Re: thought-provoking web page question

Subject: Re: thought-provoking web page question
From: Jeff Hanvey <jewahe -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Michele Davis <michele -at- krautgrrl -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 08:49:36 -0700 (PDT)

--- Michele Davis <michele -at- krautgrrl -dot- com> wrote:
> What in your opinion, makes a good web page? You can
> answer me offline,
> examples are welcome.

I did my Master's thesis on webpage design. The
introduction and bibliography are in the articles
section on my webpage
( The
bibliography includes some very good books on
designing webpages.

Here's a quick summary.

There are two schools of thought on webpages:

1. The information school.

These people generally agree that webpages should be
informational and fast-loading. Therefore, they
believe that splashy graphics and colors should be

They also think that there must be a clear reason for
a webpage: it shouldn't be a "placeholder" on the web.
In other words, webpages should give the users a
reason to come there: information, news, shopping, et

2. The marketing/artistic school.

These people generally love to see graphics and
interesting design - and don't place a great deal of
interest in loading time. They also don't always want
to design the user's experience - and end up with
complicated or non-existent navigation bars.

They also allow a webpage "just to exist."

Both groups, however, agree on a few things:

1. Graphics should be small to allow most people to
reach the page somewhat quickly. (Small, of course, is
a relative term).

2. Each "page" should contain a descrete "chunk" of

3. The information should be presented to minimize
vertical scrolling. 3-4 screens should be the maximum
(of course, how do you define a "screen" of
information? Most people define it to be either an
average of currently-available sizes or to be the
smallest size currently in use).

4. The text should contain shorter sentence and small

5. Webpages should be designed with a variety of
browsers in mind since Netscape and IE may display the
pages differently. Also, one browser may have a
limitation that another doesn't have. And, of course,
you can't be sure what a user has - s/he may still be
using IE 3.02 that came loaded with Windows 3 or 4
years ago (Many sites now require that the user have
at least the 4.0 version of the browser).

With the advent of broadband services such as DSL, the
development of higher-capacity hard drives, and the
availability of larger amounts of memory, however,
many of these old rules are changing. When (not if)
broadband services are standard, download times won't
be such a big issue, and we'll probably see much more
graphics-rich pages. As computers gain resources,
interactivity will be more integrated into the "web experience."

Jeff Hanvey

"There is fiction in the space between / The lines on your page of memories
Write it down but it doesn't mean / You're not just telling stories"
-Tracy Chapman, Telling Stories

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