Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A List Apart is Back and Better Then Ever

The web development magazine A List Apart has just launched its redesign. A lot of you may have been looking at the site during the summer and wondering when there was going to be finally new content posted. Well it is here. A List Apart is back and better then ever.
"From the crown of its cranium to the tips of its Ruby-slippered toes, A List Apart 4.0 is both old and new. Old in its mission to help people who make websites see farther and jump higher. New in its design, structure, publishing system, and brand extensions." (A List Apart 4.0)
It looks like they have some really great articles for this issue:

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Most Often Forgotten Definition List

I recently found an article by Russ Weakley and the guys and Max Design about the often under use or misunderstanding of what HTML Definition Lists are all about.

Definition Lists are to be used wherever there is a name/value pair or wherever you have a thing and then have some more text that you use to describe it with.

W3C Specification Says -
Another application of DL, for example, is for marking up dialogues, with each DT naming a speaker, and each DD containing his or her words.
I know with the jobs that I work on, there are a lot of times where it would have been more appropriate to use a definition list. We will often use a unordered list with line breaks, which isn't a good idea.

So next time to remember the possibility of using a definition list.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dreamweaver 8; Get Up Close and Personal

As most of you I am sure have heard, Macromedia has recently announced that they are going to be releasing Studio 8, which includes a new version of Dreamweaver.

They are going to be offering free online seminars to highlight and teach people about the new features.

The seminars are actually pretty cool. I did one on Contribute 3 and I found it very helpful. The seminars use the Macromedia Breeze software which is also very neat.

When Dreamweaver 8 actually gets released, you can count on me having a full review of it here.

Monday, August 08, 2005

All you need is love...and Mozilla Firefox Web Developer Toolbar

The esteemed Patrick H. Lauke has recently published an article about how a web developer can use the Mozilla Firefox Web Developer Toolbar to Evaluate Web Sites for Accessibility.

The toolbar is a pretty awesome tool and I use it all the time. It is the one thing that would prevent me from ever switching to a different browser because I depend on the Web Developer Toolbar as an important part of my tool kit.

Note: In my title I am just being witty. Mozilla Firefox Web Developer Toolbar is just a tool that can assist you in the process of making your web site accessible. You are going to have think and do work yourself.

MSU launches new Web Accessibility Site & Accessibility Guidelines

One of the projects that I have been working on over the last year at Michigan State University is a new and updated Web Accessibility site.

We have just launched it.

It is going to serve as a main resource for the MSU community on how they can make their web sites more accessible. It will have all kinds of articles, tools, and tutorials. The stated mission of the site is, "Reaching the Broadest Possible Audience with Accessible, Usable & Aesthetically Pleasing Design."

We have also posted a draft of Accessibility Guidelines for MSU Web Sites.

Mmmm...Data Tables

Data tables, especially in web applications, can play a crucial role in the information that gets put up on the internet.

Data tables are also something that a lot of people really neglect and make inaccessible. Here are two resources recently written to help you make accessible data tables:

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Remembering Low Vision Users

One group of web users that is often over looked when web sites are designed are users with low vision. What people don't realize is that low-vision users need something a lot different in the way a web site is layed out then what are used to.

Joe Clark, who I hope to meet at some point, talks about this in his A List Apart article - Big, Stark, and Chunky.
"...most people with impaired vision can still see something, and a large but unquantified segment of this group sees well enough to use a computer with a magnified or zoomed display. We have not done a good job of catering to these screen-magnification or zoom users. Using CSS, it’s easy to do, as we shall soon see."
Joe also at the @media conference in London last week I hear gave an inspiring presentation about Zooming the web.

This challenged Gez Lemon of Juicy Studio and Roger Johansson of 456 Berea Street to think about how he could incorporate a different style sheet into his web site for low vision users.

I think this a challenge that we should all try an do zoom user style sheets for our own sites.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Writing a paper...

I am working on a paper about techniques used in evaluating web sites for web accessibility.

If you have any techniques that you that really work for you and you would like to share, email me. I'd love to hear different insights.

Usability Testing in 5 Seconds...

Christine Perfetti recently wrote a really excellent article about 5 second usability testing.

Most users will only stay on a web page for about 5 seconds. This technique explores the kind of initial impression that your web site is giving on the user in those 5 seconds.

Try it out. It works.

Joe Clark's Live Blogging at @media 2005

Over June 9th & 10th, some of the brightest minds in web standards & web accessibility came to talk to a web conference in London called @media.

The indispensable Joe Clark, accessibility writer and expert, both spoke at the conference and live blogged most of it. I was unable to attend the conference so I'm thankful that Joe live blogged it and posted his presentation slides up to the web.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I'm Back...

I took a little bit of a break from writing this blog because of school, work, and just being unbelievably busy.

I look forward to getting back to helping the masses make better and more quality web sites.