Women Blogging through Ronni’s eyes

The perennial question, Why Aren’t There More A-List Women Bloggers, came up again at Time Goes By – What it’s really like to get older. Ronni, who is known as the premier elderblogger in the country in spite of her lack of interest in being on the A-List, has some very interesting comments about how blogs get ranked, particularly by Technorati.

I hold out hope for microformats as a way to address the problem of identifying women bloggers, or elder bloggers, or whatever type of relationship you want to identify. I’m talking about something like XFN, a microformat that lets you identify a link as belonging to a friend and even getting into details about whether the friend is personal, professional or whatever. Learn more about microformats at microformats.org.

Review: CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions

CSS MasteryCSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions (Friends of Ed, 2006) by Andy Budd is short and deceptively simple. Andy Budd is the Hemingway of technical writing: spare, clear prose that is absolutely dead-easy to comprehend. But don’t be misled by the skillful writing or the relative shortness of the book into thinking that the book is too easy. There are definitely advanced ideas and techniques here. There are two case studies at the end of the by well-known designers that make use of the ideas in the book and let you see them put into action.

Another characteristic of this book is its unique organization. Look at the chapter titles:

  1. Setting the Foundations
  2. Visual Formatting Model Recap
  3. Background Images and Image Replacement
  4. Styling Links
  5. Styling Lists and Creating Nav Bars
  6. Styling Forms and Data Tables
  7. Layout
  8. Hacks and Filters
  9. Bugs and Bug Fixing

There are time-worn favorite topics in the chapters, but the organization and choice of what to include is based on the mastery techniques in the book rather than what you might have come to expect as standard fare for a CSS book. Instead of explaning each hack, bug and filter as he’s giving direction for the mastery techniques he explains, he refers to the hack, filter or bug by name and the collects them all in two chapters. It’s a good system that separates the two lines of thought into separate compartments. And it puts all the hacks, filters and bugs in one place for easier reference.

This would be a good book for an advanced class and for anyone who knows the basics of CSS and is ready to try some new moves.

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What students and teachers need to know

A conclusion I draw from On Quality Education – The Web Standards Project is that students, college administrators, college instructors, and business people hiring web development personnel need to work together to promote change toward instruction in best practices and web standards.

I'm available for teacher training workshopsThe horror stories about college instructors still teaching table-based layout, frames, and nothing about CSS are too common. Students need to insist on better instruction and let their institutions know about it. Instructors need to insist on training and let their administrators know about it. Hiring managers need to require knowledge of standards and accessibility from all new employees.

I’m available for workshops

I have a wealth of experience in teacher training and teacher workshops. If you want help leading your university staff to better instruction in CSS, web standards, accessibility and best practices, I’d be very happy to help you achieve that goal.

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Salary disparity in the usability field

Since Paul Sherman at usability blog did this whole salary analysis just for me, I thought it only fair that I link to it. UsabilityBlog: More on Salary By Gender: “So where does that leave us? The data suggest that yes, Virginia, there is a gender differential in our field. The silver lining (if it can be called that) is that the disparity seems to be less than the average (as measured in the US by the Census Bureau and the BLS), and less than the disparity in other professional occupations.”

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