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In part 1 of our guide, “Accessibility in web design:  It’s all about how you look at it.  Part 1”, we focused on why catering for elderly, and, or, disabled people made good business sense, as well as being about inclusion and fairness.  It is on the theme of good business that we now come to look at how accessibility in other areas of web design, can improve traffic, create a better experience for the user, make greater profits, and create better reputations. It is important to remember as both a business person, who utilises a website to sell products and services, and as a designer of a website, that potentially users of your site can view it from all over the world.  By improving …

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It can be a real quagmire, trying to sift through new regulations and interpret them.  Trying to decide if they apply to you, or how to implement them into your design or designs.  You may be wondering why you have to, or what the point of them is.  You could be shaking your head in bewilderment as you read these words, and you may even be considering calling it a day. On the assumption that you are not about to throw in the towel, and are simply wondering why you are reading another article about accessibility and the web, allow me to say that this is not an article to fire-off information at you, or simply reprint regulations with which, you feel over familiar. If …

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If usability and accessibility are fundamental elements in any web design, is it the role of the designer, to dictate to the user how to use a website, or is there role, one of a provider, in which they provide options that users can utilise? This is a fundamental question that arises from web design.  There are in effect two ways to approach this question.  The first works on the basis, that the designer will try and anticipate the needs of a user, and will tailor the web design accordingly.  This method of design, or fixed design, has advantages in respects that it can push a user down a certain path, or hold the users hand.  Click here, click this, for example.  This is good …

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In part one of our guide, we stated some good, solid reasons, why you should use CSS over Tables, largely focusing on download speeds, cost, and ease of modifications.  Just in case you are not convinced, here are some more reasons that should tip the balance. Accessibility is high on the agenda of nearly everywhere these days, and the web in no exception.  Websites should accommodate without exception, people with disabilities.  CSS comes into its own here, as it can serve alternative style sheets to different devices and mediums.  This is particularly handy if user of a website, is using a screen reader, or personal assistant.  Another gem for CSS, is that it is easier to accommodate backward compatibility.  Over 30%, (according to W3Schools.com), of …

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Though some web designers believe that Tables are a superior tool to CSS in designing lay out, this opinion is in the minority.  Though CSS cannot be used to structure a website in itself, HTML or XHTML, should be used for this, it still should be the tool of choice when it comes to lay out for your website. The download times with CSS are much faster than table lay outs.  The reason for this is that when a table downloads, it carries far more amount of junk markup than CSS.  This, as you can imagine, creates a much slower download time.  A table which comprises of 140 lines of code, roughly equates to cascading style sheet of around 50 lines of code. Additionally, CSS …

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As CSS gains in popularity for its numerous advantages in constructing layout, it is important that as a designer, you get your head around some of the fundamental elements of cascading style sheets.  Pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements, are necessary concepts to understand when developing a website, using CSS. The main reasons for this, is that pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements, provide the capability for manipulating text in a paragraph, and can do this to the individual letter.  This creates numerous possibilities for creativity in terms of style, feel, and appearance, as well as opening possibilities for better navigation in a website. CSS supporting browsers, automatically recognise the special “classes”, and “elements”, that are pseudo-classes and pseudo elements.  Incidentally, the browser recognition is not part of the markup language, …

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CSS has some great admirers among the web community, and many developers are using CSS to great effect in more creative ways.  If you are yet to come across CCS, there is no doubt that you soon will.  What follows, is a guide on some of CSS’s basic syntax rules. Selectors, are elements that are linked to a particular style.  It is worth remembering, that any HTML element is a possible CSS1 selector. In the following code, the selector in   A {text-indent: 5em}    is A. It is possible for an element to adopt different styles, because the selector can have different classes.  The following example shows how a designer can display particular code in a different color. Code.html  {color: #191970} Code.css    {color: #4b0082} Here we …

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SEO, or search engine optimisation, is an important element in any web design.   The most popular search engines are geared towards searching for text, and though it is said that a picture conveys a thougsand words, a website’s text will hold the audience to a site, accommodate their needs, and if it is the aim, sell them something. The idea behind SEO writing is to include the same phrase, or word, a few times in the text, so that it is hi-lighted on a search engine’s search, and therefore generates traffic for the site.  The searchable phrase or word, is known as the keyword.  The trick for any SEO writer, is to ensure the text retains interest, and relevance, and the balance of the writing, …

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Rule number 1 in web design folklore, is to keep a website fast loading.  It is no secret that websites lose their audiences by slow download times, and this is, as we all know, bad news.  You, as a web designer, have a duty to keep websites loading as fast as possible.  This keeps your customers happy, and your customers audiences happy.  So, how is that achieved?  Images, make web pages load more slowly.  So minimise there use.  Try and make the site as HTML orientated as possible, as this will download much faster than imagery.  The big hitters such as Amazon and Ebay, use HTML as much as possible to keep download times fast. It is possible to optimise images to make them more …

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Flash, is becoming something of a controversy in the web community.  On the one hand, there can be no doubt that the eye catching website that left you gasping in awe, was probably created entirely in Flash, and that it has clever online applications.  The games you play now and then at work, ahem, were probably all made using Flash.  Online data collection for millions of users, also fall within its capabilities.  So why then, with all these advantages, do the web community feels it must constantly ask the question, Flash: To use or not to use? Though the aesthetics benefits of Flash are clear, the practicalities of using it, are far more vague.  Websites designed in their entirety using Flash, suffer greatly from poor …

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