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Smack the Mouse

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ABBR and ACRONYM are for User Agents, Not for End Users

The WCAG (1.0) guideline 4, checkpoint 4.2, about ABBR and ACRONYM, has for a long time been too unclear to implement. The drafts for XHTML 2.0 and WCAG 2.0 seem to have solved most problems.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2004). Articles>Web Design>HTML


Access Key, HTML Accesskey Generated by JavaScript

One of the great advantages of using first letter of the link text as access key is that it can be generated by code. Conventional wisdom states that it should be done server-side. Bad that it is much easier with JavaScript.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>JavaScript


Don't CSS your XML

CSS should not be used to present homemade XML as web pages. You end up with nothing but style. Neither man nor machine can understand the structure of your document. CSS should only be used for widely supported XML applications like XHTML.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2004). Design>Web Design>CSS>XML


Don't Force New Windows on Users

A web site should never force new windows on users. If it is necessary as exception to the rule, target="_blank" is the method to use. JavaScript's window.open does not send information about the referrer in IE.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2003). Design>Web Design>Usability


ENTER and Event-Driven Programming

The event driven programming model in ASP.NET made possible by HTML and WEB controls 'runat server' is a great idea but not without problems. It is a usability disaster that the use of ENTER in forms no longer works as expected.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2003). Design>Web Design>Server Side Includes>ASP


The Logo Should Not Link to the Homepage

It is a nice convention that a company logo also has a secondary role as a link back to the homepage. But a convention should be challenged if most users have not heard about it or don't use it, or if the concept is wrong.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse. Design>Web Design


MAX-WIDTH and Flexible Layout with Short Lines

It is now possible to make flexible layout with user-friendly short lines that adapt to screen resolution, to width of browser window, and to font-size chosen by the user. This could be a new beginning for more accessible and usable web pages.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2003). Design>Web Design>User Interface>CSS


Use First Letter as AcessKey

The traditional way of implementing the HTML accesskey attribute using unique letters does not work. I propose always to use the first letter of the link name as access key. The first letter can be generated by code. We badly need are more accessible Internet.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Use Inverted Colors to Highlight Active Link

It is often difficult to find the cursor when a web site is navigated using the keyboard. Where is the active link? With CSS the author of a web page can adjust how the active link is visualized. Inverted colors are the best way to highlight the active link.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2006). Design>Web Design>Interaction Design>CSS


User-Friendly 404 Error Messages

An error message should be designed to the website. A good error message could be conceived as so positive that the error is already forgotten or forgiven. The article is a guide to good error messages using the dreaded "404 – file not found" as example.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2003). Design>Web Design>Usability


XHTML, HTTP accept-header and MIME-type application/xhtml+xml

In 2005 it is high time to start serving XHTML as XML on a grand scale. Others have been doing it for years. I have been doing it since Christmas. Switching between XHTML as xml and text/html is easy using the HTTP accept header.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2005). Design>Web Design>HTML>XHTML

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