[webdev] Web Design Update: June 3, 2010

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Jun 3 06:13:30 CDT 2010

- Volume 8, Issue 49, June 3, 2010.

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.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Think About Accessibility Before You Start Developing Your Web Site or
Web Application
By Tom Babinszki.
"Have you ever found out that your web site or web application is not
Section 508 compliant after you put all that work into it? Even worse,
have you been given a short ultimatum to fix it?..."

Future Web Accessibility: HTML5 <input> Extensions
By Aaron Andersen.
"This is the fourth in a multipost series about the immediate and
likely future of web accessibility. Each week or so I'll discuss a
different upcoming technology, tag, platform, or system from an
accessibility perspective. Additions, corrections, or further thoughts
are welcome in the comments..."

If You Use the Accesskey Attribute, Specify Unique Values
By Roger Johansson.
"The HTML accesskey attribute can be used to assign a keyboard
shortcut to a link or form control. The intention is to let keyboard
users quickly navigate to different parts of a web page or trigger
links to other pages..."

Captioning YouTube Videos
By John E. Brandt.
"So, I've learned a few things here: First, YouTube's 'automatic
captioning/machine translation' is far from perfect and must not be
used, at this point, for anything other than amusement. I am not sure
if Google has a timeline on when this will get better, but until it
produces accuracy at a 85% or higher basis, I would not rely on it as
a usable transcription. Second, while machine translation, followed by
human editing is clearly more accurate than machine translation alone,
the time savings may not be all that one might imagine. I'm guessing
that a professional transcriptionist using state of the art equipment
would have been able to transcribe the three minutes of video a lot
faster than I was able to edit the machined version. Last, we are
still a long way from fully accurate S-t-T and if you are going to use
videos on your websites, and want them to be accessible, you are
probably still going to have to pay someone to create a
transcript/caption file for you."

How Do Web Browsers Perform When Copying and Pasting Alternate Text?
By Vlad Alexander.
"In HTML, an image is made up of visual and textual data (alternate
text). Most Web browsers attempt to render alternate text when visual
data is not available. However, only one browser currently uses
alternate text when pasting images into other applications..."

Blog Mastermind: Combining Two Passions to Create an Accessible Blogosphere
By Glenda Watson Hyatt.
"On June 14th, I'm launching Blog Accessibility Mastermind - a
six-lesson course introducing bloggers the field of web accessibility
and giving them ways to increase their blog's accessibility, within
the confines of their blog theme and blogging platform. This
introductory level course at an one-time introductory price will be
limited to 15 people..."

Mind of the Blind
By Betsi Robinson and Lanita Withers Goins.
"Student's research aims to make the internet more accessible for
those with vision impairments."

The Business Rationale for Virtual Accessibility
By Kel Smith.
"Advocacy for inclusive design takes many forms. There is the
user-centric position arguing that accommodating those with the
highest degree of physical or cognitive challenge improves the
usability of products and services for all people. There is the legal
perspective, perhaps most notably demonstrated in the 2006
class-action lawsuit between the National Federation of the Blind and
Target Corp..."


CSS3 and HTML5 It's Everywhere!
By Niels Matthijs.
"...It's not that I don't welcome html5 and css3. Far from it
actually. But for now, people seem more interested in abusing these
technologies rather than giving it some good thought first. And I
really do understand the need to experiment, trying to find novel and
breakthrough uses for these new technologies, but without a word of
warning and with a big bold 'sexy' in the topic title these techniques
will find their way to the live web, greatly diminishing the web
experience for many out there. Think wisely when coming up with css3
and html5 articles. Warn against the pitfalls and don't advertise
everything as sexy or cool just because it is html5 and css3. Think of
what web design stands for, not about how cool you look using one or
other new, flashy and hip technology. Just my two cents and sorry if
this rant spoiled your fun working with these new technologies."

CSS3 Best Practices
By Louis Lazaris.
"...Consider this a starting point for discussing best practices for
CSS3, especially since there don't seem to be many articles available
yet that exclusively discuss CSS3 best practices..."


CSS Layouts Part 3 - Universal Selectors, Dreamweaver CS5 Site Setup and More
By Stefan Mischook.
"This is part 3 of our new series on CSS layouts. In this video we set
up the project in Dreamweaver CS5, learn about universal CSS selectors
and using the Dreamweaver CS5 CSS tools..."

Dreamweaver CS5 and HTML5
By Greg Rewis.
"Unless you've been living under a rock, you know the underlying
language of the web, HTML, has begun to (finally) evolve once again
with the browsers slowly beginning to support pieces of HTML5 and


Ten Usability Testing Tools
By Graham Charlton.
"There are plenty of tools around which allow website owners to
conduct tests and attempt to identify problem areas on their

+05: EVENTS.

Web Directions U.S.A.
September 21-25, 2010.
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

+06: FLASH.

Awe Dee Oh
By Jeremy Keith
"You may have noticed a lot of 'HTML5 vs. Flash' talk lately.
Substitute 'HTML5' for "'HTML5 video.'"


Accessibility Does Not Prevent You From Using JavaScript or Flash
By Roger Johansson.
"A common misconception is that in order to make a website accessible
you have to abstain from using JavaScript or Flash. Almost every time
I hold a workshop on Web standards and accessibility there is at least
one participant who believes that accessibility limits what they can
do on the Web by telling them to stay away from anything that isn't
pure HTML."

Progressive Enhancement For Better Performance
By Chris Casciano.
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to the great crowd at the New
York Web Performance Group Meetup. Fellow presenter Marco Carag (Front
End Manager at The Knot) laid down a strong foundation with a
discussion of where HTML and CSS sit on the Progressive Enhancement
ladder. Following that I came in and talked about JavaScript's
different roles in PE, client side performance, and browser support of
upcoming Web Standards. Here's the slide deck from my portion of the
JavaScript, Progressive Enhancement & Performance..."


The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains
By Nicholas Carr.
"...The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of
thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify information for
further study, it's becoming an end in itself-our preferred method of
both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the Net's treasures, we are
blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even
our culture. What we're experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a
reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: We are evolving from
cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the
electronic data forest. In the process, we seem fated to sacrifice
much of what makes our minds so interesting."


Browse Versus Search: Stumbling into the Unknown Unknown
By Tom Johnson.
"...I will admit that we're a search-driven culture. Our fascination
with Google is that it seems to contain answers to nearly any question
we ask it. We search for information, and we find it. As a result, we
can skip all the old-school navigation and just give users a search
box, right? Not exactly..."

A Sitemap Makes Your Website More Google Friendly
By Sukrit Dhandhania.
"A sitemap is like a table of contents page for a website, offering
links to all pages on the site. These links are categorized and
organized in hierarchical form, which makes finding them quite easy.
When a visitor can't navigate her way to the page she is looking for,
she can refer to the sitemap page to find it. Moreover, sitemaps help
make your website more search engine friendly. By providing text- or
XML-based links to key pages, the sitemap offers search engines a
great way to index your website's contents..."

Experiments in Delinkification
By Nicholas Carr.
"...The link is, in a way, a technologically advanced form of a
footnote. It's also, distraction-wise, a more violent form of a
footnote. Where a footnote gives your brain a gentle nudge, the link
gives it a yank. What's good about a link - its propulsive force - is
also what's bad about it..."


The Mission of W3C
By Jeff Jaffe.
...W3C needs to: 1. Drive a Global and accessible Web. There is little
dispute that we should work towards a Web for All. But so many are
deprived sufficient access - for reasons of handicap, language,
poverty, and illiteracy - that we need a stronger technical program to
improve the situation. 2. Provide a Better Value Proposition for
Users. Everyone is a consumer and everyone is an author. Yet our focus
has been on vendors that build products. We need to complement that
with a better user focus. 3. Make W3C the best place for new standards
work. I blogged last month about the expanding Web platform. There is
so much new innovation and we must encourage the community to bring
their work rapidly to W3C. 4. Strengthen our core mission. With the
expansion of innovation on the Web, we cannot do it all. We must be
very crisp about what we achieve in W3C, what companion organizations
achieve, and how do we relate..."

Linked Data: It's is Not Like that; It's Like a Bag of Potato Chips
By Dan Connolly.
"...W3C has established principles including Web for All and Web on
Everything. We've established a technical vision as well. There is
broad agreement to these principles and technical vision. People are
asking us to be more tangible and specific in how we achieve this.
There are many ways of summarizing the requests, but four recurring
themes best capture the idea. W3C needs to..."

Future of Web Design: HTML5 Coding Demo
By Bruce Lawson.
"I was privileged to be invited to speak at Future of Web Design last
week. I gave a live coding demo rather than slides, so view the source
of the (intentionally-ugly) page I built over the 40 minutes. "


The Role of Accessibility in the Usability Profession Today - and Tomorrow
By David Sloan.
"I had the honor of taking part in a panel session discussing How Does
Accessibility Fit into Today's Usability Practice? at the Usability
Professionals' Association Conference (UPA 2010) in Munich last

The Discipline of Content Strategy
By Kristina Halverson, Brain Traffic.
"We, the people who make websites, have been talking for fifteen years
about user experience, information architecture, content management
systems, coding, metadata, visual design, user research, and all the
other disciplines that facilitate our users' abilities to find and
consume content..."

Language and the Role of the Web Writer
By Dey Alexander.
"...The main goal of online content is to communicate. If web writers
have an educative role to play it is a narrow one - to educate users
in the subject matter at hand. To do that, we must ensure we choose
words that our users understand, present information they need and
want to know, and do so in a way that works well for on-screen
reading. We are not hired to teach language skills. It is not our job
to challenge the reading skills of our users by using words with which
they may not be familiar..."

Don't Use 'Humpty Dumpty' Words - Speak Your Customer's Language
By Dey Alexander.
"...If you use a word to mean something other than its common meaning,
you run the risk of giving people the wrong message...If laws or rules
require a special use of terms that people may then misunderstand, say

Web Content and the Burden of Time
By Dey Alexander.
"...People don't want to read web pages that look like dense walls of
text - it takes too much time. They don't want to waste time reading
things that aren't relevant to their current task or goal. They want
the answer to their question as fast as they can get it..."

Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please
By Joseph Kimble.
"For years, plain-language advocates have sought to debunk the myths
and misconceptions about plain language.(1)  I'll briefly mention them
again only because they are so stubborn and lawyers can be so blinded
by them. They need to be exposed at every opportunity. First, plain
language does not mean baby talk or dumbing down the language. It
means clear and effective communication - the opposite of legalese -
and it has a long literary tradition..."

Gestural Interfaces: A Step Backwards In Usability
By Donald A. Norman.
"...the lack of consistency, inability to discover operations, coupled
with the ease of accidentally triggering actions from which there is
no recovery threatens the viability of these systems. We urgently need
to return to our basics, developing usability guidelines for these
systems that are based upon solid principles of interaction design,
not on the whims of the company human interface guidelines and
arbitrary ideas of developers."

Perception and the Design of Forms - Part 1 Shape
By Jessica Enders.
"This is the first in a 6-part series on human visual perception and
its influence on the design of forms. After introducing the series, we
look at our first key visual element: shape."

[Section one ends.]


+12: 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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