[webdev] Web Design Update: October 5, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Oct 5 07:50:46 CDT 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 15, October 5, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 15 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
08: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
12: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Accessibility for Blind People
By James Bowskill.
"For most of us, using a computer and surfing the web is an almost
entirely visual experience. We move cursors around the screen, click
buttons and menus, read text and look at pictures. But although most of
us rely on monitors to use computers, blind and visually impaired users
haven't been left out. James and Uleshka talked to blind programmer
Masafumi 'Max' Nakane to find out more about usability both on and
offline for those who can't see."
The Great Accessibility Camp-Out
By Gez Lemon and Mike Cherim.
"Since the dawn of Internet time the meaning of web accessibility has
sparked some minor wars. We hope to change that. We aren't trying to
clear up the disparity of meaning, but we hope to put an end to the
random battles as they are, like most skirmishes, senseless..."
Accessibility In Trouble 2: Standards
By Mike Davies.
"The web accessibility community is in deep trouble. Its a train-wreck
waiting to happen. Unfortunately when the collision eventually happens,
disabled people lose out. Its time to get web accessibility back on
track. Take it back from the zealots with their own private agendas and
The Future of Web Accessibility
By Trenton Moss.
"Accessibility is currently in a great state of change - find out what
the future hold for web accessibility and how this may affect your
The Practicalities of Accessible, Commercial Web Design
By Leonie Watson.
"Accessible design is a far wider issue than catering for a single
disability. As a visually impaired person myself, I am well aware of
the difficulties we face, but unquestionably the needs of hearing,
cognitive and physically impaired people should not be dismissed as a
consequence. What further concerns me is the ease with which amateur
user-testing can be invalidated. Without taking into account factors of
experience, technical ability and environment, the results of amateur
user testing are notoriously inaccurate and misguiding. Especially at a
time when many testing facilities still believe that a two way mirror
is an acceptable method of hiding viewers from testing participants.
Amateur testing is simply foolhardy and a waste of time and money.
Finally, I come onto the use of automated tools as a means of checking
how accessible your site is. Some are free to use. Excellent; isn't it?
Well let's think about this: of the 65 checkpoints within Web Content
Accessibility Guide 1.0 (WCAG 1.0), only 5 can actually be checked
fully using an automated tool such as WebXact, for example, and only 8
more can be partially checked. That means that barely 8% of WCAG 1.0
checkpoints can be tested by an automated tool with complete accuracy."
Too Much Accessibility - Tabindex
By Bim Egan.
"A prime suspect in the crime of allowing 'too much accessibility' has
to be the tabindex attribute. How many web authors realize that if you
give the tabindex attribute to just a few form fields or links on a web
page, you could ruin the logical tab order for the entire page? I'm
afraid the answer is: far too few. To be frank, I've rarely seen the
tabindex attribute applied without it creating more problems than it
Does W3C Get It's Contrasts Wrong?
By Mel Pedley.
"What I am suggesting is that, if a colours theme is chosen that does
conform to the W3C algorithm, an alternative, low contrast stylesheet
should be provided as standard. If that's not an option, consider
lowering the contrast slightly. Yes - I mean drop the color difference
below that recommended by W3C to 400 instead of 500. This would be in
accordance with the range used by Hewlett Packard which recommends a
colours difference limit of 400..."
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Metrics for Heuristics
By Andrea Wiggins.
"Web analytics typically provide intelligence for executives and
marketers, but the real value comes from evaluating the online
experience. Andrea Wiggins shows how designers can use analytics to
quantify the user experience."
Competitive Analysis, Part 2
By Dan Brown.
"Websites don't exist in isolation, of course--the competition is
always just a click or two away. How can you make sure yours is the
site that wins the hearts, minds, or dollars of visitors? An
insightful, detailed competitive analysis can make the difference
between a site that delivers or one that sits unused. In Part Two of
the excerpt from his book Communicating Design: Developing Web Site
Documentation for Design and Planning, IA and user experience expert
Dan Brown continues to show us how to create an effective analysis."
ETech Conference 2007
March 26-29, 2007.
San Diego, California U.S.A.
Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International
March 26-30, 2007.
San Antonio, Texas U.S.A.
Gel (Good Experience Live) 2007
April 19-20, 2007.
New York, New York U.S.A.
+05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Prototyping Beyond the Sunshine Scenario: How to prototype derivations
from the main flow
By Henrik Olsen.
"Prototypes often model one flow of interaction n the path that users
are most likely to take. But when we create interaction designs with
dynamic and complex flows, we often need to include deviations from the
sunshine scenarios to see whether they work. The Q4 2006 issue of GUUUI
takes a look at how to do this in Visio and Axure."
In-Browser Wireframe Prototyping with Frametastic
By Christian Romney.
"...What I've really longed for is an ultra-lightweight, simple tool
for producing wireframes right inside the browser. No flash, no java,
solution. I wanted something where I could draw a few colored boxes
titles, then screenshot and print if necessary. So, without further
adieu, I present Frametastic 0.1..."
Bloglines Is Broken (for me, at least)
By Ian Lloyd.
"...it amazes me that developers are unaware that their web apps can be
fundamentally broken by some firewall security policies (I was speaking
to PPK at this year's atmedia about this very topic and how so many
includes instances like this where firewalls stop what they believe
might be harmful pieces of code..."
PHP: Image Randomizer
By Mike Cherim.
"Indecisive about what images you want to show your site's visitor when
they first drop by? This script will take that choice right out of your
hands by offering all of your great images in a completely random
fashion ? a new one every time the page is loaded. Like magic."
Secure and Accessible PHP Contact Form
By Mike Cherim.
"Highly accessible, very usable, and extremely secure with 14
anti-spam, anti-abuse counter-measures. Easy to install, easy to set
up. Valid XHTML Strict, or HTML Strict, you configure your choice. Free
+08: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Survey Reveals Only 14 Percent Of America's Best Colleges Compliant
With Web Standards
By Enterprise Content Management Connection.
"Hannon Hill Corporation, makers of Web content management solutions,
today announced survey results revealing only 14 percent of America's
Best Colleges ranked by US News and World Report are compliant with
HTML/XHTML Web standards recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C). The key benefits to maintaining a W3C standards-compliant Web
site include having better accessibility for a wide range of disabled
users and improved search engine rankings..."
Markup Maker - XHTML Templates at the Touch of a Button
By Ian Lloyd.
"A small techie announcement: I built a tool that lets you type in a
whole bunch of sections that you'd have on a page (that would relate
directly to ids on the page) including the nesting of each section and
quickly create an XHTML template from it..."
By Joe Hewitt.
"FireBug lets you explore the far corners of the DOM by keyboard or
mouse. All of the tools you need to poke, prod, and monitor your
experience, including a debugger, an error console, command line, and a
variety of fun inspectors."
In Continuous Text Mark All Paragraphs After the First with an Indent
of at Least One en
By Richard Rutter.
"Ornaments [...] drop lines [...] outdented paragraphs [...] and
others, have their uses but the plainest, most unmistakable yet
unobtrusive way of marking paragraphs is the simple indent."
Inferences from Mouse Movement
By Jared Spool.
I don't disagree with Andrew's observations. I wasn't there and have no
way of knowing what users did or didn't do. Plus, I too have seen some
users move their mouse around the screen, waiting for the browser to
give them the 'finger' and looking for additional clues. However, I do
think his inference (as I interpreted it) could be faulty."
Why Your Web App Sucks
By Paul Scrivens.
"The reason it is so hard to make a great web application is because it
is so easy to make it suck. The greatest ideas do not always translate
into the greatest applications because of poor execution. What makes
them so bad though? Let's take a look..."
The Intranet Homepage, Protect it with a Policy
By Cairo Walker.
"An intranet homepage policy is a tool that can provide welcome support
to intranet managers as well as providing a clear direction to business
units and senior managers."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+12: 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.]
+ SUBSCRIPTION INFO.
WEB DESIGN UPDATE is available by subscription. For information on how
to subscribe and unsubscribe please visit:
The Web Design Reference Site also has a RSS 2.0 feed for site updates.
+ TEXT EMAIL NEWSLETTER (TEN).
As a navigation aid for screen readers we do our best to conform to the
accessible Text Email Newsletter (TEN) guidelines. Please let me know
if there is anything else we can do to make navigation easier. For TEN
guideline information please visit:
+ 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
More information about the Webdev