March 26, 2004 Visa

Bank One and Amazon have recently put out an Amazon credit card that pays you can in Amazon gift certificates valued as much as 3% for each purchase you make using the card. I've had my Amazon Visa for a few months now and have already gotten one Amazon gift certificate out of it. Right now they're offering $20 off of the fist Amazon order for new signees. This is a great offer. Click on the banner below to sign up for the Amazon credit card.

This latest offer makes the credit card even better. They'll even pay you $20 to try it out. I'm sure that the Amazon credit card will become your primary card.

Posted by Andrew at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2004

Pundits vs. people

Molly Holzschlag, in Integrated Web Design -- Usability: Drawing Outside the Lines, differentiates general, pundit-driven usability concepts from more specific site-specific concepts.

Posted by Andrew at 03:00 AM

February 21, 2004

The Web Credibility Project

Want to create a more credible site?

Check out the The Web Credibility Project's Guidelines.

Posted by Andrew at 03:13 AM

February 16, 2004


A new sign of yahoo's impeding switch away from using Google for search results appeared today with the appearance of a Yahoo-branded Slurp spider with the following UA string:

Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Yahoo! Slurp;

I think I'll call this one yahlurp ;)

Yahoo's continued use of the Inktomi spider name of "Slurp" can be seen as a sign that they will be using Inktomi-based results when they switch away from Google instead of using Altavista or AllTheWeb (two other spidering engines that were acquired along with Inktomi when Yahoo purchased Overture).

Posted by Andrew at 11:06 PM

February 02, 2004

Elastic Design

I came across this nice example of an elastic page layout, where the page layout shrinks or expands based on the users font size choice.

Posted by Andrew at 02:43 AM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2004

CSS minimum and maximum sizes for IE

Designers moving to the use of CSS for page layout often find that the min-width, max-width, min-height and max-height properties are indispensable for constructing a layout that meets their needs. There's just one problem: Internet Explorer doesn't support these properties.

Fortunately, there is a JavaScript workaround available that makes these properties work for Microsoft's browser.

Posted by Andrew at 08:40 PM

CSS Hacks and Filters

I've found a new favorite listing of CSS Hacks and Filters. Very well done.

Posted by Andrew at 08:30 PM

December 03, 2003

Mid Pass CSS Filter

Tantek Celik has demonstrated a new CSS Mid Pass Filter that proves to be more efficient than his previous High Pass Filter.

Posted by Andrew at 10:40 PM

September 23, 2003


I've often thought about trying out Browsercam. This urge has increased over the last few months as the number of pertinent prominent browsers (primarily Safari) that can't be tested on a windows machine has increased.

This might be the perfect excuse for me to plunk down the cash for one of those new spiffy iMacs, or it might cause me to start thinking about design in a more device-neutral way by creating less complex sites that wouldn't require extensive testing.

Posted by Andrew at 03:42 AM

July 26, 2003

Sports Point Spreads

I'm in the process of creating a site to display sports point spreads and other sports information. I've found that so many sports sites are so overwhelmed by gaudy banner adds and contain very little useful information. Hopefully this site will be a bit better, although I will have the occasional banner add, too. Have to pay the bills some way :-).

Posted by Andrew at 07:54 AM

July 24, 2003

Regex coach

The Regex Coach is an interactive regular expression tool that allows one to test out and debug Perl regular expressions before unleashing them on your data.

Posted by Andrew at 08:52 AM

July 15, 2003

Newer, more secure formmail

A good replacement for Formmail can be found at nms. Matt Wright even recommends these scripts.

Posted by Andrew at 11:38 AM

April 13, 2003


This cool utility calculates the percentage of a page's HTML that is markup and that which is content.

I was actually surprised at how few of my pages' dedicated even 50% of their file size to content.

Perhaps it's time for me to start optimizing ☺.

Posted by Andrew at 03:19 AM

April 03, 2003

An accessibility rant

The following was a little piece that I wrote in response to some posts on the Web4Lib discussion list commenting on the inherent inaccessibility of DHTML menus.


Replies inline:

TD> that you have
TD> a responsibility to support users who use keyboard navigation and those
TD> who have Javascript disabled. Making essential site navigation
TD> available only through Javascript mouseovers is a serious accessibility
TD> failure.

Very true, but it isn't as hard to make such things accessible as some
people would have you believe.

Creating a keyboard navigation-compatible DHTML menu isn't any more
difficult than creating keyboard navigation on any other page.

It's also quite easy to make JavaScript-based navigation degrade to simple HTML links when
JavaScript is turned off.

<div class="menuLabel" id="menuLabel1"><a class="ml" onclick="menuShow(event,1); return false;"
onmouseover="menuShow(event,1)" href="items.html" accesskey="l"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">L</span>abel1</a></div>

<div class="menuBox" id="menu1">
<a class="m" href="item1.html" accesskey="1">Item <span style="text-decoration: underline;">1</span></a><br>
<a class="m" href="item2.html" accesskey="2">Item <span style="text-decoration: underline;">2</span></a><br>
<a class="m" href="item3.html" accesskey="3">Item <span style="text-decoration: underline;">3</span></a><br>

The example above shows the markup for a simple DHTML menu.

The first couple lines contain define the menu label. Including an
href and the "return false" within the on onclick event handler allows
the menu label to function as a plain HTML link when JavaScript is
turned off.

Also, you'll notice that each of the menu links employs an accesskey
to ease keyboard navigation.

EO> please also include
EO> some method to skip the navigation for text/limited-or-no-sight browser
EO> users. Methods include the 1x1 pixel "invisible" gif with link to anchor
EO> after the navigation and/or use CSS to create an aural (and/or print)
EO> stylesheet. If anyone has another method, please let me know.

Another method is to use CSS set the link text's display to "hidden".

Examples of both methods are below:

<a name="topofpage" id="linktocontent" href="#content" style="display:hidden;">skip to main content</a>
<a href="#content" title="skip to main content"><img src="spacer.gif" alt="skip to main content - image link" border="0"></a>

Both of these methods will satisfy section o of Section 508:
A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive
navigation links.

PLP> I run into this issue frequently. Some people think javascript mouseover
PLP> menus are a good way of cramming lots of choices on the page, without making
PLP> it look crowded.

Menus are a very good way of placing many choices into a small area.
Additionally, menu conventions are firmly established, with OS GUIs
making wide use of menus.

PLP> So, before using javascript, I think one should try to organize their pages
PLP> better, perhaps a different schema is needed if the menus are necessary.

Menus are rarely necessary, however they can greatly clean up an
interface that would otherwise be cluttered. Also,

PLP> If on the other hand, it must be, my understanding of accessibility is that
PLP> as long as there is an alternative, it is fine.

Yes and no.

Yes, if you can't make your pages accessible through other means, then
alternatives are needed. Again, this is clearly stated in Section

(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be
provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when
compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the
text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.

Please note the words "cannot be accomplished in any other way"

In addition to creating a duplicate site maintenance need, alternative
content and/or functionality is all too often simply slapped onto a
site. While this may technically provide compliance, it can lead to
an attitude of complacency towards accessibility and site design for
alternate access devices.

Remember, accessibility is just one part of site design. You still
must make an effort to make sure that your users will be able to
effectively interact with your site no matter which user agent they
are using. You can create a site that complies with all of the
accessibility guidelines, yet still be a nightmare to use with an
alternate access device.

Just like site design for conventional visual browsers, accessibility
(ensuring cross-browser compatibility is simply accessibility applied
to visual browsers) is just one aspect of ensuring that your site
functions well, and no level of accessibility guideline compliance
alone will ensure that your users will be able to easily use your


Posted by Andrew at 10:56 PM

February 23, 2003

Library Lookup

John Udell's Library Lookup allows you to automatically look to see if books mentioned on a web page are available at your local library.

A must for any bibliophile.

Posted by Andrew at 05:00 AM

February 05, 2003

Web Site Optimization book

Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization
by Andy King

Andy King's, founder of and, new book focuses on making your site smaller and quicker to download.

I haven't read the entire book yet, but the exerpts on provides some very useful tips on optimizing JavaScript. You can view of detailed table of contents on the book's site.

Buy the Book at Amazon

Posted by Andrew at 10:52 PM

January 24, 2003

TopStyle 3

I've recently started using the latest 3.0 version of TopStyle and it's quite a step up from the previous versions.

The new version is much, much more than a CSS editor. It now includes a quality (X)HTML editor, HTML Tidy, a harmonious color picker, and many other new features.

This is one software application that could certainly justify skipping a version number ☺.

Posted by Andrew at 10:26 PM

January 14, 2003

Opera 7 Doctype switching

I've been playing around with the Beta 2 release of Opera 7 this past week.

I'd noticed that a few pages using font-size keywords now map the keyword values as the more intuitive medium=default size way instead of previous small=default size.

I've come across some general rumblings about this release introducing Doctype-switching, but haven't come across any listing of the specific doctypes that cause the browser to go into "quirks" mode, so I decided to look into this myself.

The table below is the result of a quick and dirty test by creating a simple page with <span style="font-size:meduim;">test</span> and seeing wihcih DOCTYPEs caused the Opera to render "medium" text as the "quirky" larger than default. As you can see that vast majority of DOCTYPEs will put Opera into its new "standards" mode.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0//EN"> Standards
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> Quirks
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Standards
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"> Standards
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Quirks
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" ""> Standards
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Strict //EN"> Standards
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" ""> Standards
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Strict //EN" ""> Standards
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Standards
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Standards
Posted by Andrew at 07:10 PM | Comments (2)

January 11, 2003

A new CSS hack

There is a discusion on Webmasterworld about a new CSS hack to hide rules from Netscape 4.x.

Posted by Andrew at 07:52 PM

December 20, 2002

Stop frames

I found good resource on frame-busting today at

This page is a part of Peter Paul Koch's excellent JavaScript pages.

Posted by Andrew at 11:46 PM