Updates from May, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Squawk 5:07 pm on 24/05/2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Good design enables, bad design disables 

    We all hate politcians and on this side of the pond Eurocrats but I was browsing the European Union site this afternoon (Monaco Grand prix was a foregone conclusion after the first corner – Well done Jenson) so I had to find something to do.  Could have gardened, cleaned the car but not in the 30+ degree heat over here in Kefalonia – easier to sit by the air con and work keeping cool.

    Anyhow, I found a link that I knew was there but for the life of me I could never find it. – Have bookmarked it now. It is called Design for All (DfA).  It also has a link to the The European Institute for Design and Disability

    Soon after its establishment in 1993, the European Institute for Design and Disability (EIDD) developed the mission statement: “Enhancing the quality of life through Design for All”. and on 9 May 2004 adopted a simple protocol – The EIDD Stockholm Declaration© – Guess it was done in Stockholm.

    Anyhow the declaration has a simple “tag line” –“Good design enables, bad design disables”

    Visit the EIDD site and you will find an interesting brochure called Liberate diversity! – you can download it

    It opens quite simply :

    Average people do not live in an apartment building. They don’t travel on the subway. They don’t use the stairs or the elevator. No matter where we look we will not find the average person. Simply because the average person does not exist. No one lives in a 2.3 room apartment, takes 3.7 trips per year or has 1.7 children. Those figures only exist in the statistics.

    It also has some interesting statements about Design for All

    • is design for human diversity based on the principle of inclusion (from the EIDD Stockholm Declaration©).
    • is an attitude and a process that emanates from all conceivable users.
    • is when everything created by people to be used by people works equally well for everyone.
    • offers alternatives for usage: if you have difficulty reading, you should be offered another avenue, for example an auditory solution.
    • is when someone with limited physical strength or mobility can utilize environments, buildings, products, packaging etc.
    • is when you can get a twin-sized baby buggy into an elevator or public transportation. That makes more room for everyone.
    • is environments, services and products that are easy to use and understand.
    • provides more choices and more customer satisfaction.
    • is a creative challenge for all planners, architects and designers.
    • Design for All has roots both in Scandinavian functionalism in the 1950s and in ergonomic design from the 1960s.  There is also a socio-political background in Scandinavian welfare policies, which in Sweden in the late 1960s gave birth to the concept of “A society for all” referring primarily to accessibility. This ideological thinking was streamlined into the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1993.

    Design for All is simply design at its very best.

    The Stockhom Declaration ends like this:

    The European Institute for Design and Disability therefore calls on the European institutions, national, regional and local governments and professionals, businesses and social actors to take all appropriate measures to implement Design for All in their policies and actions.

    Is it not about time we all considered the Design for All principles? – think about it

  • Squawk 4:43 pm on 22/05/2009 Permalink | Reply  

    “Designed-in Accessibility” with Tom Jewett 

    @Laura Carlson – opps twitter language here.

    Just received Lauras’ Web Design Update Volume 7, Issue 47, May 22, 2009.  As you may know were are based on a Greek Island so don’t get to the USA or UK that often so we tend to miss out on conferences etc – Hey why don’t you all come 2 Kefalonia for one – great facilities, climate beaches etc etc…. and where we are free broadband (yes I said free)

    Opps got carried away, anyhow there is an on-line web event on Thursday (28th) about creating accessible web sites.  Take a look at this web page Webinar by Tom Jewett it states:

    • Who Should Attend? Anyone who creates a web pages or web sites.
    • Skill Level: Beginner
    • ATI Contact: Jean Wells, jwells@calstate.edu

    The agenda looks interesting and as in life we will all learn something.

    I shall be there why don’t you get there.

    Go on take the first steps to accessibility.

  • Squawk 4:29 pm on 17/05/2009 Permalink | Reply  

    My oh my, really? – yes 

    Browsing the wonderful www today as usual I take time out to look at other blogs and associated web sites.  Today I came across a web design company (in the US run by “native English language speakers”  with an interesting portfolio (they seem to have a large – and I mean a large – number of Clients), well done.  They also have a blog; again well done.

    But how come they have clients when:

    • So few links on their web site actually work?
    • The site and blog are written in an English that reads more like Spanglish or Greeklish – Gobbledegook is easier to understand.
    • They pay no attention to accessibility
    • They pay no attention to userbility

    As far as their published prices (that link works!) – you buy online and pay upfront with no consultation etc.

    The link text to get to their portfolio is “our portfolio look our last best design portfolio”

    Well –  they don’t appear to actually have any clients! all the designs in the portfolio and their related URLs lead to page errors.  A bit more research and you find that all the designs are from the stock web design portfolios.

    When you choose a web designer (and we are not one – we code web sites that’s what we do and there is a big difference!) please make sure they have a verifiable portfolio and that they consult with you first.  There are some great designers out there with good portfolios, good practice, great skills and who actually want to work with you to create a tangabile benefit to your company.

    The site I refer to has a Package 2 initially it sounds good you get:

    • Up to 20 web Pages with images.
    • Custom Design (3 Layouts) to suit your business.
    • Shopping Cart.
    • Three level of categorization of the product through admin Panel
    • Payment Gateway Integration. Either from a bank or Pay Pal or similar vendor.
    • Content Management system for client to add, edit or delete the data
    • Content Management system for client to add, edit or delete the Products.
    • Bulk Up loader to upload multiple products with images on the website.
    • Inventory system to know your sales, stock and delivery.
    • Contact us form
    • Flash Animation.
    • Product search feature within the website.
    • Administrative functions like order tracking, replacing products etc.
    • Domain Name Registration and Hosting (Optional)
    • SEO Compatible.
    • Website submission to Search engines.

    at a cost of $3,250.00

    But don’t foget you pay upfront!

    $3,250.00 is a very large amount of money to ‘pay up front’ for a standard stock template design that you can pay $50- $150 for from many sites.

    Please, if you are looking for a web site design find a good designer or look at sites like 99designs.com a design competition site where you set up a competition for “real” designers to design your site – hey even people like Travelodge have used it (OK that was for a new logo for Canada).  You get the design in a PSD format for people like us to code.  Think about this a design competition (minimum prize $250 per page layout) plus coding – hey you could have “Package 2” for less than $2000 – that’s a minimum saving of $1250 and you get to have a unique design to your specifications and one that will be a benefit for your company.

    We work with a number of design companies and in conjunction with them now offer 24/7 support, try get that from a company that only sells templates (at sky high prices).

    If you don’t like the idea of a competition i.e. 99designs then in the US we are working with Razolution who currently have offices in Albany (NY) and Atlanta shortly to open an office in Las Vagas (so they have good geograpical coverage).  In South Afirca we suggest Gypsy Cooper – actually Lyne – and her husband who can be contacted here lynecooper@gmail.com. Both have great portfolios, are very nice people to work with and will give you something you really want.

  • Squawk 8:58 am on 17/05/2009 Permalink | Reply  

    HTML 5 differences from HTML 4 

    Have just spent time re-reading the W3C page HTML 5 differences from HTML 4 and I feel quietly positive about their implimentation – when it comes. BUT.. I do have a few reservervations.

    Whithout a shaddow of doubt HTML5 will help make the web much easier for people, there are many new elements (the html tags like < p > which are used to define a page) and there are some which are being “taken away”. The new elements are aimed at reflecting the way the web is developing and the way the web is used.

    For example there is a new element in HTML5 – footer – which represents a footer for a section and can contain information about the author, copyright information, et cetera. This type of new element will make identifying sections on a page much easier.

    Whilst HTML5 is backwards compatable (of course) many HTML4 elements are being discontinued because they are better handled in stylesheets – again another good thing, but – and this is a big but – there are too many unvalidatable style sheets out there already and until Microsoft create a version of IE that actually renders a stylesheet in line with specifications without hacks it may lead to more unvalidatable stylesheets and badly rendered sites.

    Overall I applaud the transfer of “design” elements to CSS and the inclusion of elements introduced for better structure.

    Bring it on.

  • Squawk 5:21 pm on 12/05/2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound 

    Also just found this course at the UK Open University: http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=1779

    Why is the way something looks important? Text, colour, images, moving images and sound all interact to produce a user friendly environment within a user interface. This unit will help you understand the effect each software component has on the user and explain how a consistent and thoughtful application of these components can have a significant impact on the ‘look’ of final product.

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