Tag Archives: Web Design

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…

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…. confusing! I’m sure it will make sense once I start to use it.  Had a brief look at the 8.5 discussion template and it appears all that all link properties are blank so no effort has been made to generate alternative views when Javascript is unavailable. Bad design.  I’m not sure when I’ll be able to use XPages in anger. Our learning environment has 22,000 users with 14,000 individuals logging in daily. It’s completely web based – no Notes clients, and with the environment heavily used in teaching, we have to ensure the software is reliable before upgrading. We’ve experienced reliability issues with Domino on Solaris pre X.02/X.52 release so we tend to wait for these releases. We’re also are limited to making big system upgrades to the month of August. So it may even be 2010 before I see 8.5 live on our systems. Let’s hope 8.5 proves to be…

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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…

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Lotusphere online has been available for several days. Although I’ve still not been sent an email informing me that it’s live (just like last year), unlike last year my email and confirmation number work.  A number of features are created using XPage technology and this is the first application I’ve seen that uses this functionality. I’ve mentioned that I’m concerned that XPages will provide Domino designers with tools that they might use that caused them to embed an accessibility time-bomb into their company’s intranets. So I thought I’d take a brief look at how accessible this IBM site is and knocked up a quick video walk through.

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…

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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’…

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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…

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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

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