[webdev] Web Design Update: December 4, 2010
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Sat Dec 4 04:44:48 CST 2010
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 9, Issue 23, December 4, 2010.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web
design and development.
++ISSUE 23 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.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
13: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Will We Ever Get Required Fields Right?
By Derek Featherstone.
"Web forms are everywhere-they drive interaction and e-commerce. They
are the cornerstone of web applications and a critical component of
accessibility for even the simplest of web sites. Why? Because if you
get forms wrong from an accessibility or usability perspective, your
app falls down in a hurry..."
Captioning YouTube Video and Providing Accessible Controls
By Ohio State University.
"...With a little bit of work, some free online tools, and code and
utilities available from this web page, you can provide your students,
staff, and other users within and outside the university access to web
video that is usable by everyone, including people with disabilities.
On this page, we cover some effective methods for captioning and
embedding YouTube video in your web pages. We also describe and link
to a tool for converting YouTube captions into formats suitable for
use in other video players..."
University of Iowa Eyes More Accessible Website
By Max Freund.
"Universities have been put on notice: Have accessible technology or
face the consequences. And the University of Iowa is paying
Penn State Discriminates Against Blind Students and Faculty
By The National Federation of the Blind.
"...The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's oldest
and largest organization of blind people, announced today that it has
filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education,
Office for Civil Rights, requesting an investigation of Pennsylvania
State University (Penn State) for violating the civil rights of blind
students and faculty. The NFB filed the complaint because a variety of
computer- and technology-based services and Web sites at Penn State
are inaccessible to blind students and faculty..."
Compliant Filed Against Penn State Regarding Web Accessibility
By Michael Fienen.
"...I'm not making excuses, as many will tell you I'm a HUGE #a11y
proponent. Penn State likely took some shortcuts that they'll need to
answer for. At the same time, I wish the other side had a bit more
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web
Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and
By Justice Department.
"The Department of Justice is considering revising the regulations
implementing title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA or
Act) in order to establish requirements for making the goods,
services, facilities, privileges, accommodations, or advantages
offered by public accommodations via the Internet, specifically at
sites on the World Wide Web (Web), accessible to individuals with
Court Orders Ottawa to Make Websites Accessible to Blind
By Paola Loriggio.
"A Federal Court judge has ordered the government to make its websites
accessible to visually impaired users after a blind Toronto woman said
she was unable to apply for a job online..."
The Australian Government's Study into the Accessibility of the
Portable Document Format for people with a disability
By Australian Government.
"Not surprisingly, the study has found that while accessibility of the
Portable Document Format is improving, like most tools, it cannot
compensate for poor design. Content authors need to design
accessibility into their documents from the outset. The Web
Accessibility National Transition Strategy provides the necessary
guidance to ensure the needs of all are reflected online."
What's the Next Step for Apple Accessibility?
By Joe Clark.
"...My answer is simple: An ignore-tremors mode..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
CSS3 Flexible Box Layout Module (aka Flex Box)
By Robert Nyman.
"Doing layouts on the web has always been hard, but it seems like
we're getting a better option to do it now..."
The History of CSS Resets
By Michael Tuck.
..."Many web designers prefer to use a CSS 'reset' to 'prime' the
browser canvas and ensure that their design displays as uniformly as
possible across the various browsers and systems their site visitors
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Usability Testing is Broken: Rethinking User Research for Social
By Dana Chisnell.
"...one of the first things we found out is that the task we were
asking people to do - doing some basic financial estimates based on
goals for retirement - involved more than the person in the room with
What happens to task-ratings when you interrupt users? View More Blog Posts
By Jeff Sauro.
"In usability testing we ask users to complete tasks and often ask
them to rate how difficult or easy the task was. Does it matter when
you ask this question?..."
New Web Accessibility Best Practices from Adobe MAX 2010
By Jerry Silverman.
"Last week's Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles saw hundreds of our
Government customers getting their hands dirty with every type of
Adobe technology. Many sessions focused on best practices for
developing mobile web applications, and a few specific sessions
focused on making your web applications compliant with WCAG 2.0 and
Section 508. Below is a session hosted by Andrew Kirkpatrick, Director
of Accessibility at Adobe, on Creating Accessible Content with Flash
+05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
An Experience With User Personas
By Leigh Howells.
"Leigh Howells (a user experience/design consultant at Headscape)
shares his experience of creating some user personas."
ARIA and Progressive Enhancement
By Derek Featherstone.
"For seven years, progressive enhancement has been how we build
sustainable, interoperable, and accessible web solutions. Now that the
release of ARIA is approaching, let's see how ARIA fits within
progressive enhancement strategy. Can we use ARIA in a way that
respects progressive enhancement? Can we use ARIA in ways that ensure
we have a working solution at every level?"
The Accessibility of WAI-ARIA
By Detlev Fischer.
"Web developers interested in accessibility issues often look to
WAI-ARIA to bridge the accessibility gap created by ubiquitous
scripting and make web applications more accessible to blind and
visually impaired users. But can we recommend WAI-ARIA without
reservation? Are there times when appropriate semantic HTML elements
are preferable to custom widgets?"
The Ghosts of ARIA Present and Future
By Jared Smith.
"Today, two articles were published on A List Apart about ARIA
(Accessible Rich Internet Applications) - The Accessibility of
WAI-ARIA by Detlev Fischer and ARIA and Progressive Enhancement by
Derek Featherstone. Like the ghosts in Dickens' A Christmas Carol,
they present an accurate, though somewhat depressing picture of the
current and potential future state of things..."
Finding Your Way with Static Maps
By Drew McLellan.
"...As you can see, adding a static map alongside your dynamic map for
we've seen, a small percentage of a big number is still a big number.
When it's so easy to add a static map, can you really justify not
Why Design Education Must Change
By Don Norman.
"Today's designers are poorly trained to meet the today's demands: We
need a new form of design education, one with more rigor, more
science, and more attention to the social and behavioral sciences, to
modern technology, and to business. But we cannot copy the existing
courses from those disciplines: we need to establish new ones that are
appropriate to the unique requirements of the applied requirements of
A Brief List of False Dichotomies
By Jeremy Keith.
"In the world of web development, there are many choices that are
commonly presented as true or false, black and white, Boolean, binary
values, when in fact they exist in a grey goo of quantum uncertainty.
Here are just three of them..."
Videos of Fronteers 2010
By Peter-Paul Koch.
"On the 7th and 8th of October Fronteers 2010, the third annual
conference of Fronteers, took place in Amsterdam. Contrary to the last
two editions I had nothing to do with this one. Still, I'm quite happy
that videos of all sessions have been made available, as well as a
nice compilation video."
User-Friendly Website Navigation: How to Ensure Visitors Don't Get Lost
By Roko Nastic.
"Creating a well-organized, structured navigation system is essential
for any website. Without an understandable, pragmatic system for
instructing visitors what your website has to offer, and how they can
reach it, your site is at a serious disadvantage."
Keep Margins Out of Link Lists
By Chris Coyier.
"When building a menu or other list of links, it's generally a good
practice to use display: block; or display: inline-block; so that you
can increase the size of the link target. The simple truth: bigger
link targets are easier for people to click and lead to better user
I Don't Want to Read More or Click Here
By Karen Mardahl.
"I feel so overwhelmed when I encounter websites that use the phrase
'Read more' or 'Click here'. The overwhelming feeling comes from
realizing how many people need to get rid of this bad habit. It's the
wrong thing to do. This bad practice is so ubiquitous that most people
probably concludes that it is OK. But it isn't!..."
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
The Shortcomings of HTML5
By Vlad Alexander.
"As professional Web designers and developers, we can use and support
HTML5, but at the same time we need to be able to discuss the
shortcomings and limitations of the technology..."
HTML5 Meets World Oh, The Irony ...
By Niels Matthijs.
"..Isn't it just too ironic that a language built around semantics is
now being semantically abused? Hype rarely brings about something
positive in the long run and I'm sure the hordes of newly converted
html5 fans will end up creating a rather big mess unless they are
properly introduced to the finer points of our job. And a good place
to start would be by using html5 for what it was intended..."
On the hgroup Element
By Bruce Lawson.
"The more I try to explain it to people at workshops and in a
marvellous book, the more uncomfortable I become with <hgroup>..."
HTML5 Allows Almost Any Value For the id Attribute - Use Wisely
By Roger Johansson.
"..HTML5 gives us more options when naming elements with the id
attribute. This can be useful in some cases. However, my opinion is
asking for trouble. The same thing goes for using funky symbols
instead of readily legible text. Do it only if the benefits exceed the
risks. Don't do it just because you can."
An HTML5 plus ARIA "Sanity Check": Working Around Bugs in AT
By Jason Kiss.
"I appreciate Dennis at WebAxe calling for developers to take a
"sanity check" when working with HTML5. His point was not to dissuade
us from developing with HTML5, but to remind us to do so 'caution and
care', in particular because of the current level of support among
different browsers and assistive technnologies (AT) for HTML5 and
HTML5 Video Tag with TTML Captions Demo
By Sean Hayes.
"An annotate plugin for html5 <audio> and <video>"
10 Common Validation Errors and How To Fix Them
By Chris Spooner.
"Designers spend hours carefully crafting every little detail in the
design of their website, but the quality of their coding often comes
up short. For proof, just look at the sites showcased on CSS
galleries, 90% will have validation errors - Most of which are easy
and simple fixes. Let's look at some of the most common errors that
appear time and time again, and how to correct them to really finish
off your sites with high quality code..."
"...web accessibility tool that ensures both static and dynamic
content within a web portfolio are compliant with standards such as
Section 508, WCAG 1.0, and WCAG 2.0..."
By Charles McCathieNevile.
"The project is to improve the usability of accesskeys, and version
1.1 actually works (although there are a lot of improvements I want to
E-Mail Newsletters: Increasing Usability
By Jakob Nielsen.
"New research finds improved usability metrics for subscribing to
newsletters, but problems with reading them on mobile devices."
The Long and Short of Writing for the Web
By Joshua Porter.
"...Writing well often means writing short text. But writing short
text doesn't mean you're writing well."
Content Management Equals Continuous Improvement
By Gerry McGovern.
"Managing content can yield enormous rewards, but it requires a
continuous improvement model."
W3C XHTML2 Activity Finally Winding Down
"It's been a long road. I first started working with the W3C and it's
XHTML2 (then HTML) Working Group on 27 August 1998. At the time, I
didn't know that it would become the work of 12+ years. Sure, I had
been involved in standards for a long time. I started with the IEEE
POSIX activity before it was even called POSIX (anyone remember
IEEEIX?) - sometime in 1985. That hobby spiraled into a career, and
has served me very, very well..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+13: 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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