Web Standards Creativity: Innovations in Web Design with XHTML, CSS, and DOM Scripting / Edition 1

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  • Be inspired by 10 web design lessons from 10 of the world's best web designers
  • Get creative with cutting-edge XHTML, CSS, and DOM scripting techniques
  • Learn breathtaking design skills while remaining standards-compliant

Here at friends of ED, we know that as a web designer or developer, your work involves more than just working to pay the bills. We know that each day, you strive to push the boundaries of your medium, unleashing your creativity in new ways to make your websites more engaging and attractive to behold, while still maintaining cross-browser support, standards compliance, and accessibility.

That's why we got together 10 of the world's most talented web designers to share their secrets with you. Web Standards Creativity is jam-packed with fresh, innovative design ideas. The topics range from essential CSS typography and grid design, effective styling for CMS-driven sites, and astonishing PNG transparency techniques, to DOM scripting magic for creating layouts that change depending on browser resolution and user preference, and better print layouts for web pages. We're sure you will find something here to inspire you!

This full-color book's examples are not just stunning to look at, but also fully standards-compliant, up-to-date, and tested in current browsers including Internet Explorer 7. Playing by the rules doesn't have to mean drab or dull websites—Web Standards can be fun!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590598030
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: 3/19/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Budd is one of the founding partners at User Experience Design Consultancy, Clearleft. As an interaction design and usability specialist, Andy is a regular speaker at international conferences like Web Directions, An Event Apart, and SXSW. Andy curates dConstruct, one of the U.K.'s most popular design conferences. He's also responsible for UX London, the U.K.'s first dedicated usability, information architecture, and user experience design event.

Andy was an early champion of web standards in the U.K. and has developed an intimate understanding of the CSS specifications and cross-browser support. As an active member of the community, Andy has helped judge several international design awards and currently sits on the advisory board for .NET magazine. Andy is also the driving force behind Silverbackapp, a low-cost usability testing tool for the Mac. Andy is an avid Twitter user and occasionally blogs at andybudd.com.

Never happier than when he's diving in some remote tropical atoll, Andy is a qualified PADI dive instructor and retired shark wrangler.

Rob Weychert is a graphic designer, artist, writer, and thinker known for an almost neurotically meticulous attention to detail. Since the late 1990s, Rob has designed print and interactive solutions for clients in such disparate industries as entertainment, travel, healthcare, education, publishing, e-commerce, and more. When he is not absorbed in design, Rob spends most of his time scrutinizing music and film, writing haiku, screenprinting, taking photos, and cruising the streets of his hometown Philadelphia on his BMX. He also writes about these topics and all things design on his personal web site, RobWeychert.com.

Music, design, typography, web standards, South Florida beaches. What could these things possibly have in common? Dan Rubin, that's what er, who. From vocal coaching and performing to graphic design and (almost literally) everything in between, Dan does his best to spread his talent as thin and as far as he possibly can while still leaving time for a good cup of tea and the occasional nap. His passion for all things creative and artistic isn't a solely selfish endeavor either you don't have to hang around too long before you'll find him waxing educational about a cappella jazz and barbershop harmony, interface design, usability, web standards, and which typeface was on the bus ad that just whizzed by at 60mph. Dan has been known to write the occasional entry on his blog, superfluousbanter.org (you might even find a podcast or two if you poke around enough), and his professional work can be found at his agency's site, webgraph.com.

Ian Lloyd runs Accessify.com, a site dedicated to promoting web accessibility and providing tools for web developers. His personal site, Blog Standard Stuff, ironically, has nothing to do with standards for blogs (it's a play on words), although there is an occasional standards-related gem to be found there. Ian works full-time for Nationwide Building Society, where he tries his hardest to influence standards-based design ("to varying degrees!"). He is a member of the Web Standards Project, contributing to the Accessibility Task Force. Web standards and accessibility aside, he enjoys writing about his trips abroad and recently took a "year out" from work and all things web (but then ended up writing more in his year off than he ever has). He finds most of his time being taken up by a demanding old lady (relax, it's only his old Volkswagen camper van). Ian wrote his first book for SitePoint, titled Build Your First Web Site the Right Way with HTML and CSS, in which he teaches web standards-based design to the complete beginner.

A bio is not available for this author.

Jeff Croft is a web and graphic designer focused on web standards-based development living and working Lawrence, Kansas. As the senior designer at World Online, Jeff works on such award-winning standards-based sites as Lawrence.com and LJworld.com. Jeff also runs a popular blog and personal site at JeffCroft.com, where he writes about many topics, including modern web and graphic design. In addition to his work with World Online, Jeff has also worked at two major universities in an effort to bring web standards to the education sector, and completed many freelance and contract jobs for varying clients. When he's not hunched over a computer, Jeff enjoys photography, music, film, television, and a good night out on the town.

Andy Clarke is an internationally sought-after speaker, designer and consultant. He is creative director of Stuff and Nonsense (www.malarkey.co.uk), a design agency focusing on creative, accessible web. Andy is passionate about design and passionate about web standards, often bridging the gap between design and code. He regularly trains designers and developers in the creative applications of Web Standards. He writes about aspects of design and popular culture on his personal web site, And All That Malarkey (www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk). His first book was Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design (2006).

Mark Boulton is a typographic designer from Cardiff, U.K. He's worked in Sydney, London, and Manchester as an art director for design agencies for clients such as BBC, T-Mobile, and British Airways. For the past three years, Mark has been working as a senior designer for the BBC, designing web sites and web applications. He is an active member of the International Society of Typographic Designers and writes a design journal at www.markboulton.co.uk.

Cameron Adams has a degree in law and one in science; naturally, he chose a career in Web development. When pressed, he labels himself a "web technologist," because he likes to have a hand in graphic design, JavaScript, CSS, Perl (yes, Perl), and anything else that takes his fancy that morning. While running his own business (www.themaninblue.com), he's consulted and worked for government departments, nonprofit organisations, large corporations and tiny startups. As well as helping his list of clients, Cameron has taught numerous workshops around the country and spoken at conferences worldwide, such as @Media and Web Essentials. He has also written a book, The JavaScript Anthology, which is one of the most complete question and answer resources on modern JavaScript techniques.

In October 2006, Simon Collision started Erskine Design based in Nottingham, U.K. which grew to become an eight-strong team of creative web designers and developers who are afraid of nothing. Some people say they're one of the best agencies out there, and their clients include major magazines, government stuff, software companies and polar explorers.

Moons ago, he was a successful visual artist, and founded an independent arts org and annual arts festival, putting his degree to some use at least. Then he caught the interwebs bug.

As lead web developer at Agenzia from 2002 to 2006, he worked on numerous web projects for major record labels (such as Poptones, Universal) and bands (including The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, Beta Band), visual artists and illustrators (Jon Burgerman, Paddy Hartley, Lucy Orta, NOW Festival), businesses, community, and voluntary sector orgs, passionately ensuring everything was accessible and complied with current web standards.

He does a bit of public speaking here and there, and will generally do anything for a biscuit and cup of tea, but prefers hard cash.

He has lived in many cities, including London and Reykjavik, but has now settled back in his beloved Nottingham, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. He also drives a 31-year-old car, and has a stupid cat called Bearface.

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Table of Contents

About the Technical Reviewer     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Getting Creative with Web Standards     xiii
Layout Magic     1
Semantic Structure, Dirty Pretty Presentation     2
The brief     5
Semantic structure     7
Dirty pretty presentation     9
Background images     9
Background, masthead, and menu     10
Content highlights     18
Conclusion     23
Taming a Wild CMS with CSS, Flash, and JavaScript     24
Setting the scene     26
A crash course on CMS     28
The CMS challenge     29
Design on a dime     30
The visual elements     30
The markup is but a shell     32
The layout and styles     35
The typography     40
Spit and polish     44
Issues with the design     45
Such a #teaser     47
Taking care of Internet Explorer     48
Conclusion     49
New York Magazine: My, What a Classy [left angle bracket]body[right angle bracket]     50
Mo' metro, mo' style     52
Getting started     53
Structuring the CSS     55
Adding a layer of style     57
Negative margins and columns and stuff! Oh my!     58
Getting column-tastic (finally)     60
My class-fu is unstoppable     62
Intelligent modules     68
Additional classes, additional control     71
Starting small (980 pixels' worth)     71
Tying in JavaScript     72
Summary     76
Designing for Outside the Box     78
Worries?     80
Worrying about the Web     80
Designing for WorrySome.net     80
Stop worrying, start with markup     82
Adding the content elements     82
Adding divisions from the content out     86
Satisfying your soul (with CSS)     88
Styling WorrySome.net     90
Dealing with legacy browsers     106
No worries!     107
Creative Use of PNG Transparency in Web Design     108
PNG, GIF, and JPEG     110
What is PNG?     110
So why is GIF still so popular?     110
What about JPEG?     110
Some great uses for the humble PNG     111
The gradient      111
The image that needs to work on any background     112
The translucent HTML overlay     113
The watermark     118
The mask     121
The color-changing icon     123
OK, but what browsers does it work in?     126
The Internet Explorer workaround: AlphaImageLoader     126
A real-world use of AlphaImageLoader     127
Conclusion     128
Effective Print Techniques Applied to CSS Design     129
Grid Design for the Web     130
What is a grid system?     132
Through the ages     132
Ratios and the canvas     134
Putting grid systems into practice     135
Beginning with the pen     136
Breaking down the elements     136
Designing the columns     138
Adding gutters, margins, and padding     139
What about colors and other visual elements?     140
Building the XHTML     141
Building the CSS     144
It's starting to look like a website     150
Issues with the design     152
Conclusion     152
Bridging the Type Divide: Classic Typography with CSS     156
A brief history of type      158
Know your text face     158
Introducing Georgia     158
The process     159
The right man for the job     159
A page for Poe     160
A readable line length     161
Paragraph indents     166
Drop caps     170
All caps     175
Text figures vs. titling figures     176
Small caps     177
Conclusion     180
DOM Scripting Gems     181
Print Magic: Using the DOM and CSS to Save the Planet     182
A printing technique is born     184
The basic idea     184
Preparing the foundations     185
Sectioning the page     185
Identifying the sections     187
Pseudocode first     137
Event planning     188
From pseudocode to real code     190
Recap: what these scripts do     195
What about the CSS?     197
A couple of refinements     198
Let's see it in action, already!     200
Sliding in the code     201
Styling the print links     203
Pulling it all together     204
Never mind all that-what about saving the planet?     205
Conclusion     206
Creating Dynamic Interfaces Using JavaScript     208
Different layouts for different needs     210
Resolution-dependent layouts     210
Browser size, not resolution     216
Multiple CSS files     216
Turning on the style     218
Optimizations for Internet Explorer 5.x     222
Modular layouts     223
The markup     226
Expanding and collapsing modules     226
Reorganizing modules     231
Keeping track of changes     240
Conclusion     241
Accessible Sliding Navigation     242
The killer feature     244
Accessibility basics     245
Accessibility guidelines     245
Accessibility and JavaScript     246
The accessible solution     246
Starting with pristine HTML     248
Adding the presentation     249
Switching between CSS states with JavaScript     250
Adding sliding behaviors     252
Where does the accessibility come in to it?     254
Low vision     255
Voice recognition      256
Screen readers     259
Keyboard-only use     259
Conclusion     260
Index     261
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