[webdev] Web Design Update: January 5, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jan 5 06:54:32 CST 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 29, January 5, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 28 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
11: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
15: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Accessibility Audit vs. Accessibility Testing
By Trenton Moss.
In last month's feature article we compared expert usability reviews
with usability testing. This month, we do the same with accessibility,
comparing accessibility audits with accessibility testing. What's the
difference between the two and which one's different? There's only one
way to find out - read this month's feature article!"
Phong - It's Awful, Isn't It?
By Brian Kelly.
"...Poor usability, bad for accessibility? Yes. And when you get to a
page, the interface is similarly flawed. But, OTOH, might this not be
fun as a game? Mind this not be entertaining for children? Might not an
interface in which animated links move as you try and chase them be fun
for some people?Or to put it another way, isn't the goal of universal
accessibility a pipe dream? In some cases (e.g. informational
resources) this approach may be an appropriate one, but in others, it
may result in pleasing solutions being discarded, even if, ironically,
particular audiences may prefer them...if such sites can be accessible,
usable and pleasurable to certain groups (I'm not saying Phoing is,
BTW) , doesn't this devalue an automated approach to accessibility
checking. What then are the boundaries to automated checking? How
should we go about developing or commissioning Web sites for such
groups? And when is it legitimate to discard WAI guidelines?"
Web Accessibility Learning Modules
By Joan Van Duzer, AnnMarie Johnson, Paul Nozicka and Candace Egan.
A learning resource to help people understand web accessibility.
Web Accessibility: Access For All Videos
By California State University, Fresno.
Videos include 'What is Web Accessibility?', 'How do users access the
Web', 'What are the problems?', 'How do we solve the problems?','Why is
Web accessibility important?'.
Disabled Seek Equal Unlimited Web Access
By Adam Phillips.
"Although many governments have passed laws mandating that public
places be made accessible to the disabled, equal access to cyberspace
has lagged far behind. The director of the Web Accessibility Initiative
at the World Wide Web Consortium, which sets technical standards for
the Web, says things must change..."
PDF Web Cast
By Brad Kadel and Andrea Olson.
"This (Window Media Player) video is a Web Cast that the Web
Accessibility for All group gave on PDFs and accessibility. The video
is 54 minutes long."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Bug: IE7 Absolutely Positioned Italics
By Stuart Colville.
"I recently discovered a rather bizarre bug that only seems to affect
IE7. If you absolutely position italic text of any kind (text made
italic through authors styling or something that is styled via the
default browser stylesheet such as ems.) IE7 seems to screw up the
rendering and ends up creating a horizontal scroll bar..."
Centering an Image, Part 1
By Mauricio Samy Silva.
"There are two techniques for placing an image within a block level
Build a Better Web Site by Understanding Floated Elements in CSS
"One of the most important concepts a Web developer can understand
about CSS are floated elements, which serve a valuable function in
aligning and positioning elements relative to each other on a Web page.
A brief introduction to these floated elements is presented, explaining
the CSS float and clear directives and providing some examples of how
you can use them to better position HTML elements on a Web page."
Real-World CSS Zen for Your Site
By Mani Sheriar.
"...I suggest that we begin to code our XHTML first, independent of
what we plan for the layout to be. Let's code our XHTML as if we plan
to have 10 different designers apply their own unique layouts to it. If
we can do it that way, then we will be able to execute minor or even
major design overhauls without touching a single page in the site. And
what's more, any other developer will be able to do the same..."
Washi: A CSS Layout by PVII
By Project Seven.
"The Page Layout is offered free of charge. Download a zip archive
containing the finished page, assets, and an editable Fireworks image
Five Simple Steps to Designing with Colour Part 3: Colour Combinations
By Mark Boulton.
"Colours chosen from different spokes on the Colour Wheel will provide
a variety of colour combinations. Deciding upon and selecting a colour
combination that works for you will very much depend upon the job at
hand. Will it communicate what you want it to? Or are you just choosing
them because you, or the client, like them? These are very difficult
questions to answer because any designer or client will let their
personal style and preference interfere with their decision-making.
Colour combinations tend to evoke certain reactions either by cultural,
or personal experience. Understanding these experiences will help you
create colour combinations that tell a story. That is what good colour
theory can give you; designs that tell a story."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Fast, Cheap, and Good: Yes, You Can Have It All
By Jakob Nielsen.
"The sooner you complete a usability study, the higher its impact on
the design process. Slower methods should be deferred to an annual
Five Common Errors in Requirements Analysis (and how to avoid them)
"In the traditional waterfall model of software development, the first
phase of requirements analysis is also the most important one. There
are a number of problems with this theoretical model, and these can
cause delays and errors in the rest of the process. This article
discusses some of the more common problems that project managers
experience during this phase, and suggests possible solutions."
CSS Workshop with Russ Weakley
February 8, 2007.
Singapore, Republic of Singapore.
Computer Using Educators (CUE)
March 1-3, 2007
Palm Springs, California, U.S.A.
Museums and the Web
April 11-14, 2007.
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Accessibility Guidelines: Why don't they always deliver accessible
sites and what can you do about it?
April 11, 2007.
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Hands On Usability Testing
April 11, 2007.
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
MySQL Conference and Expo
April 23-26, 2007.
Santa Clara, California, U.S.A.
May 15-18, 2007.
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
May 17-20, 2007.
Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
+06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
The Dark Side of Prototyping
By Henrik Olsen.
"Are there any downsides of prototyping? Not really. But as with
everything else in life, you might stumble and hurt yourself if you
don't watch your step. This article points out some of the banana skins
to steer clear off."
Don't Make the Demo Look Done
By Kathy Sierra.
"When we show a work-in-progress (like an alpha release) to the public,
press, a client, or boss... we're setting their expectations. And we
can do it one of three ways: dazzle them with a polished mock-up, show
them something that matches the reality of the project status, or
stress them out by showing almost nothing and asking them to take it
"on faith" that you're on track. The bottom line: How 'done' something
looks should match how 'done' something is..."
By Tom Negrino and Dori Smith.
"Tom Negrino and Dori Smith go into detail about the basic elements of
language, such as loops, arrays, and more about functions."
By Nitesh Dhanjani.
security issue for any organization that serves PDF files via its web
By Felix Geisendorfer.
"...after the overwhelming interest in me writing a little bit about
actually the beginning of a little series (2 or 3 parts) that is going
to be targeted at php developers who've only used JS by merging
snippets/libraries together without really learning the language
The Line Between Clarity and Chaos: An Interview with Barry Schwartz
By Liz Danzico.
"Life is full of choices, and making these choices seems more difficult
each day. Boxes and Arrows interviews Barry Schwartz, author of The
Paradox of Choice, to dig into these decisions-when we make them and
when we don't."
How to Use CSS for Search Engine Optimization
By Mikhail Tuknov.
"...Another major benefit of CSS is that it makes your Web site SEO
friendly. The reason behind this is simple. Search engines spiders are
actually lethargic. They don't go through the bundles of HTML code to
get to the indexed codes. Font tags and tables make HTML code
cumbersome, and thus reduce the accuracy of the results. If you use
external CSS files to determine the design attributes, the HTML code
will be clean and will create better search engine rankings..."
"...I have been writing a series of articles that introduce each of the
Google webmaster guidelines to new webmasters. The Google webmaster
guidelines are a list of suggested practices that Google has provided
as guidance to webmasters. My goal is to define the terms that are
used, explain the concepts, provide examples of common mistakes, and to
link to the appropriate resources that govern or cover that guideline."
PHP and MySQL By Example - Sample Chapter
By Ellie Quigley.
"Prentice Hall recently released PHP and MySQL By Example, written by
Ellie Quigley. They are so proud of this title that they sent us over a
sample chapter to share with you."
Overloading Arrays in PHP 5.2.0
By Matthew Weier O'Phinney.
"I'd read about this some months back on the php internals list, but at
the time hadn't understood the consequences. Basically, __get() no
longer returns a reference and returns values in read mode, which makes
modifying arrays using overloading impossible using traditional
+11: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
By Joel Spolsky.
"There's an interesting debate going on about whether bloggers should
accept gifts from vendors. Lately Microsoft, working through their PR
agency, Edelman, has been getting rather aggressive about trying to buy
good coverage from bloggers. A few months ago they invited bloggers out
to Seattle to meet Bill Gates, with all expenses paid (hotel, airfare,
etc). Last week they send out a round of expensive laptops with Vista
preinstalled. These are not loans, by the way: they're completely free
laptops ('yours to keep!')....Effectively Microsoft has bought
publicity and goodwill. And even though the blogger has fully disclosed
what happened, their message is corrupting the medium. I've been
thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come
to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery...These
gifts reduce the public trust in blogs."
Opquast Best Practices
By Elie Sloim et. al.
"Opquast is a repository of best practices for the improvement of
on-line services quality..."
Who Will Read Your Semantic HTML?
By Jesse Skinner.
"...We need to think about who or what it is that will actually be
extracting the meaning we're adding to our documents by using Semantic
HTML. And basically I can think of three groups..."
28k and 56k Modem Emulator
By Dave Child.
"Regardless of your connection speed, this will show you how your site
loads on PCs with older connections. Update 29 December 2006: It was
gone, but now it's back."
Admiration for Typography on the Web
By Jonathan Christopher.
It's been said that Web design is 95% typography, and I can definitely
agree with that. Many times a site design could be improved extensively
with a quick change of a font-family. Keeping that in mind, how does
one decide on a good looking font-family for their design?"
Elastic Layout - Wrong Term?
By Alastair Campbell.
"The top two articles for 'Elastic Design' on Google are Roger
Johansson Fixed or fluid width? Elastic! and Alistapart's Elastic
design by Patrick Griffiths. Both good articles, and recommended
reading (before this article if you aren't familiar with them). So why
the post? Well, I think elastic is the wrong term for what the layouts
achieve. Also, there is a mistaken assumption about accessibility..."
Long Pages Rule, Except When They Don't
By Heidi Adkisson.
"...The problem I've seen in testing with very long forms (particularly
when people need to enter information carefully, as with financial
data) is that they are difficult for people to check over before
submitting. Errors can be hard to find because it requires scrolling up
and down the page to locate them. And, if something technically goes
wrong, people potentially have a huge amount of re-entry to do..."
Do People Need the Gizmos We're Selling?
By Paul Zeven.
"...To me, simplicity is imperative, not just because products have
become more complex over the years, but also because every aspect of
our lives continues to get more complex...Rather than simplifying our
daily routines, most technology has actually made our lives more
complex. Spending hours learning to use a new gadget is the last thing
most of us want to do. The ability to take a product out of the box and
just have it work, without the need to read a manual for hours, is now
high on most consumers' priority lists when deciding on a purchase..."
[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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