Guidelines for Accessible Forms

In an age where user feedback and interaction has become so popular, accessible forms have become that much more important. Many sites have already embraced making their forms accessible, and done a pretty good job of it, but inevitably some will still lack that little extra something – as small as an inappropriately named label through to no accessible features at all.

1. Using label tags

Labels should always be used and include the for attribute (e.g. <label for="name">). The value used should match the id of the input field that the label is being used for:

<label for="name">Name</label> <input type="text" id="name">

Labels for inputs, select dropdowns and textareas should precede the input, though labels for radio buttons and checkboxes should follow the input, as follows:

<input type="checkbox" id="terms"> <label for="terms">Accept our terms & conditions</label>

Google Releases mod_pagespeed for Apache Web Servers

Last year Google released Page Speed — a suite of tools to make webpages load faster. There is a Page Speed extension for Firefox/Firebug which helps web developers see how their web pages and web applications are being loaded and the time it takes for each piece of the page to load.

Today they announced the release of mod_pagespeed, a module for Apache Web Servers. Google notes, “(the module)…perform many speed optimizations automatically. We’re starting with more than 15 on-the-fly optimizations that address various aspects of web performance, including optimizing caching, minimizing client-server round trips and minimizing payload size. We’ve seen mod_pagespeed reduce page load times by up to 50% (an average across a rough sample of sites we tried) — in other words, essentially speeding up websites by about 2x, and sometimes even faster.”

Google is working with GoDaddy to get mod_pagespeed installed on all of their webservers.

Here’s a simple video from Google to show you a basic webpage and the difference in loading time with and without using mod_pagespeed.

Moogo Offers Inexpensive & Professional Website Creation

Moogo lets you create professional looking websites with a range of design and layout options for almost any type of content site. There are a wide range of options inside the Moogo portal and site creation is very quick and easy. It’s just three simple steps and if you can use Microsoft Word, you will be able to use Moogo.

The only thing you need to decide with Moogo is what features you want to use. Moogo offers you a Free Website with minimal options and features, something very basis if you are not ready for a full web presence. Then there are paid options ranging from $4.99/month to $14.99/month. I wont go into explaining the offerings for each of the paid plans, but I will explain the steps on how to setup the Personal Website plan:

Selecting a Layout

The first step is all about selecting the correct layout for your site. Moogo offers a variety of layouts from which you can select the one that best suits your needs. Assign the headers, the header is the top image on your page and you can select from a variety of categories, from Interests to Information Technology. You can preview your selections on the right side to see the picture of what the page looks like.

Programming your own PHP framework Part 2 – MVC

This is part 2 of the programming your own php framework – view part 1. The below article was authored by Terry Smith. Terry is an aspiring entrepreneur and PHP code ninja working for b5media. He spends his “weekends” and “free time” working on all sorts of crazy ideas and one day wants to rule the world (or a small part of it)!

To get things started, you should be familiar with the Model-View-Controller paradigm.  The basics components are models (classes/objects/etc.) that represent items in your application (users, database records, etc.), controllers which do the processing for a page or module and views, which contain the HTML/CSS for your output.  You can read more about it here.

Step 1: Directory Structure

As noted in the last part, I have chosen to structure my URLs in the format

domain.com/[controller]/[module]?vars

In this case, the controller indeed represents the controller in the MVC paradigm.  I will take a moment to explain the directory structure I’ve used; again, note that you can use almost any structure for your own applications.

/config – Basic configuration files (database settings, etc.)
/controllers – Controllers are all in this directory.
/lib – Default library files included with every new site I deploy (database class, URL rewriting, templating and other base classes)
/models – Custom models for each application (users, sessions, etc.)
/views – View files (PHP files), that contain the HTML
/web – The actual web directory we point our web server to.
There are two things of note here.  First, our images, CSS, etc. go into our /web directory, since the web server can’t read anything above the /web folder.
Second, and most important, all of these files should be outside/above the directory you actually point your web server to serve files from.

Recession-Buster HTMLCenter Advertising Offer

I met with a friend today and most of our discussion centered around online advertising. While waiting for the #1 subway an idea came to me (actually most of my ideas come to me on the subway). Why not give startups a break and allow them to advertise on CN for a fraction of the normal advertising cost.

With that in mind, here’s what I am offering:

  • 125×125 ad on all pages of CenterNetworks in our sponsor area – not a rotation (max 5)
  • 125×125 ad on all pages of HTMLCenter in our sponsor area – not a rotation (max 5)
  • text link in CenterNetworks RSS feed (max 3)

Each option is available for $100/month and you are limited to only one selection. Only “real” startups will be allowed to participate (sorry Facebook) and the term will be renewable for the time being.

If you’d like one of the slots, send me an email at (allen – at- centernetworks – dot com) noting your company and a link to your ad. I will reply to confirm the ad buy or to let you know of your place on the waiting list – ads are first-come, first-served. Payments can be made via PayPal, Google Checkout or by company check.

Online Audiences and the Paradox of Web Traffic

If you are as much of an analytics nut as I am, then the video below is for you. It features Dr Matthew Hindman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Arizona State University discussing online analytics. Dr. Hindman uses a variety of data from Hitwise to go very deep into the true analytics and much further than a basic web report.

From the overview, "Using three years of daily Web traffic data, and new models adapted from financial mathematics, this talk examines large-scale variation in Web traffic. These data show that Web traffic is highly heteroskedastic, with smaller sites having orders of magnitude more variation in the relative number of visitors they receive. These consistent patterns allow us to provide reasonable estimates of how likely it is Google will still be the most visited US site a year from now".

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