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Ouch my face!

PICT2325.MRW We've been playing giant faceball with space hoppers at Google. We had to change the official rules a bit since the ball is so big it's too easy at 10 feet, so we scaled it up.

Anything Yahoo do, Google do better! It did hurt a bit though.

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Social games

Facebook are still far behind MySpace in market share but Facebook are coming up fast. But have the rules of the game just changed?

A couple of days ago Google announced OpenSocial, an API similar to the one Facebook opened up for it's applications platform. It can be used to build similar apps for networks that support this API. They launched with a long list of partner sites but rather amazingly they've just announced that MySpace are in too!

So lots more gadgets, widgets and annoying zombie biting things. What's changed the game though is that social network sites can use this API to get user info out of other social networks. Is this the answer to the social network portability problem? It's something Jeremy Keith has been talking about for some time (he has a real thing about it), but he's been pushing for adoption of XFN and other open standards. So have Google just solved the problem over night?

Well OpenSocial isn't exactly an open standard, but it's a good start. Combined with networks publishing XFN and hCard there will hopefully be a smaller number of standards to access a much larger amount of data.

The potential now is to be able to interact with people on other social networks as though they were on yours. The way

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Transient Skip Links

"Skip links" is the name given to a little accessibility feature, simply a link that uses an anchor to skip you down the page to make keyboard navigation easier. If you see them it's usually right at the top over the site navigation, so a user doesn't have to tab through the whole nav to get to the content.

Quite often you won't see them though, unless you use view source, many people choose to hide them using CSS. If you move them off the screen with a position:absolute then they will still be read out by screen readers. It's easy to forget that blind users make up a tiny fraction of web users suffering a disability. Many more people rely solely on their keyboard to use the web than screen readers, they range from stroke victims to sufferers of spinal injuries or motor neurone disease.

So should you display the skip links? Well people confined to keyboards still make up a small fraction of users on the web, and when you start adding links to all sections that may want to be skipped it can become a disadvantage to none disabled users. What you want is for the links to only appear when they're needed, which is so easy to do with a :focus.

You can add the following HTML to the top of the body: With this CSS: Try tabbing from the top of this page and you'll see how it works, it's simple and works on all major browsers.

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ts0
Thom Shannon's background in making chips gives him a unique insight into the web development industry. As the Technical Director of Glow New Media he works with clients across the UK to deliver high quality web marketing solutions using the latest techniques, accessibility practices, and web standards in both straight and crinkle cut.


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Thomas Shannon-Smith
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