Re: Designing WWW server pages

Subject: Re: Designing WWW server pages
From: Ann Amsler <aamsler -at- STRAUSS -dot- UDEL -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 1994 09:30:30 -0400

Like some of the others who have responded, I love working on web
documents (can we call them documents any more?). It's an exciting new
world. I agree that the home page should contain links to other files
rather than contain lots of text or be a file that people can only go
through screen-by-screen with no way to escape. A nice graphic or two
shouldn't slow things down that much, but mutliple graphics sure will.

At the moment, I'm putting our University's MBA brochure on the web.
There are over twenty photos. I'll either be using postage-stamp-size
photos that people can click to see a larger version or text that people
can click. That way, loading of the basic files will be quicker. I've
also broken the whole brochure into many files--the Table of Contents
will serve as the home page with links to the other files. This also
means that the photos will be called from the individual files--again a
time saver.

Using html requires some real rethinking of what we've learned about how
a document should look and about how people use documents. But new can be
good, and I try to use html rather than gopher pages whenever I can. I'd
second whoever said to look at the file on many kinds of systems. The
differences are sometimes amazing (our blue and gold University logo
appeared as a lime blob on one viewer). However, I'd argue against
designing everything for the most basic system. There are ways to make
things look great on powerful systems and ok on very basic systems.

The beauty of the web is that we can present formatted documents on line
with well-defined graphics, sound, and whatever. I see the web as a new
direction in technical writing that will require our present knowledge
but also require us to change our thinking about presentation,
audience, etc.

Tomorrow, Richard Lanham (rhetorician) is speaking here on the rhetoric
of multimedia. I'll let you all know if he has any interesting insights.
Ann Amsler

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