Saturday, February 26, 2005

 

CSS Resources Updated

We've updated our Resources Page, for learning CSS.

Monday, February 21, 2005

 

Drop Caps Are Easy With CSS

Drop Caps are those BIG first letters that you see in fancy books, and in articles in the New York Times.

Here's an example on the web, the letters R ... E ... A ... D:
http://www.ZorbaPress.com

Previously those large letters were made with images: they loaded slowly, and caused other problems on certain screens. The drop caps are simple.

Want to try it? Here's some links that show you how:

http://www.mompswebdesign.com/css/dropcap.html

http://www.mandarindesign.com/dropcaps.html

http://www.hypergurl.com/cssdropcaps.html

http://psacake.com/web/ca2.asp

 

Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

We've updated our Web Standards Resources page, with this quintessential checklist from the W3C:

Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

Saturday, February 19, 2005

 

Learning CSS — # 1

This week was happily spent with my head buried in a book about Cascading Style Sheets, otherwise known as CSS.

Books are great. For many subjects -- OK, for most subjects -- if you want the most profound and essential information, you'll need to look in an old-fashioned hardcover or paperback book.

But when it comes to information about how-to do things related to technology, the web is just about as good as books -- and it's more current, as well.

My web page about "Resources About Web Standards" has been updated with some new sites for learning CSS. Take a look at the CSS Sites on the Youthtopia Resources Page.

Notable are: Holy CSS Zeldman; Wendy Peck's No Crepe CSS Tutorial; West Civ Hands On CSS Tutorial; CSS Resources at W3C School; West Civ CSS Guide; and the CSS Zen Garden.

 

CSS New Feature Needed

Wouldn't it be great to run your mouse cursor over a foreign expression -- such as the Italian:
"Presto e bene, non si conviene"
and see the English translation appear?

Of course JavaScript can do that, but JavaScript won't validate. You could do it with some CSS tags -- "title" or "abbr" -- but that will confuse anyone who reads the web page with a screen reader (such as JAWS), since those tags indicate that the text they refer to should be a book title or an abbreviation.

Translation is not the only benefit of my mythical tag. Suppose you would like to define a word -- something abstruse, recondite, or otherwise vague -- without making a hyperlink that jumps and interrupts the reader's train of thought?

Some kind of new tag is needed -- such as "info" ... which would let the web-page writer add any kind of comment to the tag.

Does this tag already exist? ...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

 

Do We Have Time To Think About Time?

The technological revolution promised us, above all other promises, one glorious benefit: more leisure time. But everyone I know, myself included, seems to enjoy less time than ever before.

Is technology -- and the massive amounts of information -- to blame? ...
Marx (Karl, not Groucho) thought so, when he wrote (in The Poverty of Philosophy) this critique of the capitalist rush to make a buck:

"Time is everything; man is nothing; he is no more than the carcass of time."

That was written in the 19th Century: 120 years later, how much busier we are!

So, you bloggers, website-makers, and information providers: keep in mind that you need to design your websites to save TIME for your readers and viewers.

How to do it? ... Coming in a future blog!

Ideas for now:

1. The way to be original is to be sincere. (Emerson)
2. Provide essential information.
3. No glitches: Make sure the links and the site's features work.
4. Keep things simple -- but not too simple.
5. Be available to answer questions from your readers/audience.
6. Keep a notebook of "future site improvements." ... You might not have time now to make the improvements, but take time to write down the ideas.

Monday, February 14, 2005

 

Usability Testing — Latest Ideas From Jakob Nielsen

"Summary:
Despite being an artificial situation, user testing generates realistic findings because people engage strongly with the tasks and suspend their disbelief."

Suspension of disbelief is a concept from fiction writing -- it is what the reader needs to do in order to become immersed in the fictional world. The writer creates an illusion, and the job of the writer is to prevent that illusion from being interrupted. So says one (of many) schools of literary theory.

Read Nielsen's column here:
Authentic Behavior in User Testing (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

 

Information Architecture In A Nutshell

In the 18th Century, a well-known author and bibliophile, with a collection of more than 2,000 books, organized his books by size. Sound strange? ... Had he lived a hundred years later, in Victorian England, he might have organized them by gender, since in that easy-to-shock era books by male and female authors were not permitted to touch each other on the shelves. Today, we try to organize in more sensible categories:
by Author
by Title
by Subject
by Genre
by Year of Publication
by Price
by Favorites (most popular)

The challenge about how to organize electronic information -- as opposed to tangible items such as books -- has created a new field of study known as Information Architecture. It involves developing strategies and systems for organizing the information, for labeling, and for designing ways to navigate and search the web site. The goal of it all is to help people to find the information they need.

Want to learn more? ... See the Information Architecture links added to our Resources Page (Look on the Navigation Bar on the Left, under the section, "Links").

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

 

Resources About Web Standards, XHTML, CSS

Lots of tweaking and noodling on this blog today, including the addition of an XML/RSS feed, and a web page of resources about web standards.

Blogger directions for making the feed are outdated: they have a new screen but still the old "help" instructions and olde screenshots.

The page of Web Standards Resources can be accessed via a link in the left-hand column of the Youthtopia Blog; or directly here: http://www.youthtopia.net/508sites.html

Blogger makes it simple to update the blog, but too many steps to update the blog's Template. It's much easier -- much much easier -- to link to an outside web page, than to maintain a list of links on the blog's navbar.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

 

Youthtopia Blog Created

Youthtopia Blog opens its virtual doors today.

The purpose of this Blog is to chronicle the development of the Youthtopia Website, and to track my learning about Web Standards, XHTML, and CSS. A smaller goal is to become a useful source of information about Web Standards, by posting my discoveries: books, websites, blogs, experiments and questions.

Comments are welcome.

Blog To do list:
--add a subtitle
-tweak various settings (such as: select Eastern Time)
--put in links to key sites about web standards
--Test the URL to the blog: http://www.youthtopia.net

Blogger lets you run a blog on their own web space, but gives you the option to use your own. I like the notion of using my own space: files won't be lost.

Here's how to set up Blogger to work on your own web space:
1. Log in to your Dashboard (this assumes that you've already been working with Blogger and have set up an account)
2. Click on the big button: Create A Blog
3. Fill in the Name of your Blog, and then click "Advanced Set up" (alternatively, at this stage, you can just name your blog and keep it on the Blogger's own space.)
Note: "Advanced Set up" really means: You'll be hosting the blog on your own space.
4. Now fill in the information asked, about the location of your blog
5. Select a Template
6. Voila! ... but here's something strange:

Question: Why didn't Blogger ask me for my FTP password and username (to my web space)? ... Without the password, how can it put the files onto my web space?

One day a sage shall rise to explain it ...

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