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Stripped Down Naked to Honor Web Designers and Developers

Articles on Web Design and CSSIn honor of April 9, 2008, as CSS Naked Day, my blog is going naked. I discussed this a few days ago with details on how to strip naked your blog if you would like to join in the celebrations.

By going naked, my blog stands with thousands of others who recognize and honor the hard work of web design. I honor not just those who make our blogs and sites pretty, but those who set the those who set the standards we use on the web to make our sites pretty, usable, and accessible.

I honor the web designers who “walk the walk” and volunteer their time to ensure those standards grow with the web not against. I honor web browser developers who understand the need for standards and thus work with them, also not against them, for our web browsing pleasure, helping designers design well and avoid all the hacks and customizations on a per-browser basis.

I honor the founders of the web, the great minds who looked into the future and said, “Everyone must have access to this.” They meant everyone. Every person on any computer using any method to access the web. In their minds, they wanted to have people on different computer operating systems be able to share data. Today, this has stretched to include access for the blind and visually impaired, disabled, deaf, Mac user, Windows user, Linus user, cell phone, web TV, big screen, little screen, all the various methods the web is accessed so the data can flow both ways with ease.

I also honor those who give so much of their creativity to the WordPress Community, while setting a standard in web design around the world. Thank you to all who understand that a free WordPress Theme is a resume. A business card. A portfolio of your work. By giving, you are showing the world what you are capable of. It’s a way to give back to the WordPress Community which gives so much of its time to volunteering to support WordPress through their work on WordPress Plugins, donating and writing articles for the , the online manual for WordPress Users, and volunteering their time in the WordPress.com Forums and to help others.

For those who make a living off of the free WordPress blogging platform, I honor you for giving back to that which helps you pay your rent or mortgage. The WordPress Community is a fantastic free school of education for coders, programmers, designers, writers, and hackers. Thank you for volunteering your time and skills towards the improvement of WordPress and WordPress development.

Honoring – and Challenging – Web Developers to Break the Last Barrier

Breaking the Language BarrierIn honor of celebrating the web designers, I also honor those who are working behind the scenes to break the last major barrier on the web: language. This is the year, folks, that we have to start breaking the language barrier to make the web truly accessible by all.

Sure, there are translation programs online. They are improving in machine translations, but they are in the wrong place. It takes too much work to copy the URL or page content and take it to another page in order to generate the translation. Who wants to bother with that much fuss?

Putting the pressure on websites and blogs to provide machine or human translations of their content is also a time waster. It puts the onus on the web owner, consuming bandwidth, database, and server access to provide translations. They do it because they know the future and want to reach out to everyone across the language divide, but we can do better. And we can do it now.

I call out to web browser developers to start working on putting language translation – instant language translation – into the web browser. Yes, it will consume resources, weight down the program, but where there is a will, there is a way. No matter what you may think today, the language barrier must come down. I visualize Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Matt Mullenweg standing at the virtual web wall, each picking up a piece of stone, and shouting, “Browser Developers, tear down this wall!” Okay, so maybe not them, but it has to happen. Why can’t they be among the first to proclaim the wall must come down?

I want to know what Sing Hio has to say in Japan on her blog. I want to read what Paulo is doing in Brazil at his favorite dance club. I want to read about the tough day Boris had at school in St. Petersburg. I want to share the love of a good book across the languages with Angelo in Mexico City. Why can’t I? Why should I be restricted by a language not my own? Why should we make them learn our language in order to communicate?

We must break down the final barriers on the web. We’ve crossed the data barriers. We’ve embraced web standards for design. We’ve put the peer in social networking. Now it’s time to truly cross the final frontier.

Consider yourself challenged.



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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

14 Comments

  1. Posted April 8, 2008 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I’ll be honest – before I realized what the title of the article was, I clicked on REFRESH 3 times to try and reload the page WITH the CSS sheet.

    What an awesome way to prove a point! Great Job Lorelle!

  2. Posted April 9, 2008 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Interesting. In many ways, I actually like this better. It loads faster and is very simple and clean.

  3. Posted April 9, 2008 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I personally think that the way to go is not within the browser, but rather by making tools such as Babelfish opensource with an API so that we can plugin to this kind of data…however I dont think even that tool is 100% of the way there, nor is Google Translate. I can see an API to Google Translate on the horizon though..those guys tend to see the bigger picture minus the dollar signs.

  4. Posted April 9, 2008 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    very kool..thanks for joining in on the fun. I also have my blog stripped of the css.

  5. Posted April 9, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    It makes much more sense to do machine translation in a centralized location rather than in the browser as it needs to tap into vast database of translation memory. For example, Google Translate works by searching for clusters of words that have already been translated by professional translators working for the UN.

    Blogging uses too many slang words and idioms that don’t exist in machine translation lexicons. For now, if you want to read translations of posts from bloggers around the world, you should be reading Global Voices.

  6. Posted April 9, 2008 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I’d be surprised if there isn’t already a Firefox plugin that simplifies page translations.

  7. Posted April 10, 2008 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    I did this, too, though I’ve already switched my site back to its theme. It was white and skinless for about 17 hours (23:00 to 02:00, approximately). I like the idea of this thing. When’s next year’s? :-)

    Oh, and a minor point: I believe they would prefer to be called Linux users rather than Linus users.

    @Paul: There’s already a Google Translation API.

  8. Raul
    Posted April 10, 2008 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    I went naked too but my trackback doesn’t show.

    http://hummingbird604.wordpress.com

  9. Posted April 18, 2008 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, your Machine Translation Dream is a bad idea!
    I think in Russian. But if I decide to use automatic translators for all my Internet activity, e.g., for writing this comment, – you will stop reading it after first couple words. Why? Translation programs will NEVER approach the level of native language speakers. You are looking at the wrong direction …

    Wanna proof? Take the simplest experiment:
    Translate THIS blog into, say, Tanzanian language. Obviously, if you don’t know that language, the result might look OK for you. But then translate it back to English! Now see the difference?!!

    In the case you still have doubts, – REPLACE your original blog with similar double translations, and wait reaction from your readers …
    I can guarantee, the resulting lorelle.wordpress.com will never be on the top of blogosphere as it is now! :)

  10. Posted April 18, 2008 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    @ Beloy:

    Actually, I’ve recently seen some machine translations that blew me away. Yes, currently, with limits on bandwidth and CPU capability, it stinks. But I have access to the future of technology and I’ve seen the future. It’s possible for a computer to be programmed with phenomenal abilities. Don’t be short-sighted on this. Take the long view. This is possible.

    The issue is where does the onus lie for the user. Should I have to find a page in a language I don’t understand, then take the URL link to a translation service, put it in, not quite knowing what language it is in, so I have to guess, and then wait for the translation? Or should it happen seamlessly? I vote for seamless.

    Machine translations are coming, and they are going through growing pains, but there are some amazing experts working on this. Twenty years from now, you will be stunned. The issue I bring up is implementation. It’s coming. I want the conversation on the “how” to begin now.

  11. Beloy
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, guess what scientific idea was the most expensive in the history of mankind? The Artificial Intelligence! There was a record number of $BILLIONS invested into it for the last sixty years. Best world’s experts have been engaged. But in result … there is NO single competitive AI-based solution up to now!

    I’m trying to say it’s always useful to be aware about fundamental(!) limitations for some modern technologies. There are some things we can try approaching to forever, – but with no final result! AI, Perpetual Mobil, and … Machine Translations are on the list.

    Anyway, the price for using translation systems is a decreasing quality of blogosphere.

  12. Posted April 19, 2008 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Please, don’t understand my previous comments as an anti-tech memorandum. It’s not to say machine translation or AI businesses are ever going to disappear from the market. There is, – and always will be, – a place for some weird things in our life. No matter how unpractical they are.
    Speaking about your initiative: In the sense of convenience, – YES, Lorelle! A browser is a very good place for that!

  13. Posted May 2, 2008 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    It would be nice if machine translation could work but I have severe doubts. (Good) Translation usually needs human intelligence. At best you might get a sketch of the original ideas. In 20 years time who knows?
    It’s an interesting topic though.
    It should be easier to deal with multiple languages on the Internet at the moment. (Even WordPress mangles non-English stuff in my experience) Browser integration is a good place to start. The most interesting thing I’ve seen recently is the large user contributed dictionary held by WordChamp which appears as multiple language pop-ups including audio samples as you mouse over text in Firefox.

  14. Posted June 26, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    What a great way to show just how much goes into a website design – and how very drab and…naked, the internet would look without us!

    I missed this year’s CSS Naked day, but I’ve got my calendar marked for next year!


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