Interview: Jeffrey Zeldman on Cause Campaigns - WebReference Update - 030616 | WebReference

Interview: Jeffrey Zeldman on Cause Campaigns - WebReference Update - 030616

WebReference Update: June 16, 2003

This week we highlight the latest news and views on and off First up we conclude our series of excerpts from O'Reilly's "JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook" with a look at manipulating forms. Our feature this week explores a recent trend, cause-related banner campaigns. Started by Jeffrey Zeldman, and tweaked by your humble editor and others, these campaigns help spread the word, get people involved, and make some commissions in the process. We interview Jeffrey Zeldman about his idea, his new book, "Designing with Web Standards," and Microsoft's browser announcement.

In other voices this week, Jakob talks diversity for small sites, and Digital Web talks SEO. In Net news, Microsoft is stopping major new revs for both the Mac version of IE and the Windows standalone version. Finally, the Wi-Fi standard 802.11g has been ratified by the IEEE. The new standard can speed up wireless browsing by a factor of five.*- link to us today*- newsletter home*- submit article

New this week on and the Web:

1. BOOK EXCERPT:  JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook, Chapter 8: Pt. 2
2. INTERVIEW:  Jeffrey Zeldman on Cause Campaigns

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1. BOOK EXCERPT: JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook, Chapter 8: Pt. 2

The following is the conclusion of our series of excerpts from Chapter 8 of the O'Reilly title, JavaScript & DHTML Cookbook. This excerpt shows how to manipulate and control forms and submission.

2. INTERVIEW: Jeffrey Zeldman on Cause Campaigns

A recent trend on the Web is cause-related banner campaigns. Most often associated with a book, these campaigns help get the word out by encouraging site owners to display a banner ad for their cause of choice. Site owners that participate make commissions from their favorite book seller, and help get other people involved in promoting the cause.

Whether it's web standards (Jeffrey Zeldman), speed (yours truly), or ROI (Ani Phyo with "Return on Design") these campaigns are a new form of grass-roots PR that lets site owners promote the causes they believe in.

Jeffrey Zeldman was the first to start this new trend, launching a banner campaign for his new book "Designing With Web Standards." Zeldman is best known for his tireless advocacy of web standards through,, his design studio, and his personal site

I asked Jeffrey about his new idea.

WR: Where did you come up with the idea? How well has it worked so far?

JZ: The idea just came to me. After all, I wrote my book for web professionals: People who not only turn to the web for information, but who also *push information onto the web* via their blogs, zines, journals, and personal sites.

This two-way communications channel, fueled by the passion and creativity of individuals, helped spread the web standards gospel in the first place. It seemed only natural to leverage that channel in support of a book that carried a message that was important to the community.

It wouldn't work for an unrelated book, and I wouldn't think to do it for one.

Web designers carried forward the struggle for web standards. Now that there is a book they can give to their managers that explains what they've been trying to tell them all these years, it seemed likely that some web designers would want to help spread that news.

Designing With Web Standards seems to be doing very well at Amazon in terms of ranking and of reader-submitted reviews. I continually hear from people who've bought it and like it. I keep stumbling onto positive online reviews of the book. I don't know how much the banner campaign has contributed to these early signs of success. On the other hand, the book has had no commercial advertising whatsoever, and it has not appeared in any of the design or tech business print magazines. With no ad support, the book should have sold two copies by accident and then disappeared from the earth. But it's selling and people like it. So the banners may have helped get the word out.

WR: Do you think it helps to have a cause associated with your banner campaign?

JZ: If you have a cause that's dear to designers' hearts, they will support you -- because, after all, what you're doing supports *them.*

Look. If my book, Designing With Web Standards, achieves awareness in the marketplace, then not just designers but site owners and managers will read it. If site owners and managers read it, they'll be more inclined to want their web designers to give them 21st century websites built with web standards. And that's what web designers want to create. So it's in designers' self-interest to help promote a book that will make their jobs easier.

If my book was a collection of poems, I wouldn't expect the web development community to get behind it. A poetry community might - but that's another story.

WR: Now that it seems that IE has stagnated (IE 6 Win/IE5 Mac) what does this mean for designers creating sites with web standards? Do we stop at CSS2 and use the usual workarounds for IE6 as the norm?

JZ: The tendency will be to freeze design methods where they are now (or where some of us have them now - remember, many web designers still use old school methods).

Theoretically, in the next year or two, Mozilla, Opera, Konqueror and so on might offer complete support for CSS3. But we won't be able to take advantage of it if 85% of the audience is using a browser that still has some problems with CSS1.

Fortunately, as you point out, the community has also isolated the problems in IE5/Win and IE6/Win and developed fine workarounds for them, including the Box Model Hack invented by Microsoft engineer (!) Tantek Celik.

So we're in a good, but not great, position. We can continue to design with standards as we've been doing - and we can get better and better at it (since the dominant browser won't be changing its support for the foreseeable future). You can also take this time to tug the sleeve of the designer sitting next to you, who doesn't really know about designing with web standards, and help him or her get up to speed.

3. OTHER VOICES:  Diversity is Power for Specialized Sites
Adding Value through Search Engine Optimization
June 2003 Netcraft Survey Highlights

4. NET NEWS:  Microsoft: No new versions of IE for Mac
Faster Wi-Fi Standard Adopted
Unsafe At High-Speed
Open a Can of STOPzilla

That's it for this Monday, see you next time.

Andy King
Newsletter Editor,
aking at jupitermedia dot com

Created: June 16, 2003
Revised: June 16, 2003