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Accessibility Blogs and Blogging business client services creativity Design development Ideas links Marketing social networking Standards Tools writing

Monday links

WCAG Samurai
The WCAG Samurai Errata for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 are published as an alternative to WCAG 2. “You may comply with WCAG 2, or with these errata, or with neither, but not with both at once.” Published 26 February 2008. Read the intro first.
Happy Cog Studios at SXSW Interactive
Two hot panels, plus bowling.
Alex King’s Twitter Tools
Integrate your Twitter account with your WordPress blog. Archive your tweets, create a blog post from each tweet, create a daily digest of your tweets, post a tweet in your sidebar, and more.
Chopsticks by Carlos Segura
Brilliant! 51 chopstick bags by Carlos Segura assisted by Ryan Halvorsen. In EPS for your raster or vector pleasure.
Can a Gas Station Really Be Green?
Boston design firm builds green gas station in smoggy LA.
48 Unique Ways To Use WordPress
CMS, city guide, history/timeline site, intranet, movie poster and trailer site, network hub, polling site, Feedburner alternative, Twitter clone, many more.
Misleading Marketing Copy
Words and phrases to avoid if you want an honest relationship with your customers.
Pattern inspiration (Veerle’s Blog)
Design inspiration via wallpaper and tiles.
Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior (on Flickr)
Illustrations from the newly published book by Indi Young (Rosenfeld Media, 2008).
A Speck of Sunlight Is a Town’s Yearly Alarm Clock
On March 8, the sun will rise again in Longyearbyen, the first time since October.
Dockdrop
Free Mac OS X application lets you share files fast. Drag any file or folder onto the Dockdrop dock icon, then choose how you want to send it. Dockdrop uploads it and puts a URL for your upload on the clipboard, ready for pasting into an email, chat program or website.
Official Google Maps API Blog: Google Maps Without the Scripting
The Google Static Maps API provides a simpler way to add maps to your website. Rather than use JavaScript, the Google Static Maps API creates map images on the fly via simple requests to the Static Maps service with HTTP requests.

[tags]zeldman, wcagsamurai, happycog, sxsw, googlemaps, wordpress, veerle, indiyoung, mentalmodels, wcag2, accessibility[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility Community Design development eric meyer events Ideas industry maturity Memes Standards technorati Tools

Happy fourth birthday, real world semantics

Four years ago today, Tantek Çelik and Kevin Marks gave a presentation on real-world semantics. Working backwards from HTML extensions like XFN (created by Tantek, Matt Mullenweg, and Eric Meyer), the paper showed how designers and developers could add semantics to today’s web rather than starting from scratch or waiting for a “purer” markup language to bring us an “uppercase semantic web.”

As with ‘most all great ideas, the principles were simple and, in hindsight, profoundly obvious. Do what designers were already doing. Instead of toiling over new languages that might or might not get adopted, use existing (X)HTML elements such as rel and class, and agree on such things as common class names for simple things like relationship definitions.

On behalf of all web designers and developers, thank you, Tantek and friends, and happy birthday.

[tags]microformats, semantics, realworld, tantek, xfn, hcard, 4years[/tags]

Categories
A List Apart Accessibility Browsers Design development industry Publishing Standards work

Not your father’s standards switch

The DOCTYPE switch isn’t what it used to be.

For most of the past seven years, the DOCTYPE switch stood designers and developers in good stead as a toggle between standards mode and quirks mode. The switch enabled browsers to accurately support the work of responsible designers who cared about accessibility, findability, and lean, semantic markup. It also enabled those same browsers to support the old-fashioned, table-driven junk markup your grandpappy writes.

But when IE7, with its tremendously improved support for standards, “broke the web,” it revealed the flaw in our beloved toggle. The quest was on to find a more reliable ensurer of forward compatibility. Is version targeting the answer?

In Issue No. 251 of A List Apart, for people who make websites, Aaron Gustafson of The Web Standards Project and ALA describes the workings of and logic behind version targeting, a proposed replacement to the DOCTYPE switch. It’s an idea whose simplicity you may admire immediately; or you may, at least initially, want to run screaming in the opposite direction.

That’s how ALA‘s Eric Meyer felt, when he first previewed Aaron’s report. So did I. But we came around—and in “A Standardista’s Journey,” the companion piece to Aaron’s article, Eric explains how his thinking about version targeting evolved.

Microsoft is on board to support version targeting in IE8; they hope other browser makers will do likewise. The Web Standards Project worked with the Redmond company to forge this new path in forward compatible design. It’s with Microsoft’s consent that we unveil version targeting in this issue. In a future issue, we’ll discuss the implications for scripting.

[tags]standards, webstandards, DOCTYPE, DOCTYPE switch, forward compatible, forward compatibility, versionlock, IE8[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility glamorous

The no-access road

A stranger and I just helped a disabled lady in a motorized scooter mount the inaccessible curb adjoining the treatment center for disabled people in wheelchairs and scooters.

The medical center has been there for probably thirty years. And for probably thirty years, the inaccessible curb has barred the way for people seeking treatment.

Thirty years.

I’m no statistician, but I’ll estimate that the little scene we three strangers just performed outside the medical facility has been reenacted at least a million times.

The facility is located between Second and First Avenues. An access road to an on-ramp to the Queens Midtown Tunnel divides the street in half. To get to the facility, you must traverse the access road.

An incomprehensible three-way traffic light controls the flow of people and cars across the T-shaped intersection. At least, in theory, it controls the flow. In practice, cars are always pouring into the access road. In fact, parents and nannies continually push prams into the access road in defiance of the constantly oncoming traffic. Besides medical facilities for the disabled, the half-block houses a huge and busy pediatric office; and there is a children’s playground just the other side of the center.

The lady somehow got her scooter down into the access road during the momentary interval when it was okay for pedestrians to cross.

She got to the other side and discovered there was no ramp up.

She began driving her scooter backwards and forwards in the road, searching for a ramp.

No ramp.

Cars began heading toward her.

A man and I walked over to her. She asked for help and we did our best, while the cars edged to the left of her.

How many people in wheelchairs cross this road day and night?

Have any died?

Categories
Accessibility An Event Apart cities Community Design development eric meyer events industry New Orleans Standards Zeldman

An Event Apart New Orleans

An Event Apart, the design conference for people who make websites, kicks off its 2008 season with An Event Apart New Orleans, a monster, 19-hour, two-day creative session. Join us April 24–25 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside for two intense, 9.5-hour-long days of learning and inspiration, featuring twelve of your favorite web design authors.

  • See Dave Shea, co-author, Zen of CSS Design, explore what makes sites flexible visually, experientially, and code-wise.
  • See Jeff Veen, design manager, Google, explore how new thinking, born of creating the latest generation of web apps, is being infused into design practices.
  • See Robert Hoekman Jr., author, Designing the Obvious, perform slam-bang, on-the-spot usability reviews of sites submitted by our live audience on the fly.
  • See Cameron Moll, author, Mobile Web Design, uncover the differences between good and great design.
  • See Aaron Gustafson, co-author, AdvancED DOM Scripting, go beyond “unobtrusive” JavaScript to truly meet users’ needs, no matter what their device or platform, by applying the principles of “progressive enhancement” to client-side scripting.
  • See Andy Clarke, author, Transcending CSS, explain how comic books inspire his award-winning web layouts.
  • See Stephanie Sullivan, co-author, Mastering CSS with Dreamweaver CS3, explore practical, standards-based approaches and techniques to some of today’s toughtest design challenges.
  • See Aarron Walter, author, Building Findable Web Sites, explain “findability bliss through web standards SEO”
  • See Brian Oberkirch, Publisher, Like It Matters, review, catalog, dissect, and champion small design victories that daisy chain to create a delightful overall user experience.
  • See Jason Santa Maria, designer, Happy Cog, share techniques for maintaining individuality and brand distinction in a world of generic templates and design sameness.
  • See An Event Apart co-founder Eric Meyer, author, CSS: The Definitive Guide, present two new talks that shed brilliant light on the darkest corners of CSS.
  • As for me, I’ll be doing two new sessions on the whatness of web design (what it is, what it ain’t, and why it matters) and the whereness of web standards (as in, where we are with them).

It’s the longest, biggest, densest, hardest, coolest show we’ve ever done, and we’re doing it where Louis learned to blow his horn. Join us if you can.

Can’t make New Orleans? Join us in these cities!

  • Boston, June 23–24
  • San Francisco, August 18–19
  • Chicago, October 13–14

Tickets for all four shows are on sale now.

[tags]aneventapart, webdesign, conference, neworleans, aeaNOLA08[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility Design development HTML mail industry Tools

Give HTML e-mail a chance

Ten years into the web standards revolution, e-mail client support for standards remains sketchy. A new group is doing something about it. Launched today, The Email Standards Project “works with email client developers and the design community to improve web standards support and accessibility in email.”

Brainchild of Mathew Patterson of the Campaign Monitor, the newly launched site, like any good advocacy site, explains why web standards matter for e-mail.

But it does much more. Already the project uses a WaSP-style CSS test to judge the standards compliance of major e-mail clients from AOL to Yahoo! Mail and report on how they did. There’s also a blog and a list of things you can do to help promote standards awareness and persuade e-mail software makers to improve their support.

I started out hating HTML e-mail, but now I am a believer. I support The Email Standards Project.

[tags]email, e-mail, standards, webstandards, advocacy[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility client services creativity Design development Publishing Standards

Appreciating web design; setting type

We have what we think is a special issue of A List Apart for people who make websites.

  • Every responsible web designer has theories about how best to serve type on the web. In How to Size Text in CSS, Richard Rutter puts the theories to the test, conducting experiments to determine the best of all best practices for setting type on the web. Richard’s recommendation lets designers reliably control text size and the vertical grid, while leaving readers free to resize text.
  • And in Understanding Web Design, I explain why cultural and business leaders mistake web design for something it’s not; show how these misunderstandings retard critical discourse and prevent projects from reaching their greatest potential; and provide a framework for better design through clearer understanding.

Plus, from October 2001, we resurrect Typography Matters by Erin Kissane, the magazine’s editor, who is currently on sabbatical.

[tags]webdesign, css, textsize, type, typography, sizingtype, sizingtext, understanding, typedesign, architecture, newspaperdesign, posterdesign, bobdylanposter, erinkissane, richardrutter, zeldman, jeffreyzeldman, alistapart[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility Community Design events facebook Ideas industry links Standards

Blue Beanie Day

On Monday, November 26, 2007, don your blue beanie to show your support for web standards and accessibility. So goes the pitch by Douglas Vos, founder of Facebook’s Designing With Web Standards Group:

Monday, November 26, 2007 is the day thousands of Standardistas (people who support web standards) will wear a Blue Beanie to show their support for accessible, semantic web content. … Don a Blue Beanie and snap a photo. Then on November 26, switch your profile picture in Facebook and post your photo to the Blue Beanie Day group at Flickr.

Is this silly or serious? Seems to me, it’s a bit of both. If enough people do it on enough social networks, it might even raise web standards awareness in a small but positive way. (As opposed to, say, busting people for a validation error, which, surprisingly, doesn’t win you their love.)

Participation is easy. Here are the instructions, from Facebook’s Blue Beanie Day Event Page:

  1. Make a personal commitment to fight Web Standards Apathy. Show solidarity with the Standardistas on November 26th, 2007.
  2. Buy, beg, or borrow a Blue Beanie (blue hat or cap, even a black or grey one will do in a pinch.)
  3. Take a photo of yourself wearing the Blue Beanie. Or take a cool group photo of you and your friends wearing Blue Beanies.
  4. Post your photo, or photos to Facebook, the Flickr pool, and other social networks on November 26th, 2007. Remember to switch your profile photos that day on all your social networks, like Flickr, Twitter, Last.fm, iLike, Pownce, Dopplr… you name it.
  5. Promote Blue Beanie Day in your blog or wiki starting today, and tell all your friends to get ready for Blue Beanie Day. Start by inviting all your Facebook friends to this event.

Related Links

[tags]webstandards, webdesign, accessibility, bluebeanieday, blue beanie day,facebook, twitter[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility An Event Apart Boston Design eric meyer events New Orleans San Francisco Standards Zeldman

Please and thank you

An Event Apart thanks its attendees, speakers, and sponsors for a great 2007, and announces dates and locations for 2008. Please join us next year! New Orleans, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago.

[tags]aneventapart, aea2008, neworleans, boston, sanfrancisco, chicago[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility Design

Testing designs for color-blindness

What toll does color-blindness take on design usability? Even experienced designers and art directors, assuming they think about color-blindness at all, can find it hard to predict how their work will appear to someone with, say, protanopia, the most common form of red-green color-blindness.

Enter Sim Daltonism (donationware), a color-blindness simulator for Mac OS X. Its floating palette filters your web page in real time, showing how the area around your mouse cursor looks to people with many different kinds of color-blindness, including rare as well as common types.

Windows and Linux users, or Mac users who would rather view complete pages than floating palettes, should check out the Colorblind Web Page Filter. In our studio, we use both tools. Here is Happy Cog as its front page may appear to a person with protanopia. (Allow time for the page to load, and don’t all click at once.)

[tags]colorblind, colorblindness, design, accessibility, usability, software, tools, apps[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility An Event Apart Design development eric meyer events San Francisco Standards

Not at our desk

Apologies for the quiet, here. We’ve been enjoying family time in San Francisco, leading up to the final Event Apart show of the year in the beautiful Palace Hotel.

[tags]aneventapart, aeasf07, sanfrancisco[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility An Event Apart business Design Redesigns San Francisco Standards

Say hello to web standards

There’s something new at Apple’s online store: web standards and accessibility.

Apple.com has never lacked for panache. It has always looked more stylish, more elegant, more beautifully designed than most business sites. The site’s combination of utility, seduction, and understated beauty is practically unique—in keeping with the company’s primary point of product differentiation.

But while its beauty and usability have always run ahead of the pack, its underlying source code has not always kept pace. Now the online Apple Store’s inside is as beautiful as its exterior—and as far ahead of the mainstream in web development as a company like Apple needs to be.

One day, all sites will be built like this. View Source for an inspiring glimpse of how semantic and accessible even a grid-based, image-intensive, pixel-perfect site can be.

And next time your boss, client, or IT director annoyingly proclaims that you can’t have great looks and good markup, point them at store.apple.com. Who knows? They might buy you an iPhone or MacBook as a token of thanks.

Opinions are no longer being solicited, but you can read the 101 comments that were shared before we closed the iron door.

[tags]apple, css, markup, accessibility, webstandards, jinabolton, aneventapart, aeasf07[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility An Event Apart Design development eric meyer San Francisco Standards Zeldman

An Event Apart savings end tomorrow

$100 savings on our final Event Apart conference of the year end Saturday, September 15. If you’re planning to attend An Event Apart San Francisco, reserve your seat before the price goes up.

Zeldman.com readers can save an additional $50 by entering discount code AEAZELD in the appropriate field during checkout, reducing the cost of the two-day event to $745.

What does that get you? Two days of web standards, best practices, and creative inspiration (not to mention parties, meals, snacks, and swag) with these visionary industry leaders:

  • Joe Clark, author of Building Accessible Web Sites (a coup! Joe publicly retired last year; we dragged him back)
  • Douglas Bowman, of Wired News and Blogger design fame and interface design director at Google (a coup! Doug has been missing, and missed, since he joined Google)
  • Aaron Gustafson, contributor to AdvancED DOM Scripting and Web Design in a Nutshell (a treat!)
  • Jina Bolton, co-author of The Art & Science of CSS and UI developer at Apple (a thrill!)
  • Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering (a delight!)
  • Kimberly Blessing, group lead at The Web Standards Project and veteran of enterprise standards adoption (a pleasure!)
  • Erin Kissane, chief editor at A List Apart and Happy Cog (a joy of joys!)
  • Jason Santa Maria, art director for A List Apart and creative director at Happy Cog (just so great!)

And of course your hosts, Eric Meyer, master of CSS, and blogger no. 27, Jeffrey Zeldman (hey, that’s me!).

Seating is extremely limited, first come, first served. Don’t let the sun go down on you.

Comments off.

[tags]aneventapart, sanfrancisco, aeasanfrancisco07[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility An Event Apart Community Design development eric meyer events industry links people Standards

Event Apart Chicago wrap-up

The sights, sounds, and sense of An Event Apart Chicago 2007. Thank you, Chicago. You rocked. (Literally.) An Event Apart San Francisco is our next and final show of the year.

An Event Apart Chicago 2007 Photo Pool
Those who were there share photos in and out of the conference.
Blog reactions to An Event Apart Chicago ’07
Via Technorati.
An Event Apart ’07 Extended Mix
The interstitial playlist from the show.
Middle West
Speaker Dan Cederholm’s recap of the event.

One track continues to rule. It rules because you don’t have to decide where to go and what to miss. But it also rules because the conversations in the hallways and pubs can be centered around the same sessions. There’s no “ah, I missed that one because I saw ______ instead”. There’s a complete shared experience between all attendees, and that’s a very good thing.

Seven Lies in Chicago
Liz Danzico recaps her presentation and answers questions about information architecture.
Best Practices for Web Form Design
Slides from the powerful and incredibly useful talk by Luke W. “I walked through the importance of web forms and a series of design best practices culled from live site analytics, usability testing, eye-tracking studies, and best practice surveys. Including some new research on primary and secondary actions, and dynamic help examples.”
Design Your Way Out of a Paper Bag
Luke W: “Jason Santa Maria’s Design Your Way Out of a Paper Bag highlighted some of his creative process when working on the redesign of popular Web destinations.”
Search Analytics
Luke W: “Lou Rosenfeld’s Search Analytics talk at An Event Apart outlined ways designers and developers could utilize search query logs to uncover insights about their site’s audience and needs.”
7 Lies about Information Architecture
Luke W: “Liz Danzico’s talk at An Event Apart dissected seven often-cited information architecture rules and highlighted counter examples that exposed why these rules might be better suited as design considerations.”
Selling Design
Luke W: “Zeldman discussed the soft skills that enable designers to get great work out in the world.”
KickApps at An Event Apart
Dwayne Oxford: “It’s difficult to walk away from an event like this without a fresh perspective on CSS and the DOM, a head-full of elegant design techniques, and enough inspiration to catapult our work to the next level.”
On An Event Apart Chicago 2007
Brain Freeze on AEA: “Never a boring moment.”
She car go
Speaker, developer and author Jeremy Keith shares his experience of An Event Apart Chicago.

[tags]aeachicago07, aneventapart, aneventapartchicago, chicago, design, web, webdesign, conference, conferences, ux, userexperience, dancederholm, simplebits, lizdanzico, jimcoudal, derekfeatherstone, lousrosenfeld, jeremykeith, lukewroblewski, jasonsantamaria, ericmeyer, zeldman, jeffreyzeldman[/tags]

Categories
Accessibility An Event Apart Design events industry Standards

A Sale of Two Cities

As the last tickets for An Event Apart Chicago get gobbled up, we announce our final Event Apart show of 2007: An Event Apart San Francisco, October 4–5, Sheraton Palace Hotel. You won’t want to miss this line-up:

Joe Clark

Joe Clark served on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group and now volunteers with the PDF/Universal Access Committee. He emerges from self-imposed retirement to share his wisdom on the subject of Building Accessible Websites.

Jared Spool

Jared Spool has led the usability agenda since 1978, before the term “usability” was even associated with computers. He is one of the world’s most effective and knowledgeable communicators on the subject.

Aaron Gustafson

Between coding usable forms and accessible Ajax, Aaron Gustafson tech-edits A List Apart and writes for Digital Web , ALA, and MSDN. Print credits include AdvancED DOM Scripting and Web Design in a Nutshell, 3rd Ed..

Kimberly Blessing

Developer, standards evangelist, and technical strategist Kimberly Blessing co-leads The Web Standards Project and directs PayPal’s Web Development Platform Team, driving the creation and adoption of standards.

Jina Bolton

Interactive designer and artist Jina Bolton is an web interface developer at Apple and co-author of The Art & Science of CSS. She has consulted for the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, Mass.gov, and others.

Doug Bowman

An influential designer at the forefront of forward-thinking web design, Doug Bowman is Visual Design Lead at Google, where he tries to change the world, a few million users at a time.

Erin Kissane

Erin Kissane edits A List Apart and is editorial director for Happy Cog. She has written copy, advised on brand and content strategy, and provided editorial oversight for clients from startups to Global 1000 companies.

Jason Santa Maria

Jason Santa Maria has been recognized for designing stylish web interfaces that balance usability with effective content presentation. His work has won dozens of awards.

And, of course, your hosts:

Eric Meyer

Eric Meyer is the world’s best-recognized and most-read CSS expert, author of CSS: The Definitive Guide, Eric Meyer on CSS and a half-dozen other best-sellers. He has consulted for Apple, Wells Fargo, and America On-Line, among others, and co-founded An Event Apart with your humble narrator in November 2005.

Jeffrey Zeldman

You can read about me here.

Topics at An Event Apart San Francisco will include standards in the enterprise, creating designs that adapt to multiple display types and languages, the art and science of web forms, how to handle design and redesign, the importance of copy and editing, usability, and more.

The two-day event, including meals, swag, and parties, costs $795 (regularly $895) while earlybird savings are in effect through September 7th, 2007. Seating is limited: first come, first served. Hope to see some of you there!

[tags]aneventapart, sanfrancisco, design, development, standards, bestpractices, webstandards, webdesign, webdevelopment, aeasf07[/tags]