November 05, 2007

Web 2.0 Expo

Black hats get no lunch.

So I'm at web 2.0 expo this week. It's starting well. I've learned how to optimise and fiddle re SEO stuff.

I also learnt if you get a speaker that likes the sound of his own voice too much then all the lunches are gone when you come out. (poor mark).

update - no coffee and wireless only works well when you can get an IP address, sat through 2hrs with no connections... wont drop my connection again...

Posted by nickh at 12:07 PM | Comments - 0

August 03, 2006

javascript mime type

apparently some official bodies regarding mime-types finally caught up with the fact that ecmascript and javascript exist. So there is application/javascript
rather than application/x-javascript. but of course this wont change anything for a while yet, it will still be text/javascript for 'type' in the script tags in your html and browsers wont get it and server software wont get it. All for a few years anyways. But I guess its a move in the right direction.

(thanks to anne's weblog)

Posted by nickh at 10:08 AM | Comments - 0

July 31, 2006

Image replacement problems

So, we were having a chat at work today about image replacement, using images to replace headings text for the puposes of prettified / designed fonts. We ended up with no options save images in pages with alt/title tags, or trying to persuade designers to use livetext with font declarations.

So we went through options of :

Moving the text off the page (or making it VERY small) and having the background image of the cell be the image.

Problem - users with images turned off but quite capable of css.

Associated images backgrounding z-indexed over text

Problem - assuming the size was appropriate, we had then problems of semi transparent images being used. and equally issues with increased font sizes showing out from underneath.

javascript replacement

Problem - still image turned off problem, but maybe with some clever detection for this going on. But quite complex all the same.

additional - not forgetting if you hide text with css or have it as display:none it will be hidden from screenreaders and we loose one of our major aims of trying to get our code semantic in the first place. And also if we are hiding it from screenreaders there is an increased chance of hiding it from search engines, and then we're really back to stage one.

oh and I should link to a far more eloquent discussion on this or three, mezzoblue's image replacement, stopdesign's replace text

any ideas anyone?

Posted by nickh at 10:14 PM | Comments - 0

June 16, 2006

Inspired? maybe

So I'm at @media 2006, and well it makes me think. Getting on and developing some stuff, in Ruby on Rails, with DOM scripting and so on? What to do at work? The fact that we're missing a trick with the team abilities just doing the same over and over rather than progressing, or are we keeping it feasible (no not really).

Sat in javascript libraries session, learning about what's good and bad about them, and its not cut and dried either way, deadlines and quick results vs code integrity and things going badly wrong because you don't know what you're doing. Libaries for the sake that browsers dont work the way they are supposed to.

Posted by nickh at 11:20 AM | Comments - 0

February 25, 2006

Accessible coding

At the place that I work I'm always on about accessible coding. We have a bunch of standards so people know how they can make their pages more accessbile.

I've just found some others advising on Accessibility Best Paractice, and I've found a firefox extension toolbar specifically to help with accessible coding frrom the same people:

Mozilla Accessibility Extension

Posted by nickh at 01:36 PM | Comments - 0

December 26, 2005

Firefox Extensions

So I thought I'd list a few extensions that go with firefox, some that I can't do without, some I use a bit and some I just started with :

  • Web Developer Extension - If you're building any pages on the web you should be using this
  • Greasemonkey - wonder why that site doesn't have this feature, with Greasemonkey you can add your own features to other sites (or download ones that others have made for sites)
  • Tamper Data - If you're interested in letting users get to your content, learn about how pages download, this can help, it shows al http requests, their size, how long they take (very nice graph facility), you can even tell what images are called by the page vs those called by the page directly. It is the best tool I have found for these features (and I've looked for a while) Oh and finally, as the name implies, you can alter http requests or replies to the server.
  • Document Map - all about knowing how your page breaks down into headers, once you use h1-h6 tags, firefox 1.5 version to install here
  • View Rendered Source - handy for viewing your source, looking for errors in nesting
  • https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?application=firefox&category=Developer%20Tools&numpg=10&id=697
    View formatted source (format source extension)

    https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?application=firefox&category=Developer%20Tools&numpg=10&id=1944
    Lynx viewer
    View your page in the text browser lynx

  • FireFTP - a fairly reasonable ftp program all for a 92k download

  • Platypus - lets you modify a Web page from your browser and then save that change as a greasemonkey script. Not played with this one much yet, but it could prove to be VERY useful

  • ============== Update ============

  • LinkChecker - Check the validity of links on any webpage.

  • Sage - Sage is a lightweight RSS and Atom feed aggregator extension

  • Add n Edit Cookies - Cookie Editor that allows you add and edit "session" and saved cookies.

  • ASCIItoUnicode - Converts selected ASCII to Unicode with right-click - Actually, converts to HTML character codes.

  • Cookie Crumbler - At the click of a button remove all cookies for a site or domain, very handy when developing something with cookies.

  • Fangs Screen Reader Emulator - Renders a text version of a web page similar to screen reader output. Helps developers find accessibility issues fast.

  • Firebug - A 'good' javascript debugger, that JUST gives you errors on the page you're working on / loading

  • Lori - Small status bar time to download register, bit immature yet, needs work.


Posted by nickh at 10:14 PM | Comments - 0

December 24, 2005

Cookie splitting with Apache XSSI

Reference : http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.0/mod/mod_include.html


Introduction

Cookies can be split up pretty simply using XSSI's 'if expr' statement and the Perl compatible regular expressions (PCRE) it is capable of.

Simple string testing

Simply testing the cookie for contents, which is just a string like any other when it comes to testing, is just the case of seeing if it contains a value.


<!--#if expr="$HTTP_COOKIE = /BBCNewsAudience=Domestic/" -->
<!--#set var="version" value="Domestic" -->
<!--#endif -->

You will note the '/'s, this is how we test a string for part of its contents, it also enables the regular expressions syntax, so you need to be a little careful with what you are looking for.

If you are trying to test to see if a string IS a certain value, and not contain it then we would use the single quote model. For this to be relavant to our cookie model, first we need to separate the cookie string into its component value pairs (this = that).

Splitting up the cookie

Reference - http://www.bbc.co.uk/opensource/projects/apache/ssi_setsplitvars/docu.shtml


We have a simple, but effective, tool for splitting up strings with patterns of separators and delimiters. What are separators/delimiters you may ask? Of a set of value pairs, e.g. a=4&b=6, '=' is the separator of the pair, and '&' is the delimiter between the pair and the next pair.

The tool is 'setsplitvars', as referenced above, which is only available on BBC servers rather than in the Apache core (but available as an open source module). It is used in this case as follows, where in a cookie string '=' is the separator and ';' is the delimiter in cookies.

<!--#setsplitvars delimiter="; " separator="=" value="$HTTP_COOKIE" -->

So taking an example cookie string of:


BBCNewsUI=2-1-n-5-%5E; BBCNewsAudience=Domestic; BBCNewsAudcWght=-99; BBCMediaSelector=m%3Arm%26b%3Abb%26st%3A

We can split it as above and get the varibles, 'BBCNewsUI' equal to '2-1-n-5-%5E', and so on.

Now at this point we could just test the content of the resulting variables

<!--#if expr="$BBCNewsAudience = 'Domestic'" -->
<!--#set var="Domestic" value="true" -->
<!--#endif -->

Of course that's not so useful, given that we had that at stage 1, but you should note that this time we are testing for a specific value, by using single quotes (') rather than '/'. So the former model could match 'BBCNewsAudience=Domesticfoo.bar.baz', but this model will only match 'Domestic' alone as a discrete value.

Patterned Data

So we've worked out how to see if a variable has a specific value, but what if we don't know what that value is. In this case we use Regular expressions. Regular expressions


Refernce Cookie Data
BBC-UID=2453a833b3c9e20423088438713c91413aef9dddb0f06093eb9aec287bc5ddaa0Mozilla%2f5%2e0%20%28Windows%3b%20U%3b%20Windows%20NT%205%2e0%3b%20en%2dUS%3b%20rv%3a1%2e7%2e12%29%20Gecko%2f20050915%20Firefox%2f1%2e0%2e7; BBCpostcoder=PSTCM17 0DL:QRYCM17 0DL:LEA881:TVR4164.4228:WEA4585:CCI22:CON300:CTY11:CRM:DSTCM17:EUR6:LAU22UJ:LST32:NHSQ03:TWN675:RAD52273:WRD22UJGA:TIM:WIL14:MATpostcode; BBCNewsUI=2-1-n-5-%5E; BBCNewsAudience=Domestic; BBCNewsAudcWght=-99; BBCMediaSelector=m%3Arm%26b%3Abb%26st%3A

Posted by nickh at 02:17 PM | Comments - 0

December 21, 2005

URL Decoder

I use this for devloping stuff, Url Decoder and Encoder, its really quite handy for decoding cookies too.

Posted by nickh at 03:13 PM | Comments - 0

December 14, 2005

Ajax two

Well I say Ajax 2, but really its just that with document innerHTML stuff.

Plan in the end, suggesting search terms script with a pop up div.

I'm sure I could find it elsewhere, but I'd prefer to do it 'from first priciples' or whatever, which roughly translates as doing it myself.

oh and the demo still doesn't work with IE, but then if it did I'd have to make the css produced work with IE too, and I can't be arsed to start with.

alert('innerHTML test')
if(document.images){document.getElementById('drawspace').innerHTML='<ul>
<li>foo</li><li>foo2</li><li>foo3</li></ul>';}
Posted by nickh at 12:13 AM | Comments - 0

December 13, 2005

My first Ajax

Its been a long time without a blog entry, and now I have a little reason.

My First Ajax


<script>function evalRequest(url) {
     var xmlhttp = new XMLHttpRequest();
     xmlhttp.onreadystatechange = function() {
          if (xmlhttp.readyState==4 && xmlhttp.status==200) {
               eval(xmlhttp.responseText);
          }
     }
     xmlhttp.open("GET", url, true);
     xmlhttp.send(null);
 }
</script>
then a <body onload="evalRequest('http://www.cight.com/hack/hello.js')">

pointing to a file containing

alert ("Hello World")

yes, it doesn't work in IE, but I don't care to start with.

Posted by nickh at 04:43 PM | Comments - 0

July 28, 2005

IE7

I'm on the beta test program for IE7, and I must say I'm underwhelmed in general.

Yes it has tabs
Yes (impressively) it does alpha transparency right, but not the gamma correction of alpha-blended colors (not in the same way that ie6 gets it wrong though)
The interface is moved round so it looks weird, url bar along top (below title bar), refresh button after the url input field, file menu last in the toolbars.
It fails the acid2 test in the same (drastic) way that ie6 does.

Posted by nickh at 03:07 PM | Comments - 1

July 12, 2005

OpenSource

I just launched the BBC's first site dedicated to open source software, /opensource.

Its already quite popular on del.icio.us (17 links after being launched for 1.5 hours - update 23:34 79 users linking).

Also linked from backstage.bbc.co.uk, ben metcalfe's blog and Boing Boing and slashdot

Posted by nickh at 04:57 PM

May 11, 2005

New Style

Thought I'd just try a new style for my blog. Makes a big change, same html, nice :-) Got it from here http://mt2.movablestyle.com/?style=mt2/plain_blue.

I'll probably try one or two more soon enough.

Posted by nickh at 12:15 AM | Comments - 0

Tutorials?

i think I'm going to start putting some example code here for doing Apache server-side include and .htaccess manipulation.

Hand hint no. one - printenv is your friend.

<pre>
<!--#printenv -->
</pre>

Bascially, putting this on a page will show the current environment variables on the page (at the part of the page at which it is placed). The 'pre' tag will ensure when rendered in the browser each line of environment will appear on its own line.

Posted by nickh at 12:10 AM | Comments - 0

March 17, 2005

1MB ADSL woo !!

My PIPEX Service has just been upgraded to a 1MB connection, for the same price I paid before. I've not played with it enough yet to really try it out, but web pages seem to load up instantaneously.

Yes I know people in london are getting things like 8MB connections for not much more money, but out here in the sticks 1MB is as much as I can get, unless I go satelite or something. But for now doubling my speed for free will do. Ohh so much bandwidth, wonder what I can do with it. I think I'll just go download something large for the hell of it, moooohhahhaha !!

Posted by nickh at 08:00 PM | Comments - 0

February 09, 2005

firefox "dislikes" :-(

Firefox has drawbacks imho in relation to Mozilla UI in the passwords management area. In mozilla if you come to a page where you have entered (and saved) a password before it will pop-up a dialog to say do you want to use it (or chose between several if that's the case). Now I can see this annoying some people, but I like it, and you can always turn it off. In firefox however you have to start typing the first letter your username in the box before it will give you options of previously used passwords. I can appreciate why they may have done it, and that this may be an advisable default, but can't there be a setting to bring back the mozilla way?

Oh and also why is 'Begin finding when you begin typing" hidden in the advanced > accessibility settings section?

Posted by nickh at 10:22 PM | Comments - 0

That lovely F11 key

Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts, I like them, well at least I like browsing in fullscreen mode with reduced toolbars (F11). It's a hell of a lot easier to hit F11 than click on the full screen icon on the top left of the window and then again to turn it back to a windowed view.

Posted by nickh at 10:12 PM | Comments - 3

February 05, 2005

shoppy-hollic

My new favourite shop ebuyer.com. Well it will be if all the bits turn up I just bought. Its fairly well priced and seems to have a good range of stuff.

(taa FraZor)

Found it after dabs and scan didn't have all the stuff I wanted (I wanted to buy from one shop so I wouldnt pay delivery twice). So I ask my mate FraZor and he sent me there and to overclockers, and overclockers just plain wanted to rip me off, charging 25% more for the PSU I wanted. Anyways, e-buyer, nice quick site, few bugs where you try to click to page two, and you end up somewhere else... and I don't really like the fact you get 'promoted items' for the first screenful or two and you have to go, show me everything is this subcategory.

Posted by nickh at 03:50 PM | Comments - 0

January 19, 2005

Tiscali unlimited service with a 2GB/month limit

Title says it all. In metro this morning there were large adverts for AOL, wannadoo and tiscali. "Unlimited Broadband, 15.99" (up to 256kbps, pah!) pronounced the joyful woman's head via a speech bubble. Then you read the small print in grey on a dark grey background with a point size rendering 3mm high letters, "2GB limit per month".

It's criminal I tell ya, I feel like forwarding the whole thing to the office of fair trading or ofcom, but there is probably some lovely loophole that lets them do it. It not right though, they shouldn't be allowed to give false impressions like that and get away with it !!

p.s. page 11 if you're interested.

UPDATE 24/02/05 - saw another one yesterday and they've removed the 'unlimited' claim.

Posted by nickh at 09:17 AM | Comments - 0

January 18, 2005

MS anti-spyware

Ok its a good idea, and to start with helped me remove lots of nasty spyware... but now its just annoying. It says it has removed something (BrilliantDigital??) and then I scan again and it hasn't, and I tell it to ignore something else (RealVNC) and it just brings it up every time it runs a scan, then complains that I haven't dealt with it if I don't say to ignore it again... typical of microsoft though, annoying software...

Posted by nickh at 08:16 PM | Comments - 0

January 16, 2005

Ashridge uses Opera

I know a few people who are going to be chuffed by that, but as I stand here in the Ashridge foyer on their stand up only connection point, yep, its locked down so its hard to find out, but its deffinately Opera. Who knew a Business school could be so progressive in technology. Although they do see to still be on a dial-up modem as far as connectivity goes, luckily my site doesn't use images much so is nice and quick.

Posted by nickh at 10:10 PM | Comments - 0

January 14, 2005

Web Standards & Accessibility confernce

I'm hoping to go to the @media 2005 conference in london, blogged about here...
Ben Metcalfe Blog - London Conference: @Media 2005 (Web Standards & Accessibility), 9th - 10th June. Should be good, hopefully.

Posted by nickh at 12:50 AM | Comments - 0

January 13, 2005

A use of a Mac mini

Ok, so I'm not one to go goey all over a Apple Mac mini but I think I've found a use for one, attach it to my TV downstairs (technique pending) and use it like a cheap windows media centre. Wireless keyboard and mouse and attach to my internal network and I can browse too, albeit with a mac browser.

Posted by nickh at 05:18 PM | Comments - 0

November 14, 2004

Yay, freebies...

Looks like there is a good package of goodies and freebies in the ApacheCon attendees pack - blogged in Ted Leung on the air : Hackathon or Packathon

I'll be detailing the pack once I get one, but it looks from the above like you get a nice bag with it, which is good, cos all I have just now is a Siemens bag, which has political implications as part of the BBC (bbc technology) was just sold off to them. I really hope its an apache bag, something I can carry with open-source pride, rather than just some other 3rd party commercial

Posted by nickh at 10:21 AM | Comments - 0

November 13, 2004

Geocaching

Just found this thing called Geocaching, here's a FAQGeocaching FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions About Geocaching.
Basically, if I get the idea right, its like orienterring with a GPS unit (Global Positioning Stash hunt) for some hidden thingy... err read the FAQ. But it looks cool, pity I left my GPS unit at home :-(

Posted by nickh at 07:57 PM | Comments - 1

November 11, 2004

Going to ApacheCon

As mentioned before I'm going to talk at ApacheCon US 2004. So I'm just finishing packing, ready to leave at 5:45am. I think I have everything. So I thought I'd blog the lot. Nice document repository to start with on here, makes me keep what I've worked on at least.

So I borrowed the team webcam from work, not to worry, it was only looking at paul the spikey plant and this is work I'm using it for. Had a play with it before leaving work, getting a bit frustrated at it not playing ball




But its all good, I'm ready. I'm nervous about standing infront of all those techies; but as a few people said, you know your stuff, you're a personable presenter and therefore it should all be fine. And if i pass out then Andre is there to pick up; the engineer that did all the migration on the back end and knows all the techie bits and should manage the softer bits fine, as he was ther for my internal dry run of the talk.

oh well

Wish me luck

:-)

I'd better finish swapping stuff around between hand luggage and suitcase and go get some sleep.

Posted by nickh at 11:00 PM | Comments - 0

November 08, 2004

Biometic Passports??

Ok, according toForeign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice page, I'm pretty lucky I can go to ApacheCon 2004 on friday;

lucky they repealed their requirement for Biometric Passports for all British vistitors until next year. I'd rant, but I'm still in shock of almost not being able to go cos I didn't read the 'fine print'. Apparently :

"From 26 October 2004, all British passport holders, including children, travelling to the USA under the VWP will need their own machine-readable passports (MRP). From 26 October 2004, anyone without a MRP, including children who are currently on a parent's passport, will need a visa to travel to the USA. See paragraph below on UK passports to find out if you hold a MRP. If, after 26 October, a Visa Waiver Programme national presents him or herself for admission to the United States without a machine-readable passport or non-immigrant visa, US Customs and Border Protection officers may grant a one-time exemption to admit the traveller to the United States. The traveller will be issued a letter explaining the US entry requirements and his or her passport will be annotated that a one-time exemption has been granted. However, entry is not guaranteed, and travellers without a MRP should apply for a new passport or a US visa well before travelling, if at all possible.

The US Government has agreed to extend to 26 October 2005 the date by which eligible travellers from VWP countries must have biometrically-enabled machine readable passports if they wish to enter the country without a visa. In the first instance, biometric passports will contain data about the holder's face, this could be followed by other unique personal information such as fingerprints or iris details. The UK is working on its programme to introduce biometric passports, but it will not be fully ready in time for the new US deadline. British Citizens who would normally travel under the VWP may therefore require a visa, which will include biometric data, to enter the US on or after 26 October 2005."

Posted by nickh at 10:20 PM | Comments - 0

October 16, 2004

apachecon talk

So after about the 5th attempt, and 4th complete redraft, I finally submitted my talk to the planners of ApacheCon TU17 - Migrating the BBC website to Apache 2, and have a speaker logo on the cight.com homepage for now anyways.

The Logo:

ApacheCon 2004 Speaker


So I've had a practice session or two and I've got a month left for some more of the same. People wanted me to change a few bits, but nothing much... So I'm pretty happy with how it looks now. The big issue is not knowing the audience that is going to turn up. Last year when I went I was surprised by some of the basic questions that were asked, as in they were very basic. But with is being the only migration talk, I think, I reckon some of the apache authors may turn up to see what is said about their baby, so I'd better be careful where I tread.


Posted by nickh at 02:43 AM | Comments - 0

October 15, 2004

RSS: my new friend

Thanks to a talk on RSS by Joel Chippindale I've finally joined the RSS bandwagon.. coo that's 2 in a year, first blogging, now RSS, anyone would think I was joining the 21st Century. So now I can tell:

  • when people are talking about me on their blogs (alice's atom feed)
  • what the latest BBC News is (and the videos that go with it
  • I can finally get round to reading slashdot
  • And that's just from 3 days bopping about during work. And of course this blog is all published using RSS/Atom and I never used it before.

    "RSS the freedom to pick and choose the stuff you want to read, without all the design cruft"

    ...so how do i get RSS? Well I downloaded feedreader to strt with and that kinda worked, but sharpreader had some added benefits over that, like easier configuration and drag and droppable doo-dahs. BUT I had to install .net framework 1.1 before I could use sharpreader, which I didn't like too much. I'm hoping to find a better reader soon.

    Whats next? Well I'll probably do some exploring at feedster.com

    "coo its just like when I had a palm pilot and had avantgo" and also just like an idea I used back in '98 when I was working on our company's webguide of doing the same with ssi snippets pulled in by a user selectable config, but then that was just text links and didn't have summaries or pictures or metadata.

    Posted by nickh at 10:27 AM | Comments - 0

    September 09, 2004

    Talk at ApacheCon

    I'm talking at apacheCon this year, did I say that already ?? oh well :-) I got my picture done by my friend Will, turned out not bad, except my forehead looks a bit klingon, ApacheCon US 2004: Speaker List
    the pic

    Posted by nickh at 08:58 PM | Comments - 0

    September 01, 2004

    I'm talking at ApacheCon 2004

    I'm very excited to be talking in November at ApacheCon US 2004. I got the go ahead, from them, to talk about "Migrating the BBC website to Apache 2" TU17

    So what's it all about? Well its all about the very long term project of changing our server software. I'd put a link to it, but I'm not allowed to host the presentation myself, I have to get apache to do it. Which I don't think they will do. Weird BBC rules... oh well.

    Posted by nickh at 10:01 AM | Comments - 0

    August 31, 2004

    Crumbs, quoted in the press I am

    I've just found myself quoted in the press talking about the accessibility of the BBC's website from 2001, and I never even knew at the time : Computer Weekly: Why your site should have disabled access - work, rest and play

    ----

    text of piece...

    Why your site should have disabled access. (work, rest and play).
    Computer Weekly, Nov 1, 2001, by Nathalie Towner

    Have you heard the one about the blind man in Australia who could not read the Olympic Web site? He successfully sued the Olympic Commission for falling to give adequate access.

    At the time, the UK press was incredulous that a blind person would even consider surfing the Web but, under the 1995 Disability and Discrimination Act, UK service providers could find that they too are flouting the law.

    Responsibility for promoting greater access to the internet also lies with Web designers, design agencies and the colleges where they learn their skills.

    One of the key attributes of a competent designer is an awareness of the requirements and capabilities of the target audience. This awareness needs to include the 5.2 million disabled people of working age in the UK.

    Only 1% of people who are registered as blind in the UK have zero vision. People who have visual, hearing or mobility impairments, or learning disabilities may read Internet pages with the help of adaptive technology. But few sites are designed or built to accommodate these products.

    The World-Wide Web Consortium estimates that more than 90% of all sites on the Web are inaccessible to disabled users.

    In an attempt to increase awareness and highlight how sites need to be improved Mencap reviewed 30 of the most popular sites on the Internet.

    The Royal Mail's site came out as one of the high scorers. Hannah Norrie, information architect at design company Rufus Leonard, worked on the Royal Mail's access site and is a strong advocate of increasing internet accessibility.

    "You need to create a site with a flexible approach, because disabled people are not a homogeneous group," she says. "Blind people tend to be prioritised, while people with learning and cognitive disablilties are neglected in comparison."

    Norrie says many Web sites are inaccessible simply because their designers are ignorant of the issues. She gives the example of sites using frames that screen readers -- which can produce synthesised voice output from text -- cannot cope with.

    It is impossible to use one interface to reach all the different audiences. However, the Royal Mail site has been designed to be as accessible as is reasonably possible.

    Norrie says minor adjustments, such as using text instead of images can make a real difference. It is also worth bearing in mind that screen readers scan from left to right and up and down--putting a graphic in the middle of a piece of text will make this process more difficult.

    But this does not mean that accessible Web sites have to be dull, text-only affairs. Norrie emphasises that the use of colour, icons and pictures can support the site, providing they are used strategically.

    The BBC Web site also received praise from the Mencap survey. Nick Holmes, team leader in the coding applications team at BBC New Media, is well aware of the technical frustrations that disabled people face. "We try to provide alternative content, for flash movies, although currently this is not always possible, we are working on it," he says. "However we do provide alt tags on all relevant pictures."

    The BBC site also has a filter program, called Betsie, that creates an automatic text-only version of the Web site. Web designers have had to adapt their working practices accordingly.

    "Because the Betsie system removes all the graphics, there has been a tendency in the past for designers to consider usability issues as primarily a build problem but nowadays designers are much more aware that we must improve accessibility as a matter of course," says Holmes.

    Another organisation that has obviously had to make its site user-friendly is Mencap itself. "We worked with focus groups and put together test pages to see how people with learning difficulties use the Internet," says Matthew Bellamy, senior designer on the Mencap site. "The most complex task is trying to cater to so many different audiences."

    Making sites accessible
    Accessibility guidelines for designers:
    www.mencap.org.uk

    Details of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative:
    www.w3.org/WAI

    The Disability Discrimination Act:
    www.disability.gov.uk/

    Examples of best practice:
    www.royalmail.com/access
    www.bbc.co.uk/
    www.mencap.org.uk/

    Posted by nickh at 12:08 PM | Comments - 0

    June 10, 2004

    ApacheCon

    So, I'm going to try to go again this year, and this time do a talk. It will be about mod_include and the issues we've had migrating

    Posted by nickh at 11:37 AM | Comments - 0

    March 05, 2004

    Css style - rant

    So anyways I'm going through a 're-invigoration' of my skillset recently re page building. Finally coming to the solution of accessibility vs usability vs old browsers.

    And generally, old browsers can 'bite me', if they can't deal with markup without coming out in boils and craping all over the page then tough... If they dont get the styles, then the users can just turn them off, because they have pre 5 browsers anyways.

    And IE can sod off too, with its inconssitent renderings, I don't care if 90% of people use it, they can just have slightly suspect looking pages... not like anything I design is going to be anything fancy anyways.

    Opera, well, I'm not going to make a big deal of supporting it, because I shouldn't have to, it should just work. Although it's quite fun to see opera users wound up, ha !!

    And Mozilla users, if you're pre 1.0 you can 'bite me' too, its a beta browser, get over it and upgrade !!

    Posted by nickh at 05:14 PM | Comments - 0