Category Archives: Web Design

I use the Firefox plugin, ‘LiveHTTPheaders’ to view the http headers received by the browser. Unfortunately this add-on is not yet certified to run on Firefox 4.0. Luckily I found an useful Firefox config setting that switches off the plugin compatibility check so that I can install the plugin. Enter about:config in the address bar. Locate extensions.checkCompatibility.4.0 in the ‘Perference Name’ column. If it’s not in the list, right click and add a new boolean. Set extensions.checkCompatibility.4.0 to false

A survey by WebAIM on how users of screen readers interact with web pages is worth a read. It gives a small insight into how screen reader users navigate around pages and some of the problems they face. The survey failed to clarify the term Web 2.0 so the survey hasn’t helped to understand if AJAX based sites disenfranchise partially sighted users but it does confirm some of the advice accessibility experts make. It also reinforces some of the point I tried to make to the Domino developers at Lotusphere about where the new XPage technology fails to meet basic accessibility criteria, namely that screen reader users use the page’s semantics to navigate around the page. A good practice that XPage authoring using the visual interface fails to support. When html was originally specified it was intended to be a docuument markup language and the tags selected define the page’s…

Read more

Ok, now this is beyond a joke. Sorry, but Domino 8.5 is going to be an accessibility nightmare. I know the discussion template is used many many companies and I’ve seen some University’s base their discussion facilities on this template (not us, we wrote our own), but the new template makes NO ATTEMPT to be accessible, both from point of view of handling javascript or by using semantic HTML. Sean Cull has kindly left his 8.5 discussion template  open for us to play with. If you’ve got Firefox with the web developer tool bar installed. Switch off css Notice how the page just collapses into a mess. None of the generally accepted conventions for semantic pages have been obeyed (such as marking up related links as lists). It’s even worse if you switch off javascript. Although many of the advanced screen readers such as JAWS, integrate with Internet Explorer and deal…

Read more

I’ve been using lipsum.com for years to generate lipsum text for page mock-ups. HTML-Ipsum is a really simple site that takes lipsum generation one step further. This site generates html based lipsum but includes useful mark-up such as bullet lists, paragraphs and headers, allowing you to quickly preview the styles you’re applying to your website.

The day after my last post, I just happened to visit Ideajam after I’d been doing some testing in Firefox with Javascript disabled. It completely threw me. Very little of the site worked and most of the text was missing. Notice how all the login options and promote options are missing.  Ideajam is a valuable resource for the Lotus community, but it’s also a commercial product. So a commercial decision seems to have been made to implement alternative language support as expediantly and flexibly as possible through rendering the page using Javascript. Although this works, it’s not the ideal solution. Ideajam also makes heavy use of javascript to improve the user experience using AJAX calls to handle votes, dynamically generated tag clouds, etc. It clear that the developers made every effort to make the user experience pleasurable. But it throws up a complicated question, what is accessibility? I think there are two…

Read more

This year I put in two Lotusphere abstracts, a BOF and presentation on ‘accessible web design‘. To be honest neither abstract was very good having been put together at the last minute. If I’m honest, I’m relieved that I won’t have the worry of presenting and can just relax and enjoy the week. But I’m always uncomfortable attending conferences when I’m not presenting, especially at such an expensive conference (why doesn’t IBM sponsor educational establishments – most academic conferences are half the price of this one?) Accessibility is extremely important in my job. A large proportion of ‘Web 2.0’ sites are designed without any real consideration of accessible design and I have a concern that Domino 8.5 will encourage the Domino community into adopting Web 2.0 technologies without understanding the problems they might be creating. When I was a design student I visited the ‘Royal National Institute for the Blind’…

Read more

It appears that Safari’s use is rising. One recent report by Net Applications places Safari usage at 7%. Although other stats sites such as thecounter.com put Safari’s percentage at around 4%, it’s good that other browsers are finally making in-roads into IE’s dominance. Although there’s been a very big increase in student laptop use on campus, I would say that Mac usuage has only grown in line with the general trend. So Stats for our systems are closer to ‘thecounters’ results. Our figures are: Safari – 4% Firefox – 20% IE – 74% Although my life would be easier if we stuck to a single browser. I’ve always recognised that as a web developer in a University, I have a responsibility for information to be as accessible as possible. So have resisted efforts to move to a single browser platform (IE). I the long term this will pay dividends as students switch to ‘standards-based’ browsers such…

Read more

I’m setting up this new domain and I’m having to setup my own domains and since Media Temple don’t handle .co.uk’s, I couldn’t set them up when I purchased the server space. So while I was waiting for a dns change to be propagated from a UK registration service. I wanted to test that I had configured the server correctly for the new urls and discovered a remarkably useful ‘hosts’ file in both Windows and OSX that allows you to override your dns server and redirect urls to ip addresses. Remarkably useful and I don’t know why I wasn’t aware of them. On Windows there’s a file called ‘hosts’ in  c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts You can edit the file using a text editor and add in your testing servers url and the ip address to direct the browser to. e.g. 127.0.0.1       mywebsite.com OSX also has a ‘hosts’ file in /etc/hosts…

Read more

A interesting idea, an advent calendar of useful web development tips. It seems to have been running for a few years but it’s the first time I’ve seen it. The first article is a web developer’s checklist for a web designer. Personally I’m not too keen on their design, but they appeared to have covered a wide range of topics in previous years. ‘24 way to impress your friends‘

If you are and have a habit of producing very quick and rough mock-ups with a pen an a piece of paper (or maybe occasionally using an Table PC), then you might be interested in Balsamiq Mockups. This is an Adobe Air application that allows you to paste together quick mockups by dragging and dropping pre-defined templates onto a work area, such as a browser window, menu bar, image holder, etc. It’s a really simple idea and works really well Source: Interface Matters

10/10