Thursday, December 15, 2005

New Music Strategies: Webcasting rates

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Solving (almost) the alt tag problem with CSS backgrounds

[Tags: , ]. This article on using background-image to replace text may be a couple years old, but it's had all that time to be tested and updated accordingly. It's very useful if you really want to use images rather than text, but want screen readers to be able to read the images. Sadly, many screen readers don't play along with the Fahrner Image Replacement (FIR) method outlined, and so you're left with a series of alternatives listed at the end of the article as follows:
"Leahy/Langridge Image Replacement (LIR)
This method eliminates the span by setting height of the parent element to 0 and overflow to hidden, which hides the text. Then it uses top padding to force the element to the height of the image in the background. Conceived at similar times by Seamus Leahy and Stuart Langridge.
"Rundle’s Text-Indent Method
Mike Rundle devised a simple method of using the CSS text-indent property to shift contained text outside the visible element window.
"Cover-up Method
Another method devised by both Petr Stanicek (a.k.a. “Pixy”) and Tom Gilder uses an empty span element to position a background image on top of the text, allowing the text to show up when images are turned off (or don’t load) in the browser.

"For further reading on the subject of FIR, refer to the previously mentioned article, Facts and Opinion About Fahrner Image Replacement, and Dave Shea’s In Defense of Fahrner Image Replacement at Digital Web."

Friday, December 09, 2005

The best Flash thing I've seen all week

[Tags: ]. This is a great idea - it's called PocketMod and it uses Flash to allow you to create your own mini-book, the contents of which you choose from a number of options. For instance, you might have a to-do list on the front page, followed by four pages of storyboard templates you can fill in, a grid to sketch on, a diary page for the week, and a Su Doku puzzle on the back page. Once you've dragged your choices onto the grid, just click Print and you get a page that you can fold up and cut to create a customised pocketbook.

Other inclusions you can choose include lines, tables, music tab sheets, calendars for months or years, shopping lists, formulas, conversion tables, and a folding guide.

It's difficult to communicate just how clever this is - just pop along to to see it in action and try it out.

And if you're pleased with that, you will also want to look at the beta version of PDFtoPocketMod (zip file). It allows you to convert a PDF file into the pocketmod format - this takes some getting used to but allows you to take 8 page documents and make them pocket sized! Fantastic. I'm off to lie down.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Interesting research within creative industry

[Tags: , ].

This got mailed round to me at work today, found it interesting and worth a read!


Web video and FLV encoders

[Tags: , ]. There's an interesting post over at the mailing list about streaming media, including the following useful reply (and accompanying links) to a question about streaming some DVD material:
"I am using flv movies, and if you want to compare to a WMA (like I did) you will probably determine that the flv method is faster and looks better. It is "pseudo" streaming as well.

Plus, I found a free way to make them:
the free encoder is here:
Riva ( ) and here is a free player as well:
Mary - Free web site directory for SW Washington"

On that subject, you might also want to check out the FLV player you can download from

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Stock Photography for Web Developers

[Tags: , ]. I've discovered a great collection of articles at WebReference on stock photography. Frustratingly, however, there are no links between each of the articles (you'd think a website about web design would know better). So, collected here for your convenience are links to all five parts:

Monday, December 05, 2005

How devices support Flash Lite

[Tags: , ]. Useful database on what mobile phones support Flash Lite (and what parts of that)

Introducing Ajax

[Tags: , ]. This is worth brushing up on if you're interested in web design - Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) - from Wikipedia:
"a combination of:
XHTML (or HTML) and CSS for marking
up and styling information
The Document Object
manipulated through JavaScript to dynamically
display and interact with the information presented
The XMLHttpRequest object to
exchange data asynchronously with the web server. (XML is commonly used, although any
format will work, including preformatted HTML, plain text, JSON and even EBML). In some Ajax frameworks and
in some situations, an IFrame object is used instead of the XMLHttpRequest
object to exchange data with the web server. "

Also worth reading is 10 Places You Must Use Ajax by Alex Bosworth. In short:
  • Form driven interaction.
  • Deep hierarchical tree navigation.
  • Rapid user-to-user communication.
  • Voting, Yes/No boxes, Ratings submissions.
  • Filtering and involved data manipulation.
  • Commonly entered text hints/autocompletion.
Yes, that's right - there are only six...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Animation and games festival

[Tags: , , ]. If you're interested in animation or computer games you might want to pop up to Middlesbrough on February 6-10. The festival "acts to provide animators, directors, students, artists, designers, writers and educators with a forum in which they can share their knowledge and skills and promote the art of animation." See the animex website.

European Web use rockets

[Tags: , ]. That's according to The European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) trade group, and articles in and the Guardian. Says the former:
One quarter of Europeans are now 'super web users', spending at least 16 hours online every week.

Broadband users spend even more time online; 31 per cent average more than 16 hours each week.

Web use has increased by 17 per cent in just one year, outstripping growth in all other media.

UK users average 11 hours each week. Thirteen per cent of web users contribute to blogs regularly and 12 per cent download podcasts regularly.

Best of British web design

[Tags: ]. At least that's what this site is trying to showcase, and it does a pretty good job too. You can sort sites by rating, name or agency, and submit your own if you're feeling confident.

Flash messing with your mind

[Tags: , ]. has some mind-boggling Flash experiments from some draggable balls to a typographic book search application. Yep.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Today's bad design award goes to...

[Tags: , ]. ...the University of Central Lancashire jobs page: you can imagine them asking themselves: "How are people going to want to look for the job they're after? Oh, by closing date of course." Yes, what a logical way to order your jobs - and even worse, they're not even arranged in alphabetical order within that category, so you have to go through a list of 20 jobs to try to find yours.

CSS Beauty

[Tags: , ]. Here's a great site that showcases great design using CSS. There's plenty of code that you can acquire and adapt for your own uses, too. Well worth bookmarking.