[webdev] Web Design Update: April 21, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Apr 21 06:32:05 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 4, Issue 44, April 21, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 44 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
05: EVALUATION & TESTING.
07: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
12: SITES & BLOGS.
13: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
16: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Web Accessibility Policies (and Pseudo Policies) in Post secondary
"This updated list represents a broad sampling of web accessibility
policies across the United States and other regions around the world.
Many of these policies can be more accurately described as suggestions,
since many institutions do not have any binding formal policy. See how
your web accessibility policy compares, or use these as a springboard
to create your own."
Involving Users in Web Accessibility Evaluation
By Shawn Lawton Henry.
"Web accessibility evaluation often focuses on evaluating conformance
to accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines (WCAG). Broadening evaluation to involve people with
disabilities helps better understand accessibility issues and implement
more effective accessibility solutions."
A More Accessible Map
By Seth Duffey.
"Nifty web maps powered by Google and Yahoo! APIs are all the rage. And
rage is what a visually impaired user may feel when trying to use them.
Is there a way to make beautiful web maps accessible? In a word, yes."
Tate Online Wins Accessibility Award
By Anna Lagerkvist.
"i-Map, the arts resource for visually impaired people developed by
Tate Online and BT, has won a web accessibility award. The judges
awarded Tate Online the 2006 Jodi Award for Excellence in Museum,
Library and Archive Web Accessibility, because the site was a "world
leader in making online collections accessible to blind and partially
sighted people...The site incorporates audio content so visitors can
hear detailed descriptions of each work as well as watch full screen
animations, which highlight and simplify key aspects of the included
Google Releases Audio CAPTCHA
By Matt Bailey.
"Google has now unveiled the Audio CAPTCHA for blind and low-vision
users for many of the Google services. Gmail, Google Groups and the
Google Account for the homepage. Users simply have to click the link
and type the numbers they hear."
Indicating Language Choice: Flags, Text, Both, Neither?
By Roger Johansson.
"At the office we recently had a bit of a discussion about how language
choice should be indicated on the web. The specific case we were
debating is when a site uses one primary language and contains sections
of information in one or several other languages. Visitors who want to
access the information in one of the secondary languages have to
somehow be made aware that they can select another language. This is
assuming the site does not use content negotiation to automatically
display information in the visitor's preferred language (which is a bad
idea anyway). Four options come to mind..."
Accessible Business Online
By Alexandra Graham.
"It's about more than disabled users, it's an overall concept to apply
to the web, web design as a whole and you need to build it into your
development process as opposed to actually adding it on, because you
just do it straight through the whole time and you make that a part of
your web sites, then you're just going to be making better web sites
anyway so clients are more likely to choose you. Make sure you're
selling the features, don't talk in developer speak, like I said at the
beginning, they don't care about how you made it accessible, just as
long as people can use it. So make sure it's that usability that you're
selling when you're talking to the clients. You just make the good web
sites, don't make a big deal out of it to the clients, it's something
that matters to developers because it's something that we do. But
again, it's just a part of the end product, it's not anything that will
really bother your client."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Getting Fieldset Backgrounds and Legends to Behave in IE
By Matt Heerem.
"I'm sure someone has posted on this issue before I just haven't found
an answer I'm looking for. Jeff Croft has a close answer, but he is
trying to solve a different problem. I built off of his exploration for
this solution. The 'problem' occurs when you are building a form with a
fieldset tag and a legend tag, and then style the fieldset with a
background color like so..."
Projecting Your CSS
By Jon Christopher.
"I can remember setting up my first stylesheet and being truly
impressed with the power of CSS. While I was still learning the
language and implementation, I came across the concept of print
stylesheets. The fact that you could present a completely different
style for print was mind blowing for me. It made so much sense all at
once and was a great thing to learn. What's also great is the ability
to style for other media, such as handheld devices and projectors. Did
you know that there are 7 total media types you can style for?"
By Menghini Calderon Fabrizio Antonio.
"W3C assert that the formula (they have developed for testing for
accessible color) has been tested using a sample of 149 volunteers
where 80% of them reported some visual impairment (acuity problems,
myopia, hypermetropia, presbyopia). However there are some problems
that invalidate the results obtained."
Precisely Positioning div Tags in Your Page From Design View
By Adrian Senior.
"In this article we will look at how you can insert div tags into your
code, precisely. We will do this from Dreamweaver's design view by
making good use of the insert div tag function that can be found on the
Styling Forms with CSS - Part 1: Accessibility and Form Element Styles
By Adrian Senior.
"Learn to create accessible forms using the latest CSS techniques
instead of tables."
Styling Forms with CSS - Part 2: CSS-Structured Forms
By Adrian Senior.
"In Part 2 of this series, you will build on this knowledge and explore
more advanced methods of positioning your form elements using CSS. You
can use the HTML and CSS documents you created in Part 1 or else
download the files from the sample download link and continue with Part
+05: EVALUATION & TESTING.
F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Eyetracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an
F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe.
F for fast. That's how users read your precious content. In a few
seconds, their eyes move at amazing speeds across your website's words
in a pattern that's very different from what you learned in school."
Usability Testing Best Practices: An Interview with Rolf Molich
By Christine Perfetti.
"You may have never heard of Rolf Molich. Yet, if you've done any
usability testing, design evaluations, or heuristic inspections, then
you've been affected by his pioneering work. Since entering the field
in 1983, Rolf has produced some of the most impressive and
forward-thinking research on effective discount usability techniques.
Two of Rolf's more renowned contributions include the co-invention of
the Heuristic Inspection process with Jakob Nielsen and the more recent
CUE (Comparative Usability Evaluation) studies..."
Internet Research 7.0: Internet Convergences
International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of
September 28-30, 2006.
October 5-8, 2006.
+07: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Information Architecture and Findability
By Russell Wilson.
"Peter Morville, co-author of Information Architecture for the World
Wide Web with Lou Rosenfeld and author of Ambient Findability,
presented a very informative day-long lecture on the subject of
information architecture (IA). He discussed many basic concepts as well
as best practices, so his presentation would appeal to both beginner
and intermediate IAs."
Information Architecture Success Story: the Development of
By Thom Haller.
"In Fall 2002 I was working with IA students at Johns Hopkins
University who were seeking strategies to "engineer" information to
improve human performance. We were studying research-based heuristics
from the field and needed a real-life client. The government's plain
language site seemed ripe for reshaping."
By Rob Williams.
"The purpose of this series of articles is to introduce newcomers to
leverage the power of this technology in your own web projects."
Mastering Ajax, Part 3: Advanced Requests and Responses in Ajax
By Brett McLaughlin.
"For many Web developers, making simple requests and receiving simple
responses is all they'll ever need, but for developers who want to
master Ajax, a complete understanding of HTTP status codes, ready
states, and the XMLHttpRequest object is required. In this article,
Brett McLaughlin will show you the different status codes and
demonstrate how browsers handle each and he will showcase the
lesser-used HTTP requests that you can make with Ajax."
Mastering Ajax, Part 4: Exploiting DOM for Web Response
By Brett McLaughlin.
"The great divide between programmers (who work with back-end
applications) and Web programmers (who spend their time writing HTML,
Model (DOM) bridges the chasm and makes working with both XML on the
back end and HTML on the front end possible and an effective tool. In
this article, Brett McLaughlin introduces the Document Object Model,
explains its use in Web pages, and starts to explore its usage from
Mastering Ajax, Part 5: Manipulate the DOM
By Brett McLaughlin.
"Learn how to create, remove, and change the parts of a DOM tree, and
take the next step toward updating your Web pages on the fly!"
Comet: Low Latency Data for the Browser
By Alex Russell.
Comet is different from Ajax in the way messages are passed between the
server and client. Instead of occasionally polling the server, Comet
applications keep a open line of communication with the server, whereby
the server pushes data to the client.
Steve Smith Interview
By WaSP Education Task.
"Steve Smith, lead Web developer with the University of Notre Dame Web
Group, believes in 'finding joy in small steps' when it comes
advocating standards. After all, it's no small feat to introduce change
within the greater machine of an educational institution. How does
Steve and his team face up to the challenge? Steve finds some time
amidst his flurry of evangelist and educational activities to tell us a
little more about their strategies..."
Of Cereal and Search: Improving Customer Experience with Selective
Search Engine Optimization
By Eric G. Myers.
"If your site is like most, there are probably places that are better
for users to enter than others. Of course, it all depends on the user's
goal. This is exactly why you need to customize your optimization
efforts for each individual page of your web site. Some pages are going
to require (and deserve) a lot more effort. These are the pages you
really want to put front and center for your users to find."
How Important is ALT Text In Search Engine Optimization?
By Robin Nobles.
"...I've been recommending to my online and offline SEO students for a
long time that they needed to use ALT text in the manner in which it
was designed to be used by the W3C..."
Don't Forget to Add the Tax(onomy)
By Cathy McKnight.
"So what is taxonomy? How does it differ from information architecture?
And how do you create an effective taxonomy for a successful intranet?"
PHP vs perl
By Justin Silverton.
"PHP and perl are both powerful languages used successfully in a server
environment. Here are some brief differences between the two languages."
+12: SITES & BLOGS.
Bite Size Standards
By John Oxton et al.
"Bite Size Standards aims to offer concise web development tutorials,
tips and tricks. Written by designers and developers who are passionate
about web standards."
+13: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Minnesota Standards Bill Could Affect Microsoft Word, Adobe
By W. David Gardner.
"In conducting a theoretical search of the Minnesota state Web site,
Nesbitt observed that most of the results 'come back as either HTML,
PDF, or MS Word. The problem is that the latter two formats are owned
by entities that could go out of business, charge significantly, make
unannounced changes, sue others for creating similar technologies, act
as a monopoly, or abort a product offering altogether. In those
instances, there is very little the State could do about it.'"
By Stuart Robertson.
This Firefox extension lets you to see the markup of a page without
viewing source, which can be useful when debugging. It's also both fun
and educational to use X-Ray to explore the markup used on other
Colour Contrast Analyser 1.1
By Steve Faulkner.
"...a primarily a tool for checking foreground and background colour
combinations to determine if they provide good colour visibility. It
also contains functionality to create simulations of certain visual
conditions such as colour blindness...System Requirements: Microsoft
Usability Book of Knowledge
By Usability Professionals Association.
"The Usability Body of Knowledge (BoK) project is dedicated to creating
a living reference that represents the collective knowledge of the
usability profession. Preliminary work has started, but there is more
to do. This website introduces the subject areas that will eventually
be included in the Usability Body of Knowledge and a preview of what is
Making Popular Layout Decisions
By Eric Meyer.
"Every time you make a layout decision - fluid vs fixed, scaled vs
percentage, a few more people hate you. How do you make the right
decisions and when?"
[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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