Web Access Key guidelines for the UK

While reading up on some Web-accessibility matters, I found that there were guidelines on the Cabinet Office site for such things in an effort to keep the UK consistent.

Although it is for public sector and service-based sites, it at least helps in making sure that any accessible areas of a site that you create will not seem alien to a first-time visitor.

Fixed width, yet I’m still on the borders.

The Google sidebar happened to allow me to drop into the following blog:
Armed and Dangerous » Blog Archive » Site theme no longer completely sucks.

Gripping title, isn’t it?

The crux of it is that all designers are morons because it’s sometimes preferable to use fixed width styles.


I think there’s a time and a place for fixed width styles. In fact, I’m proud of the paper-layout style that the Centaur Systems website has.

On the flip-side, the Imhotep theme that bloggingIT is using had to be modified to make the margins smaller. Although, the values were percentages, and not fixed-width as it first appeared.

Nine-times out of ten, wasted space is pretty awful – but I personally use a 1600 x 1200 resolution, and I couldn’t bear to use my browser in full screen mode. Why call them windows if you’re just going to full the screen?

There’s one thing that Eric Raymond get wrong. That is that the user should have the right to alter anything in a design. If that’s so, why bother with design at all? Good design has all the elements that are needed for 99.9% of users – and the designer then has the right to allow / restrict as much changes as necessary. If that means fixing the width of a web page

– so be it.

Controversial Issue

I’ve downloaded the new FireFox Beta (1.5) to give a spin. The good news is that the developer toolbar and Open in IE plugins still work. As far as I’m concerned – these are the two critical plugins for me.

I decided to tackle an issue that has been nagging me for some time now. The disappearing scrollbar!

If you have a high resolution monitor, you may have noticed that this site shifts along to the left or right. The problem is that the pages are centre aligned. So is the Centaur Systems website.

Naturally, there is a fix (or at least a workaround) that works quite well. html By putting the following code into your css:

html { height: 100%; margin-bottom: 1px; }

If forces the page height to be 1 pixel greater than the window size. Even better is that Internet Explorer’s greyed-out scrollbar remains that – grey.

I wondered if this was an oversight on the Mozilla team’s part. No – apparently only IE has a constant scrollbar. That’s consistent with the Microsoft UI guidelines. The W3C guidelines are somewhat vague on the matter.

From a design viewpoint, it’s a pain in the rear, yet there are many passionate posts on the Mozilla Forums for and against.

I don’t suppose that this is an issue that will be effectively answered in the future. But hey, at least I have a centred website now.

Viva Espania

One of my new projects at the moment is a Spanish Holiday website. I’ve been looking up domains, and think I might have found one (and damned if I’m publishing it here yet).

The site design has been quite fun. Fireworks’ ability to export slices is a feature that I had been meaning to try – and it does seem that the design of a website should initially be favoured in an application like Fireworks as opposed to jumping into HTML

The fun part is that it hadn’t got a ‘corporate’ edge that the last sites I have made. This one has bright colours and a script font. “Of course I want to go on holiday,” People will say. The trick is to get the wanting a holiday on my site.

So red, orange, black and white in abundance. Not only are they holiday colours, but also the Spanish flag which is a great bonus. It looks pretty. I think there’ll still be some basic PHPing to do in it. Well, I say basic. A simple task in PHP usually ends up being a mammoth project in my case.

I have a meeting with DB Barber to discuss holiday homes and the like, and hopefully as long as it isn’t overly complicated – I should have a reasonable working site.

With Salmestone, my homepage, this blog, and St. Joseph’s under my belt recently, I think that I should manage to impress as well as create a pretty solid site. Here’s hoping.

As an added bonus this week (amid the quagmire of tendering), Derek has been on the blower to tell me that he has set up the Heart/Toybox PHP database and it’s looking good. They’re playing around with the dummy data – so hopefully once it’s all running, I’ll have some happy customers and money for the b – a – b – y. I’m sure that Claire will find uses for it before I get the chance to spend it!

Assault of the dumbfounded

So here I am back at CCJ and everything is normal. There was a log in the technician book asking for a form to add Internet links to the school’s intranet. So I reinstalled Dreamweaver on the development machine (a loose term – it’s an Intel 500mhz with 64MB RAM).

Anyway, I sat down and completed my work eventually. It turns out and Dreamweaver MX 2004 and Windows 98 don’t like each other that much, so I had to reinstall MX v.6. I cursed writing the thing in ASP and was grateful that I had converted the new version to PHP. That still didn’t make it easier for me. I’ve avoided any ASP scripting this year, and only used VBScript for server-side administration on domains. For some reason, the insert record wizard doesn’t like to make it too easy to modify the action once it’s created. Once I had finished the form and discovered that I had missed a field out (I accidentally removed it), I had to start the page over for simplicity.

And what do I get when I say the work is done?
“So they can add links when they want to? That isn’t what I wanted.”


So I’ve had to jiggle to code. They can still add links, but there’s a stamp in the computer name list of the user, time and date that the link was added. At least then it can be traced.

They’ll have to like to like it or lump it for the time being.