[webdev] Web Design Update: March 5, 2010
lcarlson at d.umn.edu
Fri Mar 5 06:30:47 CST 2010
+++ WEB DESIGN UPDATE.
- Volume 8, Issue 36, March 5, 2010.
An email newsletter to distribute news and information about web design
++ISSUE 36 CONTENTS.
SECTION ONE: New references.
What's new at the Web Design Reference site?
New links in these categories:
02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
08: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
11: What Can You Find at the Web Design Reference Site?
++ SECTION ONE: New references.
Researchers Plan To Automate Web Image Description
By Tristan Parker.
"Groundbreaking work to try to enable computers to describe visual
content on web pages begun this month with the formation of a new UK
academic research network..."
What is Unclear About Captioning?
Update on the Section 508 / Section 255 Guidelines
By Mike Paciello.
"I thought I’d clear up any potential confusion over the recent rumor
that the revised version of the Section 508 and Section 255 guidelines
would be published for public comment in March.,,"
Web Accessibility Preferences Are For Sissies
By Jared Smith.
"Several years ago I read an article by Garrett Dimon titled “User
preferences are for sissies' (available at archive.org, also see this
37signals article). The general idea is that when you present
preferences to the end user it typically indicates that you screwed up
or are a sissy - either you are forcing the user to account for a poor
design or usability decision, or you are too indecisive to make the
decision to begin with and thus place the burden to decide upon the user."
Plan to Assess Web Accessibility of 100 Cognitive Disability Organizations
By John Rochford.
"I will assess the efforts of 100 cognitive disability organizations to
make their Web sites accessible to their constituencies. This post is a
description of my current plan. I am open to suggestions for
Accessibility Issues on Vancouver Olympics Websites
By Roger Johansson.
"Being a pretty big fan of many winter sports I have spent most evenings
of the past two weeks in front of the TV, watching the action from the
Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics..."
+02: CASCADING STYLE SHEETS.
Style a Fieldset with Rounded Corners Using CSS
By Virginia DeBolt.
"The default display for a fieldset is a square cornered border. In
certain browsers (Firefox and Safari and perhaps others) you can use CSS
to make rounded corners on the border around the fieldset and around the
A Primer on Linear Gradients
By Kyle Weems.
"I'm beginning to get exhausted by the collective branding of the newest
batch of CSS styles as 'CSS3.' The title implies some form of unified
vision that looks towards a horizon upon which perches a promised land
covered in roses and ivory towers. This paradise, in this vision, is a
grand land which the modern browsers will enter, hand-in-hand, skipping
together with a common purpose..."
Styling a Horizontal Navigation Menu with CSS
By Stefan Mischook.
"It's true: Your navigation items are really a LIST..."
How to Add a Background Image with CSS
By Stefan Mischook.
"Background images, just as the name implies, are part of the BACKGROUND
of a website, not part of the actual content. The most common place to
add a background image to, is the entire canvas – aka the body tag..."
Keep Your Font Stacks from Falling Over
By Louis Simoneau.
"For most web designers and developers, testing is a huge part of the
job. They'll devote a considerable amount of time ensuring that their
sites appear similar, if not identical, in a wide range of browsers. One
key part of site testing, however, seems to be all too frequently
forgotten: font stack testing..."
!important is Actually Useful in Print Style Sheets
By Andrew Tetlaw.
"The poor old !important statement receives a lot of flak in the CSS
community, and with good reason. It's unnecessary, creates a maintenance
nightmare, and makes a hollow mockery of the cascade. I haven't thought
about using !important in years, until I discovered one very good use
for it: print style sheets."
Understanding CSS3 and CSS2.1 Border Properties
By Jeff Starr.
"Even before CSS3 introduced a cornucopia of new border properties,
CSS2.1 provided plenty of great functionality, enabling designers to
style and enhance borders in many different ways. But now with the many
new border properties available with CSS3, much more is possible,
including everything from background border images, asymmetrical border
radii, border transformations, custom fitting, and much more. While not
every browser fully supports all of these new stylistic possibilities,
we can practice progressive enhancement to create beautiful, well-styled
borders for modern browsers while supporting the dinosaurs with suitable
What is Color Blindness?
By Daniel Fluck.
"Color blindness is not 'color blindness'! There are still many people
who think colorblind people can't really see any colors. But the term is
misleading. More than 99% of all colorblind people can see colors. A
better wording would be color vision deficiency, which describes this
visual disorder much more precisely..."
+04: EVALUATION & TESTING.
Why A/B Testing of Web Design Fails
By Urs E. Gattiker.
"How do you know when you have a good website design. Is it what you
believe is good design or is it based on your customers' needs. In case
it is the latter, did you use A/B testing or ask your clients for
feedback to make sure?..."
August 9-13, 2010.
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
+06: INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE.
The Future of Wireframes
By Nishant Kothary.
"As we move into the next decade of web design, it's time for us to
reevaluate our understanding of wireframes-a tried and tested user
The Problem with Breadcrumb Trails
By Tom Scott.
The other day I was chatting with some of the designers at work about
secondary navigation and the subject of breadcrumb trails came up.
Breadcrumb trails are those bits of navigation summed up by Jakob
Nielsen as: "a single line of text to show a page's location in the site
hierarchy. While secondary, this navigation technique is increasingly
beneficial to users."
Accessibility of Links
By Steve Grobschmidt.
"Recently, I was reviewing a couple web sites for accessibility
recommendations and noticed something that's starting to become a pet
peeve. Links were only identifiable by being a different color from the
content around them. They weren't bolded or underlined. A link was, for
example, blue, amidst copy that was black."
+08: STANDARDS, GUIDELINES & PATTERNS.
Philippe Le Hegaret: The Next Open Web Platform (52 min.)
By Eric Miraglia.
"Philippe Le Hegaret, who heads the W3C Interaction Domain, stopped by
Yahoo! recently to give a talk about HTML5. While the HTML5
specification itself does actually not contain many new features, the
new Web platform, often labeled as HTML5, does come with many new
features. These range from HTML video to SVG to CSS animations or Web
sockets. Philippe's talk gives an overview of what's ahead of us, using
concrete demonstrations in latest generation Web browsers. Our thanks to
Philippe for the visit and for permission to share the video on YUI
Your Questions #5
By Richard Clark.
"We're back with our first roundup of your questions for 2010. In this
article, we'll be covering a range of topics including sections and
sectioning, the <img> element, scaling video, and a proposal for a
PX vs EM Design / the (In)difference
By Niels Matthijs.
"... While the need to avoid px for font-sizes is fading little by
little, this doesn't mean you should simply switch back to the px design
of the olden days. And when you do, make sure to remember that
flexibility is a very strong asset in your work. Make sure that content
can size horizontally and vertically without breaking the design, no
matter whether you're implementing a px or em design..."
The Future Of CSS Typography
By Inayaili de Leon.
"There has been an increasing and sincere interest in typography on the
web over the last few years. Most websites rely on text to convey their
messages, so it's not a surprise that text is treated with utmost care.
In this article, we'll look at some useful techniques and clever effects
that use the power of style sheets and some features of the upcoming CSS
Text Level 3 specification, which should give Web designers finer
control over text..."
Website Design: Impatient Versus Bored
By Gerry McGovern.
"Customers are much more likely to get impatient with your website than
they are to be bored with it."
10 Unexpected Online User Behaviours to Look Out For
By Alistair Gray.
"When designing a website, there are key user behaviours that should be
taken into account. But in order to take them into account, it helps to
know them. Below are 10 of the more interesting and less well-known user
behaviours that regularly occur in user testing..."
Internet on Mobiles: Evolution of Usability and User Experience
By Anne Kaikkonen.
"This dissertation has its focus in the area of human-computer
interaction research and practices. The overall goal of my research has
been to improve the usability and the user experience of mobile Internet
services. My research has sought answers to questions relevant in
service development process. I have sought answers mostly from a human
factors perspective, but have also taken the elements form technology
and business infrastructure into consideration."
By Karen McGrane Chauss.
"Writers and interface designers both seek to support the needs, tasks,
and goals of their audience. When the reader of a document is also the
user of a computer system, it is important to remember that the user's
psychological goals will be translated into physical actions. Cognitive
scientist Donald Norman seeks to help interface designers support users'
perception, cognition, and motor functions by suggesting the following
"Seven Stages of User Activities..."
Gulf of Execution
"Gulf of execution is a term usually used in human computer interaction
to describe the gap between a user's goal for action and the means to
execute that goal..."
[Section one ends.]
++ SECTION TWO:
+16: 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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