Wednesday, March 30, 2005

 

Links to Website Accessibility


Here are some links to website accessibility. Accessibility yesterday hit the "mainstream" news via articles in Computerworld.

W3C Acessibility Home Page
http://www.w3c.org/WAI

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (W3C)
http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/

Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (W3C)
http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/full-checklist.html

Auxiliary Benefits of Accessible Web Design (from the W3C)
http://www.w3.org/WAI/bcase/benefits.html

Computerworld Article: IT Accessibility: An Online Resource Guide
http://www.computerworld.com/governmenttopics/government/policy/story/0,10801,60822,00.html

Computerworld Article: One Site Fits All
http://www.computerworld.com/developmenttopics/websitemgmt/story/0,10801,100607,00.html

Bobby (Tool for testing Accessibility)
http://www.cast.org/bobby

ACM: Group on Computers and Physically Handicapped
http://www.acm.org/sigaccess/

Microsoft on Accessibility
http://microsoft.com/enable

Acessibility According to the Federal Government
http://www.section508.gov/
http://www.section508.gov/requirements.html

Juicy Studio (Accessibility tutorials and more)
http://www.juicystudio.com/index.asp


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

 

Gathering Usability Feedbag


Years ago, whenever I saw an elderly couple walking on the street, I would stop them and ask the secret of their happy co-existence. The answers surprised me. One common factor in all the -- lengthy -- replies was this one: "Compromise."

How about this one: Not spending so much time working that you neglect your responsibilities on the home realm ...

I have been negligent in the kitchen and shirking my culinary responsibilities, so this morning I sent my wife the following XHTML and PHP forrm:

Dinner Survey Form B

Monday, March 28, 2005

 

Tutorial about PHP and XHTML Forms


Here's a tutorial about PHP and Forms. UPS and FedEx don't ship these, so you can use the PHP mail function to send it off.

http://www.freewebmasterhelp.com/tutorials/php/6

Saturday, March 26, 2005

 

A Free PHP Editor


Working with PHP? ... Need a freeware PHP editor? ... There are dozens available. Here's one that gets high praise from users.

PHP Designer 2005


Thursday, March 24, 2005

 

New Look for Youthtopia.COM


A new look for Youthtopia.com:

Youthtopia.COM New Look

Have tweaked the Style Sheet to make valid CSS.

And ready for the fashion walkways, this home-page look has been coordinated with the site pages, such as: http://www.youthtopia.net/acontent/about.html

Hansel and Gretel (mentioned in the film I, Robot) would be able to follow the "bread crumb" navigation on this page.

 

Viruses Can Run, But They Can't Hide ::::: VirusTotal :::::


Suspicious about a file? ... You can upload it -- or send it as an email attachment -- to a website that will automatically scan that file with 17 different virus scanning softwares.

This service is free, and it's called -- not a bad name -- Virus Total.

Read more about ::::: VirusTotal :::::

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

 

Usability First: Usability Glossary


Say this three times fast:

a ubiquitously useful and usable glossary of usability.

Usability First: Usability Glossary

Monday, March 21, 2005

 

Ourmedia Launches


If you've ever been concerned about the "crushing power of big publishing" and the influence of media in our lives, then here's an answer: OurMedia.

Our Media is a website where you can post your books, articles, photos, videos, and audios -- free. These can be downloaded by anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Ourmedia Homepage

Sunday, March 20, 2005

 

No Tables Available (about CSS2 - Tableless forms)


No available tables? ... That's what they told me at the Ithaca restaurant last night -- so I walked home and heated up some old cold tempeh.

Here's a web page that explains how to make CSS Forms without using tables:

CSS2 - Tableless forms

Friday, March 18, 2005

 

Home Page Repair


A brief question to the CSS-Discuss list helped me to figure out some tweaks to the Youthtopia home page.

See the Updated Home Page

It now works perfectly in Firefox, and good enough in MS Internet Explorer 6.

 

Home Page Design


This week I climbed oceans and swam mountains to design and code a home page.

Here's the best of many experiements:

http://www.youthtopia.net/indextest004navrt.html

One huge problem was Microsoft Internet Explorer: it failed to render the BR tag correctly.
All the subheading text (Resources for Humanizing Technology and a Sustainable World) should be text and not an image, and then it would center on the top. That works flawlessly with Firefox, or Opera -- browsers that are more Standards Compliant than IE. ... But Internet Explorer was taking all my BR tags, and adding a full space in between, as if the BR was P (paragarph).

Since 90% of the web-surfing masses use IE, I didn't think I could afford to show these large gaps at such a prominent location on my site.

A news story broke yesterday that stated that Microsoft's newest browser, IE 7.0, coming soon, will still be -- can you believe it? -- not Standards Compliant.

Next steps for Youthtopia: ... Make other site pages, and then try to get the Youthtopia Blog home page on Word Press (http://www.youthtopia.com) to look like the Youthtopia site pages. ... Try.

"Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilites vanish."

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

 

Web Style Guide from Jennifer Kyrnin


Here is some sensible advice about designing web pages, from the About.com Web Design Guide, Jennifer Kyrnin.

Web Style Guide

Sunday, March 13, 2005

 

Youthtopia Rescues Kitten in Distress


My neighbor's little girl was excited to find a cute kitten on the Internet. But the poor cat was sitting on a left-column that was too short. Built on a shaky stack of of non-breaking spaces, how could the cat get a comfortable nap?

Weekend Geek 2.0

Usually, that left column gets filled with so much Navbar stuff -- links -- that it extends all by itself automatically. When there's no content in there, or not enough content, then you can extend the size.

We fixed the problem by making the left column extend down, with the reliable CSS property: padding-bottom

http://www.youthtopia.net/tweaks/karenhome.html

The code on the CSS sheet looked like this: padding-bottom: 300px;

Read the Weekend Geek Blog by Karen Whitehouse at:
http://blogs.download.com/Weekend-Geek/

Saturday, March 12, 2005

 

Youthtopia's 26 Principles of Usability


In his bestselling book Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity (1999), Jakob Nielsen coined the phrase "Home-Run Websites". The term means: "websites that get repeat traffic from loyal users". He makes the essentials easy to remember with an acronym for H-O-M-E. Nielsen's principles are still valid, but six years have passed. I've updated his ideas with three more ideas: an acronym for R-U-N.

High-quality content
Often updated
Minimal download time
Ease of use
RSS enabled (any XML feeds)
Uses XHTML and CSS
Nice to look at

Web Usability might be defined as the art and science of answering four essential questions:

A. Who will be reading the website?
B. What elements or features are needed?
C. How should each of these elements/features look?
D. Where should each of these elements/features be placed?

Based on these questions, my own experience, and works on Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Steve Krug, here are 26 Usability Principles that make sense to me. Nielsen is a usability pioneer, to be sure; but as the web grows, his ideas (like everyone's) should be re-examined. At times he seems to advocate sameness in page design. A world of web sites that all look like clones of Amazon.com? ... That's not for me. Web sites should be easy to use and yet unique, both in content and in style.

Youthtopia's 26 Usability Principles
Youthtopia's 26 Principles of Usability

Friday, March 11, 2005

 

Tools: EyeDropper Answers "What Color is That?"


"He was born with the gift of laughter, and the sense that the world was mad."

That opening from Sabatini's famous novel describes me; but he might have also said: "He was born with the gift of insight, but he couldn't tell red from green."

No longer color blind, I am now officially "chromatically challenged." But technology comes to the rescue. This excellent color-picking tool is easy to use: simply run the point over the image, and the color values appear in RGB and Hexadecimal.

Even if you have "perfect pitch" for colors, this is a handy tool.
EyeDropper is DonationWare -- if you like it and use it, send some dollars to the maker in Slovenia.

About EyeDropper version 4.0 Beta
(After clicking the link above, find the link in the right column for an English translation.)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

 

Book Review — Homepage Usability


Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
by Jakob Nielsen and Marie Tahir

Reviewed by Michael Pastore

Jakob Nielsen's classic book, Designing Web Usability: The Practice Of Simplicity — later translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Japanese, and Chinese — revolutionized the entire website-making world. Homepage Usability, Nielsen's souped-up sequel (coauthored with Marie Tahir), focuses on one small facet of websites: the homepage.
Read the Full Review

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

 

Information Architecture as an Extension of Web Design

An article on Digital Web Magazine shows the relationship between Information Architecture and Web Design.

The key is simpicity itself: separate structure from presentation. Web sites should be designed using a structured model: Use the heading elements -- h1, h2, h3 -- and then the paragraphs and lists and links in between. Then apply your style sheets, and you've got it all.

Here's the article:
Digital Web Magazine - Information Architecture as an Extension of Web Design

Monday, March 07, 2005

 

Authoring XHTML Voice


Make your web browser obey your voice commands, and create web pages that talk. So far, the only browser that can do it is Opera 8.0 beta.

Authoring XHTML Voice

Sunday, March 06, 2005

 

Think Different, But Don't Dare Speak


Do Bloggers have the right to free speech?

Everyone who blogs -- and everyone who reads them -- should be concerned about Apple Computer Corporation's lawsuit against three bloggers who have refused to reveal their sources of information.

Supporting these bloggers is the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and Thomas Goldstein, a former reporter for the New York Times, and former dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Goldstein wrote: "Just because Apple does not want these publications to report on its activities does not mean that they are not news publications."

To follow this important case, visit the Electronic Freedom Foundation, at:
http://www.eff.org

Saturday, March 05, 2005

 

CSS Cookbook — by Christopher Schmitt

Technology
Reviewed by Michael Pastore

When I opened up CSS Cookbook I expected to find a collection of recipes to spice up my bland web pages with great-looking styles. The Cookbook met that expectation, and provided another unexpected benefit. In sections called "Discussion," the author explains the mysterious workings of CSS properties and rules. So after reading a chapter you will not become a mindless automaton who blindly follows intructions without understanding 'why'. You will learn some of the important principles of Cascading Style Sheets, and ultimately, how to cook up great styles on your own.
Read more ...

Friday, March 04, 2005

 

Web Pages That Look Great In Print

After 10 percent trial and 90 percent error, I now have a Style Sheet for printing pages. To take a look at how it will print, go to this web page, then from the top of your browser click File --> Print Preview:

http://www.bookloversreview.com/nonfict/pasto001.html

How to do it? ... Create another style sheet, then -- on the web page that will be printed -- add a link to this style sheet, underneath the original "media = screen" link.

When you print a web page, what happens to those hyperlinks hidden underneath the linked text? Most of the time those important URLs don't print. ... But they can. And they shall! ... When you use the better browsers (Firefox, Mozilla, Safari, Netscape 7, and maybe Opera), those URLs will be printed, even though you don't see them when reading the web page. But for that URL printing to occur, the Web Designer needs to put a code into the printing style sheet. Here's da code snippet:

a:after {
content: " <" attr(href) "> ";
}

Thanks (for help designing this page) to the About.com Web Design site, and the books CSS Cookbook, and Web Standards Solutions.

 

Open Office 2.0 Beta Just Released

With a stunning array of new features:
Open Office 2.0 Beta New Features

Test out the Beta version, or try the current working version at
http://www.openoffice.org

Thursday, March 03, 2005

 

Learn WordPress at the WordPress Codex Page

Where WordPress meets Codex ...

WordPress Codex

 

HTML Kit for more than editing HTML

Here's a superb HTML and XHTML editor, and much more!

HTML Kit for more than editing HTML

HTML-Kit is perfect for making Standards-Compliant websites.

Try it, and try the plug-ins, too.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

 

And There Was Great Rejoicing ...

Let's not jettison Blogger -- its beauty is its simplicity and ease of use.

But I now have WordPress working, sans style, sans features, sans content, sans everything:

http://www.youthtopia.com

Benjamin Franklin had just explained his discovery that lightning is electricity to the Queen of France and her ministers.

"But Mr. Franklin," said the Queen. "What use is your discovery?"

"Dear Queen," Franklin replied. "What use is a newborn baby?"



Tuesday, March 01, 2005

 

Hand Coding vs. Software for CSS

I've been making Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) with old-fashioned hand coding, or hand coding with a little help -- such as HTML-Kit. http://www.chami.com

Style Sheet editing software is available:

TopStyle http://www.bradsoft.com/download/index.asp ($ 80 ouch ouch)
but there is a free lite version.

and

Style Master ( $ 60 ouch)
http://www.westciv.com/

And here's another good site for learning CSS -- needs to be added to our big list:
http://www.csscreator.com/

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