I aim to shape products, interfaces and services that mediate meaningful dialogues between people, systems and their environments within everyday life.

Dec
10
2011

Spotlight HTML5

Last weekend I attended Spotlight HTML5 held at U of T covering an interesting range of HTML5-related topics like geolocation, semantic tagging structure, back-end canvas drawing, CSS3, interactive web video, and polyfills. Speakers came from Teehan+Lax Labs, Microsoft, Adobe, and AOL.

The talk about CSS3 was pretty exciting as it highlighted some new features you can now do on the web that couldn’t have been done in the past. The big advantages of CSS3 are better search engine placement from the use of real text, increased page performance, better usability and accessibility, optimized styles, and the ability to draw and animate elements.

A topic that continually came up throughout the various talks was the concept of responsive design, in which the layout of the content adapts to the device/media you are using. Greg Rewis in fact, stresses that browsing experiences should not be the same across different platforms and resolutions. The CSS3 specifications now includes media queries to target not only specific devices but physical characteristics of the devices like screen width and resolution. CSS3 also introduced some new background specifications; background-size is of particular interest, especially from an accessibility perspective. This property lets you specify the size of the background image, either as a fixed value or relative to the background positioning area. It doesn’t sound particularly interesting so far — but say you use background images for text menu items and your users need to bump up the text size for easier reading, the background images would scale WITH the larger text sizes. You end up with an elegant and flexible UI where the text doesn’t look like they’ve broken out of the confines of static images. A great example of this is the Fresh Picked Design site:

The CSS3 talk was only one of many interesting presentations that day, but the other presentation slides can be found on the FITC site. For me, the conference was a great introduction to the new features and specifications enabled by HTML5 and CSS3 that will provide some inspiration for my future designs on the web.

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