ALA 224: Krista, Q tags & trench wisdom

In Issue 224 of A List Apart, for people who make websites, we welcome to our staff someone we’ve long admired.

Krista Stevens brought a strong voice and vision to Digital Web as that magazine’s editor-in-chief. In addition to her editorial and managerial gifts, Krista has a fab eye for fresh writing talent. It thrills us to welcome her as A List Apart‘s acquisitions editor.

We also have two fine new articles:

12 Lessons for Those Afraid of CSS and Standards

by Ben Henick

Slick tips and life lessons for the standards-challenged—which, on any given day, includes practically all of us. Semantic markup and CSS layout bring wondrous benefits, but at a cost of frayed nerves and bitten fingernails. Read this article and get fewer headaches. Author Henick last wrote for us in Issue 100. Here’s hoping we hear more from him, sooner.

Long Live the Q Tag

by Stacey Cordoni

“The Q tag has been around for nearly nine years, ever since the first version of HTML 4.0. Its purpose is to handle short, inline quotations that don’t require paragraph breaks.” For instance, the text I just quoted belongs inside Q tags. Trouble is, in all these long nine years, Internet Explorer for Windows (it’s awesome!) has never supported the Q tag. New ALA author Stacey Cordoni crafts a workaround.

Edited by Erin Kissane. Illustrations by Kevin Cornell.

[tags]alistapart, design, webdesign, semantics, qtag, css, webstandards[/tags]

ALA 223: tricks, guides, and giggles

A guide for the first-timer. A new trick for the size-conscious designer. And a bit of a giggle. Three pleasures await you in triple-thick Issue 223 of A List Apart, for people who make websites:

The ALA Primer: A Guide for New Readers

by Erin Lynch

New to A List Apart? Welcome! ALA’s own Erin Lynch has picked out a selection of articles that you may want to start with.

Text-Resize Detection

by Lawrence Carvalho and Christian Heilmann

It’s still hard to create page layouts that don’t break if the user increases the type size by more than a few settings. Chris Heilmann and Lawrence Carvalho serve up a way to detect your visitor’s font size settings using JavaScript.

A Standardista’s Alphabet

by Jack Pickard

“A is for Aaron, who fell down the stairs. K is for Kevin, menaced by bears.” No wait, those are just the notes from our last staff meeting. Jack Pickard offers a lighter look at the world of web standards.

[tags]design, a list apart, alistapart, textsize[/tags]

An Event Apart Austin

Though Seattle has sold out, we’re pleased to announce our next Event Apart. Come join Jason Santa Maria, Eric Meyer, your humble narrator and a mystery guest for a Texas-sized day of design and code in Austin, TX.

Monday, November 6th, 2006
Alamo Drafthouse Downtown
409 Colorado St.
Austin, TX 78701

Alamo Drafthouse

We love movies, and the Alamo Drafthouse might just be the best place in the world to see them. It’s also a great place for an event. The seats are comfy, the sightlines clear, the screen sizeable, and the food wonderful. All this and free Wi-Fi, too!

Register early to save $50!

Registration is open now, and you can save $50 off the cost of attending An Event Apart Austin if you register by October 6th, 2006. There are a limited number of seats, so don’t wait too long to claim your stake!

[tags]design, events, austin, texas, webdesign, aneventapart, an event apart[/tags]

Get your kicks on Pier 66

Sorry, An Event Apart Seattle is all sold out!

There are still a few seats available for An Event Apart Seattle, featuring Kelly Goto, Erin Kissane, Jason Santa Maria, Eric Meyer, and Zeldman. Grab them (the seats, not the speakers) before the price goes up! Our early bird discount ends this Friday, August 18th. (Schedule | Map | Registration)

[tags]design, events, seattle, aneventapart, an event apart[/tags]

Thursday links

Designspotter.com
A web-based platform (public group blog) for design publication, protection, and publicity. Upload an image of your work and a linked description to feature your product at no cost.
Oliver Stone, Terror Tourist
Fred Gates pimp-slaps Stone’s 9/11 blockbuster (movie review).
Google Strict vs. Google Deprecated
Does Google’s crap markup really save bytes? Philipp Lenssen finds out.
GraphicDesignBar:Design Forum
Fine new design blog, rich in inspiring links. (Yes, that’s one of Douglas Bowman’s standard Blogger templates.)
P22 News: Lanston Type Co. Summer 2006 releases
Goudy, Bodoni, and Broadway, oh my! P22 announces the latest installment of remastered fonts from the historic Lanston Type Company.
We are the Web: Fighting for Net Neutrality and Internet Freedom
Net neutrality and internet freedom are being disbanded by greedy corporate swine and the lobbyist-fattened US lawmakers who are their lackeys. In case you didn’t know.
Natural language hCard
Jeremy Keith on adding hcard semantics to ordinary body copy—naturally. (I’ve done it here.)
David Hughes Illustration
Kind to your eyes.
AsylumNYC
AsylumNYC presents all non-US artists with the opportunity to exhibit and live in New York City, providing a solo show at a recognized New York institution and the legal aid necessary to obtain an artists visa in the United States.
Weekly inspiration – 14 July
Thought-provoking UX/IA blog posts noted.
New York Times Librarian Awards
“The New York Times Librarian Awards were created to support and recognize public librarians, who do so much to nurture a better-informed society.” Nominate your favorite librarian from anywhere in the U.S.
Ben Hammersley’s Dangerous Precedent
Concise, uniquely conceived blog entries, elegantly written and cleverly embedded in photos which function as parallel blog entries. The creator is a thoughtful and multitalented web developer, portrait photographer, and book author.

[tags]librarian, awards, typography, design, graphic design, web design, user experience, UX, information architecture, IA, microformats, hcard, net neutrality, webstandards, web standards, bandwidth, Google, Oliver Stone, art, illustration, immigration, links[/tags]

An Event Apart Seattle

Join Kelly Goto, Erin Kissane, Jason Santa Maria, Eric Meyer and me for a jam-packed day of design and code on glorious Puget Sound.

The Time and Place

Monday 18 September 2006, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Bell Harbor International Conference Center
2211 Alaskan Way, Pier 66, Seattle, WA 98121 (Map)

Beautifully situated at Pier 66 on the downtown Seattle waterfront, Bell Harbor provides stunning views of the city and across Elliott Bay to Mt Rainier, plus easy walking proximity to the shops and restaurants of world-famous Pike Street Market.

The Schedule

Doors open at 8:00 am and the fun starts at 9:00:

9:00 am Hardcore CSS [Eric Meyer]
An in-depth exploration of what makes CSS work, how it works the way it does, and how you can make it work harder for you.
10:00 am These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For [Zeldman]
Selling design, accessibility, and web standards to tough clients, stubborn bosses, and unconvinced colleagues.
11:00 am BREAK!
11:15 Solving (Re)Design Problems [Jason Santa Maria]
Visually repositioning a beloved brand (namely, A List Apart). Design as problem solving. Knowing which problems to solve.
12:00 pm “One True Layout” [Eric Meyer]
Incredible stroke of genius or gross hack to be shunned? Eric analyzes this new “miracle” CSS layout technique and examines the pros and cons, both immediately and into the future.
1:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Sponsor Giveaways
Free software and services courtesy of Adobe, AIGA, Media Temple, Mozilla, and New Riders.
2:10 pm Textism (Writing the User Interface) [Zeldman]
Better design, better branding, and better usability through word choice. Editing for designers.
3:00 pm Designing for Lifestyle [Kelly Goto]
As design migrates from the web to mobile devices, our approach must also shift. Learn how companies are using ethnographic-based research to design smarter interfaces.
4:00 pm BREAK!
4:10 pm CRITIQUES [Kelly Goto, Erin Kissane, Eric Meyer, Jason Santa Maria, Zeldman]
A rip-snortin’ romp through the design, code, and content of sites created by some of the smartest people in the world — namely, the attendees of An Event Apart Seattle

The Afterglow

Join us after the event for a Happy Hour and a Half featuring free cocktails, sponsored by Blue Flavor.

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
The Alibi Room
85 Pike St Ste 410
Seattle, WA 98101-2001
(206) 623-3180

[tags]aneventapart, an event apart, seattle[/tags]

An angry fix

Some of the best minds working in web standards have been quietly or loudly abandoning the W3C. Björn Hörmann is the latest. His reasons for leaving the W3C QA Group make compelling reading (hat tip: Terje Bless). I believe in W3C standards, particularly the ones you and I use every day, but I worry about the direction in which the W3C is headed.

Beholden to its corporate paymasters who alone can afford membership, the W3C seems increasingly detached from ordinary designers and developers. Truth be told, we and our practical concerns never drove the organization. But after ordinary designers and developers spent nearly a decade selling web standards to browser makers and developing best practices around accessibility and semantics, one hoped the W3C might realize that there was value in occasionally consulting its user base.

Alas, the organization appears unconcerned with our needs and uninterested in tapping our experience and insights. It remains a closed, a one-way system. Like old-fashioned pre-cable TV advertising. Not like the web.

To be fair, the W3C solicits community feedback before finalizing its recommendations. But asking people to comment on something that is nearly finished is not the same as finding out what they need and soliciting their collaboration from the start.

We require coherent specifications based on our and our users’ actual needs. Upcoming accessibility and markup specifications fail on both counts. We require validation tools that work and are kept up to date. Instead, tools are still broken years after problems are reported.

Two things could happen. Either the W3C will make a course correction, or the standards-based design community will look elsewhere.

[tags]web standards, w3c, wcag, xhtml, web design, microformats[/tags]

ALA 219: Automatic layouts and goodbye to <embed>

Two swell authors we’ve never had the pleasure of publishing before bring creative solutions to the 219th issue of A List Apart:

Automatic Magazine Layout

by Harvey Kane

Even if you (or your client) has talented designers on staff, they’ll rarely have time to resize and reposition the images that bring life to a web layout. You need photos laid out automatically, but you’d rather your page not look like it was designed by orangutans. Harvey Kane’s clever script will make your life easier (and your site more attractive).

Bye Bye Embed

by Elizabeth Castro

In the age of Google Video and YouTube, can you embed QuickTime video reliably across browsers without using the invalid EMBED element? Building on the pioneering work of Drew McLellan, Ian Hickson, and Lachlan Hunt, best-selling author Elizabeth Castro sets out to embed without EMBED.

About these authors

Mr Kane is a prolific writer and developer. Ms Castro is a superb author whose HTML, XHTML, and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide has sold more than a million copies. The Sixth Edition(!) comes out next month.

[tags]a list apart, alistapart, web design, webdesign[/tags]

An Event Apart NYC Schedule

A detailed schedule of An Event Apart NYC has been posted at aneventapart.com and reproduced below for your convenience. Join Tantek Çelik, Ze Frank, Aaron Gustafson, Jason Santa Maria, Khoi Vinh, Eric Meyer, and Jeffrey Zeldman for two days of design and code in the heart of New York City:

9am – 5pm, Monday 10 July & Tuesday 11 July
Scandinavia House
Victor Borge Hall — Level A
58 Park Avenue, New York City, NY 10016
Map | Hotel info

Victor Borge Hall is located on Level A, one floor below ground. Enter at the front door on Park Avenue and take the elevator located at the rear of the entrance hall, across from the ground-floor Gift Shop. Wheelchair-friendly restrooms are located on Level B, accessible via the elevator.

Seating is lecture-style, in a comfortable and exquisitely designed theater space, and doors open at 8:00 am. There is no Wi-Fi at this venue, but we will provide downloadable files the night before the show for those who wish to follow along on their laptops.

Schedule

An Event Apart NYC runs from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. We have a lot to cover, so the event will start promptly. Arrive early to get a good seat! Doors open at 8:00 am; for best results, plan to show up between 8:00 am and 8:30 am. Here is what you can expect over the two days of this conference:

DAY I – DESIGN DAY

9:00 am Welcome and Housekeeping [Zeldman]
9:05 am Textism (Writing User Experience) [Zeldman]
Better design and better usability through word choice. Editing for designers.
10:05 am BREAK!
10:15 am Solving (Re)Design Problems [Jason Santa Maria]
Visually repositioning a beloved brand (namely, A List Apart). Design as problem solving. Knowing which problems to solve.
11:00 am Bringing A List Apart Together [Eric Meyer]
How someone like Eric Meyer takes a design and turns it into a living, breathing web page.
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Sponsor Giveaways
Adobe, Media Temple, New Riders and AIGA Press will hand out valuable software, services, and books for free.
1:15 pm A Day in the Life of a Design Director [Khoi Vinh]
From sun-up until the stroke of midnight, Khoi Vinh will take us through a typical day inside the NYTimes.com design group.
2:15 pm What’s the Story? [Zeldman]
Finding brand narratives that set your site apart from others like it. Seizing inspiration from limited budgets.
2:50 pm BREAK!
3:00 pm Web 0.2 [Ze Frank]
A personal, down-in-the-trenches view of how the technology revolution impacts the way we communicate with a mass audience.
4:00 pm DESIGN CRITIQUES [Jason Santa Maria, Khoi Vinh, Ze Frank, Zeldman]
A rip-snortin’ romp through the design and architecture of sites created by some of the smartest people in the world (namely, the attendees of An Event Apart NYC).

DAY II – CODE DAY

9:00 am Welcome and Housekeeping [Eric Meyer]
9:10 am Hard-Core CSS [Eric Meyer]
An in-depth exploration of what makes CSS work, how it works the way it does, and how you can make it work harder for you.
10:10 am BREAK!
(You’ll need it)
10:30 am Microformats [Tantek Çelik]
What are microformats, and how can they transform the web? Tantek Çelik, co-founder of the microformats movement, tells us what’s already happening and what comes next.
11:30 am “One True Layout” overview [Eric Meyer]
Incredible stroke of genius or gross hack to be shunned? Eric analyzes this new CSS layout technique and examines the pros and cons, both immediately and into the future.
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Sponsor Giveaways
1:45 pm So you want to be a DOM Star [Aaron Gustafson]
What does it take to be a great front-end developer in today’s marketplace? Aaron Gustafson lays it all on the line.
2:40 pm BREAK!
3:00 pm Web Standards Second Edition [Zeldman]
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
4:00 pm Code critiques [Eric Meyer, Aaron Gustafson, Tantek Çelik]
A fast-paced, rough-and-tumble review of markup, style, and scripting on a select group of sites created and submitted by attendees.

Food

Catering is by Restaurant Aquavit, the country’s premier Scandinavian restaurant, and includes vegetarian choices.

Lunch

  • July 10: Gravlax Club, Grilled Scandinavian Shrimp, and Roasted Mushroom sandwiches. Salad and potato salad.
  • July 11: Smoked Salmon, Spice Roasted Pork Loin, and Roasted Mushroom sandwiches. Salad and pasta salad.

All Day Long

Freshly Brewed Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, Selection of Teas, Assorted Soft Drinks and Sparkling Water.

Afternoon Pick-Me Up

  • July 10: Assorted Cookies
  • July 11: Basket of Fruit

Details

It’s a non-smoking event. Sorry, smokers! Still photography is permitted, but audio and video recording are forbidden, except by our official videographer, Mister Ian Corey. Sorry, recordists and videographers! As always, please be considerate when taking pictures. And speaking of pictures…

Flickr Group

We’ve established a Flickr group for those of you who want to share your photos with the world: flickr.com/groups/aeanyc2006.

Disclaimer

This schedule is subject to change. We’ll do our best to make the experience live up to what we’ve mentioned here, but cannot guarantee a perfect 1:1 correspondence. We thank you in advance for understanding any changes we may be forced to make due to events, people, and other stuff beyond our control.

New York 2006 news

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[tags]an event apart, aneventapart, design, code, conference, web design, webdesign[/tags]

ALA 218: Beauty, behavior, and power

In a triple issue of A List Apart, for people who make websites:

Prettier Accessible Forms

by Nick Rigby

Forms are a pain. Either you can make them pretty, make them accessible, or go a little crazy trying to achieve both. Nick Rigby offers a happy solution.

Behavioral Separation

by Jeremy Keith

Breaking up is hard to do. But in web design, separation can be a good thing. As Jeremy Keith explains, structure, presentation, and behavior all deserve their own space.

How to Plan Manpower on a Web Team

by Shane Diffily

Just how many people does it take to properly manage a website? It depends on the website. Author Shane Diffilly offers some suggestions on determining your site’s manpower needs.

[tags]a list apart, alistapart, web design, webdesign[/tags]