[webdev] Web Design Update: January 12, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jan 12 06:30:43 CST 2007

- Volume 5, Issue 30, January 12, 2007.

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:

10: PHP.
12: TOOLS.
14: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Mobile Web May Help Bridge the Digital Divide: Workshop Report
By W3C.
"W3C has published a report from the Workshop on the Mobile Web in 
Developing Countries, held in Bangalore, India in December 2006. 
Workshop participants discussed the needs and challenges facing people 
in developing economies who use a mobile phone as the primary and often 
sole platform for accessing the Web. Participants included mobile 
handset manufacturers, browser developers, software companies, local 
Indian companies and universities, and organizations working on 
information technology projects in rural communities in India and 
Africa. The report presents their findings and proposed next steps. You 
are invited to join the public forum for discussions about the future: 
public-mwi-ec at w3.org (archive)..."

Apple iPhone is Cool, But Where is My Keypad?
By Roger Johansson.
"...I have two eyes that work reasonably well, so for me the lack of 
tactile feedback isn't a problem I can't overcome. But what about 
people who are not as lucky? If this phone is 'revolutionary', it 
should also work for people who can't see or are using it in less than 
ideal conditions, right?..."

Over the Horizon: Potential Impact of Emerging Trends in Information 
and Communication Technology on Disability Policy and Practice
By National Council on Disability.
"...Science and technology are moving forward, rapidly opening up new 
opportunities and posing new challenges. In many cases, they will 
redefine both the problem being addressed and the fundamental tools to 
address them..."


Styling Form Controls with CSS, Revisited
By Roger Johansson.
"...I spent way too much time creating a total of 224 screenshots 
showing the effects of various CSS rules applied to form controls. The 
screenshots are taken from 8 browsers on 4 operating systems, for a 
total of 14 different browser + OS combinations. I have created a demo 
page for each type of form control..."

Centering an Image, Part 2
By Mauricio Samy Silva.
"..In this article we will focus on centering a background image using 

Tip: Retrain your HTML 3.2 Brain to Think in CSS
By Virginia DeBolt.
"How HTML attributes translate into CSS properties..."

Microsoft Breaks HTML Email Rendering in Outlook 2007
By Kevin Yank.
"If support for web standards in browsers is improving slowly, then 
support in email clients is moving at a glacial pace. Attempts to 
document things like CSS support in the major email clients have 
revealed a depressing state of affairs, but with recent desktop clients 
like Thunderbird now sitting on solid rendering engines, things have 
been looking up..."

Designline - A Design Timeline
By Dylan Bennett.
"To create this designline, I took a screenshot basically every time I 
saved my HTML file. I'm one of those people who impulsively hits Ctrl-S 
after every tiny little change, so you end up seeing every little 
change made to the file as it goes. I started out with a blank text 
file and I go all the way to a completed site design. Check it out..."

An Appeal to Fellow Developers, Webmasters and Website Owners
By nomoreiehacks.org.
"...What I am advocating is simple, developers, webmasters and website 
owners, you can help make the Internet better by simply removing your 
'IE Hacks' and have your sites run using their essential HTML, 
Javascript and CSS codes..."


Creating Accessible Tables for Data Using Dreamweaver 8
By Laurie Brown.
"With a host of new features, Dreamweaver 8 makes it easier than ever 
to build accessible tables for data. Using the Accessibility 
preferences, Dreamweaver 8 prompts designers and developers to provide 
captions, headers, and summary information as the table is inserted..."


The User is in the Numbers
By Jeff Sauro.
"Measuring usability is an important topic that very much needs to be 
discussed. Being part of the conversation usually requires reading 
peer-reviewed journal articles in HCI. This, in turn, requires 
knowledge of the techniques and the jargon of statistics and 
experimental design (the foundation of numerical precision in empirical 
disciplines). To help move the discussions along, I've attempted to 
provide some clarification and explanations on statistical concepts 
you'll encounter: p-values, power, and confidence intervals. The 
examples come right from papers published in HCI proceedings. I've kept 
the discussion high-level and left out formulae, as it is more 
important to understand the concepts than to plug values into a 

Sample Size Calculator for Discovering Problems in a User Interface
By: Jeff Sauro, Formulae By James R. Lewis.
"Use this calculator to determine the number of users you'd need to 
test given the probability of detecting a problem. If the probability 
of detecting the problem is unknown, this calculator also allows you to 
estimate the problem occurrence (p) from sample data."

+05: EVENTS.

IE Web Casts and Expert Chats for Web Designers and Developers
Microsoft Online Events
Every Thursday at 10 am Pacific Standard Time,
January 11 - March 8, 2007.

Webcredible Training
January-March, 2007.
London, United Kingdom

WebDD Conference
Reading, United Kingdom
February 3, 2007.

@media 2007 (teaser)
May 24-25, 2007 in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
May 31-June 1, 2007 in Hong Kong.
June 7-8, 2007 in London, United Kingdom.

Where 2.0 Conference 2007
May 29-30 , 2007.
San Jose, California, U.S.A.

HCIL (Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory) Symposium
May 31-June 1, 2007.
College Park, Maryland U.S.A.

Advanced Usability Topics and Latest Research, 2007
June 19-20, 2007.
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

NECC 2007, National Educational Computing Conference
June 24-27, 2007.
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.


Documenting Interaction Design: Wire Frames with Visio and Word
By interakt.nu.
"There are many ways to document an interaction design and the level of 
details needed is dependent on what your documenting and for what 
purpose. There has also been a lot of discussions on what the best tool 
for creating interaction designs and/or prototypes is...The tool you 
choose is of course also dependent on what you are documenting and for 
what purpose. It is also much of a personal taste what tool one prefers 
to work with..."

Wireframes: Unpacking the Boxes
By Ian Curry.
"As with any marriage, designers and information architects put a lot 
of effort into making it work. There are highs and lows - ultimately, 
we need each other. But set us down together on the therapist,s couch, 
or the project post-mortem meeting, and the same old grievances are 
aired. It,s goes something like this: clients want to see something 
they can sink their teeth into as early as possible; IA,s need to 
organize information on and across pages. Wireframes result, and 
despite even the most earnest admonitions against doing so, clients 
begin to get attached to the wires. By the time visual designers come 
in, the job has been stripped down to not coloring too far outside the 
lines. Someone turns a crank, and on a spigot towards the back of this 
rusty machine, a middling design drips out. Shrugs ensue. That,s just 
how it is, right? Wrong!..."

Wireframing With InDesign and Illustrator
By Todd Warfel.
"There are a variety of tools used for interaction design. I've used 
them all and have settled on a framework using InDesign and 
Illustrator. It will require a series of articles to fully describe the 
framework I've developed. So, in this article, I'm going to focus on 
what led to the development of this framework and give you a brief 


Ajax is Squeezed as Adobe Builds up Rival Flex Toolset
By Cliff Saran.
"Forrester Research is predicting a shake-up in the market for rich 
internet application development tools as Ajax battles with Adobe's 
rival Flex toolset..."

Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerability in Versions 7.0.8 and Earlier of 
Adobe Reader and Acrobat
By Adobe.
"A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in versions 7.0.8 and 
earlier of Adobe Reader and Acrobat 7.0.8 could allow remote attackers 
to inject arbitrary JavaScript into a browser session. Exploitability 
depends on the browser and browser version being used."

DHTML Leaks Like a Sieve
By Joel Webber.
"...If you've ever built a really complex site using lots of 
JavaScript, you've probably seen this problem. You may even have some 
idea of where it comes from. Well, I'm writing this explanation because 
(a) I think I fully understand the problem and (b) there are a lot of 
confused (or simply wrong) explanations out there..."

Your Own Personal Library
By Jeremy Keith.
"...I have a very cautious attitude when it comes to the wholesale use 
of third-party libraries. Let me clarify something , though: I am not 
anti-library. I just think that they need to be used correctly by 
people who know how they work...Building up your own library, on the 
other hand, is something I wholeheartedly approve of. I'm pretty sure 
it's something that just about every developer does anyway, but it 
really is a great way of accumulating wisdom? wisdom being knowledge 
over time. The danger, then, is knowledge without the benefit of 
personal experience..."


The Access 2.0 Interview - Liz Bal
By Paul Crichton.
..."Liz Ball is deaf-blind and accesses the internet on her PC using 
the JAWS screenreader with a Braille display. How does she use the 
Thumbnail: Rolf Molich
By Cliff Anderson.
"Rolf Molich is 'curious'. He cites that curiosity as the impetus 
behind his CUE, or Comparative Usability Evaluation, studies 
(www.DialogDesign.dk/cue.html). These now-world-famous studies look at 
how usability tests and expert reviews are actually carried out in 
practice - and about how reproducible they really are. There's a lot 
more to Rolf, though, than his CUE studies..."

Interview with Chris Hofstader: Search Engines and Accessibility
By Matt Bailey.
"The following is an interview with Chris Hofstader. Chris is the 
former VP at Freedom Scientific and is now actively blogging and 
enjoying life. Chris, interview helped to form a lot of the backbone of 
the article and helped me to understand how an advanced user can use 
the internet and search engines. Because each of the people I 
interviewed were so interesting, and they each had their own stories, I 
thought it best to post some of their interviews for us all to 
appreciate and learn..."

Dan Cederholm Interview
By Edgework.
"Here's a fun conversation with designer Dan Cederholm, where we 
discuss what we do now that standards-based design rules the world, how 
developing with Rails is like getting to sculpt a design, the thinking 
behind Dan's book Bulletproof Web Design, Rollyo, designing with 
constraints, redesigning Simplebits.com, Cork'd, microformats and 
accidental APIs, and, most importantly, cheese metal."

Interview with Founder of Fadtastic - Andrew Faulkner
By Matt Davies.
"I have known Andy Faulkner for a few years now. He is always a 
pleasure to be with. His eyes glint with excitement whenever we discuss 
his favorite subject - web design trends. He is a man of enthusiasm, a 
man obsessed by functionality, usability and aesthetically pleasing 
websites. A gentleman, a man with a horrendous sense of humor but most 
of all he is the man behind the web design journal that is Fadtastic - 
the multi author web design trends journal..."


GoogleBot Crawling CSS Files
By Eric Enge.
"...Is Google going to start crawling everyone's CSS? Or are they 
simply going to trigger off of manual or algorithmic flags to do this 
for some sites? Or for that matter, are they going to start doing some 
random crawls of CSS on some sites as a spot check?...It may indeed be 
hard to algorithmically determine an illicit use of display:none or 
display:hidden, v.s. a legitimate one, but it certainly can be used as 
a flag..."

+10: PHP.

HTML Forms and PHP
By Larry Ullman.
"This chapter covers the basics of creating HTML forms and how the form 
data is transmitted to your PHP script. It introduces several key 
concepts of real PHP programming, including how to debug and manage 
errors in your scripts."

Beginning Ajax with PHP: From Novice to Professional
By Lee Babin.
"This article is excerpted from Chapter 3 of Beginning Ajax with PHP: 
>From Novice to Professional..."

Top 5 New (and cool!) Features in PHP5 That You Probably Haven't Heard 
By vexxhost.com.
"PHP5 has brought so much new features but because of its big syntax 
changes, a big percentage of the PHP developing base has not made the 
change. Here are the top 10 new features that could change your mind..."

PHP and RSS: Getting It Together
By Tracy Peterson.
"RSS Syndication is virtually ubiquitous these days, so it's imperative 
that a PHP developer at least understand RSS and how it works. This 
article explains the basics of RSS, some of its many uses, how to use 
PHP to create an RSS feed from a database, and how to use the XML_RSS 
module to read an existing RSS feed and translate it into HTML."

PHP: Email Protector
By Mike Cherim.
"Offering an email address on a web site is akin to asking for spam in 
your inbox. This small script protects a single address from 'bots and 
non-human exploiters while still making it available and accessible to 
people upon request with the simple click of a button."

OOP Is Mature, Not Dead
By Jeff Moore.
"...OOP is not on the decline. Quite simply, it has become mature. The 
discussion may be on the decline because almost every language that 
anyone actually uses implements a core set of OOP features. OOP has won 
its arguments. Good luck taking a language mainstream without it..."


How to Grok Web Standards
By Craig Cook.
"For designers who find web standards as easy to grasp as a buttered 
eel, Craig Cook shows how to stop the hurting and turn on the 
understanding. Learn how web standards work, and why they are more than 
simply an alternative means of producing a visual design."

Built in Semantics in HTML
By John Allsopp.
"I've been working on some things to do with semantics on the web, in 
particular in relation to HTML. As part of this, I've put together a 
list of all the elements and attributes of HTML that I consider have 
strong semantics associated with them..."

Markup as a Craft
By Garrett Dimon.
"The first week of 2007 is over, and those New Year's resolutions are 
already starting to nag at your subconscious more than Twitter does. 
Luckily, we've got just the thing if you want to end the year a better 
coder than you started. Columnist Garrett Dimon presents twenty-one 
guidelines that will have you crafting beautiful markup in no time."

You, Me and the W3C (aka Reinventing HTML)
By Chris Wilson.
"Some of you may not be aware that the W3C is recognizing that there 
has been an unfulfilled need for the evolution of HTML, and they are 
chartering a new HTML Working Group to do this (rather than the XHTML 2 
track that the HTML WG has been developing for several years now). Some 
more of you might also be unaware that I was asked to be the initial 
chair of this new working group.  I've gotten a bit behind over the 
last few weeks, but thankfully the W3C extended voting on the charter, 
so this post is still relevant..."

Semantic Formatting for Interviews
By Joe Dolson.
"...What it comes right down to is that, in my opinion, the lack of any 
format which can fully support the semantic needs of interview or 
dialogue means that you shouldn't spend too much effort worrying about 
how to write them out. I certainly wouldn't recommend just using 
paragraphs: some manner of differentiating questions and answers is 
still pretty important, but the level of detail in the HTML and XHTML 
specifications don't provide anything which is really suitable. Normal 
use of headings and paragraphs may well be sufficient - a definition 
list could be better for some interviews, but for others could simply 
be less effective."

+12: TOOLS.

WAEX: Web Accessibility Evaluator in a single XSLT file
By Vicente Luque Centeno.
"It evaluates many WCAG conditions and also some XHTML restrictions not 
yet formalized in the XHTML DTD (but in the prose of the 

Dreamweaver Additional Tags Extension
By Patrick H. Lauke.
"As I frequently need access to a few (X)HTML elements not readily 
available in Dreamweaver's default toolbar/menu, I quickly threw 
together this simple extension."


New Year's Resolution
By Jeremy Keith.
"...The way I see it, the range is growing at both ends of the 
spectrum. Yes, desktop monitors are getting wider (though that doesn't 
mean that viewports get any wider above a certain size) but handheld 
and gaming devices are likely to remain at the lower end of the scale. 
The Wii, for example, has a resolution of 640 x 480. Mind you, the 
iPhone turns the whole question on its head with its scalable browsing. 
At MacWorld, Steve Jobs demonstrated this by visiting the New York 
Times, an unashamedly wide fixed-width website. On the Apple site, 
Wikipedia-a liquid layout- is shown fitting nicely on the display. The 
iPhone deals with both...the idea that liquid layouts automatically 
means long line lengths on large screens is, I feel, a misconception. 
The problem is that a lot of the examples of liquid layouts aren't very 
good and line lengths do expand without limit. But it doesn't have to 
be that way. In my opinion, the most important addition to Internet 
Explorer 7 is the max-width property. It means that we can now really 
start to look at creating fluid layouts within defined parameters..."

Do the Collapse
By Dan Cederholm.
"...with a reliable browser on the iPhone (Safari) and all that it 
brings in terms of standards support, JS, DOM, etc., will we start 
looking closer at resolution dependent layouts (or other methods) for 
sites that would or could function as well as their larger screen 
counterparts? We're essentially talking about a fully-browsable web and 
everything that comes along with that in Safari. Just on a smaller 

In Defense of Simplicity
By Scott Berkun.
"...Great features do not require user interfaces. If the engineers are 
thoughtful, they can add code that eliminates the need for UI, instead 
of adding to it. This is much harder and requires smaller egos, but a 
great v3 needs less UI than v2: eliminating setup, configuration, 
simplifying designs, automating things successfully so that users don't 
even need to know of them (not just automating my interaction with 
things). This is much harder and requires real innovation, but is too 
selfless and long term a philosophy for most to swallow...Connoisseurs 
of anything discern between trash and class. They know that 
understatement is class's hallmark: it's a product, person or design 
that knows it has substance, and does not need to go far out of its way 
to prove itself: its core is good..."

What Comes After Usability?
By Kathy Sierra.
"...Even if users don't start demanding Flow...it's a huge opportunity 
and advantage for those whose products support it..."

The Open-Source Solution
By Larry Constantine.
"...As the code slowly grows in complexity as well as capability, 
usability suffers, not only because new functions add to the user 
interface but because such additions are ad hoc and implemented case by 
case...Open source may be superior in producing robust, reliable code. 
It can hold its own in providing functionality. But its weakness 
remains usability, which increasingly is the battle?ground for 
competing programs..."

+14: XML.

RSS Will Not Make the Mainstream
By Paul Scrivens.
"...While in the past we have lauded RSS as the next great thing after 
email, it really is nothing more but another way to read sites. In 
fact, RSS has been around in one form or another for a very long 

Relations Between Schema Languages for XML
By Janus Dam Nielson.
Janus Dam Nielson master's thesis.

Diagram Comparing Schema Languages for XML
By Rick Jelliffe.
"The simple overlapping Venn-like diagrams that people use to express 
the relative power of schema languages can mislead as much as they 
inform. Here,s a kind of diagram with shaded edges: light grey 
represent capabilities that are possible but inconvenient, and darker 
grey represent capabilities that are possible but only if you organize 
your schema in a certain way. XSD extensibility is an example of the 
darker grey capability: unless you organize your (base) schemas 
properly, you may easily find it is not possible..."

Is XML 2.0 Under Development?
By Micah Dubinko
"Micah Dubinko's return to the XML Annoyances banner, he speculates as 
to whether the W3C is already considering whether to start work on XML 
2.0. Read this piece and decide for yourself."

[Section one ends.]


+15: 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.]



WEB DESIGN UPDATE is available by subscription. For information on how 
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As a navigation aid for screen readers we do our best to conform to the 
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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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