New CSS Resource

As a developer, I needed an online repository for code design ideas. I began to use this site as that resource. But, its become more than a developer resource, it’s the place I rant, rave, and watch letters appear on the screen as my fingers clickety clack on the keyboard.

Introducing… drum roll please… last-child.com

I am now launching a new site for advanced CSS code. I’ve begun the process by copying code related posts; watch for book reviews, guest posts, and pure, simple code. I’ll be posting quick notes for problems I’ve encountered and the solutions I find.

This won’t be a gallery site. It won’t critique re-launched sites. It won’t discuss my fascination with Project Runway. In short, it’s the scrap book developers keep on their desks. It’s the photocopies taped to a wall, the notes scribbled on your hand, and the business card tucked away for later review. Visit it today: www.last-child.com

k2 theme

Kudos to the Binary Bonsai crew for building super fantastic K2 WordPress theme. You’ve made it possible for me to put this little project online quickly. I’ll begin transforming it to a more unique look quite soon. K2 will continue to be the backbone.

Z-index conflict with Flash and DHTML widgets

I’m working on a project that has a Flash movie and a DHTML dropdown menu on the same page. Flash movies like to sit on top of the page and the dropdown would slide behind the movie. Since this isn’t what I wanted, I needed to find a way to make the it have a lower z-index than the dropdown.

I did a Standardista Search for a cure and didn’t see it. But a quick message to the Web Standards Group returned the solution. It’s actually pretty easy.

UFO Flash detection and insertion script

I’m using the UFO JavaScript to detect the browser’s compatibility with the Flash movie and insert it on the fly. This method provides good default content to those without Flash and valid, shiny, happy Flash to those with it.

UFO gives you the ability to insert parameters into the movie and this is what you need to cure the z-index issue. You need to set the wmode parameter to “transparent.”

var FO = { movie:"swf/myMovie.swf", width:"300", height:"120", majorversion:"6", build:"40", wmode:"transparent" }

That’s all there is to it.

Target sued for inaccessible web site

The National Federation of the Blind has filed a suit against Target stores. The Target web site fails not only basic accessibility issues, i.e. alt attributes, but also uses outdated JavaScript navigation and form actions that make it impossible for people using assistive devices to download internet-exclusive coupons and access the online pharmacy.

The NFB actually gave Target 10 months to make adjustments to their site before filing the law suit. Unfortunately, big business seems to need these shots in the arm to move in the right direction.

History of lawsuit-activated advancements

The Australian Olympic site was sued for making ticket purchases impossible online to the blind. New York sued several travel sites for their inaccessible sites. Now Target is the new “target” and perhaps this will be the straw that breaks the hobbled camel’s back.

Just Do It

It all goes back to being more than a “web designer” and thinking about how your site is going to be used by the public. Are you doing something because it “looks cool”, “is quicker”, or “is how it’s always been done”? Or are you doing something because it adds intrinsic value, better performance, expands the audience, assists the user, makes it more intuitive, …

When I add something to a web page, whether it is a link, list, table, or paragraph, I think about how it is going to be used.

Should I put a title on the link? Is the text descriptive enough? Is the list or paragraph the most appropriate structural element? Should the table have a summary? Should I use headers=”” or will scope=”col” be enough?

Do the Box Model Hack

box model hack designAbout a year ago, my friend Brian and I challenged each other to come up with the worst t-shirt design for our mythical band, the Box Model Hack. Personally, I think I came up with the worst design. Brian, in the midst of all that was the wicked worn look designed a shirt that was too wearable to be considered bad.

But not mine… I found some photo of a guy dancing in a speedo and boots and new my muse was getting tickled. With Photoshop’s newly released ability to set text on a path, I was on my own path to ugly tshirt lovin’.

ted, molly, and the shirtI even wore this lovely shirt to the @Media conference and witnessed dozens of people jealously admiring my lovely dancing hack guy. Yes, that’s me next to the lovely Molly. Notice her admiration for the lovely tshirt. Or is that fear in her eyes as she wonders who this maniac is with the camera phone.
In the spirit of the IE7 Beta 2 release, you can get your own version of this lovely shirt. So, head on over to my CafePress Box Model Hack store and stock up on the goodies before Microsoft actually fixes the box model problem… Now that’s funny.