Re: Web pages

Subject: Re: Web pages
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 15:55:40 PST

On Tue, 21 Nov 1995 12:26:43 -0600 you wrote:

>I've spent quite a bit of time looking for Web pages with research related
>to technical communication. I find myself returning to pages if:

>- MOST IMPORTANTLY: The Web page is updated frequently.

Yes! No point in coming back to a page if it never changes.

There are a number of "netminder" services that will send you an email message
every time a specified URL changes - one site (a very well-done online version
of a local paper) actually includes a form to subscribe to a netminder, with
its own URL already in place. This, IMHO, is a very good idea if you want
people to keep coming back: make it ridiculously easy for the viewer to
subscribe to the netminder, which then sends the person a regular reminder
that you're there and that there's something new to see!

(If you want to check out this particular one, )

>- Information provided is practical and useful. Company information can be
>interesting (and helpful if that's what I seek). But if a Web page offers
>me information related to the company's business (such as free articles or
>software to download, practical tips of some sort, or links to other
>relevant sites) I will probably return.

A very important one for computer-technology companies is to make available
software and drivers (for hardware vendors) or software info and/or updates
(for software vendors). Novell makes information, drivers, utilities, network
requestors, and just about anything else someone working with Novell products
would need, readily available from their web page... and anyone who's looking
for them and clever enough to try the obvious - - first, will
find them right away.

It's so frustrating to have to dig up drivers for a piece of hardware...
sometimes I'll find a major hardware manufacturer (I could name several, in
fact) has a HUGE website, lots of propaganda, product info, company info,
product reviews, price lists... and absolutely no support for those who have
already bought the product.

>- The page is laid out well so that I can easily find information I need or
>determine that the page does not have what I need. In the latter case, I
>often jot down the URL anyway if I think I might use the information at the
>site later.

I just add it to my Quicklist (Bookmark, for you Netscape users).

>- Text is easy to read and the background is not distracting. BTW, I've
>only seen one Web page that allowed me turn off the background image and
>that option (listed beneath the webmaster address) was a godsend!

Most browsers also have, at the very least an option to turn off graphics
altogether (WebExplorer allows you to select whether or not you want

Some sites even have multiple versions - text-only, minimal graphics, and
graphics-rich flavours - and give you a choice of which one you want to go to
right from the initially-sparse index.html page.

>- Graphics are used sparingly so that I don't have to wait for an image to

YES! YES! YES! There's nothing more frustrating than waiting five minutes
for some monstrous 24-bit-color GIF to load just so I can click somewhere and
be on to the next link. What's even worse is when the ONLY link off the page
is a huge image map (ie. no text links), and you CAN'T just click on past
until enough of the image has come in to show you what's what and where.

If image file sizes are controlled, one doesn't have to be so sparse with the
graphics. 8-bit color is more than enough for most images... in fact, I
expect there are a majority of people out there running Windows in default VGA
(16-color) mode, so anything over 4-bit images may be wasted on the masses
(obviously, not all pages cater to the masses). .JPGs are good for larger
images, but I've seen some pages use them even for bullets, which slows things
down because they aren't that much smaller than their .GIF counterparts, but
take longer to decompress.

>These are the main criteria I find myself using when I return to Web pages.

How about entertainment value? I can keep going back to again
and again (for the articles, of course!)

>Good luck with the session. It sounds like one I'll try to attend in
>Seattle if I can find a chair!

Ahh, another dweller of the Pacific Northwest. Don'tcha just love it here? :)

Opinions expressed / ROCK-IT SCIENCE Mobile Audio and Security
do not necessarily /| ...the 1040 MIDI & Music BBS Technical Services
reflect those of any [ SOUNDMAN E-mail soundy -at- direct -dot- ca Fido 1:153/7106
marginally sane human \| WWW
being anywhere. \ FAX: (604)253-8312 DATA: (604)732-4446

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