[webdev] Web Design Update: December 7, 2005
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Wed Dec 7 06:27:30 CST 2005
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 25, December 7, 2005.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 25 CONTENTS.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Open Position.
The following position with the Department of Information Technology
Systems and Services at the University of Minnesota Duluth is open and
accepting applications. Please feel free to forward this URL to
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
15: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Benefits of an Accessible Website - part 1: Increase in Reach
By Trenton Moss.
"The DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) states that service providers
must not discriminate against disabled people. A website is regarded as
a service and therefore falls under this law, and as such must be made
accessible to everyone."
Benefits of an Accessible Website - part 2: The Business Case
By Trenton Moss.
"Some organisations are making accessibility improvements to their
websites, but many are seemingly not making the accessibility
adjustments. Disabled people don't access their website, they say, so
why should they care?"
eAccessibility of Public Sector Services in the European Union
By Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), AbilityNet, Dublin
City University and Socitm Insight.
"This study is unique in its coverage of web accessibility across the
EU's public sector at the national and EU levels, i.e. central
government and European institutions. The results of the policy survey
indicated that, whilst there is considerable strategic support for
eAccessibility, there is significant diversity in approach and in many
instances, little in the way of incentives, training or accreditation.
Given the cultural and governmental diversity across EU Member States,
this comes as no surprise, but there is much that governments can learn
from each other due the variety of approaches taken."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Pandora's Box (Model) of CSS Hacks And Other Good Intentions
By Tantek Celik.
Tantek talks discusses the history of CSS hacks, challenges that
browser developers face when dealing with hacks, the impact hacks can
cause, and some advice about the future.
Implement CSS 2.1
By Anne Van Kesteren.
"On hacks, filters and what browsers should do."
History, But No News
By Ben Buchanan.
"...I think Tantek's patience is greater than mine - 7 years is past
the stage of asking the waiter where you food is..."
CSS Layout Starting Points
By Rachel Andrew.
"Rachel Andrew discusses an approach to rapid and reliable CSS
development. Save hours of layout work and testing on your next CSS
build - time that could be better spent roasting chestnuts or baiting
The Dreamweaver 8 Toggle Displaying CSS Styles
By Virginia DeBolt.
"I recently updated a page for the first time since moving to
Dreamweaver 8 and noticed some changes in the way Dreamweaver 8 deals
with absolutely positioned layers in Design View..."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Enticing Users with Content
By Christine Perfetti.
"By observing users in usability tests, we've seen that there is a
specific moment where designers have the best chance of enticing a user
to pay attention to a promotion or advertisement: the seducible moment."
Release of (free) Intranet Review Toolkit
By James Robertson.
"Step Two Designs, in conjunction with the IA Institute, have just
released the Intranet Review Toolkit. This toolkit provides intranet
managers and designers with an easy-to-use method to assess the
strengths and weaknesses of their intranets. It contains a substantial
set of heuristics, allowing a detailed intranet review to be conducted
that focuses on a wide range of functionality, design and strategy..."
Talking-Head Video Is Boring Online
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Eyetracking data show that users are easily distracted when watching
on websites, especially when the video shows a talking head and is
optimized for broadcast rather than online viewing."
April 26-28, 2006.
Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
+06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
The Blooming of Information Architecture at Google:
A Close Look at Facets, Tags & Categories in GoogleBase
By Rashmi Sinha.
"I just spent some time with GoogleBase and was amazed at just how
deeply Google has embraced standard information architecture concepts
and trends. We have categories, facets, tags. I kid you not. Google of
the simple search box with a go button has come a long way indeed."
Ajax in Action
David Crane and Eric Pascarello with Darren James.
This is an excerpt from chapter one of the book "Ajax in Action".
Easy Ajax with Prototype
By Drew McLellan.
"There's little more impressive on the web today than a appropriate
touch of Ajax. Used well, Ajax brings a web interface much closer to
the experience of a desktop app, and can turn a bear of an task into a
10 Places You Must Use Ajax
By Adam Bosworth.
"...Here are places Ajax should now be required in a web application..."
By Dustin Diaz.
"If there was ever a universal common.js shared among the entire
develosphere, you'd fine these ten (plus one bonus) functions. It would
be the swiss army knife no developer would go into production without.
They have no doubt been tested tried and true and have proven
usefulness and helpfulness to all those who've used them. So without
further ado, here are what I believe to the top ten greatest custom
By Alejandro Gervasio.
frequently been underestimated when compared with other OO languages.
This article, the first of several parts, should help you gain a better
of creating custom objects and defining their methods and properties.
You will also learn some advanced concepts such as Inheritance. Plenty
of real-world examples will be included."
The Eight Types of Navigation Pages
By Jared Spool.
"...As we've watched users search for their desired content, we've
realized there are patterns to the pages we see. We've started to
catalogue these patterns and have concluded there are essentially 8
types of pages a user can run into, when searching content-rich sites.
These different page types turned out to be important as we discovered
users behave differently as they encounter each one. If the design of a
given type doesn't support the user's behavior, then the user is less
likely to succeed in finding their target content. Often, pages fail
because designers don't realize they were designing for the wrong
Our Current Thinking on Search
By Jared Spool.
"n '97, we wrote the infamous article, 'Why On-Site Searching Stinks.'
How are we feeling on this topic seven years later? Jared shares our
PHP Code Generation with Elisp
By Zachary Kessin.
"There's plenty of near-repetition in software development; writing
very similar code over and over again. Stop copying, pasting, and
modifying, and start automating the process! Zachary Kessin shows how
to use Emacs Lisp to generate useful and reusable database-access code
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Semantic Typography: Bridging the XHTML Gap
By Mark Boulton.
In the Web Standards community we hear the words 'Semantic Markup'
thrown around a lot as a concept-the right thing to do- but I know a
lot of designers who are trying to learn this stuff are being confused
by the whole 'semantic thing'.
Golden's Rules: The Real Story Behind the Massachusetts ODF Flap
By Bernard Golden.
"You've probably been exposed to the brouhaha going on regarding
Massachusetts' decision to mandate use of the OpenDocument Format (ODF)
as a file storage mechanism for documents created by all state
agencies...standardized file formats like ODF will enable applications
and services we can't predict. With massive amounts of information
available with a structure that enables easy trawling by an enormous
number of applications, who knows what will come about? We do know,
however, that restricting ourselves to a single vendor solution limits
us to the imagination of that vendor rather than the shared imagination
of the entire world."
Why Won't Microsoft Join Existing Standards Efforts?
By Peter Korn.
"Microsoft has stated on numerous occasions that they believe in and
support open standards. But from my experience, they do this not by
joining existing open standards efforts, but instead by creating
entirely new, parallel (and arguably redundant) 'open standards'
efforts around their own technologies. And often it seems these new
standards efforts are around new, untested, and immature technologies
that began life as proprietary to Microsoft - introduced into the
standards process when a pre-existing open standards effort already
exists, and exists around proven and shipping technologies which were
developed in the open with lots of input from a variety of expert
Firefox 1.5 Accessible Widgets
By Gez Lemon.
"Firefox 1.5 supports dynamic web content accessibility to help the
advancement of Rich Internet Web Applications. To help illustrate how
this, I've developed a simple keyboard accessible colour selection
widget. The widget only works with Firefox 1.5 with scripting enabled,
as the purpose is to demonstrate the accessibility features of Firefox
Keyboard Accessible Colour Selection Widget
By Gez Lemon.
The Many Uses of the Malleable em
By Zoe Gillenwater.
"Most people first encounter the em unit as a way to size text using
CSS. This article will show you how to do just that. But, there's more
to the em unit than just font sizing. It can be used as a length unit
on any property that takes a length. You'll learn how to use the em
unit as length for margin and padding to create pages that scale more
An Explanation of Ems
By Richard Rutter.
Richard Rutter offers an insight into that oft-misunderstood unit of
measure; the em. Do you know your ems from your elbow? Dazzle your
dinner guests with scintillating silver talk of CSS."
Don't Make Me Think, Second Edition: A Common Sense Approach to Web
By Steve Krug.
Chapter 11 (Accessibility, Cascading Style Sheets, and you) of 'Don't
Make Me Think', Second Edition: A Common Sense Approach to Web
Galleries: The Hardest Working Page on Your Site
By Jared M. Spool.
"Galleries are very important to user success, yet we are only now
beginning to understand what they need to work well. Designing to
eliminate pogosticking is still a new concept for many folks and that
is reflected in many of the designs we see today. Understanding how
order and layout of the links affect the user's behavior is critical.
As time goes on, we suspect we'll see many novel design approaches that
help users choose where to go next, all with greater and greater
Prioritizing Design Time: A Long Tail Approach
By Joshua Porter.
"Do you find that you spend an inordinate amount of time fretting over
your homepage? Is it the one page that gets the most attention from
your design team? How about other parts of your company? Does it get
attention even from people who aren't on the design team?"
How Google Manages Its Homepage
By Gerry McGovern.
"An average person can deal with only 7-10 choices on a webpage,
according to Google research. That's why it's so hard to get a link on
the Google homepage."
XHTML and CSS Code Commenting
By Ben Buchanan.
"Good programming habits make good markup habits too. A few well-placed
XHTML and CSS comments can save you a lot of time later on and help
your coworkers pick up where you left off... just as it does for
XHTML Anatomy: A Document Deconstructed
By Molly E. Holzschlag.
Some things start small and grow big. That's exactly what's happened
with an idea I have. I want to put together a human-readable glossary
or lookup chart for commonly used terms within XHTML and CSS. I'm a
known nomenclature fanatic. I love words and I believe that improving
our use of proper terminology helps us communicate more effectively.
What's more, I've been technical editor on several upcoming books and
it continues to disturb me that many very bright, skilled and
knowledgeable leaders in our industry get terminology wrong, or are
inconsistent in their descriptions.
XHTML is not for Beginners
By Lachlan Hunt.
"...XHTML is not for beginners. We must start with HTML and have a
clear learning path towards the future with XHTML. It has been argued,
that since the future lies with XHTML (although that is yet to be
seen), we should be teaching XHTML from the ground up. That sounds nice
in theory, but the reality is that we're still teaching in a
predominately text/html environment, and the fact is: trying to teach
XHTML under HTML (tag-soup) conditions is like trying to teach a child
to swim by throwing them in the deep end and not realizing they're
drowning until it's too late. When it comes to XHTML: there is far too
much for a beginner to learn, not to mention the significant issues of
browser support, that we must simply accept that they're not ready and
teach them HTML instead. XHTML is not merely HTML 4 in XML syntax, it
comes packaged with all the XML handling requirements as well...The
sheer number of tag-soup pages claiming to be XHTML are a direct result
of pushing it upon newcomers while leaving out all the extremely
important details, most of which they won't understand yet anyway, but
do actually need to learn before using it...."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+15: 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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