Friday, February 25, 2005

an accessible cms

A CMS, Web Edition, just came out with its latest version and they are claiming compliance with W3C's Accessibility guidelines. Interesting....

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Google maps in Safari

I, like Jeffrey Veen, have tried to get to Google Maps using Apple Safari. Each I did it I was like oh doesn't work in Safari. Much to my surprise today it works. Google Maps is so awesome. I wonder how it accessible it is. I am sure not even close.

Its exciting to watch all the web technologies that are coming out of Google Labs.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Overview of Web Standards

If your looking for an overview/tutorial to web standards and accessibility, i found a great one. Roger Johansson of 456 Berea Street wrote a great paper, Developing With Web Standards - Recommendations and best practices.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

AT&T joins the cool kids group

AT&T has recently released the redesign of their home page. They join the pantheon of the elite as the latest company to embrace web standards in the redesign of their web site. They have actually been able to achieve XHTML 1.0 Strict which is quite a feet. It is something that most companies have failed to accomplish.

I think seeing some of these Fortune 500 companies embrace standards will help to convince some smaller organizations see the light.

Joe D'Andrea has an interesting write up about the redesign of the AT&T web site.
The AT&T home page adopted a brandy-new look this weekend. It's still valid XHTML/CSS, just as before. This time around we've revisited the print media style plus added handheld media style. (Finally, I can view the page on my PDA without scrolling horizontally!)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

IE 7...It could be a problem.

I hadn't really thought about how IE 7 coming out could break all of the IE 6 CSS hacks that we did on our web sites. It should be interesting to see.

Anne van Kesteren - Problems the new IE could cause
Although they could fix a lot of annoying behavior with their current rendering bugs they could also break a lot of stuff if they are not careful. In this post I will outline some possible examples of what could break when the Internet Explorer team tries to support something better. This is especially relates to their CSS rendering, since those rendering and parsing bugs are exposed by web authors to make things work.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

clarifiying the natural language

I have always known that in my HTML documents I was supposed to be declaring what the natural language of the document was. It is very clearly stated in the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Guideline 4. Clarify natural language usage
Next guideline: 5 Previous guideline: 3 Go to contents
Use markup that facilitates pronunciation or interpretation of abbreviated or foreign text.

In HTML 4.01 it was -- <html lang="en">

In XHTML 1.0 they added -- <html xml:lang ="en">

I was never really sure which language declaration I was supposed to use or if I was supposed to use both. Different validators that I use would give me different answers.

Then I looked it up in XHTML 1.0 Specification.
C.7. The lang and xml:lang Attributes

Use both the lang and xml:lang attributes when specifying the language of an element. The value of the xml:lang attribute takes precedence.

So when your working on your websites make sure that you, "Use both the lang and xml:lang attributes."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

IE 7; We all Wonder...Will They...?

Today the Internet was abuzz with the news that Microsoft plans on releasing a new standalone version Internet Explorer by this summer. I think all of the web developers collectively wondered if Internet Explorer 7 is going to have better support of Cascading Style Sheet support.

Sometimes I think that my job as a developer would be cut in half if I didn't have to worry about how IE was mutilating the CSS designs that I am putting together.

Here are some of the articles that others have written about todays IE 7 News.

Web Standards Presentation

I did my very first solo lecture/presentation this morning about web standards.

It went really well. We had 30-40 people there. I was really happy with the turn out and with the response. Ill write more later.

Web Standards Presentation in HTML

Monday, February 14, 2005 - What Were They Thinking Top Bar
Originally uploaded by thorpus.
Today I was looking for some tax forms on the State of Michigan web site. I saw their top bar. They have some text links up in the top bar. In every browser except for Internet Explorer, the text just sits on the image and it is very hard to read. There is no contrast at all.

What were these guys thinking?

I looked the State of Michigan only works towards W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Priority One, having sufficient contrast is a priority two item.

I wonder if the team that develops the site only uses Internet Explorer. In IE there is white background behind the text. coincidentally just published a really interesting article about the use of color and contrast in web sites and how that affects web accessibility.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

My New Company Web Site

In September of 2003 my father and I launched an internet startup company, LLC. Our company specializes in blogging strategy and online communications. We have done of a lot of exciting things with infusing blogs into the educational and non-profit organizational enviroments. We are also working on trying to get state legislators to see how blogs can help them communicate.

We recently launched our new web site. We have really done a lot more with this web site then our last web site. This one was built using CSS layout and we are working on getting it to validate to XHTML Strict 1.0. We have also added Word Press to our site. It powers the company blog. Word Press is a really awesome tool. It is so easy to install.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

device independence

One of the things that has interested me the most about web development by separating out presentation and data, via the use of CSS and HTML, is the idea of being able to use the a web site on multiple different devices. Each device uses a different style sheet. Now technology isn't there yet but it is definetly moving in that direction.

Now I know reading W3C documents has about as much appeal as getting a root canal, but the W3C published a Working Group Note called The Device Independence Princples. It's pretty interesting. It covers the steps and the princples of what needs to happen for the furthering of device independence.
"This document celebrates the vision of a device independent Web. It describes device independence principles that can lead towards the achievement of greater device independence for web content and applications."

The document examines the users perspective, authoring perspective, and the delivery perspective and the different roles that they play.

UPDATED - The W3C is going to do a big presentation at the 3GSM 2005 Congress. They are going to talk about the future of the mobile web and how, "W3C's goal is to provide a Web for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime, using Any Device." It sounds really cool. Just wish I had the money to fly to Cannes, France where it's going to be held.

Monday, February 07, 2005

forms, fieldsets, and legends...Oh my

Today at work I was working on a search box that we were using for one of prototypes of a web site that we are doing. I have been using label tags for a while and had been implementing them into my designs; but, I guess I was never really clear on the whole like fieldsets and legend tags.

I had heard about them but never really was told what they were used for or how they made a form more accessible.

fieldset - Using fieldset you chunk up your 50 questions into, say, 5 clearly identifiable groups of topics, each with 10 properties/attributes. You increase the usability/accessibility by making the page clearer to the sighted user, or the user who may have cognitive difficulties.

legend - that's the text that sits along the top and describes the content of the boxed area

- Web Standards Project

I am going to work on integrating some of these tags into the forms of my web sites.

accessible bar charts

Sometimes putting things like bar charts on web pages are really hard becuase the images are so complex and alternative text or a long description just really doesn't do it.

Standards Schmandards wrote a really cool article about how they use data table to make a lot more accessible bar chart. They judged success based on whether users were getting the things they would be normally looking for in a bar chart, whether they were a visual or non-visual user.

I would be interested to hear the reaction of some screen reader users to this technique.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

great web standards resources

I found some great web standards resources.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

a MSN Developer's blog

I found a blog from on the guys who is on the homepage team for MSN, venkatna's WebLog. He talks about the the recent launch of the new MSN homepage. It details how they are striving to make it more standards compliant and accessible. It is also a cool example of corporate blogging.

I hope they keep up the standards compliance and blogging.
"Compared to the old page, the new version is much faster. The page is lighter (about 2/3rds of what the old page was). We have also gone from a table based layout to a CSS powered layout. Granted, we were not able to hit complete compliance with standards. We still have some validation errors (about 130, the last time i checked) in the W3C Validator. We still have a couple of accessibility issues. All we ask for is for people to look at the page as a work in progress."

"Why tables for layout is stupid"

I found this really great presentation on web standards, "Why tables for layout is stupid."

It makes an excellent case for why web standards should be followed and what it's benefits are.
Tables existed in HTML for one reason: To display tabular data. But then border="0" made it possible for designers to have a grid upon which to lay out images and text. Still the most dominant means of designing visually rich Web sites, the use of tables is now actually interfering with building a better, more accessible, flexible, and functional Web.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

MSN Sees The Light

MSN has recently launched their new web site inconjunction with their new search engine. One of the biggest developments beyond the redesign is the fact that they use CSS layout with the new msn homepage.

They even were courageous enough to go for a XHTML Strict 1.0 Doc Type.

Doug Bowman of StopDesign has an excellent review of the new MSN homepage.