MY GLAMOROUS LIFE: Tragicomic fodder from the life of Zeldman. A LIST APART: Design, code, content. For people who make websites. LES MISC: Articles, essays, and miscellanies. TAKING YOUR TALENT TO THE WEB: A Guide for the Transitioning Designer.
DAILY REPORT: Web design news for your pleasure.
STEAL THESE GRAPHICS: Free art for your desktop or personal site. FUN HOUSE: Entertainment for you. ASK DR WEB: Tips for web designers. Since 1995. 15 MINUTES: Interviews with movie stars and cyberstars, 1996-1999.


Current Glamour: From the Forest
Current Spew: Alley of the Shadow
Current ALA: Web Services
Current Interviews: CNET | pixelview | Library Journal

2 Feb. 2002
[8 pm | 1 pm | 8 am]
Todd Dominey does great Flash design work. Todd Dominey does great XHTML/CSS design work. We want to be Todd Dominey when we grow up.

Oops! Section 508, the U.S. Government site dedicated to “Section 508 compliance and accessibility of websites,” is neither Section 508 compliant nor accessible. It’s as if the Feds were to erect an “Americans with Disabilities” museum lacking access ramps. Our guess is that clueless bureaucrats prevented staff developers from building the site to comply with the law it promotes.

Nate Steiner’s new “Show Divs” bookmarklet for CSS designer/developers “makes all DIVs have a dashed gray border and all spans have a solid black border.” Useful for figuring out how a CSS layout was created without viewing source, the bookmarklet works in Mozilla/NN6 and IE5+.

Dapper Dan Benjamin has updated his Email Address Encoder & JavaScript Wrapper. Version 1.4 now supports your choice of XHTML 1.0 or HTML 4.01, and allows you to enter your preferred link and title texts. Sweet.

Publish Jr. is a simple content management system created in Perl and PHP by Dan Cederholm, and available free from his site. When visiting, be sure to hit Dan’s Customize page, so you can view the site in your favorite size and typeface.

Quick Links: Kottke curates The Mirror Project. ::: Subterrane lists affordable stock photo sites. ::: Visitors discuss “web standards” at Signal vs. Noise. ::: Leo Robert Klein spills guts at pixelview. :::

1 Feb. 2002
[3 pm | 11 am | 8 am]
In Issue 135 of A List Apart, for people who make websites: the web services concept being championed by computing giants like Sun, Oracle, HP, Microsoft, and IBM is a great step towards simple access to software over the network. By promoting standards–based communication, web services might change the way we build websites.

In the never–ending quest to put contact information online without inviting spam, another option for users of Mac OS X is SpamKiller, a freeware utility. Hat tip: Jason Fried.

Evolvs Media’s newly launched Filmstill highlights the photography of John Rees in an elegant presentation. Requires Flash 5 and makes heavy use of pop–up windows. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Iconfactory’s Pixelpalooza 2002 icon design contest is on. Now in its sixth year, Pixelpalooza is “a fantastic opportunity for talented icon artists to create original and compelling icons for the Macintosh platform and win great prizes in the process.” Prizes include an iPod, as well as products from Aladdin Systems, Font Diner, Fonthead Design, Microsoft, Panic, and Vizspring Software. Yo, get pixellatin’!

Book of the Week: We can’t imagine why, but when many designers hear the word “usability,” they envision blue underlined links and hellfire preachin’. Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think! paints a brighter picture.
        Krug’s common–sense approach is all about ensuring that your site’s main idea comes across, that visitors see the content you want them to see and understand it as you intend it to be understood, and that those with specific goals can easily find what they seek instead of leaving your site in frustration. The book also offers low–cost and free methods of usability testing, ideally suited to today’s economy–hammered clients.
        When one’s own eloquence fails, a well–written book can often persuade clients to do the right thing. If a $40 book saves a $40,000 project, that’s money well spent, if you ask us. :::

31 January 2002
[1 pm | 11 am | 9 am]
Jeremy Keith’s lovely site makes good use of the ability to switch CSS–based visual themes, and shows what a talented designer can do with this technology.

The long–awaited Codex 3 book and CD will be out 15 February. More will be revealed.

Microsoft’s best engineers have been unable to duplicate (and thus fix) the scrolling bug reported by many ALA readers who use IE6, suggesting that the bug may be hardware–related.
        Windows IE6 users, if portions of ALA’s pages are sometimes cut off in your browser, and if reloading fixes the problem, kindly send a note to wasp@microsoft.com with the Subject Line: “IE6: A List Apart CSS Scrolling Bug hardware,” listing:

  1. your Operating System version,
  2. your PC manufacturer and model, and
  3. your graphics card.

This information could help isolate the circumstances that give rise to the bug, and that, in turn, might lead to a cure.

Bidding on four projects. Designing the launch of a new music brand, including site, logo, and related brand ID. Designing the interim site of a related brand. Completing another client’s existing site. Pre–judging the Communication Arts Interactive awards. Producing this week’s ALA. Guiding the creation by Waferbaby of spankin’ new ALA discussion forums. Finalizing a revised outline for The Web Standards Project, Phase II. That’s our week. Be careful what you wish for.

An earlier Report this week indicated that Hivelogic’s Anti–Spam JavaScript–Wrapping Email Address Encoder had fixed a bug that triggered validation errors in HTML 4. Alas, not yet. You could stop the validation error by replacing </a> with </&#97;>, but if you do so, your entire page will turn into a giant, unclosed href link in IE5 for Windows, as our site did during a few giddy hours this morning. Whee! :::

28 January 2002
[10 am]
Freelancers and small web agencies, Todd Heasley has produced a series of online business forms you may customize as you like.

Because forward compatibility should be part of any professional web consulting practice, Timo Arnall has created an XHTML/CSS version of “Community Infrastructure for Information Architects.”

A 1998 letter from Todd Fahrner may be the first public suggestion that DOCTYPE be used as a switching mechanism, allowing browsers to render standards–compliant sites per W3C spec without breaking backward compatibility. This is, of course, how smart browsers work today. (See Saturday’s Report.)

Hivelogic’s Anti–Spam JavaScript–Wrapping Email Address Encoder, discussed earlier this year, generated code that validated in XHTML 1.0 but not HTML 4.01. This has now been fixed.

The zeldman.com FAQ has been updated for your pleasure. :::

26 January 2002
[3 am]
Your carefully designed website is imploding. There are gaps around the images in your menu bar. Cell colors are bleeding. Worst of all, you’re not viewing your site in some doddering, outdated browser—you’re looking at it in a shiny new copy of Mozilla/Netscape 6.
        Eric Meyer’s Tables, Images, and Mysterious Gaps explains why your layouts are falling apart, and provides practical workarounds. Meyer is the author of Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide and co–creator of CSS–Discuss (see Thursday’s Report).

At Evolt, James Aylard’s Does Netscape 6 Break Your Table Layouts? explores the relationship between browser display and DOCTYPE. The underlying premise has been covered elsewhere, but Aylard’s storytelling approach brings the subject to life, and the reader comments should not be missed.

As these articles might suggest and this list makes clear, experts disagree about how some web standards should be interpreted. Our hope is that the thinkers who implement standards in browsers will strive for practicality and consensus. :::

ISSN: 1534-0309
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Recent Projects:
Charlotte Gray (Warner Bros.)
Standards–Compliant Style Guide (NYPL)
Recent Thinking:
Make Web Sites that Work for All (Macworld)
Other Works:
A List Apart
Happy Cog
Independents Day
Web Standards Project
Appearing at:
Meet the Makers
Seybold 2002
SXSW 2002
PLA 2002
CA Interactive
Celebrating independent content and design.
The author and his opinions.
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