[webdev] Web Design Update: November 3, 2006
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Nov 3 06:31:46 CST 2006
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 19, November 3, 2006.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 19 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.
12: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
16: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
WCAG 2 FAQ
"Here are answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Web
Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0..."
Designing for Dyslexics: Part 2 of 3
By Mel Pedley.
"In Part 1 of this series, we looked briefly at what dyslexia is and
some of the generic problems dyslexics face when surfing the web. In
this segment, I'm going to focus on a particular hot topic for
dyslexics - colour contrast. You may well follow W3C recommendations
regarding colour contrast but you may be creating problems for as many
as 10% of your site visitors..."
Blind Web Surfers Sue For Accessibility
By Seth Sutel.
"'Links list dialogue.' 'Links list view.' 'Your Account - Two of 164.'
This is what the Internet sounds like to Chris Danielsen. Danielsen is
blind. He's using a software program called Jaws that converts the text
on a Web page into a computerized voice that comes out through a
speaker, allowing him to surf the Web using keyboard commands instead
of a mouse - the same way lots of blind people use the Internet..."
Target Accessibility Lawsuit Falls on Deaf Ears
By Kim Krause Berg.
"...It's not about who can buy earrings and toasters from Target, or
not. It's not about whether JAWS struggles with mangled up code.
Websites that do work are a click away. It's whether or not companies
are united in the belief that the Internet is a global medium, or just
limited to whatever was agreed on during that 9am coffee and donuts
meeting last Tuesday. If the potential for a lawsuit is not making a
dent in corporate-speak, what will?..."
Toronto Interacts Presentation
By Joe Clark.
Joe Clark's speaker's notes from this event.
Just How Accessible is the Web? BBC 1's Click, Investigates
By Henry Swan.
"Click, the BBC's flagship technology program, took a look at how easy
(or not!) it is to access the internet if you have a disability..."
Firefox 2.0 and Access Keys
By Gez Lemon.
"Firefox 2.0 uses Shift+Alt as the keystroke combination to invoke
access keys. On the surface, this appears to be a great idea, as it
avoids clashing with the shortcut keys used for the browser.
Unfortunately, the new behavior has been poorly implemented and breaks
all websites that have implemented access keys using numeric values, as
access keys specified with numeric values cannot be accessed in Firefox
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
IE7 CSS Tweak Show and Tell
By Jeffrey Zeldman.
"Partly because the beta was carefully rolled out over many months, the
release of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 has largely been a
non-event, for developers as well as journalists. While not at the
level of Mozilla Firefox, IE7 is far more standards-compliant than IE6,
which was way more compliant than IE5.5, which beat the pants off IE5.
To make IE6 render standards-compliant pages correctly, web designers
came up with a Wikipedia's worth of hacks. In IE7, those hacks aren't
necessary; some actually cause problems..."
On Having Layout
By Ingo Chao.
"A lot of Internet Explorer's rendering inconsistencies can be fixed by
giving an element 'layout.' John Gallant and Holly Bergevin classified
these inconsistencies as 'dimensional bugs,' meaning that they can
often be solved by applying a width or height. This leads to a question
of why 'layout' can change the rendering of and the relationships
between elements. The question, albeit a good one, is hard to answer.
In this article, the authors focus on some aspects of this complicated
matter. For more thorough discussions and examples, please refer to the
The Cascade: Part 2 (Finally!)
By Lachlan Hunt.
"Exactly one year ago from this day, I published part 1 in a series of
articles about CSS cascading and inheritance. However, due to various
factors (mostly laziness), the sequel never got published- Until now..."
CSS: Image Replacement
By Mike Cherim.
"...When the image is an important part of the site and really needs to
be embedded in the mark-up, and you still want to offer cool
solution fits the bill..."
Five Simple Steps to Designing with Colour Part 2: A Few Basics
By Mark Boulton.
"...At its heart, colour theory is concerned with the creation of
colour combinations via relationships. The relationships are created by
the position of the colours on the colour wheel. The complexity of
colour theory really kicks in when you start taking into account
different hues, shades and tones. It can all get a bit too much. So
here, I'm keeping things very simple and I'm starting at the beginning
with primary colours..."
IE7 Spells Trouble
By Trond Ulseth.
"...Installing IE7 can indeed mess up your Dreamweaver settings..."
Dreamweaver 8 Keyboard Shortcuts - PC
By Noble Desktop.
"Here are many of Dreamweaver's keyboard shortcuts. Some of them are
the little known, hidden keystrokes! There is a PDF, printable version
to the right, or just scroll down to find the shortcut you need..."
Dreamweaver 8 Keyboard Shortcuts - Mac
By Noble Desktop.
Dreamweaver 8 Code Collapse
By Scott Fegette.
"...When working in complex code blocks, have you ever wished you could
hide sections you aren't working on to make navigation a little easier?
With Dreamweaver 8's code collapse feature, you can collapse any tag,
function or block- saving valuable scrolling time and most
importantly... your sanity..."
Guidance on When to Use Templates, Library Items, and SSIs
By Jolantha Belik.
"Learn the different options Dreamweaver gives you to reuse content on
many web pages."
+05: EVALUATION & TESTING.
How Many Users Should You Test With in Usability Testing? (Latest
By Frank Spillers.
"Question: How many users do you need to test with for a usability
test? Answer 1: = 5 users (Jakob Nielsen and Thomas Landauer, 1993).
Answer 2: = 15 users (Laurie Faulkner, 2004)...So, which is it, 5 or
15? And why are we arguing about an extra 10 users, doesn't one need to
test with at least 100 or more users for statistical significance,
accuracy and validity?..."
Personas: the Podcasts
By Steve Mulder.
"Too busy to decide if you want to buy the book? Try the podcasts,
which take you on a whirlwind tour of the book's content...For the
industrious, you can also download the PowerPoint slides..."
Which Personas Are You Targeting?
By Debra Levin.
An introduction to user personas.
Developing User Personas
By Emma Tonkin.
"When designing a Web site or program, the obvious question to ask at
once is, 'who are my audience?' It seems natural to design with users
in mind, and just as natural to wish to build a product that is
satisfactory to all one's users - however, experience shows that it is
difficult to design something that appeals to everybody... Instead, it
is useful to start with a few sample profiles of users, typical
examples of the audience to whom the design should appeal, and design
to their needs. Not only is it easier for the designer, but the result
is usually more appealing to the user community..."
Adobe Contribute Online Live Seminar Series
November 14, 2006.
12:00 - 1:00 PM US/Eastern
Introduction to Dreamweaver 8 (Online Adobe Event)
November 15, 2006.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM US/Eastern
Best Practices: A Closer Look at CSS and XML in Dreamweaver 8 (Online
November 15, 2006.
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM US/Eastern
Making Flash Websites Searchable
By Jeff Kamerer.
"Follow these tips to achieve search engine visibility when using Flash
in your websites..."
The Impact of Ajax on User Experience - Part 1
By Cindy Lu.
"...in Ajax-based application, new functions and interaction techniques
aimed at enriching user experience have allowed the user to do more on
the web in a more efficient, effective and fun way. In Part 2, we will
look at some of the problems created using Ajax. "
An Introduction to AJAX
By Emma Tonkin.
"The popularity of AJAX is due to the many advantages of the
technology, but several pitfalls remain related to the informality of
the standard, its disadvantages and limitations, potential usability
issues and the idiosyncrasies of various browsers and platforms.
However, the level of interest from industry groups and communities
means that it is undergoing active and rapid development in all these
AJAX and Usability Issues
By Emma Tonkin.
"...The concerns surrounding adoption of AJAX are not unfamiliar; many
stem from user and developer experience of Flash. Like Flash, the
technologies comprising AJAX may be used in many different ways; some
are more prone to usability or accessibility issues than others. The
establishment of standard frameworks, and the increasing
standardization of the technologies behind AJAX, is likely to improve
the situation for the Web developer. In the meantime, the key for
developers is to remember is that despite the availability of new
approaches, good design remains essential..."
AJAX Design Terminology
By Cameron Moll.
"...The point of this article is to associate traditional GUI
(graphical user interface), terminology with desktop-like web UI (user
Getting Real, the Book
"Discover the smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful
web-based application." This book is now available online at no cost.
IDEA (Information: Design, Experience, Access) 2006 (Podcasts and
"...We have audio from every talk, and slides from many of them..."
Interview with Founding women: Ligaya Turmelle and Elizabeth Naramore
"I'm pleased to present the first of many planned interviews for the
phpWomen site. I am starting the series at the beginning. My two
victims, er? guests, started the frenzy that has become phpWomen.org..."
What Tourists Really Want on the Web
By Gerry McGovern.
What are the implications of the Long Neck for the management of a
website - and the delivery of the maximum return on investment for that
website? 1) Your customers are highly impatient. 2) They have a small
set of Long Neck tasks that they will quickly scan your webpages for.
3) If they see these Long Neck tasks addressed prominently and with
clarity, you will pass that vital test of relevance. If you present the
important Long Neck care words on your homepage and other key pages,
then you will keep the attention of your impatient customers. Instead
of reaching for the Back button, your customers will be clicking on one
of your links to complete the task they came to your website to
Practical PHP Programming Wiki
By Paul Hudson.
"My original book has been online over two years, and in print as PHP
in a Nutshell for one, so now I'm taking it a step further: all the
content is available on this site as a wiki. Not only will this make it
easier for me to keep the content up to date (as and when I have the
time - no promises!), but it also means that you can make changes
Why Don't We See More Women in the PHP World?
By Manuel Lemos.
"This post lets you know about a new initiative to bring together the
women that work with PHP throughout the world. It explains how
spreading the word is vital for the success of communities of specific
interests. The article also tells what you can do to help."
Introducing the Chain of Responsibility Between PHP Objects
By Alejandro Gervasio.
"This article, the first of three parts, introduces you to the chain of
responsibility pattern in PHP 5. This pattern is useful when a specific
class cannot deal with a particular task, and must therefore transfer a
program's execution to another class with the appropriate capability."
+12: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
By Tim Berners-Lee.
"It is really important to have real developers on the ground involved
with the development of HTML. It is also really important to have
browser makers intimately involved and committed. And also all the
other stakeholders, including users and user companies and makers of
related products....Some things are clearer with hindsight of several
years. It is necessary to evolve HTML incrementally. The attempt to get
the world to switch to XML, including quotes around attribute values
and slashes in empty tags and namespaces all at once didn't work."
How Not to Fix HTML
By Joe Clark.
"Tim Berners-Lee decides to actually do something for a change.
Unfortunately, it's the wrong thing...So we're starting our fixes with
HTML? Why? Because five people posted on their blogs about it? More
than five people posted about WCAG 2. Why aren't we starting there?
HTML is working OK but Web accessibility guidelines are in trouble. So
why is HTML a priority fix?..."
Reinventing HTML: Discuss
By W3C Quality Assurance.
"By now many have seen Tim Berners-Lee on Reinventing
HTML...Ironically, comments are disabled on breadcrumbs, the DIG
research group blog. Comments are welcome here..."
The W3C and WCAG
By Jack Pickard.
"...So, if you belong to a company that can pay to be a Member of the
W3C, you can influence the standards of the entire internet. If you
don't belong to a company that can afford to pay - or if you're a
private individual - then at best you've got a right to express an
opinion but your opinion carries no weight....If the W3C isn't prepared
to give web developers and web users a say in how they plan the web
should be developed, then I don't think the W3C has any right at all to
tell us what to do. I certainly don't remember voting for 'em. What we
want is a democracy, not a dictatorship...If the W3C truly wants to be
the standards body on the internet, they need to learn to stand on
their own two feet, and not in someone else's pocket. If organization
is financially dependent on other businesses then why shouldn't we
assume that their standards are not independent at all, but are
directly influenced by those businesses? That is precisely what we
should assume - because no-one other than those businesses gets a vote.
One way of demonstrating this is to look at WCAG 2.0..."
Why Tim Berners-Lee is Wrong
By Elliotte Rusty Harold.
"...XHTML is not the problem. Well-formedness is certainly not the
problem. Hell, even namespaces aren't really the problem although
they're clunky and ugly and everyone hates them. The problem is that
the W3C has abandoned HTML for years. HTML hasn't moved forward since
1999. No wonder browser vendors are getting antsy..."
By Lachlan Hunt.
"...I'm not disputing...claims about the problems with the WCAG working
group or the WCAG 2.0 guidelines...But to imply that the W3C doesn't
need to do anything about (X)HTML or the HTML working group is
misguided. Something desperately needs to be done with each of the
HTML, XForms and WCAG working groups; they're all in serious trouble
and their problems need to be fixed..."
Constitution of a New Website
By Bruce Lawson.
"I've written a Constitution for the new website - a (hopefully) simple
explanation of principles that all can agree, and from which more
detailed policies can be derived..."
IE7: Were They Ready?
By Simon Griffin.
"...Thirteen of the FTSE 100 homepages that we tested were broken in
IE7 - although not significantly so. ...Generalizing our findings to
the internet as a whole - which is admittedly of dubious meaning and
therefore should be taken with a pinch of salt - suggests that there
are around 12.7 million websites in need of a little TLC as a result of
the introduction of IE7..."
OATS (Open Source Assistive Technology Software)
"OATSoft is dedicated to improving Assistive Technology and computer
accessibility through the power of Open Source development techniques.
OATSoft makes the best Open Source Assistive Technology Software (OATS)
easy to find. Users and developers meet at OATSoft to create better
Websites as Graphs - an HTML DOM Visualizer Applet
By Sala Aharef.
An online tool that maps the hierarchy of a web site as a graph, with
color-coded indications of link, table, div, img, form, and other
The Average Web Page
By Andrew B. King.
"...Although these are preliminary results, the data gives us an idea
of the size and composition of the average web page. Without
compression and CSS images, the average web page is about 130K in size,
with a 25K HTML file, small GIFs and larger JPEGs, PNGs, and SWF files
when used. For those pages that use them external scripts averaged in
total 37.5K and external style sheets averaged in total 28.7K per page.
The HTML figures are in line with the home page trend I reported on in
Speed Up Your Site where the average home page HTML file size grew from
8,297 to 28,290 bytes from 1996 to 2002. However as web pages become
more complex, each individual component adds size and HTTP requests to
the total page payload...."
Optimizing Page Load Time
By Aaron Hopkins.
Aaron Hopkins discusses techniques to make your applications load
Minimal-Feedback Hints for Remembering Passwords
By Morten Hertzum.
"Passwords are a widely used mechanism for user authentication and are
thus critical to the security of many systems. To provide effective
security, passwords should be known to the password holder but remain
unknown to everybody else. While personal information and real words
are relatively easy for a user to remember, they make weak passwords
from a security point of view because vulnerable to informed guessing
and dictionary attacks."
Actual Browser Sizes (final)
By Thomas Baekdal.
"...The report finds, among other things, that the majority of people
browse maximized or very close to it. That Mac user have bigger
screens, but their browser are the same size as on any other platform.
And, in order to support 95% of your visitors, you need to design for a
maximum size of 776x424px."
RSS and Atom in Action: Newsfeed Formats Part 2
By Dave Johnson.
"In 2003, a group of bloggers came together to create a new standard,
which would later be known as Atom. They wanted to start fresh and do
things right this time. As a result, all the major blog servers either
support Atom now or have plans to do so. To learn more, read on."
Migrating to XForms
By Paul Sobocinski.
"Paul Sobocinski explains how to start using XForms now by showing PHP
code that will convert from XHTML to XForms and back to XHTML."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+16: 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.
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+ TEXT EMAIL NEWSLETTER (TEN).
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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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