Tremendo Weblog

This is a personal collection of links about Web Development and related technologies that I find interesting for some reason. I hope they'll be of value for you too.

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News Design: The big, bold, static past, in print, is giving way to the digital, multimedia future.
A Web Designer's Guide to JAWS.
PHP : Processing HTML, and part 2.


Seven deadly sins of web writing.

The way you write has a major impact on what people think of you.


XForms Essentials.

Book by Micah Dubinko from O'Reilly


Information pollution.

Excessive word count and worthless details are making it harder for people to extract useful information. The more you say, the more people tune out your message.


Techniques for multilingual Web sites.

This document especially discusses the language negotiation mechanism developed for such purposes and, as a necessary complement to it, linking to versions in different languages.


Prototyping with style.

CSS can be ideal for use by information architects and interaction designers for rapidly developing prototypes for usability testing, review, and analysis.


Attract the college set with design, interaction. News sites should woo 18-24-year-old users.

Attracting a younger audience to your news site is a challenge -- but if you're successful, the rewards could pay off for generations to come.


Help the Googlebot understand your web site.

As a web site author, there are a few simple things you can do to help the Googlebot understand your web site as fully as possible.

UsabilityNet: Methods table.


The sad story of PNG gamma "correction".

There is no way of making PNG images that match CSS colors in all PNG-supporting browsers. This reduces the usefulness of the otherwise excellent image format. If the image colors and the colors defined in a style sheet need to match, it is safer to use GIF or JPEG. However, in cases where matching image colors with surrounding page colors is not of utmost importance, PNG images are safe to use. This not only means cases where the image is an independent rectangle but also cases where alpha blending is used.


A PNG review.

PNG may gain dominance sooner or later, but despite it all, the 16 year old GIF file format is going strong. And while the patent news is good for the Free Web, it doesn’t mean PNG is going anywhere.


Forms, usability, and the W3C DOM.

The W3C DOM works. What shall we do with it? ...enhance the usability of large forms.

This one is actually attractive to me, I'll forget my reflection (or doubts?) from yesterday.


One full year of posts in one include file. Time to alter the focus of this weblog? WD, IA, they are not hotbeds of innovation, at least not anymore, there's little to be said that hasn't already been discussed ad-nauseum. Diversify?, merge with bitácora? continue as-is? close? There were 44 posts in one year, including this one. That is less than 4 posts per month. Less than once per week. But still, there *was* something, meaning I still find it useful to put something here every-now-and-then.
Alertbox: Convincing clients to pay for usability.
Professionally run design agencies user test their designs to increase the value they deliver to their clients. The challenge is getting clients to understand the benefits of a solid development methodology.


The Information Design approach to Web development.



CSS Zen Garden: The beauty in CSS design.
A demonstration of what can be accomplished visually through CSS-based design.
via MeyerWeb.


Essential colour checklists for web design.
The ultimate test of any user interface design is always the user test. So, it's okay to dismiss guidelines if the end result is proven to produce a comfortable user experience in which the users can carry out tasks, and find information with the minimum of effort.


Accessibility implications of digital rights management.
DRM has a number of implications for viewers who require accessibility features. Almost all the implications point to a reduction in usefulness, convenience, and engagement of existing legal rights.


How to get the most out of conferences.
This essay gives one perspective on conferences, and how to make them more valuable and engaging experiences... In general professional conferences take a very conservative approach to training and education, and it demands that attendees take more responsibility for getting value from the experience than should be necessary.




Adobe: Basic SVG.
An overview and introduction to SVG features and functionality.


Cynthia Says.
A web content accessibility validation solution, designed to identify errors in design related to Section 508 standards and the WCAG guidelines.


Ask Edward Tufte forum: Flash, Usability, and Information Design.
"From the point of view of information design, the relevance of a technology derives from how it assists thinking about evidence. There are surely a good many intellectual problems that can be assisted by motion and sound"... "Among the goals of good information design, maximizing local usability is not the highest--although you want to do the best you can to reduce adminstrative clutter and inconvenience. More important is the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content; making high-resolution comparisons; showing process, mechanism, dynamics, causality, explanation; and capturing in our displays some of the multivariate complexity of the world we seek to understand. If achieving these higher-level goals takes us to inconvenient display techologies, so be it."
Many links to uses of animation around the web are offered by participants.


Persuasive design. New Captology book.
Jakob Nielsen's review of B.J. Fogg's new Persuasive Technology book: The book's most immediately useful part is the section on credibility, which includes a rank-ordered list of how fifty-one design elements help or hurt a website's credibility.


Writing for spidering search engines.
Tips for positioning and conversion rates.


All those opposed.
Making the case for user experience in a budget-conscious climate.


Business-centred design. Designing web sites that sell.
Whether commercial or not, a web site has to meet the need of its users and at the same time convince them to take action, for the objectives behind the site to be meet.
via xBlog.
How to run a design critique.
Unlike a brainstorming meeting, where the exclusive goal is to come up with new ideas, a critique meeting is focused on evaluating a set of existing ideas, and possibly identify future directions or changes.



Feng shui for Web designers.
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese system of arranging environments to maximize their internal harmony, and the happiness of the people who use them.
via Kottke.




Joe Clark Answers 10 questions on web accessibility posed by the Slashdot community.
via Mark Pilgrim.


Five things to know about users.
The user's intentions, context, knowledge, skills, and experience are the essential things that every designer needs to know. Without this, the team is going to design something that seems useful, but they'll never know if it actually helps the user. Unfortunately, these five things are beyond what normal market research can tell us.


Mark Bernstein: What's your problem?.
"Information Architects sound as if the Web is terrible. That's not my experience. I bet it's not yours, either. Perhaps it used to be bad, back in the day. (I was there, and it wasn't that bad, but never mind) It's not that bad now. In fact, it's great!"
via The Other Blog.


Patterns for personal Web sites.
The author's method is to distill the qualities of the best personal Web sites (and his own) into a set of patterns. These patterns can be used as guidelines for creating a personal Web site.
via WebWord.


PHP tips & tricks.
[PDF|1.5 Mb]


Sites that don't click.
Why would any retail Web site feature a product on its homepage without giving you the chance to easily buy or learn more about that product? Free report PDF (13 pages, 2.0 MB).


The Dynamic Duo of Information Architecture.
An Interview with Peter Morville and Lou Rosenfeld.


The css-discuss wiki is a companion to the CssDiscussList mailing list. Among other things the wiki serves as a collective long term memory for the list participants.


XML transformations with CSS and DOM.
Can't we just skip over the browser-specific cruft of HTML and create our documents in pure XML?


The Web's future: XHTML 2.0.
Over the years, HTML has only become bigger, never smaller, because new versions had to maintain backward compatibility. That's about to change. On 5 August 2002, the first working draft of XHTML 2.0 was released and the big news is that backward compatibility has been dropped; the language can finally move on. So, what do you as a developer get in return? How about robust forms and events, a better way to look at frames and even hierarchical menus that don't require massive amounts of JavaScript.
via xblog.


XHTML, XForms and device independence.
The design of XHTML is truly 'radical': taking HTML back to its roots. Device independence and accessibility are surprisingly closely related (as are accessibility and usability). Even though website builders may not yet know it, device independence, accessibility and usability have a major economic argument in their favour.


O'Reilly: SVG on the rise.
SWF is an extremely popular, proprietary format that has been around for years, with an extremely popular authoring tool. SVG is a new, open XML format, generally acknowledged to be technically superior, which has not yet reached the same level of popularity.
I want to agree that SVG's time has come. I don't see what's holding it back. Everyone who installs Adobe's Acrobat Reader already has viewer with the capability to display SVG content.

He, I like it when suddenly I realize there are still new and exciting things to learn in the field of Web development.


UIE Flash strikes back: Creating powerful Web applications.
Flash is a powerful tool that offers developers huge capabilities. Until recently, developers mostly utilized Flash's strengths to create complex animations or fast-loading movies. However, the most recent versions of Flash offer developers power that's far beyond the tool's original scope.

I have this suspicion that UIE has been bought by Macromedia. Don't get me wrong, I know Flash has strengths and it can indeed be a powerful tool when used intelligently. But I get the impression that this "report" was written by Macromedia's marketing department rather than professional and independent consultants. The samples presented -in my opinion- have many problems of their own.

They present first Volkswagen's Asia Pacific car configurator: The configurator ... lets users choose all specifications on one screen. Well, not exactly. First thing you have to do is choose a country, then a car model, and only now you are presented with the configurator. Try changing the model, and you'll have to reload the thing. Also the UI is terrible. Wait, the authors realize some users could have problems with this novel interface. BTW this same functionality is easily doable in a cross-browser DHTML application.

Next is Moen's kitchen design app. It's true that a similar DHTML app would involve a great deal of download time, only because we still don't have decent PNG support (with alpha transparency) in all browsers. It's interesting to note that Moen's site used DHTML menus for site navigation.

Timbuk2's app. I believe it works just as well in the HTML version, only developers chose to extend it on the screen so you have to scroll, but the functionality is there.


Debugging Web applications.
It's difficult, if not impossible, to write code that is completely free of bugs, especially when its output may be re-interpreted in several other environments. But it's possible to write code that's close enough to being bug-free that the end result is both useful and robust. If nothing else, well-designed code will be easy to fix when problems arise.




css/edge: Pure CSS menus.
Absolutely no Javascript was used in the making of these menus. That's what happens when you have a rendering engine (Gecko, in this case) that permits hover styles on arbitrary elements.


Building Brand into Structure.
Not every brand is utilitarian, lending itself to shopping carts and blue underlined links. And even in brands that do support these “rules,” there are differences --brand differences-- that affect the display of content, site nomenclature, and users interactions with the site.


Don't get burned by bad mapping.
The term mapping describes the relationship between a control, the thing it affects, and the intended result.
Unfairly used.
It is a fair guess that fair use doesn't have a fair chance.




Why DHTML will win.
DHTML solves business problems. It can be used to augment traditional, document-oriented sites as well as serve as the platform for a new breed of Web-based applications. When was the last time you needed scalable graphics and typography, animation, or sound to solve your business problems? (Unless you're in the online porn industry, or the Web multimedia authoring tools business, of course.)