Web Design References
Web Design Glossary
- Samples Per Inch (SPI)
- Samples Per Inch indicates the number of data points per
inch that a scanner captures (i.e. input). As opposed to Dots
Per Inch, Pixels Per Inch, or Lines Per Inch - all of which
refer to output. Although most scanner manufacturers refer to
Dots Per Inch, they really should refer to Samples Per Inch.
Scanners use Charged Couple Devices (CCDs) to capture
information, and they do this by taking a fixed number of
samples per inch. The thing to watch out for in scanners is
optical resolution vs interpolated resolution. If a flatbed
scanner is making claims of higher than 600 DPI, you can be
pretty sure that they're referring to interpolation.
Interpolation increases the resolution by software. The
highest resolution a scanner can capture without
interpolation is the optical resolution.
- Sans Serif
- Sans serif is a style of typeface without the short
lines stemming from the upper and lower ends of letters that
are present in serif typefaces. Sans serif fonts are usually
the best fonts to use for ease of on-screen reading. Verdana
was actually created specifically for this purpose.
- Saturation describes the purity or intensity of a color.
Pink and red differ in saturation with the red being the more
- Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
- Scalable Vector Graphics is a language for vector graphics
coded in XML.
XML documents can have these graphics placed directly into the
document, with many advantages. SVG produces graphics that
are smaller, transmit more quickly, and are scalable without loss
of resolution, can have searchable text labels, and allow
links to part of an image. It is being developed by the
- In usability, scanning is the process of skimming text
and picking out keywords, sentences and paragraphs while
skipping over other parts of a web page. People tend to scan
web pages rather than read them word-by-word. Use headlines,
bullets, lists and frequent paragraph breaks for items you
wish to highlight. These elements will grab a user's
attention during a quick scan.
- Scope conformance claims (in
2.0) can limit accessible content to some parts or sections
of a web site. A site can state that only certain sections
are compliant. In other words, all of the other sections are
non-compliant. For more information consult
Baselines and WCAG 2.0.
- Scope Creep
- Scope creep is the expansion of a project beyond its
original objectives. It is a term used when clients who don't
realize the ramifications, make individual changes and teeny
modifications to projects, which can lead to budgetary
increases and time delays.
- Screen Magnifier
- A screen magnifier is a software program that magnifies
a portion of the screen, so that it can be more easily viewed.
Primarily individuals with low vision use screen magnifiers.
- Screen Reader
- A screen reader is a software program that reads the
contents of the screen aloud to a user.
- Screen Snapshots
- Screen Snapshots are a method where the user takes screen
snapshots at different times during the execution of a task
or series of tasks. Like most user testing, you provide the
user with the site and have him or her perform various user
tasks. In addition, you provide the user with a
snapshot program and instructions for when and how to take
the screen snapshots. This technique is best used in the
early to middle stages of development, when you have some
working site to be evaluated but are not to the point of
requiring full testing. Snapshots are most often used in
conjunction with other remote inquiry methods, such as
journaled sessions or self-reporting logs.
- Section 508
- Section 508 is an amendment to the Workforce Rehabilitation
Act of 1973. The U.S. law
applies to all Web sites operated by government agencies. It
requires Web pages to comply with accessibility standards.
Under the new law, Web sites are required to structure their
design, content and underlying technologies to be accessible
to people with disabilities. For more information consult
selectors are the parts of a rule that select the elements
to be styled with the associated declaration block. They are
constructs that identify the elements within your markup that
will receive the properties and values you assign. Selectors
can apply to a named
element, such as <h3> or <p>, an
element with a named attribute value, particularly a
id value. A simple selector
is one which, matches an element name only.
- Self-Reporting Logs
- Self-reporting logs are paper-and-pencil journals in
which users are requested to log their actions and
observations while interacting with a product. Like journaled
sessions, this technique allows user evaluation to be perform
at a distance.
- In document markup, semantics relate to meaning. Semantic
elements and attributes provide a higher level of communication.
Lay people looking only at how a page displays may never get that
additional communication, but machines can. Providing that extra
meaning allows machines to translate it for people.
- Serif is a typeface, in which each character has small
strokes at the ends of the lines that form it. Serifs are
found in type styles such as Times Roman, Palatino, Garamond,
and Baskerville. Serif fonts work best on paper because the
serifs on the letters help tie all the letters in a word
together and create the recognizable word entities (as
opposed to a group of individual letters) that we use when we
are reading. Sans-serif fonts don't have this legibility aid.
So why then don't we use serif fonts on-screen? The answer
lies in resolution. Pages will be printed, at the barest
minimum of 150 dpi, and more likely 300 dpi on a laser
printer. Screens historically have not had the resolution to
recreate the subtlety of serif fonts. Instead, the approximation
it has been is somewhat messy and more difficult to read. This
is beginning to change with the advent of retina displays.
- Skip Navigation
- Skip navigation is a method that allows users to skip
repetitive navigation links. This aids people who use screen
readers or other types of assistive technologies so they do not
have to wait for the assistive technology to work through and
announce each of the standard navigational links before getting
to the intended content. For more information consult
- At its essence, specificity is the mechanism by which the
works. It is used to determine which selectors are more
specific than others, and ultimately which rules will apply
to a given element. This basically has to do with the number
of elements and attributes in a rule's selector.
- Standard Generalized Markup Language
is a standard for how to specify a document markup language.
It is a meta language because it is used to define markup
is not in itself a document language, but a description of
how to specify one. It is based on the idea that documents
have structural and other semantic elements that can be
described without reference to how such elements should be
displayed. The actual display of such a document may vary,
depending on the output medium and style preferences.
- Consult Web Standards.
- Standards Inspection
- Standards inspections ensure compliance with industry
standards. In such an inspection a professional with
extensive knowledge of the standard analyzes the elements of
the product for their use of the industry standard
- Standards Mode
- A HTML 4 DOCTYPE that includes a full URI (a complete web
address) tells these browsers to render your page in
standards-compliant mode, treating your HTML,
- Statement (Rule)
CSS a statement or
sometimes called a rule consists of a selector, property and value.
The term applies to whatever form the selector takes and however
many declaration pairs are present. A style sheet is comprised
of statements. A statement has two parts, a selector, and a
declaration. The selector specifies which parts of an
document are affected by the statement, then the declaration
specifies how these selected elements should be
- A Storyboard is a sequence of sketches showing major
actions or outlining a process, such as the steps of
interacting with a computer or website. They are commonly
used in television and advertising. They are akin to paper
prototyping. They are useful for checking that the steps of
a process make sense and for presentations.
- String Text
- String text is a sequence of characters.
are structural markup languages, designed for modeling the
structure of information, not its appearance. Structure is
the information components within an
document. For instance: headings, lists and paragraphs.
Using heading levels appropriately will ensure documents are more
style attribute sets inline style for a single
occurrence of an element. The browser uses the style
properties to render the contents of just this one instance
of the element.
style element sets style information for
an entire document. It goes in the head section.
- Style Sheets - Consult Cascading Style
Sheets and Extensible Stylesheet
- Surveys are ad hoc interviews with users, where a set
list of questions is asked and the users' responses recorded.
Surveys differ from questionnaires in that they are
interactive interviews, although not structured like
contextual inquiries nor formally scheduled and organized
like focus group.
- Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language
- A markup language by the
that allows Web developers to separate the content of
multimedia into distinct files and transmission streams such
as, text, images, audio, and video. They can then be sent to
the users' computer separately, and then reassembled and
displayed as intended. For more information consult