[webdev] Web Design Update: June 14, 2007

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Thu Jun 14 16:00:15 CDT 2007

- Volume 5, Issue 52, June 14, 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:

03: COLOR.
10: TOOLS.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


A Review of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, May 2007 
Working Draft
By Patrick Lauke.
"...There are many more aspects of the guidelines that have changed 
since last year's version - I'd strongly recommend that interested 
readers go through the summary of changes and compare the last two 
versions of the guidelines side by side. Overall, things may still not 
be perfect, but this latest draft can, without a doubt, be seen as a 
marked improvement. Though it will still be a while before we see WCAG 
2.0 become a stable and official W3C Recommendation, the signs are good 
that it's on course and heading in the right direction..."

WCAG Samurai Errata
By Joe Clark with an Independent Group of Developers.
"These errata do not cover WCAG 2.0 in any respect. The WCAG Samurai 
Errata are published as an alternative to WCAG 2. You may comply with 
WCAG 2, or with these errata, or with neither, but not with both at 

WCAG Samurai Peer Review
By Gian Sampson-Wild.
An independent peer review: "...In summary I believe that the WCAG 
Samurai Errata, with some changes, is a set of errata that can be both 
technically accurate and easy-to-use. Unlike WCAG2 these errata are 
short and written in clear and simple language. I believe these errata 
are a preferable alternative to both WCAG1 and WCAG2."

WCAG Samurai Errata Review
By Alastair Campbell.
Another independent peer review: "...Overall, there is much more to 
agree with than disagree with, and much of it is well over due. The 
'until user agent' checkpoints are gone or settled, and there is an 
explicit requirement to actually learn HTML properly..."

WCAG Samurai: Draft Errata Released
By Joe Dolson.
"...My first impression: this is an excellent supplement to WCAG 1. 
When creating a standard HTML/CSS based website, these errata should 
absolutely be addressed and considered. I don't agree 100% with every 
decision made: but there is absolutely no question that a project 
following these revisions to WCAG 1 will posses a superior level of 

WCAG Samurai Peer Review: Part 1
By Mel Pedley.
"I've been reading through Gian Sampson-Wild's technical review of the 
WCAG Samurai Errata and he seems to have picked up on most of the 
points that I noticed but is perhaps over-critical in other areas. In 
this post, I'll confine myself to looking Gian's comments under 
Accessible Technologies..."

WCAG Samurai Peer Review: Part 2
By Mel Pedley.
"Further to my previous post, I'm continuing to read through Gian 
Sampson-Wild's technical review of the WCAG Samurai Errata. This time, 
I thought I'd look at the issues facing users with cognitive 

Samurai Attack
By Tommy Olsson.
"Joe Clark's WCAG Samurai have released the first draft of their 
supplement to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, which they 
have labeled 'errata'. Also, Joe delivers the sad news that he is 
retiring from the field of web accessibility..."

Comments on WCAG Samurai Errata
By Steve Green.
"...In most respects I agree with the contents of the Errata and 
comments by the peer reviewers, so the following comments reflect where 
I disagree with the reviewers or make additional points..."

Introduction to Screen Magnifiers
By Karo Caran and Victor Tsaran.
"With the goal of better understanding how people interact with the Web 
via various types of Assistive Technology (AT) - and what that might 
mean for developers and designers - Karo Caran takes us on a 16 minute 
overview of screen magnification software (in this case ZoomText) and 
how it is used by partially-sighted users to interact with the Web. 
Karo shows you the basic toolkit and then applies those tools to some 
typical web sites to give you some perspective on how she uses 
magnification software while she browses the web..."


Who Ordered the Link States?
By Eric A Meyer.
"Thanks to everyone who shared their thinking on the ordering of link 
states. It looks like a minority of people were in favor of my 
preferred ordering, which is: Link-Visited-Hover-Focus-Active. The 
reasoning is fairly straightforward, and starts with the assumption 
that a person who uses solely a keyboard to navigate won't ever 
encounter a hover effect. Thus, for such users, the states might as 
well simply be LVFA. For them, the placement of the hover styles is 

CSS Tutorial
By html.net.
"...This tutorial will get you started with CSS in just a few hours. It 
is easy to understand and it will teach you all the sophisticated 

E-mail is Not a Platform for Design
By Jeffery Zeldman.
"All these years of internet use later, HTML mail still sucks. You may 
think I mean 'HTML mail doesn't work properly in some e-mail clients.' 
And that statement is certainly true. Companies spend hours crafting 
layouts that may not work in Eudora or Gmail, or may no longer work in 
Outlook. Even in programs that support the crap code used to create 
these layouts, all that hard visual work will go unseen if the user has 
unchecked 'View HTML Mail' in their preferences. As for CSS, it is 
partially supported in some e-mail applications and in web apps like 
Gmail, but only if you author in nonsemantic table layouts and 
bandwidth-wasting inline CSS. Which is like using a broken refrigerator 
to store food at room temperature..."

Eight Points for Better E-mail Relationships
By Jeffery Zeldman.
"Campaign Monitor has taken me to task, and I find it hard to dispute 
their primary contention..."

Keep HTML and CSS out of My Inbox. Please.
By Roger Johansson.
"Sending me HTML-based e-mail messages without a clearly formatted 
plain text alternative is like calling me on the phone and refusing to 
speak clearly. It's as annoying as the phone salespeople who like to 
call when you're having dinner. It is also a great way of making 
messages get caught in my spam filters."

+03: COLOR.

How the Color Deficient Person Sees the World
By Color Vision Testing.
Demonstration of how various forms of colour-blindness affect color 

+04: EVENTS.

Usability Training (Human Factors International)
Fall 2007.
Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A.
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
New York, New York, U.S.A.	


Being Shallow
By Grant Campbell.
"Information architecture at its best is not about the cool, the 
newest, or the latest. Information architecture is about the breath, 
the pause, the stillness in the eye of the information hurricane. I've 
experienced that stillness in many places. I feel it when I play Bach, 
and sense those incredible structures that stand like cathedral arches 
within the myriad notes that I'm trying to play. I feel it when I'm 
programming, and I sense the logic of the program I'm struggling to 
create emerge out of all my false starts and stumblings. I feel it 
whenever I see someone, from whatever walk of life, come down from the 
heights to figure out patiently what's happening between A and B. IA is 
history, and a part of history: one class of those timeless moments in 
human life when we've stopped chasing about, one of those moments when 
we've stopped to"


YUI Theater: Douglas Crockford - "JavaScript: The Good Parts"
By Eric Miraglia.
"...This talk, now one of five talks from Douglas up on the YUI 
Theater, is the most reflective one we've covered. Douglas takes you on 
a journey through the lens of his own personal experience with 
JavaScript - a journey from deep skepticism about a flawed, half-baked 
scripting language in the earliest days to a growing affection for what 
is now a still-flawed but surprisingly beautiful and powerful language 
that has 'radically changed my way of thinking about programming 

Web 2.0 Affecting Accessibility?
By Paul Crichton.
"A report published on 4th June 2007 by the Customer Respect Group 
(CRG) found that as high-tech companies adopt Web 2.0 features, 
accessibility levels declined by 38% on the websites covered in their 


Five Pertinent Questions for Scott Berkun About Innovation
By Tiff Fehr.
"Innovation is both a buzz word and an elusive goal these days for many 
companies and web professionals. After writing her review of Scott 
Berkun's new book The Myths of Innovation, DW staff member Tiff Fehr 
decided to dig a little deeper by asking him these five pertinent 

Interview with Luke Wroblewski, Senior Principal Designer,Yahoo Inc.
By Reshma Kumar.
"Although there are established design and usability best practices and 
standards, there are also varying standards within companies' 
definitions of good design and usability and the role design should 
play in the product development process. Some companies value form as 
well as function whereas others appear to value function only. Is form 
still a valuable element in usability?..."

Podcast: Jared Spool Interviewed by Carolyn Snyder at STC 2007
Topics included: How do you break into the usability field? How has the 
field of usability evolved? What's the future of technical writing? How 
do you handle difficult clients? What role should user testing play in 

You Are Not a Robot
By Jonathan Kahn.
"Are we not (wo)men? Cut us and we bleed. Present us with a problem and 
we solve it-using judgement, experience, and the ability to generalize. 
Learn why machines will never be able to do our jobs, and how knowing 
that fact can build respect for the profession."

Frameworks for Designers
By Jeff Croft.
"Frameworks like Rails, Django, jQuery, and the Yahoo User Interface 
library have improved web developers' lives by handling routine tasks. 
The same idea can work for designers. Learn how to harness the power of 
tools, libraries, conventions, and best practices to focus creative 
thought and energy on what is unique about each project."


Cleaning Up Code with Semantic Anchors
By Faruk Ates.
" The a element is all too common when building websites. We use it to 
create hyperlinks to other parts of our site and to external sites. We 
can also use it to link to specific sections on the current page, so a 
visitor can click on a link and jump to a footnote or to a specific 
answer on a Frequently Asked Questions page. This type of link points 
to anchors on the page?anchors made originally as follows..."

The Economics of Classification
By Gerry McGovern.
"Everything that is added to a classification subtracts from what
is already there, prompting the question: Has more been added
than subtracted?..."


By Ian Hickson and David Hyatt (Editors).
W3C editors' draft.

HTML 5 Differences from HTML 4
By Anne van Kesteren (Editor).
W3C editor's draft.

HTML 5 and Accessibility
By Roger Johansson.
"As I touched upon in 'Another look at HTML 5', probably the most 
worrying thing about the HTML Working Group is the lack of respect for 
differing opinions that some working group members have. The apparent 
disinterest in accessibility is another troublesome factor..."

Thoughts on HTML 5
By Robert Nyman.
"...in general, I think HTML 5 is a good thing with some sensible goals 
and ambitions. We need a new standard, and we need a plain text/html 
version and an XML route. One of the best benefits of it is more and 
better suitable form elements for various needs...Things that I 
personally believe can, and should, be improved...For text/html: It 
allows sloppy code...No version number in the DOCTYPE...font is still 
in there...Attitude..."

Authoring HTML 5 - A Call to Web Professionals
By Karl Dubost.
"I'm the current staff contact for the HTML WG as defined by the 
charter and when something is wrong in the way the Working Group 
operates, I feel personally concerned. On this matter, arrogance and 
disdain are no way to work..."

How to Contribute to W3C Work? Quick Tips
By Karl Dubost.
"In the next few weeks, I will introduce ways anyone can participate to 
W3C, without having to become a Member, and will explain how it 
benefits you and the Web communities. Let's start with the Quick 

How to Contribute to W3C Work? Tutorials
By Karl Dubost.
"We started a series about how you can contribute to W3C work. Last 
time, we have seen how to create and propose your own quick tips. This 
week, we will go a step further by looking at tutorials..."

Education Task Force Curriculum Survey
By Rob Dickerson.
"...The WaSP Education Task Force and W3C Quality Assurance Interest 
Group propose the creation of a curriculum framework to help educators 
teach best practices in Web design and development more effectively. 
Upon completing modules in such a curriculum, a student should have 
sound knowledge of best practices and a solid foundation upon which to 
build. If you are an educator or have influence over curriculum, we 
would like your input with regard to this subject. We have created a 
short survey as a first step to accomplish this task. The survey is 
brief and includes nine questions..."

+10: TOOLS.

HTML Entity Character Lookup
By leftlogic.
"Using HTML entities is the right way to ensure all the characters on 
your page are validated. However, often finding the right entity code 
requires scanning through 250 rows of characters. This lookup allows 
you to quickly find the entity based on how it looks..."

Customer Focus Calculator
By futurenowinc.
"...analysis tool that counts certain words on your site that are key 
indicators of whether your focus is on the customer or not. As you use 
it, keep in mind this is nothing more than a handy, but rough guide 
that will help you focus on something important. There are lots of 
variables and also remember there are no shortcuts to writing great 

Customer Focus Calculator: Test your Copy

By compete.
"SnapShots are smart profiles of the websites we visit. Simply enter a 
domain (e.g. amazon.com) and SnapShot will provide traffic history, a 
trust assessment and a list of all available coupon codes."


Font Smoothing, Anti-Aliasing, and Sub-Pixel Rendering
By Joel Spolsky.
"Now that Safari for Windows is available, which goes to great trouble 
to use Apple's rendering algorithms, you can actually compare the 
philosophies side-by-side on the very same monitor and see what I mean. 
I think you'll notice the difference. Apple's fonts are indeed fuzzy, 
with blurry edges, but at small font sizes, there seems to be much more 
variation between different font families, because their rendering is 
truer to what the font would look like if it were printed at high 


Change vs. Stability in Web Usability Guidelines
By Jakob Nielsen.
"A remarkable 80% of findings from the Web usability studies in the 
1990s continue to hold today."

25 Ways To Improve Your Site Today
By Andrew Faulkner.
Yes, the title may look like this post should be on an amateur blog and 
that it will be full of references to clip art and animated gifs, but 
this is serious. I've compiled a list of what I think are 25 ways to 
improve your website in as little time as possible. All can be done in 
a matter of minutes. Now, a website is hard work and usually there are 
no quick fixes but this list should provide you with a few pointers to 
make some updates today. If you like, it can also be used as a basis 
for a quality check document..."

Open New Window Still Has Usability Issues
By Jesper Ronn-Jensen.
"Open new windows is a no-no for several reasons. Frequently readers 
probably know this already, but since I'm often seeing this on Danish 
web pages, I think it's time to reopen the discussion with new 

[Section one ends.]


+13: 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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