Archive for the 'Semantics' Category

Push My Button

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Try to style me, sucker!Seriously, styling <input> buttons can be a pain. Browsers offer you little control, Safari even completely ignores your styles. There is an alternative, however, that I admit I’ve never really taken into consideration. The <button>. This little fellow is pretty versatile, working as you would expect from an <input>, and allowing you to make it look whichever way you want.

Unlike the input-based buttons, the majority of browsers do not force any particular design on the button element, leaving it a raw ingot which we can cast and shape to our liking.

Aaron Gustafson writes all about it on Digital Web Magazine.

Google Accessible Search

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Google Accessible SearchSome good news for everyone relying on accessible websites: Google is experimenting with a new search engine: Google Accessible Search. The official Google Blog states:

Accessible Search adds a small twist to the familiar Google search: In addition to finding the most relevant results as measured by Google’s search algorithms, it further sorts results based on the simplicity of their page layouts. (Simplicity, of course, is subjective in this context.) When users search from the [..] site, they’ll receive results that are prioritized based on their usability.

To see the difference to regular search results, Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped has created a comparison tool.

I hope this will pick up. With Google now (quasi)officially supporting accessibility standards, it might help further push the issue into the public eye and increase awareness. It’s just too bad that the Google search page, as well as most other Google pages, does not produce valid code itself.

W3C Slacking?

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

It seems like problems concerning the W3C are arising, new standards are going nowhere and our great fathers of the W3C are sleeping. At least, this is the impression Björn Höhrmann gives us in his public statement concerning his departure from the W3C. Well-known and respected standards evangelist Jeffrey Zeldman seems to agree and adds his comments:

Beholden to its corporate paymasters who alone can afford membership, the W3C seems increasingly detached from ordinary designers and developers.

To those of us who are concerned about standards to help guide the web in everyone’s best interest, I consider this is a worrying issue. I’m waiting to see how and if the W3C responds to these allegations.

Update: it appears there is a response on the W3C’s QA Weblog.

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Source Order, Skip Links and Structural Labels

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

Web Usability has issued a new accessibility study on the importance of Source Order, Skip Links and Structural Labels.

Is page source order important to screen reader users? Recently, the idea of placing the informational content of a web page before the navigation has gained some currency. This paper reports on our research into the relevance and importance of page source order, skip links and structural labels for screen reader users.

My personal preference is to place the content before the navigation, but the study suggests screen reader and text browser users expect the navigation to appear first. Less experienced users seem to have a harder time with content appearing first, while the more experienced users don’t show much preference. One thing all test users do have in common, however, is that semantic, structural markup makes the web experience a whole lot easier. Worth a read.

24 Ways to Impress Your Friends

Friday, December 2nd, 2005

24 Ways to Impress Your FriendsI don’t care much for advent calendars myself, but this is one I think I’ll enjoy: 24 Ways to Impress Your Friends. Every day, they’re offering one new tutorial on standards based web ownage, starting with 1337 Ajax sk1llz and typographical finesse.

Doctype Overview

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Just a really quick and dirty post: For those of you who can’t remember the Doctype declaration code (DTD), there’s a practical Doctype overview over at the W3C. There’s also a nice little template to give you a jump start.

Zoom Layouts

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Building an accessible website means finding a way to provide the content for all possible groups of visitors. There’s more to it than just using web standards like XHTML and CSS, though that is a good step in the direction.

High-contrast zoom layouts, such as this one (compare: regular layout), offer a good solution in providing information to visually impaired users. Accessibility expert and author Joe Clark has a useful collection of resources.

The New Face of Flash?

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

In a recent post titled The New Face of Flash, Andy Budd provides some insight into how Flash has been developing in a positive manner over the past years, away from the scenario in Jakob Nielsen‘s famous article “Flash 99% Bad“. Especially noteworthy is the approach of separating content from presentation, a practice most of us have been preaching with modern XHTML+CSS design.

“Flash still seemed like a very clunky way to build applications. This is when Aral introduced me to MXML, an XML user interface language much like XUL. Rather than building his interface in Flash, Aral was editing XML files. Adding a <mx :TextInput /> tag would create an input box, adding a <mx :Button /> would create a button element. Aral explained that the MXML file was really intended for presentation only, and all the data and logic were dealt with elsewhere. Hmm I thought, separating presentation from data sounds familiar, I wonder where I’ve heard that before?”

Web Essentials 5 PodCasts

Sunday, October 2nd, 2005

WebEssentials05Everyone’s been blogging about it, but in case you missed it: a number of sessions from Web Essentials 2005 can be downloaded free of charge as PodCasts. This is great for the few of us who couldn’t make it to Sydney, Australia. ;) Among the speakers are CSS guru Eric Meyer, Tantek Çelik (the guy who developed the box model hack), standards evangelist Molly Holzschlag, Jeffrey Veen of Adaptive Path (the agency that coined the term AJAX) and a number of other high caliber names.

Show Your ☐

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

I {?} Unicode t-ShirtShow your ☐ for unicode with this wonderful t-shirt! Also available in a Mac version. :)
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