[webdev] Web Design Update: September 7, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Sep 7 06:30:04 CDT 2006

- Volume 5, Issue 11, September 7, 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.
07: FLASH.
10: PHP.
12: TOOLS.
15: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


WCAG 2.0: The New W3C Web Accessibility Guidelines Evaluated
By Trenton Moss.
"The second version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 
is in final working draft and will soon be officially released. Version 
1 of the guidelines 1 came under much criticism for being vague, full 
of jargon and extremely difficult to use. The W3C has been working on 
version 2.0 of the guidelines 2 for over 5 years now, but has it been 
worth the wait?..."

What's Happening in WCAG 2?
By Jack Pickard.
"...I was wanting to know what's happened recently, particularly in 
regards to the areas that I feel are weak in WCAG 2.0: has the Working 
Group picked up on things and started to strengthen them? I have to be 
honest here, and say no, not that I could find, anyway...I'm beginning 
to think like that arch-skeptic Joe Clark and wonder if the working 
group has put their fingers in their ears over this issue and are 
singing 'la la la I can't hear you' because it doesn't fit with their 
preconceived ideas of how WCAG 2.0 should look for it to include 

By Joe Clark.
"It was later revealed on the Blind Canadians mailing list that two 
people have filed a human-rights complaint against Ticketmaster because 
of its inaccessible site. This will be a Canadian first. Such an action 
had been mentioned many months ago; I had warned them to proceed with 

Turned Away at the Virtual Box Office
By Christopher Danielsen.
"...As far as I can tell, the only good news in the area of visual 
verification is that the Internet community is becoming more aware of 
the issue, which will hopefully give other companies doing business on 
the Web pause before adopting this technology without considering the 
needs of blind consumers..."

Geek in the Park: Pragmatic Accessibility
By Bruce Lawson.
"My notes, combined with some notes Patrick gave me, are reproduced. 
These are dense, as we talked for two hours, as this is just our crib 
sheet rather than a full transcript..."

Using the title Attribute
By Gez Lemon.
"The title attribute is intended to provide supplementary information 
about an element; for example, it might be used to provide extra 
information about the target of a link. Although the User Agent 
Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) requires access to all content, current 
user agents provide very poor access to title text information, and 
what access they do provide is typically inaccessible for people with 

Apple Offers Universal Access with Leopard
"Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs demonstrates Universal Access, an 
application that will be bundled with the company's new operating 
system Leopard. The program has features such as voiceover 
enhancements, Braille support and closed captioning."

Cultivating and Maintaining Web Accessibility Expertise and 
Institutional Support in Higher Education
By Paul R. Bohman.
"...Institutions should seek to establish flexible, comprehensive, 
holistic systems with the long-term goal of sustainability. Throughout 
the process, participants should strive to remember that the real 
purpose of web accessibility is not merely legal compliance. The real 
purpose is to create a more inclusive society in which people with 
disabilities enjoy the same opportunities and freedoms as the rest of 
the population."

Public Institutions' Web Accessibility
Evaluation, Plans for Improvement, and Annual Reporting
By The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).
IBHE has recently started requiring all public universities and 
community colleges in Illinois to report on their current state of web 
accessibility and their plans to improve accessibility. The following 
are results from the first year.


CSS Mastery: Fixed-Width, Liquid, and Elastic Layouts and Faux Columns
By Andy Budd, Cameron Moll and Simon Collison.
"So far (in the previous article), all the examples have used widths 
defined in pixels. This type of layout is known as fixed-width layout, 
or sometimes "ice layout" due to its rigid nature. This week we look at 
fixed-width, liquid and elastic layouts."

IE6 Resize Bug (position: relative becomes fixed)
By Emil Stenstrom.
"One bug kept popping up on the sites I built, and I was almost going 
insane. The bug I'm talking about is specific to Internet Explorer 6 
(IE6) and has to do with what happens when you resize the page."

CSS Frames v2, Full-Height
By Roger Johansson.
Way back in August of 2003 I wrote a short article called CSS Frames, 
in which I described a technique to emulate the visual appearance of 
HTML frames with CSS. That is more than three years ago, so I think 
it's about time to revisit the technique and improve it a bit, 
especially as the original CSS Frames demo page has been receiving 
loads of traffic lately. I only had to take a quick look at the code to 
tell that it's been a few years since I made the demo. Looking at old 
code can be a bit embarrassing sometimes. The demo contains a list of 
browsers that I had tested the technique in. 'Mozilla Firebird 0.61' is 
mentioned as one of them. Like I said, it was a while ago. So here is 
an update..."

CSS Shortcomings
By Robert Nyman.
"For many web developers, CSS means numerous of ways to create flexible 
designs, control fonts in a powerful manner and a central location for 
controlling the entire look of your web site. Unfortunately, CSS is far 
from perfect so I thought I'd list the most common disappointments I 
have, given the current state of CSS support, and I will also go a 
little into what your options are and what the future holds."

+03: COLOR.

Effective Color Contrast
By Aries Arditi.
"This article by Aries Arditi provides basic guidelines for making 
effective color choices in print and on the Web that work for nearly 
everyone. To understand them best, you need to understand the three 
perceptual attributes of color: hue, lightness and saturation, in the 
particular way that vision scientists use them."


Can Microsoft Expression Web Designer Touch Dreamweaver?
By Meryl Evans.
"Look out, Dreamweaver. Consider Microsoft Expression Web Designer as 
Dreamweaver's new rival. Don't look at this competition in the iPod vs. 
everybody way, but rather in the Dell vs. HP way..."


Usability Test Facilitation Techniques
By DeeDee DeMulling.
"A great usability test facilitator does more than just show up on the 
day of the test, they spend some time making sure they understand the 
product, objectives of the business and concerns from the project team. 
A great facilitator participates in the test planning process so they 
understand and help define the learning objectives for the test 

Giving Usability Methods the Critical Eye
By Dan Brown.
"...I don't think there's anything earth-shattering here, but I do 
think usability tests could benefit from a good dose of critical 
thinking, especially about objectives. A test's goals serves as the 
foundation for the entire effort, and proceeding without them - or with 
poorly formulated goals - leads to generating lots of meaningless data. 
It's easy enough for clients to say that they want the site learnable 
and memorable, and that users should complete tasks efficiently and 
feel very satisfied at the end, but in creating tests such goals are no 
more useful than 'to determine if the site is usable.'..."

Learning How to Focus on Field Studies
By Jared Spool.
"Here's a fun little exercise you can use when training observers 
before they go out on field visits."

+06: EVENTS.

Accessibility in 2006
September 12, 2006.
London, United Kingdom

W3C Print Symposium
(W3C print technologies including XSL, XSLT, SVG Print, CSS Paged Media 
and XHTML Print.)
October 17, 2006.
Heidelberg, Germany

Mac Cowboys
December 10, 2006.
Wickenburg, Arizona, U.S.A.

IUI 2007
International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces
January 28-31, 2007.
Hawaii, U.S.A.

+07: FLASH.

Visit with the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind)
By Niqui Merret.
Niqui Merret and Aral Balkan, two Flash developers, visit the RNIB to 
find out first hand how vision impaired people use the web.


The Future is Hybrids - How JavaScript can Purify Pure CSS Solutions
By Christian Heilmann.
"Over the last few months there were more and more requests on mailing 
lists and articles published how you can achieve functionality with 
pure CSS that was traditionally achieved with JavaScript. This post 
will explain why that is an interesting concept, but hopefully make you 
aware of the benefits of JavaScript enhanced solutions versus pure CSS 

JavaScript Panel Podcast: "JavaScript Libraries: Friend Or Foe?"
Presentation from at media 2006. "Cameron Adams, Stuart Langridge, 
Peter Paul Koch, Simon Willison and Dan Webb discuss JavaScript 


Berners-Lee Calls for Web 2.0 Calm
By Gavin Clarke.
"Five years after the first internet bubble burst, we're now witnessing 
the backlash against Web 2.0 and a plethora of me-too business plans, 
marketing pitches and analyst reports exploiting the nebulous phrase. 
Tim Berners-Lee, the individual credited with inventing the web and 
giving so many of us jobs, has become the most prominent individual 
so-far to point out that the Web 2.0 emperor is naked. Berners-Lee has 
dismissed Web 2.0 as useless jargon nobody can explain and a set of 
technology that tries to achieve exactly the same thing as 'Web 1.0'."

UIE Brain Sparks Audio Library
By User Interface Engineering.
"Our growing audio library includes podcasts, interviews, and 
presentations on topics such as tagging, home page design, and user 
behavior. You can listen to a show ala carte or subscribe to the full 
podcast feed to hear the great information that Jared Spool, Joshua 
Porter, and Christine Perfetti deliver."

+10: PHP.

Beginning PHP: One Goal at a Time
By Ali Al-Athary.
"A couple of months ago, I knew almost nothing about PHP, only that is 
was a programming language that I needed to learn. Today, my whole site 
relies upon PHP and I have gained the confidence that almost anything 
is possible using PHP. I accomplished this achievement using methods 
that I will describe in this article..."

PHP 5 Class Basics, Part 1
By Dennis Pallett.
"In this first part of a new article series on PHP5 classes and objects 
you will be introduced to the basic concepts of using classes, the 
constructor and destructor methods and class inheritance."


By Dan Cederholm.
"There's a myth that colleges and universities are teaching antiquated 
web design skills: table-and -spacer-gif-ness, FrontPage 98, etc. 
Actually, I don't think it's a myth - it's actually happening out 
there. So after touring Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging 
Arts yesterday, I was completely surprised. CDIA offers an interactive 
design program with an emphasis on CSS, web standards and hand-coding - 
and it's right in my own backyard..."

+12: TOOLS.

Usability Test Data Logger Tool v3.0
By Todd Zazelenchuk.
"Most people use Microsoft Excel to analyst the results of usability 
tests, but did you know you can use it to collect the data too? This 
spreadsheet allows you to measure task completion rates, analyze 
questionnaire data, and summarize participant comments. It even 
includes a timer so you can measure time-on-task."

By Paul Colton.
"Aptana is a robust, JavaScript-focused IDE for building dynamic web 
applications. Highlights include the following features: Code Assist on 
JavaScript, HTML, and CSS languages, including your own JavaScript 
functions; Outliner that gives a snapshot view of your JavaScript, 
HTML; Error and warning notification for your code; Support for Aptana 
UI customization and extensions; Cross-platform support Free and open 
source licensed under the Eclipse Public License..."


Add and Delete Vertical Space in Measured Intervals
By Richard Rutter.
"Headings, subheads, block quotations, footnotes, illustrations, 
captions and other intrusions into the text create syncopations and 
variations against the base rhythm of regularly leaded lines. These 
variations can and should add life to the page, but the main text 
should also return after each variation precisely on beat and in phase."

On Fonts for the Web
By Richard Rutter.
"The availability of fonts for use on the Web, or more specifically the 
lack thereof, has been getting some welcome attention recently..."


User Interface Design Principles for Web Applications
By Aral Balkan.
"...1. The Client Is Not The User. The client may think she knows what 
the user wants, but she cannot. This is because the client is not the 
user. This brings me to the second principle: 2. Don't Give The Client 
What She Thinks The User Wants. If the client does not know what the 
user wants and you give her what she is asking for, you are doing her a 
disservice. You will ultimately be delivering an application that does 
not meet user's needs. Your client may initially be happy that you have 
given her exactly what she asked for but will she remain happy when the 
product is rejected by users?..."

The Laws of Simplicity
By John Maeda.
"The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful 
reduction. When in doubt, just remove. But be careful of what you 
remove...Organization makes a system of many appear fewer..."

CNN Changes Home Page (again)
By Joshua Porter.
"...Well, recently they've gotten rid of the dropdown that contained 
extra links. I had mentioned that these types of flyouts were 
troublesome to people...Many design teams are moving away from full 
redesigns and moving toward incremental improvements, evolving a design 
instead of recreating it. This seems like a good approach for CNN. They 
have so many people using the site that a day's worth of usage is 
probably enough to let them know if something isn't working. And 
apparently, their old navigation wasn't working.."

+15: XML.

RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 Compared
By Atom Project Wiki.
"The purpose of this page is to summarize, as clearly and simply as 
possible, the differences between the RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 syndication 

[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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