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Accessible CSS Forms: Using CSS to Create a Two-Column Layout - Optimization Week of March 31, 2006

Optimization Week Issue #61, March 31, 2006

Website complexity is up, and speed and accessibility are down on the Web. Broadband is increasing but the average web page is bulking up faster than Jose Conseco. One way to combat this disturbing trend is a return to simplicity. CSS-based forms are one good way to score major brownie points with the disabled, and make your site faster and more SEO friendly to boot. This week we went a bit wild and created what we hope is the definitive CSS form tutorial, complete with screenshots and a narrative on how we arrived at our browser-agnostic solution.

Speaking of simplicity, we recommend two books; one online and one in print. Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage by Bill Jenson is all about working and designing smarter. In an age of cognitive overload and features galore Jensen makes a good case for streamlining our life and work processes. Prototyping can cut to the end result and make clear what is really important. Speaking of prototyping, 37signals has a new e-book out on "Getting Real."

Accessible CSS Forms: Using CSS to Create a Two-Column Layout
Websites have become less accessible and more complex over time according to recent studies. Learn how to buck the trend by creating fast, accessible CSS forms that work with modern browsers and gracefully degrade.
Getting Real The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application
37signals has released a new e-book that shows the philosophy and ideas behind the creation of their streamlined web applications including Basecamp, Campfire, and Ruby on Rails. Elegant simplicity is the catchword here, with an interface first, coding later metholodogy. Forget meetings, preferences, and scalability, just do it is the modus operandi here. The 171-page PDF book takes the reader through the idea, app creation, staffing, and promotion and post-production phases they use and recommend in their lean web app cycle. Recommended.