[webdev] Web Design Update: March 9, 2007
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Mar 9 06:32:13 CST 2007
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 5, Issue 38, March 9, 2007.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 38 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Spam-Free Accessible Forms
By Jared Smith.
"...I have compiled the following basic techniques for blocking spam
submission in web forms. I've implemented just a couple of these and
through logging have found that they have effectively reduced around
99% of spambot submissions while having no or very little impact on the
usability or accessibility of the forms. Nearly all of these techniques
are performed server-side using PHP and the relevant PHP code is shown
below, however, the tests can be readily implemented in nearly any
server-side scripting language..."
Why Triple-A Sites Aren't
By Mel Pedley.
"...Because the reality is that true Triple-A compliance isn't
practical in the Real World..."
Web Accessibility and Assistive Technology
By Faculty & Administrator Modules in Higher Education (FAME), Ohio
The FAME site is "Designed as a professional development tool for use
in higher education, this site contains information on how college
faculty, administrators, disability service providers, and students can
work individually and collaboratively to improve the accommodations,
teaching-learning process, and overall campus environment for students
with disabilities." This is the accessibility module.
Massive Business Case for Accessibility
By Peter Abrahams.
"...Legal & General had been tracking the use and performance of the
original site and continued tracking the new design. The results make a
strong business case for accessibility: Take up of some financial
products via the site increased by 300%. Maintenance costs were reduced
by 66%. Natural search improved by 50%. Customers reported that the
site looked and performed better. The number of users who accessed the
home page and then left the site reduced by 10%. The number of
complaints about the inaccessibility of the web site fell to zero..."
The Benefit of Accessible Design for Able-Bodied Users of the World
By Denis Anson, Ronni Marangoni, Karyn Mills, Lalit Shah.
"Accessible design of web pages is commonly supported as increasing the
potential market by including people with disabilities while offering
little benefit to able-bodied visitors. Accessible design of the
physical world, however, has been shown to be of benefit to all, not
just to those with disabilities. This study tested the effect of
accessible design on able-bodied web-users under three conditions:
conventional graphical browsers, small-format browsers, and text-only
browsers. 120 able-bodied subjects were asked to locate information on
either an existing website or a fully W3C compliant copy, using one of
three browser types. Time to answer 24 questions, number of correct
answers, rated ease-of-use, pleasure of use, and likelihood of reuse
were recorded. Results indicated that the accessibly designed site had
equivalent usability in the graphical browser, but was significantly
more usable in text-only and small format browsers. The results support
accessible design as universal design, of benefit to all users,
independent of disability."
Usability Benefits of Web Accessibility
By Joe Clark.
"We now have another research paper demonstrating that a Web site that
meets accessibility guidelines is more usable by non-disabled people.
'The Benefit of Accessible Design for Able-Bodied Users of the World
Wide Web'...The benefit of this study is that it does not confound Web
accessibility with cluefulness of the developer. Why are accessible
sites usable to everyone? Presumably because, by and large, only the
best-informed and most mature developers work on accessible sites. They
are pretty much incapable of producing an unusable site. Plus their
HTML is way better. In this study, an existing crappy site was recoded,
but was otherwise left crappy. This provides evidence that Web
standards lead to better usability. Better HTML has an influence on
Legal Reasons to Make Intranets, Extranets and Software Accessible
By Struan Robertson.
"Employers without disabled members of staff should think ahead when
procuring new systems: it makes more commercial sense to 'buy
accessible' whenever possible to accommodate a more diverse workforce."
The Flip Side of the Coin
By Miraz Jordan.
"...This article began by pointing out that a distinction between 'the
able' and 'the disabled' is artificial: we live in a world where
people's abilities vary in many dimensions and across time. I may have
perfect vision, or corrected almost-perfect vision one day, tired eyes
or broken glasses the next. My computer screen may have low or high
resolution. It may be in a dark room, or under the glare of the sun. I
may be too busy to watch the screen and choose to have the computer
read the screen aloud to me. I may be legally blind and not look at a
screen at all. A broken wrist may make typing tricky, or I may be
unable to move my limbs because of paralysis..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Create Inspired Site Designs Using Grids
By Andy Clarke.
Grids aren't just for graph paper anymore. Author/CSS Designer Andy
Clarke reveals how designing with grids will lead to more, rather than
fewer, creative opportunities; your Web designs will go in new
directions, and using grids will provide you with a solid foundation
for experimenting with new ideas.
CSS 101: Handling Multiple Rules for the Same Element
By Tony Patton.
"Tony Patton focuses on CSS fundamentals and explains how multiple
rules for the same element are handled. Multiple rules ensure that
there will be no surprises for either you or the user community."
Creating a CSS Layout from Scratch
By Steve Dennis.
"...This guide will attempt to take you step by step, through the
process of creating a fully functioning CSS layout. I will try my best
to explain the concepts behind each step, but a lot of the time other
people have already covered these things better than I can. Because of
this there will sometimes be links to more information on external
Drop That Design! 6 Things You Need to Know About Color
By Ben Henick.
"Certain color combinations can make your eyes water, others can make
your eyes practically leap out of their sockets in delight. Colors can
help instill confidence in a product, company, or design-or undermine
it. Color can set the mood, or destroy it. Color can make you fit in,
or stand out-and it depends on your situation whether or not that's a
good thing. Despite the seemingly magical power of color, it's not
voodoo. No chickens need die in your pursuit of color-coordinating
bliss?it's a skill that can be developed in anyone who has the ability
to see the rainbow..."
Colorblindness - A Usability Guide for Commercial Applications, Part 1
By Anthony Mitchell.
"...Here is a guide for increasing the usability of products and the
communication of information. It contains need-to-know information for
anyone engaged in software and hardware product design, quality
assurance or business communication. We begin with a few simple tips..."
Technology for Participation and Accessible eGovernment Services
June 25-27, 2007.
International Conference on Digital Information Management
October 29-31, 2007.
+05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Better Content Management Through Information Architecture
By Masood Nasser.
"Content Management Systems promise so much: content is easier to
publish, easier to update, and easier to find and use. Lots of
promises, but do CMSs really deliver? Masood Nasser examines why
Content Management Systems often fail and shows how Information
Architecture can come to the rescue."
JSON is Not as Safe as People Think It Is
By Joe Walker.
"I saw some discussion recently about using JSON for secured data, and
I'm not sure that everyone understands the risks. I believe that JSON
is unsafe for anything but public data unless you are using
unpredictable URLs. There are 2 problems..."
Browser Wars Episode II: Attack of the DOMs (Video)
By Yahoo User Interface Theater.
"Mike Shaver from Mozilla, Chris Wilson from Microsoft, Hakon Lie from
Opera, and Douglas Crockford from Yahoo to talk about the current state
of the browsers."
A Visit from Glenda Watson-Hyatt (Interview)
By Derek Featherstone.
"...Glenda has cerebral palsy. While we still haven't met, I feel like
I know her a little bit better after reading (most of) her book: 'I'll
do it myself'. In celebration of her writing and publishing adventure,
Glenda devised an ingenious plan: a virtual book tour. She's visiting
40 blogs in 40 days, and I'm very pleased to have her visiting here
Links Are the Grammar of the Web
By Gerry McGovern.
"Linking is the foundation of every quality website. Everything starts
with the link. You build from the link, not from the sentence."
Security Tip Number 1
By Cal Evans.
"Looking for the security silver bullet? I've got bad news for you,
there isn't one. Security take an ongoing effort and a lot of little
things instead of one big one."
Security Tip Number 2
By Cal Evans.
"Security by obscurity is no security at all. On the other hand you
don't want to give away information about your site either. Today's tip
is a simple one but one that is often overlooked in production
Security Tip Number 3
By Cal Evans.
"Being Security conscious is a good thing but that alone won't solve
the problem. Developers have to be vigilant when it comes to security.
Even then you can't do it alone. Today's Security tip reminds you of
Security Tip Number 4
By Cal Evans.
"'Security through obscurity is no security at all.' so the adage goes.
However, the flip side of that coin is, obscurity, when used as part of
an overall strategy, is a good thing."
Security Tip Number 5
By Cal Evans.
"PHP security is an ongoing mission requiring the programmer to think
outside of the parameters of the application. It's not enough these
days to say in your mind 'Does this do what I want it to do?' you also
have to take into consideration 'What else can people use it for and do
I want to allow that?'"
Variables in Your CSS via PHP
By Chris J. Davis.
"It is really a no-brainer to want to take some common CSS elements and
simplify the process of changing them or updating them. Before we get
any further though, let me stress that this is a limited use technique.
The very nature of CSS is to cascade, which would be defeated by this
if you went nuts with it."
Introducing PHP AutoRun and a CSS Tutorial
By Mike Cherim.
"...You've seen those tutorials where you go from page-to-page, right?
slick I think. Well, my hope was to make one that used PHP (PHP
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
W3C Relaunches HTML Activity
"...W3C is pleased to invite participation in the new HTML Working
Group, chartered to create the next HTML standard... It's time to
revisit the standard and see what we can do to meet the current
community needs, and to do so effectively with commitments from browser
manufacturers in a visible and open way, said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C
Director. At the same time, W3C is chartering the Forms Working Group,
the XHTML2 Working Group, and re-chartering the Hypertext Coordination
By Mark McKay Bruce Tsuji, and Robert Biddle.
"This site allows you to upload text (.txt), Acrobat (.pdf) or Word
(.doc) files and have them converted to spoken audio. We also let you
record emails, text from a website or enter the text you need converted
Better Font Management
By Joel Sacks.
"Typography on the web is enjoying something of a resurgence of late,
and interest in the effective use of the enormous variety of available
fonts has never been higher. If you've been on a recent downloading
spree, Joel Sacks has some tips and recommendations that can help you
keep that growing font library under control."
Add Windows Vista Fonts to Your Stylesheets
By Christian Montoya.
"...I would like to ask all of you web designers and developers out
there to please add Windows Vista fonts to your stylesheets. My reason
for asking this is, well, because I didn't upgrade to Windows Vista to
stare at the same ugly set of Windows fonts I've had to endure for
years. I hate Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet, Courier New, and Times New
Roman, and Georgia isn't too hot either. Bill Gates must share my
opinion, because he made sure that Windows Vista came with a
replacement for each one of those classics, and as far as I'm concerned
the new Windows Vista fonts are far better designed than their
A Shaker Approach to Web Site Design
By Michael D. Levi.
"...A Shaker chair is useful. It is well suited for sitting. Its clean,
smooth lines have no excess adornment; the beauty of the wood is
adornment enough. So should Web sites be structured for maximum
utility, allowing the value of their content to attract and hold user
Five Principles to Design By
By Joshua Porter.
"Technology Serves Humans...Design is not Art...The Experience Belongs
to the User...Great Design is Invisible...Simplicity is the Ultimate
Restructuring the User Experience Honeycomb
By Magnus Revang.
Magnus Revang has posted a new version of Peter Morville's original
honeycomb which is focused on the process of user experience design.
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+14: 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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