[webdev] Web Design Update: October 23, 2009
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Oct 23 06:13:03 CDT 2009
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 8, Issue 17, October 23, 2009.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 17 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
06: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
10: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Benefits of WCAG 2 Presentation
"The Benefits of WCAG 2 presentation is available in 2 formats..."
Guidelines for Nested Data Tables?
"...Are there any issues/guidelines in regards to nesting
By Robert B. Yonaitis.
"A Guide to Achieving Compliance on Web Sites and Intranets"
Guideline 2.3: Be careful with flashing visual content
By Olga Revilla.
"Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures."
Lightboxes and Keyboard Accessibility
By Roger Johansson.
"...Lightboxes can be very annoying to people who do not use a mouse.
The problem with keyboard accessibility isn't launching lightboxes.
That part usually works well. But after that the trouble starts..."
Google Accessibility Resources
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Descendant Selectors in CSS
By Virginia DeBolt.
"Descendant selectors in CSS are both one of the most simple and most
sophisticated of the tools in the CSS toolbox. Descendant selectors are
simple to understand and grasp. At the same time, using them well and
efficiently is one of the more sophisticated skills a designer can
Styling Column Backgrounds and Table Borders with CSS
By Virginia DeBolt.
"With a bit of HTML and a bit of CSS, you can add alternating column
background colors and borders to your data table. Here's an example of
such a data table, ready to be completed..."
CSS3 Trials: Box-Shadow And More
By Chris Casciano.
"I've had the opportunity to try a few bleeding edge techniques as a
means of enhancing the look of a site while keeping code and
By Sam Ruby.
"Works fine on elements that are position: fixed (example: my nav bar).
When I try to put it on either my articles or my section h2s, scrolling
becomes jerky on Firefox 3.5.3..."
Simplify List Margins with CSS
By Zach Dunn.
"After working with CSS for a while, it's easy to think that you know
every single property available. Today's quick tip in CSS is a reminder
that there are still overlooked (but worthwhile) styles out there."
Methodic Approach to CSS Coding: Four Bubbles Model
By Antonio Lupetti.
"Which approach is better to write CSS code? In general I always prefer
to use a methodic top-down approach I want to present you in this post.
I called this process Four Bubbles Model."
Comment Form Styling: Examples and Best Practices
By Gyorgy Fekete.
"...We searched for some examples and found original and creative ones.
Below we present these examples along with a few guidelines that a
designer should follow to make a great comment form..."
Graded Browser Support
"Graded Browser Support provides an inclusive definition of support and
a framework for taming the ever-expanding world of browsers and
Graded Browser Support Update: Q4 2009
By Eric Miraglia.
"This post announces an update to Graded Browser Support..."
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Usability Testing Versus Expert Reviews
By Janet M. Six.
"Under what circumstances is it more appropriate to do usability
testing versus an expert review? What are the benefits and weaknesses
of each method that make one or the other more appropriate in different
The Myth of Usability Testing
By Robert Hoekman Jr.
"Usability evaluations are good for many things, but determining a
team's priorities is not one of them. The Molich experiment proves a
single usability team can't discover all or even most major problems on
a site. But usability testing does have value as a shock treatment,
trust builder, and part of a triangulation process. Test for the right
reasons and achieve a positive outcome."
Eyetracking: Is It Worth It?
By Jim Ross.
"It is easy to get excited about eyetracking. Seeing where people look
while using your Web site, Web application, or software product sounds
like an opportunity to get amazing insights into their user experience.
But eyetracking is expensive and requires extra effort and specialized
knowledge. The heat maps and other visualizations certainly look
impressive, but what can you really learn from them? After using
eyetracking for the first time, many find that it is not easy to know
how to analyze the visualizations and make conclusions from them. Does
eyetracking really provide any additional insights you would not have
discovered anyway through traditional usability testing? Does the value
of eyetracking outweigh its limitations? This article will discuss and
answer these questions."
User Testing: You Don't Know Everything
By Nathanael Boehm.
"...you cannot design and implement a system assuming that because you
followed some heuristic design principles that it's all going to be
The Essence of Qualitative Research: 'Verstehen'
By Sam Ladner.
"'But how many people did you talk to?' If you've ever done qualitative
research, you've heard that question at least once. And the first time?
You were flummoxed. In 3 short minutes, you can be assured that will
never happen again..."
Survey Incentives: Response Rates and Data Quality
By National Business Research Institute.
"The logical concerns about the effects of incentives on data quality
have been disproved by countless studies, leaving only the fact that an
incentive is a practical, credible option to increase response rate
percentages for your customer surveys without sacrificing the validity
of your results."
Interview with Web Usability Guru, Jakob Nielsen
By Walter Apai.
"In this article, we'll be focusing on web usability and more
specifically, on the views of world renowned usability expert, Jakob
Five Cool PHP Array Functions
By Brandon Savage.
"Here are five of my favorite array functions, along with their
signatures and what they do."
+06: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
HTML+RDFa First Draft
Manu Sporny, Editor.
"This specification defines rules and guidelines for adapting the RDF
in XHTML: Syntax and Processing (RDFa) specification for use in the
HTML5 and XHTML5 members of the HTML family. The rules defined in this
document not only apply to HTML5 documents in non-XML and XML mode, but
also to HTML4 documents interpreted through the HTML5 parsing rules."
HTML, CSS, and Web Development Practices: Past, Present, and Future
By Jens Meiert.
"Articles with a title consisting of more than 15,000 characters don't
need an introduction."
Dealing with Multi-Track Video (and Audio)
By Silvia Pfeiffer.
"We are slowly approaching the stage where we want to make multi-track
video of the following type available and accessible..."
Video on the Web
By Mark Pilgrim.
"...HTML5 defines a standard way to embed video in a web page, using a
<video> element. Support for the <video> element is still evolving,
which is a polite way of saying it doesn't work yet. At least, it
doesn't work everywhere. But don't despair! There are alternatives and
fallbacks and options galore..."
HTML5 and Video in Email
By David Greiner.
"As momentum quickly builds behind HTML5, the new version of HTML and
XHTML, we've had a close eye on what impact this might have on HTML
email in the years to come. While the finer details of HTML5 are still
being finalized, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera have offered support
for much of the new technology for some time..."
HTML5: The Basics (1 of 4)
By Joshua Johnson.
"This is the first article in a four part series that will introduce
HTML5 and its basic features as well as explain the key differences
from HTML4.01 and XHTML 1.0 so you can start preparing yourself and
your sites for the transition. Over the next week we'll be focusing on
three major areas..."
This Week in HTML5 ? Episode 38
By Mark Pilgrim.
"...This week, there were some more refinements to microdata..."
Dancing Naked in the Streets: A Madman Takes on HTML 5
By Kurt Cagle.
"...No other computer language is designed to work when ill-formed, nor
should it be. Such ill-formedness is analogous to the excessive use of
default arguments in programs, a practice which ultimately can cause
serious maintenance issues and unexpected behaviors in your programs
that can be very difficult to track down. If something doesn't work, as
a code creator, I want my code to throw an exception so I can figure
out the problem, not simply ignore it until I end up blowing up a
rocket because of a misplaced semi-colon. I realize that this is a
browser issue rather than an HTML 5 issue, but the philosophy in the
latter very much drives the former..."
Microsoft to Help Move Canvas 2D API Out of HTML5 Spec?
By Dion Almaer.
"Eliot Graff of Microsoft wrote to public-html at w3.org..."
Your Questions Answered #3
By Richard Clark.
We're back with our (semi) regular round up of answering readers HTML5
related questions. Right, let's not mess about any longer and dive
straight in with the questions.
Header and Footer HTML5 Structural Goodness
By Niels Matthijs.
"With html5 two interesting html elements were introduced to the specs.
The header and footer element were added to the arsenal of the seasoned
web developer, ready to make the world of websites a better place. But
after the initial excitement it seemed that many didn't really
understand the need to introduce these elements. This article will run
down the most commonly asked question and will hopefully provide a
Web Accessibility Checker (beta)
By Robert B. Yonaitis.
"This tool is used to evaluate html content for accessibility problems."
Do I Have To Answer This Question? Mandatory Versus Optional Fields
"...In this article we're going to deep dive into another form design
detail: mandatory versus optional fields. We'll be looking at what the
two different types of fields are, how they should be indicated, and
indeed whether there is a true need for a distinction."
10 Tips on Writing Hero-Worthy Error Messages
By Christine Brodigan.
"...The lack of strong error messaging is a regular issue I encounter
as both a user and UX designer. As the bearer of bad news to users,
error messaging can be the element that determines whether your app
gets a 'Sale' or 'FAIL.'..."
Use Lists of 3-7 Items
By Rachel McAlpine.
"Ideally, dot-point lists should not be longer than around 7 items.
That's because the average person (you and I) can hold between 5-9
items in our short term memory..."
Put the Main Message First
By Rachel McAlpine.
"Put your main message or a summary of your document first, after the
headline. In fact, the very first 6 words should give a strong clue
about what's in the document..."
XForms 1.1 is a W3C Recommendation
"The Forms Working Group has published a W3C Recommendation of XForms
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+10: 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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