Online Training Course: An Introduction to W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices

Online Training Course: An Introduction to W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices is a four week online course. It’s free and registration is now open, but there are limited spaces. There are four sessions, covering these points:

  • learn about the specific promises and challenges of the mobile platform
  • learn how to use W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices to design mobile-friendly Web content and to mobilize existing content
  • discover the relevant W3C resources for mobile Web design

Classes start May 26.

Abilene Christian gives incoming freshmen an iPhone or iPod touch

ACU announced that incoming students will get an iPhone or iPod touch

to receive homework alerts, answer in-class surveys and quizzes, get directions to their professors’ offices, and check their meal and account balances . . .

Is this the beginning of new trend?

Yesterday I went to see the new movie Vantage Point. Some sort of handheld device played a big part in the plot of this movie. All I could think about as I watched was, Is that an iPhone and can you really do things like this with a handheld? If the plot of the movie is anywhere close to reality, a few alerts and quizzes in a handheld ought to be easy button useful.

Useful links for today

Giveaway of the Day Giveaway of the Day offers a daily dose of licensed software that normally costs you money. It’s free for one day. Each new day brings a new software app, free.

Lifehacker Top 10 Obscure Google Search Tricks has some great tips for searching. For example, searching Google for “” returns 35 pages of results with 932 articles and categories from this blog, in other words, everything from the site.

An Event Apart gets gender-enhanced. The new speakers list for the 2008 An Event Apart programs was announced. In every city, they have a least one female on the list—sometimes two. Two! Count ’em, two! Jeffrey and Eric are redeeming themselves with the gender equity police.

iPhone Tester lets you load a live URL into an iPhone simulator. It wants you to use Safari for best results, and it isn’t perfect, but it gives you some idea what your site would look like on an iPhone.

Tagging a PDF

If you own Adobe’s CS3 suite, Acrobat 8 Professional was bundled with the product. To buy it separately costs $449, but if you own an older version of the full Acrobat software, you can upgrade for $159. If you are interested in making your PDFs capable of use by screenreaders or small screens where the content must reflow to fit the screen, you need to use a structured document with tags added. Tags can only be added to a document with a full version of Acrobat, the Adobe Reader isn’t capable of doing this.

I’m using Acrobat 8 Professional to demo these steps. Older versions of the full Acrobat software can also tag documents.

sidebar shows no tags availableOpen the PDF in Acrobat. You can tell if there are any tags already in the file by looking at the tags sidebar. In this example, there are no tags yet.

Use the Acrobat menu to add tags to your document.

add tags using the Advanced menu

In the Advanced menu, select Accessibility > Add Tags to Document.

a recogntion report

The first screen that opens in the tags sidebar is a Recognition Report, which points out some of the missing accessibility information. Take a good look at what you’re missing here. You’ll need to address each item to make the PDF document usable and accessible for the small screen and screen readers.. Then select the tag icon on the far left side of the sidebar to move on to the tags category.

the added tags are listed in the sidebar

The complete list of tags and figures are given in the tags sidebar. Each one can be individually opened to examine.

select the item's properties to edit

To make changes in Figures, first highlight the figure you want to edit in the document window. It will be highlighted in the tags panel. Use right-click or ctrl-click to select the Properties menu for the item.

edit properties in the touch up dialog

The Touch Up Properties dialog opens. Here you can add alt text and other accessiblility features.

edit tags in the touch up dialog

Selecting any tag in the tag sidebar and going to the tag’s properties will allow you to change any inappropriately labeled tags.

When you save and close the document, the Recognition Report will disappear, but you will still have access to the Tags sidebar when you reopen the document. If you want the information, you can run various accessibility reports using the Advanced menu.

If possible, get someone with a PDA or screen reader to check your file for problems.

eHow Articles for October


Here is a list of the how to articles I wrote for eHow in the month of October. Take a look.

What does any of that have to do with the image at the beginning of the post? Well, a cool tool I just heard about for Flickr didn’t make it into my Flickr how-to. It’s the Hockniyzer from BigHugeLabs. I used the Hockeniyzer to make the goofy image. That’s a bonus Flickr clue that you won’t find in the eHow article.

BlogHer07 Presentation available online

Skye Kilaen and I presented a program at BlogHer07 that is available for download from Skye’s site at All Access Blogging. It’s a large file in the original PowerPoint, so it’s a big download. Slides and speakers’ notes are both available.

Skye talked about checking your blog for accessibility. I talked about checking your blog for mobile devices. I also talked about microformats. The three were bunched together under a heading of “Web Standards” for the BlogHers.

About the BlogHer conference in general, it is highly successful with over 800 bloggers in attendance in person and many more taking part on Second Life. The keynotes and breakout sessions are very well done and it’s turning out to be a very successful conference. See my photos on Flickr.

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iPhone development resources

West Civ, the company with the excellent series of CSS tutorials, has undertaken a series on how iPhone’s version of Safari actually displays web pages. The article in the link is the first in the series. One resource the article mentions is a new Google group called IPhoneWebDev.

Addendum July 7, 2007: I just discovered an iPhone simulator for developers called iPhoney.