[webdev] Web Design Update: December 23, 2009
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Wed Dec 23 06:26:33 CST 2009
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 8, Issue 26, December 23, 2009.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 26 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
14: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Efforts Under Way to Make Web More Accessible
By Brooke Donald.
"Imagine not being able to use a mouse to open a Web browser or a
keyboard to type an e-mail. What if you couldn't distinguish colors on
a computer screen or type the distorted letters in order to buy concert
tickets or enroll in a class?..."
Keeping an Aging Population Online - DIADEM (Delivering Inclusive
Access to Disabled and Elderly Members)
By Nick Higgs.
"Despite all the revitalized hype surrounding HTML5, web accessibility
is not such a hot topic at the moment. This is disappointing to those
of us who see an open and accessible web as (at the risk of over egging
it a bit) crucial to the future of mankind...The DIADEM project focuses
on the accessibility of online forms for people suffering with
cognitive decline due to old age. The justification is compelling..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Testing Object-Oriented CSS (OOCSS) for Easier CSS Development
By Robert Nyman.
"Let's face it: developing CSS that should work across various web
browsers and platforms is hard, and could prove to be quite a
challenge. This is where Object-Oriented CSS (OOCSS) steps in..."
A Full-Width Centered Navigation Bar
By Rob Glazebrook.
"Right around the time I was developing the code for the Super Simple
Navigation Bar I wrote about a while back, a friend came to me with an
interesting problem. He needed a horizontal navigation bar like the one
I was creating, with the following changes..."
Cleaner Code with CSS3 Selectors
By Rachel Andrew.
"...In this article I'm going to take a look at some of the ways our
front and back-end code will be simplified by CSS3, by looking at the
ways we achieve certain visual effects now in comparison to how we will
achieve them in a glorious, CSS3-supported future. I'm also going to
demonstrate how we can use these selectors now with a little help from
situation where you can't change markup that is being output by some
What You Need To Know About Behavioral CSS
By Tim Wright.
"As we move forward with the Web and browsers become capable of
rendering more advanced code, we gradually get closer to the goal of
universal standards across all platforms and computers. Not only will
we have to spend less time making sure our box model looks right in
IE6, but we create an atmosphere ripe for innovation and free of hacks
and heavy front-end scripting..."
+03: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Testing Content Concepts
By Colleen Jones.
"As UX professionals, we're all familiar with the need to test user
experience designs. Testing content, however, might be a different
story. Most companies haven't given testing content the attention it
deserves-partly because it's challenging. One challenge is that time
and budget usually do not allow us to test every single piece of
content. Another challenge is that gathering too much unfocused
feedback can freeze our projects in analysis paralysis. To meet these
challenges, try testing your content concepts-and start testing them
early in your projects."
Testing Your Own Designs Redux
By Paul J. Sherman.
"This column is an attempt to synthesize a new set of guidelines for
testing your own designs that I've based on the best of my own and
UXmatters readers' ideas."
Usability Week 2010 Conference, Miami
January 25-29, 2010.
Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
CSS3 Wizardry Workshop
January 29, 2010.
Brighton, United Kingdom.
Usability Week 2010 Conference, Atlanta
February 22-26, 2010.
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Usability Week 2010 Conference, New York
March 22-26, 2010.
New York, New York, U.S.A.
+05: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
Information Architecture: The Backbone of SEO and Usability
By Kim Krause Berg.
"...One of the clearest mistakes we make in web site development is not
understanding the people who use them. Despite the help of personas,
user testing, scenarios and marketing data in advance, even the big
brand sites struggle to be user friendly. Why is this? One reason is
the context in which pages and links are delivered. For findability to
work properly, we need to know the words people use to communicate with
their surroundings. This may be different online, especially in
situations where we can 'be anyone' and change who we are..."
By Jack Moffitt.
"Everyone talks a lot about testing, but it seems few people actually
do much of it. I certainly am guilty of not doing as much automated
testing as I should, but I am working hard to improve. I write a lot of
options, and I've come to the conclusion that you need several of them."
The Web Is Your CMS
By Christian Heilmann.
"What we need is a way to abstract the pains of different data formats
and authentication formats away from the developer - and this is the
purpose of the Yahoo Query Language, or YQL for short. Libraries like
(yes, even IE6) and YQL allows us to access web services and even the
data embedded in web documents in a simple fashion ? SQL style..."
By Deaf News Today.
"Here's an interview with Ken Harrenstien of Google who's deaf and
helped create the captioning system that will make captioning automatic
for videos. The reporter in this story does not sign but Harrenstien
The Last Word on Site Map Usability
PDF download:"Users go to site maps if they are lost, frustrated, or
looking for specific details on a crowded site. A site map's main
benefit is to give users an overview of the site's areas in a single
glance by dedicating an entire page to a visualization of the
information architecture. If designed well, this overview can include
several levels of hierarchy, and yet not get so big that users lose
their ability to grasp the map as a whole..."
If You Must Use a Dropdown Menu, Make Sure It's Keyboard Friendly
By Roger Johansson.
"Dropdown menus (a.k.a. flyout or DHTML menus) are not on my personal
list of favourite features to use on a website. Many others seem to
like them though, and thats fine as long as such menus are implemented
in an accessible way, which to a large extent means making them
The Three Clicks Myth
By James Robertson.
"...The reality is that users have no problem with clicking, as long as
they are confident they're heading in the right direction...The real
goal, therefore, is to design navigation that works well for users..."
'Where's My Googlebox' - Adventures in Search for Silver Surfers
By Henny Swan.
"I forget that at its core the web is all about search so it was
humbling and eye opening to spend two days in the company of 8 silver
surfers aged 60 to 80 testing Opera desktop and observing, amongst
other things, how they went about carrying out searches..."
By Stoyan Stefanov.
"With the recent unemployment rates, everybody realizes that job
security is important. The best way to keep a job is to be
irreplaceable. If no one can maintain the code you write, you have a
job for life. Writing unmaintainable code is a special skill that seems
to come quite naturally to certain developers. For the rest of you,
here are some tips and tricks to get you started..."
You Don't Need All That
By Marcel Esser.
"I've been writing PHP for a long time. I am not one of its dinosaurs,
but I've been making it do my bidding since PHP 3. I have also seen a
lot of trends come and go. As an example, PHP 4 was all the rage for
optimizing with references. PHP 3 still had some parts that were so
poorly written, it was possible to get 20% performance increases just
by changing the way you did something. PHP 5 is obviously trending with
+10: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
It's All About the Browser, Baby! (Four Parts)
By Molly Holzschlag.
"Molly Holzschlag speaks to MIT students at the Terry Executive
Education Center in Atlanta about web standards and industry trends."
By Breton Slivka.
"There has been some discussion going on about Accessibility in the
html5 Canvas Api..."
Why the HTML5 'Video' Element Is Effectively Unusable, Even in the
Browsers Which Support It
By John Gruber.
"I think the HTML5 spec should be changed such that the value of the
autobuffer attribute may not be ignored. And even if the spec is not
changed, web browsers should not choose to ignore it. Web browsers
should only buffer HTML5 media content when the autobuffer or autoplay
attribute has been explicitly turned on in the markup."
Designing For The Switch
By Mark Boulton.
"...Only fairly recently, @font-face is supported in most browsers. The
floodgates are opening. It really is the dawn of a new typographic era
on the web. And we must tread carefully..."
Spruce It Up
By Jonathan Snook.
"The landscape of web typography is changing quickly these days. We've
gone from the wild west days of sIFR to Cufon to finally seeing font
embedding seeing wide spread adoption by browser developers (and soon
web designers) with @font-face. For those who've felt limited by the
typographic possibilities before, this has been a good year. As Mark
Boulton has so eloquently elucidated, @font-face embedding doesn't come
without its drawbacks. Font files can be quite large and FOUT-that
nasty flash of unstyled text-can be a distraction for users..."
"Welcome to the world wide web, an interactive medium in which screen
resolution statistics are trivial, browser viewports are variable, and
scrolling behaviour is a standard."
Where is the Fold? Google Browser Size vs. Actual Heatmap
By Nick DeNardis.
"Google released a tool yesterday called Google Browser Size in effort
to show how users with various screen sizes see your site. They also
wrote up a blog post about it..."
Web Forms for People
By Luke Wroblewski.
"As the Web has grown, so has the number of ways people use it. Today,
it's not uncommon for Web users to shop, chat with friends or
strangers, manage their bank accounts and exercise routines, share
photos or videos, and more. In fact, if it can be done online, it
probably already is..."
No Such Thing as a Free Toilet
By Gerry McGovern.
"...When you say things on your website like 'we care' or 'it's
simple', the rational consumer thinks: "If you have to say you care,
it's obvious you don't, and if you have to say it's simple, it's
obvious it's not..."
Anybody Can Do Usability
By Jakob Nielsen.
"Usability is like cooking: everybody needs the results, anybody can do
it reasonably well with a bit of training, and yet it takes a master to
produce a gourmet outcome."
XML Bad Practices
By Robin Berjon.
"At the XML Prague 2009 conference I presented a paper on 'Designing
XML/Web Languages: A Review of Common Mistakes'. Since much of the
subject matter presented there is still the topic of heated discussion
amongst specialists I thought it a good idea to make a pass through
that paper, updating it based on feedback I have received and newer
examples, and post it in blog form. I will post each section here as I
go through this process. Today, we start simply with the introduction. "
[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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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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