TopStyle Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) Editor is an excellent CSS tool. It is Windows only, but offers a clear interface for creating style sheets, provides lots of tips about what may or may not work with various browsers, and is highly rated.
Use PDF format to demo Web site
Adobe Acrobat is a great tool for Web design professionals to use to demonstrate a “beta” version of a Web site design for a client. In the past, I encouraged students to show clients the look and feel of a Web site with an image created in PhotoShop. However, Acrobat will convert an entire Web site into a single PDF file which can be clicked through, commented on, and “feels” like a Web site. It is a small file size suitable for email attachment. The client can approve or comment on a design without any HTML being made available, then mail the PDF file back to the designer. While the designer must use the full version of Adobe Acrobat, the client only needs the widely used Acrobat Reader.
Magazine for Designers
WebReview.com: Cross-training for Web Teams is a regular publication with helpful information on Web authoring, design, style sheets, browsers and Web tools. You can sign up to be reminded of each new issue by email.
Quality Web Content
Web Word Wizardry A Net Savvy Writing Guide author Rachel McAlpine has a web site for Quality Web Content at webpagecontent.com. It focuses on writing and editing web content and microcontent. Every web design student needs these skills — or at least some of them — yet it’s the kind of teaching that slips through the cracks in most courses.
To make it easy for teachers & students McAlpine is preparing a CD-Rom full of tutorials, slide shows and 400 sample pages. This will be ready for sale in December 2001. Topics include writing for skim-readers, choosing and using keywords, writing html titles, optimising pages for search engines, credibility, legibility, and accessibility — and much more.
I’ll let you know when it is ready for sale. Meanwhile there are about 75 articles on such topics on her web site.
McAlpine says that students might also be interested in Peotrix #1 – a small competition for web designers – on her other web site: writing.co.nz/peox/.
New book recommendation
Thanks to Miraz in New Zealand for calling Web Word Wizardry A Net Savvy Writing Guide by Rachel McAlpine to our attention. Miraz says it focuses on the wording of web pages and such important items as using good titles and headings, meta tags, and how people read web pages. Miraz had an interesting article in Digital Web Magazine recently about making Web sites accessible.
Complex text animations
SWfx from Wildform lets you create .swf files with text animations that can be imported easily into Dreamweaver. Windows only.
Making the head editable in a Dreamweaver template