Best of 456 Berea Street

Don’t want to spend time digging through the archives looking for gold? That’s quite understandable, especially if you’re new to this site. To make finding the goodies a bit easier I’ve made a list of the articles that I think are the most useful, interesting and/or thought provoking.

10 colour contrast checking tools to improve the accessibility of your design
A list of tools that help make your design readable to all users by checking if text has sufficient contrast against its background.
A web professional can never stop learning
Web professionals who refuse to update their skills and insist on using outdated methods can no longer be called web professionals.
Accessibility and usability for interactive television
Accessibility and usability for ITV have a lot in common with accessibility and usability for the web. There are also many differences, some of which are highlighted in this article.
Accessibility myths and misconceptions
A few common accessibility myths and misconceptions explained.
Alt text is an alternative, not a tooltip
Alternative text should never be displayed at the same time as the image it provides an alternative for.
Ampersands and validation
Why you should not shrug your shoulders at unencoded ampersands in URLs.
Automatic pullquotes with JavaScript and CSS
How to use JavaScript and CSS to create pullquotes without duplicating content in your markup.
Autopopulating text input fields with JavaScript
When you cannot display a label for a text input field, use placeholder text in an unobtrusive way. This article explains how.
Barrier-free Web design, a.k.a. Web accessibility 2.0
An attempt to explain why we believe that including everybody does not risk excluding people with disabilities.
Basics of search engine optimisation
Make search engines love your site by following these basic guidelines for SEO.
Bring on the tables
How to use HTML tables the right way – to create accessible data tables.
Content Management Systems used by public sector websites found lacking
A survey shows that CMSs used by Swedish public sector websites are lacking with respect to accessibility and web standards.
CSS 2.1 Selectors, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Detailed explanations of the selectors that are available in CSS 2.1.
CSS 3 selectors explained
CSS 3 brings us many powerful new CSS selectors. Browser support is currently lacking, but taking a look at what lies ahead is still useful.
CSS Frames v2, full-height
Create the visual effect of HTML frames with CSS and make the scrolling area stretch to 100 % height regardless of the amount of content.
CSS Teaser Box (view demo)
How to use a single image to create a box with rounded corners and custom borders.
CSS tips and tricks, Part 1, Part 2
My favourite time and trouble savers when working with CSS.
CSS Validator colour warnings are not errors
Messages about missing colours or background-colours are not errors and can often safely be ignored.
Developing with web standards
A long article (well, almost a mini-book) on web standards and accessibility, encouraging the use of best practices in web development. Available in several languages. A good place to start if you’re new to web standards.
Document titles and title separators
A look at what the best document title separator is from accessibility and usability perspectives.
Efficient CSS with shorthand properties
Save space in your CSS files by using shorthand.
Equal height boxes with CSS (view demo) and Equal height boxes with CSS, part II (view demo)
It’s easy to create equal height columns with CSS. It just doesn’t work in IE. Blame Microsoft for that, not the W3C.
Evaluating Website Accessibility, Part 1, Background and Preparation, Part 2, Basic Checkpoints, Part 3, Digging Deeper
A three-part article series that explains how to evaluate the technical accessibility of a website.
Fixed or fluid width? Elastic!
How to combine fixed and fluid width to create an elastic layout.
Flexible news list (view demo)
Using CSS to style a list of news blurbs.
How to create an unobtrusive print this page link with JavaScript
How to create an unobtrusive print this page link that does not confuse users whose browsers do not support JavaScript.
HTML tags vs. elements vs. attributes
An article that explains the difference between tags, elements, and attributes in HTML.
Indicating language choice: flags, text, both, neither?
Do not use flag icons to indicate language choice. Instead use the name of the language as text in the language itself.
Internet Explorer and the CSS box model
Various methods of dealing with the incorrect CSS box model used by older versions of Internet Explorer for Windows.
Inverted Sliding Doors tabs (view demo)
Doug Bowman’s Sliding Doors technique for creating flexible tabs, turned upside down.
Levels of HTML knowledge
Descriptions of a few different levels of HTML knowledge among people working in the web industry.
Light text on dark background vs. readability
The recent design trend of light text on dark backgrounds is reducing the readability and usability of many sites for certain people.
New clearing method needed for IE7?
You may need to adjust your auto-clearing methods to work with IE 7.
Quotations and citations: quoting text
Quoting text in HTML documents. A closer look at the q, blockquote, and cite elements.
Reveal your old school web development hacks
A collection of old school web design and development hacks that were widely used before developers started abandoning table based layouts and adopting web standards.
Setting the current menu state with CSS
How to use CSS only to change the appearance of the current state of a navigation bar.
Specify a maximum width for em-based layouts
When creating layouts with an em-based width, specify a maximum width to avoid horizontal scrolling for users who increase text size.
Styling form controls with CSS, revisited
A CSS experiment I made to show that little to nothing can (or should) be done to make form controls appear identical across browsers and platforms.
Ten reasons to learn and use web standards
Some of the most important reasons for spending the time to learn all about using web standards to design and develop websites.
The alt and title attributes
Explaining the alt and title attributes, along with some guidelines on how and when to use them.
The perils of using XHTML properly
Problems you may run into when you start serving XHTML as application/xhtml+xml.
Transparent custom corners and borders, version 2
A technique that combines CSS and JavaScript to create flexible boxes with custom corners and borders and optional alpha transparency.
Use the label element to make your HTML forms accessible
By using the label element to associate form controls with their label text, you improve the accessibility of HTML forms and make styling and scripting them easier.
Validity does not equal best practices
It takes more than using valid markup to make a website follow best practices. Much more.
Web development mistakes and Web development mistakes, redux
Mistakes that are commonly encountered on the web, along with explanations of why I consider them mistakes.
Who framed the web: Frames and usability
A look at the usability problems with frames, iframes, and CSS frame imitations.