[webdev] Web Design Update: November 3, 2006

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Nov 3 06:31:46 CST 2006

- Volume 5, Issue 19, November 3, 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.
11: PHP.
13: TOOLS.
15: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


By W3C.
"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 


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 
links provided."

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 
non-JavaScript effects, all while not limiting accessibility, my 
solution fits the bill..."

+03: COLOR.

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."


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..."

+06: EVENTS.

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 
Adobe Event)
November 15, 2006.
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM US/Eastern

+07: FLASH.

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 
interface) interaction..."


Getting Real, the Book
By 37signals.
"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
By reische.
"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 

+11: PHP.

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."


Reinventing HTML
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..."

Fixing HTML
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..."

+13: TOOLS.

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 
Explanation: http://www.aharef.info/2006/05/websites_as_graphs.htm


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."

+15: XML.

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.]


+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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