Preaching Outside the Choir

Preaching to the choir is easy, they are already on your side and ready to sing your praises. Preaching to people who disagree with you is much harder. Sometimes you need to take a different approach than the one that convinced you. You need to look at how the person you are talking to approaches decisions and the framework they have for passing judgment on the world around them (that judge not stuff is overblown and frequently misinterpreted, a person sans judgment is a helpless, mindless waste, unable to choose what to eat for breakfast). Each of us uses a framework of heuristics and a moral and ethical code to pass judgment on the ideas we encounter all day long. […]

Accessible Data Tables

(via Jonathan Snook) Roger Hudson has posted a nice primer on using tables in HTML to display data. We quotes the W3C specifications and walks through some clear examples on how to properly use tables in HTML. It’s good to see resources like this that explain how to create data tables that are accessible for all users. Hudson links to a number of resources at the bottom of the page but he leaves out a very useful post by Roger Johansson at 456 Berea Street. I’ve drifted away from posting basic HTML and CSS instructions here of late, hopefully these resources of of some interest.

Credit Due

Back in April I wrote about “Lock-In” and mentioned Microsoft as a company that locks customers in using proprietary data formats. Well, sure enough they go ahead and announce a major change in the data formats for the next generation of Office (due entirely to my comments I’m sure). They are promising to keep the XML formats open and publically available for anyone to use. This means that software makers will be able to easily access the documentation for the file formats and create applications that can easily read and extract information from Office documents created in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. This also means it should be easy to write in files into those formats as well. Using a simple […]

Missing the Point: Web Applications

I recently went to try online banking with National City only to come face to face with the following error message: Alert – browser does not meet requirements Your browser does not meet minimum security requirements for Online Banking. If your browser does not support 128-bit encryption, you will not be able to enroll in Online Banking. In addition, your browser version must be Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, or Netscape Navigator® 7.0 or higher I am browsing using Firefox 1.0.3, which shares a rendering engine with Netscape 8.0. However, the developers behind National City’s website have chosen not to recognize this browser. I’m guessing Safari, Opera and other modern browsers are also locked out of the online banking […]

Internet Explorer 7 Update

Good news out of Redmond. Chris Wilson posted some new information on the IE Blog. Looks like they will be adding support for alpha transparency with PNG images. This will allow designers to layer images that are partially transparent in IE 7 like they can do in other modern browsers. Alpha transparency support will enable drop shadows, partially transparent gradients, and other effects to be used in more complex layouts and will allow background colors to change without reworking non-rectangular images. I think we’ll be seeing an explosion of creativity as the new browser gains widespread acceptance and we don’t have to worry about so many visitors seeing designs broken by incomplete PNG support. The IE team is also working […]

Using Ajax Wisely

Ajax is a set of technologies that is used to rewrite part of a web page without a complete page refresh. Jesse James Garret coined the term to describe a set of technologies currently coming into their own. This happens by using JavaScript to send a request to the server for information and then using DOM based JavaScript to rewrite a portion of the web page with the data that is returned. Using this method allows for complex form validation while the user is filling out the form in stead of and in addition to validation following submission. This means that a user can enter their ZIP code for their shipping address and see the shipping charges added to the […]

Spread Firefox

You may notice a few new buttons have appeared on this site. They link to the site Spread Firefox. Firefox is quickly pushing itself to the front of the pack among web browsers and it is just now reaching version 1.0. It sets itself apart with included features such as tabbed browsing, download manager, RSS reader, and pop-up blocking in a compact download. Additionally it has the best available support among modern browsers for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Browsers such as Opera and Safari are also pushing ahead in these areas, leaving Internet Explorer languishing in it’s quirky, standards violating ways.