Tech Archive

Webvisions 2005

This was drafted in an email for the boss, but it’s loaded with good links for those in the web community, or anyone wanting to see what’s hot right now. Enjoy!


Thursday July 14th

The day before the conference gave attendees the opportunity to get into a smaller setting with presenters for 3 hour workshops. While not technical in nature, a web background was presumed and discussions were meaningful.

Zen of CSS Design – Molly Holzschlag

This 3 hour workshop covered the advanced use of .css techniques to produce dramatic results by using strict HTML markup and current standards. The basis of the discussion was based on the CSS Zen Garden website, which features over 200 submissions that demonstrate how .css and associated graphics can dramatically transform the page display of strict HTML markup linked to .css

Websites to check out: – creative .css use example – example of a brutal table based design – Jeffrey Zeldman’s site – A great .css site that features a working 3 coloumn layout, and has a completely different look between IE and Firefox, try them both.

Zen Garden examples to check out: – Must be viewed in Firefox for full effect, but looks good in IE as well. – Notice the transparencies! Achieved using .png alpha transparency sections.

Access by Design – Sarah Horton

This 3 hour workshop was an abstract, thinking discussion about communicating via the web. With a room full of designers, information architects, and other web professionals, this workshop turned into a debate more than anything. However, Sarah is a recognized expert and provided a very detailed notes page for her Webvisions attendance and presentations.

Friday July 15th

Friday’s presentations were an hour long, and rather high level summaries. But some very good notes came from these sessions as well.

Search Engine Optimization and Web Standards – Alan Knecht (aka ROI master)

  • Attempting to trick search engines will result in your site being banned entirely from search engine results.
  • 40-60% of web users utilize a search engine to find a page.
  • Being search engine compliant does not mean that a site cannot conform to web standards.
  • Alt tags are no longer being considered by search engines (MSN, Yahoo and Google)
  • Search engine also ignore
    • Pages that appear after form entry, bots don’t enter forms.
    • Deep tables confuse bots and they’ll give up.
    • Pages that require cookies will be ignored.
    • PHP pages with too many parameters.
  • SE’s do care about
    • Words in the title, in heading tags, and first paragraph.
    • Number of inbound links, words between anchor tags
    • Site architecture
    • Page names
    • Dashes and underscores are understood to separate words like spaces.
    • Words that are in bold, italic or strong
  • ratio of words to code should be 40-50% words.
  • Move all JavaScript and .css to external files
  • Important pages will feature many internal links as a rule
  • Avoid underlining
  • Spider emulator:
  • Site maps ensure that spiders find all your pages.
  • 404’s are bad, especially if they happen when the bot happens to be at your site.

Beyond the Desktop – Molly Holzschlag

This presentation was an outline of the use of the web on mobile devices. Or more accurately, the major challenges in attempting to design with these users in mind. With many competing standards, and each device taking a different path, it’s a nightmare really.

While OSU’s EM office may not have a need for this kind of application, it does serve to keep us mindful of what the future may hold and keep us thinking about advancing our web presence rather than just meeting today’s needs.

– Nokia has a simulator for testing

– Opera, while lagging in the desktop browser arena, has pulled a back door maneuver to position their browser on mobile devices. Nokia phones will feature Opera in the future for example. They also have a built-in small screen viewer for use on their desktop browser for use in testing.

– XHTML-MP is the emerging standard for mobile devices.

Forward Thinking Design – Cameron Moll

Similar to Molly’s Beyond the Desktop presentation, Cameron talked about the challenges and options a web team faces in designing for mobile devices. His entire presentation is available on his website, and was compiled with the help of 50-60 test partners on various phones and pda’s.

– device of choice, Palm Treo 650

– 2-3 years before a majority of mobile users will utilize the web on those devices. Other experts say 5 years.

– The majority of web use on enabled devices is to obtain ring tones and wallpapers at this time.

– OMA: Open Mobile Alliance

Blogging Your Portfolio – DL Byron

Byron (as he refers to himself) took this opportunity to explore what blogging is and to give specific examples of the runaway success of this emerging web trend. About half of his audience were skeptics, so he spent a lot his time speaking to what makes this different from a 10 year old’s Geocities website about his cat. A very well versed discussion, I will be looking to follow his work more closely.

– Google loves blogs! Blogs are all about linking and fresh content. Plus, they feature one of the more popular blogging services.

– He made a simple blog about his dog called Within just 7 days of being published, it was #1 on Google.

– Byron recently set up the blog for Randy Baseler, a big wig at Boeing. The blog was launched the same day that Airbus Industries announced the launch of their new super sized commercial jet liner. But news about the blog spread quicker than the Airbus press release and effectively stole their thunder in the commercial airline industry. He used this blog to demonstrate how many large companies are using blogs to put a human face on a corporate giant.

– Another Boeing blog, flight test journal:

– Another such example is the blogging being done by Microsoft on their Microsoft Developer Network. These blogs are frequently straight from the designers and programmers who are working on the latest offerings. Byron said that the MSDN now features over 1000 blogs! Molly mentioned in an earlier seminar that this kind of contact was helping to shape the future IE 8 releases to be more standards compliant and less divergent with proprietary offerings. (sidebar: However, IE 7 is just about set in stone and features little of this collaborative effort.)

– Another colleague of Byron’s started, a Tour de France blog featuring an .rss feed. Because no one else was offering a blog or .rss about the TDF, he utilized Google AdSense and a few sponsor banners, and now has so many visitors coming to his site, he pays his mortgage and car payment with revenues generated by this site alone!

– Trackbacks ARE NOT good for blogging and add clutter to the internet.

– Blog Summit coming to San Francisco in August:

– GM’s blog:

– For our cat lovers, and yes, he cited this in his presentation!

– A notable web design shop’s blog,

– Another,

– And another, this one has some great .css techniques:

– Last one,


Overall, I’m very pleased to have this opportunity in our own backyard. In the future, I think it will be of benefit to have more EM employees attend as our web presence continues to increase. While this year’s presentations focused on mobile devices, the mindset, forward thinking, and expert speakers really helped to reinforce the importance and scale of our web presence and what the future will bring.