to do 
with web design..."

The Rule of Thirds and the Golden Ratio Are Not the Same...
By Ross Johnson.
"...If you pay attention to design then I am sure you have read 
countless articles on typography, grids, the rule of thirds and the 
golden ratio. What Laura and I ended up discussing was the constant 
reference to the rule of thirds being a 'easy” version of the golden 
ratio, despite the fact that they are completely different rules and 
have different uses..."


Testing in the Wild, Seizing Opportunity
By Dana Chisnell.
"When I say 'usability test,' you might think of something that looks 
like a psych experiment, without the electrodes (although I'm sure 
those are coming as teams think that measuring biometrics will help 
them understand users' experiences). Anyway, you probably visualize a 
lab of some kind, with a user in one room and a researcher in another, 
watching either through a glass or a monitor..."

Focus Groups vs. Usability Testing - What, When and Why?
By Alistair Gray.
"Focus groups and usability testing are two very useful but very 
different user research disciplines. This article will look at the 
difference between focus groups and usability testing, the pros and 
cons of each and when in the development process you should use them."

Building Respect for Usability Expertise
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Enemies of usability claim that because "the experts disagree," they 
can safely ignore user advocates' expertise and run with whatever 
design they personally prefer..."

Tips For Effective DIY Participant Recruitment for Usability Testing
By Abhay Rautela.
"In case you are not using the services of a professional recruitment 
agency, or do not have an internal recruitment team that can help you 
acquire participants for usability tests, here are some tips to help 
you begin with finding those participants successfully."

+05: EVENTS.

Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS '09)
July 15-17, 2009.
Mountain View, California

International Conference on the Applications of Digital Information
August 4-6, 2009.
London, United Kingdom

International Conference on Computer Science and Information Technology 
'09 (ICCSIT '09)
August 8-11, 2009.
Beijing, China

August 24-28, 2009.
Uppsala, Sweden

MobileHCI '09
September 15-18, 2009.
Bonn, Germany

+06: FLASH.

New Tutorial on Flash Accessibility
By Andrew Kirkpatrick.
"...The tutorial introduces Flash accessibility topics, and is 
accessible for screen reader and magnifier users, and includes closed 
captions for users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and audio 
descriptions for blind or low-vision users..."

Flash Accessibility
By WebAIM Thread.


Accessible Drag and Drop Using WAI-ARIA
By Gez Lemon.
"This article is intended for people who create rich internet 
applications with drag and drop functionality and want to make them 

The WAI-ARIA Windows Screen Reader Shootout
By Marco Zehe.
"Firefox 3.5 has been released, and now it's time to take a look at 
what features of WAI-ARIA are being supported by which Windows screen 

Truthy and Falsy: When All is Not Equal in JavaScript
By Craig Buckler.
"Like most computer languages, JavaScript supports Boolean data types; 
values which can be set to true or false. In addition, everything in 
JavaScript has an inherent Boolean value, generally known as either 
truthy or falsy. Handling truthy and falsy values can be a little 
quirky, especially when comparing variables. Understanding some of the 
more bizarre rules can help when debugging complex client-side 

Understanding JavaScript Closures
By Rob Gravelle.
"Closures are the answer to the problem of how to bind variables to 
functions that are called at a later time. Today's article will explain 
what closures are, outline some common dilemmas, and present ways that 
closures can be utilized to overcome them..."

Introduction to Regular Expressions in JavaScript
By Chrysanthus Forcha.
What exactly is a regular expression and how is it handled in 
JavaScript These are the questions tackled by this five-part series. In 
this first part we'll introduce the topic of regular expressions often 
abbreviated RegExp and delve into objects patterns and variables..."


Interview With Tim Berners-Lee, Part 1
By Richard MacManus.
"...we cover the emergence of Linked Data and how it is being used now 
even by governments..."

Interview With Tim Berners-Lee, Part 2
By Richard MacManus.
"...we discuss: how previously reticent search engines like Google and 
Yahoo have begun to participate in the Semantic Web in 2009, user 
interfaces for browsing and using data, what Tim Berners-Lee thinks of 
new computational engine Wolfram Alpha, how e-commerce vendors are 
moving into the Linked Data world, and finally how the Internet of 
Things intersects with the Semantic Web..."

The Great Big Grand Web
By Gerry McGovern.
"The Web has happened in a really big way, and most organizations
have not adapted to the way it has changed the world. But they


Search Matters: The Mystery of Filtering by Sorting
By Greg Nudelman
"What is the difference between filtering and sorting for a search 
query? Any SQL developer would be happy to tell you that a sort 
translates to a SQL ORDER BY statement, while a SQL WHERE clause 
performs a filter. However, for most users of consumer-facing ecommerce 
applications, the difference between a sort and a filter presents a 
mystery they understand dimly, if at all. The distinction between 
sorting and filtering blurs, because of a phenomenon I've called 
filtering by sorting, which leads to all sorts of interesting search 
user interface implications."

+10: PHP.

PHP Security: Fortifying Your Website
By Joel Reyes.
"...Though many programmers and developers may be implementing PHP in 
their websites, the issue of PHP security is often overlooked when 
building a site..."

By phpsec.
"PhpSecInfo provides an equivalent to the phpinfo() function that 
reports security information about the PHP environment, and offers 
suggestions for improvement. It is not a replacement for secure 
development techniques, and does not do any kind of code or app 
auditing, but can be a useful tool in a multilayered security 

Internationalization in PHP 5.3
By Stas Malyshev.
"PHP 5.3 has recently been released and one of the new features in core 
is the internationalization extension. It allows you to support a 
multitude of languages and local formats much easier than before, 
without having to learn all the tiny the details of local formats and 


HTML5: The DOCTYPE Declaration
By Virgina DeBolt.
"This article is the first in a series of brief discussions about the 
proposed specifications for HTML 5. View the Working Draft for HTML 5 
at the W3C."

Practical HTML 5
By Bobby van der Sluis.
"My current train of thoughts on how you can best author HTML 5 
websites today by using a phased approach for your transition..."

Impasse on HTML 5 Video
By Bruce Lawson.
"The video element is the one that seems to excite n00bz the most when 
I do introductory talks about HTML 5, yet it was always the element 
that seemed to me to be furthest away from cross-browser 
interoperability. Originally, the specification (being an Open 
Standard) said User agents should support Ogg Theora video and Ogg 
Vorbis audio..."

Yes, You Can Use HTML 5 Today!
By Bruce Lawson.
"The blogosphere was jerked into excitement when Google gave a sneak 
preview of its new service, Google Wave. Only the select few have an 
account, but there's an 80-minute video about it on YouTube for the 
rest of us. The service is an HTML 5 app, and so HTML 5 has gone from 
being too far away to care about to today's hot topic..."

Adobe and HTML5's Canvas
By Jonathan Snook.
"I had an epiphany and I hope somebody at Adobe has been paying 
attention to the HTML5 developments. Adobe is well positioned to take 
advantage of emerging browser features, most specifically canvas..."

HTML 5 Parsing
By John Resig.
"One of the biggest wins of the HTML 5 recommendation is a detailed 
specification outlining how parsing of HTML documents should work..."

HTML 5 and CSS 3: The Techniques You'll Soon Be Using
By Mads Kjaer.
"In this tutorial, we are going to build a blog page using 
next-generation techniques from HTML 5 and CSS 3. The tutorial aims to 
demonstrate how we will be building websites when the specifications 
are finalized and the browser vendors have implemented them. If you 
already know HTML and CSS, it should be easy to follow along..."

Accessibility for the HTML5 <video> Element
By Silvia Pfeiffer.
"In this paper, we describe existing implementations for putting 
subtitles and captions alongside the HTML5 <video> tag inside Web pages 
and a proposal for standardizing such approaches, which will make them 
interoperable and easier to be processed by automated tools..."

Decoding the HTML 5 Video Codec Debate
By Ryan Paul.

Ogg Theora, H.264 and the HTML 5 Browser Squabble
By Prince McLean.

HTML 5: Ogg Theora Vs H.264 In The Battle For A Web Video Standard
By Devin Coldewey.

HTML 5 Drops Open-Source Video Codec
By David Meyer.


247 Web Usability Guidelines
By userfocus.
"Although designing usable systems requires far more than simply 
applying guidelines, guidelines can still make a significant 
contribution to usability by promoting consistency and good practice. 
We use this list of guidelines in our consultancy work. For best 
results, remember to interpret the guideline in context - this requires 
a bit more thought but ensures you will get a lot more from your 

+13: XML.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Future of XHTML
By Philippe Le Hegaret and Ian Jacobs, W3C.
"When W3C announced the HTML and XHTML 2 Working Groups in March 2007, 
we indicated that we would continue to monitor the market for XHTML 2. 
W3C recognizes the importance of a clear signal to the community about 
the future of HTML. While we recognize the value of the XHTML 2 Working 
Group's contributions over the years, after discussion with the 
participants, W3C management has decided to allow the Working Group's 
charter to expire at the end of 2009 and not to renew it..."

By Jeffery Zeldman.
"The web's future isn't what the web's past cracked it up to be. 1999: 
XML is the light and XHTML is the way. 2009: XHTML is dead-kind of..."

An Unofficial Q & A about the Discontinuation of the XHTML2 WG
By Henri Sivonen.
"... many of the comments on Zeldman's post indicate that there are 
people who are badly misinformed about the matters surrounding this 
announcement. To help remedy that, here's some quick Q&A for getting 

In Defense of Web Developers
By Jeffery Zeldman.
"...XHTML is not dead (XHTML 2 is dead, thank goodness), and HTML 5 is 
not here yet. Between now and 2022, we have plenty of time to learn 
about HTML 5 and contribute to the discussion-and browser makers have 
13 years to get it right..."

Misunderstanding Markup
By Jeremy Keith.
"...The death of XHTML 2 does not mean the death of XHTML syntax. If 
you want to continue to close all tags and quote all attributes, you 
can do so. You can either use the existing XHTML 1 spec or you can use 
HTML 5. That's right; HTML 5 allows you to use whichever syntax you are 
most comfortable with..."

HTML 5 and XHTML 5 - one vocabulary, two serializations (Editor's First 
By Karl Dubost, Editor.
"This document provides summaries about the two serializations of the 
HTML 5 [HTML5] vocabulary specification. It documents the differences 
between the two serializations and their associated mime types. It's 
intended to be readable as a 'standalone' document."

By Jens Meiert.

Goodbye XHTML 2
By Bruce Lawson.

W3C, You Ignorant Slut
By Shane McCarron.

By Bruce Lawson.

XHTML 1, HTML 4, or HTML 5?
By Michel Bozgounov.

XHTML 1.0 Transitional vs. HTML 5
By stackoverflow.

X/HTML 5 vs. HTML 2
By xhtml.com.

Setting the Standards: HTML 5 vs. XHTML 2
By Eric Anderson.

XHTML 2 Dies a Lonely Death, Makes Room For HTML 5
By Scott Gilbertson.

Introduction to RDFa II
By Mark Birbeck.
"In part I of this series, we looked at how semantic features normally 
confined to the head of an HTML document can be used to add semantic 
richness to the elements of the body. Along the way, we defined six 
rules of RDFa. In part II, we'll learn how to add properties to an 
image, and how to add metadata to any item-and we'll add a few more 
rules to that list."

[Section one ends.]


+14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?

Accessibility Information.

Association Information.

Book Listings.

Cascading Style Sheets Information.

Color Information.

Dreamweaver Information.

Evaluation & Testing Information.

Event Information.

Flash Information.

Information Architecture Information.

JavaScript Information.

Miscellaneous Web Information.

Navigation Information.

PHP Information.

Sites & Blogs Listing.

Standards, Guidelines & Pattern Information.

Tool Information.

Typography Information.

Usability Information.

XML Information.

[Section two ends.]



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As a navigation aid for screen readers we do our best to conform to the 
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guideline information please visit:


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

[Issue ends.]

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