[webdev] Web Design Update: January 29, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Sun Jan 29 08:10:01 CST 2006

- Volume 4, Issue 32, January 29, 2006.

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.
10: PHP.
12: TOOLS.
15: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Does Your Website Overstate Its Accessibility?
By Out-Law News.
"Of the 500 sites, 40 (8%) had an accessibility statement or logo. 
However, when 20 of these sites were inspected further, only six were 
found to be accurately stating their accessibility."

Thoughts on the 'Joint Statement on OpenSource and OpenDocuments in 
By Peter Korn.
"The good folks at the Disability Policy Consortium and the Bay State 
Council of the blind have issued a Joint Statement on OpenSource & 
OpenDocuments in Massachusetts."

DeJa Vu All Over Again
By Carroll Tech Blog.
Carroll Center for the Blind discusses the Massachusetts decision to 
move to Open Document Format.

CommonLook Review
By Jon Whiting.
"The CommonLook Section 508 PDF Plug-In is an Acrobat plug-in that can 
help you create more accessible PDF files. It guides  you through a 
step-by-step evaluation and repair of a PDF file according to US 
Section  508  1194.22 standards. Jon Whiting has written a review of 
its strengths and weaknesses."

Defining Content Language
By Karl Dawson.
"...To maximize the universal accessibility of our pages we should 
always include language information in our pages. We can identify the 
natural language of the content by using the lang attribute and/or the 
xml:lang attribute for XHTML and must always include the XML namespace 
if using XHTML. Additionally, we can specify the primary language of 
the document using HTTP headers or the content-language meta tag..."

One of Four Web Users are Disabled Users
By Jesper Ronn-Jensen.
"Did you know that up to 25% of all visitors on your website have some 
kind of accessibility problem. Some of your users may be blind, deaf, 
dyslectic, has learning disabilities or motor disabilities such as 
sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, etc. A so-called functional 


Preparing For Internet Explorer 7 - Part One
By Holly Bergevin and John Gallant.
Internet Explorer 7 is coming, and there are going to be some 
interesting changes and improvements when it arrives. That's good news, 
but not if you have been using certain CSS hacks to make IE/Win 
correctly display your tableless designs! If that is the case, you may 
expect some or all of your pages to start breaking in IE7 when it 
begins to penetrate the market.  We want to help you avoid pain and 
anguish later. So please join us now as we begin a series that will 
discuss the problem, offer solutions, and get you up to speed on the 
latest IE version testing methods. We'll also 'clean up' a real live 
CMX Jumpstart, all in easy stages. It's a bit like Y2K all over again, 
but we got through that and we can get through this too, with just a 
little effort. Trust us!

Introduction to CSS Table-Related Display Values
By Zoe Gillenwater.
"One of the hardest things for web designers new to CSS layout to get 
their heads around is that divs don't act like table cells, the 
traditional building blocks of page layouts. Table cells automatically 
expand to hold their content, match each other in height, and stack 
horizontally, but divs don't do these things, making CSS layouts that 
emulate table layouts tricky. However, there's an easy way to get your 
divs to act like table-cells: tell them to using the display property. 
This article will introduce the table-related values of the display 
property of CSS 2.1 that allow you to make any non-table HTML element 
act like any table element. In the article following this one, you'll 
then learn how to use these display values to create a pure CSS layout 
that emulates the behavior of a table layout."

Vector Graphics in CSS
By Anne Van Kesteren.
By now 'everyone' must have heard of SVG. The problem I have with SVG 
(besides actual problems in the specification) is that it is a 
presentational markup language..."

Beginners Guide to CSS and Standards
By Emil Stenstrom.
"As an operator of #CSS, a channel on EFnet, I get to talk to people on 
a daily basis that have never used CSS before, or are at the very 
beginning of learning it. This article teaches all the basics you need 
to make your first CSS powered website. It is aimed at people that 
knows a little HTML, and maybe has made a few websites themselves. 
Let's get started."

+03: COLOR.

Color Theory for Digital Displays: A Quick Reference: Part I
By Pabini Gabriel-Petit.
"Computer monitors display information using the RGB (Red-Green-Blue) 
color model. An RGB monitor synthesizes colors additively by 
selectively illuminating each of its pixel's red, green, and blue 
phosphor dots at varying levels of intensity. The light from a pixel's 
three phosphor dots blends together to synthesize a single color. In 
additive color synthesis, all hues of the visible spectrum of light are 
mixtures of various proportions of one, two, or three of the primary 
colors of light: red, green, and blue."

Color Theory for Digital Displays: A Quick Reference: Part II
By Pabini Gabriel-Petit.
"Our perception of hues, values, and chroma levels depends upon their 
interaction with adjacent hues, values, and chromas, which can result 
in color-contrast, value-contrast, and chroma-contrast effects, 


Common Questions About Dreamweaver 8
By Abobe formerly Macromedia.
"This article answers some of the common questions received by 
Macromedia Technical Support."

Problems With Pages Containing Absolute Links in Dreamweaver
By Abobe formerly Macromedia.
"...There are two workarounds..."

Understanding the Template Updating Option in Dreamweaver 8.0.1
By Abobe formerly Macromedia.
"After installing the Macromedia Dreamweaver 8.0.1 updater, users will 
see a new Templates category added to the Site Definition dialog box. 
This category just has one checkbox: 'Template Updating: Don't rewrite 
document relative paths.'"

Resolved Issues With Dreamweaver 8 Update (8.0.1)
By Abobe formerly Macromedia.
"The 8.0.1 updater fixes bugs in Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 on both the 
Macintosh and Windows platforms. Please see the Dreamweaver 8 Release 
Notes for additional information on the 8.0.1 release and to view an 
overview of important issues resolved with the Dreamweaver 8.0.1 
update. This TechNote provides a detailed list of issues resolved with 
this release."

Dreamweaver 8 Application Server and Database FAQ
By Abobe formerly Macromedia.
"This article answers some of the common questions received by 
Macromedia Technical Support related to ColdFusion, PHP, ASP, ASP.NET, 
JSP and databases."


Customer Focus: Getting to Truly Know Your Customers
By Gerry McGovern.
"There are two key lessons to be learnt from these studies: 1.) We 
can't necessarily find out what people want by asking them directly. We 
therefore need to do a lot of observation. 2.) Simply giving people 
lots and lots of choice is not necessarily the right approach."

Improving Customer Experience: Usability Testing Is Not Enough
By Bonny Brown.
"With the right data in hand, both marketers and designers can do their 
jobs better and work together more effectively to design products and 
services their customers value and ensure satisfaction with the 
customer experience. Integrated customer experience research methods 
are a critical tool every business needs to win high-value customers 
and keep them coming back."

Evaluating the Usability of Search Forms Using Eyetracking: A Practical 
By Matteo Penzo.
"In this article, I'll present findings from eyetracking tests we did 
to evaluate the best solutions for label placement in Web forms. Today, 
forms are the primary-often the only-way users have of sending data to 
Web sites. Web 2.0 makes extensive use of forms. For example, on 
Flickr, Del.icio.us, and Writeboard - which, by the way, I used when 
writing this article-users provide all of their tags, comments, and 
other information using forms. Users submit queries to search engines 
using forms. E-commerce sites also rely heavily on forms that let 
visitors find and purchase products. (I've never browsed for book on 
Amazon. I always search for them.)

+06: EVENTS.

WWW 2006
May 23-26, 2006.
Edinburgh, Scotland

 @media 2006
June 15-16, 2006.
London, United Kingdom


The JavaScript Diaries: Part 12 - Multiple Array Types
By Lee Underwood.
"This week we look at what happens with multidimensional and 
associative arrays. As you look at these you will start to understand 
where you can use JavaScript when building your Web sites."

JavaScript Tip number 1: Speed Up Object Detection
By Dean Edwards.
"Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a regular series of 
JavaScript tips..."

Escaping Regular Expression Characters in JavaScript
By Simon Willison.
"JavaScript's support for regular expressions is generally pretty good, 
but there is one notable omission: an escaping mechanism for literal 
strings. Say for example you need to create a regular expression that 
removes a specific string from the end of a string. If you know the 
string you want to remove when you write the script this is easy..."


Meetings Considered Harmful
By David Heinemeier.
"Researchers in organizational psychology have confirmed that meetings 
are, well, evil. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found 
that the amount and length of meetings correlate with 'negative 
effects' (burnout, anxiety, and depression) on its participants..."

You Still Want Meetings. Here's How to Make Them Useful
By Ryan Singer.
"Though meetings are harmful, you sometimes need to get together and 
work a problem out. Here are some tips to make sure nobody wastes their 


What's Your Link Reputation?
By Gord Collins.
"'Hi Gord, Google updated our newly developed Website's Pagerank. On 
the toolbar, we're now a 5, but we're not seeing good rankings or 
Google referrals. I can't figure Google out. What do they want?'...This 
article describes in simplified terms an information retrieval process 
that is very complex. However, that complexity isn't going to stop us 
from attempting to gain some kind of understanding. No one outside 
Google really knows the intimate details of each of Google's algorithm 
components. There's a lot of speculation. You don't need a degree in 
information science or artificial intelligence to understand what 
search engines like Google are trying to achieve. They want to study 
the relationships between documents to distinguish legitimate links 
from the billions of spam links they crawl every day. What we want to 
know: how does Google analyze links?"

Determining Link Order on Intranet Portals
By Jared Spool.
"Several folks have asked what techniques we've used to determine the 
ideal order of links. We've had good success on intranets with a rating 
system. Using the use cases/tasks associated with each link, we ask 
users to rate them on two scales..."

+10: PHP.

PHP Security: Basic PHP Security
By Dennis Pallett.
"Security in PHP has become one of the most popular topics in the PHP 
community lately, especially with an increased number of exploits and 
security problems. In this day and age, you must make sure your PHP 
scripts are airtight, and that they don't have any security problems."

Error Handling in PHP: Coding Defensively
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"As with any programming language, when you code in PHP, it helps 
immensely if you set up your applications to handle errors gracefully. 
This article explores some of the most common error checking methods 
available in PHP, and provides hands-on examples that use different 
error handling methods."

Error Handling in PHP: Introducing Exceptions in PHP 5
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"Welcome to the last part of the series 'Error Handling in PHP.' In two 
parts, this series introduces the basics of error handling in PHP. It 
demonstrates some of the most common methods for manipulating errors in 
PHP 4, and explains the implementation of exceptions in PHP 5, 
particularly in object-oriented environments."


Web Presentation Patterns
By Jonathan Snook.
"...The trick is not to implement as many design patterns as you can, 
but to choose the design pattern that is most appropriate when you see 
the need for abstraction...."

The Elements of a Design Pattern
By Jared M. Spool.
"Design teams are discovering that a well-built design pattern library 
makes the user interface development process substantially easier. A 
quality library means team members have the information they need at 
their fingertips. Choosing usable components that work smoothly for 
users becomes the developer's path of least resistance. Innovation, 
while not prohibited, is reserved for those times when it's really 
necessary, allowing the team to leverage the work already done by 

Another Failed Redesign: IEEE
By Kimberly Blessing.
Oh the irony -- that a standards body should ignore standards in 
creating their new Web site! As a member of the IEEE, I couldn't help 
but laugh when I saw that the new IEEE Web site redesign was announced 
in an e-mail newsletter... along with another entry titled "Let's Not 
Overlook Standards".

Bloody Web Standards AGAIN
By Kay Smoljak.
"...I have a theory about programmers (and not just ColdFusion 
programmers). They learn HTML in five seconds flat - it's easy right? 
Compared to actual programming languages, it is. They never bother to 
learn it properly because it's not considered important. Experienced 
programmers scoff at obvious newbie mistakes, like the misuse of pound 
signs in CFML, yet these same programmers think nothing of huge tracts 
of CSS with identical redundant font declarations on every rule. Misuse 
of HTML can make it very difficult to change the look and feel of 
applications - I see this all the time in otherwise brilliant open 
source applications and community code. If more programmers realized 
how simple and powerful plain HTML with presentational information 
separated out into CSS files can be - applying the same principals that 
work so well in application code -the world would be a better place. 
And really, people who can master CFML or OO or SQL or write CMSs or 
whatever can surely learn to apply a little intelligence to their web 
application's output."

+12: TOOLS.

Colour Blindness Simulator
By etre.
"One in twenty people have some form of colour vision deficiency. 
Upload an image to experience it as colour blind users may."


25 Best License-Free Quality Fonts
By Vitaly Friedman.
"...I've decided to create the Top 20 Best License-Free Official Fonts, 
which are likely to be used rather for official, serious presentations 
(such as business sites) than a colorful teenager's homepage. Most 
fonts presented below are absolutely license-free which means that you 
can use them for both private, personal and commercial purposes without 
any limitations whatsoever..."

15 Best License-Free Pixel Fonts
By Vitaly Friedman.
"...working on my last project..., I needed something serious, 
official, good-looking and readable. The results can be found below..."


Ten Best Intranets of 2006
By Jakob Nielsen.
"This year, we saw increased use of multimedia, e-learning, internal 
blogs, and mobile access. Winning companies also encouraged consistent 
design by emphasizing training for content contributors."

First Impressions Count in Website Design
By Andy King.
"...This research shows that reliable decisions about your site can be 
made in as little as 1/20th of a second. This emotional judgment can 
color subsequent judgments made after further reflection. Even though 
your site may have superior products, services, or usability, an 
initial negative impression from a poor or slow design can steer 
customers towards your competition. You only get one chance to create a 
good first impression, make it count. A clean, professional, and 
fast-loading site can ensure that your first impression will be a good 

The Beauty of Simplicity
By Linda Tischler.
"Marissa Mayer, who keeps Google's home page pure, understands that 
less is more. Other tech companies are starting to get it, too. Here's 
why making things simple is the new competitive advantage."

Above the Fold is Obsolete (and digibuy is a good company)
By Darrel Austin.
"...'Above the fold' is obsolete. In their study, they found that 
people are more than willing to scroll to find the information they 
want. This goes against the marketing departments favorite mantra 
'EVERYTHING must be above the fold!'..."

+15: XML.

A Survey of XML Standards: Part 1
By Uche Ogbuji.
"In the first article in this series, I focus on core XML technologies."

A Survey of XML Standards: Part 2
By Uche Ogbuji.
"In my second article, I cover standards relating to XML processing by 

A Survey of XML Standards: Part 3
By Uche Ogbuji.
"In the third, I present a selection of the most important XML 
applications (less precisely known as vocabularies)."

A Survey of XML Standards: Part 4
By Uche Ogbuji.
"This final article provides a detailed cross-reference of all the 
standards covered in this series. I think the sum encompasses all of 
the most important XML standards."

[Section one ends.]


+16: 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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