Catch an All-New Season of Rachael vs. Guy: Kid’s Cook-Off

Rachael vs Guy: Kid's Cook-OffThis August, the competition heats up as Rachael vs. Guy: Kid’s Cook-Off returns to Food Network. This season promises to be even more explosive than the last, with all-new challenges to really test the ‘kid’-testants’ culinary prowess in the kitchen.

Eight multi-talented young chefs will be divided into two teams — one coached by Rachael and one by Guy — and the kid chefs will have to go through a mini challenge and a main challenge each episode, winning stars based on their recipes and cooking talent. With amazing guest judges, including Alex Guarnaschelli, Jeff Mauro and Robert Irvine, this season is a perfect combination of food and fun.

Before the new season begins, click play on the video below to watch last season’s winner, Brandon, in action.

Catch the premiere Sunday, Aug. 17 at 8|7c.

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The WAI Forward

It’s one thing to create a web application and quite another to keep it accessible — independent of the device that the user is using and its capabilities. That’s why Heydon Pickering1, now the accessibility editor on Smashing Magazine, wrote an eBook Apps For All: Coding Accessible Web Applications342, outlining the roadmap for well-designed, accessible applications.

This article is an excerpt of a chapter in the eBook that introduces many of the ideas and techniques presented. Reviewed by Steve Faulkner3, it’s an eBook you definitely shouldn’t miss if you’re a developer who cares about well-structured content and inclusive interface design. – Ed.

Because the W3C’s mission from the outset has been to make the web accessible, accessibility features are built into its specifications. As responsible designers, we have the job of creating compelling web experiences without disrupting the inclusive features of a simpler design.

As Scott Jehl said4:

“Accessibility is not something we add to a website, but something we start with and risk losing with each enhancement. It is to be retained.”

Unfortunately, not all websites are destined to be as simple as the provocative manifesto that is “This Is a Mother****ing Website5” and, as web interfaces evolve, complying with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines6 (WCAG 2.0) has become increasingly difficult. As we together embrace the advancements of the web and our newfound power to construct hitherto impossible web-based software, we need to tackle the accessibility of new idioms. We need to find a way to adopt new tools and techniques to keep the playing field level.

It’s time to embrace change.

ARIA: A Passion For Parity

The Web Accessibility Initiative’s (WAI) specification for Accessible Rich Internet Applications7 (WAI-ARIA) is an accessibility resource like WCAG 2.0, with certain notable differences. If it helps, you could think of the two resources as siblings: Both have been brought up in the same environment and have been instilled with the same basic values, but they differ in personality. WCAG 2.0 is the cautious homebody who keeps the home fires burning, while the more gregarious WAI-ARIA has ambitions to take accessibility to new territories.

Unlike WCAG 2.0, ARIA is not only a set of recommendations but a suite of attributes to be included in your HTML. Its tools enable you to alter and increase the amount of information shared about your HTML with users of assistive technologies. This is extremely useful when you’re making web apps because the roles, properties, states and relationships of elements in a web app are liable to be a lot more complex and dynamic. One way of looking at it is that ARIA gives you the tools to meet the WCAG’s requirements in web apps.

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The Two Purposes Of ARIA

ARIA gives you the ability to reclassify and otherwise augment the perceived meaning (or semantics) of your HTML. That’s pretty powerful, but what is the purpose of it? ARIA has two main applications.

Remedy

ARIA can be used as a remedy to improve the information provided to assistive technology by poorly coded, unsemantic markup.

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For example, a developer might use a

and some JavaScript to emulate a type="checkbox". They shouldn’t, but they might. To make this
actually understandable as a checkbox, the ARIA role of checkbox10 can be added as an attribute, making screen readers think it is, in fact, a standard checkbox. In addition, our developer must use the aria-checked attribute to indicate whether the checkbox is indeed checked.


Using the proper input element, type attribute and checked attribute to communicate this information would be better — they are better supported than ARIA (which is relatively modern), and the input element would be automatically focusable, like a semantic

Even without the additional widget properties and states, we’ve already improved the user’s recognition of the toolbar: Using the NVDA screen reader or the JAWS screen reader with Firefox, when a user focuses the first button, they are informed that they’re inside a toolbar and — thanks to the aria-label — told what it is for.

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The Relationship

So far, we haven’t actually connected our toolbar to the content it controls. We need a relationship attribute, which is a special kind of property attribute that communicates a relationship between elements. Our widget is used to control the content, to manipulate and reorganize it, so we’ll go with aria-controls. We’ll join the dots using an id value, just as we did in the earlier example of the popup menu.

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Note that we’ve added aria-controls to the toolbar itself, not to each individual button. Both would be acceptable, but using it just the once is more succinct, and the buttons should each be considered individual components that belong to the controlling toolbar. If we want to check which properties and states are supported for widget roles like toolbar, the specification provides a list of “inherited states and properties27” in each case. Consult this when you build a widget. As you will see28, aria-controls is an inherited property of toolbar.

Some screen readers do very little explicitly with this relationship of information, while others are quite outspoken. JAWS actually announces a keyboard command to enable the user to move focus to the controlled element: “Use JAWS key + Alt + M to move to controlled element.” Once you’ve affected it, you might want to go and inspect it, and JAWS is helping you to do just that here.

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Pressed and Unpressed

Depending on which sorting option is our current preference, we could say that the button that commands that option is in a “selected,” or “pressed,” state. This is where the aria-pressed state attribute comes in, taking a value of true for pressed or false for unpressed. States are dynamic and should be toggled with JavaScript. On the page being loaded, just the first button will be set to true.

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Pairing the styles for active (:active) buttons with the styles for aria-pressed buttons is a good practice. Both are buttons that have been “pushed down,” whether momentarily or semi-permanently.

button:active, button[aria-pressed="true"] {
  position: relative;
  top: 3px; /* 3px drop */
  box-shadow: 0 1px 0 #222; /* less by 3px */
}
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When the user focuses a button with aria-pressed present using either NVDA or JAWS with Firefox, the button is identified as a “toggle button.” Using the latest version of JAWS and focusing a button with aria-pressed="true" will append the word “pressed” to the announcement accordingly. In the ChromeVox31 screen reader for the Chrome browser, an aria-pressed="true" button is announced as “button pressed” and aria-pressed="false" as “button not pressed.” To a greater or lesser extent, most modern browsers and screen readers articulate helpful information about the state or potential state of these buttons.

Keyboard Controls

Not quite there yet. For toolbars — as with many ARIA widgets — the W3C recommends certain keyboard navigation features32, often to emulate the equivalent in desktop software. Pressing the left and right arrow keys should switch focus between the buttons, and pressing “Tab” should move focus out of the toolbar. We’ll add tabindex="-1" to the list and focus it using JavaScript whenever the user presses “Tab.” We do this to allow users to move directly to the list once they’ve chosen a sorting option. In a toolbar with several buttons, this could potentially save them from having to tab through a number of adjacent buttons to get to the list.

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$(listToSort).focus();

All Done

That concludes our ARIA widget. A live demo33 is ready for you to play with and test. Remember that it’s not really about sorting, per se — that’s all done with JavaScript. The aim is to make explicit the relationships and states of our application, so that whatever we are doing to our content — sorting it, editing it, searching it, creating it, recreating it — our users on keyboards and screen readers are kept in the loop.

The next chapter of the Apps For All: Coding Accessible Web Applications342 eBook puts the application functionality to one side and addresses how to actually find that application functionality in the first place. Mobility is a big part of accessibility online and off, so it’s important to look at different ways to help our users get around.

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The post The WAI Forward appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Hotheaded Quotes About Color

Color provokes strong opinions. In writing my book ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color, I collected memorable quotes about color from thinkers, artists, designers, scientists and other notables. It was almost laughably easy to amass hotheaded opinions of every kind about color. Today’s post recaps some of my favorites.

German stamp of Josef Albers’ work, via Wikimedia Commons: http://bit.ly/1n09uXN

German stamp of Josef Albers’ work, via Wikimedia Commons: http://bit.ly/1n09uXN

I wanted ROY G. BIV to fill readers with a pleasing rush of vertigo, that giddy feeling of getting pushed off balance so you suddenly see something familiar as strange. Cultural theorist Roland Barthes describes this feeling beautifully: “Color is like a closing eyelid, a tiny fainting spell…” His comrade-in-philosophy, C.L. Hardin, opens his book Color for Philosophers: Unweaving the Rainbow with this thought-provoking challenge: “Color is an illusion, but not an unfounded illusion.”

As I waded deeper into this potentially infinite topic, color, I agreed strongly with British artist Rachel Whiteread, who once remarked: “Color confuses me. Every day, when I get up, I have to think about it.” Small wonder, then, that nearly all Whiteread’s work is white or colorless.

white/grey by H. Adam via Flickr: http://bit.ly/1pgtC7H

white/grey by H. Adam via Flickr: http://bit.ly/1pgtC7H

You can’t beat manifestos for strongly worded opinions about anything. Here’s the Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich on color:

I have ripped through the blue lampshade of the constraints of color. I have come out into the white. Follow me, comrade aviators!…I have overcome the lining of the colored sky, torn it down and, into the bag thus formed, put color, tying it up with a knot. Swim! The white free abyss, infinity is before you.

Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler crossed swords aesthetically, if unknowingly, in their diametrically opposed feelings about bright color. An avid painter whose works were accepted to the Royal Academy under a pseudonym (Mr. Winter), Churchill remarked: “I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”

Hitler, on the other hand, excoriated those artists who played willy-nilly with the facts of color in their works: “If artists do see fields blue they are deranged, and should go to an asylum. If they only pretend to see them blue, they are criminals and should go to prison.”

exfoliate by jenny downing via Flickr: http://bit.ly/1lF1Yxl

exfoliate by jenny downing via Flickr: http://bit.ly/1lF1Yxl

It’s funny to gather opinions about a single color that hints at that shade’s latent personality. Take green, a notoriously finicky color to match precisely in paint. Artist Wassily Kandinsky bears a thinly disguised grudge against green, writing: “In the hierarchy of colors, green represents the social middle class, self-satisfied, immovable, narrow…” Elsewhere he remarked: “Absolute green is the most restful color, lacking any undertone of joy, grief, or passion. On exhausted men this restfulness has a beneficial effect, but after a time it becomes tedious.”

Picasso gave vent to this mania for the perfect green, too: “They’ll sell you thousands of greens. Veronese green and emerald green and cadmium green and any sort of green you like; but that particular green, never.” Contemporary artist David Reed agrees: “Caravaggio would give his right arm for a tube of Phthalo green.”

From ROY G. BIV, illustration by Oliver Munday: http://amzn.to/1gnmMgA

From ROY G. BIV, illustration by Oliver Munday: http://amzn.to/1gnmMgA

I give a big shout-out to Oliver Munday, whose gorgeous illustrations in ROY G. BIV make the book such a satisfying visual treat. His directive for this book couldn’t have been an easy one – I wanted readers to feel like they were seeing the colors themselves, unmediated by any representational crutches. In other words, no white wedding dresses to illustrate an entry about same. Oliver played within these constraints like a champ. I couldn’t be happier with how his illustrations treat the quotes about color. Above and below are a few samples from the book.

From ROY G. BIV, illustration by Oliver Munday: http://amzn.to/1gnmMgA

From ROY G. BIV, illustration by Oliver Munday: http://amzn.to/1gnmMgA

Clearly, I’m not done yet with this fertile subject. Watch this space next month for more steam-blowing, hot-blooded opinions about color!

 

Do you work for an advertising firm? Have you designed ads? We want to see them! The early-bird deadline for our Legends in Advertising Awards competition is July 15.

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The post Hotheaded Quotes About Color appeared first on Print Magazine.

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