U.S. 1 Showcase

Web Sites: Accessible to All

Product Showcase

Admire Her?

Framing Art: Don’t Wing It

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These articles by Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July 15, 1998. All rights reserved.

Law from the Heart

A religious ministry does not necessarily have to be medical or spiritual: a ministry can be legal. In that spirit, Gerald "Jay" Darling, a trust and estate attorney with Archer & Greiner in Haddonfield, will speak at the Christian Business Men's Committee lunch at the Hyatt on Monday, July 17, at 12:15 p.m. on the topic "How I Came to My Faith." The cost is $17 but the lunch is free for first-time guests. Call Len Hayduchok at 609-683-9300, extension 228, or Don Doldy at 609-587-0139.

"When someone comes to me in distress and they leave with a higher level of comfort, I feel I have contributed something important that they might not have gotten somewhere else," says Darling. It's not unusual for an estate lawyer to be a people person, he points out. "It's rare that you get someone in my line of work who doesn't get along with people. But personally I am very pleased when I can bring a higher level of comfort or security in an area that a client knew little about or was intimidated about -- when I have improved their emotional state of mind."

Like the bedside manner of a doctor, an attorney's manner makes a difference. "It comes with the job that you try to do the right thing and give good academic advice, but you can do it in an arrogant clinical way or a compassionate supportive way."

Darling attended Rider, Class of 1977, and has a law degree from Widener and an LLM in taxation from Temple University. Raised in North Jersey, his mother taught drivers' education and his father was a manager for a Newark manufacturing firm. He is married and has four school-age children.

Like every lawyer he confronts the problem of how to save money for his clients while still adhering to the law. Some estate attorneys like to "tightrope the sideline" (balance on the edge of legality). They think their job is to find where the legal line is drawn so they can put their toes on it and lean their torsos over the top.

That's not Jay Darling. He likes to stay comfortably within bounds. "My job is telling people where the lines are," says Darling, "but I am not one to exhort people to lean over lines."

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U.S. 1 Showcase

<B>Michael Wynblatt of Siemens Corporate Research and Mary Evslin of ITXC will be featured on a "Meet the Experts" panel at he U.S. 1 Computer Showcase on Thursday, July 23, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at Novotel Hotel on Route 1 North. Also speaking: Rachel Stark and John MacDonald of Stark & Stark will discuss Internet Law.

Exhibitors include ABS Canon, Clancy Paul Computer Centers, ComputerHelp, Service of CECG Inc., Digital Arts & Graphics, Dow Jones Training Services, Haverford Systems, NextGen Internet, NovaSoft Information Technology Corp., Paragon Computer Professionals Inc., Princeton Computer Support, Princeton Internet Group (PiNG), Renaissance Computer, Snelling Personnel Services, STG International, Straube Centers International Corp., and Xerox, the Document Company.

The seminars and the showcase are free by reservation (see stories in the special Computer Showcase section and registration form on the back page of this issue). Call 609-452-0038 for information.

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Web Sites: Accessible to All

Accessibility requirements on the Internet can be compared to curb cuts for wheelchairs. Some people objected to the expense of making curb cuts, but then everyone discovered how useful curb cuts were for strollers and shopping carts. What was mandated for the disabled turned out to be terrific for the "situationally disabled."

That's the philosophy of Ray Ingram and Mark Hakkinen, who co-founded the Trenton-based Productivity Works (http://www.prodworks.com). They developed pwWebSpeak, which they say was the Web's first non-visual browser (see story, special Computer Showcase section) and have an operating prototype of a telephone-based browser. They point to two laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1996 Telecommunications Act, that mandate accessibility for the disabled but may prove to benefit everyone.

Ingram and Hakkinen point out that 90 percent of those who use computers are somehow disabled. Some disabilities are obvious -- blindness, colorblindness, dyslexia, and nearsightedness -- yet the most common problem is unfamiliarity. "People have not thought that novice computer users are disabled," says Ingram, "but software designers should design, not for their peers, but for a broad audience."

A design that is clear enough for a novice user will be basic and fundamentally good. "I'm against designing whiz bang stuff for the sake of the whiz bang stuff," says Ingram, who questions the complications of meaningless Netscape windows. "Spawning a new window isn't bad if it has meaning. The key is quality, not showmanship. We don't want people to design for someone visually impaired but to design so people can understand what they are trying to say."

The Internet is just a new vehicle for old principles, says Ingram: "What matters is quality of interface, ease of use, accessibility to everyone, and quality of content."

Use plain backgrounds and limit the flashy gizmos. "People visit web sites to get information. It's the same when you write. You can use flashy words and lose the meaning."

Present self contained information without hypertext links for their own sake. "You see web sites with two or three links per sentence. Cross references should be meaningful. People won't follow the references, and if they do they won't come back. Information in context is more powerful."

Design a clear navigation structure. Make it easy for the novice user to navigate and for the power user to find information easily. Says Ingram: "You need to be able to follow your trail, understand where you are, go down different paths, and get back to where you were."

Use frequent links "to top of page." Ingram abhors scrolling: "You need to have a way to get back to the table of contents. Once they begin scrolling, you take away the ability to jump around, and you want to give them a way to get back very simply."

Don't let pictures tell the story. As Hakkinen points out, "A picture may be worth a 1,000 words, but on the Internet it's just a file name to someone who is blind."

Other tips on designing accessible websites are available at Disabilities Information Resources (http://www.dinf.org) and the Web Accessibility Initiative sponsored by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (http://222.w3.org/WAI.) This site quotes Tim Berners-Lee, the director of W3C and inventor of the World Wide Web: "The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."

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Product Showcase

A wide variety of exhibitors, ranging from the Barbizon School of Modeling to Princeton Lexus, will grace the Mercer County Product Showcase on Monday, July 27, from noon to 8 p.m. at the Hyatt.

General categories include the banks (so far First Union, Yardville, Commerce, and Third Federal Savings, and Sovereign have signed up), the real estate firms (Nexus Properties and Straube Center LLC), housing supply outfits (Century Kitchens & Bath, Yardville Supply, Bell Roofing & Maintenance), personnel firms (J&J Staffing and Metro Employee Assistance), and the phone companies (Nextel Future Communications, and KSB Telesound).

But nearly any kind of business can enter this showcase: both Dean Witter Morgan Stanley and Saul Funeral Home are on the list.

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Admire Her? Nominate Her

Nominations for the eight annual Women of Distinction event, sponsored by the Delaware-Raritan Girl Scout Council, will be accepted until September 1. Dr. Penelope Lattimer assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the New Brunswick Board of Education, is in charge of this year's event.

The women nominated need not have been Girl Scouts in their youth, but they must have distinguished themselves in areas corresponding to the "Five Worlds of Girl Scouting." These include the World of Well-Being (physical and emotional health), the World of People (activities that develop awareness of various cultures in society and around the world), the World of Today and Tomorrow (discovering the "how and why" of things by exploring and experimenting with technology), the World of the Out-of-Doors (caring for the environment and respecting the independence of all living things) and the World of the Arts (literary, visual, and dramatic arts).

Last year Pamela Mount of Terhune Orchards represented the World of Out of Doors, and Beth Leahy of Bovis Construction Company was nominated for the World of the Arts. Beth Baldinger of Stark & Stark, Audrey Gould of Merrill Lynch, and Connie Mercer of HomeFront received special awards.

The 1999 dinner, set for Thursday, March 18, will include cocktails, dinner, a video presentation of the nominees filmed by the Cablevision Cable Company, and presentation of the awards: engraved crystal Tiffany paperweights. A new feature of next year's program will be an opportunity for outstanding girls from the council to shadow, and be mentored by, one of the Women of Distinction for a day. Call Anabell C. Williams for nomination forms or information at 732-821-9090 or 800-572-2656, extension 112.

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Framing Art: Don't Wing It

Anything on the walls is better than nothing" is a not a useful motto, says Lorelei Fenton. When business owners put nothing on the walls it can only mean they have no money, have no time, or simply that they don't know what they want. That's not a horribly negative impression to leave, she says, but it's not a positive one, either.

Fenton owns Picture Perfection, an art and framing business at Mountain View Plaza in Belle Mead. As one of four panelists for a program entitled "Turning Corporate Image into Big Bucks" she will speak on "How to Enhance Your Corporate Image through Artwork and Framing." The program will include a business card exchange and will be Friday, July 24, 9 to 11 a.m. at the Cherry Valley Country Club, Route 518 and the Great Road. It will benefit the Yumi Fund (to commemorate the life of a Japanese exchange student, Yumi Shibatani, killed in an auto accident while she nearing completion of her studies at Montgomery High School). For $10 reservations call 908-431-1010.

Fenton will also give a seminar "Solving Your Home Decor Dilemmas" on Saturday, July 25, at the Mountain View plaza on Route 206 in Belle Mead, also for the benefit of the Yumi Fund. Cost: $5.

Also on the panel is Ellen Silverman, president of Ellen Silverman Advertising Inc., who will discuss "Marketing Your Image: Diamonds or Cubic Zirconium?;" Dawn Blajian-Burke of International Carpet and Blinds Inc., will explain how the interior design of your company affects your corporate image; and George Taber of Business News New Jersey, whose topic is "How to Maintain a Good Corporate Image through Press -- Even When the News is Bad."

Fenton offers several more art mistakes:

The over-use of motivational art. "A scattered piece here or there may provide a quiet reminder of the catch phrases your company touts." Slogans placed in every conceivable crevice beg the question of why you work so hard to motivate the employees and actually elicit sympathy for the workers.

Decoration that shows you "know art" but not your company. Choosing artworks to showcase your expertise may feed your ego, but it may intimidate the potential client. Choose the right styles for your company and watch your attitude in presenting and talking about the work.

Buying expensive artwork, framing it cheap. "If you can't afford a nicely framed piece of fine art, you can't afford a piece of fine art. Get a poster or print and make it look good."

Plastic throw-away frames, dry mounted posters on the wall, pictures thumbtacked to the walls. This is the cheapest of the cheap and that's how it will make you look.

Ready made frames with warping pictures, dead bugs behind the glass, bowing mats, etc.

Choosing art or a frame to match the furniture. If the main purpose of art is to match the couch, why not just frame a piece of fabric from your couch?

Everything framed in the same frame, typically black, silver, or gold metal, or mahogany. Choose framing for the way it looks rather than because it is easier, so each picture looks good in and of itself.

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