AEA highlights, day 1

bumper sticker 1.0 Quite an interesting format for this conference. One room, with several sessions of speakers. Kind of cozy actually. A bit tight, but cozy. In any case, some really great presentations. A few highlights after the jump.

Eric Meyer kicked things off with a star wars themed slide then quickly got down to business, showing how you can mark up a table, and use css to display the content as a bar chart, like this example. He also talked about ways to “reset” the browser’s default css. I’m looking forward to his promised “really large group selector” he mentioned he would provide at the end of his talk today, since writing a selector that lists the majority of DOM elements in the HTML spec sounds rather, well, icky.

Jason Santa Maria offered a wonderful look into the design process, including the use of a “grey box comp” – almost a pre-comp, to help with setting up a layout. He also had some insightful things to say about using grids in layouts, as well as typography.

Andrew Kirkpatrick delivered an overview of issues involved with web application accessibility. A lot of the examples he gave used Yahoo! YUI libraries, but he mentioned that Dojo is the most accessibility-friendly library out there as of yet. His demonstrations included using the JAWS screenreader aplication to look at different javascript/ajax widgets, including sliders, trees, and accordions. To get readers to better speak an element, you can sometimes overload it’s name. There are also a few tricks to get screen readers to refresh their “caches”, since apparently once they load a page, they’re not always responsive to change on the page (i.e. if you’re modifying elements of the DOM). These tricks include modifying the class name and toggling display:none/block of DOM elements to get it to re-recognize those elements on the page.

Dan Cederholm had, by far, the shiniest, Web 2.0–ish slides. His was a fun presentation, and a great way to wrap up the day. Aside from a lot of wonderful design and typography tips, he talked a lot about microformats. Toward the end he mentioned a service/tool called SPARQLer, which has piqued my interest.

Just wanted to jot down a few notes here before turning in for the night.

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  1. […] Boston followup post was a reference to the “universal selector” code that I mentioned last time. This reminds me, I need to look closer at using the YUI Grids CSS next time I do a layout. His […]

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