[webdev] Web Design Update: October 16, 2009

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Oct 16 06:44:53 CDT 2009

- Volume 8, Issue 16, October 16, 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:

10: PHP.
12: TOOLS.
15: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Perspectives on Web Accessibility
By W3C.
"Along with the redesigned W3C website, we have a new Accessibility 
page that introduces the what, why, where, and how of web 
accessibility. Read what it says about how the impact of disabilities 
can be radically changed for people using the Web when websites, web 
technologies, and web tools are properly designed."

Google Wave Preview Accessibility Review
By Jared Smith.
"Totally inaccessible...In short, the potential for Google Wave to 
streamline and enhance communication for people with disabilities, 
especially screen reader users, is great. Could Google Wave be made 
accessible? I believe it could be..."

Improve Your Keyboard Accessibility
By Roger Johansson.
"One of my pet peeves is websites that aren't keyboard friendly. I've 
been on about it in posts like Don't forget keyboard navigation and Do 
not remove the outline from links and form controls..."

Call for Law to Improve Websites for Disabled
By Tom Espiner.
"European information commissioner Viviane Reding has proposed a 
pan-European law that would ensure website accessibility for disabled 

5 Accessible and Pretty CSS Tips
By Tim Nash.
"We are in the last few bits of the new site and while designing it a 
major focus has been on accessibility and not just for search engines."


Basic iPhone Styling
By Jonathan Stark.
Chapter from "Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript":
"In this chapter, I'll show you how to apply CSS styles to a bunch of 
existing HTML pages so that they are easily navigable on an iPhone. So, 
in addition to moving closer to building a native app, you'll be 
learning a practical (and valuable) skill that you can use immediately."

Advanced iPhone Styling
By Jonathan Stark.
Chapter from "Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript":
"In this chapter, we'll lay the groundwork to make those same pages 
behave like an iPhone app. Specifically, we'll discuss using Ajax to 
turn a full website into a single page app, how to create a back button 
with history using JavaScript, and how to take advantage of the Web 
Clip Icon and Full Screen Mode features of the iPhone to launch your 
app without Mobile Safari intruding upon the user experience."

How Do I Design Web Pages for the iPhone?
By Thomas Boutell.
"Apple's iPhone is an exciting device. But how do you design web pages 
specifically to look their best on the iPhone?..."

Remove the Outline from Links on :active only
By Roger Johansson.
"A few months ago I emphasized the importance of not making things 
difficult for people who do not use a mouse by removing the outline 
from links and form controls. If leaving the outline property at its 
default is not an option for you, perhaps the technique Patrick Lauke 
describes in Better CSS outline suppression could work. It's so simple 
I can't believe I haven't heard or thought of it before - remove the 
outline for the :active state only..."

How to Create Simple and Effective Sub Navs with Definition Lists
By Mark Otto.
"We use our extranet daily to present a lot of work to our clients and 
we have several established ways of presenting that information, 
including the use of a dl-powered navigation list. When we need simple 
and effective on-page navigation, to either jump to content on the page 
or flip to another view, we use the DL element. Its sub elements, the 
DT and DD, make it very easy for us to create inline links with clear 
intent and purpose."

The Great WebKit Comparison Table
By Peter-Paul Koch.
"On this page I compare 19 WebKits in order to prove that there is no 
'WebKit on Mobile' and to figure out which one is the best. My hope is 
that eventually I'm going to gain some insight in the 'family tree' of 
all WebKits."

CSS Differences in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8
By Louis Lazaris.
"One of the most bizarre statistical facts in relation to browser use 
has to be the virtual widespread numbers that currently exist in the 
use of Internet Explorer versions 6, 7 and 8. As of this writing, 
Internet Explorer holds about a 65% market share combined across all 
their currently used browsers. In the web development community, this 
number is much lower, showing about a 40% share..."


Using Dreamweaver Site Map View to Change or Update Links
By Charles Anderson.
"Web design software like Dreamweaver can make creating Web pages 
relatively simple. Because of this, it is easy to fall into the habit 
of rapidly creating pages without a lot of thought about updating them, 
particularly when website links change. Dreamweaver's 'Site View' 
option can help."


Do Users Fail a Task and Still Rate It As Easy?
By Jeff Sauro.
"...So do users who fail a task still rate it as easy?  If we restrict 
"easy" to only mean the maximum level of satisfaction, then about 14% 
of users do. If we more loosely define easy as anything above 75% of 
the maximum score (3.75 out of 5 and 4.9 out of 7), then this happens 
about 1/3 of the time. I'm inclined to think that it's those extreme 
responses that garner all the attention. There are likely a number of 
reasons for the less than perfect correlation between task success and 
satisfaction rating..."

Hard Data From Think-Aloud Tests
By Usability Advice.
"A well-executed think-aloud study can yield useful quantitative data 
(for example, rate of an occurrence or behavior) as well as qualitative 
data. We recommend that before you invest in more costly testing 
techniques, you try collecting and analyzing the quantitative data you 
may be missing from your think-aloud studies..."

+05: EVENTS.

Computer, Information, and Systems Sciences, and Engineering (CISSE 09)
December 4-12, 2009.
Online Conference.


Password Unmasking
By Jeremy Keith.
"A few months ago, Jakob Nielsen wrote about password. Specifically, he 
wrote about the standard practice of the contents of password fields 
being masked by default. In his typical black/white, on/off, 
right/wrong Boolean world view, Father Jakob called for this practice 
to be abolished completely..."

Creating User-Defined JavaScript Objects, Properties and Methods
By Chrysanthus Forcha.
"Did you know that the user could create his own objects, properties 
and methods? This is the third and last part of a series on adding and 
deleting JavaScript properties and methods. First, we shall see how to 
add and delete properties and methods at run time. After that I will 
show you the privilege that JavaScript gives to the user..."

Properties and Methods of Custom 2D JavaScript Arrays
By Chrysanthus Forcha.
"This is part two of a series that discusses custom 2D JavaScript 
arrays. In this part of the series, we see how to develop the 
properties and methods of our custom 2D array..."


Thoughts on the HighEdWeb 2009 Experience
By Jesse Rodgers.
"On the way home yesterday I wrote this post in my head about dozen 
times. Lots buzzing around after some great discussions and some late 
nights in Milwaukee. HighEdWeb is by far the best conference focused on 
web technology, strategy, and networking in higher education. It isn't 
because of the speakers (although some were simply amazing), it is 
because it brings together people from the most diverse collection of 
schools from across North America all with similar problems but 
different solutions..."

Victor Tsaran The Yahoo! Accessibility Manager (Interview)
By Tom Babinszki.
"I recently spoke with Victor Tsaran, who works as the accessibility 
manager at Yahoo!. I asked him about how he started to work with the 
company, what accessibility means to him personally and what Yahoo! 
does to ensure the accessibility of their products. Below, you can read 
what Victor says about the current Yahoo! accessibility work, and his 
testimony on how accessibility makes a difference in his own life..."

The Web's Inventor Regrets One Small Thing
By Steve Lohr.
".... He would get rid of the double slash '//' after the 'http:' in 
Web addresses. The double slash, though a programming convention at the 
time, turned out to not be really necessary..."

Cameron Adams - Making Waves
The audio recording of Cameron Adams's Web Directions South 2009 
presentation on Google Wave is available.

Kelly Goto - WorkFLOW
The audio recording of Kelly Goto's Web Directions South 2009 
presentation on the FLOW Method is available.

Donna Spencer - Information Seeking Behaviors
The audio recording of Donna Spencer's Web Directions South 2009 
presentation on information behaviors is available.


An Evolution of Search
By John D. Holt and David J. Miller.
"The technology of information retrieval systems continues to evolve, 
and in particular, the technology of search has continued to evolve. A 
new stage in the evolution of search has arrived with the advent of 
entity-based searching. This paper provides a brief review of some of 
the earlier stages of search evolution in the context of the 
evolutionary pressures of the concurrent improvement of both precision 
and recall."

When Alphabetical Order Is Not Logical
By Elizabeth Buie.
"Every so often, the question comes up among interaction designers and 
usability professionals regarding whether alphabetical order is a 
logical order. We've all seen numerous lists that appear in 
alphabetical order (and in which it makes sense): country, state, 
surname, street name, auto manufacturer. We've also seen many that do 
not: month, day of week, browser history, File menu."

+09: PHP.

Object Orientated Programming- The Beginning
By J. Leidago Noabeb.
"This article explores the new Object Orientated Programming that 
became available in PHP 5. Get some hands-on experience as we create an 
application demonstrating the concepts."

How To Write A Function In PHP
By Brandon Savage.
"For new developers, especially developers who have never been 
programmers before, moving from writing simple scripts to writing 
functions is a process that takes time. I developed in PHP for years 
before I wrote a single function. I also never found a comprehensive 
tutorial on how functions work, or how to write them. There's 
documentation in the manual, but it's a bit hard to grasp if you're 
new. This article is about writing functions..."


The Future of HTML 5
By Bruce Lawson.
"At FOWA London 2009 Bruce Lawson gave an introduction to HTML 5 and 
how it might be used in the future..."

Why Designers Should Care About HTML5
By Cennydd Bowles.
"...there's more to HTML5 than simply keeping our skills sharp. It 
could make a big difference to the way we design for the web..."

The Coming HTML 5 Train Wreck
By Kurt Cagle.
"...My prediction? We're looking at a train wreck about to happen. 
Vendors will implement those parts of the HTML 5 spec that happen to 
best fulfill their own particular objectives, and will be sloppy about 
implementing anything else - sloppy specs produce sloppy conformance. 
We'll be back to the days of the late HTML 3 spec...My hope? At some 
point in the very near future, older and wiser heads will prevail, will 
take the kids out of the sandbox and take them inside for a bath, then 
spend some time cleaning up the mess. There are some good ideas buried 
in HTML 5, but shoveling the muck to get to them is probably not worth 
the effort."

An Introduction to HTML5
By Robert Nyman.
It seems like everyone is talking about HTML5 now, but the discussion 
is spread out and seldom gives the background, explanation what HTML5 
really is and if/when it's usable..."

YUI Theater Brad Neuberg - Introduction to HTML5
By Eric Miraglia.
"Brad Neuberg of the Google Developer programs stopped by Yahoo! last 
week talk about HTML5. Brad has been hard at work on SVG Web lately, 
but he covered a lot of ground in this talk, including SVG/Canvas 
rendering, CSS transforms, app-cache, local databases, web workers, and 
much more. Brad does a fantastic job identifying the scope and 
practical implications of the changes that are coming along with HTML5 
support in modern browsers. And he pulls no punches about which 
browsers fall into the 'modern' category at this point."

Are We Still Arguing About Validation?
By John Foliot.
"As someone who has been teaching HTML for over a decade, I have 
recollections of students (authoring in Notepad) in total panic because 
they forgot to close their </table>s, and thus Netscape 3 would deliver 
a blank page (Draconian error handling has a history too) - I also 
remember that they only made that mistake once, and never forgot it 
after that..."

WebJam 2009 Talk on Video Accessibility
By Silvia Pfeiffer.
"A 3 min presentation I gave at yesterday's WebJam in Sydney on video 
accessibility with the HTML5 video element - proposed tags and actual 

This Week in HTML5 - Episode 37
By Mark Pilgrim.
"The big news this week is microdata. Google sponsored a usability 
study on microdata syntax, which resulted in significant changes to the 
spec [r4066]..."

dd-details Wrong Again
By Remy Sharp.
"You may recall that I blogged about legend not being so legend as the 
heading element for details or figure. After enough noise was made the 
spec was changed so that the heading and contents of these elements can 
now be marked up using the dt/dd combo. Although not immediately 
obvious why it's the right choice, it appeared to work for our needs?at 
first. Of course now, it's been discovered that it's actually a pretty 
bad idea..."

+11: TOOLS.

"Modernizr is a javascript library which detects your browsers' support 
for the latest CSS and HTML5 features. Essentially it tells you how 
modern your browser is."

By M. Onyschuk.
"iPhone Browser Simulator provides an iPhone sized web view with which 
to test your iPhone targeted apps, all in a pretty iPhone-inspired 

By Atmail.


@font-face and Performance
By Steve Souders.
"Given the high number of posts about @font-face recently, I expect 
we'll see more performance issues and workarounds as we grapple with 
how to use this feature in today's browsers while ensuring our users 
get the fast experience they want and deserve..."


Inside User Research at YouTube
By YouTube Inc.
"If you think about watching a video online, it may seem pretty easy. A 
player, a play/pause button and some content. Done. But what about if 
the video is being played on a mobile phone? Or on a big screen? What 
if it's being viewed in Nairobi? Or Shanghai? Now let's say it's being 
viewed by someone who wants to share her thoughts on the video and by 
someone who wants to do nothing more than watch more videos. Before you 
know it, watching a video becomes more complicated than you realize."

Google Wave Doesn't Stop Information Overload
By Mark Hurst.
"The solution to overload isn't primarily Google Wave or any other 
tool, because technology isn't the primary reason for overload. Tools 
are essential, but overload is primarily a behavioral problem: on the 
sending side people aren't writing clearly or acting with empathy for 
the people they email to; on the receiving side, people haven't been 
trained to spend five minutes a day emptying their inbox and sending 
action items to a todo list..."

Stop Counting Clicks
By David Hamill.
The 3-click-rule is the Freddy Kreuger of web design advice. You think 
it's finally dead and then it comes back and starts slashing up 
sensible debate about usable design. I'm hoping to convince you to stop 
talking about the 3-click rule. I don't mean substituting it with the 
4-click rule or the 5-click rule. You should stop counting clicks as a 
measure of usability altogether.

Streams, Walls, and Feeds - Distributing Content Through Social 
Networks and RSS
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Users like the simplicity of messages that pass into oblivion over 
time, but were frequently frustrated by unscannable writing, overly 
frequent postings, and their inability to locate companies on social 

The 'Search, Compare, Verify' Generation
By Gerry McGovern.
"Success on the Web is not about making customers do what you want. It 
is about helping customers do what they want..."

5 Tips For Creating An Effective Call To Action Button
By Jennifer Farley.
"Call to action buttons are the best way to grab attention, but you 
need to make it clear exactly what it is you want the user to do. Here 
are five tips to keep in mind when designing a call to action button or 

Restoring Spring to iPhone/iPod Touch Springboard
by Bruce Tognazzini.
"...In this article, I want to present a simple solution to 
Springboard's current limitations, limitations that are about to 
plateau app sales, costing both Apple and its developers billions of 

+14: XML.

Beyond XHTML (Keynote from SVGOpen)
By Sam Ruby.
"One of the factors limiting SVG adoption is the association with XML. 
XML has been helpful in a number of ways: from providing a concrete 
syntax that enables both a focus on higher level constructs and 
simplifies tooling. It also has been an inhibitor in places where tight 
integration with less well formed content is a necessity. This talk is 
about small lessons that you can learn from the web to increase 
adoption of SVG, and big lessons of the web that you will have to deal 
that will be direct consequences of the 'unwashed masses' copy/pasting 
SVG fragments onto MySpace pages or equivalent and expecting it to all 
'just work'."

[Section one ends.]


+15: 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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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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