Category Archives: Web Standards

Why Can’t Microsoft Just Use HTTP Like Everybody Else?

A few moments ago I was following a link from Google to Raymond Chen’s excellent MSDN blog The Old New Thing. As has happened to me before, I ended up getting redirected to an ASP.NET error page at a totally different URL, telling me that the site was “unable to service my request.”
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Why “left: -9999px;” is Better For Accessibility Than “display: none;”

Update: Thierry Koblentz points out in the comments that either technique may be appropriate, depending on circumstances. I mention this in the last paragraph, but just to be clear, there should have been a “usually” or “often” or some such word in front of the “better” of the title. That, or a different title.

Update 2, December 2008: It is now accepted that it is better to use top: -9999px;, as using left: would cause a scroll bar on a page with right-to-left text.

A recurring question on various mailing lists such as the Web Standards Group discussion list is “How can I hide content but still have it accessible?” This is usually asked in the context of image replacement techniques, where one might for example wish to display a heading in a fancy typeface, but still have the content accessible to users of assistive technologies such as screen reading software.
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WebDD: February 3 2007

WebDD is a web design and development conference to be held at the Microsoft Campus in Reading, UK this coming 3 February (a Saturday). There is, naturally, a certain emphasis on Microsoft technologies, but not exclusively. Actually, although there are several presentations involving MS technologies, I was wrong to think that Microsoft were somehow involved in organising WebDD: they are providing sponsorship and hosting the event, but it is indeed a community-organised conference. Thanks must go to Phil Winstanley and Dave Sussman for organising this. With sessions covering Accessibility, CSS, Microformats and much more it promises to be an interesting event. Best of all, it’s “free as in beer”! Registration is opening Real Soon Now now full; my badge arrived in the post a few days ago.

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Quirks or Strict: a Quick Way to Tell

If you’re working with (X)HTML and CSS you’ll be aware – or you need to be aware – that browsers render pages differently depending on whether they are in Strict or Quirks mode. (There are explanations of what these terms mean from Microsoft and Mozilla.) It can be useful to have a way of making certain which mode you’re in when tracking down inconsistencies in browser behaviour.
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