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Welcome to the OSU Department of Whatever

a jumble of antique typewriter keys The pages of the Department of Whatever are developed by the OSU Web Accessibility Center. They are designed as templates that you can use in your own development. These pages have been tested in IE 6 and 7 (beta 3), Firefox 1.5, and Opera 9 on Windows; Safari 2 on Mac OS X, and Konqueror 3.3 on Red Hat Linux.

To get started, we recommend that you download the set of Department of Whatever pages and resources. The minor inconsistencies in display across browser and platform are documented in the "README.txt" file, included in the download. (Note: the dowload archive is a GZip compressed TAR file. It can be uncompressed natively on Macintosh OS X and Linux. Windows users will need a helper program to uncompress the files. For this we recommend WinAce (shareware) or WinZip. The unzip utility built into Windows cannot uncompress GZipped TAR files.)

At present, the set includes the page you see here, its sub-pages and resources, and also a set of PHP-enhanced templates. In the future, we will be developing other template designs, including three-column and bordered designs. The PHP-enhanced templates will allow you to very easily manage and create new web pages on any web server running PHP, such as the web servers OSU manages and offers space on to departments, units, and groups.

The web pages of the Department of Whatever incorporate the familiar OSU masthead and borrow other elements from OSU resources. The masthead has been recoded here to add structural and semantic elements that help in acheiving better usability for all users, but especially for persons with disabilities. The entire design is layed out with Cascading Style Sheets and borrows techniques from many different sources to provide high usability and accessibility while maintaining a clean and modern appearance that is consistent with OSU design recommendations.

The techniques used are for the most part documented in the page, CSS, and JavaScript code. We have tried to give "best practices" coding examples and short explanations of these practices on every page and in comments in the style sheets, HTML, and JavaScript. We recommend that you examine and understand the source code before using these templates. Many of the techniques are drawn from web sites and other resources familiar to anyone who has browsed the OSU Web Accessibility Center's resource pages. We also recommend that you read the "README.txt" file that comes with the download. It explains the file structure of the pages, how to implement the tab navigation, and how to use the PHP-enhanced web pages.

If you want to get a general sense of the structure of these pages, the best way to begin is to view them with CSS disabled. In the Firefox web browser, this can be done by using the immensely helpful Web Developer toolbar extension. We recommend this extension and a number of others on the Developer Tools page of our resources pages.

Thoughout these pages, we try to use good link text. Good link text can be read out of context of the passage it is in and still meaningfully indicate the resource it points to. For example, here is a fake link to an article discussing Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). The link makes sense when read in isolation; whereas bad link text is meaningless out of context, such as: if you want to read a good article on CSS, click here.

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