[webdev] Web Design Update: December 30, 2011
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Dec 30 06:30:25 CST 2011
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 10, Issue 27, December 30, 2011.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web
design and development.
++ISSUE 27 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.
09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
11: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
A Resolution for an Accessible New Year?
By Karen Mardahl.
"This year, Glenda Sims made a wish for a more accessible web. It's
not nice to spoil someone's good wish, but I don't think she'll get
her wish for Christmas. Santa would definitely need many, many helpers
like fairy godmothers, Mary Poppins, and, well, you get the idea.
That's where you come in. I hope you know about the Fix the Web
project. (If not, do hop over and read about it, and then come back
here for one more tip.) There are more fantastic resources for
reporting and grading the accessibility of websites..."
By Dey Alexander.
"One of the key skills web writers need is the ability to write
clearly and plainly. Unfortunately a lot of web content is
unnecessarily dense and complex, making it difficult to read. Oddly
enough, this is often the case on large sites where providing
information to users is the site's main purpose..."
Text-Only is Not Accessible
By Karl Groves.
"...For us to build a more accessible web, we should be careful to
understand that Universal Design involves ensuring an environment is
usable for all users not just those who are blind or who use a
specific user agent or device. Lynx can be a good tool for providing
quick (and free!) accessibility feedback on your site but it should
not be regarded as the ultimate criteria for determining whether your
website is accessible. Most tools, be they toolbars, alternate
browsers, automated tools, or checklists are useful in testing for
accessibility. The ultimate deciding factor however, is whether real
people can use the system."
US Access Board Releases Another Sec. 508/ICT Proposed Rule: Public
By Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology.
"On December 8, 2011, the U.S. Access Board released a new draft of
the Sec 508 "refresh"/ICT rule for Public Comment. The draft rule
jointly refreshes the Board's Section 508 standards and its Section
255 guidelines which address access to computer hardware and software,
websites, media players, electronic documents, telephones and cell
phones, PDAs and other ICT products. Comments are due by Wednesday
March 7, 2012..."
Web Accessibility Myths 2011
By Jonathan Hassell.
"It's the time of year when web accessibility advocates tend to
produce accessibility myths blogs..."
HTML Speech Incubator Group Final Report
"This document is the Final Report of the HTML Speech Incubator Group.
It presents the deliverables of the group, including use cases,
requirements, design decisions, and preliminary proposals for html
is expected that this work will feed directly into new standards-track
working groups in W3C and the IETF to bring this work to
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Position: Fixed Revisited
By Peter Paul Koch.
"Now that iOS, Android, and BlackBerry all have a new implementation
of position: fixed let's see what changed since the last time we
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Usability Testing Includes Users as Stakeholders
By Mary Brodie.
"...The determination of the right number of users to test is based
less on a "golden number," and more on the goals for testing, what is
being tested, and if you want to consider your users as
The Usability Week 2012 Conference
February 26 - March 2, 2012 in New York, U.S.A.
March 11-16, 2012 in Las Vegas Nevada, U.S.A.
March 19-23, 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
April 2-7, 2012 in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
April 23-27, 2012 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Response JS: Mobile-First Progressive Enhancement in HTML5
By Jonathan Christopher.
"This is a very interesting project. Responsive design will continue
to be a steady topic of conversation in 2012 and tools like this help
propel us to talking about it applicably..."
By John Resig.
"At Khan Academy we've been investigating teaching Computer Science to
students in some new and interesting ways. The most interesting aspect
their first language..."
By Mathias Bynens.
"Having recently written about character references in HTML, I figured
State of the Web: of Apps, Devices, and Breakpoints
By Jeffery Zeldman.
"...responsive design is not dead; it has only begun. It is not a
panacea but was never intended to be. It is simply the beginnings of
an approach. I respect those colleagues who say breakpoints are dead,
understand how they reached this conclusion, and am eager to see where
it takes them in the coming months as they experiment with new
methods, perhaps developing wonderful and unforeseen best practices. I
hope design will be a brilliant part of these new methods, not
something that gets abandoned to create a bland but workable
lightweight experience for all. But I also believe it is possible to
draw a different conclusion from the same data. It is even possible, I
believe, to say the present data doesn't matter-at least not in the
Should Your Blog Use Responsive Web Design?
By Virginia DeBolt.
"Two trends converged during 2011. One from the world of Internet
connected devices and the other from web site design world. Statistics
show that more people are connected to the Internet through some sort
of mobile device than through a desktop or laptop computer. Web
designers are scrambling to make sure that web pages are going to work
on all those devices - phones, tablets, and computers..."
Using the HTML5 Nav Element
By Leonie Watson.
"HTML5 introduces the nav element for marking up sections of a page
that contain navigational links. Used wisely the nav element is a big
help to screen reader users, as well as a step forward in semantic
Code for the Users, Not for the Spec
By Drew McLellan.
"...We have a policy of having no frequently asked questions. If users
are asking about something with regularity, then it means we're either
not explaining things clearly, or the product can be improved..."
String Handling Functions
By James Appleyard.
"PHP has a vast selection of built-in string handling functions that
allow you to easily manipulate strings in almost any possible way.
However, learning all these functions, remembering what they do, and
when they might come in handy can be a bit daunting, especially for
new developers. There is no way I can cover every string function in
one article, and besides, that is what the PHP manual is for! But what
I will do is show how to work with some of the most commonly used
string handling functions that you should know. After this, you'll be
working with strings as well as any concert violinist!..."
Keep the Front in the Front
By Rachel Andrew.
"...By handing control of the front-end development to front-end
developers, you allow them to do their job to the best of their
ability, unhampered by things appearing in their markup that they were
not expecting. You also shift responsibility for that area of the site
to them. If you generate reams of markup via PHP, then any time it
needs to be changed, or if there is a problem with validation or any
CSS issues, the request will come back to you."
+09: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Confusion Over HTML5 and WAI-ARIA
By Karl Groves.
"...Two Important Points to Understand...The HTML specification is the
shortest path to true accessibility...WAI-ARIA doesn't do anything to
Are You Confused by HTML5 and WAI-ARIA Yet?
By Everett Zufelt.
"This article seeks to answer common questions about the use of
WAI-ARIA in HTML5..."
By Charles McCathieNevile.
"So here beginneth the thread, and I'll explain in a reply some things
I think are better about the living standards model (obviously, the
current model is far from perfect, and I think there is a bunch of
good thinking behind 'living standards' even if I think the conclusion
is wrong) and some things I think are important about the stable
version world. Maybe we end up with something everyone thinks are
improvements which doesn't mean the discussion is over, but that we
can propose them to W3C in the meantime, and if they really have broad
consensus we can at least make things better before we get to where we
want to be..."
There's No Formula for Great Designs
By Andy Clarke
"Before he combined them with fluid images and CSS3 media queries to
coin responsive design, Ethan Marcotte described fluid grids - one of
the most enjoyable parts of responsive design. Enjoyable that is, if
you like working with math(s). But fluid grids aren't perfect and,
unless we're careful when applying them, they can sometimes result in
a design that feels disconnected..."
The Myth Of The Sophisticated User
By Robert Hoekman Jr.
"...It doesn't matter how savvy your users are, better design benefits
everyone. Having a proficient audience is no excuse to slack off.
You're still designing for human beings, and human beings, one and
all, have better things to do than try to make sense of a weak
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+11: 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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