[webdev] Web Design Update: January 29, 2010

Laura Carlson lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Jan 29 06:24:17 CST 2010

- Volume 8, Issue 31, January 29, 2010.

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.
06: FLASH.
12: XML.

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

[Contents ends.]

++ SECTION ONE: New references.


Is Web Accessibility a Human Right?
By Vlad Alexander.
"The Web is now so tightly integrated into our society that it's second 
nature to obtain employment, access education, do commerce, get 
information, get entertainment and even build social relationships 
online. If the Web is now a permanent and integral part of our society, 
then is denying a group of people access to much of the Web a form of 
discrimination and a denial of a human right?"

The Accessibility Verdict: HoustonTx.gov
By Jim Thatcher.
"First I looked at the District of Columbia web site and then New York 
City. We are looking for government (non-federal) web sites that are 
accessible. Both DC and NYC were disappointing, garnering a C- for 
accessibility with a limited assessment..."

Web Accessibility Myths
By Ian Pouncey.
"There is a lot of good advice for the discerning web developer to find 
on the web on how to make a website accessible, unfortunately there is 
also plenty of bad or outdated advice out there as well. Here are a few 
of the myths of accessibility that you may hear..."

When the Right Hand Doesn't Listen to the Left
By Joe Dolson.
"Authoring forms is an important part of keeping the web fully 
accessible - not just providing access to information, but allowing 
users to fully interact with the web in all it -  glory. Interactivity 
is what makes the web powerful and persuasive..."

Click Versus Activate
By Gregory J. Rosmaita.
"...There is too much natural language "baggage" associated with the 
term "click" for it to be used in a generic manner..."

Could Ruby, a HTML 5/CSS 3 Feature, Help People with Cognitive Disabilities?
By John Rochford.
"...It is clear from the above example how Ruby could technically 
provide literal alternatives.  In practice, I think it won't work. 
Definitions of non-literal text such as sarcasm and idioms are open to 
wide interpretation.  They are also culture dependent.  This means 
people will see different definitions for the same non-literal text, 
which will be confusing.  Furthermore, attempts at such definitions are 
likely to be clumsy and difficult to understand, such as the above 
example.  Ruby should not be used for this purpose."

Guideline 3.1 Easy to Read, Please
By Olga Revilla.
"Make text content readable and understandable..."

Hey Apple, What About iPad's Accessibility?
By Suzanne Robitaille.
"In Apple's rush to debut the new iPad tablet it forgot one little piece 
of marketing: Accessibility. Apple has an accessibility page but it 
didn't bother to add the iPad before launching it yesterday at its 
headquarters. And even though Steve Jobs' keynote was likely prepared, 
Apple didn't bother to add captions for deaf or hard of hearing 
reporters, nor did it add captions to the 46-minute video broadcast of 
Jobs' speech or the video 'demo' of the new tablet. Sheesh. Apple knows 
better. The good news is that all existing iPhone accessibility features 
will be available on the iPad..."


High Contrast Proof CSS Sprites
By Steve Faulkner.
"CSS sprites are a useful method to display graphics while preserving 
bandwith and improving page rendering times.  One of the problems  with 
CSS sprites when it comes to their accessibility is that some operating 
system display themes such as Windows High Contrast mode have the effect 
of hiding CSS background images. So if an alternative version of the 
image is to be displayed when a user changes the default theme to suit 
their requirements, the developer has needed to provide an alternative 
with  images inserted inline rather than as CSS background images. In 
many cases the developer does not do this, as it is a lot of extra work 
and undermines the performance benefits of CSS sprites..."

70+ Essential Resources For Creating Liquid and Elastic Layouts
By Zoe Gillenwater.
"...Check out these great online resources on creating liquid/fluid and 
elastic layouts, including sources for design inspiration, downloadable 
templates, frameworks, articles and tutorials...."

Up Late with CSS3, and Loving It!
By Andy Clarke, John Allsopp, Dan Cederholm, Miraz Jordan.
"Andy Clarke believes in experiments, Dan Cederholm is excited about 
layering, and John Allsopp reveals an nth-child secret. Learn the 
favorite CSS tricks of these three web design experts. Deck: Andy Clarke 
believes in experiments, Dan Cederholm is excited about layering, and 
John Allsopp reveals an nth-child secret. Learn the favorite CSS tricks 
of these three web design experts."

IE Background RGB Bug
By Chris Coyier.
"Using RGBa for progressive enhancement is getting more and more 
popular, which is awesome. Even nearly a year ago it was pretty much 
ready to rock. A great way to handle the progressive enhancement part is 
just to declare a fallback color before the RGBa value, so older 
browsers that don't support it will get a solid color version..."

Find Unused CSS Selectors With CSS Usage, A Firebug Extension
By Neal Grosskopf.
"As a website grows so does its stylesheet. The problem is, the opposite 
is not true. As a pages get removed, seldom do the selectors in the 
external stylesheet. This becomes even worse with multiple employees, 
especially if people come and go. Enter CSS Usage..."

+03: COLOR.

Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color
By Cameron Chapman.
"Color in design is very subjective. What evokes one reaction in one 
person may evoke a very different reaction in someone else. Sometimes 
this is due to personal preference, and other times due to cultural 
background. Color theory is a science in itself. Studying how colors 
affect different people, either individually or as a group, is something 
some people build their careers on. And there's a lot to it. Something 
as simple as changing the exact hue or saturation of a color can evoke a 
completely different feeling. Cultural differences mean that something 
that's happy and uplifting in one country can be depressing in another..."


Testing Expert Users
By Jakob Nielsen.
"It's more difficult to conduct usability studies with experienced users 
than with novices, and the improvements are usually smaller. Still, 
improving expert performance is often worth the effort."

Why Testers?
By Joel Spolsky.
"...You don't have to be a programmer to be a tester. A lot of companies 
want testers to be programmers who write automated test suites. It seems 
more efficient that way. This reflects a misunderstanding of what 
testers are supposed to do, which is evaluate new code, find the good 
things, find the bad things, and give positive and negative 
reinforcement to the developers..."

+05: EVENTS.

Web APP Masters Tour
April 27-28, 2010.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

UX Fundamentals
June 11, 2010.
Brighton, United Kingdom

Web APP Masters Tour
June 6-7, 2010.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Usability Testing
July 16, 2010.
Brighton, United Kingdom

Web APP Masters Tour
July 12-13, 2010.
Seattle, Washington , U.S.A.

Mobile HCI 2010
September 10, 2010.
Lisbon, Portugal

+06: FLASH.

With iPad, Apple has Started a New Browser War
By Stefan Mischook.
"...Apple does not like Adobe Flash and they are not supporting it on 
iPad and iPhone..."


Unobtrusive JavaScript is Not Necessarily Accessible JavaScript
By Roger Johansson.
"Plenty of JavaScript demos and tutorials that you come across on the 
Web note that they are implemented using unobtrusive JavaScript. While 
that is great and should always be encouraged, some people seem to 
believe that unobtrusive JavaScript equals accessible JavaScript. That 
is not always the case..."

How To Emulate a Foreach Loop in JavaScript
By Rob Glazebrook.
"JavaScript does many things well, but one area I've always had trouble 
with is the array and array-manipulation department. For example, this 
weekend I was working on a project that required me to iterate through a 
JavaScript array and perform a set of functions on the values within. In 
PHP, that would have looked something like this..."


A Little Less Conversation
By Joel Spolsky.
"Have you ever invited employees to a meeting just so they wouldn't feel 
left out? If so, you may be an overcommunicator..."


YouTube Embraces HTML5, But Stops Short of Open Web Video
By Scott Gilbertson.
"Google is now offering up YouTube videos using HTML5's next-generation 
video tag. But this advancement is only available to those surfing with 
Chrome or Safari- Firefox and Opera users need not apply..."

HTML5 Video: 25% H.264 reach vs. 95% Ogg Theora Reach
By Silvia Pfeiffer.
"Vimeo started last week with a HTML5 beta test. They use the H.264 
codec, probably because much of their content is already in this format 
through the Flash player..."

YouTube and Vimeo Support HTML5 Video
By Richard Clark.
"Unless you've been hiding under an XHTML2 shaped rock for the past week 
or so, you'll know that both YouTube and Vimeo have announced plans to 
support the HTML5 video element. Two blog posts published last week 
announced that the two major players in online video are experimenting 
with the HTML5 <video> element..."

The Video Element In HTML5 - Great Possibilities, But Also Codec And 
Licensing Problems
By Robert Nyman.
"Man has always been inspired by things moving around and giving away 
noises, so it was just a matter of time before video content showed up 
on the web. For a number of years, Flash was the de-facto standard of 
showing video, but now, with HTML5, the video element has made its way 
into our lives..."

Tutorial on HTML5 Open Video at LCA 2010
By Silvia Pfeiffer.
"During last week's LCA, Jan Gerber, Michael Dale and I gave a 3 hour 
tutorial on how to publish HTML5 video in an open format. We basically 
taught people how to create and publish Ogg Theora video in HTML5 Web 
pages and how to make them work across browsers, including much of the 
available tools and libraries. We're hoping that some people will have 
learnt enough to include modules in CMSes such as Drupal, Joomla and 
Wordpress, which will easily support the publishing of Ogg Theora. I 
have been asked to share the material that we used..."


@font-face Browser Support and Tutorial
By Estelle Weyl.
"Up to now, web developers were limited in what typography they could 
use on a website to what the client had installed in their environments. 
Now that we have finally convinced designers to not include any fonts 
outside of georgia, helvetica, arial, times roman, and a handful of 
others because of the awfulness of text images, @font-face allows us to 
retrain designers to use unique fonts, only if they have the legal right 
to post those fonts on the web..."


Everyday Usability - 14-Point Checklist for Success
By Kimberly Krause Berg.
"...Here are some ways you can take a fresh look at your website every 
day to ensure maximum usability..."

Writing for the Web: The Right Strategy
By Shay Howe.
"When it comes to designing a website, content is often overlooked, but 
why? Very rarely do users browse the web looking for a good design or 
decent experience. Users come for the content. Not giving them what they 
want with poorly written content will frustrate users. Not only does it 
waste their time, but your time as well..."

The Differences between Usability and User Experience
By RJ Owen.
"Usability refers to the ease with which a user can accomplish his or 
her goals using any tool...Somewhat in contrast, user experience refers 
to the way a user perceives his or her interaction with a system. User 
experience design encompasses both interaction design and visual design 
and seeks to promote an interface that is pleasing to the user." 

+12: XML.

Using SVG For Flexible, Scalable, and Fun Backgrounds, Part I
By Shelley Powers.
"Many of us think of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) as an also-ran: fine 
for charts and tables, but not much else. Yet SVG can actually enhance a 
site's overall design, and can be made to work in even the most stubborn 
browser. In Part I of a two-part series, Shelley Powers covers important 
basics of working with SVG, including browser support and accessibility...."

Using SVG for Flexible, Scalable, and Fun Backgrounds, Part II
By Shelley Powers.
"In Part II, dig deeper into the technology behind using SVG for your 
site design. Explore how to incorporate SVG in a cross-browser friendly 
manner, including using SVGWeb to ensure that the SVG shows in Internet 
Explorer. And discover the unique characteristic that makes SVG ideal 
for page backgrounds: scalability..."

The Problem with SVG and Canvas
By Kilian Valkhof.
"SVG and canvas are awesome technologies, and are changing the way we 
use graphics on the web. I love working with both, and support for both 
keeps improving (IE9 might even support SVG!) However, they have one 
problem that is really getting to me, and it's not even their fault."

[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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