A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Johansson, Roger

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Accessibility Does Not Prevent You from Using JavaScript or Flash

A common misconception is that in order to make a website accessible you have to abstain from using JavaScript or Flash. Almost every time I hold a workshop on Web standards and accessibility there is at least one participant who believes that accessibility limits what they can do on the Web by telling them to stay away from anything that isn’t pure HTML.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2010). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Flash


Accessibility is Part of Your Job

Accessibility is one of the fundamentals of the Web, so how people who claim to be passionate about the Web and say that they deliver high quality can choose to ignore it is beyond me.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards


Accessible Expanding and Collapsing Menu

A website’s navigation should, in my opinion, be visible and straightforward, not hidden away like this or in flyout/dropdown menus. But...

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>DHTML


Another Look at HTML 5

It has become evident to me that some of my previous comments about HTML 5 and what is going on in the HTML Working Group are the result of misunderstanding and overreacting on my part. I no longer think things are quite as bad.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Standards>HTML5


Are We Designers or Developers?

On the about page of this site I used to call myself a “developer/designer/occasional writer”. It’s a bit confusing, and I still find it hard to know what to answer when someone asks me what I do for a living. Am I a Web designer? A Web developer? A Web programmer? All of them? Neither? It really is a difficult question to give a simple answer to.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Careers>Web Design>Programming>Writing


Autopopulating Text Input Fields with JavaScript

Few people will argue against the need to explain to users what they are supposed to enter into text input fields. One common workaround when no label can be displayed is to put some placeholder text in the text field and let that act as the label.This approach works reasonably well, but it burdens the user with having to clear the input before entering their own text, which can lead to frustration and mistakes. An approach that avoids that is using JavaScript to clear the input when it receives focus. Since that won’t work when JavaScript support is missing, JavaScript should be used to insert the placeholder text as well.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Forms


Can the alt Attribute Be Omitted Without Hurting Accessibility?

In the current editor’s draft of the HTML 5 specification, the alt attribute for images is no longer required. I am not convinced that this is a good idea.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>HTML5


Choose an Accessible Image Replacement Method

The technique of using CSS to replace normal HTML text, mostly for headings, with a background image in order to achieve a particular look has been talked about many, many times since early 2003.Several different image replacement methods have been proposed, each with their pros and cons. Some methods create accessibility problems, while others place restrictions on the type of image you can use or force you to use extraneous markup. No method that I am aware of is perfect.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>CSS


Choosing a JavaScript Framework

once you’ve decided that using a JavaScript framework is appropriate for the task you’re faced with, it can be hard to choose the one that is right for you. And to make things worse, what is right for you may not be right for your co-workers.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>JavaScript


Choosing the Right Doctype for Your HTML Documents

In this article I will look at the doctype in a lot more detail, showing what it does and how it helps you validate your HTML, how to choose a doctype for your document, and the XML declaration, which you’ll rarely need, but will sometimes come across.

Johansson, Roger. Opera (2008). Articles>Web Design>HTML>Metadata


Conditional Sibling Class Names for IE Patching

Traditionally, web developers have been using either CSS hacks or conditional comments to target different versions of Internet Explorer with CSS fixes. In the last few years more and more people have started using conditional class names.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2013). Articles>Web Design>CSS


Creating Bulletproof Graphic Link Buttons With CSS

A CSS problem I have been wrestling with lately is how to create a bulletproof shrinkwrapping graphic button. By that I mean an image-based button that will expand and contract to fit the amount of text it contains. It is a very useful technique for CMS-driven sites that allow the client to change the text that is displayed on buttons, as well as for multilingual sites.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Graphic Design>CSS


Developing With Web Standards

This document attempts to explain how and why using web standards will let you build websites in a way that saves time and money for developers and provides a better experience for visitors. Also discussed are other methods, guidelines and best practices that will help produce high-quality websites that are accessible and usable to as many people and browsing devices as possible.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2008). Articles>Web Design>Standards


The Dilemma of Comments

Abuse has made me seriously consider – several times – disabling comments. I’m ambivalent about it. On the one hand it would make writing and publishing much easier. Write something, proofread it, publish.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Community Building>Interaction Design


Does Advanced Search Sound Too Advanced?

Should advanced search be called something else to sound more friendly and inviting, and would it make more people to use it when they need to?

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2008). Articles>Web Design>Search>User Centered Design


Failed vs. Unfailed Redesigns of Newspaper Websites

A comparison of the redesigned websites of two Swedish newspapers, GP.se and HD.se, that were both launched in late 2006.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Case Studies


Guidelines for Creating Better Markup

I’ve mentioned several times here that I feel writing markup (or any other code, for that matter) is a craft. I take pride in writing as lean and clean code as possible. From the looks of things there aren’t a whole lot of other Web professionals that feel that way, but we do exist.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Standards>HTML


Help Keep Accessibility and Semantics in HTML

If you think accessibility and semantics are important and should be improved in the next version of HTML, you need to act.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Standards>HTML


Helping Others Understand Web Accessibility

When I hold workshops for people who want to learn more about web standards and accessibility, I often notice that the attendants really have tried to improve their accessibility knowledge. But they get overwhelmed when they go to the official documentation from the W3C and try to understand it.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards


Helping Your Client Maintain Markup Quality

One thing that is particularly frustrating with caring about Web standards and accessibility is what often happens after your work is done and a site is handed over to the client.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Consulting>Standards


How to Create an Unobtrusive Print this Page Link With JavaScript

When a client requests that I duplicate functionality that should be (and is) handled by web browsers, I always try to avoid doing it by explaining why I believe it is better to leave such functionality to the browser. Most of the time I succed, but occasionally I don’t.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>JavaScript


How to Prevent HTML Tables from Becoming Too Wide

The layout model of tables differ from that of block level elements in that they will normally expand beyond their specified width to make their contents fit. At first that may sound like a good thing – and it often is – but it makes it possible for oversized content to make text unreadable or completely break a site’s layout, especially in Internet Explorer.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Document Design>HTML


HTML 5 and the Summary Attribute

As I wrote in Help screen reader users by giving data tables a summary, the summary attribute on the table element can be used to provide information that helps non-sighted users understand data tables. The current draft of HTML 5 requires that validators display a warning if they encounter a summary attribute, since it is now an 'obsolete but conforming feature.'

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>HTML5


Internet Explorer and the CSS Box Model

One of the differences between Internet Explorer and standards compliant Web browsers that cause a lot of trouble for CSS beginners is the CSS box model. Since the box model is what browsers use to calculate an element’s total width and height, it is quite understandable that different browsers producing different results can be both confusing and frustrating.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2006). Articles>Web Design>CSS>Web Browsers


Keep Browser Lock-Out a Thing of the Past

Browser sniffing and deliberately preventing people using a so-called unsupported browser from entering a site is a thing from the past that we do not need these days.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Standards>Personalization



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