SharePoint 2007 + Accessibility

I just read the SharePoint Team has been putting some focus on accessibility which is awesome news. The timing is incredibly ironic as I am currently involved in a SharePoint project (SPS2003+WSS2.0) that has some blind users. The client will be happy to know this focus is coming in 2007.

Courtesy of the SharePoint Team Blog
Improvements in accessibility
We have been getting quite a few questions via blog feedback e-mails about accessibility, so I wanted to share the following summary of new and improved accessibility features that the WSS V3 team is working on, which are of course leveraged by Office SharePoint Server 2007 as well. Things can still change between now and RTM, so please don’t take the following list as a promise of full compliance. Nevertheless, the Windows SharePoint Services and Office SharePoint Server product teams are definitely committed to improving accessibility and enabling all customers to utilize the power of SharePoint Products and Technologies.

SharePoint Boocamp + SharePoint Experts = CSS+XHTML Compliance

As of a couple of days ago and, Dustin Millers projects are table-free, XHTML 1.0 Strict compliant, and designed 100% visually using SharePoint Designer 2007.

It’s great to see people involved with SharePoint advocating web standards to any extent. It’s our best hope for a faster advance toward a CSS structure under the hood.

Making Popular Design Decisions (By Eric Meyer)

Excellent article on making popular design decisions by Mr Eric Meyer himself.

Small Exerpt:
Every time you make a layout decision – fluid vs fixed, scaled vs percentage, a few more people hate you. How do you make the right decisions and when?

You’re a Web designer, right? You fascist oppressor. What gives you the right to be so arrogant and close-minded?

Amazing, isn’t it? We’ve only just met and here I am insulting and berating you. And you don’t even know why, though you might have some idea.

Let me clear it up for you: in your last three design projects, you excluded visitors, ran roughshod over user expectations, and generally displayed a lack of understanding of the medium. This is the case no matter what design techniques you used; no matter whose books you read; no matter what you did. You thug.

What the blinking font am I talking about? I’m talking about Web design, which requires a constant balancing of pros and cons, and which does not admit to universally applicable answers. Unfortunately, this means that when you make a choice in how to style your site, you’re going to annoy somebody. Change that decision, and you’ll annoy somebody different.

Let’s take the eternal debate of fixed versus liquid … Read the entire Making Popular Design Decisions (By Eric Meyer)

The Importance of Visual Communication

Visual Communication is incredibly important, especially when presenting. The majority of presenters use the “bullet point” approach thinking they are doing wonders for simplifying their message. They are right to a degree, but without a visual to backup the message, it’s left open to interpretation. The example below was used recently by Ryan at 37 signals while speaking with a group of web developers.

This bullet point for example:

  • I think we should build a house

This image shows how two people might interpret that single bullet point with no visual to back it up

SharePoint 2007, Content Management Server and Andrew Connell

I just finished watching Andrew Connell present on the upcoming Content Management Server which is embedded in SharePoint 2007. Great talk, lots of juicy information. If you didn’t make it to the web-cast I saved the presentation as a PDF.

I’m sure this will be available on-demand soon enough but in the meantime here are your options:

1) Download the PDF version of Andrew Connell’s web-cast on Content Management Server in SharePoint 2007.
2) Visit Andrew Connell’s blog and harrass him with questions (He likes it!)
3) Click refresh 34 million times and wait for the on-demand version which will soon enough turn up here

He truely does have a great amount of CMS knowledge so off you go, it’s time to learn!

Open request for Blog Engine’s and those that write them

One key dynamic missing in almost every blog-engine I have seen is the ability to “name” your feed during setup. By this I mean specify the path to and the name of your feed. Two simple inputs during the setup would really add major value to anyone considering switching to try new engines.

This is an open request to every blog-engine writer out there. Add the ability to name your “main feeds” during set-up and you will make the decision to switch to your product 100% easier.

Most people with any significant readership are not keen on asking their users to change their bookmarks. I have tested several URL rewriting scripts none of which seem to do the trick and besides why should you have to introduce a script? A good product in my opinoin would allow you to name your feed hence eliminating the problem.

IE7 + SharePoint

I have been testing the Internet Explorer 7 Beta for awhile now and have noticed a few rendering issues with SharePoint. I also noticed after the “layout complete” refresh these oddities still existed.

I am currently sitting in on an IE Developer Chat and asked if there was any collaboration between the teams to resolve rendering issues:

My Question
Q: hear IE7 is now “render” complete. I work exclusively with CSS+SharePoint and noticed several rendering oddities (calendars for ex). Just curious as to if there is any known upcoming resolutions between your teams

Their Answer
A: IE 7 is now Layout complete. We are continuing to work on any rendering issues that we come across. If you have specific examples please send them to We will take a look. Thanks for the feedback

It’s good to know rendering issues will still be resolved. If you find any rendering bugs please submit them to the IE feedback program

Advanced SharePoint Customization: Changing the Multi-Upload Control for Document Libraries

On November 18 2005 I posted that I had figured something out and would post the solution later that day. Evidently I didn’t get around to posting the solution. Karma kicked in today as I found myself with this issue once more – this time however I am posting the solution.

When customizing a theme (This can be SPS.css(SPS2003) OWS.css(WSS2.0) OWSPers.css(MySite/Personal) or a custom theme.css you may have run into a problem trying to customize the “Tree View” for the Multi-Upload on a document library. The problem is that the tree-view of the control is using the same class as applied to the side-navigation (.ms-navframe).

In case you are wondering what I am talking about go to a document libary. Click upload document. Then click the Upload Multiple Documents Link. The left column where your file structure is listed. This is the area we are trying to customize.

3 Step Solution
You need to remove ANY REFERENCE to background-color or background-image from .ms-navframe (NOTICE: .ms-navframe is in the stylesheet twice so REMOVE one of them).
You need to use the class .ms-nav to manipulate the side-navigation bar background colour/image.
You need to change .ms-uploadcontrol to change the background-color/image of the multi-upload tree-view Remember: If you are pointing to a custom CSS in SPS2003, the DEFAULT SPS.CSS file is still being referenced and such you need to modify the background properties (remove) them from this file as well.

The reason?
For those that need a little extra explanation, there is some javascript on the multi-upload page which says “We are going to use the class .ms-navframe by default”. However if you remove the background properties completely from the .ms-navframe selector, THEN we will let you use the .ms-uploadcontrol class to manipulate the multi-upload tree-view.

In a perfect world I would think the .ms-upload class would be applied to the upload control by default no? Psst MS.

Internet Explorer: Chat with the IE Dev Team

Members of the IE team will be online for an Expert Zone chat this coming Thursday April 13th at 10:00AM PST. These chats are a great opportunity to have your questions answered and hear from members of the IE product team. A transcript will be published after the chat and transcripts of other recent chats are available.

These chats are a lot of fun as we all type furiously to keep pace with the questions being asked. Please join us for the chat if you can.