[webdev] Web Design Update: August 16, 2005

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Tue Aug 16 06:35:59 CDT 2005

- Volume 4, Issue 08, August 16, 2005.

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.
11: TOOLS.
13: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Label Positioning
By Gez Lemon.
"Correctly labeled form controls ensure that your forms are usable to 
the widest possible audience. Explicitly labeling form controls is 
beneficial for people using assistive technology, and correctly 
positioning form prompts can benefit visitors with mobility and 
cognitive difficulties. The HTML Techniques for WCAG 2.0 currently 
proposes a technique to ensure that the prompt for form controls is 
positioned appropriately, but there is a proposal to deprecate the 
technique. I think it would be a mistake to deprecate this technique, 
as correctly positioned form prompts help people who are not fortunate 
enough, or don't require assistive technology. "

Place Holding Text In Form Inputs
By Mel Pedley.
"...it has come to light that there is one group of users that still 
rely heavily upon place holding characters within forms inputs....Users 
of Braille readers. Unless a form text input contains at least one 
place holding character, Braille readers will not allow focus on that 
particular input. Which means that, if you do not include place holding 
characters within your online forms, Braille reader users will not be 
able to complete them. So, obviously, Checkpoints 10.4 cannot be 
ignored. But how can you implement it without causing problems for 
screen reader users? Rich Pedley of the Guild of Accessible Web 
Designers came up with a solution: a single white space character.

Defining Acrobat PDF Accessibility
By Paul Bohman.
"The appropriate use of PDF files is a hotly debated topic, both inside 
and outside the field of Web accessibility. Some people would argue 
that there is no place for PDF files, while others suggest that 
appropriately prepared PDF's are basically as accessible as HTML. We 
think the truth lies somewhere in-between. PDF files do have their 
place?displaying documents that print exactly as the author intends..."

Copying 508 vs. Raising the Bar
By Matt May.
"We as advocates of accessibility should be aware of the dynamic 
between software companies, their consumers, and the regulations set 
forth to benefit accessibility. IBM is calling for a worldwide baseline 
of Section 508. What they and other vendors really need is one unified, 
measurable standard applicable to all of their markets. And it is to 
everyone's advantage to work toward such a standard, provided it is as 
rigorous as necessary to fully meet the access needs of users with 
disabilities. Settling for the aging 508 is not a victory for 
international accessibility. For large companies like IBM, whose 
software already complies with 508, it merely enforces the status quo."


How to Join Classes with CSS
By Stu Nicholls.
"If you've just started to learn CSS and have looked at multiple 
tutorials, bought the latest books, etc., you might not have realized 
that it's possible to join up your classes. You aren't limited to 
having a single class in a tag. In fact, you're not limited to having 
just an id!"

+03: COLOR.

Color Theory for the Color Blind
By Mario Parise.
"Being color-blind can be a real obstacle for anyone involved in 
design. For Web designers, this does not need to be true...I'm going to 
give a brief overview of color theory and provide practical advice for 
the color-blind designer. But first, if you would indulge me, I'd like 
to brief you on what color blindness is..."


Usable Statistics
By Jeff Sauro.
Do you need to feel more confident about using statistics? Dismayed by 
overly complicated "introduction" courses that focus on theory and not 
application? Do the "basic" books assume you know where to look for 
your answer? The first module in this series is on using confidence 
intervals in usability testing.

Confidence Interval Calculator for a Completion Rate
By Jeff Sauro.
"If you've wanted to provide a confidence interval around a small 
sample completion rate but just didn't have time to do the math, this 
calculator does the work for you."

SUM: Single Usability Metric (Presented at CHI 2005)
By Jeff Sauro.
SUM is a single usability metric that summarize the majority of 
variation in four common summative usability metrics. Download the 
calculator to convert raw metrics to a SUM score or read the CHI paper 
which explains the theoretical foundations.

+05: EVENTS.

September 28-30, 2005.
Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus U.S.A.


JavaScript and Screenreaders
By Derek Featherstone.
"What do you get when you cross JavaScript with a screen reader?
Exactly. We don't know..."

Accessible Event Pairs
By Peter-Paul Koch.
"In order to keep our pages accessible to non-mouse users, we must use 
non-mouse events like focus or keydown in addition to mouse events like 
mouseover and click. I created the new Event pairs page and related 
tests to study this problem. My conclusions are: Unfortunately we 
cannot create strict guidelines for pairing one mouse event with one 
non-mouse event. That said, these are the results of my test..."

Presentation Slides with DOM and CSS
By Chris Heilmann.
"Eric Meyer’s S5 standards based presentation slides system is used 
quite a lot by webstandardismos for their presentations. However, some 
of its functionality is great for presenters but can be quite hard to 
follow for web surfers who just want to see what someone has presented. 
My personal challenge was to come up with something that is as cool as 
Eric’s system, but much easier to use and more lightweight when it 
comes to creating your own slides. The outcome is called DOMSlides and 
is licensed under Creative Commons for you to use, change and copy."

AJAX and Accessibility
By Faruk Ates.
"With DOM Scripting and Remote Scripting making their way into 
standards-compliant web development, people are beginning to wonder 
what the effect of these techniques is in screenreaders and other 
assistive technologies..."

Rasmus' 30 second AJAX Tutorial
By Rasmus Lerdorf.
"I find a lot of this AJAX stuff a bit of a hype. Lots of people have
been using similar things long before it became 'AJAX'.  And it really
isn't as complicated as a lot of people make it out to be.  Here is a
simple example from one of my apps..."

The Power of Javascript: Operators concluded
By Michael Youssef.
"This is the last article in "The Power of Javascript" series covering 
operators. In this part, we discuss the logical operators, the operator 
typof, the void operator, the ternary operator :?, and operators' 
precedence and Associativity. You may not realize the power and 
usefulness of operators yet, but when we discuss how you can control 
your script flow of execution with if/else statements and loop 
statements, you will realize what operators can do for you, especially 
the logical operators and the comparison operators."


WaSP Interviews Daniel Frommelt
By WaSP.
"Back in October 2003, Daniel Frommelt and his team of students 
presented the re-tooling of Slashdot in XHTML 1.0 at WebdevShare, 
scoring a wave of interest across the Web community, a two-part series 
on the process then further articles on A List Apart. How did it all 
begin? Where did it lead? In this interview, Daniel fills us in on the 


Dealing With Complex Navigation
By Paul Boag.
"How many levels of navigation do you build into your website? Its a 
fairly fundamental question. Almost all sites have at least two. The 
main sites sections and then the sub sections underneath. But is that 
enough? Probably not and yet many web designers fail to consider how 
content deeper in the site is going to be shown. But how deep do you 
go? Three levels, four?"

+09: PHP.

17 Useful Functions for Manipulating Arrays in PHP
By builder.com.
"Like arrays in other languages, PHP arrays allow you to store multiple 
values in a single variable and operate on them as a set. PHP offers an 
extensive array manipulation toolkit?over 60 functions?that lets you 
process arrays in almost any way imaginable including reversing them, 
extracting subsets, comparing and sorting, recursively processing, and 
searching them for specific values. This document outlines some of the 
more useful functions in the PHP array toolkit, with explanations and 
usage examples..."

The Practicality of OO PHP
By David Day.
"There seems to be a common pitfall among some PHP 
developers--especially those  just beginning PHP programming--and that 
is their lack of object-oriented (OO) PHP use. This article's purpose 
is to inform developers about the practicality of OO  PHP; fully 
understanding the benefits of using OO PHP should be a requirement in 
the PHP learning process."


IE7 Wicked Clearing House
By Shaun Inman.
"Just a short Wicked post to try to keep track of developments about 
the recently released IE7 beta. Feel free to add links to commentary 
and reviews..."

+11: TOOLS.

Flickering and Photosensitive Epilepsy Online Tool
By Renzo Giust; Translated by Roberto Castaldo.
A tool for checking flicker rates in animated gifs.


Sentence or Title Case for Labels?
By Caroline Jarrett.
"For those few of us who are deeply interested in forms, there’s 
nothing so fascinating as a subtle detail. Like, for example, the 
question that appeared in my email in-box earlier this month. THE 
QUESTION: Martin McGuire wrote to me to ask 'How labels/captions for 
forms should be formatted'."

A Study of Blogs and Usability
By John Franklin.
"Our analysis sheds light on a variety of heretofore neglected, 
user-experience related design challenges associated with blogs' 
potential to become a mainstream medium for Internet users."

16 Things that Really Annoy Most Web Users
By Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS).
"2432 US consumers were asked what they think the most annoying things 
on the web are. Over a third cited sites which open unrequested new 
windows (popup ads, etc). Next came mandatory site registration and 
installation of new software to view the site, each cited by about one 
consumer in six. 'Slow loading pages' was named by about 10%. But it's 
interesting to check out the annoyances which polled under 5%... dead 
links, mystery-meat navigation, outdated content, no contact info, and 
then down at 2% we see 'music blaring', "can't search site"... and 
beneath that was "animation and splash screens", at about 1.5%."

Web Content Management is Not Data Management
By Gerry McGovern.
"...I have worked with many organizations over the years who have 
significantly reduced the size of their websites and saw much greater 
success because of it. The wrong content gets in the way of the right 
content. For every 100 documents of content your organization produces, 
chances are that 95 of them are data that needs storing, with 5 of them 
having the potential to be killer web content. If you can develop the 
skill to identify those five killer web documents, polish them until 
they shine, and publish them separately
from the other 95, you have a very bright future in front of you."

+13: XML.

Fixing (RSS/Atom) Newsfeed Subscription
By D. Keith Robinson.
"There has been a whole bunch of talk about how unusable the blogging 
subscription/syndication model is. The problem is that it?s not an easy 
thing to explain, and many developers and designers have gone and made 
it harder by spreading around terms and conventions that don?t really 

[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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