Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Web Design Helpers

Yup, you can do web development on a shoe string, but of course not without it's downside, which is of course a little harder to do.

It's a good thing there are some "web design helpers" out there which makes our life a little easier.

Gliffy - Need to draw a diagram or a sitemap? Do you use Visio? Gliffy is a suite of online applications designed to replace expensive and difficult to maintain desktop software. Since Gliffy applications work in any web browser, sharing your work is made simple.

With Gliffy, you can do:

  • Website layouts/wireframes

  • Flow Charts

  • Floor Plan

  • Class Diagrams

  • Network Diagrams

  • Database schemas

  • Website layouts/wireframes

  • Workflow documents

  • Seating Charts

  • And more... just use your imagination!

Icons, don't you just love them? FamFAmFAm is giving away free icons and for a web designer , this is a welcome development. The icons are very useful. Not to mention very beautiful.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Awakened, Again.

Attending the "National Webmasters Interface on Accessible ICT" rekindled my soft spot for People with Disabilities (PWD's). The first time I attended the Accessible ICT Training on 2004, was an eye opener. This follow up workshop rekindled my ongoing drive to make my web designs accessible to PWD's

This time around, the government and academe webmasters made a plan on how to tackle the problem on the national level. There were 2 teams, one on defining the minimum technical standards and two, a team which will promote the cause on a national level. Team one, which defines the minimum standards, was formed even if there has been a standard set by W3C because based upon the experience of developed countries, the minimum standards is hard to implement, especially on the economic scale. Discussions arised upon why standards should be lowered or not but eventually boiled down to the capacity of the implementing country/region.

I wanted to promote accessibility on the national level, that's why I joined Team number two. Again, plans were made and here was the output:

Group 2: Promoting Accessibility to GOs, NGOs, Educational Institutions and Businesses

  1. How do we convince GOs, NGOs, Educational institutions and Businesses of the value of making their website accessible?
    • Business Benefits -
    There would be an increase in customer base and a wider audience o Clean codes, less download time and more usable website, which means lesser costs for bandwidth o High ranking google search, businesses are easier to find

  2. Should we use push (legislation) or pull (incentive) strategies to promote accessibility?

    Strategies in promoting accessibility will be different for GOs and private sector.

    • For GOs, push (legislation) strategy is recommended. There should be a stronger law for disable persons which will include the ICT (BP 344 does not include ICT). But since passing a law in our country will take a time,  an Executive Order may be issued first by the President to compel GOs to implement web accessibility in all government agencies.

    • For private sector, the pull (incentive) strategy is more appropriate in promoting accessibility. The following are being suggested:

    • There should be an award-giving body to give recognition and other incentives to websites that comply with web accessibility.

    • A seal of accessibility may be given to all pwd-friendly websites.

    • Only those web developers who are TESDA certified for web accessibility will be able to participate in government biddings of all ICT related projects.

  3. How do we educate current and future webmasters and practitioners on the technical aspect and benefits of accessible design?

  • Form an association of web developers who will be willing to do training of other web developer on web accessibility.

  • Integrate ICT accessibility in school curriculum and in all trainings being conducted by different government agencies and private sector.

  • Hold a summit for all ICT champions, organizations, etc. in order to make them aware of the importance of web accessibility as well as its benefits.

  • Use the tri-media technology. Flyers and brochures may be given to the public to make them more informed about web accessibility. Similarly, radio, television, and the internet are effective tools that may be used in disseminating information.

Sadly, it was overlooked to have a plan of action in implementing this output from the two groups. But that wont be a problem, we, the participants will be the one to plan the course of action, and hopefully the Philippine government will support us through the DSWD and NCWDP.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The CSS Song

In a different approach in promoting CSS and Web Standards, a css song has been made.

Well, it's not an award winning song and the vocals at the start is a little bit hard to comprehend, but reading the lyrics while listening to it made it easy to understand (now, that is usability!)

I'm attending a conference on Accessibilty for PWD's (Person's with Disabilities) tommorrow and maybe we can do something similar. I'm not sure though if the hearing impaired will go with that idea though.

Enough rant, listen to the CSS Song! by the way below is the lyrics just to tease you. The lyrics are also shown in the CSS Song webpage, so you shouldn't have any problem understanding the song.

Complete Lyrics of Hands to Boag

The supervisor rants. He says “This website’s pants! I want my clicks improved by Friday!”

I hit the URL. It’s like the bowels of hell. God give me strength. It’s just not my day.

So raise your hands to Boag and pray that we can fix this website today.

Tonight I need your CSS, coding in the darkness. From now on no more tables nest; you will meet web standards.

The source code makes me weep. There’s tables fifteen-deep. In Netscape 6 it looks like garbage.

The METAs say this turd was made with MS Word. With every click I find new carnage.

So raise your hands to Boag and pray that we can fix this website today.

Tonight I need your CSS, coding in the darkness. From now on no more tables nest; you will meet web standards.

Tonight I need your CSS, coding in the darkness. From now on no more tables nest; you will meet web standards.

I guess I’ll have to start from scratch - then I can kiss this piece of trash goodbye…

Tonight I need your CSS, coding in the darkness. From now on no more tables nest; you will meet web standards.

Tonight I need your CSS, coding in the darkness. From now on no more tables nest; you will meet web standards.

I guess I'll have to start from scratch - then I can kiss this piece of trash goodbye...


Friday, May 05, 2006

Photoshop Podcasts

To say that I love photoshop is an understatement. I think I can grow old with this software as it lets me express my ideas in infinite ways.

Well before anyone can begin expressing his or her ideas, you have got to learn how to use it. And in this point of time, there are new ways to learn photoshop.

Enter Video podcasts. These are free video broadcasts from experts that teaches photoshop. What better way to teach photoshop than videos. These are softwares that tackes visual effects so you have to teach them visually.

These are some of the podcasts that are available:

Want more?

Yahoo! has launched a new directory for podcasts. Yahoo! Podcasts indexes podcast series and individual shows from across the Web, complete with detailed search results, most popular and highest rated lists, editorial picks, and a full collection of tools you can use. The tools include ratings, reviews, and the ability to tag audio content, or view the tags that other people add.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Google launches Free 3D modelling tool

Google SketchUp gives you the power to create 3D objects

I have been waiting for months since Google acquired this company. I know that they will be releasing this as a freeware soon. That soon is now, check it out! There are also available video tutorials from the website so you can get going fast. Really easy to use.

Google has released yet another beta software package: SketchUp. SketchUp is an application that allows you to create your own 3D objects, color and texture your designs, use real-time shadowing effects and grab from a large library of pre-configured objects to add to your design. And as is always the case with most of Google's software, it is completely free. There is also a commercial version called SketchUp Pro 5 which has a host of additional features, but you may want to take a stab at the free version first to see if it's suitable for your needs. From Google:

Google SketchUp (free) is an easy-to-learn 3D modeling program whose few simple tools enable you to create 3D models of houses, sheds, decks, home additions, woodworking projects – even space ships. You can add details, textures and glass to your models, design with dimensional accuracy, and place your finished models in Google Earth, share them with others by posting them to the 3D Warehouse, or print hard copies. Google SketchUp (free) is a great way to discover if 3D modeling is right for you.

SketchUp (free ) includes these tools:

* Drawing and modifying geometry: Polygon, FollowMe, Offset, and Intersect with Model.
* Construction: Dimension, Tape Measure, Protractor, Section Slice, Layers, Area & Length Calculation

Using SketchUp (free ), you can:

* Draw, modify, measure, rotate, and scale geometry.
* Place section slices to view and work on model interiors.
* Add pre-made textures to your models, or create new ones.
* Add pre-made components like trees, cars, doors and windows, and people to your models, or create new components.
* Soften and smooth faces.
* Cast real-time shadows for any location on earth.
* Simulate movie camera placements.
* Perform walk-throughs.
* Create presentation tours.
* Import 2D images (.jpg, .png, .tif, .tga, .bmp) and 3D models (.3ds, .dem, .ddf, .dwg, .dxf, .skp).
* Export your models to Google Earth.
* Export 2D images of your models (.jpg, .bmp, .png, .tif).
* Print your models.
* Create add-on programs using the Ruby programming language.