Archived entries for Accessibility

Must Provide Volume Controls

Rule: Volume controls and a Mute button must exist for all online audio.

I ended up on a promotion page for American Airlines. I was actually interested in the demo they offered, so I clicked to watch. The demo had an audio track but no way to turn off the volume. Because I couldn’t turn it off, I immediately closed the window. For me, this reaction is sometimes nearly automatic – almost a type of panic. In this case, I was listening to music.

Unfortunately for American Airlines, I wasn’t as interested in their audio narrative as I was in the music I already had. Plus, I didn’t want to switch over to iTunes and then back again. If you want be successful online, forget about the audio. If you really can’t, make it opt-in. No matter what, leave the user in charge, or they’ll leave you.

Firefox Tip: Quick Complete URLs

Here is how I enter a new URL into the Firefox Address Bar. It is the fastest way to jump somewhere new (without linking), and it keeps my hands on the keyboard (not the mouse).

Step One (“Quick Complete” starts on Step Three, but this is a bonus tip, and will speeds things up too.):

Press “Alt-D” on the keyboard (hold down both keys at the same time). This will more the cursor to go to the Address Bar, and also select any URL that is already there. With all the text highlighted, the next thing you type will erase what’s already there, saving you the step of manually erasing the current URL before typing a new one.

Step Two:

Type the base of the URL. In other words, if you want to go to, you’d only type “yahoo” at this point.

Step Three: Quick Complete

With just the base entered into the Address Bar, you now press “Control-Enter” to wrap the base with the full .com stuff. By pressing “Control-Enter”, the base “yahoo” instantly becomes “ (You may use the 10-Key number pad’s “Enter” key in addition to the primary “Enter/Return” key.)

If you want a .org address, press “Control-Shift-Enter” instead. This will turn “craigslist” into “”.

With those three tiny steps, you’ll be flying around in no time. Alt-D, “cnn”, “Control-Enter” take no time at all.

Note: On Mac’s, replace “Control” with the “Apple” key I think.

CSS Hack vs CSS Filter

I was in the midst of some late-night coding. Well, not really late-night I guess. Let me rephrase.

It was 10:30pm and I was just getting started with some nighttime coding. I was searching for something, and ended up reading a july 2003 evolt post. In it, PPK describes the difference between CSS Hacks and CSS Filters. I’ve read tons about each, but this is the first time that I really noticed their definitions.

CSS Hacks
Techniques and syntax that achieve desired results by exploiting a bug in a particular browsers rendering engine.
CSS Filters
Techniques and syntax that achieve desired results by exploiting a feature that a particular browsers rendering engine does not yet support.

CSS Hacks – Collection of Articles and Links

I’ve been thinking about CSS hacks lately, so I thought I’d gather together some of the resources I’ve been using and articles I’ve been considering.


MIME Type Test Suite

I pointed to Juicy Studio’s article It’s all in the MIME a few days ago in my mini-blog. Well, Gez Lemon, the author of Juicy Studio, follows that up with some MIME Type Test Suites.

Did you notice the shameless plug for my Mini-Blog? Good. Enjoy it. (The 8 most recent posts to my mini-blog are included in the right column on my main blog.)

Why have a mini-blog? What’s the difference? Who’s idea was it? First of all, it wasn’t my idea. I remember noting it first at my friend Ernie’s blog, but it’s pretty common and you’ll find something similar at mezzoblue and even Digital-Web’s What’s New area.

Why have a mini-blog? The idea it to be able to quickly blog lots of things, without diluting the quality of the main blog. My mini-blog is hosted for free by bloglines. I read most of my feeds at Bloglines (it’s my recommended RSS Aggregator). Their integrated publishing/blogging capabilities make it trivial to blog things of interest without breaking stride. Instead of writing a long entry of for this blog, I can just quickly and effortlessly flag things of interest and they show up in my mini-blog.

Anyways, I hope this will allow me to publish even more content, and that you find it interesting.

Now, go get a free Bloglines account, I can’t recommend it enough!

Douglas Bowman’s presentation from Web Essentials 2004 in Sydney

Doug Bowman, of Stopdesign and adaptive path, famous for the Blogger and Wired News redesigns, posts his great presentation Pushing Your Limits (And Other Secrets of Designing with CSS) from the Web Essentials 2004 conference in Sydney.

It’s a great presentation, and beautiful too. Whether you know your CSS or not, it’s well worth a click-through.

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