[webdev] Web Design Update: June 12, 2010

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Sat Jun 12 05:36:29 CDT 2010

- Volume 8, Issue 50, June 12, 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:

03: COLOR.
09: PHP.
13: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Website Accommodation Rules on the Horizon
By Jim Evans.
"The DOJ's message was clear then, and it's clear now -- the ADA
doesn't just apply to the physical world -- it also applies in

Blind Students Sue Law Schools Over Online Applications
By Sophia Li.
"...The four law schools-Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Chapman
University School of Law, University of California Hastings College of
the Law, and Whittier College Law School-highly encourage or require
students to apply through the Law School Admission Council's Web site,
which blind applicants say they must seek assistance to use. Arguing
that the system amounts to discrimination, the group, the National
Federation of the Blind, joined the students, Deepa Goraya, Bruce J.
Sexton, and Claire Stanley, in suing the schools and the admission

The Challenges of Deaf Blind Internet Users
By Tom Babinszki.
"...Here, Ruby joins us one more time and shows us the challenges
faced by deaf blind persons as they use the Internet..."

Features of a Cognitively Accessible Web Site
By John Rochford.
"...Dr. Tamor's work mirrors that of my own and of others who
specialize in cognitive Web accessibility. The principles she
described and/or demonstrated included..."

Cognitive Web Accessibility Assessments - Detailed Results By Site
By John Rochford.
"I published an index of detailed results, by site, of my cognitive
Web accessibility assessments."

Web Accessibility Benefits Persons with Disabilities and ... Who Else?
By Tom Babinszki.
"...I invite you to read on and get to know another important group of
people who can benefit from web accessibility..."

Writing Text Alternatives for Maps
By Dey Alexander.
"When you use maps on your website you need to provide text
alternatives. These will help people who have problems accessing
information using graphical or interactive maps."

Can Checklist Accessibility be Harmful?
By Vlad Alexander.
"Accessibility checklists based on WCAG or Section 508 guidelines were
intended to help make Web sites accessible. These checklists are meant
to ensure that the process of accessibility checking is done
consistently and comprehensively. So how can accessibility checklists
be harmful?..."


Showing and Hiding Content with Pure CSS3
By Corey Mwamba.
"Modern websites and applications are more dynamic than old style web
pages, with several pieces of well-placed JavaScript providing
smoother content updates, more intuitive user feedback and more
responsive controls. One very common feature is the
expanding/collapsing or shown/hidden box, whether this is a tabbed
interface, a content "tray" on the side that can be slid out and then
put away again, or a complex tree menu with expanding/collapsing
sub-menus. Generally, these features are implemented via JavaScript,
however using CSS3 it is possible to create such content using only
HTML and CSS - no JavaScript required. In this article I'll show you
how this works, including a few examples to get you started."

The CSS white-space Property Explained
By Louis Lazaris.
"CSS has a pretty useful property called white-space that I'm guessing
goes unnoticed among CSS beginners. You can probably live without this
property for quite some time, but once you learn how to use it, it
will come in very handy and you'll find yourself going back to it over
and over again..."

+03: COLOR.

Does Color Impact How Users View a Web Portal Page?
By J. Owens and S. Shrestha.
"This study investigated the eye movement patterns of users viewing a
portal web page. Previous research has shown that web portal pages are
scanned by row from top to bottom. In the current study, the color of
one channel title was manipulated in two different page locations to
see what impact it would have on scan patterns. Results indicate that
users fixated on the top-center channel first, irrespective of study
condition. Eye movements after the first few fixations appear to be
impacted by the color of the channel title, but only when it was
located on the left side of the page. Also, increased fixation counts
on the channel title did not result in an increased number of
fixations on the content of the respective channel. Implications of
these results to portal web page design are discussed."


Dreamweaver Templates: Customizable Starter Designs for Web Designers, Part 2
By Chris Converse.
This article loosely builds on my previous article, Dreamweaver
templates: Customizable starter designs for beginners.


Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites: Observing Users Who
Work With Screen Readers
By Mary Frances Theofanos and Janice (Ginny) Redish.
"...To truly meet the needs of all users, it is not enough to have
guidelines that are based on technology. It is also necessary to
understand the users and how they work with their tools. For example,
just realizing that vision-impaired users do not listen to the entire
page is critical for designing usable pages for them. In this paper,
we have developed guidelines for bringing accessibility and usability
together based on observing, listening to, and talking with blind
users as they work with Web sites and their screen readers."

10 Tips for 'Ambush Guerilla User Testing'
By Martin Belam.
"Over the last couple of years I've been practicing 'ambush guerilla
user testing', which is basically the art of pouncing on lone people
in cafes and public spaces, and quickly filming them whilst they use a
website for a couple of minutes. It isn't by any means a formal
research technique, but you can soon build up a valuable clip library
of initial reactions to you and your competitors' products, and tease
out interesting anecdotal evidence about the way that people use and
feel about your website."

Overcoming Fear of Moderating UX Research Sessions
By Dana Chisnell.
"It always happens: Someone asks me about screwing up as an amateur
facilitator/moderator for user research and usability testing
sessions. This time, I had just given a pep talk to a bunch of user
experience professionals about sharing responsibility with the whole
team for doing research. 'But what if the (amateur) designer does a
bad job of moderating the session?'"

+06: EVENTS.

PHP Live with Kevin Yank
Starts June 14, 2010.

CSS Live with Russ Weakley
Starts July 5, 2010.

Internet User Experience Conference
July 24-28, 2010.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.

CSS Summit
July 28 2010.


User Experience is More Than Wireframes and Prototypes
By Gary Barber.
"There seems to be a bit of a trend at the moment, within
developmental circles to just add a  few wireframes and develop a
prototype or two, and then you can declare you are across the user
experience design process. The thing is User Experience is a lot more
than just a few simple techniques, it's an entire collaborative design
process, in a way it's not just a single methodology at all..."

Globalizing an Information Architecture
By Louis Rosenfeld.
"So in the interest of resurrecting a six-year old conversation, here
are some questions. I plan to use these to get my client to think
strategically about the challenge of developing a multi-lingual,
multi-cultural, and multi-regional information architecture. Being the
information architect that I am, naturally I categorized them."


New Windows with JavaScript and the target Attribute
By Roger Johansson.
"I've written a few articles about techniques that use JavaScript to
open new browser windows, the most recent one being Opening new
windows with JavaScript, version 1.2. A very quick summary of my
reason for using JavaScript is that it enables me to use strict HTML
4.01 and XHTML doctypes, which do not allow the target attribute..."

+09: PHP.

10 Easy Solutions for PHP String Manipulation
By W. Jason Gilmore.
"... In this article I highlight the ideal solutions to 10 common
string manipulation tasks..."

9 Magic Methods for PHP
By Lorna Jane Mitchell.
"Following on from my previous two posts, showing a gentle
introduction to OOP in PHP and some slightly more advanced concepts,
I'd like to take a dive into the magic methods in PHP. It might be
magic, but no wands are required..."


The dl Element
By Mike Robinson.
"The <dl> element existed in HTML 4, but it's been repurposed in
HTML5. Let the Doctor explain what's changed and how it can be

dl-dd-dt Sounds Like Stammering to Me
By Niels Matthijs.
"... This structural weakness carries over to styling, something most
people who've tried to properly style a dl should have experienced
already. It's doable as long as the couples are displayed as a typical
list, but try anything fancier and you're dead out of luck. The new
definition of the element further underlines its structural weakness.
Should you use the dl for meta data, there is no proper way to add
extra semantic value .."

HTML 5 has Cool Stuff - New Input Types!
By Joe Dolson.
"Even though many elements of HTML  5 have only limited application at
this time due to lacking browser support, there's little reason not to
make use of them. The design of the markup language is intended to
minimize dependence on user agents, failing invisibly if the browser
doesn't offer that feature, which helps encourage early use of new

The W3C Bites Back?
By Shelley Powers.
"This has been a long time coming, and not sure where it will go. It
started innocuously enough: remove a paragraph associated with the alt
attribute, about user agents using some form of heuristics to
determine replacement text. It wasn't associated with a bug-it
predated the current decision process. It did have an issue, though,
Issue 66. Consensus was: remove the text. Simple, easy, and absolutely
no impact on HTML5. Except..."


@font-face Hurdles and Tips
By Estelle Weyl.
"Web site design has been hampered by the limited number of fonts
available to most clients. Designers have been using image replacement
and methods such as sIFR and Cufon to make up for limited choices in
typography. Not anymore. With basically universal support of embedded
fonts, we now have more options. This article discusses hurdles and
tips to embedding fonts with @font-face."

Drop Cap - The Next Generation
By James Edwards.
"Recently I wrote about the drop-cap technique we've used in the blogs
redesign: A Simple CSS Drop Cap. One comment really caught my
interest, because it was asking about a situation I'd never even

Free Will for Typeface Selection - Myth or Reality?
By D. Fox.
"Typeface appropriateness is important to consider when creating a
document so that the typeface persona does not conflict with the
intent/content. Unfortunately, the design of many typeface choice sets
(e.g. Microsoft Word) are not optimal. The size and organization of
most typeface choice sets may cause users to avoid the decision of
selecting a typeface different from the default. This reliance on the
status quo typeface (e.g. Arial, Calibri, Cambria, and Times New
Roman) may lead users to use less appropriate typefaces for their
document type. This study examined whether there is evidence to
support the hypothesis that the status quo bias is exhibited when
selecting a typeface. It also examined whether there are limitations
to which typeface is accepted as the status quo. Results of this study
lend support to the hypothesis that users exhibit the status quo bias
for typeface selection, and also show that there are limitations to
which typeface will be accepted as the status quo."

Web Fonts at the Crossing
By Richard Fink.
"Everything you wanted to know about web fonts but were afraid to ask.
Richard Fink summarizes the latest news in web fonts, examining
formats, rules, licenses, and tools. He creates a checklist for
evaluating font hosting and obfuscation services like Typekit; looks
at what's coming down the road (from problems of advanced typography
being pursued by the CSS3 Fonts Module group, to the implications of
Google-hosted fonts); and wraps up with a how-to on making web fonts
work today."


About Pages: Good, Bad, and Missing
By John Hyde.
"Users rarely begin their relationship with a company though its about
page. More often than not, they learn about us based on what we do;
the product or service that we offer. Why, then, should they want to
learn more? About pages help users discover who lives behind the
websites we create."

People Make Mistakes
By Susan Weinschenk.
"...People make mistakes. Whether the user makes a mistake in working
with a computer, or a company that makes a mistake by releasing
software that has too many errors, or a designer designs something
that is unusable because he or she doesn't understand what the user
needs to do. Everyone makes mistakes. So here is my list of important
things to consider about people making mistakes..."

Design for Readability First
By Scott Gilbertson.
"...'You shouldn't be optimizing for iPads,' Cook writes. 'Or iPhones.
Or iPhone 4Gs. Or Nexus Ones. Or 30-inch 90ppi screens, or 30-inch
300ppi screens. You should be optimizing for reading experience, and
you should be using the best techniques available to do so.'"

+13: XML.

MIME and the Web
By Larry Masinter.
"MIME was invented originally for email, based on general principles
of 'messaging', foundational architecture. The role of MIME was to
extend Internet messaging from ASCII-only plain text (other character
sets,  images, rich documents, etc.) The basic architecture of complex
content messaging is..."

Future Web Accessibility - SVG
By Aaron Andersen.
"This is the fifth 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..."

[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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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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