A big thank you to everyone that came along to the meetup last night, it was great to see everyone again!
This week was all about the Web Directions Conference and boy oh boy was there a lot to go through.
Use the keyboard to move through the presentation, look at the directional arrows on the bottom right to see which way you can go.
Press esc for a full view of the slides, and press the s key to see the speakers notes.
Two of the key messages from the conference were….
The Future is now, stop waiting for hoverboards
Smart phones are taking over, your website needs to be ready
The future is now
We have been waiting for awesome hover boards ever since Back to the Future 2 came out and we’re still not there. We look at the Jetsons and want to know… “Where is my spaceship?” (although we ignore that the jetsons world was powered entirely by sprockets).
The fact is that we have the tools today to make some pretty amazing stuff. Combining two sets of existing tools will allow you to develop something that no one has thought about yet and send you (slowly and after thousands of hours of work) into internet stardom.
Stop waiting for the next big thing, start building things and be the next big thing.
Smart Phones are taking over
There was a huge focus on the tablets and smart phones being the space in which we will continue to access services from. The laptop and desktop will always have their place, but it’s the smartphone that is people are spending most of their time accessing the web.
If you visit any of the current NT Government Websites on a smart phone the chances are that you will find what you’re looking for, but it won’t be easy or pretty. There are two departments that have taken the plunge into responsive design, something which was a VERY hot topic during the conference.
The team at Captovate are keen to build more responsive sites and the guys at Dash Media are including responsive design as the default way to build their sites. Squiz has built a responsive design for Power and Water and the Department formally known as NRETAS have taken matters into their own hands and are using Twitter Bootstrap as a foundation for some of their sits including Parks and Wildlife.
So what else happened?
Glad you asked.
The Startup Kids, a night at the movies
Michael Hawkes shared “The Startup Kids“, an event that is being organised by who also runs the Tedx events in Darwin. You can find out more information about this event, plus anything and everything to do with Darwin Entrepreneurs at Entrepreneurs NT.
Stop! Hammer time!
Jon asked the question about detecting if a device was touch enabled and then offering gestures over buttons, or a reverse where you load in buttons when touch is not available. Corey suggested checking out Hammer.js
Karl Davidson from Squiz starts off the meeting talking about the general reasons we should become compliant. Karl gives examples of Mary who suffers from partial quadrapelia and has issues navigating sites. Mary navigates through the use of two pens with rubber nibs attached to the end.
What is WCAG
WCAG, a history
Started off as version 1.0 and focussed on visual disability.
60 Check points
10 quick tips were developed to reach Level A…. but no one really though too much more into this.
We’re trying to overcome certain accessibility elements. Something like “vision impairment” is one element, but WCAG 2.0 is trying to expand on just the basic ideas.
Now WCAG 2.0 is more general, more disabilities and accessibility has been considered. It has been ratified by the UA Government (Sec. 508 legislation).
Seisures – specific guidelines have been taken into consideration.
4 key principals of WCAG 2.0
Content must be Perceivable
Content and controls must be Operable
Content and controls must be understandable
The site must be robust enough to be used with future user agents.
This is then made up from 12 guidelines within each principal. These guidelines then have a series of success criteria associated (around 8) which determine if you reach A, AA, or AAA.
The stick & carrot
Why become conformant with the standards? Well AGIMO is wielding a giant stick and they will smack you over the head with it if you don’t become compliant. Regardless of that, get the carrot and just become more compliant because your site will be better because of it.
WCAG 2.0 Compliance tool from Funnelback
Stuart Beil introduces Funnelback and gives us an overview of where they started and who their clients are. Amazing that Skype uses them as a search tool even though they’ve got Microsoft Bing available.
Stuart is talking about the compliance being not a one off fix. You need to keep a check on the site as the content is continually developed. Content editors come and go, they’re not always updating the content in the correct fashion.
The tool is currently running across 19,000,000 records in around 9 hours. 9 HOURS!
Caveats: Just because the tool says you are compliant, doesn’t mean you are compliant. You still need to make sure that links have correct titles, alt tags are related to the context of the image and not just that they exist.
Shows your history of compliance over time in a graphical format (line graph). You can have multiple site urls and the tool will seperate them into individual result pools.
Clicking through each of the site headings gives you an overview of that site, and allows you to drill down either to the overall failure (the language declaration) and shows every URL that is affected. Clicking on the lower level URLs gives you a link back to the W3C description for the issue and allows you to see exactly where in the html source the error is contained.
<insert typical live demo fail>
And we’re back again. The graph shows really clearly how everything is becoming more and more conformant. Stuart wraps up by explaining that this tool is something that will provide the NTG the ability to show where they are at and provides an ability for individuals to clearly see and understand the changes that are required.
Over 7000 Installs around the world. It was created and developed by a blind person to make surfing the net cheaply and easier.
A lot of talk has been around accessibility for disability, but accessibility is much more than that. It’s about making your website content available to everyone at any stage they need it.
Different needs to text to voice
English 2nd Lanuage
Accessing content through a small screen
Revising on the go
why not just use screen readers
Only 0.1% of people have screen readers, but more than 20% would benefit from the text to speech option.
ReadSpeaker ticks all these boxes. It works across PC, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, Symbian, FF, IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera, click and listen, easy upgrade path. Nothing to download. Nothing to install. Listen to it on the fly (streaming) or download the file to listen later.
How does it work?
User visits your site
Click on the listen link (brought in via JS like Google Analytics does) which sends the page content to the servers in Sweden
ReadSpeaker server speech-enables the content on the page
Audio file is sent/streamed back to the user
This all happens as a Software as a Service option (Saas). Reduces your bandwidth costs and doesn’t use your web server processing power.
The tool will speech enable mobile apps (iphone and android), websites, and PDF documents.
While I appreciate this is a pretty good tool, I disagree with its pitch to improve the access to content via mobile devices. Seriously. Go responsive.
Justin is talking about the things he finds annoying when surfing the net as a visually impaired user. He can still see partially, so uses a high contrast view and expands the text.
Most annoying part of this is that it breaks most designs and makes the content unreadable. Although things like JAWS (and readspeak) is available he hasn’t bothered to learn it yet because he still has use of some vision.
Make sure that everything can be seen even at zoomed level.
These were the topics that we talked about during the second Darwin Web Standards meetup.
At the last meetup we talked about Microdata and how that the implementation of this feature will go a long way to making a more semantic web. The basic concept is that you can take a chunk of information, like a series of event listings, and apply Vocabulary declarations (for Microdata) or specific class attributes (for Microformats) and turn the information into something that a machine can understand.
This week we took a look at a few real world examples including:
In the past week I noticed that Microformats are much more common than Microdata, and during that quest for knowledge came across the FireFox Addon – Operator. The add on is activated when you visit a page that contains Microformats (doesn’t work for Microdata) and it allows you to add events directly to your Google Calendar. Try it out. It’s Cool!
We have convinced, hopefully, Ciaran to head off and add these tags to his own site and tell us how he got along at the next meet up.
As you might have seen from our last post we had a question come through from Bianca about Online Payment facilities. Peter came back with a fairly detailed answer which we discussed during the meet up as well as looking at a range of providers.
Business Catalyst – Fully Functional – Michael Hawkes from Captovate mentioned these guys as one of the top shelf options when it comes to ecommerce requirements.
Mal’s Ecommerce – Fully Functional – Ian Symonds from Dialog mentioned Mal’s ecommerce as an other end of the scale alternative to business catalyst.
Etsy – Hosted Shop – Simlary to Big Cartel but is more Artsy
Eventbrite – Event Management – There is very little customisation to the pages on offer here, but handles everything else you might need around running an event.
Eventarc – Event Management – Richard from Captovate mentioned this as one he has used before. Sounds similar to Eventbrite but allows for much more customisation of the pages.
Typography & Responsive Design
EM Calculator – EM’s are tough to keep track of, especially as they’re worked off their immediate parent rather than the root EM (unless you want to try ‘rem‘.
Typekit – Add a line of code to your pages and choose from hundreds of web fonts. Simple, bulletproof, standards compliant, accessible, and totally legal.
Font Squirrel – If you’ve already got the fonts you want to use then this tool is for you. Simply upload your fonts and you get the .ttf, .eot, .woff, .svg conterpart and some example CSS to get you going.
Google Fonts – Google come up with yet another great free tool with their own font service. Don’t worry about hosting your own, get it from them
Cufon is something that Richard has used before during one of his client implementations. It’s a bit older than the others, but it’s all horses for courses
Nice Web Type has a great list of tools for getting started with web typography. It’s not just about the fonts!
IA – Responsive Design – Information Architects do an amazing job of responsive design.
I can not believe how fast a month can go when you throw in a couple of long weekends, and a long>long weekend as well.
Royal Weddings, Easter Bunnies, ANZAC Day and just plain old May Day…. I’m sure you’ve all been as busy as me.
The next meetup is coming up in 3 days, Wednesday 11th May, and will be held in the Shenannigans Function room (same place as last time).
Topics this week
This week we’re going to take a look at some real world examples of microformats in action to back up the talk we had last month. We’re also going to have a chat about online payments best practices after a question posted by Bianca on our Facebook Group.
I’ve been doing a lot of work with website typography layout lately and ensuring that the text is set perfectly with the right margins and scales correctly across all browsers. It’s been a nightmare! I’d love to hear from others about how they set their CSS and any tips they might have. Read the rest of this entry »
Each month we’re looking to deliver talks around Web Standards, but we need your help to deliver exactly what you want.
Add a topic that you might want to learn more about and we’ll make sure that we line up someone to deliver a talk on the subject, or on the other hand if you’re passionate about something in particular and want to share it with the group let us know.
We’re changing the starting time for the first Meetup to 17:30 and will finsih at 19:30 .
Welcome to the first Darwin Web Standards Meet Up.
I realised that after sending my initial email around to all of the Government Web Managers that the majority of the recipients won’t know what Darwin Web Standards is, or who is setting up this strange bizarre group.
My name is Justin Avery and I lived in Darwin for 27 years before packing a bag and attempting to travel around the world. Half way around I ran short of money and found myself working in London for a Web Agency. 3 years later I’ve returned back to Darwin again where I’ve started work again for another Web Agency in Australia.
While I was in the UK I took advantage of the many meetup groups that were on offer. HTML5, Ajax, Web, Web Standards, etc etc…… there was a group for just about every thing you could want to meet about.
The best thing about these meetups were that you were able to talk to people in the same field as you are in. You had the opportunity to ask questions, provide answers to other people questions, and most of all to discuss your own ideas and what you’ve been working on in the interwebs.
Now that I’m back in Darwin I wanted to try and kick off something similar by organising meetups with like minded individuals and form a network for everyone to share ideas and learn from each other.
It costs absolutely nothing to join. All you need to do is subscribe with this site and I’ll make sure you know about all the meetups that are coming up.
I’m running the meetups through http://www.meetup.com/Darwin-Web-Standards/ at the moment so you will need to sign up to that site as well to register your attendance (again, it costs nothing and only takes 1 minute 43 seconds). If Meetup.com becomes an issue down the line problem I’ll probably switch it across to EventBrite at a later date.
When is the first meetup?
The inaugural meetup will will be held at Shenannigans (although there is no formal finishing time, you can leave when you’re no longer having fun).
Where is the first meetup?
Shenannigans has offered us the back function room free of charge and will put on happy hour drinks for Darwin Web Standards members. We’ve got a big screen television that I will have a laptop hooked up to, and I hope that we will have a free wireless internet connection for anyone that wants to show off their current work or ask questions of the group.
What is the meetup format?
The first meetup will be very informal and just involve everyone meeting and introducing each other. I’ll run a very brief welcome introduction that will involve house keeping (toilets, drinks, food, topics, jobs) ask for any volunteers that want to get involved with the organising of the group and take a straw poll to see what kind of topics you would like to see covered, and a brief presentation by myself on some of the HTML5 semantic tags that you might look to use and why.
I’m also talking to Jon Allsopp who runs the Web Directions Conference to see if we can organise some speakers to come up and do some talks throughout the year, and also if we can get some free tickets to give away to http://www.webdirections.org/ or at least a discount to attend the event.
That’s all for now, but to wrap it up just a reminder to signup for the Darwin Web Standards email list, and visit the Meetup Group and register for the first meetup on the 13th April. Remember this is all about you and making sure that you learn more and see what others are trying to do, and give you a chance to show off what you’ve been doing.