Designing WWW server pages

Subject: Designing WWW server pages
From: Kathy Eyster <kathy -at- NEVADA -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 1994 22:13:55 GMT

Hello everyone,

My organization has decided to create a World Wide Web (WWW) server to
inform people about our services. We supply a Lynx client on our UNIX
system host and will install Mosaic Windows and Macintosh clients for
people at campus institutions and offices who are directly connected to
the Internet.

I'm responsible for the "look" of the pages we place on the server. Though
I've attended a couple workshops on designing online help and documents,
these were more specifically geared to microcomputer platforms where the
developers knew what software their customers would be using. In this
case, however, people accessing these files could be using the full-blown,
color graphics of an Xwindows viewer or the text-only Lynx utility.

I've also set up a Gopher server to share our newsletter and seminar
catalogs. In this case, I settled on the lowest common denominator, ASCII
text only with short (60 character) lines and blank lines between
paragraphs. Titles are all caps with a row of hyphens below to simulate
underlining. Headings are uc/lc and also "underlined" in the above manner.

Our sister organization in Reno has been developing a WWW server of their
own, but the only guidelines they have discovered through trial and error
are these:

* don't put more than one graphic on a line
* don't put "too many" graphics on a page
* provide buttons to return to the beginning of the section and to the
home page
* supply text statements to take the place of graphics for text-only viewers
* avoid columns of information

The general HTML information pages that I've found by browsing about the
net haven't given me anything in the way of style or design guidelines.

So I'm asking: have any of you worked on such a project? Do you have some
concrete suggestions you could pass along? Do you think the Gopher
guidelines are the ones best applied to this medium? Or should I go for
more since at least some clients will be able to interpret the formatting?
What makes a good graphic? And where should I include them?

I'd appreciate reading what those of you who have gone before on this
adventure have learned so I can help us make something both useful and
pleasing that takes advantage of this new technology's capabilities.

Thanks for any help.

Kathy Eyster
Kathy Eyster
System Computing Services
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154-4016

Phone: 702-895-4587
FAX: 702-895-3791
Email: kathy -at- nevada -dot- edu

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