A Few Resources for Class

Here's some cut and paste on my part from comments on the first two weeks of blogging.

First, a few notes on linking.

  1. When you link to another blog or publication, try to link to a specific article, not the general site. This makes navigation much easier.
  2. Make sure link text is detailed. Writing detailed link text is an accessibility issue, particularly for blind readers. While you might not think that many blind people will find your site, this is something you need to be aware of and should be practicing now to develop good habits.
  3. Treat links like greetings at a party. "Marsha, here's my friend Bill--he's a biochem major from Texas." Who knows, maybe you will facilitate a hook-up.

Second, and more importantly, a discussion/example of heuristic:

Here's my general advice for those of you who have developed a review-oriented blog project. Make sure you have a list of criteria (what in writing we call a heuristic) to get through every week. What are the important parts of a bar? What makes a place "the hot spot"? I can think of: atmosphere [lighting, decor, cleanliness], spacing [seating, dance floor, position of the bar, overcrowding], service [line to get in, wait for service, line at the bar, line at the bathroom], affordability [cover charge, bar prices], and entertainment [assuming there are live acts, dancing, pool tables or darts, televisions if it is a sports bar, etc]. By inventing a set of categories you will apply to every engagement, you will not only provide yourself with a helpful rubric for generating ideas, but also help organize your drafts.

Third, some brief notes on visual rhetoric:

  1. Basically, there are four elementary aspects to visual rhetoric, referred to as the basic C.R.A.P. (contrast, alignment, repetition, proximity). I only really care about contrast--make sure your font-color and background color contrast enough to make things readable.
  2. Using changes in color can be very effective, but be sure to maintain a consistent color palette. Color palette generators are available all over the web, here's a few: Degraeve Color Palette Generator works from a picture, Color Schemer provides a very basic palette, and CSS Juice has a list of 25 palette generators for people who like to play with such toys.


cbd said...

Props for talking about accessibility! However, some of the advice from WebDevTips is questionable. Title attributes are often overused and thinking of them as a tooltip is limiting (that assumes a mouse-using visual user). If possible, rather than using title, it's best to write the sentence so the link text works in context.

Using "visibility:hidden" will render content invisible to screen readers. In the case on that page, better to put the navigation in a properly styled list.

I agree about detail, with the caveat that link text shouldn't be longer than necessary. WebAIM has some excellent discussion: http://www.webaim.org/techniques/hypertext/

Insignificant Wrangler said...

Thanks, bradley--its been a few years since I taught a web design class, so I know I'm a bit behind. I was looking for a validator that focused on font-background contrast, but couldn't find one. The course is on expository writing, and we are using Blogger (along with a number of Google services to keep one username / password), so I'm looking for WYSIWYG practices.

cbd said...

As far as color, WebAIM offers a good tool based on the standard: http://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/

though I don't know if that's too code oriented....